'Baby Shacks' being held in Oklahoma

By NBC 10 News
Published: February 11, 2011
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A reputed Rhode Island mobster arrested last month in Florida has been temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City.
Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio will eventually be returned to Rhode Island to face charges that he extorted protection payments from Providence strip clubs.  But federal Bureau of Prison records show that Manocchio is currently in a transfer facility in Oklahoma.
U.S. Marshal Steven O'Donnell said Manocchio is expected back in Rhode Island in several weeks.
Manocchio was one of more than 120 reputed mobsters arrested last month in a massive federal sweep.  He was charged in Rhode Island along with Thomas Iafrate, a strip club employee.
Authorities believe Manocchio is the former head of New England's Patriarca crime family, though Manocchio has long denied any connection to the mafia.

Brazilian police announce arrest of suspected Italian mafia boss, say Italy wants extradition

By The Associated Press (CP) – 1 day ago
SAO PAULO — Federal police in northeastern Brazil say they have arrested a suspected Italian mob boss.
Authorities based in the city of Fortaleza say in a statement that they arrested Francesco Salzano at the request of a court in Naples, Italy. The statement notes that the court describes Salzano as one of the leaders of Italy's Camorra crime syndicate and alleges he ordered the killings of three men in 2009.
The statement posted on the Federal Police department's website Saturday says that Salzano entered Brazil in May and that the Brazilian Supreme Court ordered his arrest last December after receiving the Italian court's request.
The statement notes that Salzano was arrested Thursday in Fortaleza and is being held at Federal Police headquarters there. It adds that Italy has requested his extradition.

Calabrian Mafia boss earned mob’s respect

Cosimo Stalteri, a retired Woodbridge businessman credited with helping take the Calabrian Mafia in Toronto from a poor group of immigrants to a global criminal powerhouse, was sent off in a funeral filled with family, friends and flowers on Saturday.
Mr. Stalteri was born on Jan. 20, 1925, in Siderno, a town on the Ionian coast of southern Italy. He died Tuesday at the William Osler Health Centre in west Toronto at age 86. His soft smile and grey hair meant many did not realize the warm businessman, father and grandfather carried such history and respect within the underworld.
The 200 mourners who gathered at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Woodbridge brought mountains of flowers for Mr. Stalteri.
Heading the procession of family and friends was a gleaming black Jaguar sports car.
Mr. Stalteri immigrated to Canada in 1952 after establishing himself within the ‘Ndrangheta, the secretive Mafia formed in the southern Italian region of Calabria. In 1946 he was convicted of assault causing bodily harm; in 1948 of theft. In 1950 he received amnesty after a conviction for carrying an unregistered gun and also beat a Mafia association conviction. In 1958, he received another amnesty from the Italian authorities clearing his criminal record.
He had no convictions in Canada.
After arriving in Toronto, he was appointed to the Camera di Controllo, the board of control that resolves disputes and organizes competing enterprises among the Calabrian crime clans.
In April 1971, Canadian police had an intelligence coup when they watched 23 suspected gangsters meet inside Mr. Stalteri’s home after listening to wiretaps placed on the phone of Calabrian mob boss Mike Racco. It is believed they were there to induct a new member into their clan in an initiation ceremony passed down over generations. The men were part of what became known as the Siderno Group, a cluster of crime families with their origins in Siderno that is hugely powerful today.
Police said Mr. Stalteri wielded great influence within the Canadian underworld and was considered the boss of his ‘Ndrangheta clan.
In 1973, Mr. Stalteri returned to visit Italy and killed a street vender in a dispute over a toy before fleeing back to Canada. He was never extradited for the killing, however. With Italian authorities apparently believing Mr. Stalteri had died, his arrest warrant was cancelled.
Mr. Stalteri was tracked by the police in Canada for decades. In 1992, Canadian police at a secret summit on organized crime conference pinned him as a significant leader of the ‘Ndrangheta in Canada. He was named as the boss of one of 10 ‘Ndrangheta clans in Ontario, based in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and London.
By then a skilled diplomat, he stayed out of the limelight and avoided the bloodshed from various feuds that consumed many of his peers.
His influence waned as he aged and younger men took over his hands-on role, but his respect within the milieu was never forgotten.
Indeed, in the summer of 2009, secret police wiretaps installed by police in Italy in downtown Siderno caught a parade of mobsters talking indiscreetly.
Among the chatter were mafioso noting Mr. Stalteri’s declining health and praising him for a lifetime of able service.
“In America … he maintained a good organization,” said Giuseppe “The Master” Commisso, named as a senior boss in Italy.
(Police in Italy say Canada is so important to the Calabrian mob that when they speak of “America” they really mean Canada.)
“Yes, yes, always good,” agreed another man.
“He didn’t despise strangers,” Mr. Commisso went on.
“They still respect him, believe me,” the other man said.
“He respected everyone.” In Mr. Stalteri’s secretive world, little better could be said about anyone.

Mob informer Joseph Barone indicted by feds - and in crosshairs of double-crossed Mafia pals


Joseph Barone didn't leave his FBI job after 18 years with a going-away party and a gold watch.
The veteran Mafia informer's farewell gift was an indictment, accusing him in the kind of crime he long helped prevent - a $1 million murder for hire.
Barone beat the rap, but he's hardly celebrating. The second-generation Genovese gangster nervously wanders a no man's land: The FBI no longer wants him, and his double-crossed mob pals want him dead.
"What did I win?" he asks about his July acquittal. "That's what the FBI is saying: We didn't get him in court, but he's f----d for life. They're happy about that."
Barone is fighting to get back $58,000 seized after his January 2009 arrest and $385,000 in legal fees to start a new life somewhere.
For now, nowhere is home for the 49-year-old gangster who led a double life for nearly two decades.
Barone, the son of a made man, was groomed from an early age to follow his dad into "The Life."
"My father was a Genovese soldier," Barone said in his first interview since the trial. "I was supposed to be in that family."
Barone's world went topsy-turvy on Jan. 12, 1992, when the Genoveses - headed by Vincent (Chin) Gigante - whacked his dad, Joseph Barone Sr.
Joseph Jr. was jailed on loansharking and gun charges at the time. Three months later, the FBI flipped Barone by showing him photos of his dad's body.
Revenge was Barone's first thought - but he opted for a subtler approach than murder.
"You want to grab a gun and shoot everybody," Barone said inside a suburban Italian restaurant. "But I'm just not a killer."
Instead, he became an FBI undercover, mingling with mobsters who figured he was following his father's footsteps rather than avenging the old man's death.
Known on the street as "JB," Barone became an exemplary informer - charming or intimidating people with an act he called "The Joe Show."
The federal prosecutor charged with putting Barone behind bars even praised his work: "He was a good informant."
Court documents show Barone tipped the FBI to mob hits plotted by Bonanno boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano against Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis and federal prosecutor Greg Andres.
Barone spent 18 years working for the FBI - triple the six-year tour of renowned undercover agent Donnie Brasco.
"He was the best they ever had," insisted lawyer Jose Muniz.
Then, suddenly, he went from mob insider to federal inmate.
The FBI stormed his home on Jan. 9, 2009, charging Barone in a murder plot to collect a $1 million insurance payout for a Westchester County businessman.
No honor among thieves
In an O. Henry twist, Barone was busted for conspiring with career criminal Michael Cooks - an NYPD informer. The ultimate cooperator was undone by another snitch.
In court papers, Muniz argued the feds put Barone behind bars "with the flimsiest of facts" because his value as an informer had dwindled. Barone also balked at wearing a wire.
Prosecutors contend Barone went rogue and linked him to a robbery, an arson fire and an attack on an ex-girlfriend - a cousin of mobster Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo.
Both informers testified - and the Manhattan jury believed Barone, acquitting him on July 29. After 18 months in federal lockup, Barone was free but hardly clear.
Tall, dark and movie-star handsome, Barone arrives for dinner in a black leather jacket, tinted glasses and a charcoal sweater, his hair slicked straight back.
His hands shake as Barone explains life since he was unmasked.
"To think I could be betrayed by the government - it's not less devastating than being killed by wiseguys," Barone said. "Where is justice?"
The FBI declined to comment.
Barone never discovered the names of his dad's killers - but these days he's more concerned about dodging his old mob pals.
"I can't go to good restaurants," he said. "I can't drive down the street. Even regular people don't want to be around me. Can you blame them?"

