Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jurors set to hear tape of mafia summit during murder trial of turncoat Patriarca family boss

A 1990 State Police surveillance photo of (left to right) Steven DiSarro, Frank Salemme Jr., Thomas Hillary, and Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme coming out of a Brookline restaurant. The Salemmes allegedly killed DiSarro in 1993.

Jurors in the murder trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme will this morning hear a clandestine conversation the FBI intercepted 27 years ago in which the then-New England Mafia godfather disparaged a doomed Steven DiSarro as untrustworthy to high-level hoods visiting from Vegas.
The wiretap of Room 1410 at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport Hotel was conducted Dec. 11, 1991, less than two years before prosecutors allege Salemme, his late son Frank Jr. and their associate Paul Weadick choked DiSarro, 43, to death because they feared he was going to tell the feds about their secret investment in The Channel. Salemme Jr. was caught on electronic surveillance bragging months earlier that the South Boston rock concert hall was “the biggest nightclub in the city of Boston.”
“The Channel is our (expletive) nightclub. We own it,” Frank Jr. crowed to a cooperating witness, according to a court document prosecutors filed Tuesday.
Vince delaMontaigne, a former FBI special agent in Boston who was deep undercover in La Cosa Nostra for three years dabbling in drugs, bookmaking and loansharking, will introduce the 20-minute recording of Salemme Sr. and Natale “Big Chris” Richichi. DelaMontaigne testified yesterday tech agents armed with a court order were rolling tape and he was listening through the wall thanks to fibbing to the Hilton’s front desk that another room he’d checked into under an alias had “too much noise” from flights taking off and landing.
As luck would have it, “They gave me 1408,” he said.
Salemme, 84, softly drummed his left hand on the defense table yesterday as delaMontaigne described how the Boston bureau was tipped off Dec. 10, 1991, by its agent counterparts in Nevada that Richichi, a capo with New York’s Gambino crime family overseeing a crew in Las Vegas, was boarding a plane to Boston to meet with Salemme that night. He said the FBI “really didn’t know” what was going down, but went on high alert so agents could start tailing the now-late Richichi the second he landed at Logan.
Richichi, he said, was picked up at the airport by gangland associate Kenneth Guarino. After checking in at the Hilton, the men repaired to a bar downstairs, where they rendezvoused with Salemme and Frank Jr., Robert DeLuca and a fourth person delaMontaigne said, “I didn’t recognize.”
He recognized DeLuca from the FBI’s infamous October 1989 wiretap of the made man’s induction to the Mafia at a swearing-in ceremony in Medford.
“We had surveillance agents on the parking lot, in the hotel,” he told jurors. The six men eventually left to have dinner at Ristorante Saraceno in the North End. When they later returned to the Hilton and Room 1410, he said Guarino and DeLuca excused themselves, leaving Richichi and Salemme to conduct boss business.
The 18 jurors will be provided a 15-page transcript by prosecutors so they can follow along with the wiretap.
DiSarro was killed in 1993. His remains, buried in a hazardous-waste dump on private property in Providence, were not located until 2016.


Feds nix death penalty against top Lucchese family leaders

Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for five reputed members of the Lucchese crime family who were charged in a law enforcement sweep last year, according to court papers filed this week. 
The alleged mobsters, including Tuckahoe resident Steven "Wonder Boy" Crea and his son, Steven Crea Jr. of New Rochelle, were among 19 reputed Lucchese members and associates charged in a racketeering indictment unsealed May 31, 2017. 
In papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said they would not seek death against the Creas and three other men — Matthew Madonna, Christopher Londonio and Terrence Caldwell.
Madonna was identified as the alleged "street boss" of the Lucchese family, while Londonio was identified as a reputed soldier and Caldwell as an associate. All three were already in prison when they were charged in the sweep last year. 
The sweep was one of the largest roundups of reputed mobsters by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in recent years. The suspects had colorful street names like "Paulie Roast Beef," "Joey Glasses" and "Spanish Carmine," prosecutors said. 
Earlier this year, the New York State Attorney General's Office carried out a separate sweep of reputed Lucchese family members who were allegedly running an illegal gambling operation out of two New Rochelle storefronts. 


