Colombo Family – The Youngest of the “Five Families”

The youngest of the “Five Families” and the creation of Joseph Profaci in 1928 is the Colombo crime family. Profaci was one of the longest serving mafia bosses in history and ruled virtually unchallenged from 1928 until the late 1950’s. Beginning in 1959 the Colombo family started an internal strife that lasted through three wars until 1983. The first war started in the late 1950’s when Mafioso Joe Gallo, pushed back against Profaci challenging his leadership. This first of three wars lasted until Gallo was imprisoned and Profaci died of cancer. Following Profaci’s death, Joseph Colombo became the new boss.

Crazy Joe Gallo

In 1971 Joe Gallo was released from prison and wasted little time vying for the top spot after the shooting of Colombo. Gallo would face a backlash after the shooting when Colombo supporters lead by Carmine Persico fought back against Gallo and his men. The second war would last four years before Gallo was finally pushed out being exiled to the Genovese family in 1975. After the win, Carmine Persico became the new boss of the Colombo family keeping the families name sake for his mentor. Persico would lead two decades of peace with the family.

In 1991, the third Colombo family war started when acting boss Victor Orena tried to take the family away from the imprisoned Persico. The made men and associates split with some sticking by Persico, and others taking the side of Orena. The war lasted two bloody years with 12 members dead, and Orena imprisoned leaving persico the winner. Persico continues to lead the family as boss in prison today, although there have been several “acting bosses”; Persico still makes the final decisions. Most observers believe as a result of the internal wars the Colombo crime family is the weakest of the five families today.

Early History

Joe Profaci arrived in New York City from Italy in September 1921 as an olive oil importer. He ran his own small gang

that operated mainly in Brooklyn but also spent a considerable amount of time importing olive oil utilizing his contacts from Sicily. As his business grew, he became a recognized name in Brooklyn, and in October 1928 after

Joe Profaci

 

the murder of Salvatore D’Aquila, a vacuum emerged for D’Aquilla’s territory. To prevent a war representative’s of the five most dominant gangs in Brooklyn were called to a meeting in Ohio to divide the territory. One of the five men was Profaci who came away from the meeting with his own family and a significant chunk of territory.

Not long after the D’Aquilla assassination, Joe Masseria proclaimed himself the boss of all bosses. Masseria had competition in the form of Salvatore Maranzano. Their push for the top spot started the Castellammarese War. Profaci kept neutral through the war but secretly sided with Masseria. The war ended when Lucky Luciano and his gang assassinated Masseria on April 15, 1931, and Maranzano on September 10, 1931. With both men gone, Luciano became the most powerful boss in the United States and created The Commission. With the creation of a commission, there would be five independent families in New York and twenty one additional families across the United States each with one seat at the head table.

Joseph Profaci may have been the olive oil and tomato paste king of American, but he was hardly popular with some of the made men in the family. His requests for tribute infuriated some of soldiers and in the late 1950’s, twenty-some years after he became boss, Profaci had his first real test of power. Frank “Frankie Shots” Abbatemarco who ran an illegal policy game began refusing to pay Profaci the monthly tribute he asked for. By the end of 1959 Abbatemarco owed Profaci more than $50,000. Profaci couldn’t allow this to continue so he asked Joe Gallo to murder Abbatemarco. In exchange for the hit, Profaci would hand over the policy racket to Gallo. What Profaci didn’t know was Gallo had been conspiring along with Abbatemarco to take down Profaci.

In November 1959 Abbatemarco was shot and killed by two men. After a breakdown of communication, Profaci recalled the offer to hand over Abbatemarco’s racket to Gallo and thus started the first Colombo family war.

On one side, Profaci and his loyalists, and on the other is the Gallo brothers and the Garfield Boys led by Carmine Persico. After several murders and attempted murders, in 1961 Joe Gallo was sentenced to a long prison sentence and shortly after, Profaci died of cancer. This left Carmine Persico the last man standing who tried to position himself to take control of the Profaci family despite the raging war. It wasn’t mean to be. Within two years Persico escaped two assassination attempts; one car bomb in 1963, and a shooting on May 19, 1963.

