Vincent Louis “Chin” Gigante – Part II – The Robe

Genovese was a ruthless boss who ruled with an iron fist, but his grip began to loosen throughout the 1960s. He was sent to prison for 15 years in 1959 on what were probably trumped-up heroin charges, and though he maintained technical control of his family, a panel of three other men made the daily decisions.

 Genovese died in prison in 1969, and leadership passed to Philip “Benny Squint”Lombardo, Gigante’s associate from his early years in old Luciano family. Lombardo used front men to act as supposed bosses (and take the hits and prosecutions that frequently came with the job) while he served as the true power. Mob informants and turncoats repeatedly ratted him out as the real head of the Genovese family, but rivals and the feds continued to focus on the patsies.

Lombardo stepped down in 1981 due to failing health, and he handed the reins to Gigante. It marked a stunning transformation: A low-rent boxer and failed hit man had somehow risen to one of the top positions in the American Mafia. Asked about his mental abilities, his brother Louis, the priest, claimed Vincent had once tested at an IQ level of just 69. His mother, told he was a mob boss, responded, “Vincenzo? He’s the boss of the toilet!”

Gigante followed in Lombardo’s secretive footsteps. As he took power, mobster Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno was formally named front boss to draw heat away from Gigante. It worked: The feds focused on Salerno, sending him away for 100 years in 1986 on charges of murder and racketeering.

Jacob K. Javits Center

Jacob K. Javits Center

Gigante used his new position to strengthen the family’s control of organized crime in much of New York City, especially Lower Manhattan. He extended its labor racketeering efforts; took control of projects at the Jacob K. Javits Center and the New York Coliseum; muscled into the drywall, concrete and garbage businesses; exerted more influence over waterfront industries; and expanded gambling and drug trafficking enterprises.

At the same time, Gigante began to restructure the top layers of the mob to insulate himself from his enemies. Like Lombardo, he ran a paranoid operation. At first he followed Lombardo’s lead, using Salerno as a front man, but eventually the FBI caught on, and in event, every gangster in New York knew Gigante was the real don.

With Salerno in prison, Gigante set up a new scheme: He used a so-called “street boss,” Liborio Bellomo, to run the day-to-day business, and a messenger, Dominick Cirillo, to run communications to other Mafiosi. That way, it was harder for the feds to bug him or link him directly to his crimes. He was paranoid, but his tactics worked: Gigante managed to stay free longer than any of his fellow dons, and he was never picked up on a wiretap.

Gigante had little contact with most of his soldiers. He issued orders through his underboss, Venero “Benny Eggs” Mangano, who is still believed to hold that position despite being over the age of 90. He talked only with a small group of close associates. He only spoke in whispers and avoided the phone. Any mention of his name by one of his soldiers was grounds for execution – instead, they were required to point to their chins or make a “C” using their fingers.

Like his predecessors, Gigante had no aversion to violence. He ordered many murders as boss, both in and out of the Genovese families – including the deaths of gangsters in Philadelphia who had killed their boss without his sanction.

Gigante eventually rose to the highest position in the American Mafia (though it’s been unofficial since the 1930s): the “boss of all bosses,” or head of the Commission that governs the five families of New York and the Outfit in Chicago. He was powerful enough, in some instances, to enforce his wishes on other families.

As don, Gigante found himself in frequent legal trouble. But he had a trick up his sleeve, one he had first played in 1969. And it worked surprisingly well: He simply pretended to be crazy.

In his 1969 bribery case, he managed to convince a long roster of psychiatrists, including several elite doctors selected by the government, that he suffered from schizophrenia, psychosis, dementia and other disorders that made him incompetent to stand trial. His mother helped him in his charade.

Vincent Gigante

Gigante in a bathrobe flanked by the F.B.I. in 1990

Gigante, whose antics earned him such nicknames as “The Oddfather” and “The Robe,” kept the ruse going for decades. He would frequently emerge from his mother’s Greenwich Village apartment dressed in pajamas, a bathrobe, or other tattered clothes and briefly wander the streets with bodyguards before stopping by a local Mafia headquarters to play pinochle and issue orders.

He pulled out the stops on his insanity game in the early 1990s, when he was indicted on racketeering and murder charges, many of them stemming from the so-called windows case. For a while it worked, but it finally failed him.

Throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s, four of the five New York families had run a cartel of companies that controlled the replacement of windows in New York City Housing Authority buildings. They used bribery and extortion to scam millions off the agency, but the feds finally stopped them using a snitch.

Gigante, like many other mobsters, was indicted in 1990 on racketeering charges, with an added murder beef. But again, he convinced psychiatrists he was unfit to stand trial.

This time, however, things were different. Turncoats were popping up everywhere, including the notorious Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, who testified, along with others, that Gigante was perfectly sane. With the new testimony, Gigante’s ruse didn’t last. In 1997, he stood trial and was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy, though not of murder.

While in prison, Gigante was convicted again, this time on new racketeering charges and obstruction of justice. The feds alleged he was still running the family from prison and had faked mental illness to delay his previous trial.

Gigante could see the rats gathering around him and pleaded guilty on April 7, 2003. He even admitted his madness was an elaborate sham, and had been for the past 30 years. In exchange for what many considered abject surrender by a don, he received just three more years added to his sentence. He also secured lighter punishment for his son, Andrew, who was convicted for running mob messages.

The deal was meant to spare Gigante a death in prison, but it didn’t do much good. He began to fall apart in late 2005 and was transferred from prison to a private hospital. When he began to recover, he was returned to a prison facility. He died there on December 19, 2005. His remains are buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

To this day, Gigante’s relatives and associates are deeply ensconced in lucrative union jobs on the New Jersey waterfront, where they earn millions of dollars.

Frank Costello – Prime Minister of the Mob Part I

Frank Costello was one of the most notorious Italian Mafia bosses in American history, with a reach that covered a vast national racket and extended deeper into politics than any other. He was dubbed the “Prime Minister of the Underworld” and led an organization nicknamed the “Rolls-Royce of organized crime.”

Born in 1891 in Lauropoli, a village on a mountain in Calabria, Italy, Costello was originally named Francesco Castiglia, a moniker he changed years later to avoid the stigma of Italian organized crime. At the age of four, he, his mother and his older brother, Edward, immigrated to the United States to join their father, owner of an Italian grocery in East Harlem.

Frank Costello joined the criminal underworld at a young age: His brother, Edward, introduced him to local gangsters by the time he was a teenager. By the age of 13, Frankie, as he now called himself, belonged to a gang and began committing petty crimes. But he rose fast, and he was soon running the 104th Street Gang.

He skated on several early crimes. At 14 he robbed the landlady of the tenement building where he lived with his parents, but he gave the police a phony alibi, and they bought it. He notched his first arrest in 1908, on charges of assault and robbery. He was charged with the same crime in 1912, but he got off clean both times.

Then in 1915, he did 10 months of a 12-month prison sentence on a firearms beef. When he got out, he made a decision to stop committing violent crime himself and focus on more lucrative enterprises. It was the last time he would be behind bars for 37 years despite a life full of crime, and he later claimed it was the last time he carried a gun.

Costello began making lasting ties in the world of the Mafia as soon as he was released. But they were often unusual friendships involving gangsters outside the closed ranks of the Italian-American mob.

He married a Jewish girl, Loretta Geigerman, almost unheard of for an Italian Mafioso. He would eventually become friends with such Jewish mobsters as Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Louie “Lepke” Buchalter and Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein.

But one of his earliest and most important relationships developed while he was doing work for the Morello family, an early New York Italian gang founded by Giuseppe “The Clutch Hand” Morello. The Morello gang, a predecessor of today’s Genovese crime family, was known for the scope of it power and the ruthlessness of its violence.

It was through that gang that Costello met Sicilian-American Charles “Lucky” Luciano, a racketeer in the Little Italy neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Luciano, who would one day come to run the Morello family, introduced Costello to Vito “Don Vito” Genovese (also a future boss and the namesake of the modern family), Tommy “Three-Finger Brown” Lucchese (future boss and namesake of the Lucchese family), Siegel and Lansky.

 

Costas Mandylor

Frank Costello – (second from right) portrayed by actor Costas Mandylor in the 1991 movie Mobsters.

Luciano’s friendship with Costello – not to mention their partnerships with Jewish gangsters – didn’t sit well with the older, more traditional Mafiosi with whom Luciano associated at the time. They viewed Costello as an outsider because he wasn’t Sicilian, even referring to him as the “dirty Calabrian.”