Montreal homicide victim had close ties to Mafia: cops

MONTREAL - The city’s latest homicide victim is believed to have had close ties to the highest levels of the Mafia, according to police sources.
At first glance, the shooting death of Antonio Di Salvo, 44, appears to be related to ongoing violence within people linked to the criminal organization which was significantly destabilized by Project Colisée.
According to a police source, Di Salvo was known to associate with members of the Rizzuto organization before Mafia leaders and their associates were arrested in November 2006 in the major Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit investigation. Two people in particular Di Salvo was known to associate with were Francesco Del Balso and Francesco Arcadi.
Both men are currently serving lengthy prison terms they received after pleading guilty to charges related to Colisée. Arcadi was considered to be the Rizzuto organization’s street boss, a position that required him to manage many aspects of the organization’s activities, including drug trafficking. Del Balso worked directly underneath Arcadi and, among other things, made sure his orders were carried out.
By comparison, Di Salvo’s criminal record is relatively insignificant. According to provincial court records, Di Salvo was convicted of offences related to impaired driving during the 1990s. He was charged with taking part in a criminal conspiracy in 1990 but was cleared of the charge three months later.
According to the Montreal police, Di Salvo’s body was discovered by a friend Monday evening. Major crimes investigators were called to the house, on Perras Blvd. in Rivière des Prairies, after it became apparent the victim had been shot in the head at least once.
Di Salvo, who was married but had no children, moved into the newly built home in 2007.
No arrests have been made in connection with the homicide, the sixth reported on the Montreal Island so far this year.

Book details ex-Illinois governor’s gangster ties

e of the most amazing details writer Jim Ridings learned while researching his books is former Illinois governor Len Small’s connection to gangsters.
“Anytime the small town news mentioned him, they said, ‘What a wonder man he was!’ ” said Ridings, a former reporter who was born in Joliet and now lives in Herscher. “I think one of my contributions to Illinois history is that I corrected something that had been falsely reported all these years.”
“Chicago to Springfield: Crime and Politics in the 1920s,” is Ridings’ fifth book and the first one he has not self-published. It complements his 2009 book “Len Small: Governors and Gangsters,” but tells the story with fresh and additional information in a heavier pictorial format than the first. It is part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series.
Targeting wider audience
Ridings sought a traditional publisher for this book because he felt Small’s story was deserving of a wider audience than he could reach alone, especially with the more recent coverage of disgraced governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.
“Len Small might have been the worse Illinois governor of them all, but until now the most you can find about him in a book is in a biography of Al Capone,” Ridings said. “In the first book, I told the story mostly in words. In this book, just seeing how these people look brings it all home.”
WLS 890 AM talk show host Tom Roeser (blog.tomroeser.com) wrote a glowing review about Ridings’ book, calling it “brilliant” and “a keeper.” Ridings has received complimentary e-mails about the book from Chicago attorneys and seniors who remember their parents discussing Small.
Hometown praise
However, the most surprising positive comments came from Kankakee residents (Small’s hometown), despite the fact the town is also home to Governor Small Memorial Park.
“These old-timers didn’t like him,” Ridings said. “In Kankakee, if someone wanted to get a job or keep their job at the Kankakee State Hospital, they had to support the local Republican political machine. In Len Small’s era, early 1900s, that meant kicking back part of their paycheck to Small. In the 1930s to 1970s era, keeping your job meant buying a car from the McBroom car dealership, owned by state Rep. Victor McBroom and later his son, state Rep. Edward McBroom. It also meant having your prescriptions filled at George Ryan’s pharmacy, and buying tickets to Ryan fundraisers. It was similar to Ryan requiring his employees to sell licenses for bribes.”
Although Ridings spent two years researching his first book on Small, he still learned new information about the former governor when hunting for pictures. For instance, Small, Ridings said, embezzled $2 million by depositing the money in a bank that didn’t exist. The convicted head of Capone’s house of prostitution never served jail time; he received a pardon.
Joliet in story
The attorney general did not indict Small because his budget had been cut. “Small cut his budget so he wouldn’t have the funds to indict him,” Ridings said. “But he kept the investigation going anyway and indicted Small.”
Ironically, one of Ridings’ great-uncles, an international prize fighter, is mentioned in this book.
“Packey McFarland owned breweries in Joliet that were closed because of prohibition,” Ridings said. “But they were allowed to stay open because they supplied beer to the mob in Chicago. And they supplied a lot.”
“Chicago to Springfield: Crime and Politics in the 1920s” can be purchased from the publisher at www.arcadiapublishing.com. “Len Small: Governors and Gangsters” is available at www.amazon.com.

