On this day in 1899 would have been the birthday of Tommy Lucchese, who was a founding member of the American Mafia. From 1951 until his death in 1967 he headed up his own crime family, the Lucchese Crime Family, who were one of the main five families that controlled organized crime in New York.
Read more: http://thencs.org/1lV7zaG
On this day in 1985 Aniello Dellacroce who was the underboss in the Gambino Crime Family during Carlo Gambino’s reign, passed away from lung cancer at the age of 71. He took over the underboss role from Joseph Biondo in 1965 and became a mentor to future Gambino boss, John Gotti.
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On this day in 1954 Thomas Pitera, also known as Tommy Karate was born. He is currently serving a life sentence at the Federal Correctional Complex, Allenwood, in Pennsylvania. Pitera’s inmate number is 29465-053.
Read more: http://thencs.org/1NpYxwp
On this day in 1958 Las Vegas point man and Outfit-connected Gus Greenbaum and his wife were found brutally murdered in their Phoenix, Arizona, home.There could have been any number of reasons for the Greenbaums’ murders, including his alleged casino skimming.
Read more: http://thencs.org/2gLTbzG
On this day in 1933 Prohibition Ends! Prohibition focused on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, however, exceptions were made for medicinal and religious uses.
Alcohol consumption was never illegal under federal law. Nationwide Prohibition did not begin in the United States until January 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, and was repealed in December, 1933, with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment
Read more: http://thencs.org/1xR3bfC
On this day in 1995 we witnessed The Rettendon murders in England. On the morning of 6th December three drug dealers were found shot dead in a Range Rover down a small farm track.
The incident was followed by a major police investigation (Operation Century) and has been the subject of many books and feature films.
On this day in 1940 the former boss of the Philadelphia Crime Family, John Stanfa was born in Caccamo, Sicily. He headed up the family for a period of 4 years from 1991 – 1995 until he was convicted and sentenced to five consecutive life sentences.
Read more: http://thencs.org/1Nv159b
Bernardo Brusca who was the father of Giovanni Brusca (who was behind the assassination of Giovanni Falcone on 1992), died on this day in 2000 at the age of 72.
Brusca had been in prison since 1985 serving several life sentences. He eventually forgave his sons Giovanni and Enzo for collaborating with the Italian authorities, telling his lawyer at one of their last meetings: “I’m an old man. I don’t count for anything. But they made the right choice.”
On this day way back in 1897 Joseph Zerilli was born. He was a Prohibition-era Detroit gangster who led the crime family known as the Detroit Partnership from the 30’s to the 70’s. Becoming an official boss after Joe Vitale in 1964. As one of two members outside New York City’s Five Families who dominated the Mafia Commission, Zerilli was highly respected.
On December 11, 1990, FBI agents and New York City detectives raided the Ravenite Social Club, arresting John Gotti, Sammy Gravano and Frank Locascio. In the back of the police car, Gotti remarked ‘I bet ya 3 to 1 I beat this’.Needless to say, he didn’t this time. This was the start of the fall of the Gotti era.
Mad Frankie Fraser
On this day in 1923 Frank Davidson who is better known to us as Mad Frankie Fraser was born in Waterloo, London. He spent 42 years in 20 different prison for numerous violent offences.
He was also implicated in the so-called ‘Torture trial’, in which he was charged with burning, electrocuting and whipping those found guilty of disloyalty by a kangaroo court. Fraser himself was accused of pulling out the teeth of victims with a pair of pliers.
He passed away aged 90 in 2014. Read more: http://thencs.org/2hI50Xo
On this day in 1938 the the self-imposed ‘Las Vegas Boss’, Frank Cullotta was born. Cullotta was a former enforcer for the Chicago Outfit, and the leader of the “Hole in the Wall” gang. Perhaps he is most well-recognized for being a close friend of the late mobster, Tony Spilotro.
In later life, having given evidence against Spilotro, he wrote a book about his experiences.
Read more: http://thencs.org/2gK9q29
Sam Carlisi also known as “Black Sam” was born on this day in 1914. Sam started his criminal career as a driver for Joe Aiuppa and become a prominent figure in the Chicago Outfit. He had a brother called Roy who was a caporegime in the Buffalo crime family who had a close connection with mob boss Stefano Magaddino. Sam made his way up to become the boss of the Outfit in 1996, but then got handed a 13 year prison sentence. He died the year later in 1997 from heart-attack aged 82.
On this day in 1985 Gambino boss Paul Castellano was shot and killed in Midtown Manhattan. Thomas Bilotti, Big Paul’s bodyguard drove Castellano to a prearranged meeting at Sparks Steak House on the evening of 16th December, 1985. In a car down the road sat John Gotti and Sammy Gravano who observed the hit take place. Before they left the scene they drove up to take a closer look at the two bodies.