NYC union big tied to mafia sentenced to five years

A union official was sentenced to five years in federal prison Friday for using his mob ties to threaten businesses into hiring his members.
Roland Bedwell, business manager for United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, pleaded guilty in August to threatening the owner of a construction business.
The feds recorded Bedwell telling his victim that if he did not employ Local 175 members, he would use a crew of 15 "ex-military" men, unafraid to go to prison, to interfere with business in a way that would cost a lot of money.
"Honestly, whatever they do or don't do — pretty much up to them...either you're gonna sign the contract...or these boys are gonna do it again," Bedwell said on a recording.
In another case, Bedwell and his cohorts threatened another construction business by slashing the tires and threatening the drivers delivering asphalt to a job at LaGuardia Airport.
The construction company owner was told if he didn't hire Local 175 workers, the asphalt would not be delivered to the work site, the feds said.
Bedwell's victims were not publicly identified.
Bedwell said in a written statement read by his lawyer Edward Sapone in court on Friday that he takes "full responsibility" for what he did and thanked the judge for changing his life at 58 years old.
Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis was troubled by Bedwell's Gambino family connections.
"Mr. Bedwell used his position to intimidate, threaten, and extort law abiding citizens for the benefit of his employer and for his own benefit," Garaufis said.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Volatile mobster played Russian Roulette with former girlfriend and child

A reputed Gambino wiseguy, who faces charges for sending death threats to his former lawyer, once callously risked his ex-gal pal’s life playing a twisted game of Russian roulette, Brooklyn federal prosecutors say.
Battista “Benny” Geritano played sick mind games with his ex and their daughter in 1994 and the feds want to tell a jury about it at his upcoming trial, new court documents reveal.
Prosecutors say Geritano, 45, forced his former flame and their 4-year-old child to come to his Brooklyn apartment where, “as the former girlfriend held their daughter in her arms, [Geritano] put one bullet into a revolver, pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger.”
Her life was spared as the gun didn’t fire, though it’s unclear if the chamber was empty or if it malfunctioned.
Prosecutors say Geritano’s former lawyer — who repped him in a 2012 Bay Ridge stabbing case for which he was convicted and is serving 12 years prison — knew about Geritano’s history of domestic violence because it was described in sentencing papers.
Therefore, the lawyer had reason to take the death threats — which were aimed at the attorney’s son — seriously.
“Among other things, the sentencing letter details numerous alleged acts of domestic violence [Geritano] committed against two women, including a sexual assault, a stabbing, menacing with a knife and razor blade, death threats, and incident involving Russian roulette, and repeated acts of witness intimidation,” the court papers claim.
Geritano beat a 2011 rap for a knife fight he had with a Carroll Gardens pizzeria owner but heads to trial on June 11 in his current extortion case.
He allegedly stabbed the Lucali restaurant owner, Mark Iacono, in a dispute over a woman, but the case fell apart when Iacono refused to testify against his former friend.
Geritano’s current lawyer, Walter Mack said, “You can be certain there will be a response in writing.”
Mack asked why the 1994 alleged threats, “would have any place in a trial that is designed to cover something that occurred in 2016 and 2017.”


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

After corpse is discovered turncoat New England mob boss is put on trial

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, 84, is facing federal charges related to the death of Steven DiSarro, who prosecutors say was strangled by Salemme’s son Frank Jr. on the order of his crime boss father.

On Monday, FBI agent Timothy Darling recounted the damning findings of a 2016 excavation at a vacant mill in Rhode Island, according to the Boston Herald.

“We found a piece of rope first. A few buckets later, we noticed something that appeared to be of evidentiary value: bones, and fabric that appeared to be wrapped around the bones,” Darling said about the March 30, 2016, dig.

Jurors in the Boston federal court trial were shown photos of thick rope that was found wrapped around DiSarro’s neck and body – which was “folded” in an 8-½-foot “wall of dirt” underneath bricks, wood and concrete blocks, Darling said.

The agent put on latex gloves to show the courtroom a yard of duct tape and a piece of torn fabric from the jogging suit DiSarro was wearing when he was killed.

Salemme is accused of standing near Frank Jr. as the son strangled DiSarro, 43. His co-defendant, mob associate Paul Weadick, who is also on trial, allegedly held down DiSarro’s flailing legs.
The former boss of New England’s Patriarca Family of La Cosa Nostra allegedly ordered the hit on DiSarro because he was set to cooperate with feds against Salemme and his son.

At the time, the feds suspect the Salemmes were silent partners in DiSarro’s nightclub, The Channel in South Boston.

The now wheelchair-bound senior lived for years in Atlanta under a new name as part of a witness- protection program following his testimony against former mobsters – until DiSarro’s remains were found.

Frank Jr. – whom the feds say was a made Mafia member — died of leukemia in 1995, his family said.

Salemme and Weadick have denied any involvement in DiSarro’s death.

The government’s star witness is Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who’s expected to testify that he walked in on DiSarro’s murder as it was happening.

Flemmi was an associate of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious leader of the Winter Hill Gang who forged a close relationship with Salemme, according to Boston.com.

The trio were indicted in 1995 on racketeering charges. Salemme pleaded guilty in 1999 and was sent to prison for 11 years.