Enrico Ponzo, accused mobster on the lam for more than a decade, caught on farm in Idaho

BY Sean Alfano
An accused East Coast mobster, on the lam for more than 10 years, was found by the FBI in an unlikely occupation and location - raising cows in a rural Idaho farming community.
His New York accent and poor ranching skills eventually caught up with Enrico Ponzo, who went by alias Jay Shaw. He was arrested Monday.
Ponzo, 42, was charged with the attempted murder of a Mafia rival and appeared in federal court on Wednesday.
"He was a city slicker who didn't know nothing. He didn't know the difference between a cow, a bull and a steer," said Jesse Jackson, one of Ponzo's neighbors in the small farm town of Marsing.
"He asked me all these crazy questions and he didn't have any idea how to live out here," Jackson told the Idaho Statesman.
The fugitive told people he met that his family was killed when he was young and lived with his girlfriend and their two small children until a few months ago, The Associated Press reported.
Fellow rancher Bodie Clapier recalled Ponzo telling fantastic tales.
"My dad just said, one time [Ponzo] was telling him, 'Yeah, I was in the military and 15 of us got blown up and I was the only one that survived,' " Clapier said.
Authorities say Ponzo unsuccessfully tried to kill (Cadillac) Frank Salemme, the former head of New England's Patriarca crime family, in 1989 outside an IHOP restaurant in Saugus, Mass.
Ponzo was also arrested in 1994 on drug charges, but soon vanished. Neighbors say Ponzo arrived in Idaho 10 or 11 years ago.
Clapier said Ponzo called him from jail and said the arrest was a "bunch of b------t."
"'I'm going to be in here for a long time,' " Clapier said Ponzo told him. "Would you please feed my cows?"
With News Wire Services


Professor speaks out against Tropicana’s ‘Mob Experience’

Tropicana’s new exhibit, “Las Vegas Mob Experience,” opening on Feb. 18, has already caused quite a stir.
Although Chris Cecot, resident historian of Eagle Group Holdings LCC, the company that put the exhibit together, said that the attraction’s sole purpose is to provide insight into Las Vegas’ ties with organized crime, some refuse to buy the story.
“I don’t see any moral point,” said William Donati, an adjunct English professor at UNLV, who is working to get the word out that not everyone is thrilled with the new attraction.
Cecot said that the exhibit will feature artifacts from actual mobsters and include projections of people that will explain the history of mobs in Las Vegas.
“Our idea is to tell the story of gangsters from the turn of the century,” he said, “all the way from creating Las Vegas to when they lost control of this area.”
However, Donati said the exhibit is nothing but a threat to the American people and explained that the featured mob members did not obey the law.
“I am anti-crime,” he said. “[The exhibits] are romanticizing these guys.”
But Cecot insisted that the exhibit was not created in order to promote any romantic views of organized crime.
“I don’t want people to look at it as though we’re glorifying or honoring these men,” he said. “These weren’t nice men, but I want people to know the story.”
Cecot said that Las Vegas’ unique history with organized crime made the city how it is today.
“Had Bugsy Siegel (an infamous mobster) not come here and built the Flamingo, we would not be here,” Cecot said. “He opened the gates for other mobsters to come here and build casinos to make money.”
Donati painted a different picture of Siegel, claiming that the mobster had in fact stolen the idea of building the historical casino from Billy Wilkerson, a California businessman.
“Are they going to give us the real story or just more myth?” Donati said, questioning the exhibit’s credibility.
Donati visited the exhibit’s preview room and was dismayed to see souvenirs and personal effects of the mob members on display.
“What’s the point?” he said. “Are they trying to say these people weren’t so bad?”
Cecot said that his company simply wanted to tell a story that had not been told before.
“We want to show both sides of the mobsters,” he said. “We want to show the mobsters and the men that people knew.”
Cecot described the company’s goal as trying to appeal to both those fascinated with mobs and those not yet interested in them.
“We want to make it as fun and educational as we possibly can,” Cecot said.
But Donati’s impression of mobs and crime pitted him against the idea. He emphasized that each time a felon went to prison or a case was taken to court, it cost taxpayer money.
He pointed out that the mobsters being featured at the exhibit did not obey the law.
“[The mobsters] made a lot of illegal money in the old days and they’re doing the same thing today,” he said. “Here in Las Vegas, [those involved in the exhibit] are honoring these killers.”
Cecot, on the other hand, explained that although some may not be pleased with the company’s idea, they were simply telling a story of great historical importance to Las Vegas.
“If we ignore that these men were here, then we’re ignoring the history of Las Vegas,” he said. “I don’t think that ignoring this is going to change anything.”
But Donati refused to accept that the exhibit’s purpose was to enlighten its visitors.
“Shouldn’t we focus on something else?” he said. “This exhibit makes us look like we’re some crime city.”
Donati clarified that he was not against any of the famous attractions Las Vegas is known for, including gambling.
“This is an entertainment city,” he pointed out, “but I don’t see how this exhibit is entertaining.”

'Sopranos' actor Anthony Borgese, 72, faces jail after admitting taking part in real-life Mafia extortion plot

A Sopranos star admitted in court today that he was part of a real-life Mafia extortion plot.
Veteran character actor Anthony Borgese pleaded guilty to taking part in a brutal attempt to collect a debt using Mob enforcers from the infamous Gambino crime family.
Borgese - who uses the stage name Tony Darrow - is expected to be locked up for between 33 and 41 months in a federal prison.
The 72-year-old actor played Larry Boy Barese in 14 episodes of the Mafia TV hit and was featured in Mob-themed movies Analyse This and Goodfellas.
Appearing in the dock at Brooklyn Federal Court this morning, he told Judge Eric Vitaliano: ‘I used extortionate means to collect a debt from a person who lived near Monticello.’
The charge centres on a savage beating handed out by mob heavies to an unidentified victim who allegedly owed money to an upstate New York car dealership.
The dealer had reportedly asked Borgese for help in collecting the debt.
As a result of the 2004 attack in Monticello, the victim was left with his jaw and ribs broken.
On an FBI recording, one of the assailants is heard implicating the character actor.
‘So Tony (Borgese) meets them. Shows them where the house is. They go to the house, the guy answers the door, they beat the living **** out of him,’ he said on the tape.
Borgese showed no emotion and refused to comment as he left the courtroom putting on a pair of mirrored sunglasses.
Defence lawyer Kevin Faga insisted the actor ‘did not lay a hand on anybody'.
‘It’s a difficult day for him. He’s embarrassed and he’s concerned for his family’s privacy.’
If Borgese had gone to trial instead of agreeing to a plea deal, he could have faced up to two years behind bars.
Borgese will be sentenced towards the end of the summer so he will still be free to oversee the charity golf tournament he hosts every year to raise money for cerebral palsy.
The Gambino family is one of the five families that control organised crime in New York. Its illicit activities include racketeering, gambling, prostitution, extortion, loansharking, fraud and murder.
Under 'Teflon Don' John Gotti, the Gambinos were the most powerful crime family in America, but most of the leaders ended up behind bars.
He is not the only Sopranos actor to get into serious trouble with the law. Lillo Brancato who also appeared in the series and in A Bronx Tale was convicted of attempted burglary two years ago.
He was cleared of second-degree murder in the shooting death of an off-duty policeman during a drunken, late-night search for drugs in New York.
Brancato played Matt Bevilaqua in the drama’s second series, an aspiring mobster murdered by Tony Soprano.
Prosecutors say Brancato and accomplice Steven Armento broke into an apartment to steal prescription drugs after a night of drinking at a strip club.

