Detroit’s D’Anna Bros. Trial – Where We Stand



The government won’t be able to use a 1989 conviction for lying on a bank-loan application in its racketeering case against reputed Detroit mob captain Giuseppe (Joe the Hood) D’Anna and jury selection could be kicking off as early as in a few weeks.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood ruled that federal prosecutors will be barred from brining the conviction into evidence next month when Joe D’Anna and his little brother and fellow reputed Motor City Mafioso Girolamo (Mimmo) D’Anna go on trial for multiple RICO counts related to the assault and alleged two-year extortion of a rival restaurant owner.

Page Hood scheduled a status-hearing update for next Monday afternoon (Jan 26), instructing lawyers for both sides to be in court and prepared to set a trial date.

Joe D’Anna is 61 and believed to have recently been elevated to a capo slot, – replacing his mentor, freshly-installed consigliere, Anthony (Tony Pal) Palazzolo. He was convicted of loan fraud in New York in 1989 and paid a $5,000 fine. If he is convicted on the RICO, he will be staring at a 20-year maximum sentence per federal criminal sentencing guidelines.

Back in 2011, the D’Anna brothers were indicted for attempted murder in state court for beating Pietro Ventimiglia near death with a baseball bat, after he refused to pay a street tax on the Italian eatery he owned in Shelby Township located next to the D’Annas’ headquarters, Tirmi Su Ristorante, owned by Joe D’Anna’s wife.

Ventimiglia opened Nonna’s Kitchen in 2009 and continually rebuffed repeated attempts by the D’Annas to have him either cough up a monthly tribute or shutter his business all together, drawing his unruly neighbors’ ire. Joe and Mimmo stormed into his office one afternoon in the spring of 2011 and assaulted him. While Mimmo, 50, stood lookout at the door, Joe struck Ventilmilia 11 times with a black-wooden Louisville Slugger, cracking his skull and a half-dozen ribs and breaking his arm and pelvis.

“Don’t you know who I am….I’ll kill you and your family if you don’t shut this place down tomorrow,” he screamed as he pummeled him.

Both D’Annas pled guilty to lesser assault charges and received two-month sentences behind bars, more than 45 days served under house arrest. Dissatisfied with the outcome of the first set of charges, in 2013, the FBI came in and slammed the D’Annas with three charges of assault and extortion under the Hobbs Act.

Prosecutors have tied the Sicilian-born siblings to mafia and organized crime activity. Their first cousin Salvatore D’Anna is a mob boss near Palermo in the Terrisini section of Sicily, the town that spawned a large percentage of the Detroit mafia’s collective ancestry. “Family founders” Joseph (Joe Uno) Zerilli and William (Black Bill) Tocco came to America from Terrisini, settling in southeast Michigan in 1910. The D’Anna brothers’ victim, Pietro Ventimiglia, hails from Terrisini, too.

Anthony (Tony Cars) D’Anna, a deceased Detroit LCN capo who was in charge of mob relations with the auto industry and died in 1984, was Joe’s and Mimmo’s great uncle. Tony Cars baptized Joe Zerilli’s son and future syndicate underboss Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli – on the shelf in FLA – and Joe D’Anna would sometimes chauffer the younger Zerilli around town, acting as a bodyguard, when he would visit his uncle in Michigan in the 1970s, according to law enforcement records.

Detroit wiseguys Joe and Mimmo D’Anna are facing stiff sentences if convicted of racketeering and extortion.

Landing in the Motor City permanently in the early 1990s, within a couple of years the D’Annas had made a good deal of headway through the crime family power structure. Joe the Hood is suspected to have taken charge of the Detroit mob’s “zip” faction in a non-capo capacity by 1994, reporting directly to Palazzola, the man who had inherited all of Tony Cars downriver rackets when he passed away a decade earlier and using Mimmo as his primary lieutenant.

Representing Joe D’Anna in his current legal predicament is high-profile Midwest defense attorney, James Thomas, the man that defended disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at his racketeering trial two years ago.