Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel – Flamingo Hotel and Casino

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was born February 28, 1906, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The organized crime boss is best known for his bootlegging and gambling operations that included the Flamingo casino in Las Vegas. He is known by many to be the “Father of Las Vegas.” Bugsy’s legacy is that of being one of the most infamous and feared gangsters of the era.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Siegel was raised in the crime-ridden section of Williamsburg.  As a teenager, he is said to have extorted money from pushcart peddlers on New York City’s Lower East Side. Siegel befriended Meyer Lansky and in 1918 the two formed the Bugs-Meyer Gang, a group of contract killers who operated under the name Murder, Inc. Siegel was also a friend of Al Capone and is said to have hid Capone at the home of one of his aunts when there was a warrant out on Capone for murder.

Siegel is said to have made a great deal of money by age 21. His charisma, charm and good looks made him likable to most everyone. A reputed womanizer, Siegel married his childhood sweetheart, Esta Krakower on January 28, 1929. Krakower, the sister of contract killer Whitey Krakower, would divorce Siegel in 1946.

During the late 1920s, Mafia kingpin Charles “Lucky” Luciano and a number of other Italian gangsters organized themselves into a national syndicate, with Siegel becoming a prominent player. With a goal of killing many of New York’s veteran gangsters, Luciano ordered Siegel and three other hit men to execute Sicilian mobster Joe “the Boss” Masseria. Siegel, along with Albert “Mad Hatter” Anastasia, Vito Genovese and Joe Adonis carried out the execution of Masseria on April 15, 1931.

By 1937, Luciano decided that it would be best for Siegel to leave for the West Coast to escape the wrath of his enemies.  Siegel located to California, where he befriended many Hollywood stars, as well as studio owners such as Jack Warner and Louis B. Mayer. Historians claim Siegel would go on to extort money from both. Siegel would become friends with such stars as Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Carey Grant and Gary Cooper and was a frequent guest at many Hollywood parties.

While in California, Siegel took over local unions and is said to have staged strikes in order to force movie studios to pay him off for getting the unions working again. Siegel borrowed large sums of money from celebrities and refused to pay them back knowing that they wouldn’t ask him for their money back.  In his first year in Hollywood, Siegel reportedly received more than $400,000 in one-way loans from movie stars.

Siegel trial newspaper clippingOn November 22, 1939, Siegel, Whitey Krakower, and two other gang members killed Harry “Big Greenie” Greenberg because he had threatened to become a police informant. In September, 1941, Siegel was tried for the murder. Whitey Krakower was killed before he could face trial.

The trial gained notoriety because of the preferential treatment Siegel was reportedly receiving in jail.  He refused to eat prison food and was allowed female visitors.  Siegel would eventually be acquitted due to the lack of evidence, but his reputation was tarnished.  During the trial, newspapers reported on Siegel’s past and referred to him as “Bugsy.”  Siegel is said to have disliked the name and preferred to be called “Ben.”

On March 10, 1944, the Draft Board attempted to draft Siegel in the Army by asking for a waiver of an age limit, but the State Director of Selective Service is said to have refused the waiver because of the reputed legal dealings with Siegel’s attorney that prohibited the induction.

It was in Los Angeles that Siegel met actress Virginia Hill, a money runner for the Chicago Mob, and who had a penchant for blackmailing Hollywood stars. In 1945, the two moved to Las Vegas, where Siegel began working toward his dream of building a gambling mecca in the Nevada desert. With a reported $5 million in funding from the eastern crime syndicate, construction of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino began.

Siegel was convinced that he could draw thousands of vacationers. He began spending enormous amounts of money, demanding the finest building money could buy. The reported figures for the cost of the 93-room hotel were exceeding $6 million. Adding to the problems were said to be dishonest contractors and disgruntled unpaid builders. By day, trucks delivered black market goods. By night the same materials were pilfered and resold to Siegel a few days later. As costs soared, Siegel’s checks reportedly began bouncing.

With the unsuccessful opening of the Flamingo, Luciano demanded Siegel return the $5 million he had been given for the construction. Siegel refused the demand and Luciano ordered Siegel’s execution.

On the evening of June 20, 1947, Siegel was at home in his Hollywood bungalow after returning from getting a haircut.  He is said to have been sitting on a sofa in front of an open window reading a newspaper at approximately 10:30 p.m. At age 42, Siegel was dead from shots to the head and lungs.

It was reported that only five people, all relatives, attended Siegel’s funeral.  Hill, who shared the Hollywood home with Siegel, was out of the country and could not make it back in time. None of Siegel’s celebrity friends were in attendance.

