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Chicago mob bust; Grand Ave. Crew Takes A Hit

Buzz, buzz. Chicago mobsters Bobby Panozzo and Paul Koroluk of the Outfit’s Grand Avenue crew were stung last week. And the 54-year old Panozzo could be stung again soon……with murder charges. Operating a sub-group within the Grand Avenue faction, identified as “The P-K Crew” (the pair’s initials), Panozzo and Koroluk, and two subordinates, one being Panozzo’s namesake and 22-year old son, Bobby, Jr, were nabbed last Thursday in a police sting operation by Cook County narcotics detectives for running an elaborate armed-robbery ring targeting unprotected drug houses, as well as engaging in home invasions, arson, burglary, drug trafficking, attempted murder and possibly murder.

The racketeering and home invasion charges carry maximum 60-year prison sentences. Using tips from street gang members, a police radio scanner and stolen police uniforms, the P-K’s raided a series of area drug houses before the cops could. Their traditional home invasions were brutal and bloody; Panozzo chopped off one victim’s ear for lying to him in the midst of Panozzo robbing him.

The robbery crew was caught in the act, set-up by the cops and tricked into thinking they were ripping off a 45-kilo shipment of cocaine from a stash house on South Brandon Avenue in the city’s Hegewisch district, when in fact they were walking into a carefully-planned bear trap, the culmination of an investigation called, “Operation Crew Cut”.

Walking out of the purported stash house early Thursday morning, Panozzo, Koroluk and their associates were met by a swat team of Chicago police officers.Panozzo and the half-Polish, half-Italian Koroluk, 55, are both Grand Avenue mob crew veterans, first reporting to Joseph (Joey the Clown) Lombardo, currently imprisoned, and now taking orders from Albert (Albie the Falcon) Vena, Lombardo’s replacement as capo of the city’s Westside.

Sources close to the investigation, say Vena, a person dubbed “the most dangerous gangster in Chicago” by organized experts, the Windy City media and fellow mobsters alike, was “very close” to be indicted in the case, too. FBI wiretaps and street informants tie Vena to pocketing a percentage of the scores Panozzo and Koroluk were taking down.

Gangster running buddies for years, Panozzo and Koroluk were groomed in the art of robbery by Joey the Clown himself. The pair came up in a Lombardo-overseen burglary crew headed by his driver, James (Jimmy Legs) D’Antonio. FBI documents related to D’Antonio claim that Panozzo and Koroluk actually went along on the final actual robbery job the Clown personally participated in during an early 1980s jewelry store heist. By that time, Lombardo was already a capo and according to the report took a liking to Panozzo, nicknaming him “Bobby Pinocchio” for his talent for deception. The young Panozzo and Koroluk are alleged to have acted as look-outs on the job.

The P-K crew has been on law enforcement’s radar for the past couple years. In 2012, crew members Louie Capuzi and Frank Obrochta, were nailed on charges of burglary, home invasion, insurance fraud and prostitution and are currently awaiting trial.

Last fall, Chicago Police discovered Panozzo and Koroluk tried to put a murder contract on a witness in a forthcoming home invasion case. Then in the winter, Panozzo and Vena were mentioned at the trial of Windy City cop-turned-mobster Steve Mandell, convicted in February of attempting to kidnap, torture and eventually murder a pair of associates and one of their wives, in a ploy to assume control of one associate’s strip clubs and the other’s real estate assets. Testimony and FBI surveillance photos revealed that Panozzo and Mandell dined with Vena at Vena’s favorite Italian eatery, La Scrola (also a “forever fav” of Lombardo when he was on the streets).

Part of the indictment against Panozzo released Saturday quotes a confidential federal informant as accusing Panozzo of the murder of an elderly woman back in 1987, a homicide he is said to have bragged about. The informant said the murder was preceded by the woman signing over her property to Panozzo and concluded with him allegedly killing her by throwing her down three different flights of stairs in her apartment building.

