THE MUSTACHE PETE’S : - [NATIONAL].
Giuseppe DiCarlo [Don Pietro].
Born in 1873 in Vallelunga Sicily, and probably a member by the mid-1890’s. Believed to have associated with known Mafioso Isadoro Crocevera in Palermo, before he emigrated to America in 1905. Was going to his brother-in-law Pasquale Enea, another notorious Mafioso, who lived on Oliver Street in Manhattan. He settled in Harlem, and opened a grocery store on Elizabeth Street. Some sources allege he associated with early Mafia powers Ignazio Lupo and Giuseppe Morello. He then moved to Brooklyn, before relocating to Buffalo in 1908. There he opened a food import company, and another grocery. With his powerful connections he soon became a leader within the Sicilian community. The police suspected him of involvement in Black Hand extortion. In 1911 Angelo Palmeri arrived in Buffalo, and married DiCarlo’s cousin . They soon became partners in a saloon, and Palmeri became his closest associate. In 1916 Palmeri moved to Niagara Falls, and gained control of that area for the Family. DiCarlo suffered from ill health during the late 1910’s. In 1919 his wife died, and her funeral attracted many known Mafiosi from around the country. Among these were Orazio Tropea [Chicago], Giuseppe Aiello [Utica] and Giovanni Vitale [Detroit]. In 1920, his old friend Crocevera was killed, while in the company of DiCarlo’s son Joseph in Buffalo. DiCarlo’s health continued to decline, and he asked Stefano Magaddino to take over the Family, but he refused. Finally DiCarlo died in 1922, Magaddino succeeded him and DiCarlo’s sons Joseph and Salvatore became members.
Angelo Palmeri [Buffalo Bill].
Born in Castelammare del Golf a Mafia infested town in Trapani Province Sicily in 1878. This area produced many Mafiosi who provided a network stretching from Brooklyn- Buffalo-Philadelphia-Detroit to California. He came to America in 1906, and settled on Stanton Street in Manhattan. His activities in his early years in NYC are unknown. He seems to have returned to Sicily at some point, as he re-entered the USA in 1909. In 1911 he moved to Buffalo, lived in the DiCarlo home and opened a saloon. Two years later he married into the DiCarlo family, and soon became Giuseppe DiCarlo’s partner and right hand man. In 1915 he was arrested for assaulting a policeman, and the following year relocated to Niagara Falls. Here he became the leader of the Buffalo Families faction, and opened fruit and cigar stores. His colourful street name came from his wearing a large Stetson hat. Among his regime were Sam Rangatore and Simone Burruso, and in 1920 he was joined by his brother Paul. He became a naturalized citizen in 1918. The police arrested him for the murder of Emilio Gnazzio in 1921. With Giuseppe DiCarlo’s death in 1922, Palmeri moved back to Buffalo to run the Family. However the Family members chose Stefano Magaddino as the permanent leader, leaving Palmeri to run the Buffalo faction. He was arrested again in 1923 for involvement in the Joe Pattitucci murder. Palmeri’s address was used by several NYC Mafiosi [Maranzano, D’Aquila, ect.] for gun permits in the 1920’s. With the rise of Magaddino in NYS, and Salvatore Maranzano in Brooklyn, Palmeri’s influence decreased. Inactive during the “Castellammarese War”, he remained the underboss until an arrest for Perjury in 1931. The following year he was found dead of natural causes in his car. His brother Paul moved to New Jersey in the mid-1930’s, while Pauls sons joined the Gambino Family.