Joseph Colombo

In 1963 Bonanno boss Joseph Bonanno and Joseph Magliocco the self proclaimed boss of the Profaci family hatched a plot to take down Carlo Gambino, Tommy Lucchese, Stefano Magaddino of Buffalo, and Frank DeSimone, of Los Angeles. With the four men out of the way, Bonanno, and Magliocco could take over the commission. They gave the contract to Profaci family caporegime Joseph Colombo. Realizing he was in a bad position, Colombo reported the contract to The Commission. Both Bonanno and Magliocco had a choice. Retire, or be killed. Both men retired and The Commission handed the Profaci family over to Joseph Colombo and renamed it the Colombo family. Within a short time, Colombo ended the war.

In 1971 Joe Gallo was released from prison. After losing the first Profaci war to Carmine Profaci, Gallo did not intend on losing another. The Commission warned Gallo that a peace treaty was put in place to stop the first war, but Gallo insisted it did not apply to him because he was in prison. On July 28, 1971, Colombo, who started the Italian-American Civil Rights League, was preparing to speak in front of a large crowd when an African American man jumped from the crowd and shot Colombo three times in the back of the head. Colombo gunmen then open fired on the assassin killing him instantly. Colombo survived the attack but was paralyzed and died seven years later. The Colombo family blamed Joe Gallo for the hit, but it was never proven. Nonetheless, the attack set off the second Colombo war that would last from 1971-1975.

As retribution for the Colombo shooting, Joseph Yacovelli, the new acting boss ordered a hit on Joe Gallo. On April 7, 1972 four gunmen walked into Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy and shot Joe Gallo killing him in front of his family.

His murder touched off another attempted killing when Albert Gallo, one of two Gallo brothers’s sent men to a restaurant in Manhattan where Yacovelli and two other men were dining. The assassins didn’t recognize Yacovelli and shot four innocent diners instead, killing two of them. With an attempt on his life, Yacovelli left New York leaving the acting boss spot open to Carmine Persico.The war continued for several more years until The Commission stepped in 1975 and removed Albert Gallo and his followers from the Colombo family and placed them into the Genovese family. With that move, the second was over.

The Colombo family had a period of calm after the second war. Several acting bosses held the top spot through the seventies and eighties. Carmine Persico the boss of the family was in prison most of that time. He appointed acting bosses while he was gone and then took the family back over as he was released. In 1986 Persico and another man were sentenced on RICO charges and sentenced to 100 years in prison. Persico named Victor Orena as the new acting boss of the Colombo family to take his place.

In 1990 Orena petitioned Gambino Boss John Gotti and the rest of The Commission to declare him the official boss of the Colombo family. After all, Persico would die in prison. The Commission refused his request to try and stave off another Colombo war. It wouldn’t work. Persico heard about Orena’s petition and sent gunmen to Orena house to kill him. He escaped before they arrived. The third Colombo war had begun.

The Colombo war raged on for years. Over 80 associates and made members were sent to prison and

Carmine Persico

twelve people were killed including three civilians. As the war continued The Commission refused to let anyone from the Colombo family sit at the table. They considered dissolving the family and spreading their rackets to the other families too. In 2002 with help from Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino, the Commission allowed the Colombo’s to rejoin them and the war ended. Carmine Persico managed to keep the top spot. Over the next several years he appointed men to acting boss. Alphonse “Little Allie Boy” Persico son of Carmine Persico was the last person to be appointed acting boss. He is currently serving a life sentence.

Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo – Profaci Family Enforcer and Hitman

Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo was born in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York on April 7, 1929 and is one of three sons to Prohibition bootlegger Umberto Gallo. His brother’s Larry and Albert “Kid Blast” Gallo were never deterred from entering a life of crime from their parents. Subsequently each of the brother’s became involved in organized crime.

By 1949 Gallo had earned the nickname Joe the Blond for having a chest full of blond hair that he promoted by wearing unbuttoned shirts. In 1950 Gallo was arrested and sent to Kings County Hospital Center where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. By that time, Gallo was already working with Joe Profaci, boss of the Profaci crime family and future Colombo crime family as an enforcer and hitman.