Law enforcement sources in the Windy City tell the Mob Insider that a first-degree homicide charge against Panozzo could be added to the indictment before the case hits trial and that the FBI and Chicago PD detectives are investigating Panozzo’s connection to a currently unsolved October 1987 murder that took place in an apartment complex on W. Ohio Street and matches the informant’s description of events.

Less than a decade ago, Panozzo and Koroluk were arrested and convicted on similar burglary charges and were sentenced to seven-year prison bits in 2006. A source close to the Grand Avenue crew claims Panozzo also helps Vena, someone he’s very close to, look after the crew’s loan sharking business and that he has a reputation on the city’s Westside as a “tough-as-nails collector.”

One of the street gangs feeding the P-K gang with information on what drug houses to rob was allegedly the C-Notes, according to the Chicago Crime Commission, a longtime “Outfit JV team,” that Vena was once a member of and maintains close ties with.

Retired Chicago PD organized crime investigator Robert McDonald used to keep tabs on Panozzo and Vena in the 1980s.

“We’d watch Lombardo’s young guys and Bobby and Albie were two you always knew weren’t guys you messed with, they were the type of individuals that really enjoyed the work, took pleasure in inflicting pain,” he said. “Lombardo knew there was always room in the Outfit for guys like that and he made sure they were utilized from a young age.”

Mafia Hit List – Top Florida Mob Murders


Top 5 Florida Mob Murders of All-Time

1 Ignacio Antinori – Tampa’s first Italian mafia don and a world-renowned narcotics czar, Antinori was shot-gunned to death, his head literally blown off, while having a cup of coffee at the Palm Garden Inn on October 22, 1940. Ruling for two decades atop the Tampa mob, the 55-year old Florida Godfather was killed after allegedly getting into a dispute with the Chicago mafia over a drug deal gone-bad.

2 Charlie (The Dean) Wall – An incredibly powerful and politically-connected independent Tampa underworld baron during the first half of the Twentieth Century, the 75-year old Wall was brutally slain, beaten with a baseball bat, stabbed 10 times in the chest, his throat slit ear-to-ear, on April 18, 1955. In addition to testifying too candidly in front of the Kefauver Committee on organized crime (a copy of which was left next to his dead body), he was suspected of coordinating an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Santo Trafficante, Jr., son of then-Godfather and the crime family’s namesake, Santo Trafficante, Sr. Area mob figures, Nick Scaglione and Joe Bedami were the top suspects in the notorious slaying. Scaglione, a former bodyguard of his, was the last person seen with Wall alive, as the pair were seen leaving a local tavern together the night he was killed. Bedami was done away with gangland style in 1967. Walls, whose father was the former mayor of Tampa in the late 1870s, made a fortune in Prohibition Era bootlegging and he engaged in an epic and bloody street war against Trafficante’s predecessor, Ignacio Antinori, that lasted a dozen years (1928-1940). It is believed that Wall aided the Chicago mob in carrying out the hit on Antinori.

3 John (Handsome Johnny) Roselli – The Chicago mafia’s high-profile and charismatic representative on the West Coast dating back to the days of Al (Scarface) Capone, Roselli angered his superiors in the mob by testifying at congressional hearings on the JFK assassination and the Italian OC-CIA plot to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro, disappearing en route to a golf date at a South Florida country club on July 28, 1975. Two weeks later, Roselli’s heavily battered body was discovered stuffed inside a 55-gallon drum floating in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. The night before he went missing, Handsome Johnny dined with Santo Trafficante, Jr., by then having succeeded his dad as don and thought to have had a hand in the murder plot.

