Raymond (Ray Rubber Lips) Patriarca, Jr. saw his New England mob kingdom crumble in the late 1980s as his troops grew restless and frustrated with his feeble leadership. The details of Patriarca, Jr.’s downfall have come to light in federal court these last few weeks as a successor of his, Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme, stands trial for the 1993 murder of Boston nightclub owner Stevie DiSarro. Salemme and Patriarca, Jr. were allies during a war that broke out in 1989, but Patriarca, Jr. would eventually turn on Cadillac Frank and seek to have him assassinated from behind bars.

Patriarca, Jr. took power after the death of his dad, fabled crime family namesake Raymond Patriarca, who passed away from a sudden heart attack in 1984 following heading the organization for more than two decades from his headquarters in Providence. The 84-year old Salemme was one of the elder Patriarca’s top enforcers in Boston during the 1960s. He got out of prison in the spring of 1987 for a car bomb attack he perpetrated at Patriarca’s behest and the younger Patriarca immediately inducted him into the crime family, making him his main representative in Beantown where he replaced his mentor and syndicate consigliere Larry Zannino who was locked up around the same time.

Zannino’s incarceration and Salemme’s unconventional fast rise through the ranks presented problems for Patriarca, Jr. Zannino was well liked and heavily-respected while Salemme was perceived as aloof and power hungry. Without Zannino on the street to back Patriarca, Jr.’s regime, the crown was left exposed due to Patriarca, Jr.’s inability to instill faith, nor fear in his followers. Mob crews out of East Boston and the North End, led by old-timer Joe (J.R.) Russo and his protégé Vinnie (The Animal) Ferrara, respectively, resented Salemme’s rapid ascent and with Patriarca, Jr. “closing the books,” refusing to induct new members into the crime family after Salemme got his button, they began quietly discussing staging a mutiny.

By 1989, those whispers ballooned to a full-blown roar.

According to FBI documents, North End mobster Angelo (Sonny) Mercurio told Patriarca, Jr. in May of 1989 that if he didn’t open the books soon to placate Russo and Ferrara, he was going to have a war on his hands. In early June, Patriarca had a meeting with the ambitious, college-educated Ferrara in New York at the Saratoga Race Track. The face-to-face didn’t solve anything though and on June 16, Salemme was wounded in an ambush outside a Saugus, Massachusetts International House of Pancakes, set up by Mercurio, and Patriarca, Jr.’s underboss, notoriously-unhinged Connecticut Goodfella William (The Wild Man) Grasso, was killed in two separate attacks.

Salemme retreated to California and Patriarca, Jr. hoped to stave off the insurgence by making peace. Per testimony this week at Salemme’s murder trial, former Rhode Island wiseguy Robert (Bobby the Cigar) DeLuca, was summoned to then-Providence mob captain Anthony (The Saint) St. Laurent’s house by Patriarca, Jr. and asked to broker talks with the Boston faction in order to quell tensions – once partners in a bookmaking business, DeLuca and St. Laurent had a bitter falling out in the 2000s with St. Laurent (d. 2016) taking out multiple murder contracts on his head.

DeLuca attended a pair of meetings with Ferrara, one at a North End elementary school playground and another at a North End coffee shop, and was told Salemme was shot because of a drug deal gone bad, which he knew wasn’t true. When DeLuca requested that Ferrara and Russo come to Providence for a sit down with Patriarca, Jr., they refused. Eventually, Patriarca Jr. agreed to come into Boston for the sit down and bringing DeLuca and St. Laurent as back-up, the don met with the leaders of the rebellion in the cafeteria of Massachusetts General Hospital. Days later, Rhode Island mob powerhouse Matthew (Good Looking Matty) Guglielmetti met with Ferrara at a Providence pizza parlor to tell him he was taking over the Connecticut territory previously overseen by Grasso and would be providing Russo a bigger piece of the action from that state’s rackets.

Shortly thereafter, New York’s Gambino crime family got involved in negotiations. The Gambinos had supported Patriarca, Jr. promotion to boss years earlier. The Teflon Don himself John Gotti, at that point, the most prominent Godfather on the east coast, called both sides of the conflict to separate sit downs in Manhattan. Russo was instructed to stop the violence and Patriarca, Jr., who was chauffeured to the meeting with Gotti by DeLuca, was told there should be no retaliation for the attacks on Salemme and Grasso, according to FBI informant files. Gotti in turn arranged for Russo to get a bump up to consigliere, Patriarca, Jr. to “make” a dozen of his men and DeLuca to be inducted as reward for his role as peacekeeper.

During a subsequent sit down in the back office of DeLuca’s Lorenzo’s Jewelry Store in North Providence, Russo and Ferrara demanded that Patriarca, Jr. step down.

“You’re not running this thing like a boss….this is not how a boss should act,” Russo hollered at Patriarca, Jr., per DeLuca’s testimony.

DeLuca told jurors that Patriarca, Jr. agreed to resign his post, but in order to save face and not be publicly embarrassed, made a deal with Russo where he would be allowed to conduct the upcoming making ceremony and then tell the organization’s rank and file that he was leaving the mob on his own volition and handing the reins to longtime Rhode Island capo Nicky Bianco.

The next month, Russo invited the Providence and Connecticut factions of the crime family to a party at Lombardo’s Italian Restaurant in East Boston to kickoff Labor Day weekend and bury the hatchet on the war. Ostensibly, the party was held in honor of Russo’s dad’s birthday. The making ceremony, staged that October, was famously bugged by the FBI courtesy of help from Sonny Mercurio. Within weeks, Patriarca, Jr., Bianco, Russo and Ferrara, among others, were indicted on racketeering charges.

Upon Bianco being convicted at trial in 1991, Cadillac Frank assumed command and proceeded to continue to fight it out with the East Boston crew for almost the entirety of his reign. Salemme also dodged a murder contract taken out on him by an imprisoned Patriarca, Jr.

The deposed Patriarca, Jr. did eight years in the joint. Today, at 73, he sells real estate. Russo and Bianco both died in prison. Ferrara got out more than a decade ago and is reportedly semi-retired, running a series of successful legitimate businesses in his old North End stomping grounds. The 69-year old Guglielmetti was allegedly upped to underboss in recent years.

Busted by the feds in 1995, Salemme turned witness for the government in 1999, aiding in the building of a case against a corrupt FBI agent. However, he lied to his handlers about the Stevie DiSarro hit and when DiSarro’s remains were unearthed behind a converted textile mill in Providence in late March 2016, he was yanked out of the Witness Protection Program and arrested for DiSarro’s homicide. Prosecutors allege Salemme had the 43-year old DiSarro killed for stealing from a joint business venture (the storied Channel nightclub in South Boston) and cooperating with the FBI and IRS. DeLuca, 72, flipped in 2011 and admits to being tasked with burying DiSarro’s body.

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