Born in 1889 in Castellammare Sicily into a staunch Mafia family. His Mother was a Palmeri, so when he came to America in 1907, he had plenty of connections. He settled on North 5th Street , in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. This was the heart of the Castellammarese community, which was in turmoil because of a vendetta dating back many years in Sicily. In 1914 he appeared as a defence witness in the trial of fellow Castellammarese the Ruffino brothers, and Giuseppe Masseria. Mazzara, and his brother Antonio, were part of the ruling Bonventre-Magaddino-Bonanno faction, in opposition to the Buccellato’s. The Mazzara’s were in-laws of the DiBenedetto family, and in 1917 Antonio Mazzara and Antonino DiBenedetto were killed in Brooklyn by the Buccellato’s. The ruling faction, which was known as the”Good Killers”, struck back both in Brooklyn and Detroit. Mazzara relocated to Buffalo in 1920, and with his Palmeri connections became a power in the local Cosca. He opened a Cafe, with his partner Giuseppe DiBenedetto [the brother of Antonino], and became a commission agent. In 1924 he was a witness to Joseph DiCarlo’s marriage to a Pieri. He also became head of the local Castellammarese Society. Among his associates were Angelo Puma, Salvatore Lagattuta, Joseph DiCarlo, and Salvatore Sabella, the head of the Philadelphia Family who used Mazzara’s address on a 1925 gun permit. In 1927 Mazzara was ambushed and killed, the suspects being a gang from Cleveland. His in-law Giuseppe DiBenedetto was killed two years later in Buffalo.
Rocco Perri [King of the Bootleggers].
Born in Plati Calabria in 1887, he landed in America at Boston in 1903. He lived for five years in NYS, before moving to Canada in 1908. He settled in Hamilton amongst a Calabrian community, and started an Italian food import company. The Calabrians had their own criminal organization called the Nrangheta, and Perri was probably a member in the 1920’s. He started bootlegging during the 1910’s in Canada. The coming of Prohibition in the USA in 1920, allowed him to build a large cross border smuggling operation. Among his associates were the Papalia, Bordonaro and Sylvestro families, as well as rival factions run by the Scaroni and Serriani brothers. His main customers were the Magaddino Family in NYS, and various NYC gangs. By the mid-1920’s Perri had eliminated the Scaroni’s from Guelph, and become the dominant power in Canada. He took a fall in 1928, when he was jailed for Perjury, but was soon back in control. In 1930 his wife, who was reputed to be the financial brains of the gang, was killed in their garage. By the end of Prohibition in 1933, he had moved into Narcotics and various other rackets. But his influence was declining, with the Magaddino Family expanding into Canada. He survived a bomb attack in 1938, and at the start of WW2 was interred as an alien. Upon his release in 1943 he found himself powerless, and when he tried to restart his criminal life, he disappeared for good . Rumour was that he relocated to either Massena, in NYS, or Mexico and that he died in 1953.
Pellegrino Scaglia [Antonio Viola].
Possibly never a leader, but his killing led to a crisis between Families that needed two inter-state meetings to resolve. Born in 1884 in Burgio in Agrigento Province, he entered NYC in 1905 going to a cousin in Brooklyn. Fueds were common in Sicily, and there seems to have been one in Burgio between the Scaglia and Cardinelli families. Starting in 1908, he was suspected of the murder of 3 members of the Cardinelli faction. Scaglia did not escape the vendetta, as he was stabbed and badly wounded in St.Louis in 1910. The last killing occurred in Brooklyn in 1911, and at some point he relocated to Pueblo Colorado. Here he opened a grocery store, near his home on Elm Street, and adopted a new name Tony Viola. Soon he was involved in black-hand extortion, and among his associates were John Mulay, Rosario Dionisio and the Danna family. He was suspected in the murder of an extortion victim called Lopresti in 1918-9. He may have been related to the Carlino family, who would soon be at war with the Danna faction. In 1922 conflict broke-out within the Colorado Family, and Scaglia was killed. This led to more violence over the next two years, and a meeting of the “Grand Council” was called in NYC. We know this because Nicola Gentile, who wrote his memoirs, was present. A member called Larocca called for the expulsion, and death, of Scaglia’s brother, nephew and father-in-law. They fled to Kansas City, but eventually they were reprieved but expelled.
Filippo Amari [Big Phil].