4 “The Two Jimmys Murders” – Between 1948 and 1950, high-ranking Tampa mobsters Jimmy Velasco and Jimmy Lumia, reputedly bitter enemies, were both killed. Velasco, the syndicate’s “political fixer”, was shot dead in front of his wife and son while he was getting into his brand new Buick in Ybor City on December 12, 1948, a controversial payoff list in his pocket. Florida hoodlum Joe Provenzano was acquitted of the murder at trial. Lumia, the protégé of Santo Trafficante’s underboss Salvatore (Red) Italia

no and someone suspected of helping arrange the Velasco hit, was shot-gunned to death by a shooter in a passing truck as he sat in a car outside his oil company speaking to an employee of his, on June 5, 1950. Lumia became the Family’s “acting boss” by default, when Trafficante and his son fled to Cuba to avoid testifying at the Kefauver hearings and Italiano took off for Mexico. Upon the Trafficantes’ return to Tampa, they felt Lumia was being disrespectful and had gained too much power and put out the contract on his head.

5 Thomas (Tommy the Enforcer) Altamura – The imposing Miami-based Gambino Family mobster that was known to hobnob with celebrities and millionaires around the ritzy North Bay Village neighborhood was killed on Halloween night 1967, shot in the back of the head while he glad-handed his way through the Harbor Lounge, the bar attached to the popular Place For Steak restaurant. Altamura had been feuding with fellow South Florida mob figure, Anthony “Big Tony” Esperti, a boxer-turned-gangster that had waited for him at the watering hole and pounced within a minute of him walking in the door. Esperti would go on to be convicted of the slaying and sent to prison for the rest of his life.

Honorable Mention: Tampa police officer Richard Cloud (1975), Miami mob attorney Harvey St. Jean (1974), Richard Schwartz, Meyer Lansky’s step son (1977), Babe Silvers (1960)

Mafia Hit List – Top Milwaukee Mob Murders


Top 5 Milwaukee Mob Murders of All-Time

1 Augie Maniaci – Longtime Milwaukee mafia chief that was increasingly insubordinate, power-hungry and believed to be cooperating with the FBI, Maniaci, 66, was shot to death outside his eastside home as he went to leave for work on the morning of September 11, 1975. Maniaci was openly bickering with his boss, Wisconsin Godfather Frank (Frankie Bal) Balistrieri. Tracing his roots in the crime family all the way back the Prohibition Era, Maniaci was a top suspect in the 1955 murder of local wiseguy Jack Enea and continually feuded with Frankie Bal, once he took the Family’s boss’ seat in the early 1960s. He was seen getting into a shouting match with Balistrieri’s second-in-command, Stevie DeSalvo at a Milwaukee steakhouse in the days leading up to his slaying. Balistrieri was quoted as telling his inner-circle “I’ve got to get this fucking son of a bitch before he gets me.” The murder weapon in the Maniaci hit was found in storm drain near the Milwaukee River, but charges have never been filed in the notorious gangland homicide. FBI files and court testimony points to Frankie Bal and DiSalvo farming the contract on Maniaci’s head out to their underworld benefactors in the Chicago mafia – “Outfit” soldiers Chuckie Niccoletti and Nick D’Andrea were both considered prime suspects and met similar gruesome fates in the years to come. Career-criminal Bobby Hardin testified at a future trial that he helped D’Andrea carry out the job at the behest of Chicago capo, Albert (Caesar the Fox) Tocco. The assassination of Windy City mob dignitary Sam (Momo) Giancana, a trusted Maniaci ally, in May of that year, set the groundwork for Maniaci’s downfall.

2 Augie Palmisano – Headstrong Brewtown mob capo that got into several heated and public verbal altercations with don Frank Balistrieri in the years preceding his passing, Palmisano, 49, was blown to pieces by a car bomb that detonated in the underground garage of his trendy apartment building on the morning of June 30, 1978. Balistrieri, who also suspected Palmisano of being an FBI informant, was quoted telling fellow mobsters at a lunch meeting in the months that followed; “He called me a name…….. to my face, now they can’t find his skin.” Palmisano came up in the Midwestern labor union scene, getting his start as a driver for Milwaukee mob consigiliere Joseph (Joe Camel) Caminitii and captain Augie Maniaci. Backing Maniaci in his battle for power with syndicate brass, per FBI files, Palmisano was openly telling people that he wanted to rub out Balistrieri and his brother Pete in the time surrounding his murder.

