Deceased Detroit mob captain Dominic (Fats) Corrado “made his boys” in front of his dad and uncle, according to FBI confidential informant files. Corrado, who died of heart failure in the summer of 1985, allegedly killed local wiseguy Jack George in January 1950 in an apartment in downtown Detroit, as his father, then-capo Pietro (Machine Gun Pete) Corrado, and his uncle, Giuseppe (Joe Uno) Zerilli, the city’s legendary don, watched on, per these documents – Zerilli, the Godfather of Michigan between 1936 and 1977 and a seat-holder on the mob’s national Commission, allegedly gave his nephew a helping hand in finishing the job.

Machine Gun Pete Corrado and “Joe Uno” Zerilli were brother-in-laws, with Corrado marrying one of Zerilli’s sisters. The Detroit mafia is a family affair. The Zerilli-Tocco crime family is for all intents and purposes an actual family. Traditionally the mafia in the Motor City has always has been the most genetically intertwined Italian mob syndicate in America.

Intermarriage among members’ sons, daughters, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins was a requirement issued as an edict by “family founders” Joe Zerilli and Vito (Black Bill) Tocco , themselves brother-in-laws (Tocco married another sister of Zerilli’s), in the early 1930s as a measure to deter unrest and insure maximum loyalty. It worked: the Detroit mafia is notoriously stable and only uses violence as a tool of last resort to this day.

Immigrating from Terrasini, Sicily together in 1910, Zerilli and Tocco got rich in the bootlegging trade and went on to grab complete control of the underworld in Michigan in 1931 by organizing the murder of their main rival, Cesare (Big Chet) La Mare. Pete Corrado became their most-trusted capo and enforcer.

Equally feared and beloved, Corrado was headquartered in Greektown, the city’s primary downtown entertainment district, at his Grecian Gardens Italian Restaurant on the south side of Monroe Street. Corrado successfully spearheaded the syndicate’s takeover of the area’s illegal numbers lottery or “policy” racket in the 1940s. He groomed his two boys, Dominic aka “Fats” and Anthony aka “Tony the Bull,” on the finer points of the family business.

"Machine Gun Pete" Corrado c. 1952

“Machine Gun Pete” Corrado

Up until the late 1980s, you were required to “make your bones,” kill another human being, in order to be eligible for induction into the Detroit mafia. Beginning in the late 1940s, a group of young aspiring button men, most of them second generation Michigan Mafiosi, made their respective bones and got initiated into the Zerilli-Tocco crime syndicate – Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli, Joe Uno’s only son, Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco, Joe Zerilli’s nephew and Black Bill’s oldest son, Vincent (Little Vince) Meli, underboss Angelo (the Chairman) Meli’s nephew and Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, Zerilli and Pete Corrado’s protégé, were “made” in a 1949 ceremony, according to court documents.

It would soon be Fats Corrado’s turn.

Per federal records, Corrado killed Jack George because the Syrian hoodlum and gambler was caught stealing from Machine Gun Pete’s crew. A highly-placed FBI informant told his handlers in the government that he was on the premises guarding an entrance to a Greektown apartment building where George was lured to in order to be executed under the pretense that he was attending a sitdown with Pete Corrado and Joe Zerilli.

According to the informant, George was standing before Machine Gun Pete and Zerilli discussing his transgressions when Fats Corrado came up behind him with a rope and began strangling him to death. While in the process of garroting George, the younger Corrado’s rope split in half, per the informant’s story – this caused Zerilli to rise from his seat on the couch, take his leather belt off and hand it over to his nephew to finish his victim off with.

Dominic "Fats" Corrado (left), Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone (right)

Dominic “Fats” Corrado (left) & Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone

Fats Corrado was rewarded with his button in a 1951 making ceremony conducted by his uncle, per Michigan State Police organized crime dossiers from the 1970s (Joe Zerilli and Black Bill Tocco died peacefully in 1977 and 1972 respectively, handing the reins of their crime family to their sons). The 1951 ceremony included Anthony (Tony T) Tocco, Black Bill’s youngest son, Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone, Tony Jack’s little brother, and Michael (Big Mike) Polizzi, the son-in-law of longtime consigliere Giovanni (Papa John) Priziola, claim these MSP dossiers, which also say Corrado’s baby brother and Machine Gun Pete’s youngest son, Anthony, was made in the coming years, most likely in a 1955 ceremony.

Upon Pete Corrado’s sudden passing due to a massive heart attack suffered while vacationing in Florida on New Year’s Day 1957, Fats Corrado took over as capo of his crew, a post he would hold until his own passing in June 1985. Tony the Bull Corrado was a co-capo with Fats starting in the mid 1970s before assuming total control of the regime when his brother died. Imprisoned in 1998 on racketeering offenses, Anthony Corrado died of heart disease in 2002.

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