The early history of the Elizabeth Family is unclear, as sources disagree on its founding. There are some who claim it is the oldest in the USA, possibly outside of New Orleans. While others believe it was a faction of the larger Newark Family, which was disbanded at some point in the late 1930’s, or early 1940’s. At this point Elizabeth gained its independence, and Amari was its first Capo. Like many of its early members, he was born in 1900 in Ribera in Agrigento Province, Sicily. Amari arrived in America in 1921, heading for an Uncle living in Elizabeth. At least one source claims he was sentenced to 15 years for the murder of a policeman in Corleone. However he seems to have returned to Ribera several times, including getting married there in 1924. According to the 1930 Census, he was a citizen and employed in a finance company. Because he had no criminal record we know little of his activities during the 1930-40’s, although he must have been a member by then. Later he became involved in union racketeering in the Construction industry. In 1948, when returning from a trip to Italy, he gave his address as Raritan Township, NJ. According to some FBI wiretaps, made in the 1960’s, Amari was not a popular leader. In the mid-1950’s opposition within the Family forced him to relinquish leadership and retire. In 1958 he left the USA for good, and went back to Sicily. Although we have no record of his date of death, a Filippo Amari died in 1970 in the UK.
Stefano Badami [Don Steve].
There are several things we do not know for sure about Badami. Most records show his birthdate as 1888, in Corleone Sicily, but his gravestone states 1881. We do not know when he came to America, except that it was probably via Canada. We know he settled in Newark, New Jersey and owned a clothing factory. We do not know when he joined, or became leader, of the Newark Family. In 1927 he made an extended visit to Tunis, a city in Africa known to have a strong Mafia presence. He returned in 1929, again entering through Canada. At this time his closest associates were Sam Monaco, his underboss, Louis Russo, and the Accardi brothers Sam and Joe. During the late 1920’s his main rival was Richie Boiardo, a Neapolitan power in the First ward. When gang war broke-out in NYC, Badami allied himself with Salvatore Maranzano. The source for this is Joe Valachi, a Maranzano follower and future informer. Maranzano sent some of his men to Newark, to help eliminate Boiardo, who was allied with Maranzano’s enemy Joe Masseria. In November 1930 Boiardo was shot, and seriously wounded. With Maranzano emerging victorious in 1931, Badami became the dominant power in Newark. However Maranzano’s triumph soon turned sour, and he was killed in late 1931. Within days two of Badami’s top men, Monaco and Russo were found murdered and dumped in the river. Badami was now powerless, and he voluntarily stepped down as head, and was succeeded by Gaspare D’Amico. Now retired from the rackets, the only record of him was an arrest for counterfeiting in 1940. Now advanced in age, his end was surprising but fitting, as he was murdered in a restaurant in 1955. The man arrested for this was Frank Monaco, the brother of his deceased underboss. The reason for his death is another of those things we do not know.
Born in Villabate Sicily in 1886, he came to the USA in 1913. He seems to have been in Newark from about 1915 and with his father Dominico, he ran a Macaroni factory. It is not known when he joined the Newark Family, but by the late 1920’s he was rumoured to be running the Italian lottery in Newark. Nothing else is heard of him until he succeeded Badami as Family head in 1932. He may have had the support of fellow Villabate native, and the head of a NYC Family, Joseph Profaci. But D’Amico may have been a weak leader, as he soon faced a challenge from Vincenzo Troia. Rumour has it that Troia slapped him, and moved in on the lottery racket. Troia, his son and another associate paid for this when they were killed at their lottery office in 1935. With this threat removed, D’Amico should have had a long reign in Newark. But in 1937 he was ambushed at his factory, his father was killed and he was wounded. The reason for this is obscure, but the NYC Family heads decided to disband the Newark Family. They declared Newark an open city, and split the members between themselves. D’Amico fled and turned-up in Puerto Rico, where lived until his death in 1975.