Angry that Flemmi and Bulger snitched on him to the FBI, Salemme testified against the pair in 2001.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Supreme Court ruling deals blow to core business of New York mafia

The mob’s gambling racket is about to sleep with the fishes.
The US Supreme Court’s sports-betting ruling dealt a losing hand to organized crime in the New York area, legal experts said Monday.
Gambling and loan-sharking have traditionally been the mob’s “bread and butter,” and the decision will “significantly reduce” its clientele, former federal prosecutor Thomas Seigel said.
“They will definitely lose a regular source of predictable income,” said Seigel, who ran the Organized Crime and Gangs Section of the Brooklyn US Attorney’ s Office.
Defense lawyer John Meringolo, who’s represented John “Junior” Gotti and reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, said legal sports betting “will have a detrimental effect on the mob and anyone who tries to make a living through this type of vice.”
“For what’s left of what they do, this would significantly hurt their bottom line, if not completely destroy it,” said Meringolo, also a Pace Law School professor.
“If there’s no gambling, there’s no core business.”
Seigel — who prosecuted crooked NBA referee Tim Donaghy on gambling charges — said he expected mobsters would come up with new scams, potentially involving crypto-currencies in an “analog to the penny stocks of the ’90s.”
“I wouldn’t fully count them out, because they are resilient, but it is definitely going to be a blow,” he said.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mafia tied contractor awarded over $30M in NYC contracts

A contractor whose former company was suspected of mob ties won $37 million in taxpayer-funded city contracts last year — despite his history of blocking investigations into his prior company.

Richard Persico owns PCI Industries, a Mount Vernon firm that won three huge city contracts in 2017 to resurface New York City streets and install wheelchair-accessible sidewalk ramps in all five boroughs.

He got the lucrative deals even though city investigators say in 2006 he blocked their efforts to look into mob involvement in an affiliated firm he co-owned 50/50 with his brother, Robert.

At the time, Robert Persico had been arrested on racketeering charges and identified by the FBI as an associate of the Gambino crime family. He was facing several federal charges, including paying off a corrupt official of a union representing employees of the brothers' company, Persico Contracting & Trucking.

Last year the city awarded PCI Industries three contracts: $24.1 million from the Department of Transportation and two more totaling $12.9 million from the Department of Design & Construction.

Officials at both Transportation and Design conceded that that they only learned of the obstruction findings on Persico when contacted by The News. Officials later said the finding had been automatically deleted in 2011 from the city's contract database known as Vendex.

In response to The News' findings, Councilman Ritchie Torres, (D-Bronx), says he'll propose legislation this week to "close the loophole in Vendex and require longer retention of information that could inform the city's determination of who qualifies as a responsible

He also chastised the city for striking the deal with Persico.

"The city's decision to hand a $37 million check to a contractor with ties to organized crime represents a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars," Torres said.

On March 2, 2005, Robert Persico was charged along with several alleged Mafia members with extorting a rival construction firm and trafficking in stolen luxury goods, including BMWs and Cadillacs. A week later he was charged separately with bribing union officials on behalf of Persico Contracting, the company the brothers co-owned.

Persico is led away in cuffs in 2005. His company just got millions in city paving contracts.

At the time the company's license to operate a trade waste business was about to expire, and the city Business Integrity Commission soon after received an application for renewal.

Richard Persico promised to answer the integrity panel's questions and submitted paperwork claiming that Robert had ended his 50% ownership of Persico Contracting on March 1, 2005.

"Not coincidentally," Integrity investigators noted, "the date of Robert's purported resignation occurred the day before the indictment charging him with conspiring with a capo in the Gambino Organized Crime family was unsealed."

The Integrity commission soon determined the documents filed by Persico were misleading and that Robert was still a principal when the renewal application was filed: "Documents were backdated in order to avoid filing a renewal application that acknowledged that PCT was owned and operated by a principal under indictment for significant organized crime activity," the commission wrote.

Officials say Persico Contracting's lawyer then began delaying Richard Persico's scheduled deposition with the integrity commission. In the end, Richard Persico informed officials he would not answer their questions.

On June 20, 2006, the commission declared, "It is of grave concern . . . that (Persico Contracting) filed a misleading and contradictory application and obstructed the commission's investigation into the matter."

Persico Construction, the commission ruled, "may not operate as a trade waste business in the city of New York."

To get around this problem, Richard Persico created a new company at the same address with the same phone number and with the same equipment, according to records.

Two weeks after informing BIC he wouldn't cooperate in their probe, he incorporated PCI Industries, listing himself as sole owner.

City Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) slammed the city's dealings with Persico as "a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars."

According to a 2011 lawsuit filed by a union representing some of the company's workers, "all or most of the property and equipment used by Persico Contracting is or was owned by PCI."

The lawsuit by the Highway Road & Street Construction Laborers Local 1010 charged that "PCI exists for the purpose of servicing Persico Contracting."

More recently PCI appears to have skated around multiple obstacles to obtain city contracts.

