John Palazzolo, 77, a reputed street boss of the Bonanno crime family’s Bronx faction, got locked up Friday after federal law enforcement officials caught him meeting with other mobsters — a violation of his parole terms.
The Bonanno crime family may have lost its youth, but its wiseguys still have plenty of chutzpah.
John Palazzolo, 77, a reputed street boss of the clan’s Bronx faction, got locked up Friday after federal law enforcement officials caught him meeting with other mobsters — a violation of his parole terms.
The feds feared the old gangster was conspiring to take over Bonanno operations in Queens — which could possibly unleash a wave of violence among rival factions.
Citing allegations of “a conspiracy to conduct a war to control the Bonanno crime family,” federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered the ailing oldfella to jail pending a hearing next month.
Palazzolo, who was released in 2012 after doing 10 years for attempted murder, is barred from associating with fellow mobsters.
But in past weeks, he was caught by surveillance having a suspiciously long meeting in the parking lot of a diner in Bayside, Queens with “Fat Anthony” Rabito, a consigliere of the Bonannos.
He also met with a mafioso with ties to reputed mob boss Michael “Mikey Nose” Mancuso, who has three more years left in federal prison for a murder rap and is believed to rule the family from the inside.
Those pow-wows are in violation of Palazzolo’s parole, prosecutors said in court.
“Is there still a leadership of the Bonnano family?” asked a puzzled Garaufis.
“Unfortunately, yes,” said assistant U.S. attorney Nicole Argentieri.
“He’s pissed,” the law-enforcement official said. “Once we found out, we had to stop it.”
Defense lawyer Flora Edwards argued the run-in with Rabito could have been “a casual meeting” and pointed to her client’s litany of health issues.
A resigned-looking Palazzolo, wearing track pants, a black hoodie and holding a plastic bag from Target, shuffled into the lock-up.
“I thought someone’s who’s 77-years-old and has medical problems will be happy to live a quiet life,” the judge told him.
He added that the power struggle involves another imprisoned mobster, calling it “one nightmare on top of another.”
The Bonanno family has been working to replenish its ranks following dozens of convictions in the past decade, many obtained after its boss and underboss turned into rats and testified.
New recruits and old timers are still engaged in loan sharking, racketeering and other illegal activities, said a source.
“It never ends,” he added.