One-time New England mafia boss Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme called his business partner Stevie DiSarro a “snake” to a member of New York’s Gambino crime family in a conversation picked up by an FBI bug planted in a room at the Hilton Hotel at Boston’s Logan Airport, according to the prosecution’s opening statement in a federal murder trial this week. Salemme, 84, is standing trial for DiSarro’s 1993 slaying. The pair co-owned The Channel nightclub in South Boston. The 43-year old had allegedly begun cooperating with the FBI and IRS in a case against Salemme finally brought in 1995.

DiSarro was killed 25 years ago this week, on May 10, 1993, inside Salemme’s suburban Boston residence, per Salemme’s indictment. Jurors visited the modest Sharon, Massachusetts home Friday before recessing for the weekend. Prosecutors believe Salemme’s son, Francis (Frankie Boy) Salemme, Jr. and Frankie Boy’s best friend, longtime mob associate Paul (Paulie the Plumber) Weadick strangled DiSarro to death as Cadillac Frank watched on. Frankie Boy Salemme, Jr. died of AIDS in 1995 at 38 years old. Weadick, 62, is currently a co-defendant of the elder Salemme at the high-profile trial.

In 1990, Salemme became Godfather of the Patriarca crime family in the wake of an internal power struggle that raged inside the syndicate for the prior year. Then-Gambino boss John Gotti, the most celebrated American crime lord of the last quarter of the 20th Century, helped quell the tensions in the Beantown underworld, summoning Salemme’s main rival, East Boston captain and Patriarca consigliere Joe (J.R.) Russo to a meeting in Manhattan in the late summer of 1989 and urging him to halt the coup he was heading — three Russo loyalists opened fire on Salemme in the parking lot of a Saugus, Massachusetts pancake house in June of that year, nearly killing the cagey Goodfella. Russo soon went to prison and Salemme was on top unchallenged.

Using knowledge from a number of confidential informants, the FBI bugged a suite in the Logan Hilton on December 11, 1991 to record a meeting between Salemme and Gambino captain Natale (Big Chris) Richichi, a Gotti confidant and the man in charge of Gambino rackets in Florida and Las Vegas. At the meeting, in addition to bashing DiSarro and discussing the partnering between the two crime families in a series of pornography rackets, Salemme, flanked by his right-hand man Robert (Bobby the Cigar) DeLuca, provided Richichi a report on the state of affairs in the New England mob and listened to Richichi’s counsel on how to maintain a stable organization.

“Big Chris” Richichi (left) & John Gotti (right)

Mob associate Kenny Guarino, who was considered the porn king of Rhode Island, arranged the sit down between Salemme and Richichi. Guarino would eventually be revealed as an informant. Richichi got locked up in 1996 and died behind bars in 2001 at 85.

“I’m the boss, I’ve got the crew now,” Salemme was recorded telling Richichi.

Big Chris warned Salemme against alienating soldiers once in Russo’s camp.

“You gotta treat’ em with respect or you’ll lose your grip on things here….you need loyalty from your men, but you also need protection. It’s a fragile balance, do you understand what I’m saying?” he said.

Richichi’s advice not withstanding, mob-related murders would reach double digits in the Boston and Providence areas over the next four years of Salemme’s reign, as Salemme fought a bloody battle of wills with the remnants of Russo’s crew. Like Richichi, Russo passed away in prison.

Prior to the meeting, Salemme, Richichi, DeLuca and Guaraino had dinner in Boston’s North End at Ristorante Saraceno. Before leaving the Hilton that day 27 years ago, Salemme told Richichi about purchasing a nightclub and how he foresaw problems with his front man, DiSarro.

“I say to Frankie Boy, this DiSarro is going to turn on us. He’s a snake, he’s a sneak, he’s no fucking good,” Salemme is caught uttering on the hotel-room wire.

DiSarro’s remains were unearthed in March 2016 after one of DeLuca’s closest friends, a drug dealer named Billy Ricci, flipped and led investigators to a converted textile mill in Providence where DeLuca had ordered his brother to bury the well-liked nightclub impresario and real estate developer. Both DeLuca and Salemme were in the Witness Protection Program at the time DiSarro’s body was exhumed and soon arrested and charged in DiSarro’s homicide. DeLuca, 72, will be the star witness against Salemme at the trial.

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