As an associate of the Profaci family, Gallo was also put in charge of several high stake card games, extorsion rackets, and numbers games. Having a feared enforcer controlling the rackets lessened the odds someone would attempt a takeover or robbery. During this time, the rackets flourished and Gallo , a smart businessman compared to others, put himself in position to own several Manhattan nightclubs and sweat shops and increase his wealth.

In 1957 its alleged Joe Profaci asked Gallo and his crew to murder the boss of the modern day Gambino crime family Albert Anastasia. Carlo Gambino, Anastasia’s underboss wanted to take over as boss of the family after Anastasia’s murderous group became a liability for the family. However, as the leader of Murder Inc., a mafia hit crew attributed to over 200 murders; Anastasia would not be easy to kill.

On October 25, 1957, Anastasia entered the Park Sheraton Hotel barber shop. While he was seated awaiting a shave, two gunmen entered the shop and began firing at Anastasia. Reports say Anastasia lunged at the hitmen’s

Albert Anastasia, founder of Murder Inc.

shadows before falling to the floor dead. The gunmen left the building and were never caught. To this day, there are reports the gunmen were from several other families, but no conclusive evidence has ever surfaced.

In the early 1960’s Gallo was making a run against his old mentor Joe Profaci. Profaci was increasing tributes from the family and Gallo disagreed so he devised a plan to kidnap the entire leadership and use their lives to barter against the increase with the commission. During the kidnap attempt, Profaci escaped, but four of his capo’s and his brother-in-law and underboss Joe Magliocco were captured. According to records, Gallo wanted to kill one of the hostages and demand money before the negotiations began but his brother Larry convinced him otherwise. Within weeks, a deal was met and Profaci reduced the amount of tribute money for the Gallo crew and all the men were released unharmed.

Although peace was negotiated, Profaci wasn’t happy with Gallo forcing his hand and began planning his revenge. In May 1961 Profaci teamed up with Carmine Persico to eradicate the entire Gallo crew. Within days gunmen had murdered Gallo’s top enforcer Joseph “Joe Kelly” Gioelli. His clothes were left at the front door of a restaurant frequented by Gallo and the rest of his crew; a clear message they had a fight on their hands.

In August of the same year, Larry Gallo was next on the list to be killed. He was lured to a Brooklyn supper club where Profaci hitmen including Persico lay in wait. Once he entered the building he was attacked and nearly strangled to death. If it wasn’t for a passing police officer who stopped the attack, Larry would have been killed. This attack officially started a war between followers of the Profaci/Persico team and the Gallo crew who retreated to a safe house on President’s Street.

The remainder of the year was tough on the Gallo crew. They were holed up in their apartment and rarely left without heavy guard. As the year continued, money became a focus for the men as they were not able to collect from their usual rackets. Gallo resorted to extorting money from nearby establishments. Gallo was arrested after trying to extort a local cafe owner. He was subsequently tried and convicted of extortion, and on December 21, 1961 he was sentenced to 7 – 14 years in prison for the crime.

Gallo was released from prison in 1971 after serving 10 years. At his parole hearing an officer at the prison testified for Gallo and described a scene to the court. During a riot the guard was attacked by several inmates. He was certain they would kill him, but before they could, Gallo fought off the attackers and saved the officer’s life. His clean history while serving time and the guard’s story aided in his release.

Upon leaving the prison his then wife remarked how he had become frail and pale while in prison, but not discouraged. He was determined as ever to gain the top spot on the Profaci family now called the Colombo family after the death of Joe Profaci in 1962, and the commission’s appointment of Joseph Colombo Sr. as the new boss.

After Gallo’s release from prison Colombo and Joseph Yacovelli met with him and delivered a gift of $1000. Gallo responded to Colombo that he was no part of the peace treaty the commission had established while he was in prison. He asked for $100,000 to keep the peace. When the commission heard of Gallo’s answer, they immediately issued an order to kill him.

On June 28, 1971 at the second meeting of the Italian-American Civil Rights League, a foundation created by Joe Colombo, a gunman emerged from the crowd and shot Colombo in the head. Colombo bodyguards returned fire killing the assassin later identified as Jerome Johnson an African American. Colombo survived the shooting but maintained a vegetative state until his death years later.