The movie “Bugsy”, a biography of the life of Benjamin Siegel, was released in 1991, starring Warren Beatty.

Carmine “Cigar” Galante- A Joe Bonanno Protege

Carmine Galante was born February 21, 1910 in East Harlem and had two brothers and two sisters. His parents immigrated from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily in 1906 where his father worked as a fisherman.

Galante was a handful for his parents early on and by 1920 at the age of 10 had been in and out of reform school. He dropped out of school shortly after and formed his first street gang at the age 15. His parents basically turned their backs on him after he was convicted of assault and sentenced to two and a half years in prison on December 22 1926.

The 1930’s were a downed time for Galante. In August 1930 Galante was a suspect in the murder of police officer Walter DeCastilla but was released after the prosecution couldn’t find a witness willing to talk. Before he was released doctors diagnosed Galante as having a psychopathic personality and recommended treatment. Galante ignored their suggestion and went back on the street as mafias associate. Shortly after Galante and others were caught attempting to hijack a truck in Brooklyn by (NYPD) officer Joseph Meenahan. Galante didn’t plan on going back to jail and fired on Meenahan wounding him and a six-year-old bystander. In February, he plead guilty attempted robbery Galante was sentenced to 12 and a half years in state prison.

After being released on parole in May 1939 Galante went to work as an enforcer for Vito Genovese who at the time was the Underboss of the Luciano Crime Family. Galante quickly became feared in the underworld with the NYPD suspecting him in over 80 murders. In 1943 on the orders of the newly exiled Vito Genovese, Galante allegedly shot and killed Carlo Tresca, the publisher of an anti-fascist newspaper in New York. Although he was never charged with the murder he was sent back to prison on a parole violation serving almost two years.

The remainder of the 1940’s were relatively quite for Galante. He worked for the Bonanno family and in particular Bonanno boss Joe Bonanno. By 1953 Galante had risen to Underboss of the family and was a close confidant of Bonanno. In 1953 Galante was sent to Canada to lead the family heroin business. The Bonanno’s imported heroin from Italy through Canada and then into the United States. Galante was ruthless as he led and had several carriers murdered for slow deliveries and other seemingly minor infractions. As the body count increased, Canadian law enforcement took notice. By 1957, Canada deported Galante to the United States after trying unsuccessfully to charge him with ordering the murders.

After losing the luxury of Canada to import the drugs, in October 1957 held a meeting in Italy to develop a new system. Several American mobsters including Lucky Luciano, and Sicilian Mafioso led by Giuseppe Genco Russo attended the meeting. In the end, the agreement was for the Sicilian mafia to import the drug and for the Bonanno’s to distribute. Galante brought several Sicilian Mafioso back tot eh states with him as bodyguards in an effort to protect the drug trade from renegade American mafia.

May 18th, 1960 Galante was indicted on several narcotics charges. His trial started in November of the same year, but due to several juror “dropouts” the judge was forced to declare a mistrial, and although he couldn’t prove Galante was a part of the sudden juror disloyalty to the court, he sentenced Galante to twenty days in prison for contempt of court anyway. Galante’s second trial started in 1962, and on July 1, 1962 Galante was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Upon his release, Galante returned to new faces in the Bonanno family. Joseph Bonanno had been forced to retire by The Commission, one of his enemies Frank Costello (who Galante planned on murdering when he was released) had died, and Philip Rastelli was boss of the family. However, Rastelli was soon sent to prison and Galante seized effective control of the family. As a former underboss, Galante considered himself the rightful successor to Joseph Bonanno.

The 1970’s were an active time for Galante. He’d missed several years in the can and came back with a vengeance. His drug business was still active however a shell of the multi million dollar empire Galante ruled before prison. His archrivals, the Gambino family had taken over much of the drug business and Galante saw it fit to begin taking it back. By 1978 Galante had organized at least 8 murders of high-ranking Gambino family members who were deep into the drug business. His murders did not go unnoticed with the other four families in New York. Many began to think Galante was becoming to brazen touting he would never be killed because other families didn’t have the guts. By 1979 all four families and even exiled Bonanno boss Joseph Bonanno agreed Galante had to go. The Commission then ordered Galante’s execution.

