Five Families

The Five Families are the five original American Mafia crime families of New York City that have dominated organized crime in the United States since 1931.

The families are: Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Luchese. (Note: the spelling of Luchese. Lucchese, with an extra C, is Joe Valachi's spelling, which the FBI uses to this day. As for Gaetano himself, he preferred Luckese. See story about spelling of Luchese crime family.)

The Five Families were established from early Sicilian Mafia gangs in New York City.

They were formally organized in the summer of 1931 by Salvatore Maranzano after the recent murder of Giuseppe Masseria, in what has become known as the Castellammarese War.

Salvatore Lucania, aka Charles "Lucky" Luciano,
Maranzano, declaring himself "boss of bosses," reneged on a deal he had made with Lucky Luciano.

When Maranzano was murdered months after Masseria on September 10, 1931, the "boss of bosses" position was eliminated in favor of The Commission, a sort of board of directors for the American Mafia on which sat the bosses of the five families, as well as some other powerful regional bosses.
There is some debate regarding exactly who was on the Commission; here is an excellent article on two potential rival theories based on the only two firsthand sources available so far.

It posits:

While many have written about the first Commission, created in 1931 under the guidance of Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, only two sources can be considered authoritative. Nick Gentile recorded his memories of a lifetime in the Mafia in the autobiographical "Vita di Capomafia." Joseph Bonanno did the same years later in "A Man of Honor."... 
The accounts of the two men are largely in agreement. They both include the leaders of the five New York families - Luciano, Bonanno, Tom Gagliano, Joe Profaci and Vincent Mangano - and Chicago's Alphonse Capone on the 1931 Commission. But both indicate that the Commission was comprised of seven members. 
Bonanno says the seventh member was his relative Stefano Magaddino, boss of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region. Gentile says the seventh member was Frank "Ciccio" Milano of Cleveland. We are left with those two choices. (Despite what you might have read elsewhere, no one from Detroit or Philadelphia or New England served on the first Commission.)

Gambino Crime Family: The Gambino crime family is the most publicized family of the American Mafia, no doubt due to the fact that John Gotti, the Dapper Don/Teflon Don, was its boss for a time. It’s one of “Five Families” based out of New York that historically collectively dominated organized crime in the United States. The Gambino family took its name from boss Carlo Gambino who controlled the family from 1957 until his death in October 1976. He was behind the slaying of the family's previous boss, Albert Anastasia, and was considered to be a de facto "boss of bosses" in spirit, though not in name.

Cosa Nostra News: It's Life-Plus for Gambino Capo Vernace
May 28, 2014 Yesterday at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Bartolomeo Vernace, a member of the administration of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the Gambino family), was sentenced to life ...

Cosa Nostra News: Gambino Underboss Cali has Strong ...
Oct 25, 2012
Cali, along with Gambino family boss Domenico "Italian Dom" Cefalu, who officially named Cali his number two, and Gambino capo Bartolomeo "Baboots" Vernace are believed to all have strong ties to Sicily. In fact, although ...

Cosa Nostra News: Preview: DiDonato on Life in Gambino ...
Mar 24, 2014
Andrew DiDonato, whose book "Surviving the Mob" underlines the old adage that true life is stranger than fiction, said those words to us during a recent interview. A former Gambino associate, the Brooklyn-based wiseguy ...
First Post-Gotti Gambino Family Leadership Clarification
Mar 19, 2014
Filippelli was a soldier under Gambino capo Alphonse "Funzi" Sisca, who was Squietieri's brother-in-law and buddy, so following protocol Funzi had the power formally, but Filippelli represented "Zeke" as street boss.

Genovese Crime Family Vito “Don Vitone” Genovese was an early boss and namesake of the Genovese crime family in New York. It had once been Luciano's crime family -- until Luciano went away to prison and Frank Costello took the big seat. Vito was in Italy at the time of the transition, but when he finally returned to the U.S. he ordered both Anastasia's and Costello's deaths. Anastasia was killed in 1957, but the later hit on Costello failed, as Costello survived the shot fired at him by a youthful Vincent "The Chin" Gigante. However, that was enough for Costello to announce his plans to retire, allowing Don Vitone to take what he long considered his due.

The family historically used "front" bosses to confuse the Feds, and sometimes their fellow crime families.

Also, Vito had two brothers, Michael and Carmine Genovese, who also became inducted members of the mob. A cousin, Michael James Genovese, went on to eventually lead the Mafia in Pittsburgh.

Genovese Mobster Get 5 Months in Waste-Carting Racket
May 14, 2014
Genovese crime family associates Dominick Pietranico, 83, and Joseph Sarcinella, 79, were among 32 people pinched in a mob scheme to control the waste-hauling industry in the city and New Jersey.

In Genovese Extortion Case, Two Union Officials Plead Guilty
May 15, 2014
a soldier in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra. Since at least 2005, Depiro has managed the Genovese family's control over the New Jersey waterfront—including the nearly three-decades-long extortion ...

Cosa Nostra News: Genovese Family King of the Volcano ...
Feb 21, 2013
With little fanfare -- and no media coverage that we could find -- Genovese acting boss Daniel Leo is back on the streets, having been released from prison on Jan. 25, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Cosa Nostra News: Former Genovese Boss's Son Busted for ...
Dec 13, 2013
The New York Post is reporting that the son of imprisoned former Genovese mob boss Arthur "Artie" Nigro was busted Wednesday on kiddie porn charges in The Bronx, according to the police. Joseph Nigro, 35, was allegedly ...

Bonanno Crime Family

Need to finish -- please check back....


  1. New 2 families 5 Old original families (Bonanno, Colombo, Amato, Marasco, Lucchese). It's Official, Legit, Stamped, Noted, ff. Signed :-).


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