Accused ex-Mafia boss moved to Oklahoma

Luigi Manocchio slowly making his way back to RI
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The reputed former boss of New England's Patriarca crime family has been moved to Oklahoma City in preparation for his return to Rhode island to face federal conspiracy and extortion charges, Target 12 has learned.
Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, 83, of Providence, was flown from Miami to Oklahoma City late Tuesday night by the U.S. Marshals Service, according to a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesperson. He is know being detained at Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center awaiting the next leg of his trip back to the Northeast.
U.S Marshal for Rhode Island Steven O'Donnell is coordinating Manocchio's return. He said it will be "a couple of weeks" before the elderly reputed mobster is back on Rhode Island soil.
"He'll leave Oklahoma City when there are enough inmates coming back to the Northeast," O'Donnell said.
The BOP spokesperson said the Oklahoma facility is used almost exclusively for inmates or defendants in transit because it is located on Will Rogers Airport.
Manocchio spent several weeks at a federal prison in Miami following his arrest in Florida on Jan. 19. A spokesperson for the Boston office of the FBI said he was detained at Fort Lauderdale airport while trying to board a flight back to Providence.
Manocchio was indicted Jan. 7 for allegedly shaking down several Rhode Island strip clubs for protection money. The indictment was unsealed 13 days later and announced as part of a national crackdown on organized crime.
If convicted of both charges, Manocchio could face up to 40 years behind bars.
So far the only other Rhode Islander to face charges in the sweep is Thomas Iafrate, 69, of Johnston. A former employee at the Cadillac Lounge strip club, Iafrate is accused of coordinating and delivering the payments to Manocchio.
Iafrate pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and extortion last month. His case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge William Smith, who is handling another high-profile extortion and murder-for-hire case against admitted mobster Anthony "The Saint" St. Laurent.

Idaho Residents Stunned by 'Mafia Hitman' Neighbor

(NewsCore) - Residents of a small town in Idaho were shocked to discover that one of their neighbors was a suspected Boston mafia hitman on the run from the law, the Boston Herald reported Thursday.
Enrico M. Ponzo, known to neighbors in Marsing, Idaho, as Jay Shaw, appeared in federal court in Idaho on Wednesday to plead not guilty to charges of racketeering, plotting to murder and attempting to murder dating back to 1997.
He arrived in the town -- population 842 -- nine years ago and bought a plot of land.
Ponzo, who said he was from New Jersey and was known to neighbors as "The New Yorker," would spend his days in a local coffee shop and join neighbors hunting, the report said.
"I asked him how he knew so much about guns, and he said he was in the military," a neighbor was quoted as saying.
"He came across as city slicker, but he caught on pretty quick how to raise cattle," said a Marsing resident, who noted Shaw had "a big beer belly like every farmer out there."
Ponzo experienced marital problems during the past year, and his wife filed for divorce.
Ten days later, federal agents arrived in Marsing to arrest Ponzo. They found 38 firearms, $15,000 in cash and a 100-ounce bar of gold or silver in his home, the report said.

HIDDEN HISTORY: Mobsters arrested in Batavia, 1970

Batavia is known as a quiet, relatively crime-free community, but for several days in June 1970, the city was the ''Mafia capital'' of upstate New York.
It began around lunchtime on Tuesday, June 2 when state police — acting on a telephone tip — raided a downtown Batavia restaurant. Six men were taken into custody. Police charged them with loitering because they allegedly ''failed to give a reasonable account of their actions'' when questioned at the restaurant.
These weren't ordinary suspects. Among those rounded up were Fred Sebastian, 64, of Niagara Falls and Albert Marks, 51, of Brighton, both of whom were active in the Western New York construction industry.
Police identified the other four suspects as Mafia chieftains in the notorious Western New York crime family headed by Stefano ''The Undertaker'' Magaddino. The then ailing Magaddino's territory included his hometown of Niagara Falls, as well as the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, southern Ontario and even parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The best known of these suspects was Frank J. Valenti, 58, of Henrietta, described as the Rochester Mafia ''boss'' and a Magaddino lieutenant. The other Mafia leaders were Roy Carlisi, 61, and Joseph Fino, 55, both of West Seneca; and Rene Piccaretto, 45, of Pittsford.
As reporters and TV crews flocked to Batavia to cover the story, the main question on everyone's mind was — What brought all these high-powered mobsters and construction officials to Batavia?
Several theories were advanced. One possibility was the mob leaders were trying to exert influence over the construction trades to end strikes then taking place in Buffalo, Rochester and the Falls. Hence the meeting with the two construction chiefs.
Police also theorized that the Batavia meeting may have involved a ''reorganization of the Western New York cosa nostra setup,'' according to The Daily News. The 78-year-old Magaddino, reportedly near death, was said to be stepping down as Western New York boss and the Rochester mob was preparing to break away from the Buffalo crime family.
Or maybe it was a combination of factors.
Later on June 2, the six men were arraigned in Batavia City Court and then allowed to return to their homes. They would be back the following week.
More information soon filtered out. The Rochester Times Union reported on June 3 that the previous day's meeting apparently wasn't an isolated event. Mafia leaders had been holding monthly meetings in Batavia for at least six months, the paper said, usually on the last Wednesday of each month.
State Police denied knowledge of any such monthly gatherings, reiterating the previous report that they were only acting on a telephone tip.
Unfortunately for the State Police, their case against the six men began to unravel within days. Early the following week, loitering charges against Sebastian and Marks were dropped for lack of evidence.
A few days later, City Court Judge Charles F. Graney dismissed the charges against Valenti, Carlisi, Fino and Piccarretto on similar grounds.
Fino's attorney Thomas Calandra of Brockport had argued that the loitering charge was unconstitutional because it violated the right to peaceably assemble, to remain silent, to gather with whom you wish and the right to privacy.
The judge agreed and the mobsters were allowed to go free. But one message was made clear, even if it wasn't stated openly. These men were not welcome to return to Batavia at any time, for any purpose. As far as can be determined, they never did.
Batavia's foray into the underworld of the Western New York Mafia had apparently ended.
Stefano Magaddino, the most powerful mob boss in Western New York history, apparently wasn't as close to death as journalists had surmised in 1970. He lived until 1974. But his influence had waned considerably by then.
The Rochester mob headed by Frank Valenti did indeed break away in 1970 and aligned itself with the Pittsburgh crime family. Valenti remained Rochester boss until 1972, then served time in prison for extortion before moving to Texas and Arizona. He died in 2008 at age 97.
The American public (including myself) has always been fascinated with the violent, complicated world of organized crime. The films ‘‘The Godfather’’ and ‘‘The Godfather Part II’’ were critical and box office smashes, winning the Academy Award for best picture in 1972 and 1974, respectively. ''The Sopranos" was a highly rated TV series on HBO for nearly a decade.
The Mafia's influence has declined since its heyday in the 1950s and '60s, but the recent arrest of 120 mobsters shows that it's far from dead.
To its credit, Batavia has never been a ''mob town,'' notwithstanding the events of June 1970. It continues to be a community of hard-working individuals from many ethnic backgrounds, all of whom have contributed greatly to the city's development.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: I chose not to identify the ''downtown Batavia restaurant'' that hosted the June 1970 mob meeting. Disclosing the name didn't seem fair to the current owners, who had nothing to do with an incident that happened four decades ago.)

