July 27, 2020 – The Reaper took the Beaver.

Connecticut mafia figure Tony (The Beaver) Ascenzia died of a sudden heart attack last week at 61. He was one of the last remaining members of the old Grasso crew.

Ascenzia ran gambling affairs for New England’s Patriarca crime family in the New Haven area, the heart of Grasso crew turf throughout the 1980s and 90s. When he was busted by the feds in 2003, authorities estimated the beefy wiseguy’s gambling rackets were clearing close to $10,000,000 per year. He did three years in prison and was released in August 2007.

Before he left for his bid behind bars, Ascenzia was caught on an FBI bug talking to fellow Connecticut Goodfella and co-defendant Frances (Frankie Diner) Gratta and discussing the possibility of hiding rackets off-shore while they served their time.

“We’ll scoop everything and send it out to the Cayman Islands,” The Beaver told Gratta. “At least, when we come home, we’ll have something to come back to,”

Gratta informed Ascenzia, he had no intention of leaving his life of crime beind.

“I quite when I die,” he said.

Gratta and Anthony (The Dragon Fly) Fry were Tony the Beaver’s top guys. Gratta conducted business out of a Meriden diner. Fry oversaw Ascenzia’s rackets in Monroe County.

Per court records, Ascenzia maintained sizable sports betting, numbers and video-poker machine businesses for the Patriarca’s Connecticut branch and ran interference for the organization with the state’s Gambino and Genovese syndicate members. Tony the Beaver came up in the mob under notoriously erratic New England mafia underboss Billy (The Wild Man) Grasso, who was killed in the summer of 1989 amid a shooting war pitting the Patriarca’s Boston and Providence wings against each other. Since Grasso’s murder, the Connecticut regime of the Patriarca clan has reported to Providence.

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