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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gambino Soldier Allegedly Had Interest In The Stonewall Inn

Although reputed Genovese capo Matty Ianniello, recently released from prison, was the undisputed gay bar kingpin in New York City for decades, the Gambino crime family also had a piece of the racket principally through soldier Eddie DeCurtis from at least the mid-1960s through the early 1980s. Recently released FBI files include allegations from informants that DeCurtis allegedly had secret interests in many gay bars, restaurants and after-hours clubs.

Since at least 1965 informants advised the FBI that DeCurtis was a "hidden owner of various bars and clubs which cater to homosexuals." Indeed, one informant told the FBI in September 1967 that DeCurtis and his brother Guido were behind the opening of the Stonewall Inn which two years later was to become famous for the riots by its patrons following a police raid at the premises pursuant to an investigation into the mob theft of Wall Street bonds. A September 28, 1967 FBI reports that according to the informant:

[The DeCurtis brothers] are operating a new club known by the name of Stonewall, located on Christopher Street, east of 7th Avenue. NY T-2 [the informant] said that this operation caters to homosexuals and is supposed to be a private after-hours club, but that no card or key is necessary for entrance. This club is alleged to be [redacted] and they have been serving drinks to minors.

Matty Ianniello

Although Matty Ianniello by some reports allegedly controlled the Stonewall Inn, it was not uncommon for the Gambino and Genovese families to share interests in gay bars particularly in Greenwich Village. Indeed, the FBI reported on April 13, 1967 that DeCurtis regularly visited the offices of M&M Trading Company which was one of the many alleged fronts through which Ianniello managed his gay bar interests, and the document states DeCurtis "makes regular appearances at the M&M Trading Company , which is located in Room 1820 at 135 West 50th Street, New York City." Another gay bar in which the Gambino soldier DeCurtis allegedly shared an interest with reputed Genovese operatives was the Candy Store at 44 West 56th Street.

The FBI file on DeCurtis reveals some of the arcane day-to-day financial operating details of gay bars in the late 1960s. For example, according to informant allegations from December 1968:

Caesar's Corner night club on Second Avenue, New York City, is a "queer" joint owned by Eddie "Dolls" DeCurtis, who also presently owns the "Rat Race" on First Avenue between East 76th and East 77th Street, also a "queer" joint. Informant advised that [redacted] is Eddie DeCurtis's "front man." The bartenders in DeCurtis's places allegedly make $15.00 per night salary, $40 per night tips, plus ten percent kickbacks from waiters.

During the 1960s the State Liquor Authority denied licenses for gay bars, and accordingly the mob typically established gay bars either through private bottle clubs which were not within the SLA's jurisdiction or by converting straight bars which already had liquor licenses but were struggling financially, and the FBI documents illustrate that DeCurtis employed this common conversion practice. For example, an April 1967 FBI document states that the Cornell Pub on 32nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues may be "converting to a queer hang out," and the Rave Inn on Staten Island may be "converting to a queer joint" under the influence of DeCurtis.

Another gay bar in which DeCurtis allegedly had in interest in the mid-1960s was the Mystique Lounge, and the FBI reported the following:

On August 17, 1966, NY T-3 [the informant] advised that the Mystique Private Club, Incorporated, at 45 West 56th Street, used the be the Mystique Lounge which catered exclusively to homosexuals and was owned and operated by a [redacted]. During 1965 the lounge ran into financial difficulties and its operation was turned over to Eddie and Guido DeCurtis. Informant added that during April, 1965, one [redacted] was employed at the lounge to protect the interests of [redacted]. During November, 1965, the liquor license for the lounge was revoked and the place closed down.

DeCurtis allegedly conducted most of his business during the mid-1960s out of the Pompier Restaurant at 82 West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village which "caters to the homosexual crowd" and later became the Tenth of Always from where teenage boys allegedly were recruited by the Mafia for its gay prostitution rings. An informant told the FBI that DeCurtis "owned the Pompier Restaurant," and "is there every day from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on weekdays and until closing time on weekends."

Among other gay bars and restaurants in which DeCurtis allegedly had a secret interest during the mid-to-late 1960s according to informants for the FBI were the Log Cabin on Staten Island, the Mask at 664 or 666 West 125th Street in Harlem, Mr. Roberts at 52 West 86th Street on the Upper West Side, Baps at 49 East Houston Street in Greenwich Village, the Fawn at 795 Washington Street in Greenwich Village, the Checkerboard in Greenwich Village, the Comedy Corner in Greenwich Village, the Cafe de Lys in Greenwich Village, Aldo's at 340 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, and the Black Knight on East 18th Street and Second Avenue.

As recently as 1980 -- DeCurtis died in 1985 -- the FBI reported that the Gambino soldier "probably continues to maintain secret interests in bars in lower Manhattan that cater to homosexuals."


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