Nonetheless, these young men formed a tight circle, going to work for themselves in burglaries, extortion, armed robbery, gambling, and drug trafficking. But the real money started flowing with the advent of Prohibition and the Volstead Act, which made alcohol illegal – and immensely profitable. They partnered with Rothstein, who provided the initial funding.

Chicago is notorious for its corrupt ties between pols and organized crime, especially during the 1920s. But there was plenty of crooked money flowing in New York City, too. During the height of Prohibition, Costello and his cronies were forking over an estimated $100,000 a week in protection money to politicians, judges, district attorneys and police.

Even the New York City Police commissioner, Grover Whalen, was in the pocket of the Mafia. When the stock market tanked in 1929, Costello was forced to advance Whalen $30,000 to cover his margin calls.

All told, Costello, Luciano, Siegel and Lansky were pulling down $4 million a year in pure alcoholic profit – nothing compared to the $100 million in annual profit generated by the Chicago Outfit under Al Capone, but plenty when the fragmented nature of New York’s Mafia is taken into account.

Around this time, at Luciano’s urging, Frank changed his name from Castiglia to Costello, which is Irish. “When we got up into our ears in New York politics, it didn’t hurt us at all that we had an Italian guy with a name like Costello,” Luciano later said.

Rothstein was murdered in late 1928 over a gambling debt, and Costello and Luciano decided to leave the freelance life. They signed up with Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria, head of the old Morello family.

Masseria had taken over the organization and expanded it while Morello languished in prison, and he was now engaged in a bitter contest with the crime family run by Salvatore Maranzano (later known as the Bonanno family). This feud would soon erupt into outright war and enhance Costello’s place in the New York underworld.

The so-called Castellammarese War (made famous by The Godfather) erupted when Masseria ordered Genovese to assassinate the leader of a Brooklyn gang that was associated with Maranzano’s outfit. Retaliatory murders on both sides soon spread as far as Chicago.

In part to bring an end to the killing and in part because they knew Masseria disapproved of Costello’s non-Sicilian background, Luciano and Costello turned coat and flipped sides along with Genovese and Lucchese. They conspired with Maranzano to execute Masseria.

The deed was done in an Italian restaurant in Cony Island on April 15, 1931. Masseria was playing cards when (according to legend) Luciano got up to use the bathroom. Four men, including Siegel and Genovese, burst in and gunned Masseria down. No witnesses came forward and one was charged.

With Masseria gone, Luciano took the reins of the Morello family. He named Genovese his underboss and made Costello his consigliere.

Maranzano used the opportunity to create the “Commission,” the organization used to this day to manage disputes and handle business among the five crime families of New York City. He also made himself its head, or “boss of all bosses.” But he didn’t hold that job for long.

Vincent Louis “Chin” Gigante – Muscle on Both Ends Part I

Vincent Louis “Chin” Gigante, also known as “The Oddfather” for his largely successful efforts to dodge criminal punishment by faking mental illness, was a one-time boxer who rose from low-level enforcer to become don of one of the infamous “five families” of organized crime in New York City.

Unlike most of his predecessors in the mob, Gigante was born in America. He grew up in a family predisposed to gangsterism, with all but one of his four brothers becoming mobsters in the Genovese crime family; the fourth joined the priesthood.

Vincenzo Gigante was the son of jewel engraver Salvatore Esposito Vulgo Gigante and seamstress Yolanda Santasilia-Gigante, immigrants from Naples who never learned English. Vincent was born in 1928 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a predominantly immigrant community with a heavy Italian-American presence, especially in the Little Italy neighborhood.

Yolanda’s pronunciation of Vincent’s Italian given name, with a stress on the middle syllable (vin-CHEN-zo) gave rise to his nickname. Three of his brothers followed him into the Mafia, including Mario, who is retired as top capo and acting boss. A fourth, Louis, is a retired priest and former member of the New York City Council.

Vincent Gigante

Gigante as a young boxer

Vincent Gigante got his start not as a gangster but as a pugilist. At 16 he dropped out of a vocational high school for textile workers to work in blue-collar jobs and fight as a professional boxer. About the same time, he started running with members of the Luciano crime family, known today as the Genovese family.

Over a boxing career that spanned just three years, Gigante fought 121 rounds in 25 matches, losing only four. He boxed as a light heavyweight, and he lost his first fight, against Vic Chambers in 1944, and his last, against Jimmy Slade in 1947. He fought several times at Madison Square Garden, winning most.

