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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Longtime Genovese Family Hitman/Turncoat Sleeps With Fishes After Decades Terrorizing Docks

Mobster George Barone (l.), with attorney William B. Mischo, prior to going before Waterfront Commission in 1959.

Genovese Family tough guy George Barone preferred the direct approach to problem-solving.
The mob hit man was responsible for about 20 murders in his long and brutal career on the waterfront. Even those who survived his wrath didn't escape unscathed - as Harold Daggett could attest.
Barone, during a 1980 meeting with the pushy longshoremen's union leader, put a loaded gun to Daggett's head and declared, "I will blow your f------ brains all over the room."
Daggett wet his pants. Problem solved.
The death last Tuesday of the 86-year-old gangster marked the end of an era: Barone was the main Genovese man on the docks for decades, and a witness to Mafia history.
When his cohorts put a contract on his head, Barone detailed his rich past for prosecutors as one of only three informants ever from his ultra-secretive family.
"He was probably one of the toughest guys that came out of the West Side, and he was proud of being a gangster," said Kevin McGowan, who helped debrief Barone while working for the Waterfront Commission.
The exact total of Barone's murders remains a mystery. "I didn't keep a scorecard," he famously barked when pressed.
Barone was the son of a dockworker and a child of the Depression, growing up near the Hudson River in Chelsea. He was a bona fide World War II hero, serving with the Marines on Iwo Jima.
After the war, he returned to New York, where he and a running buddy founded the Jets - the gang later immortalized in the musical "West Side Story."
The real Jets were more about killing than choreography. "We took over the whole West Side and killed a lot of people," Barone once recalled.
By the mid-1950s, Barone was rubbing elbows with old-school Mafia kingpins like Vito Genovese. He became a close pal of Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno and a made man at a Harlem ceremony.
Barone was the Genovese rep at the late '60s sitdown where the New York waterfront, in a decision worthy of Solomon, was peacefully divided in two.
The Gambinos received Staten Island and Brooklyn; the Genoveses got New Jersey and Manhattan, he later testified.
Barone helped bring untold millions into the Genovese coffers. He even landed the son of boss Vincent (The Chin) Gigante a lucrative industry job.
He was also a standup guy who did time from 1983-90 without flipping. But in 2001, after old pal Gigante put a contract on his head, Barone decided to flip.
"I went bad," is how he put it - and that was good for prosecutors. The mobster became a crusty, gruff and effective witness, earning the respect of his federal handlers.
"George Barone's criminal conduct cannot be ignored, but neither can the immense value of his expert insight and testimony," said FBI spokesman James Margolin.
In his last appearance as a witness, an enfeebled Barone was asked about his old pal Daggett - and showed he could still hold a grudge. "The bastard," he croaked in July 2009. "No f------ good, never will be."



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