Barry Reveals Another Power Player In Modern Day Springfield Mob

More exceptional recent reporting out of MassLive.com’s Stephanie Barry about the status of the mafia in Springfield, Massachusetts has shed light on the alleged role of old school restauranteur Amedeo Santaniello, the syndicate’s new elder statesman or “de-facto” consigliere according to an article by Barry, the city’s resident “mobologist,” last week. According to Barry’s sources, Santaniello is acting in an advisory capacity to recently-revealed crew boss Albert Calvanese. The two are related by blood and Calvanese refers to Santaniello as his uncle (whether he actually is his biological uncle is unclear at this time). Barry outed Calvanese, a convicted felon, as the city’s rackets boss, in an article posted at MassLive.com earlier this month.

The 70-year old Santaniello dates back decades in the Springfield mob, a longtime wing of New York’s Genovese crime family stationed in the western portion of Massachusetts. During the 1970s, 80s and part of the 90s, Santaniello was a top lieutenant under local mafia chief Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno and Bruno’s superior in the Genovese satellite faction, capo Francesco (Frankie Sky Ball) Sciabelli. After a bitter falling out with Bruno over money in the mid-1990s, he fled the state fearing for his personal safety, relocating to Florida.

Bruno took the reins of the Springfield mob following Sciabelli’s retirement in 1999 (he died of natural causes in 2001), but was killed in a power-play orchestrated by his protégé Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta in the forthcoming years. Upon Bruno’s assassination in November 2003, Santaniello sent feelers out regarding his return and eventually came back to town and is reputed to have resumed his Goodfella ways.

Over the years, Santaniello has owned two popular Italian eateries in Springfield’s South End neighborhood, a mainstay of mob activity in the area known as the city’s Little Italy. First, he opened Venezia’s and then Amedeo’s. His son, Ralphie Santaniello is alleged to be Albert Calvanese’s right-hand man. Calvanese and the younger Santaniello both worked for Bingy Arillotta, the region’s capo from November 2003 when he arranged Bruno’s execution until his own arrest in 2010. Arillota, 46, turned witness for the government and is currently in prison.

In 1989, Amedeo Santaniello was pinched by the feds for overseeing Frankie Sky Ball Sciabelli’s policy lottery business in upstate New York and did a year and a half behind bars. He was arrested three years before that with trying to bribe a local prostitute into dropping assault and robbery charges against then-teenage Ralphie using a Springfield cop to help track her down. The elder Santaniello was acquitted in the case. The police officer was convicted.

Although never implicated in any acts of gangland violence himself, Amedeo Santaniello was a tangential player in one of the more infamous botched New England mob slayings of all-time, the 1981 attempted murder of Buffalino crime family bookie, thief and hood Joe Maruca, which took place in a suburban Springfield barn on a farm owned by Big Al Bruno’s brother.

The now-defunct Buffalino Family operated out of northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Maruca was suspected by syndicate higher-ups of stealing sports gambling proceeds and marked for death. Since the Buffalinos maintained deep ties with the Genovese clan, they reached out for help with their problem and administrators in the Genovese Family assigned Frankie Sky Ball to have his crew arrange the hit. Sciabelli in turn tasked Bruno, Springfield mob associate Jake Nettis and Hartford Mafiosi John (Sonny) Castagna to carry out the murder, which went awry – Nettis, a physically imposing enforcer and hit man, drove Maruca to the Bruno farm on August 11, 1981, where Big Al and Sonny Castagna opened fire on him, shooting him five times, prior to him fleeing and taking refuge at a nearby residence.

Castagna, who plied his criminal trade in Connecticut and split his rackets with both the New York and New England mobs, ended up joining Team U.S.A and testified in court against Al Bruno and Nettis a dozen years after the bungled execution went down. Per his testimony in the early 1990s, on that fateful rainy night in the summer of 1981, Castagna and Bruno dropped off their jewelry and identifications with Amedeo Santaniello at his Venezia Restaurant to hold for them as they departed to try and go kill Maruca. Bruno was acquitted of the attempted murder after a mistrial. Nettis was convicted.

 

Leave a Reply