The official police investigation concluded Johnson acted alone and had no ties to organized crime. Despite the police investigation, the mafia commission received word that while in prison Gallo had recruited several African American men to his crew. Johnson was thought to be part one of them. After discussions, the mafia commission increased their intensity to have Gallo killed.

On April 7, 1972 Joe Gallo celebrated his 43rd birthday with his family. The night began at Manhattan restaurant until the early hours of the morning and moved to Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy. In attendance were Gallo’s sister, wife, daughter, bodyguard, and the bodyguard’s female companion. He was spotted by Colombo associate Joseph Luparelli who promptly left the restaurant for a Colombo hangout a few blocks away where he recruited Colombo associates Philip Gambino, Carmine DiBiase, and two other men to kill Gallo.

Umberto’s Clam House the morning of the shooting.

At 4:30 a.m. four gunmen entered Umberto’s Clam House and open fired at Gallo. According to witnesses Gallo pulled a revolver of his own, flipped over a table and returned fire. Over 20 rounds were fired at Gallo. He was hit in the buttocks, elbow, and back. After the gunmen fled Gallo staggered through the front door and collapsed on the street. Some say he was trying to divert the gunmen from his family and friends. Others say he was trying to flee. When police arrived, the badly wounded Gallo was placed in a squad car and rushed to the nearest hospital were he died.

Greg Scarpa, Sr. – “the Grim Reaper” and 30 Year FBI Informant

Greg Scarpa, Sr., was born on May 8, 1928 near Venice, Italy and immigrated to the United States with his parents and brother Salvatore at a young age.

The 1950’s were a busy time for Scarpa. He married Connie Forrest and had four children, maintained a relationship with girlfriend Linda Schiro having two more children, and was introduced to the Colombo crime family by his brother Salvatore.

Scarpa was a successful gangster from the very beginning and it wasn’t long before he became heavily involved in illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion, hijacking, murder, assault, theft, and narcotics trafficking. As a gangster he wore stylish clothes and carried large amounts of cash in his pocket for purchases and bribery. He owned apartments and homes in Manhattan, Florida, Brooklyn, and Las Vegas. As his power grew his reputation for violence and murder grew as well eventually earning him the nickname “the Grim Reaper”. Shiro later said that Scarpa would sometimes leave the numbers “666” on his victim’s pagers.

In March 1962 law enforcement arrested Scarpa for armed robbery. If convicted he would serve a lengthy prison sentence which would certainly cripple his growing empire. As a high ranking member in the Colombo crime family the FBI provided Scarpa with a chance of freedom provided he was willing to give information to them from time to time regarding organized crime. He accepted and became an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a relationship that would last 30 years.

 

** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** FILE ** In this 1964 file photo released by the FBI, the bodies of three civil rights workers are uncovered from an earthen dam southwest of Philadelphia, Miss. The photograph was entered as evidence by the prosecution in the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted in 2005 for three counts of manslaughter in the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. (AP Photo/FBI, File)

** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** FILE ** In this 1964 file photo released by the FBI, the bodies of three civil rights workers are uncovered from an earthen dam southwest of Philadelphia, Miss. The photograph was entered as evidence by the prosecution in the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted in 2005 for three counts of manslaughter in the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. (AP Photo/FBI, File)

In the summer of 1964 three Mississippi Civil Rights workers were reported missing and suspected of being murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. According to Schiro and other sources, the FBI was having trouble finding their graves and recruited Scarpa to help locate them. At the time Scarpa was widely known as an aggressive mafioso and a formidable interrogator. The FBI used Scarpa and his skills to kidnap a TV salesman and known Klansman named Lawrence Byrd who is suspected of having information on the three workers. Scarpa and FBI agents took Byrd to Camp Shelby a local Army base where they severely beat him until he revealed the location of the civil rights workers graves.The FBI never officially confirmed Schiro’s account of the story. Instead investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell and another man claimed a Mississippi highway patrolman named Maynard King provided the grave locations after receiving a tip from an anonymous third party.

 Scarpa was eventually dropped as a confidential informant by the FBI in January1966, but their relationship was renewed in 1980 when FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio approached Scarpa and convinced him to cooperate again.