Carmine “Cigar” Galante

Joe and Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant was located in Bushwick, Brooklyn and owned by Galante’s cousin Giuseppe Turano. On July 12, 1979 Galante, his two Sicilian bodyguards, Leonard Coppola, a Bonanno capo, and Giuseppe Turano dined for lunch on the outdoor seating area, when at 2:45 pm, three ski masked men entered the restaurant, stepped onto the patio and open fired on Galante, Coppola, and Turano killing them instantly. Galante took a shotgun blast point blank to the face and chest, while the two bodyguards who were also at the table were spared as the gunmen exited the building. Among the reported murderers were Richard “the Iceman” Kuklinski, the self reported murderer of his good friend and former teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, and Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano, who was portrayed by Michael Madsen in the 1997 movie Donnie Brasco. After the murders Alphonse “Sonny Red” Indelicato, who participated in the planning, was shown on a surveillance video tape being congratulated by Bonanno family and Gambino family members.

Gaspar DiGregorio – The Banana Boss

Gaspar DiGregorio was a New York Mafia boss who led the Bonanno crime family during the so-called “Bannana Wars” of the 1960s. He played a key role in one of the bloodiest periods in mob history and helped transition his family from its original management to a new generation of leaders.

DiGregorio was born in Sicily in 1905 and immigrated to the United States through Canada in 1921. He settled in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. He got his start in crime as a bootlegger, and it was in that trade that he first met his future boss and enemy, Joseph Bonanno, as well as other key mobsters on the way up.

 

The mob wars of the late 1920s opened a door to organized crime for DiGregorio. In the final years of Prohibition, the New York Mafia was largely divided between two men: Joe Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano. Each had allies, and each wanted the same thing: total control of the mob.

Most of the up-and-coming gangsters sided with Maranzano. They included Bonanno, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and Meyer Lansky. The Castellammarese War was long and bloody, but the Maranzano organization was better equipped. DiGregorio fought for the winning side.

The hostilities finally ended in 1931, when Masseria was murdered in a Coney Island restaurant. That put Maranzano in charge, and he proceeded to divvy the mob into its present structure.

 

Maranzano cut America’s organized crime network into 24 pieces, with each “family” electing its own boss. Beneath the boss would be the underboss, then the caporegime, or lieutenant, and beneath him the soldier. New York would have five families: Maranzano (now Bonanno), Luciano (now Genovese), Mangano (now Gambino), Gagliano (now Lucchese) and Profaci (now Colombo).

At the top of it all would be the capo di tutti capi, or boss of bosses. Maranzano appointed himself to this position.

But he didn’t hold it for long. He may have been victorious in the Castellammarese War, but another battle was brewing, and he was on the losing side. Maranzano was a Mustache Pete, an old-school Sicilian who believed in ethnic barriers and liked to raid the till.

The men who worked for him, particularly Luciano, were Young Turks who believed in business above all, even if that meant working with Jews and other ethnic groups. Maranzano knew the Young Turks were trouble, so he arranged a hit, but Luciano got wind of it, and Maranzano was rubbed out in 1931.

That made Joe “Don Peppino” Bonanno the boss of Maranzano’s family, the youngest don in New York, and gave DiGregorio a leg up too. Bonanno gave him his own crew and appointed him capo.

 

DiGregorio led a relatively quiet but productive criminal life for the next 30 years. He hoped to become consigliere someday. He married the sister of Buffalo don Stefano Magaddino and was best man at Bonanno’s wedding. He was godfather to Bonanno’s oldest son, Salvatore “Bill” Bonanno.

But eventually Bonanno began to resent his fellow Mafia bosses and believed he was entitled to outrank them. So he cooked up a coup d’état of epic proportions: He hired hit man Joseph Colombo to rub out three New York bosses and one in Buffalo so he could climb to the top.

Colombo, however, knew he would die if he carried out the job, so he ratted Bonanno out to the other bosses. Bonanno quickly went underground, and in October 1964, he faked his own kidnapping. In his absence, he appointed his son, Bill, boss.

The other bosses refused to acknowledge that arrangement, however, and put DiGregorio in charge of the family. Open mob war erupted on the streets of New York as a result.

 

One half of the Bonanno family favored the old boss and fought tooth and nail to restore him. The others agreed that Joe Bonanno had reached for too much power, and fought just as hard to stop him.

DiGregorio was trying to put down the opposition and keep Bill Bonanno out at the same time. Bodies began to pile up, and the bosses feared the feds might jump in and cause more trouble for everyone. They called a truce meeting at a house in Brooklyn.

DiGregorio prepared for Bill Bonanno’s arrival with sniper’s nests. Bill, whose father had taught him to be paranoid, parked a block away, spotted a gunman, and managed to escape after an intense firefight.