A veteran member, who associated with many important Mafiosi in several cities. He was born in Poggioreale in Trapani Province Sicily, in 1886. New Orleans was his first domicile, after arriving in 1905. Here he associated with Vito DiGiorgio, with who he was arrested for Blackhand extortion in 1908. Moving to Kansas City in 1909, with brother Marco, he was arrested again in 1911. Chiapetta moved around a lot, for example he was Naturalized in Pittsburgh in 1919 and Gentile tells us he met him in Pueblo during these years. His old associate DiGiorgio, now the head in Los Angeles, passed a death sentence on him for some old offence. It took all Gentile’s influence to have this stopped. One of Chiapetta’s relatives was Pellegrino Scaglia, whose murder in Pueblo in 1922 caused great turmoil. Chiapetta fled to Kansas City, and became a partner of Gentile’s. In 1924 he visited Sicily. The following years were peaceful and he prospered by supplying sugar to local bootleggers. Soon he was a close associate of powerful members like the DiGiovanni brothers, Balestrere, Filardo and the DeLuca brothers. His only arrest in these years was in 1940, for a traffic violation. At some point in the 1940’s he moved to St. Louis, and opened a Medical supply company. After the death in 1950 of Pasquale Miceli, the head of the St. Louis Family, he acted as a temporary replacement. Retired by the 1960’s, he lived on until 1970.
Frank DeMayo [Chee Chee].
Born Franco DeMaio in 1885, some sources say in Sicily, but his death record says Naples Campania. He and his family came to America in 1889, when he was a child. By 1910 he lived in Kansas City [1910 Census], settling in the Little Italy ghetto. We know nothing of his activities, until the arrival of Prohibition in 1920. By this time he was operating a restaurant, and soon became involved in bootlegging. He organized the building of stills in the local Italian community, and soon became wealthy and powerful. The Prohibition agency claimed he grossed over $1,000.000 during the 1920’s, and became known as the King of the Bootleggers. He also branched-out into Narcotics dealing, this is what caused his downfall in 1927. A sting operation, and an informant, resulted in his arrest. Two abortive trials followed, as jurors were bribed, until finally convicted in 1929 and sentenced to two years imprisonment. Upon his release he was deported, as he had never become a citizen. Although there is no record of him returning, a 1949 newspaper article reported his death at home in Kansas City.
One of the few cases where we can be almost certain that we know who founded a Cosa Nostra Family. Immigrants from the small towns in Palermo Province started arriving in Milwaukee from 1895. Many came from the neighbouring villages of Santa Flavia, Sant Elia, and Porticello. One of these, arriving in 1903, was Vito Guardalabene born in 1846. He settled in the cities 3rd ward, and opened a barber shop. Soon he was joined by several relatives, i.e. his sons Giovanni and Angelo, and in-laws the Bellant, Alioto and Aiello families. In 1906 he, and brother-in-law Isadoro Aiello, opened a macaroni factory, which later failed. Around 1909 he, and fellow townsmen, founded the Porticello Society, which grew to nearly 150 members. In 1910 he was first arrested for murder, and again in 1913. During these years there was much violence, and Vito’s home was bombed in 1911. This was the same year he became a citizen. He was known as the “King of the Blackhand“ and became a political power within the 3rd ward. He made a visit back to Sicily in 1914, and returned in 1915 with another relative Carlo Zarcone. Until his death in 1921, he ruled and groomed his son Giovanni to succeed him.
A good source for Guardalabene is the book The Milwaukke Mafia by Gavin Schmitt.
Following the mass lynching of suspected Mafiosi in 1891, there is much dispute about who headed the local Mafia. Some believe it to be Carlo Matranga, a survivor of 1891, while other names mentioned are Vito Digiorgio, Vincenzo Moreci, and Paolo Marchese. It is probable that more than one criminal organization existed in NO during the years 1900-20. Another theory concerns the Giacona family of Bocca di Falco, a district of Palermo. There is mention of an Alfredo, as the family head, but i can find no record of him. Pietro, born 1848, and arriving in 1875 was the head by the 1900’s. He became a wine merchant, and was soon wealthy enough to attract the attention of Blackhand extortioners. In 1909, after ignoring their threats, he was attacked at his home. The family returned fire and killed 3 of the attackers. His son Corrado, born 1875 and arriving in 1893 was known to associate with Mafiosi. In 1916 a dispute with Vito DiGiorgio led to another attack on the Giacona’s. This time Pietro was wounded, but Corrado escaped injury. Within a short time a revenge attack seriously wounded DiGiorgio, who moved to California in 1920. Pietro died in 1917, leaving Corrado to head the family interests. By the mid-1920’s the various factions may have amalgamated to create the New Orleans Family, with Corrado Giacona as its head. Very little is known about the Family in the 1920-40’s, as they kept a very low profile. Corrado died of natural causes in 1944, but later that year his brother Francesco was murdered.