3 Louie Fazio – The 58-year old “big shot” Milwaukee crime family soldier and Wisconsin restaurateur couldn’t get along with local mafia boss Frank Balistrieri either and was killed September 27, 1972, gunned down at 6:45 a.m. outside his home getting into his car. Fazio served 12 years in prison (1946-1958) for the March 1946 gangland slaying of Kenosha wiseguy Mike Farina, who had just robbed a house of a Milwaukee mobster weeks earlier. In the year leading up to his murder, Fazio and Balistrieri fell out over the amount of tribute payments Frankie Bal was receiving, which he felt needed to be higher and Fazio balked at.

4 John (Johnny D) Di Trapani – A popular and flashy Milwaukee mob capo, Johnny D got into a beef in Chicago with leaders of the Outfit and wound up dead on March 18, 1954, discovered slumped behind the wheel of his black Cadillac on a westside street corner, his body riddled with six bullets from an automatic pistol. Di Trapani was seen dining at Chico’s BBQ (owned by local gangster Frank LoGalbo) with his family the night before his slaying and then attending a meeting at a downtown night club later that evening. FBI documents related to the investigation into Johnny D’s murder allude to Windy City mafia power Felix (Milwaukee Phil) Alderisio ordering the hit, said to be related to a dispute over money tied to mutual rackets and bar businesses in Illinois.

5 (tie) Anthony Biernat – Based out of Kenosha, Biernat was a mobbed-up jukebox and vending machine operator and tangled with mafia crews in Milwaukee and Chicago, leading to his vicious January 7, 1963 slaying. When his body was finally uncovered in a makeshift shallow farmhouse grave, he was hogtied and had been bludgeoned to death, his skulled cracked open in four spots. The Milwaukee FBI office tapped Frank Balistrieri, the city’s crime family’s new boss, Stevie De Salvo his underboss and top-tier associate Frankie Stelloh, as the prime suspects and the orchestrators of the murder, but never charged them with the hit.

5 (tie) Izzy Pogrob – The portly and jovial Jewish nightclub owner and Wisconsin mob associate was whacked Jan 9, 1960, found shot nine times, bound and blindfolded in a ditch. His death certificate was signed after he squealed on Milwaukee Mafioso Louie Fazio to police in a beef over a shakedown attempt. Pogrob owned hot night spots in the Cheese State and down in Florida, businesses the FBI believed a series of wiseguys held interests in.

5 (tie) Max Addonis – Well-known Milwaukee mob associate and one-time enforcer for Chicago mafia’s representative in Wisconsin, Frank (Frankie the Horse) Bucceri and his wife, notorious rustbelt gangland gun moll, Sally Pipia, who owned Milwaukee’s famed Sally’s Steak House at The Knickerbocker on the Lake Hotel, Addonis was killed execution style on March 18, 1989 in his restaurant office at his downtown eatery, Giovanni’s. According to Chicago Police records, Addonis’ murder was contracted out to a tandem of African-American “gang bangers” from Illinois, both of whom wound up getting clipped themselves shortly thereafter. Addonis made quite a few of enemies in his days in the underworld, surviving several attempts on his life before he was finally offed. He confided to Pipia in a phone call she received the night before he died that “his days were numbered” and he knew people were trying to kill him.