Joe Bonanno finally reappeared in 1966 and tried to stop the killing. But his demand that his son be allowed to lead the family was too much for the other bosses, still outraged at his assassination attempt. They insisted DiGregorio stay in power, and the war continued.

 

After more months of bloodletting and no settlement in sight, the bosses began to tire of DiGregorio. The war wasn’t ending and he wasn’t getting the job done. They wanted the Bonanno faction dead or subdued.

So they pulled the plug and got behind mobster Paul Sciacca as the new boss of the Bonanno family. With no support, DiGregorio was effectively shut out of the Mafia after leading one of its most important families through a period of turmoil and bloodshed.

The Banana Wars finally ended in 1968, when Joe Bonanno reappeared and suffered a heart attack, then retired to Arizona. His permanent departure from the scene squelched the last of the Bonanno faction in the family and united leadership behind Sciacca.

DiGregorio spent the last years of his life with his family on Long Island. He died June 11, 1970, of lung cancer in Smithtown, N.Y. He is buried at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero – A True Account of Al Pacino’s “Lefty” in Donnie Brasco

Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero also known as “Lefty Guns, and “Lefty two Guns” was born in the Fourth Ward neighborhood of Little Italy, Manhattan on April 19, 1926. Ruggiero joined the Bonanno crime family at a young age serving as a street soldier under Michael Sabella. Ruggiero lived in an apartment complex called Knickerbocker Village located on Monroe Street. He had a fascination with fish and had several fish tanks with both salt and fresh water inside his apartment. A close friend of Ruggiero name Tony Mira also lived in the complex and is the person responsible for introducing Ruggiero to undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone who was known by his alias on the streets as Donny “Don the Jeweler” Brasco, an unconnected jeweler who peddled in stolen jewelry. Of course it was all a ruse conducted by Pistone and the FBI to infiltrate the mob. As a Bonanno soldier Ruggiero was prolific in bookmaking, extortion, and loansharking. He was also deeply involved as a Bonanno enforcer.  Being a mobster was Ruggiero’s life. In response to Brasco’s question on why he liked being a gangster Ruggiero said “Donnie, as a wiseguy you can lie, you can cheat, you can steal, you can kill people – legitimately. You can do any goddamn thing you want and nobody can say anything about it. Who wouldn’t want to be a wiseguy?” It was this type of mindset and that earned Ruggiero the reputation of being a feared Mafioso and killer. He earned the nickname “Lefty” from throwing dice using his left hand. He earned “Two Guns” because he always brought two guns to a hit. Often times the guns the mob used for hits were old and abused; usually something they picked up off the street that had little value. Because of this, the guns would misfire often and Ruggiero knew that. During his time in the mob, Ruggiero claimed to have clipped nearly 30 people. He had also acquired massive debt due to a gambling dependency. He lost much more than he won and by 1977 he owed more than $160,000 to another Bonanno soldier Nicholas Marangello who he borrowed money from after losing bets. Before Ruggiero could be fully admitted as a “made man” to the Bonanno’s he was required to pay back his debt. Over a small period of time he did, and became a made man in late 1977.

Johnny Depp and Al Pacino as Donnie Brasco and Left Ruggiero in the 1997 hit movie Donnie Brasco

Mira introduced Ruggiero to Donnie Brasco in 1977. In a short amount of time Brasco and Ruggiero became close. Ruggiero introduced Brasco to the life of a mafia associate and introduced him to several made members. In exchange Brasco started working for Ruggiero, placing bets and helping him make collections for the bookmaking operation in Ruggiero’s social club. In 1979 the Bonanno crime family began to implode. In July, Bonanno boss Carmine “Cigar” Galante, who was thought to be untouchable, was murdered. This immediately created a vacuum at the top leadership of the family. Imprisoned Rusty Rastelli was appointed the new boss of the Bonanno’s. However, realizing his reign would not last, several caporegimes started maneuvering for the top spot. Strife within the family built quickly with crews taking sides behind the top capo’s. One such person was Ruggiero capo Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano who was played by Michael Madsen in the 1997 hit movie Donnie Brasco. Sonny Black stood behind Rastelli and led a war against Bonanno capo’s Caesar Bonventre, Philip “Philip Lucky” Giaccone, Dominick “Big Trin” Trinchera and Alphonse “Sonny Red” Indelicato. Behind Sonny Black was his main crew including Brasco and Ruggiero. Ruggerio knew Sonny black would give him the contract to whack out the three capo’s so he stayed close and was available to Sonny Black 24 hours a day.