Source for early NO is the book Blood on the Banquete.
Sabella was born in Castellammare Trapani Province in 1891, and as a youngster he was apprenticed to a butcher. After several years of physical abuse, he killed the butcher in 1905 and spent time in prison [1908-11]. In 1912 he emigrated to America, settling into the Castellammarese colony on Roebling Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn [WW1 Registration]. He found work as a butcher, and along with brother Dominic, joined the local Cosca. At some point in the late 1910’s he moved to Philadelphia. We know that he was named head of the Philadelphia Family in 1919, sponsored by Giuseppe Traina. But we do not know why he was chosen over more senior members. He was married into the Galante family, who had lived in Philadelphia since 1900. The early years of his leadership were uneventful, until he was arrested for a bombing in 1923. This was a seeming attempt to extort Michele Maggio, whose store was damaged. What is strange about this, is that Maggio refused to cooperate with police, and later became a leading member of the Family. Sabella opened a cafe, and expanded into food and candy stores. The Family also expanded into South Jersey, and several towns outside of the city. Sabella, and several other members, were arrested in 1927 for the sensational murders of members of the Zanghi gang. This case dragged-on until 1933, when they were acquitted. With the outbreak of the “Castellammarese War” in 1930, Sabella and some of his men moved to Brooklyn, to support the Maranzano Family. He was arrested again in 1931 for assault in New Jersey. Sabella returned triumphant to Philadelphia in 1931, but with Maranzano’s murder in November he found himself in danger. As a close associate of the defeated Maranzano, he was forced to step down as Family head in 1932. Now just a low level member, and after spending some time in NYC, he moved to Norristown and resumed his trade as a butcher. During the 1940’s he was arrested for gambling, and then for larceny + receiving. He was still seen associating with Family members in Philadelphia, and in 1954 the government attempted to deport him. However, he survived this to die in a Philadelphia hospital in 1962.
This man headed a large Camorra organization in Pittsburgh during the 1910’s. Born in Avellino Campania in 1876, he entered America in 1904 at Boston. On the 1900 Census he is entered as a prisoner in NYC, who arrived in 1899 and with his profession listed as a barber. By 1908 he had moved to Pittsburgh, and witnessed Gregorio Conti’s citizenship papers. Conti was a leading Mafioso, who returned the favour on Mauro’s Naturalization in 1916. This close friendship between a Camorrista and a Mafioso was very unusual. Both men were involved in the fruit market, and partnered in a liquor company. When Nicola Gentile arrived in Pittsburgh, he objected to the Camorra’s domination and led a short “war” against them. This broke the power of the local Camorra, and allowed the Sicilian faction to gain dominance. What this did to the Conti-Mauro alliance is not known, but Conti was killed in 1919. As for Mauro, we have no more information on him, not even a date of death.
One of the founding members of the Pittston Family, LaTorre is little known. Born in 1886 in Montedoro, a mining town in Caltanisetta Province Sicily, his family was already connected to the local Cosca. Giuseppe, his father, who entered the USA in 1902, was related to the Bufalino, Volpe and Lucchino families. When Stefano arrived in 1903, he was accompanied by a member of the Morreale family. Salvatore Lucchino, a detective for a mining union , was a witness for Giuseppe on his Naturalization papers. Stefano became a citizen in 1911, and had sponsored Santo Volpe, his in-laws, entry in 1906. The following year both men were arrested for Blackhand extortion, and LaTorre served a prison term. Settling in the “Brandy Patch” area of Pittston, he opened a pool hall. Later he became partners with Volpe in a Coal company. Troubles in the coal industry resulted in LaTorre’s home being bombed in 1920, and the murder of Lucchino. A trio of Volpe, LaTorre and Calogero Bufalino dominated both the Family, and the coal industry, during the 1920’s. However, in 1929 LaTorre fell out with his relatives, and seems to have lost prestige and position. By 1940 he had been “shelved” and returned to low level crime, being arrested in 1941 for bootlegging, and 1942 for tax evasion. Now in retirement, he lived to the remarkable age of 98 .
