BALTIMORE FACTION : - GAMBINO FAMILY.
Early organized Italian crime in Maryland and Virginia seems to have been dominated by Calabrians. There were many of these small Black Hand type groups in existence during the 1910-30’s. Vito Corbi, born 1866 in Catanzaro, led a small organization based in Virginia.
This group included his son Pasquale [Patsy], and Vincenzo [Jim] D’Urso. In 1923 they were all arrested for the murder of Frank Naples, a reputed Camorra member. Patsy Corbi was sentenced to a life sentence, while D’Urso fled to Canada. Vito Corbi was already living in Baltimore by then [1920 Census], and avoided conviction. Another reputed Camorrist, Rocco Fiorello, was killed in 1924 and several Calabrians were arrested. It points to a conflict between Neapolitan and Calabrian groups.
Almost nothing is known of Sicilians active in Baltimore in this period. The only Mafioso known to be living city was John [Angel Face] Torres, once acquitted of murder in Detroit, who was later killed during the “Castellammarese War”.
Meanwhile Vito Corbi had died in1929, Patsy was paroled in 1932 and he and his brother Frank were living in the city. They were continuing to operate, and associate with fellow Calabrians in cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland. By the mid-1930’s the traditionally Sicilian Mafia had opened membership to mainland Italians. But with no local Mafia Family, this was not possible in Baltimore.
We do not know the exact reasons, or timing, for the formation of a regime in the city, but we know the individuals responsible. Frank Scalice was a former head of the future Gambino Family, since demoted to Capo rank. He was still a very important member, and although we do not know the details, he was the catalyst for the regimes formation.
The other individual involved was Luigi Morici, who like Scalice, was born in Palermo, Sicily. Morici may have already been a member in NYC living in Baltimore, or he was sent there to give the Family a presence. Whichever, by the early 1940’s he had gathered a small group of local Sicilians together to form the crew.
According to a 1950 FBN document given to the Kefauver committee the following were members by then : -
Vincent Carrona [AKA Jimmy Russo], born 1904, Bisaquino, Sicily.
Gaetano [Thomas] LaFata [AKA Reds], born 1898 Carini, Sicily.
Luigi Morici [AKA John Maurice], born 1896 Palermo, Sicily.
About Gattuso and Palazzolo we can find no record, but the other names can be confirmed.
The year1950 saw a violent change in the Families leadership, with the Calabrian Albert Anastasia becoming Head with Scalice as his deputy. It was probably Anastasia, seeking to strengthen his position, who ordered Morici to induct some local Calabrians as members.
Thus the Corbi brothers, among others, finally joined the Family. Morici was promoted to Capo status, and his connection to NYC became Joseph Gallo. The crew membership during the 1950-80’s looked like this : -
Luigi Morici - Capo till 1966 / died 1971
Vincent Caronna - died 1980
Thomas LaFata - died 1965
Patsy Corbi - 1895-1955
Frank Corbi - 1904-90 / Capo 1966-90
Mario Anello - 1905-72
Louis Comi - 1906-79
Joseph Gigliotti - 1903-2001 [poss. Member in Pittsburgh]
Frank Dabbene - 1897-1984
Charles Barbera - 1904-87
Benjamin Magliano - 1904-71
Frank Malvaso - 1901-91
Sam Adornato - 1905-72
Joseph Corbi - 1911-2001
Angelo Perrera - 1912-72
Angelo Munafo - 1927-2001
Another possible member was Antonio Messina, who was killed in Baltimore in 1952.
By the 1980’s most of the membership had died or retired, and with Capo Frank Corbi in his 80’s and inactive, the regime became extinct.