On May 5, 1981 the three capo’s were called to a meeting to work out a truce with Sonny Black standing in for Bonanno boss Rastelli. They were never seen alive again.  According to Pistone, the murderers were Sonny Black, Joe Massino, Sal Vitale, Joseph DeSimone, Nicholas Santora, Vito Rizzuto, Louis Giongetti, Santo Giordano and Gerlando Sciascia. Ruggiero and John Cersani were lookouts, and were sent in after to clean up the massacre and dispose of the bodies along with Napolitano, James Episcopia and Robert Capazzio. After hearing of the murders from Pistone, the FBI decided to end the operation. FBI agents visited Ruggiero and Napolitano and informed them of Pistone’s true identity. After the FBI left, surveillance tapes caught the men talking about the hit show ‘candid camera’ and how the FBI plays games with them to start problems within the family. However safe they felt, Napolitano was obligated to look into the FBI claims that Pistone was an agent. On August 17, 1981 Napolitano was summoned to house for a meeting about Pistone. When he arrived he was thrown down the stairs to the basement and murdered for allowing the FBI to infiltrate their family. (In the movie Donnie Brasco, It’s Ruggiero who is killed, but it wasn’t true.) Shortly after the murder of Sony Black Napoliano the FBI than picked up chatter that a contract was put out on Ruggiero. Knowing Sonny Black was gone; the FBI couldn’t afford to lose another top man. . On August 30, 1981, the FBI picked up Ruggiero on his way to a meeting at Marangello’s social club where he was expected to have been murdered. The FBI quickly offered Ruggiero a safety net with witness protection in exchange for his testimony against the Bonanno family. Citing Omerta, as he did many times before to law enforcement, Ruggiero refused to testify. In 1982, Ruggiero was charged with violations of the RICO act. He was charged with conspiring to murder the three capos in New York, distributing methaqualone, committing extortion, planning a bank robbery, and illegal gambling. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Upon hearing of his refusal to testify the Bonanno’s and Mafia Commission canceled the contract on his life and gave him a “pass”. While in prison Ruggiero was rumored to have been offered up to one million dollars for his story from writers and movie producers. He declined every interview and all the money. He was true to his oath and would not divulge anything about the mafia to anyone.

Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero in 1994 shortly before his death

Benjamin “Lefty Guns” Ruggiero in 1994 shortly before his death

In 1992 he was released from prison. Officially retired from the mob he lived for a short time and died on November 24, 1994 from lung and testicular cancer. The cancer was largely attributed to chain smoking English Oval cigarettes for most of his life. He was 68 years old.

Alphonse “Sonny Red” Indelicato – Murdered by the Napolitano Crew

Alphonse “Sonny Red” Indelicato was born in New York City on February 25, 1931. His family name came from Siculiana, Agrigento, Sicily, however he never once visited. Indelicato was the father-in-law to Bonanno associate Salvatore Valenti and the ex-son-in-law of Bonanno capo Charles Ruvolo. He was also related to Gov. of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis’s education adviser Gerald Thomas Indelicato, and a worldwide heroin trafficker Giuseppe Indelicato. Indelicato married Margaret Elizabeth McFadden and had one son, Bruno, who he introduced to “this thing of ours”.

Indelicato was charismatic, opinionated, dangerous, and ruthless. He had a tattoo on his left arm of two hearts in a dagger and another tattoo on his right arm which said “Holland 1945”. The meaning of the second tattoo is unclear. He wore bright clothing, orange T-shirts, striped track suits, multicolored socks, garish casual clothing. He wore large tinted sunglasses and walked with a swagger in a pair of custom-made red leather cowboy boots, which some say is where he received his nickname “Sonny Red”.

Indelicato was a particularly violent man; he once drove an ice pick through man’s chest and into the wood floor below, requiring a tire iron to pry the body from the floor. Indelicato was involved in several murders and attempted murders. On December 26, 1951 Indelicato was involved in a shooting at a social club, one man died and another was wounded. The wounded man identified Indelicato as the shooter. He was convicted of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to 12 years at Sing Sing state penitentiary in New York. After serving almost the entire 12 years Indelicato was released in 1966 and placed on a lifetime parole due to his major involvement with organized crime narcotics distribution, a label handed down from a previous conviction of possession of heroin in 1950. Due to the parole restrictions Indelicato was prevented from attending the wedding of Sicilian mob boss Giuseppe Bono. Had it not been for the restrictions, skipping a mob bosses wedding, could easily equate to disrespect and result in murder, however Indelicato had a pass.