New England mob alive and well

Mafia investigations still a priority for FBI
Published : Thursday, 03 Feb 2011, 10:53 PM EST
(FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - The New England mob is alive and well despite the recent arrest of its former boss, state and federal mob investigators say.
“When you have the opportunity to take a person off the street who has been preying on society and committing crimes for as alleged by the indictment for an extended period of time. That's obviously something that's important to us,” said Jeff Sallet, supervisor-in-charge of organized crime investigations for the FBI’s Boston division.
Sallet was referring to the arrest of purported former New England mafia boss Luigi “Baby Shanks” Manocchio, who along with an associate is accused of extorting cash protection payments from strip clubs in Providence for nearly two decades. He was arrested last month along with nearly 130 others, mostly from New York and New Jersey, in the largest organized crime bust in FBI history.
Authorities say Manocchio was boss of the New England mob from 1995 to 2009, but the FBI arrested him not in Rhode Island, his former base, but in Florida.
“Why go after Manocchio now and not some time ago?” asked FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet.
“The answer to that is justice delayed is not justice denied. And anybody who is committing crimes, we're going to hold them accountable,” Sallet replied.
Sallet stresses the FBI's investigation is ongoing.
“There is a new boss. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to discuss that based on FBI policy,” he said. “They were a very robust organization when this started. They still remain a viable threat.
FOX Undercover reported just over a year ago that the power center for the New England Mafia shifted from Providence to Boston and that law enforcement believes the new boss is Peter Limone.
A chart created by the FBI in the 1980s outlines the organization of the Boston Mafia in 1983, showing that at that time, the incarcerated Limone was listed as a capo, or captain, underneath Boston mob boss Jerry Angiulo.
FOX Undercover’s camera captured Limone on video in 2009 meeting with other reputed leaders of the New England Mafia at an East Boston restaurant.
Limone, who served 33 years before his murder conviction was thrown out, pleaded no contest last July to running an organized crime gambling ring but avoided going to jail. He received a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence.
Asked if Limone belongs in prison, State Police Lt. Steve Johnson, a veteran organized crime investigator, replied, “Yes.”
“He did a lot of time for a crime that he may not have had a reason to be convicted of. And sometimes the justice system evens things out,” Johnson said.
In his latest case, the court ordered Limone to stay away from a long list of reputed mobsters.
“Fair to say he was a significant player?” asked FOX Undercover’s Beaudet.
“Fair to say he is a significant player,” Johnson replied.
Another significant player, according to Johnson, is Mafia captain Mark Rossetti, who was arrested along with more than two dozen others last year, accused of running a violent organized crime network involved in drugs, gambling, and loansharking.
“Rossetti's arrest was significant. He was a significant player in the upper management of the mob. A very respected guy. Very feared on the street,” Johnson said.
But Rossetti is now off the streets, as another purported high-ranking mobster, Carmen DiNunzio.
“It's not your father's Mafia,” said Johnson.
Despite the fact that Manocchio is 83 years old, the FBI’s Sallet said he still posed a threat.
“So the fact that you have an 82 year old or an 83 year old man who would appear to somebody to be harmless, he's in a position to get people who are much more dangerous to come out and to do something to back him up,” he said.
The State Police’s Johnson agrees.
“There's still some very feared people out there and the potential for violence is always out there, particularly when there's a regime change,” Johnson said.
Peter Limone's attorney, Juliane Balliro says it's outrageous to suggest her client is running the New England Mafia, or even a part of it, saying it's not true.
Balliro says, "I think that (organized crime investigators) need to move on with their lives and get off the Peter Limone bandwagon. It's done. It's over. They need a new story."
The attorney for Mark Rossetti, Randi Potash, also denies her client is part of the Mafia, saying Rossetti remains an innocent man, wrongly accused.

The flamboyant 1920s mob boss and the true story behind TV's Boardwalk Empire

Sitting in his palatial suite on the ninth floor of the Ritz Carlton hotel on Atlantic City’s seafront, Enoch ‘Nucky’ ¬Johnson reclined in his silk robe.
It was 4pm and he had just finished breakfast. But Nucky was no sloth. Although his day started late, it ended late too. rdinary Americans would be ¬getting up for work when he finally retired to his sumptuous bedroom, most likely with a showgirl from a local nightclub to keep him company.