Honorable Mention: William Dentice – June 8, 1937, Jack Enea – November 29, 1955

Mafia Hit List – Top Lucchese Mob Hits

Top 5 Lucchese Mafia Family Murders of All-Time

1 The Lufthansa Heist Murders – In the months after the Lucchese Family’s legendary Irish crew leader James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke engineered the biggest robbery in U.S. history, stealing over eight million dollars of cash and jewelry from the Lufthansa Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport, Burke decided to kill several of his co-conspirators, both to cut ties between him and the daring heist and so he could pocket the majority of the proceeds of the score himself. Lucchese mob associates Marty Krugman, Richard Eaton, Tommy Monteleone, Louie Cafora, Joseph (Joe Buddha) Manri, Robert (Frenchy) McMahon and Parnell (Stacks) Edwards all wound up dead over the next six months, as did wiseguy Paulo LiCastri, the Gambino Family’s liaison to the heist and Theresa Ferrara, Monteleone’s girlfriend and Joanna Cafora, Louie Cafora’s, recent bride, for their knowledge of the headline-grabbing robbery. Jimmy the Gent, a longtime confidant of Queens-based Lucchese capo Paul Vario and someone the FBI connected to dozens of gangland homicides in his multiple decades in the rackets, died in prison in 1996, serving a 20 year-sentence for shaving points in college basketball games. A number of the murders linked to the Lufthansa Heist hit parade, were depicted in the gangster film classic, Goodfellas (1990), where Robert De Niro was cast as Burke.

2 The Mafia Cop Murders – Disgraced NYPD detectives Louie Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa worked as a personal hit team for Lucchese Family don, Vittorio (Little Vic) Amuso and his underboss Anthony (Gas Pipe) Casso during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s. The pair of mob moles with badges were convicted on eight different counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2006. Lucchese associates Jimmy Hydell and Otto Heidel, syndicate soliders, Bruno Facciolo and Anthony DiLapi, Gambino Family capos Eddie Lino and Bobby Boriello and an innocent man named Nicky Guido, the victim of mistaken identity, were each victims of the cops-turned-mercenaries’ body-trail.

3 William (Billy Bats) Bentavena – A “made” member of the Gambino Crime Family recently released from prison after serving six years on a drug-dealing bust, Bentavena was killed by enraged Lucchese associate Thomas (Two-Gun Tommy) DeSimone on June 11, 1970, in a murder that was depicted on the silver screen in probably the most iconic scene from Goodfellas, with Joe Pesci portraying Two-Gun Tommy and grizzled mob character actor Frank Vincent playing Billy Bats. Hours after Bentavena was sprung from the clink the month before, he got into a verbal altercation with DeSimone at his coming home party when Billy Bats began making fun of the notoriously hot-tempered DeSimone regarding a childhood shoe-shine business DeSimone once ran. Less than three weeks later, Bentavena was lured to Lucchese-run bar and lounge, The Suite in Queens and attacked by DeSimone and Jimmy the Gent Burke, DeSimone’s mentor and one of the most respected and feared non-Italian mobsters ever. While in the process of driving Billy Batts’ body upstate to bury it, DeSimone, Burke and close friend and Lucchese associate Henry Hill discovered Batts was still alive in the trunk, leading them to pull over and stab him another 30-40 times to finish him off. Bentavena was allied with a young, up-and-comer in the Gambinos, named John Gotti, some 15 years away from ascending to “Teflon Don” status, but juiced in enough at that juncture to get permission to whack Two-Gun Tommy before the decade was through (January 4, 1979). Pesci won an Oscar for his role as DeSimone.

4 Anthony (Buddy) Luongo – Short-lived boss of the crime family for a year in the mid-1980s, Luongo was allegedly killed by his own protégé, Little Vic Amuso and his crew on orders from jailed Lucchese don, Anthony (Tony Ducks) Corrallo, Luongo’s own mentor, on December 12, 1986. Drawn to Amuso’s hangout, The 19th Hole Bar and Grill in Brooklyn, Luongo was driven by Amuso to a house nearby where he received two bullets in the back of the head as he sat down at the kitchen table for a cup of coffee. Luongo was clipped for being too greedy and wanting to isolate Corrallo from his troops and gangland assets, a situation the power-driven Amuso took advantage of to launch his own bloody reign atop the Lucchese throne in the years to come.