He spent much of this time associating with Philip “Benny Squint” Lombardo, member of the 116th Street Crew in East Harlem, and other powerful gangsters who belonged to the Luciano family. In 1945, Vito “Don Vito” Genovese, who had once been acting head of the family, returned from exile in Italy, and Gigante soon became associated with him.

It was mostly during the late 1940s and early 1950s that Gigante made his name as an earner and enforcer for the family. He was arrested seven times between ages 17 and 25 for various crimes associated with his mob mentors, including firearms beefs, illegal gambling and receiving stolen goods. Most were dismissed, and he never received a sentence longer than 60 days.

But Gigante’s big break came in 1957, when Genovese decided to make a move against the current don, Frank Costello. Charles “Lucky” Luciano had placed Genovese at the head of the family when Luciano went to prison in 1936, but Genovese was forced to abdicate when he fled to Italy to avoid prosecution on a murder charge. In his absence, Costello had taken over. Now that he was back, Genovese wanted Costello gone so he could resume control. Gigante got the job.

On May 2, 1957, Frank Costello was walking to the elevator in his apartment building at the corner of Central Park West and 72nd Street in Manhattan when Gigante stepped out and fired a .38-caliber handgun. The bullet hit Costello in the head.

But Costello moved just as the gun fired, and he was only grazed. Gigante, mistakenly thinking he had killed his target, fled, jumped into a black Cadillac and drove away. Ever a good Mafioso, Costello refused to identify his assailant. A doorman fingered him, but the defense team was able to attack his credibility and get Gigante off.

Unusually for a failed hit, there were few negative consequences for Gigante, aside from the criminal trial. No one tried to rub him out for the failed job, and instead, he continued to rise through the ranks.

Gigante did, however, serve five years in prison in the early 1960s for heroin trafficking, where he shared a cell with Genovese. This strengthened his position within the family even further. Upon his release (he was paroled early after residents of his Greenwich Village neighborhood pleaded with the judge), he was put in charge of the Greenwich Crew by Genovese, rising to caporegime.

Gigante had his hands in several pies. He dealt in loansharking and enforcement, bookmaking, hijacking, extortion, and labor racketeering in the hauling and construction industries. His crew, one of the most powerful in New York, ran organized crime rackets throughout Lower Manhattan. Under his command, they dominated the scene for more than a decade, starting in the late 1960s.

The reach of the Greenwich Crew wasn’t strictly limited to Downtown. Mario Gigante, Vincent’s older brother, spread the group’s influence to the Bronx, Yonkers and Westchester County. Vincent Gigante employed other members of his family, including sons Andrew and Vincent Esposito.

Gigante’s work for the Greenwich Crew under Genovese also marked the beginning of a legal and psychological game that would last more than three decades. He was indicted in New Jersey in 1969 on charges he tried to bribe members of the Old Tappan Police Department to tip him off to surveillance by other police outfits. He got the charges dropped using psychiatric reports that he was mentally unfit to stand trial. He would spend much of the rest of his life elaborately feigning mental illness in order to avoid criminal convictions.

Vito Genovese – Head of the Family

Vito “Don Vito” Genovese was an early boss and namesake of the Genovese crime family in New York. From Prohibition to Apalachin, he used his wits and reputation for violence to help maintain the organization’s place of infamy among the city’s “five families.”

Born in Naples in 1897, Genovese got an early start in crime. Both he and his two brothers, Michael and Carmine Genovese, would grow up to become members of the mob. A cousin, Michael James Genovese, would one day lead the Mafia in Pittsburgh.

Vito Genovese grew up in Italy, where he earned the equivalent of a fifth-grade education before dropping out. At the age of 15, he immigrated to the Little Italy neighborhood of New York with his family, including his parents, Felice and Nunziata Genovese. It was there that he began his career, lifting fruit and other goods from street vendors, and serving as a gofer for local Italian gangsters.

From that small role, Genovese rose to money collector for mobsters involved in the numbers racket. As a young man he met Charles “Lucky” Luciano, another key player in the early years of the American Mafia and one of Genovese’s close friends.

Genovese was climbing further up the ladder by the late 1920s, after doing a year-long stretch in prison for firearm possession. He joined a Brooklyn bootlegging gang run by Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria, where he supplied muscle and other services. Masseria was among the most powerful mobsters in New York and sought to consolidate control over every family in the city.