Read more: http://thencs.org/1Roear0
Jack Legs Diamond
On this day in 1931 the Prohibition era mobster who was a close associate of Arnold Rothstein, Jack Legs Diamond, was finally killed by hitmen after 15 years of evading multiple attempts on his life. He was aged just 34 at the time of his death.
Read more about how he died: http://thencs.org/1Rt3es9
On this day in 2005 Genovese front-man Vincent Gigante died at the age of 77 years old.“This is for you Frank!”
Those were the words that saved the life of mob boss Frank Costello, and the words that could have ended Vincent Gigante’s mob career and his life, for botching a hit.For many mobsters who failed a mob hit, it would have ended with their own life being taken, but not for Gigante. He would go on to become the boss of the Genovese Crime Family, but he would be known mostly for wandering the streets in a bathrobe mumbling to himself.There’s no doubt that Vincent Gigante was one of the oddest characters in mob history.
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On this day in 1893 Gasperi Marchesi is awarded $5,000.00 in a lawsuit against the city of New Orleans stemming from the 1891 lynching at Orleans Parish Prison. Gasperi was the 14 year old boy who was accused of whistling to give the signal to the assassins that Hennessey was approaching them on Girod St. At the trial the judge instructed the jury that they could not have a finding on him as there was no evidence against him and at the time of the lynching William Parkerson instructed his men not to touch the boy because of his age and that he was only being a dutiful son to his father. Gasperi’s father Antonio was one of the victims of the lynching. At the time of the awarded 5K Gasperi was a ward of a Roman orphanage.
On this day in 1973 the police officer who turned mobster, Richard Cain, who then turned informant for the FBI, was shot in the head at a busy Rose’s Sandwich Shop, on 1117 W. Grand Avenue.The alleged suspects are Marshall Caifano and Joseph Lombardo.
No one has ever been charged in the murder.
On this day in 1946 the infamous mobster James Coonan was born in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan. Mickey Spillane was a rival of Coonan, but the story goes back to Coonan’s father on why they became such rivals.
Spillane kidnapped his father and beat him severaly with a pistol (something that Coonon never forgot). Coonan would go on to form a big crew which would take over Spillane’s operations and send him into hiding. Spillane would end up being taken out by the Gambino’s, specifically Roy DeMeo in 1977 as a favour to Coonan.
Coonan himself is serving a 75 year prison term from 1988. His expected release date being 2063 when he will be 117 years old.
On this day in 1946 the Havana Conference was Held. This was to be a historic meeting of the Mafia and the decisions made at this conference would have a notable outcome on American organized criminal activity in the ensuing decades.
Read more about the Havana Conference of 1946: http://thencs.org/1RCDs4S
On this day in 2013 the boss of the Sicilian Mafia in Canada, Vito Rizzuto passed away at the age of 67 after battling with complications of lung cancer.
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On this day in 1881 Guissepe Esposito is sentenced to life after a two week trial in Palermo. Guissepe had been captured in Jackson Square in New Orleans the previous July by Micheal and David Hennessey as a fugitive from Sicilian justice. His capture was the catalyst for a shootout between the Hennessey cousins and another NOLA law officer, Thomas Devereaeux, the following October in which Devereaux would be killed.
Frank Calabrese, Sr
On this day in 2012 the mob hitman Frank Calabrese, Sr who was convicted in the deaths of 7 people during the Operation Family Secrets trial died at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex, in North Carolina, while serving a life sentence at the age of 75.
Pink Flamingo Hotel & Casino
On this day in 1946, in Las Vegas Bugsy Siegel opens The Pink Flamingo Hotel & Casino at a total cost of $6 million.
The grand opening, however, was a flop. Bad weather kept many other Hollywood guests from arriving. And because gamblers had no rooms at the hotel, they took their winnings and gambled elsewhere. The casino lost $300,000 in the first week of operation.
Bugsy was taken out by the mob in the following summer of 1947.
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Michael and David Hennessey
On this day in 1881 Michael and David Hennessey are aquitted of murder charges in New Orleans stemming from the shootout on Gravier St. between themselves and their immediate supervisor Thomas Devereaux in which Devereaux is killed. (See story in Crescent Corner).
On this day in 1902 the head of Lucky Luciano’s hit team, Samuel Levine was born. Also known as Red, he would take part in many prominent mob hits from the Salvatore Maranzano hit in 1931 to the Dutch Schultz hit of 1935. He died in April 1972 at the age of 69.
On this day in 1993 English mobster and heavyweight boxer Viv Graham is ambushed while walking back to his car in New Year’s Eve.
He was shot 3 times, one leaving a large hole in his back. Despite receiving 30 pints of blood at a hospital he would lose his life aged 34. There is still a lot of controversy surrounding the events of that night, and what actually happened to him.