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

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bari Escaped Family’s Shadow To Make His Own Life

By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BROOKLYN — When attorney Frank Bari was growing up, he didn’t know that much about his father, “Zim’s,” past. But little by little, his father would let little details slip.
Eventually, Bari found out that his father had been a mob figure with ties to such legendary gangsters as Albert Anastasia, Brooklyn’s “Tough Tony” Anastasio (Albert’s brother, despite the different spelling), Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano.
Not only his father but his grandfather, Anthony Carfano (Little Augie Pisano), was “different,” although Frank mainly knew him as a doting, loving grandfather. His grandfather was killed by one bullet to the neck and another to the head — after coming into conflict with Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante in Florida. Bari recently told the Eagle that he had the idea of writing a book about his background since he was a public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard and learned the basics of journalism. Bari met his collaborator, Mark C. Gribben, a former reporter with the Detroit Free Press, when he and his father were in Detroit looking for information about an uncle, Jake Trager, who had been connected with the Purple Gang.
Now, Under the Williamsburg Bridge: The Story of an American Family, by Frank Bari with Mark C. Gribben, is available in hardcover from Trafford Publishing. “My father died in 2007 — if he knew I’d written any of this, I’d be in the grave,” Bari told the Eagle.

Although Frank’s father (who used many different names) came from the Manhattan neighborhood “under the Williamsburg Bridge,” he had plenty of connections to Brooklyn. “He knew all the guys at Midnight Rosie’s,” says Bari, referring to the Brownsville candy store where members of Murder Incorporated would gather to await their next assignment. Also, his father and a partner once had a store — a legitimate store — on Navy Street, back when that neighborhood was basically the “red light district” for the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard.
In addition to talking about his father, Bari writes about some famous episodes in gangland history. For example, Charlie “The Bug” Workman, a friend of his father’s, told him the history books have it all wrong about Dutch Schultz’s murder. Schultz, he claimed, was killed not because he threatened to kill Manhattan District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey — although that was true — but because Schultz was horning in on established mob interests in New Jersey.
To be fair, there was a heroic side to Bari’s father, too. “Zim,” during the 1930s, joined the Marine Corps as an alternative to going to jail, and came to love the Corps and all it stood for. During World War II itself, he served as one of Merrill’s Marauders, a special-forces Army unit that fought in Burma and was famous for its missions behind Japanese lines.
Frank’s own life is also interesting. He was basically a wild kid, dropped out of high school and had a brief stint as a singer. (At a mob-affiliated nightclub, Crazy Joe Gallo told him, “If you sing good, you can keep the tux. If you don’t, we’ll bury you in it.”) He was drafted by the Army, but instead, while drunk, enlisted in the Coast Guard, thinking it would be easier. Instead, he found himself serving with one of the river patrols in Vietnam.
Afterward, he got his GED and went to St. John’s University and to Touro Law School. Through a connection he made when he was serving as an 18-B attorney (an attorney hired by the court to defend indigent defendants), he ended up defending many Asian criminals, not only Chinese but also Korean. Many of the Asian gangs’ antics as described by Bari seem similar to the old-time Italian mob: “To be accepted as a member of the Flying Dragons, Leon [a gang member] was required to commit five muggings without using any weapons while he was being watched by another member of the gang.” Some of Bari’s work also entails defending ‘working girls’ and their madams.
Today, Bari writes, the children of the old-time Italian mob are moving away from “the life,” and into the American middle class. As an example, he gives his friend “Baby John” DeLutro. Baby John’s father was an alleged member of the Gambino family, but the son chose another route and is now known as the Cannoli King of Little Italy. … “No visit to Little Italy is complete without a visit to Baby John’s Caffe Palermo.”



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