Never the suave, sophisticated type like his future underboss and replacement, Frank Costello, Genovese was more like notorious Mafioso Alphonse “Al” Capone, known mostly for his violent streak.

In February 1930, Genovese murdered a rival gangster, Gaetano Reina, on Masseria’s orders. Genovese shot Reina in the back of the head with a shotgun outside Reina’s mistress’ house. Masseria quickly used the opportunity to assume control of Reina’s operation. He put a hit out on Maranzano and a bloody gangland feud known as the Castellammarese War erupted.

Not long after Reina’s death and Masseria’s takeover of his outfit, a series of killings began between Masseria and Maranzano, arch-rivals. Allies on both sides of the dispute died in gunfire across New York and as far away as Chicago.

Genovese and Luciano were supposedly on Masseria’s side. But partway through the war, they joined forces, switched sides and secretly plotted with Maranzano to kill Masseria, with the goal of ending the killings – and, as it turned out, taking power themselves.

Masseria was executed on April 15, 1931, at a restaurant in Coney Island, New York. The alleged killers included Genovese and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. Masseria’s murder and other elements of the “Castellammarese

Bugsy Siegal

Bugsy Siegel

War” (named after Maranzano’s base of operations in Castellammarese del Golfo, Sicily) have been the basis of scenes in numerous works of fiction, from The Godfather to Boardwalk Empire.

With Masseria gone, Luciano took control of his rackets, with Genovese placed second in command. At the same time, Maranzano took steps to create a permanent Mafia structure that would prevent future bloodshed – a structure still largely in place today.

The so-called “Commission” established New York’s five families (which later came to be known as the Genovese, Bonanno, Colombo, Lucchese and Gambino families) and individual Mafia organizations in cities elsewhere in the United States. It also placed Maranzano at its head, as the “boss of all bosses.”

The particulars of this arrangement, however, didn’t last long. The heart of the Castellammarese War had been a generational conflict: a battle between old Italian traditionalists and “young Turks” who had new ideas about organized crime. Maranzano still stood for the former. Genovese and Luciano represented the latter.

In September, 1931, shortly after the Commission was established, Maranzano summoned Luciano and Frank “The Prime Minister” Costello to his office. They sensed an ambush and turned the tables on him, sending hit men who gunned him down instead.

Luciano, now head of what would become the Genovese family, rose to become unofficial boss of the Commission as well, taking Vito Genovese to new levels of power with him. It was around this time that Genovese married his second wife (his first died of tuberculosis) after her husband was strangled to death.

In 1934, after cheating a gambler out of $150,000, Genovese murdered a fellow gangster rather than pay him his share of the scam. Two years later, when Luciano was sent away for 30 years on a pandering beef, Genovese took over the family as acting boss.

But in 1937, facing prosecution for the murder, he fled to Italy, handing the reins to Costello. There he set up a new Mafia operation and developed a friendship with fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. He even ordered the hit of an Italian-American newspaper publisher in New York, possibly on Mussolini’s behalf.

As he had during the Castellammarese War, Genovese switched sides when he saw the tides turning. When the Allies invaded Italy in 1943, he offered to help the U.S. Army. They took him up on the offer, though he ended up using his Mafia ring in Italy to steal from the military.

Despite intense pressure throughout the government to let him slide, Genovese was returned to the United States in 1945 to face trial for the 1934 murder. But the witnesses to the crime ended up dead, and he skated.

Anastasia

Albert Anastasia dead on the barbershop floor

Freed in New York in 1946, Genovese was forced to rely on violence to climb back to the top. Willie Moretti, whom he had left second-in-command, was murdered in 1951 for his testimony before Congress, and a botched hit in 1957 convinced Costello to retire. That put Genovese in charge of his own family once again. He then allegedly ordered the hit that killed Albert Anastasia, boss of what is now known as the Gambino crime family, in order to prevent Costello from making a comeback.

Shortly after, he called the infamous Apalachin meeting of well-dressed mobsters at a farm in Upstate New York. When a New York State Police trooper stumbled upon the unusual scene, he called for reinforcements. The gangsters fled in every direction, some running into the woods in three-piece suits and leather shoes. Genovese was stopped and released.

He didn’t stay free for long. Two years later, he was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for allegedly selling heroin on what may have been trumped-up charges. He continued to run the operation, ordering several murders from behind bars.