Antonio [Tony] Musso was the first recognised leader of the Rockford Family. He was born in Partinico Sicily in1893, and came to the USA in 1912 heading for a cousin in Detroit. His first arrests were in St. Louis in 1918 for robbery, then 1919 for burglary + weapons charges. Musso soon moved on to Madison, where he opened a cafe and soon became a power in the local underworld. Apart from his connected Detroit cousin Vincent Finazzo, he was a brother-in-law to Tony Lombardo, a leader in the Chicago Mafia. In 1924 he was arrested for bootlegging + bribery, and the following year for rape. This forced him to move again, this time to Rockford [1925-6]. Through Lombardo he met Al Capone, and with his support started organizing the Rockford rackets. In 1930 he was visiting another connected in-law John Piro in Los Angeles, when arrested and returned to Rockford on a gambling charge. Finally in 1930 police rounded-up several members of a large scale bootlegging ring, headed by Musso who was convicted + sentenced to 2 years. At this time Musso faced a challenge to his leadership from the Giovingo brothers. Musso had support from his old associates in Chicago and Madison, as well as the Zito faction in Springfield. The 1933 murder of Paul Giovingo ended the conflict and Musso was now dominant in Rockford. He continued to expand the Families influence, controlling local gambling, vice and bootlegging. The Family prospered throughout the 1940-50’s, staying clear of public notice. The 1957 Apalachin meeting disaster caused nationwide exposure, and although no Rockford members were caught, Musso and his under-boss Jasper Calo were in the immediate area. Musso took the hint, and retired, passing control to Joseph Zammuto. He died the following year .
Domenico Giambrone [Don Domenico].
Giambrone was born in Adriano Palazzo Sicily in 1876, and landed in New Orleans in 1903. From there he moved to Birmingham Alabama, which had a little known Mafia Family operating at this time. By 1910 he had relocated to St. Louis, settling in the “Little Italy” in the Carr District of the city. With his brothers, Paul + Nick, he opened a saloon. In 1912 he was a suspect in the murder of Salvatore Leoni, whose body was beheaded. Soon Giambrone was known as Don Domenico, the dominant Mafioso in St. Louis. He extracted protection payments from all the local Italian small businessmen. He was arrested in 1916 for the killing of Vincent Butera, a rival saloonkeeper. The advent of Prohibition in 1920 brought renewed competition in the local underworld. Giambrone’s domination was finally challenged by Vito Giannola and his faction [the”Green Ones”], in the early 1920’s. Domenico himself was wounded in 1922, and his brother Paul was killed a year later. Giambrone sold-up and fled St. Louis in 1923, and lived in Louisiana. In 1934, perhaps thinking it was safe, he returned to St. Louis. Within a few months his old enemies caught up with him, and he was killed.
Born in Siculiana Agrigento Province in 1886, Santino left Sicily in 1903 and lived with a brother in Canada for two years. Arriving in St. Louis in 1905, he began working for Neapolitan fruit wholesaler Damiano Cappuano. Soon he had married into the Cappuano family, and became a citizen in 1911. Cappuano was killed in 1910, possibly in a vendetta with the Viviano family, and his son-in-law took over the fruit business. Santino gathered together a gang of fellow Agrigento natives, and operating out of his saloon commenced criminal activities. Arrested for extortion in 1912, and arson in 1915, he escaped imprisonment. In 1920 he made a visit home to Sicily. With the rise of the “Green Ones” gang, Santino became a reluctant ally in the bootleg racket. Another visit home in 1926, coincided with a gang war in St.Louis between the Cuckoo and Giannola factions. In 1927 Santino plotted the death of Alfonso Palazzolo, the Giannola gang’s underboss. He had formed an alliance with the Russo faction, enemies of the Giannolas. Palazzolo was killed, and open warfare erupted in Little Italy. The “Green Ones” brought in gunmen from Chicago and struck back, killing Santino in his grocery store.