DeVecchio and Scarpa had a tight relationship that some say involved numerous illegal dealings of cash, jewelry, and gifts. In return DeVecchio provided Scarpa with information about his enemies during the third Colombo war and likely saved his life in the process. The two worked together for over 10 years often meeting alone in apartments or hotels provided by the FBI where they would exchange information. In one such meeting Scarpa gave DeVecchio a hard-to-find Cabbage Patch doll for his daughter just in time for Christmas.

Scarpa was arrested in 1985 and charged with running a major credit card scam. He pled guilty and was awaiting sentence when DeVecchio submitted a memo to the judge that listed all of Scarpa’s contributions to the FBI. Scarpa was eventually sentenced to five years probation with no prison time and a $10,000 fine. He may have gotten off lightly, however some of the Colombo soldiers were surprised at the leniency of the court and suspected Scarpa might have a relationship with the government.

In 1991 the Colombo family was involved in a power struggle. On one was side Colombo boss Carmine Persico and the other, acting boss Victor Orena. During the war Persico loyalist unsuccessfully attempted to murder Orena. Instead of retaliating against the highly protected Persico, Orena sent his men to murder Scarpa who a staunch Persico allie.

November 18, 1991 hitmen converged on Scarpa’s vehicle with guns drawn, but Scarpa managed to drive away before any shots were fired. Scarpa was infuriated at the attempt on his life and over the next several months traveled through Brooklyn looking for Orena loyalists in social clubs and bars. At the end of the war Orena supporters Rosario Nastasa, Vincent Fusaro and James Malpiso were dead. Malpiso was gunned down while hanging Christmas lights on his home.

In 1992 Scarpa, who is in poor health after contracting the AIDS virus from tainted blood, was arrested for violating state firearms laws and indicted on federal racketeering charges involving three murders. He was placed under house arrest awaiting trial.

1990's Greg Scarpa Sr.

1990’s Greg Scarpa Sr.

On December 29, 1992 Lucchese crime family gangsters Michael DeRosa and Ronald Moran threatened Scarpa’s stepson Joey over a drug deal. Although he was in poor health Scarpa climbed out of bed and drove with Joey to DeRosa’s house to confront the two men. Fearing for their lives a gunfight erupted and DeRosa was shot twice in the chest and Scarpa was shot once in the eye. After arriving at the hospital prosecutors revoked Scarpa’s house arrest and send him to jail.

On May 6, 1993 Scarpa pled guilty to three murders and conspiracy to commit murder. In frail health and blind in one eye he was sentenced to life in prison on December 15, 1993, but the sentence was reduced to 10 years due to his poor health. He died on June 4, 1994 in the Federal Medical Center for prisoners in Rochester Minnesota.

Giuseppe “Joe” Profaci

Giuseppe “Joe” Profaci was born on October 2, 1897 in Villabate a province Palermo, Sicily. His life as a child is mostly unknown but he is suspected of having been associated with the Sicilian mafia and spent one year in a Sicily prison on theft charges.
On September 4, 1921 Profaci boarded ship bound for the United States. That same ship also carried Vincent Mangano, (future boss of the Gambino family) Phillip Mangano and their father. After 17 days at sea, Profaci landed on the shores of the United States and settled in Chicago where he opened a grocery store. . However, the business was unsuccessful and in 1925 Profaci relocated to New York, where he entered the olive oil export business. It was here he received the nickname ‘the Olive Oil king’ making Long Island his territory.
By 1927 Profaci had used his relationship with Vincent Mangano to form his own gang and build relationships with other gang leaders in New York. He expanded his business to include extortion, bootlegging and counterfeiting and by the end of 1928 Profaci became one of the most powerful gangs in New York.
As his power continued to increase, Profaci was one of several men to be invited to a mafia summit at the Statler Hotel in Cleveland on December 5, 1928. Cleveland mafia boss Joseph Porello hosted the meeting. Other attendees included Pasqualino Lolordo, representing Al Capone, and the Chicago Outfit, Profaci’s brother-in-law and underboss Giuseppe Magliocco and Vincent Mangano, then member of the Al Mineo family, and representatives from the Florida mob.
Cleveland police soon noticed or were tipped off about the gathering. Twenty-three men including Profaci were arrested on bootlegging charges from their respective states. Upon hearing of the arrests, Joseph Porello put up the money for bail for all but one of his associates who faced murder charges. Profaci wasn’t fazed by the arrest. He accomplished his goal of becoming a recognized mafia boss and went back to New York to expand his empire.

