Pittsburgh mob underboss-turned-FBI informant and witness for the government Chucky Porter passed away this week from kidney failure. He was 82 and living back in suburban Penn Hills in the final years of his life.

The half-Italian Porter was known as a major earner in both east coast and Midwest underworld circles and was the No. 2-in-command in the LaRocca crime family in the late 1980s and early 1990s, serving under Steel City Godfather Mike Genovese at the peak of Genovese’s reign. Porter and several associates were indicted in a giant drug, gambling and racketeering case in the spring of 1990. Convicted at a high-profile trial later that same year, Porter eventually flipped and according to prosecutors dispensed a treasure trove of mob secrets and helped thwart a reported half-dozen gangland assassinations during his extensive cooperation, earning him an early release in 2000.

Heavily respected and trusted nationwide, he provided the feds intelligence on more than just the LaRocca clan too which made him extremely valuable as a turncoat. Because of his role as a mafia dignitary he often aided in the mediation of disputes between various regional Italian mob syndicates and was able to give up information on crime families in Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, New England, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Youngstown as well. His former boss Genovese died in 2006 of natural causes, pretty much dropping the curtain on any semblance of the mafia in the Pittsburgh area.

Genovese officially took over the Pittsburgh mob from organization namesake Sebastian (Big John) LaRocca in 1984 and inducted Porter into the crime family in a 1986 ceremony. Starting his ascent through the local mafia ranks as a storied street tough in the city’s large Lawrenceville neighborhood, Porter spent time working as a postal worker prior to becoming Genovese’s right-hand man.

Porter was the second significant mob figure in the country to die this week and the second former historic Pittsburgh wiseguy to drop dead in recent months: Detroit mobster Frank (Frankie the Bomb) Bommarito, a “person of interest” in the iconic Jimmy Hoffa kidnapping and murder from 1975, died at 87 of heart and kidney failure on Monday and Eugene (Nick the Blade) Gesuale, Porter’s main muscle for many years, was felled by a stroke this past summer while in retirement in Florida following a lengthy prison term.

Chucky Porter c. 1990

Chucky Porter c. 1990


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