Giannola headed a gang called the “Green Ones”, and fought several other factions, before gaining recognition as the dominant Mafiosi in St. Louis. He was born in Balestrate Sicily in 1893, and with brother Giovanni [John], came to America in 1910. He was heading to an in-law living in Detroit, andthen to his elder brother in St. Louis. He, and John, worked on the railway for several years. Around 1918 Vito began extorting local businessmen, gaining a butcher shop in the process. In 1921 Alfonso Palazzolo joined the brothers, and they started to dominate the local Italian criminals. During 1922-23 they drove the Giambrone faction out of the city, and forged alliances with the Santino + Russo factions. The “Green Ones” dominated bootlegging, doing business with Mafia organizations in Rockford, Chicago and Detroit. Although dominant amongst their countrymen, the cities underworld contained three other powerful gangs. The Egans Rats, Hogan and Cuckoo gangs were all longer established, with better political protection. While the Egan and Hogan gangs fought themselves to a standstill, the Cuckoo’s gained strength. In 1926 conflict with the Cuckoo gang erupted, with the Mafiosi losing. Giannola ,who had been wounded, had to sue for peace, which was a great loss of face. At this time in Chicago the Sicilian Aiello faction were in conflict with Al Capone’s gang. As the “Green Ones” were allied with Capone, and the Russo faction with the Aiello’s, Alfonso Palazzolo arranged the murders of two of the Russo faction. This precipitated a war, and the Russo + Santino factions combined against the Giannola’s. Palazzola was killed in 1927, set-up by Santino, who was murdered soon after. Just after Christmas 1927, the Russo faction killed Vito Giannola at his lovers home. John Giannola left St.Louis, before returning many years later.
Carmelo Fresina [Charlie Freese].
The murder of Pasquale Santino in 1927 left Fresina as the leader of the old Santino faction. Born in Castiglione Catania Province Sicily in 1892, he entered America at NYC in 1909. Originally the family name was Frisina, but over time it became Fresina. Starting as a pushcart vendor, selling vegetables + fruit, he then expanded into dealing in olive oil. By the early 1920’s he was known as Charlie Freese, and had joined the Santino faction. He lived on the Northside, and ran a bootlegging enterprise from his home. In 1922 he was arrested for murder, but never charged. By the time of the “Green Ones” conflict with the allied Russo + Santino factions, Fresina was Santino’s underboss and succeeded him. In January 1928 he was seriously wounded, after a falling-out with his recent allies the Russo gang. Thereafter he used a pillow to sit on, and thus the Santino gang became the Pillow gang. Arrested again in 1929 for shooting at Prohibition Agents, a year later he was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Somehow Fresina managed to stay out of prison, but his time was almost up. In May 1931 he was shot and his body was found in his car.
A founder member of the Tampa Family, born in Santa Stefano Quisquina, Agrigento Province Sicily in 1860. He was an early arrival in 1888, with eldest son Stefano born in NYC in 1890. The family may have returned to Sicily, as they re-entered in 1903 going to a son-in-law living on Stanton Street Manhattan. Italiano may have had early contact with important Mafiosi during his years living in NYC. By 1906 he was living in Tampa where he opened a grocery, and became a citizen. He was soon consorting with local Mafiosi, like Trafficante, Diecidue and Antinori. Apart from his sons Stefano + Antonino, his nephew Salvatore would all be future members of the Family. His familial connections also stretched to NYC members Giuseppe Traina + Vincenzo Mangano. Meanwhile he had a strong business relationship to Joseph Profaci, from whose company he bought olive oil. These connections, and his position as a founding member, explain why he was chosen to attend the 1928 Cleveland Mafia meeting. He was easily the most senior member in attendance, and along with Traina, Profaci, ect. was arrested in a police raid. Italiano died in 1930, and was buried in the Unione Italiana [formerly Unione Siciliana] cemetery in Ybor City.