After a breakfast of steak and eggs, he changed into one of his exquisitely tailored suits — he owned more than 100 — and, fastening his trademark red carnation to the lapel, would begin to hold court.
Petitioners would be ushered into his presence as if to a monarch — he was known as the Czar of the Ritz — and Nucky would dispense largesse.
A policeman might be given a promotion in recognition of services rendered. An impoverished widow would weep tears of gratitude as Nucky gave her money to pay for her husband’s funeral. A bar owner would get a licence.
Then, business completed, Nucky — wearing his $1,200 racoon coat if it was cold — would head out of the hotel into his personal fiefdom: Atlantic City.
It was the Twenties, the era of flappers and jazz, the Charleston, the Shimmy and Prohibition — which made alcohol illegal in America and conferred immense power and wealth on the gangsters who defied it to supply the rum, whisky and beer, for which demand remained high.
But while in most American cities their ¬activities were covert — with secret speakeasies, mobsters’ gunfights for territory and easily bribed ¬policemen — in New Jersey’s Atlantic City no such ¬subterfuge took place.
Gambling, prostitution and drinking alcohol — in fact, almost any vice, legal or illegal — could take place openly.
As long as it had Nucky Johnson’s approval and a slice of its takings went into his pocket.
Now a major new television series Boardwalk Empire, based on the book of the same name, depicts the dazzling, debauched Atlantic City of his rule, a place where Americans could freely indulge vices forbidden to them elsewhere.
Holidaymakers came from nearby Philadelphia for the fresh sea air, to gaze in awe at hotels built like ¬fairytale palaces along the seafront and to admire the piers dripping with neon lights.
The most famous was the Steel Pier, which played host to Duke Ellington and Mae West.
There were minstrel shows, ¬fairground rides and the famous ¬Diving Horse — a specially-trained horse that would charge up a 60ft ramp to a platform where a girl, clad in a smattering of sequins, leapt onto its back just before it plunged off.
Horse and rider flew through the air, hitting the water waiting below with a loud smack, to the applause of a 5,000-strong crowd.
The Boardwalk was a four-mile long wooden walkway built to keep the sand out of the hotel lobbies. Here people promenaded in their most ¬fashionable clothes — it was even selected to host the first Miss ¬America ¬Pageant in 1921.
But you did not have to venture far from the Boardwalk to sample less wholesome attractions.
In venues like the Paradise Club in the black neighbourhood, tourists could watch nearly naked black women shake their bodies to jazz music.
And if they wanted something not just risqué but illegal, they could get that too. There were brothels catering to every taste, gambling dens and slot machines.
And it was Nucky Johnson who ensured that every criminal kept to his patch. The police arrested no one ¬without his approval, so there were no shoot-outs or violent turf wars. Everything operated smoothly.
Johnson, who the lead character Nucky ¬Thompson (played by Steve ¬Buscemi) in the new television series is based on, started out as a lowly under-sheriff before becoming ¬Treasurer of the Atlantic City ¬Republican Party.
His father had been a sheriff, but Nucky rose rapidly and, in 1911, became the party’s leader when the previous incumbent was jailed for corruption. As leader, he controlled every public office in the city. No one was appointed without his approval.
‘He ran everything there was to run,’ according to a local resident, a child during Nucky’s reign. ‘If you wanted a job as a janitor or to be the ¬superintendent of schools, you had to see Nucky.’
Nucky had been teetotal until his beautiful wife Mabel died, aged just 28, in 1913. Thereafter, he turned to ¬alcohol, for both pleasure and ¬business. His first act was to permit alcohol to be served on Sundays — outlawed in most American states — which instantly boosted tourism.
He authorised the appointment of every policemen and ensured that they turned a blind eye to activities such as gambling and prostitution.
In return, he received protection money that financed his lavish ¬lifestyle. Any brothel owner or bar keeper who failed to pay was shut down.
Under Nucky’s rule, each public servant had to pay a percentage of his salary to the Republican party. As a result, the party flourished.
But Nucky also brokered deals with Democrats to ensure it remained in power not only in the city, but in the state. And the governor rewarded him with an appointment to the State Supreme Court.
The vice industry, the political machine and the judiciary were all in Nucky’s exquisitely-tailored pocket. Even American President Warren Harding owed Johnson, who had ensured the Jersey Republicans backed his bid.
And almost every resident of ¬Atlantic City adored him. Affable and ¬generous, like a flamboyant Robin Hood he would hand out fistfuls of dollars to anyone who approached him with a hard luck story.
He ensured that free coal and winter clothes were delivered to the poor neighbourhoods in winter. Unfailingly, they voted Republican in gratitude.
When Prohibition was enforced in America in 1920, Nucky saw his chance to give Atlantic City a unique appeal. He decided that Prohibition would not be enforced. There would be no smuggling, no ¬speakeasies. It would be completely open.
He explained: ‘We have whisky, wine, song and slot machines. I won’t deny it and I won’t apologise for it. If the majority of people didn’t want them, they wouldn’t be -profitable and they wouldn’t exist.’
Atlantic City’s permissive ¬atmosphere brought tourists to the city in their millions. Formerly ¬Philadelphia’s playground, its appeal now stretched far beyond.
A dazzled visitor described how the resort was filled with ‘the scent of money’. There were more fur shops on the Boardwalk than on any other street in America.
The lobbies of the grand hotels, with their high ceilings, plush carpets you could sink your feet into, uniformed bellboys and fashionable guests ‘made you feel like you were in Hollywood’.
As Nucky noted: ‘When I lived well, everyone lived well.’
And he turned living well into an art form. He was driven in a powder blue limousine, his chauffeur tactfully averting his eyes whenever Nucky indulged his penchant for showgirls on the backseat.
Nobody questioned how he could finance such a lifestyle on his modest treasurer’s salary of $6,000 — his Ritz suite alone cost $5,000 a year, not to mention the upkeep of two ¬chauffeurs, three maids, a valet and a Manhattan apartment.
During Prohibition, Nucky was ¬making $500,000 dollars a year in ¬protection money: around $14 million (nearly £9 million) in today’s currency.
Occasionally, a policeman would try to investigate the corruption, but would quickly find himself demoted. Witnesses would retract statements, evidence would be lost.
Nucky was untouchable.
Even the mobsters were in awe of him. Nucky operated openly while they had to sneak around their ¬cities doing business in the dark, ¬bribing policemen and protecting their turf with machine guns.
It was one such turf war that led to the infamous St Valentine’s Day ¬massacre in February 1929 — and a subsequent organised crime summit in Atlantic City. The massacre saw seven mobsters in Chicago ¬machine-gunned to death by gangsters thought to be working for Alphonse ‘Scarface’ Capone, America’s most notorious criminal.
Three months later, in May 1929, a convention was organised by Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano, a young Sicilian mobster from New York, in an effort to strengthen inter-state gang ¬co-operation and prevent such ¬rivalries erupting. Luciano invited all the rising stars of the criminal world, including Capone.
There was only one possible ¬location: Atlantic City. In the South Jersey coast resort, they could go about their business ¬knowing they would not be troubled by the law and freely indulge their vices: women, ¬gambling and alcohol.
They were welcomed as Nucky’s guests. He was one of them, a ¬member of the Seven Group, a ¬consortium of the seven most ¬powerful crime figures in America.
But Nucky was a racketeer rather than a mobster. He never killed ¬anyone. ‘Fighting only gets you ¬fighting,’ as he told a reporter.
On the mobsters’ first day in town he threw one of the lavish parties for which he was famous. Liquor and girls flowed freely. Nucky gave each delegate a fur cape.
Then they got down to business. Every day they would be wheeled along the long boardwalk in the ¬rolling chairs — large wickerwork thrones on wheels, pushed by black attendants.
When they got to the end, where the fairytale-style hotels, boutiques selling furs and jewels, lemonade stands and ¬fortune-tellers petered out, the rolling chairs would stop and the men would disembark. ¬
Taking off their spats and ¬gleaming shoes, which matched their ¬Brilliantine hair, they would roll up their suit trousers, stroll along the sandy beach and paddle in the -shallows, their conversation ¬muffled by the rumble of the surf.
The Atlantic City Conference marked the zenith of Nucky’s power — and the birth of the first ¬nationwide crime organisation.
Its members pledged to stick to their territories, to co-operate in ¬fixing alcohol prices and to find other ¬avenues for money making if ¬Prohibition ended.
Nucky Johnson hoped it never would, but in 1933 Prohibition was repealed by the new, President ¬Franklin D Roosevelt. Atlantic City lost its unique attraction: freely available alcohol.
As the Great Depression took hold, tourist numbers slumped and ¬business suffered. Although the vice industry continued to flourish, with a Democratic president in the White House, Atlantic City lost its ¬immunity from federal interference.
In 1935, FBI agents tracked down America’s most wanted criminal — a killer and kidnapper named Alvin Karpis — to a hotel in Atlantic City.
A shoot-out ensued and Karpis escaped, but it was a sign Atlantic City was no longer untouchable.
In the end, though, it was a girl, not a gun battle that ended Nucky ¬Johnson’s rule.
He liked to frequent a nightclub called the Silver Slipper. It was also patronised by the ¬powerful ¬newspaper magnate ¬William ¬Randolph Hearst, who had taken a shine to one of the showgirls.
When Nucky moved in on her, Hearst swore revenge. His papers ran a series of exposés on the vice that ran on unchecked in Atlantic City. Unable to ignore the activities any longer, in 1936 the FBI sent undercover agents to investigate. Nucky was charged with tax evasion.
Although his first trial ¬collapsed (the jury had been bribed), Nucky was found guilty at his second trial.
In 1941, ten days after marrying a beautiful showgirl 25 years his ¬junior, Nucky went to prison for tax evasion — the only charge that ever stuck to Capone.
When he was freed four years later, many thought he would stand for elected office, such was his ¬continuing popularity.
Instead, he opted for a quiet life with his showgirl, Florence ‘Floss’ Osbeck, promenading down the Boardwalk, still dressed nattily with a red carnation in his lapel.
But as his star waned, so did that of Atlantic City. People who wanted to leave their respectability behind for a few days were now drawn to the brighter lights of Las Vegas.
Nucky died, childless, in one of the city’s nursing homes in 1968. By then, Atlantic City was a ¬decaying resort, remarkable more for its ¬murder rate than its tourist appeal.
Although in recent years it has tried to reinvent itself by opening casinos, the magnificent hotels have mostly been pulled down and there are few traces of the glory days