By 1931 Profaci led a very powerful gang involved in prostitution, loan sharking, narcotics trafficking, and numbers rackets. He remained neutral during the Castellammarese War and was rewarded with his own family during the reorganization led by Lucky Luciano. The Profaci family was also rewarded with a seat at the newly established Commission and was officially recognized as one of the Five Families of New York.

As Profaci grew his empire he was one of a handful of mafia bosses to keep legitimate business on the side to insulate himself from tax evasion charges which were, at the time, a favorite of New York prosecutors. He still maintained his olive oil business and during World War II where Italy was against the United States, olive oil was hard to come by so his business thrived. Over the years, Profaci owned and operated more than 20 legitimate businesses and employed hundreds of people in New York when employment was difficult to come by. He was also very close to the Bonanno family with the two leaders visiting each other often with their families. There relationship was strengthened when Profaci’s niece Rosalie and Salvatore Bonanno, married. Profaci was also related to Detroit leader Vito Tocco after his daughter married Tocco’s son.

Profaci kept several homes with one in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, Miami Beach, Florida, and a 328-acre estate on Long Island that was previously owned by President Theodore Roosevelt. His estate had its own airstrip, and chapel. As a devote Catholic, Profaci gave thousands of dollars to Catholic charities. It is reported Profaci had a thief killed after he stole valuable jeweled crowns from the Regina Pacis Votive shrine in Brooklyn.�

Although he avoided legal trouble most of his life, the 1950’s proved to be tough for Profaci. The IRS sued

Joe Profaci Mausoleum

for 1.5 million in back taxes, and in 1954 the US Department of Justice moved to revoke Profaci’s citizenship. Profaci appealed in 1960 and the decision was reversed ending the legal action. In 1959 federal authorities caught on to Profaci’s drug trafficking having seized crates of hollowed out oranges that Profaci imported from Italy. Inside the oranges authorities found baggies of heroin with a total weight of 110 pounds. Despite having tape a phone conversation with Profaci and another man in Italy, authorities did not have enough evidence to charge him with a crime.

In late 1959 Profaci ordered the murder of Frank Abbatemarco a Profaci associate because he didn’t pay his tribute to the boss. After his murder, Profaci ordered the killing of his son to prevent retribution. Profaci family member Joe Gallo and his two brothers intervened and refused to hand over Abbatemarco’s son in an attempt to take over the family. This led to the Gallo-Profaci war in 1960 where several men were kidnapped and killed. The Gallo brothers were backed by Carmine Persico, an upcoming gangster from the Profaci family and bosses Thomas Lucchese and Carlo Gambino. In May 1961 after a failed murder attempt on Gallo, he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison for extortion. Profaci was the victor. However on June 7 1962, six months after the death of Lucky Luciano, Joe Profaci died of cancer. He is buried at Saint John Cemetery in the Middle Village section of Queens.

Joe Magliocco – 31 year Colombo Family Consigliere

 Giuseppe “Joe” Magliocco was born in Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily in 1898. Magliocco was related by marriage to consigliere and underboss Salvatore Mussachio, Buffalo crime family boss Stefano Magaddino, Bonanno crime family founder Joseph Bonanno, and his closest confidant, Profaci family founder, Joseph Profaci. When he arrived in the United States he quickly took advantage of his relationships and was soon deep into illegal gambling and union racketeering.

On December 5th, 1928 Magliocco and Profaci attended the meeting of New York mobsters at the Statler Hotel, in Cleveland Ohio. The meeting was called to establish new territories for several New York mobsters after Salvatore D’Aquila boss of a powerful Brooklyn gang was murdered. Profaci was one of several bosses to receive territory. However, before the meeting was over, the Cleveland Police raided the meeting detaining several Mafioso including Magliocco who was the only person charged on an unrelated weapons violation.