The patriarch of a family of Mafiosi who would become Tampa Family members, he entered America in 1901. Born in 1873 in Cianciana Agrigento Province Sicily, he was probably already a Mafioso as he served 4 years for an unknown crime. We know he was in Tampa by 1904, when his son Gaetano [Thomas] was born. Three sons Antonio, Gaetano and Francesco [Frank] would become Tampa Family members, and his wife was a member of the Arcuri family of Tampa + NYC. His son Frank married into the Antinori family, and an Antinori witnessed Alfonso’s Naturalization in 1927. He owned a grocery, which would grow into a produce company under his sons, and held important positions in both the Family and the Unione Italiana organization. The Diecidue’s, allied with the Italiano family, were believed to be rivals of the Trafficante’s for leadership. Alfonso died in 1947, and was buried in the Unione Italiana cemetery.
A little known, but important, figure in the Texas Family, Vallone was born in 1884 in Gioia Tauro Calabria. He entered the USA at Boston in 1904, heading to a brother living there. By 1908 he appeared to be living in Houston, but the 1910 Census has him living in Pennsylvania. This was only a temporary move, as he is listed in Houston again from 1912. This is confirmed on both his WW1 Registration card, and his 1919 Naturalization papers. His first recorded arrest was in 1934 for gambling + swindling. Then in 1937 he was named in a nationwide Narcotics ring, operating between NYC + Texas, and including notorious Mafiosi like Nick Gentile, Sam Maceo + Joe Civello. He was described as a restaurant + nightclub owner related to the Piranio brothers, leaders of the Texas Family. Following this in 1939 he was convicted of the murder of Sam Farrugia in 1937, and sentenced to life imprisonment. This was reduced to 15 years in 1941, and he was paroled in 1946. Vallone returned to Houston, and possibly his position in the Family. But in 1949 he was killed for unknown reasons, with Diego Carlino acquitted of being the gunman. Peter Duca, a fellow Calabrian from Pennsylvania, was suspected of being the instigator.
One of the founders of the Texas Family, he was born in Corleone Sicily in 1878. The date of his arrival is given as 1893 on the 1930 Census. He may have lived in New Orleans for a time as a 1906 entry shows him going to a Giuseppe Provenzano, a notorious Mafioso who was involved in the 1891 Mafia lynching scandal. Also his WW1 Registration card shows him living there in 1917. Several Louisiana + Texas Mafiosi of this period were born in Corleone, and Giuseppe Morello, an infamous NYC leader, was known to have lived in the area in the 1890’s. Zabbia was also related to both the Piranio + Genaro families, all members of the Texas Family. In fact he and the Piranio brothers were born in the same town in the same years [1877-78], originally lived in Louisiana, moved to Dallas and worked as grocers. They were also all suspected of Blackhand crimes in the 1910’s. Other Corleone born Mafiosi he may have known were Vito DiGiorgio and the Dragna family, who all lived in New Orleans and later became powerful in California. Zabbia died in Dallas of cancer in 1930, the same year as Family head Carlo Piranio.
The first known head of a separate Calabrian society that existed in Ohio for several decades was Paul Romeo. Born in Calabria in 1894, he entered America in 1913 and was residing in Ohio by 1916 [WW1 Registration card]. Very little is known about the early history of this society, but Romeo appears to have become leader in the 1930’s. He was assisted by his brother Michael  as under-boss, and had contacts to the Calabrian factions in both the Cleveland and Pittsburgh families. A Naturalized citizen, he lived in Campbell Ohio and owned a pool hall. Retired by the 1960’s, he died in 1976.
Dominic Mallamo [Big Dom].
Mallamo succeeded Romeo as head of the society in 1960. He was born in 1904 in Calabria, and reached Youngstown by 1918. Originally he was a steelworker, and like Romeo lived in Campbell Ohio. By the 1940’s he was running a lottery house on the south side of Youngstown, for which he was arrested in 1943. He was close to the Pittsburgh Family, of which his nephew James Prato was a member. He seems to have stayed neutral during the 1960’s conflict between the Pittsburgh and Cleveland families. The society came to light after the authorities discovered a 1964 induction ceremony, conducted by Mallamo. Nothing further was heard of either the society, or Mallamo, until his death in 1987. It is not known if the society survived him.