Modern Mobsters Still Follow Dad Into the Mafia

The historic mobster roundup that collared more than 120 people in the New York region last month provided a snapshot of the Mafia of today: murder, gambling and extortion; big bosses and small fries; "made guys" and associates. But what it didn't show was the pervasive nepotism that still exists in organized crime -- only one son with a father with alleged ties to a crime family was arrested that day.
Even so, organized crime experts say the mob of the 21st century, just like the one in the 20th century, is still a magnet for the younger generation.
"Unfortunately, there's still quite a few sons in the business," David Shafer, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Organized Crime Branch in New York, told AOL News. "Hollywood has glamorized the business with shows and movies like 'The Sopranos' and 'Goodfellas.'
"But it's not a glamorous lifestyle. A lot of wise guys and associates aren't living the luxurious lifestyle and living in a mansion like Tony Soprano."
Adds Andrew DiDonato, a former associate of the Gambino crime family: "There's still a ton of nepotism in organized crime. Nepotism still runs wild."
There have been a fair share of mobsters whose sons have followed them into the business over the years -- crime bosses John Gotti, Carmine Persico, Carlo Gambino and Joseph Bonanno among the more notorious ones. Some of their sons have died, some are in prison and some, like John Gotti Jr., have reportedly given up the life.
There's a perception that the sons of mobsters -- and for that matter the younger generation -- are normally not as savvy as the fathers, who grew up in a different era where they were far better equipped to spread their influence among judges and politicians. Many of the elders also cut their teeth out on the street, unlike some of the sons who have lived a far cushier life.
Former FBI agent Joe Pistone, who penetrated the Bonanno crime family as Donnie Brasco in 1976, recently told the New York Post: "They [the younger generation] don't have the wherewithal to cultivate the politicians and judges. Most of these guys couldn't point out Italy on a map."
Experts also said in the old days the mobsters had to kill someone to be a "made guy." Nowadays, they have to be a "good earner" to give money to the boss and be willing, if called upon, to do violence. Some may never have to commit murder.
Then there's the "omerta" -- the code of silence -- which has clearly been violated by some notable sons in some big ways, something that would have been unheard of in the old days. Last summer in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, John Franzese Jr., a former mob associate, testified against his father, Colombo underboss John "Sonny" Franzese, 93, and even wore a wire to help build the FBI case. The son had fallen on hard times, got addicted to crack and eventually turned to the FBI as an informant.
"I'm not talking about my father as a man," the younger Franzese said during testimony that lasted several days. "I'm talking about the life he chose. ... This life absorbs you. You only see one way."
Another Franzese son who was on hand at the trial, Mike Franzese, a former capo in the Colombo crime family who became a Christian motivational speaker, did not approve of his brother's testimony and thought he did it simply for the money.
"I don't agree with everything he's doing," Mike Franzese told the New York Daily News. "I feel worst for my father. I know he's very hurt by it. My father always had a soft spot for all his kids."
Last month, the one son arrested on Jan. 20, the day of the massive FBI mobster roundup, was Gregory Fucci Jr. -- hardly a household name. His father, Gregory Fucci Sr., was arrested days later because he was having surgery on the day of the roundup, authorities said. Both were charged with embezzlement from an employee benefit plan.
The FBI alleges that the father and son have ties to the Lucchese crime family in New York, something defense attorney Brian Todd Pakett told AOL News is totally unsubstantiated. He added that neither father nor son was among the 127 people named by authorities as part of the biggest mob roundup in FBI history.
In a much higher-profile father-and-son case, mobster Craig DePalma, son of Greg DePalma, an underboss in the Gambino crime family, tried to hang himself in prison eights years ago after word got out that he was snitching before a grand jury. He survived the incident and ended up in a coma for the next eight years. He died in December at age 44.
Jack Garcia, a former FBI agent who went undercover in the mob for three years and helped put away Greg DePalma, said that he would be with DePalma at a nursing home where the son was in a vegetative state. Garcia said he and others met DePalma at the nursing home to conduct meetings and watched DePalma care for his son.
"It was really a good feeling seeing Greg hug his son, combing his hair," Garcia said.
But Garcia said he always wondered where the love came from. "You wonder, is Greg being nice to him because that's his natural son or because he's a member of the Gambino crime family? Once you take the oath, what you take on is your new family."
What brings the sons and nephews into the game?
"I guess when you grow up in that lifestyle there's always that thing of fear and respect and that lingers in the Mafia," Garcia said. "I think those young kids feared and respected their fathers. They start seeing the life, the big cars and the big roll of cash and the Rolex watches and they say, 'This is what I'd rather do.' "
Ex-mobster-turned government witness DiDonato, author of the new book "Surviving the Mob: A Street Soldier's Life Inside the Gambino Crime Family," can attest to the allure. He said his uncle was a captain in the Genovese family, a "gangster through and through." His father was a "knockaround guy" who answered to his uncle. His uncle ended up getting murdered when DiDonato was just 12. And his father, who is still alive, did prison time for a truck hijacking.
"My uncle became a larger-than-life figure," he said, explaining that he hooked up with the mob around age 16. "All my neighbors were in organized crime. As my crime started to escalate, I started meeting a lot of guys in the life who were friendly with my uncle. I heard more about my uncle after he died and I started committing crimes with these guys."
DiDonato ended the life around age 32 after figuring he was going to be killed by his own crime family. He says he knew too much about the murders of two of his friends that his boss had sanctioned. Plus, he was robbing drug dealers, which brought unwanted law enforcement attention to the organization. He was arrested in 1997 by the FBI and started cooperating.
DiDonato went into the witness protection program for a time, and now he talks to youth about avoiding the bad life. But he still lives a life at an undisclosed location, cautious about his every move, making sure it's not his last.
"It's part of the everyday life," he said.
Some of the sons of more notable mobsters often rose in the ranks far quicker than some felt was deserving. John Gotti Jr. was among those.
"The majority of the sons of mob guys, they lived under their fathers' wings," said ex-FBI agent Garcia. "Whenever they messed up, their fathers cleaned it up."
Gotti was elevated quickly in the Gambino crime family, according to FBI agent Shafer, which caused "resentment among the more senior members. The non-Gotti folks in the family tolerated him because they had to tolerate him. They viewed him as not being up to the task."
"I don't think John Gotti [Sr.] saw anyone as bright as him," Shafer said. "I think he was such an egomaniac, that's what he was thinking. But I think he held his son in high regard."
Some mobsters tried to be discreet about their work when their children were younger -- just like Tony Soprano's children, "A.J." and Meadow, who seemed to catch wind of dad's line of work from news reports and friends.
John Gotti Jr. recalled in an interview with "60 Minutes" first finding out about his father's mob activity while he was a 14-year-old military school cadet in 1979.