All contractors seeking city work must detail if the "vendor, any affiliate or any of their current or former principal owners officers or managerial employees (have) been convicted of a felony and/or any crime related to truthfulness and/or any crime related to business conduct in the past 10 years."

In PCI's case, they would have had to answer "yes" to this question until July 2016 — 10 years after Robert Persico's conviction on two federal charges.

But that question is not asked of subcontractors, so in 2014 and 2015 PCI was able to land $2.2 million in city work as a sub-contractor on two projects.

And in December 2016, five months after the 10-year restriction ended, PCI was able to answer "no" to this question when it bid on the first of three contracts with the city.

Richard Persico did not return calls for comment from The News.

Notified of the Persico contract awards, the city Department of Investigation said it's working with BIC and the mayor's office of contract services "regarding the timeframe of how long cautions, including BIC denials, remain" in the system.

Asked about the current protocol of erasing negative findings from the system used to vet vendors, Jane Meyer, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio, said, "We will work with our partners in the controller's office and the Department of Investigation to review protocols that ensure responsible organizations are receiving contracts."


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Former gangster testifies about life of crime at murder trial of turncoat New England mob boss

Thomas Hillary said the Patriarcas took him in and treated him “like family,” but he could never be a made member of La Cosa Nostra.
“I wasn’t Italian,” he said during testimony Thursday in the trial of former mob boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and codefendant Paul Weadick.
Hillary, 73, now has a new identity after being entered into the Federal Witness Protection Program in 1994.
Growing up in Providence, Hillary met Raymond “Junior” Patriarca when he was 12 years old, and knew exactly who his dad was. Raymond L.S. Patriarca ran the New England mob from the 1950s until his death in 1984.
“I knew him to be the boss,” Hillary said.
Despite his heritage, Hillary’s star rose in the New England crime family because of his close relationship with the Patriarcas. Rhode Island gangster Robert “Bobby” DeLuca – who would later be inducted into the crime family and become a capo – was Hillary’s best man at his wedding in 1976. As an associate of the crime family, Hillary was heavily involved in criminal activity.
“If you had union problems we’d straighten it out,” Hillary said. “We did hijackings, shakedowns - it was like out of the movies.”
In 1984, after Patriarca died of a heart attack and his son took over as boss, Hillary was given an important assignment: take care of Salemme.
Hillary said Junior Patriarca “asked us to take care of him - he just got out the can” after 16 years behind bars, and needed help making money.
Hillary was happy to oblige, and it turned into high times for the crew, making a lot of money and growing in underworld influence, he said.
Hillary described how they would sell fake marijuana to buyers. When asked what would happen when the buyer found out the pot was bad, Hillary said, “Who cares?”
“What’s he going to do, come after us?” he asked. “We were made guys.”
Hillary testified that he ultimately introduced Salemme, the future mob boss, to Steven DiSarro, a childhood friend from Providence.
DiSarro "was my friend and a good, good guy," Hillary said. "He was like a kid brother."
But the introduction may have ultimately proved fatal for DiSarro. Prosecutors say Salemme, his son Frank Salemme Jr. (who died of natural causes in 1995) and Weadick murdered DiSarro because they feared he was going to cooperate with the FBI.
DiSarro was last seen on May 10, 1993. His body was exhumed from behind a mill building on Branch Avenue in Providence in March 2016.
Hillary testified that he, along with Salemme and Salemme's son, got involved in DiSarro’s nightclub The Channel. Hillary said he was on the payroll but didn’t actually do any work.
“It was a cash cow,” he said.
But then things started to go badly for Hillary, and in the fall of 1990, he sensed he was on the outs with the crew. He said it all came to a head one day when Frank Salemme Jr. grabbed him by the throat and threatened to kill him "bada bing bada boom, get out of town." Hillary claimed it was over a dispute about $4,000.
“I went on the lam, I took off,” Hillary said. “Because I know I got a problem here, so I went to Florida.”
Hillary was a colorful witness, using phrases like “badda boom badda bing” and sprinkling expletives throughout his testimony. He said the falling-out with the Salemmes still “aggravated” him today and, he had to apologize to the judge for “getting all worked up.”
Hillary repeatedly sparred with Salemme’s attorney, Steven Boozang, and the judge had to intercede. Boozang asked if he only served one year in jail despite all the crimes he testified to committing.
“That’s correct,” Hillary said.
Boozang pressed HIllary on whether he and his family earned more than $600,000 from the federal government while in the relocation program. Hillary pushed back saying he didn't know.
"I'm not an accountant," he snapped.
Both Salemme and Weadick have pleaded not guilty. The trial began on Wednesday at federal court in Boston.
On Friday, jurors will be visiting Salemme's former home in Sharon, Massachusetts, where investigators say the DiSarro murder took place, as well as the mill building on Branch Avenue in Providence.