As a Bonanno caporegime Indelicato had a strong power base comprised of other caporegime’s and soldiers of the Bonanno crime family that were unhappy with Bonanno boss Philip Rastelli and his leadership. Over a period of 15 years, Indelicato gain the support of four other capo’s with each controlling 6 to 12 Bonanno soldiers, Indelicato was a powerful force. He was often moody and disrespectful towards Rastelli and frequently disrespected Rastelli capos Joseph Massino and Dominick “Sonny black” Napolitano who were aligned with Rastelli.

In 1974, Bonanno boss Philip Rastelli was sent to prison just as former Bonanno boss Carmine “The Cigar” Galante was being released from prison after serving a lengthy prison sentence. Upon his release Galante felt he was owed the position of boss of the Bonanno’s and use all his power to push Rastelli aside. One of his first orders of business was to take over the heroin market and to shut out all the other families from the profits. As his allegiance grew, Galante was isolating himself from the other families who were growing more frustrated with his antics by the day. When Galante declared war on the Genovese and Gambino families the commission decided enough was enough and Galante had to go. After approving a hit on Galante and receiving the okay from the original father of the Bonanno’s, Joe Bonanno, the hit on Galante was set in motion.

On July 12, 1979, Dominick Napolitano, Dominick Trinchera, and Anthony Indelicato entered Joe and Mary’s Italian-American restaurant at 205 Knickerbocker Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn carrying shotguns and pistols. They walked through the front door, across the restaurant floor to the outdoor patio, were Galante sat with Bonanno capo Leonard Coppala, restaurant owner/cousin Giuseppe Turano, and to Sicilian bodyguards. The self-proclaimed untouchable, Carmine Galante took a direct shotgun blast to the face. Coppala and Turano were also killed. The bodyguards, who did nothing to protect Galante were unharmed; a possible hint that the contract to kill Galante was worldwide.

After Galante’s murder, Indelicato sensed a vacuum and attempted to take over as boss of the Bonanno’s however, Sonny “Black” Napolitano and other Rastelli loyalist prevented the takeover. As Rastelli finished his prison sentence, Napolitano temporarily took the reins of the family as acting street boss.

Although Indelicato had a large force of Bonanno caporegime’s and soldiers behind him, he was reluctant to start a civil war and offered to sit down with Napolitano and the other capo’s who backed Rastelli to try and reach a compromise, but then meeting never took place.

The Three Capos -Giaccone,Trinchera, and Indelicato On May 5, 1981 at Brooklyn’s Embassy Terrace a second meeting was set. With tensions high, Indelicato ordered his men to spread themselves out around the city to prevent them from retaliating if the meeting went badly. According to a Bonanno capo who was present before Indelicato and caporegime’s Lino, Giaconne, and Trinchera left for the meeting, Indelicato said, “if there is shooting, everybody is on their own, try to get out.”

Indelicato and his men were led to a storeroom in the restaurant by Gerlando Sciasica, a neutral Bonanno caporegime. When the men entered Salvatore Vitale and two other Bonanno gunmen stepped out of the closet and said, “don’t anybody move, this is a stickup”. Indelicato, Giaccone, and Trinchera were gunned down by shotgun blasts and pistol fire. Indelicato ran for the exit but was killed with a shotgun blast to his back. Sciasica was left unharmed.

According to FBI agent Joseph “Donnie Brasco” Pistone, the men involved in the killing were Napolitano, John Cersani, Joseph Massino, Indelicato’s brother-in-law Vitale, Joseph DeSimone, Nicholas Santora, Vito Rizzuto, Louis Giongetti, and Santo Giordano. Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero and Cersani were lookouts and help dispose of the bodies along with Napolitano, James Episcopia, and Robert Capazzio. Their bodies were buried in a vacant lot used by the Gambino family as a graveyard.

Fearing reprisals from Indelicato’s son Anthony, Massino wanted him killed, so the Rastelli faction gave the contract to Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero and protégé FBI agent Joseph Pistone, a.k.a. Donnie Brasco. This contract sealed Pistone’s removal from undercover duty and started the downfall of Napolitano’s crew.

Sonny “Black” Napolitano was subsequently killed for allowing an FBI agent to infiltrate his crew. Ruggiero was “sent for” and was expected to be murdered as well however, the FBI detained him before he could make it to the meeting. Anthony Indelicato, having later realized he was the target of botch hit was undeterred and took over his father’s crew in the Bonanno family.


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