5 (tie) Vincent Papa – Lucchese Family drug lieutenant and racketeer, Papa was killed inside the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, stabbed to death on July 26, 1977 by members of the Aryan Brotherhood on a contract taken out jointly by Lucchese leaders and Genovese Jewish narcotics enforcer Herbie Sperling, when they found out Papa had made a deal with then-U.S. Prosecutor and future New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, implicating dirty cops. The Lucchese’s representative in the notorious French Connection drug conspiracy, Papa subsequently masterminded the follow-up French Connection heroin heist from New York Police Property Clerk’s Office, where 400 kilos of uncut ‘H’ disappeared in 1971 from the office’s evidence room and reappeared on the streets. Sperling would eventually be charged for ordering Papa’s jailhouse slaying, but was acquitted at trial, where an AB named Theodore (Tattoo) Blasko was convicted for the actual murder. A fictionalized version of Papa was converted into actor Tony Lo Bianco’s “Sal Bocca” character in the smash-hit film made on the case, starring Gene Hackman that won the Oscar for best picture.

5 (tie) Dominick (The Gap) Petrilli – One-time driver and bodyguard for Tommy Gagliano, the syndicate’s don that preceded crime family namesake Tommy (Three Finger Brown) Lucchese, Petrilli was slain December, 9, 1953, felled by a trio of gunmen as he sat on a bar stool in the Bronx. Rumors had been swirling that he was cooperating with law enforcement following his return from Italy, where the narcotic lieutenant had been deported a decade earlier. It was widely believed on the street at the time of his death that Petrilli had traded information on his fellow mobsters in the Luccheses in exchange for the United States allowing him to come back to New York.

Mafia Hit List – Top Colombo Family Murders


Top 5 Colombo Family Murders of All-Time

1 (tie) Joe Colombo – The syndicate’s namesake and the youngest American mob don of the 1960s, Colombo was shot on June 28, 1971 as he took the podium to speak at an Italian Unity Day rally in Columbus Circle, dying seven years later after being permanently shelved and disabled because of the attack. Colombo’s wipe out was arranged by Joseph (Crazy Joey) Gallo, an enemy of his dating back years that had just been released from prison stemming from his activity in the crime family’s first civil war a decade earlier. The gunmen in the Colombo shooting was a black hoodlum named Jerome Johnson, who was killed on the spot by an unidentified assailant to keep him from speaking of his connection to Crazy Joe and his plot to overthrow the increasingly-political Godfather. Before he was put out of action, Colombo founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League, which was gaining considerable traction in the time surrounding his shooting.

1 (tie) Joseph (Crazy Joe) Gallo – Fearsome renegade capo and genuine New York celebrity gangster, Crazy Joe went to war with syndicate bosses on two separate occasions for control of the crime family, first against Family founder, Joe Profaci, in the early 1960s ending up in prison and finally against Family namesake Joe Colombo, ending up shot dead on his 43rd birthday while he ate a late-night meal at Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy on April 7, 1972. Less than a year earlier, Gallo had orchestrated the shooting of Colombo at his Italian Unity Day rally, putting the Godfather on the shelf for the rest of his life (the don would die an invalid seven years later) and drawing the ire of the American mafia’s National Commission for the unsanctioned attempt to assassinate a boss. While in prison, Gallo studied philosophy and made alliances with African-American gangsters, a relationship that scared his superiors in the mob. For the 16 months he was alive following his incarceration, Gallo gravitated to the counterculture, moving to Greenwich Village, writing poetry and racially integrating his crew. The night of his passing he spent the evening at The Copacabana with his close friend, Hollywood actor Jerry Orbach (Detective Lenny Briscoe in the long-running television series, “Law and Order”). Leaving Orbach at the Copa, Crazy Joe stopped at the recently-opened Umberto’s, where he was spotted by new Colombo don Joe Yacovelli’s bodyguard and driver, Joseph (Joe Fish) Luparelli, who tipped off his boss to Gallo’s whereabouts. There have been numerous mob hit men named as possible suspects in the high-profile slaying, but no charges ever filed in the case.