Don Vito Genovese died of a heart attack in prison – specifically, at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners at Springfield, Missouri – on February 14, 1969. He was 71. His remains are buried in St. John Cemetery in Queens.

Lucky Luciano – Building a Mafia Empire

 Charles “Lucky” Luciano was born Salvatore Lucania on November 24, 1897 in Lercara Friddi, Sicily. He immigrated to the United States in 1906 where his family settled on the Lower East Side of New York where Lucky promptly integrated himself in the neighborhood as a small time hoodlum.

By his 10th birthday, Lucky had been arrested for shoplifting, started his own gang, and his first racket. He charged Jewish kids one penny for protection walking to and from school. If they didn’t pay, he beat them up. Business flourished, with Lucky earning an average of twenty-five cents a week, quite a sum in those days. He earned more each week until he came across a small Jewish boy named Meyer Lansky who fought back. Lansky could throw a punch as well as Lucky. After several loses Lucky concluded Meyer would be best fit on his side and not against. Like minded, Meyer wanted a piece of Lucky’s racket forcing Lucky to double the daily protection cost to two cents per day, per kid.

 In 1916 Luciano, recently released from reform school for peddling narcotics, became the leader of the Five Points Gang where he continued to make a name for himself. Local law enforcement named Lucky in several unsolved murders but didn’t have the evidence to bring about charges.  By 1920, Luciano and the Five Points Gang had grown in members. Joining Lucky was Jewsish gangster Bugsy Siegel, Frank Costello, and Vito Genovese. All but Siegel, would become boss of the future Genovese family.

With the start of prohibition, bootlegging became their number one money maker for the first part of the 1920’s. By the time he reached 28 years old Lucky grossed over 12 million dollars per year, but due to the political costs of paying politicians, law enforcement, and other mafia leaders, he saw little of it. A creative criminal mind, it wasn’t long before Luciano saw an opening to keep more of the wealth for himself and his underworld family. The opportunity came when then powerful crime boss Joe Masseria and rival Salvatore Maranzano became tangled in a war famously called the Castellammarese War. Both Masseria and Maranzano were vying for the top spot in New York and recruited Lucky and his Jewish friends to join them. Luciano allowed both Masseria and Maranzano think he was united with them.

In 1929 Lucky was abducted, beaten, and slashed by a group of men who left him for dead on New York Beach. Hesurvived and later learned from Meyer Lansky that Maranzano was behind the attack. Marazano feared Lucky’s strength and wanted him out of the way. After the attack, Masseria took the event to bring Lucky closer to his side, but it was Lucky who played Masseria. After secret talks with Maranzano (where Maranzano apologized for the attack) Luciano agreed to kill Masseria for the second in command position on Maranzano’s gang. On April 15, 1931 Luciano hired gunmen entered a restaurant and shot Masseria while he ate dinner. Luciano, who accompanied Masseria, had convientiantly left the table for the restroom as the gunmen entered. With Masseria out, the Castellammarese War ended and Salvatore Maranzano declared himself the “Boss of Bosses” and Lucky took his spot as his second in command.

Maranzano didn’t hesitate in reorganizing the gangs in New York. He established five different gangs, he called “families” and appointed a boss for each family. Maranzano appointed Luciano the new boss of the Masseria family renaming it the Luciano Family. In an effort to make sure his family was the strongest, Maranzano also whittled down many of the rackets each former gang had built up and transferred them to his own family. Luciano recognized this but in reality he was biding his time before he made a move for Maranzano. As it turns out he wouldn’t wait long. In early September of the same year Luciano and his second in command Vito Genovese learned of a plot by Maranzano to have them killed. On September 10, 1931 when Luciano and Genovese were asked to meet with Maranzano, Luciano sent five Jewish gangsters posing as FBI agents to Maranzano’s office instead. Maranzano was stabbed and shot before being thrown out of his office window. Several Maranzano soldiers were also found slain that day as Luciano made sure there would be no one powerful enough to stand up against him.With Maranzano dead, Lucky Luciano became the most powerful mobster in the United States.

Lucky Luciano creator of The Commission

Shortly after taking control of New York, Luciano called the leaders of each family in New York and twenty-one other families across the country to a meeting. There Luciano unveiled his creation, a governing body that would lead all of the families across the country. Several of the larger families would get a seat at the table to aid in settling disputes between families, defining territories, and the induction of “made men”. He called this panel “The Commission”. 


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