New England mobster Luigi (Baby Shacks) Manocchio was officially bumped up to underboss of the Patriarca crime family in late 1991, according to an FBI recording played at a federal murder trial in Boston this week. The now-retired Manocchio, 90, was boss of the crime family from 1996 until he retired in 2009.

A tape of Manocchio’s predecessor, Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme talking to New York gangster Natale (Big Chris) Richichi of the Gambino crime family was heard by jurors Friday at Salemme’s trial for the 1993 slaying of nightclub owner Stevie DiSarro, whose remains were unearthed two years ago at a Providence mill. The recording was made in December 1991 at the Hilton Hotel near Boston’s Logan Airport where Salemme met Richichi to discuss joint pornography rackets and the general state of mob affairs in New England. Cadillac Frank had taken over the Patriarca clan the previous year after a power struggle.

“Until I can name some captains, see what I can do, I want to make Louie underboss,” Salemme told Richichi. “When I’m out of town he takes over…..he’s acting right now. Sometimes I get called down there or whatever. If a problem comes up, he handles it.”

Salemme can also be heard bad mouthing his alleged victim, DiSarro, on the tape, questioning his son Francis (Frankie Boy) Salemme, Jr’s decision to get involved with him.

“I told Frankie Boy, DiSarro is going to turn on you,” recalled Salemme to Richichi. “He’s a snake, he’s a sneak, he’s no fucking good.”

DiSarro fronted a Boston rock-and-roll club for the Salemmes called The Channel in the early 1990s. Prosecutors allege that the late Frankie Boy Salemme strangled DiSarro to death at the Salemme family home in Sharon, Massachusetts on the morning of May 10, 1993 following the Salemmes suspecting the 43-year old Providence native of cooperating with the government and skimming the till at The Channel. Salemme is said to have lured DiSarro to the residence and, per his indictment, was present while he was slain.

Cadillac Frank was locked up for racketeering in 1995. Baby Shacks Manocchio succeeded him as don the next year. By the end of the decade, however, Salemme had entered the Witness Protection Program. Failing to admit to his participation in the DiSarro hit, he left himself exposed if and when DiSarro’s body was ever found. Salemme was pulled out of the “Program” in 2016 and charged in DiSarro’s murder just months after DiSarro’s bones were dug up.

Manocchio left his Rhode Island headquarters in Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood in the past few years and currently resides in Florida. He served four years in prison for extortion, getting released in 2015.

Holding the reputation as a suave and sophisticated wiseguy, Manocchio speaks several different languages, is a rare wine connoisseur and once romanced prominent Providence heart surgeon Barbara Roberts, the first-ever female cardiologist in the state of Rhode Island. A former capo of his, Robert (Bobby the Cigar) DeLuca recently implicated him in the 1992 murder of rogue mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan. DeLuca used to be Salemme’s right-hand man and will be the star witness at the DiSarro trial this month.

Baby Shacks and Cadillac Frank go way back. When they were both on the run from the law as fugitives in the 1970s, Manocchio helped hide Salemme in New York – Salemme fled attempted murder charges stemming from a car bomb attack in 1969 and Manocchio averted authorities for a full decade on a murder conspiracy case where he provided the weapon used in a 1968 double homicide.

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