"We're watching a show -- and they're saying, "This man's a captain in the Gambino family," Gotti said. "And they're talking about him. And I'm mortified. I'm in the back row, and I'm watching this. I'm not saying nothing."

Of his classmates, he said: "They say, 'Hey, he's got the same name as you.' I guess maybe some of them were intimidated. But most of theme thought it was pretty cool."
Some fathers insisted their sons stay out, mob experts said. Others like Gotti did not.
"Why would you put your son's life on the line, like John Gotti Jr?" says ex-mobster DiDonato. "I could never understand why he became a criminal. He could have had any business he wanted and his father could have backed him."
"It's very sad. This life destroys everything it touches. Nothing that this life touches is ever the same."

Escaping the Law, One Last Time: An Elusive Mobster’s End, Double-Checked

By all accounts, the F.B.I.’s concern was clear: Just make sure he’s really dead.
This unusual directive was inspired by one formidable man’s cunning, his central role in a yearlong investigation into the mob’s grip on the waterfront, and his body count: a dozen murders — several victims were F.B.I. informers — that for a time helped transform New Jersey into the Genovese crime family’s abattoir.

Still, the seemingly simple task of confirming that the man, Tino Fiumara, had indeed died of pancreatic cancer last year was not without its complications — a testament to the notion that even in death, his reputation for being elusive lived on.
If merit outweighed mortality, Mr. Fiumara’s name certainly would have been added to the list of 127 reputed organized-crime figures arrested on racketeering and other charges in a roundup two weeks ago, according to several people briefed on the matter.
It was also likely, the people said, that had he lived to make the list, the names of his victims, whom investigators believe he either killed himself or ordered murdered, would have been listed on a separate roster as part of the murder charges that the government was seeking to bring against him.
There were Flat Nose Pete and the Colucci brothers, shot inside a Newark social club in 1967. More than a decade later, Richard Santos, known as Sir Richard for his fine haberdashery, had an unfortunate encounter with a sawed-off shotgun as he walked out the front door of his home. Kid Candy made it a few steps farther: He got it in his driveway.
In the intervening years, six other fringe mob figures fell: four shot with the same .22-caliber pistol; one strangled; one stabbed. In 2005, a capo in the Genovese crime family on trial in Brooklyn ended up in the trunk of a car parked outside the Huck Finn Diner in Union, N.J. He had two bullet holes in his head.
An imposing figure who kept fit in his later years and favored cashmere sports jackets and turtleneck sweaters, Mr. Fiumara, at the time of his death, was on the three-man panel that ran the Genovese family, yet was not a household name. But he had a reputation on both sides of the law for being as canny as he was ruthless.
He once traveled in the trunk of a car to defeat surveillance, according to an account provided to investigators by an informer. He also routinely drove the wrong way down one-way streets, traveled up highway off-ramps, regularly switched cars and even rode a bicycle — sometimes traveling through parks into which cars could not follow — to lose his F.B.I. pursuers, according to court papers.
He never used his home phone to discuss mob business and eschewed cellphones, communicating only with pagers and pay phones, and maintaining a list of some 20 locations at any given time where he knew he could be neither watched nor overheard, according to court papers.
Indeed, Paul J. McCarthy, a veteran F.B.I. agent who spent at least four years investigating Mr. Fiumara in the 1990s, said in a 1998 affidavit that the man had used “more extensive countersurveillance techniques than I have ever seen in all my years in law enforcement.” The application was for a roving wiretap so agents could listen in on his pay phone calls.
Mr. Fiumara was nothing if not discreet. For example, it was not widely known that his brother was married to an aunt of Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor.
When Mr. Christie became the United States attorney in New Jersey in 2002, his distant familial relationship led him to recuse himself from his office’s investigation into Mr. Fiumara. But Mr. Christie, who as a 29-year-old lawyer visited Mr. Fiumara in prison in 1991, did not disclose the tie when his office announced a plea bargain in that case.
It was Mr. Fiumara’s reputation for cunning, though, that prompted initial skepticism in some quarters when word came that he had died on Sept. 16.
One F.B.I. supervisor sent two agents to confirm Mr. Fiumara’s demise. They visited the Long Island funeral home that had buried him; the proprietor assured them that Mr. Fiumara, who had moved to South Huntington, N.Y., after his 2005 release from prison, was indeed dead, according to one person familiar with that inquiry who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the matter
But the funeral director also noted that he had been one of Mr. Fiumara’s close friends, and that response did not instill confidence in the official, the person said. The investigators were then sent to the hospital where Mr. Fiumara was being treated when he died. There, they were finally satisfied: Mr. Fiumara, head of the Genovese family’s waterfront rackets, was indeed dead.
Salvatore T. Alfano, a Bloomfield, N.J., lawyer who had represented Mr. Fiumara in several criminal cases, said that his client had not been charged in any murders, and that he was unaware of any evidence the government had linking him to the killings.

“Law enforcement vilified him, and people who knew him liked him, so he was a complex guy,” Mr. Alfano said last week.
The lawyer, who had also represented Mr. Fiumara during the recent investigation by the F.B.I., federal prosecutors in Newark and Brooklyn, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and several other agencies, was hesitant to answer questions about his client’s history.
“All I can tell you is he was always a gentleman with me, and I’m very sorry that he passed away,” Mr. Alfano said.
It was not because Mr. Fiumara exemplified the qualities of a gentleman, however, that fellow crime figures held him in such high esteem.
Court papers filed last year in the case of another Genovese crime family figure said a government informer had told the federal authorities that in the late 1970s, the man and Mr. Fiumara were both part of a Genovese family hit team known as “the Fist.”
Four of the old murders for which the authorities were investigating Mr. Fiumara — in which the same .22-caliber pistol was used to kill informers or potential witnesses — have been linked to the group, officials said. The four men had either talked to the authorities about Mr. Fiumara’s mob supervisor, John DiGilio, or had been planning to do so but were killed first.
Among them were the 35-year-old principal of East Side High School in Newark, who was linked to Mr. Fiumara’s bookmaking activities, and a wiretapping expert who had bugged the office of Mr. DiGilio’s lawyer, apparently to make it appear that the F.B.I. had done so illegally.
That man, Franklin Chin, had earlier had the distinction of being something of an unorthodox literary muse. He had put a bug in a brothel at the request of its madam, Xaviera Hollander, who later used the tapes to write her book “The Happy Hooker.”