2 William (Wild Bill) Cutolo – The magnetic, fearless and lethal Colombo Family underboss was too popular in the eyes of boss Alphonse (Little Alley Boy) Persico and when Persico was about to be shipped off to prison on a parole violation, Cutolo wound up dead on May 26, 1999. Called to what he thought was to be a meeting with Little Alley Boy that afternoon at the house of Colombo soldier, Dino Saracino, Wild Bill was killed by Saracino, his cousin Dino Calabro and soon-to-be acting boss Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli, in the residence’s basement, shot twice in the back of the head. Cutolo was a capo and Sergeant at Arms in the Colombo War of the early 1990s, known as a rare combination of “earner” and “hitter,” and aligned against Little Alley Boy and his dad, imprisoned don, Carmine (The Snake) Perisco, for the battle of syndicate supremacy. Initially forgiven for his betrayal by the Persicos at the conclusion of the disharmony and promoted to underboss, they didn’t trust him to keep things quiet when they were both away from their New York mob kingdom locked up behind bars. Cutolo’s body wasn’t discovered until almost a decade later by which point Little Alley Boy and his No. 2 in charge Jack (Jackie Sambuca) De Ross, Wild Bill’s one-time best friend, had been convicted of the murder.

3 Joseph (Joe Jelly) Giolelli – Crazy Joe Gallo’s top enforcer, Giolelli was killed May 16, 1961, after being taken deep sea fishing by associates of his in the crime family and never coming home, the first casualty of the syndicate’s war of the early 1960s, where Gallo took on Family-founder Joe Profaci. Joe Jelly’s murder was depicted in the Oscar-winning film and gangster epic The Godfather, as Gallo and his crew received a package following his demise containing his clothes and a dead big-mouth bass, letting them know that Giolelli “slept with the fishes.”

4 Nicholas (Nicky Black) Granico – The most powerful of the casualties of the Colombo’s early 1990s shooting war, Nicky Black’s slaying on a Brooklyn street corner, as he sat at a red light in his Toyota Land Cruiser on January 7, 1992, raised eyebrows later on in an investigation into and the trial of retied FBI agent Lin DeVecchio. Accused but acquitted of aiding Persico loyalist and convicted hit man Greg (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa in the bloody conflict, DeVecchio was specifically tied to the Granico murder by federal prosecutors, accused of pulling strings to get an FBI surveillance team removed from following Granico so Scarpa could unload on him from a passing van unfettered. Nicky Black was a gritty and respected capo that sided with Vittorio (Little Vic) Orena against the Persicos in the war for the Family throne. Scarpa, a legendary mob hit man and FBI top-echelon confidential informant, was convicted of the Nicky Black hit along with three others related to the Colombo infighting, dying behind bars of the AIDS virus he attained via a blood transfusion he received due to a bleeding ulcer.

5 Calogero (Charlie the Sidge) LoCicero – Godfather Joe Profaci’s consigliere and mentor to the menacing Greg Scarpa, the 64-year old mafia statesman that helped negotiate the end of the first Colombo Family civil war was gunned down as he sat drinking a strawberry milkshake at Carlisi’s Luncheonette in Borough Park on April 18, 1968, possibly by his protégé Scarpa. The reasons for LoCicero’s slaying have been widely-speculated upon, some tying it to the Bonanno Family conflict others to backbiting in his own Borgata or retribution from his own son for ordering the murder of his grandson.

Honorable Mention: Frank (Frankie Shots) Abbatemarco, Rosario (Black Sam) Nastasio, Henry (Hank the Bank) Smurra, Ralph Dols (NYPD officer killed for dating the ex-wife of Colombo heavyweight Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace.