June 24, 2020 – With the full force of the federal government aimed at finding and arresting him, then-New England mob boss Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme sneaked back into Boston to attend his son’s funeral 25 years ago this week, per exclusive Gangster Report sources. Hot-tempered Boston wiseguy Francis (Frankie Boy) Salemme, Jr. died of AIDS-related cancer and was laid to rest on June 24, 1995. He was 38 and under indictment for extortion when he passed.

His dad, on the run from the FBI since that winter, watched the funeral from a car in the distance, according to sources, doing a “drive by” to pay his respects while exposing himself to capture at a cemetery burial crawling with cops. Cadillac Frank had fled Boston for Florida after the 1994 holidays to avoid being taken into custody in a largescale racketeering case filed against him and his Winter Hill Gang allies, James (Whitey) Bulger and Stevie (The Rifleman) Flemmi.

The elder Salemme was very close to his son and per one source, thought saying goodbye to Frankie Boy, even if from a distant, was worth the risk of getting caught. Salemme’s time on the run didn’t last much longer and he was finally nabbed in Palm Beach, Florida on August 12, 1995, his reign as mafia don having come to an unceremonious end.

Cadillac Frank, who was half Irish, had leveraged his close ties to Boston’s Irish mob, known as the Winter Hill Gang, in his rise to power in the Patriarca crime family at the beginning of the decade. When he was in state prison (for a car bombing attack on a mob lawyer) in the 1970s and most of the 1980s, the Winter Hill crew protected Frankie Boy on the street. In 1983, Flemmi intervened on Frankie Boy’s behalf after he ripped off Boston button man Joseph (Joe Black) LaMantina in a marijuana deal and LaMantina wanted to kill him.

Today, the 86-year old Salemme is serving a life sentence at a prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri for a first-degree murder conviction he incurred two years ago. In the summer of 2018, Salemme was found guilty of ordering the gangland slaying of nightclub owner Stevie DiSarro during his rocky Beantown mob regime of the early 1990s.   

DiSarro, 43, was strangled to death by Frankie Boy Salemme in the Salemme family home in the upscale suburb of Sharon, Massachusetts on the morning of May 10, 1993. Cadillac Frank summoned DiSarro, a partner of his and his son’s in a South Boston go-go bar, to see him and watched as Frankie Boy choked him out in the kitchen. Stevie Flemmi accidentally walked in on the hit as it was occurring.

The Salemmes suspected DiSarro was stealing from the iconic rock club-turned-strip-joint they were running and cooperating with the FBI and IRS. The three of them had muscled their way into ownership of The Channel, a legendary music venue from the 1980s in the heart of Winter Hill Gang territory, but by 1993 they had rebranded it as a topless bar called Soiree.

One of the reasons for the pivot was Frankie Boy’s constant erratic behavior at the club, getting into physical altercations with musicians, patrons and the club’s previous owner. Frankie Boy and DiSarro had been good friends and together they convinced Frankie Boy’s dad it was a smart business move to mount a takeover of The Channel. During one dinner meeting about the club’s purchase, Salemme, Jr. broke a plate over one potential investor’s head in a fit of rage.

At the time that he killed DiSarro, Frankie Boy was out on bond awaiting trial for shaking down an FBI-created Hollywood film production company, promising to palm-grease the Teamsters on future movie shoots in New England to eliminate non-union labor concerns. Salemme, Jr. had been sent out to California to seek out rackets for the Patriarcas in Cadillac Frank’s west coast expansion effort (a desire to plant flags in Los Angeles and Las Vegas).

Based on a tip from a cooperator out of the Patriarca’s Rhode Island wing, the feds exhumed DiSarro’s remains from behind a converted textile mill in Providence in 2016. Salemme had entered the Witness Protection Program in 1999 upon learning of Bulger and Flemmi’s longtime work as confidential informants for the FBI.

By the time DiSarro’s body was dug up, Cadillac Frank was living under an assumed identity in Atlanta. Years earlier he had pleaded guilty to perjury charges connected to lying about his knowledge of DiSarro’s murder in his initial cooperation agreement.

Bulger was on the run for 16 years, finally apprehended living in California in 2011 and convicted of a dozen murders at trial two years later. He was beaten to death in a 2018 prison attack. Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp portrayed Whitey Bulger in the 2015 film Black Mass. Flemmi, 86, was the star witness at Salemme’s trial.

The DiSarro murder is just one of at least a half-dozen mob hits Salemme is believed to have lied and misled the feds about. A federal grand jury has been impaneled in Providence for the last three years hearing testimony in the 1992 Kevin Hanrahan murder case, per sources. Informants have told the FBI that Salemme ordered Hanrahan killed when word began to spread of Hanrahan, an enforcer for the crime family, planning a revolt and intending on executing Salemme and his entire mob cabinet.

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