In 1931, the Castellammarese War began in New York between the two most powerful Italian-American

Magliocco and Profaci

gangs. By the end of 1931, the war was over with both bosses dead, and the New York gangs divided into five crime families supervised by a Mafia Commission; established by Lucky Luciano. As a boss in New York, Profaci was invited to sit on the ruling panel and became one of the five original five family bosses. His first order of business was to name Magliocco as his underboss or second in command. He would be underboss of the Profaci crime family for the next 31 years.

 As Underboss of the Profaci family, Magliocco was invited to the 1957 Apalachin Conference with Joe Profaci. The meeting was a national meeting with an estimated 100 mobsters in attendance. The city of Apalachin wasn’t used to the traffic so when several dozen vehicles passed through town on their way to Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara’s house outside of town, the authorities noticed. Law enforcement assembled a team and raided the meeting. Magliocco and 60 other mobsters were arrested. On January 13, 1960, Magliocco and 21 others were convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to five years in prison. However, an appeals court eventually overturned the convictions. Many say the court and attorneys were bribed, but no one was ever charged.

As the 1950’s came to a close, strife within the Profaci family came to the forefront. Profaci required larger than normal tribute payments to be sent up each week and this upset several high ranking capo’s in the family including the Gallo brothers Joe, Larry, and Albert. The final straw came when Profaci ordered the killing of a Gallo associate Frank Abbatemarco. Business is business, and it’s thought the Gallo’s would have accepted the killing had they received Abbatemarco’s rackets after his death. However, when Profaci didn’t see it that way and distributed Abbatemarco’s rackets elsewhere, the Gallo’s were ready for war.

In February 1961, the Gallos kidnapped Maggliocco, Frank Persico, and then-capo Joseph Colombo. They held the men for several weeks until Profaci agreed to lighten up on the weekly tributes. The Gallo’s then released the three men. Within three months, Profaci reneged on their deal igniting on all out war between Profaci and his followers, and the Gallo’s and their followers.

On June 6, 1962, Profaci died of liver cancer. Magliocco stepped up and became the new acting boss of the Profaci family. However, the Mafia Commission did not endorse him as the new family leader. When Magliocco took over, the Gallo Profaci war was in high gear. There were shootings, bombings, and murder attempts conducted by both sides. Magliocco was no slouch and continued to fight for Profaci after his death. He also wanted to send a message to the other New York families that he was not weak. However, in 1963 with the jailing of Gallo and several associates, the hostilities ended. Magliocco knew it would be difficult for the commission to officially vote him in as the official boss of the Profaci family so when the vote was conducted and Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonanno, a Profaci capo was awarded the family, Magliocco stepped back into his position as consigliere.

In 1963, Bonanno boss Joe Bananas began plotting to take out the leading members of the commission. Bonanno wanted to take over the National Crime Syndicate. He instructed Magliocco to kill bosses Tommy Lucchese, and Carlo Gambino. For his efforts Magliocco would become Bonanno’s right hand man and partially control organized crime in the United States. Magliocco accepted and gave the contract to kill the two bosses to Colombo family boss Joe Colombo. Seeing an opportunity to better his own standing, Colombo accepted the contract and instead of carrying it out, he went to the commission and ratted Magliocco and Bonanno out.

Upon hearing the news, the commission “sent for” – means to request your attendance to a meeting, where you may not come back alive – Magliocco and Bonanno. Knowing they were likely to be killed for trying to take out the leadership Bonanno quickly went into hiding. Magliocco however, was old school Mafioso. He accepted the request for a meeting and faced the commission and men he was supposed to have killed. He confessed to his role and accepted his punishment, whatever that may be. By this time, Magliocco was in failing health; he had several aliments and was not much of a threat. The commission spared his life, as he wouldn’t live much longer anyway. They fined him $50,000 and asked him to step down as consigliere and go into retirement. Magliocco agreed.

 On December 28, 1963, Joseph Magliocco died of a heart attack related to high blood pressure. He is buried in Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. In 1969 acting on a tip, the authorities exhumed Magliocco after over hearing Florida DeCavalcante crime family boss, Sam DeCavalcante suggest Magliocco was poisoned by Joe Bonanno. After testing was completed, it was determined no traces of poison were found in the body and it was re-interred at Saint Charles. After his death, Joseph Colombo succeeded Magliocco as boss and renamed the family.


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