August 20, 2021 — The NY Daily News reported that legendary New York mob don Carmine (The Snake) Persico was once a confidential informant for the FBI, citing an FBI document from 1971. At the time the document was drafted, Persico was still a few years away from earning the title of Godfather. The information was gleaned from court records filed by attorneys for Persico’s one-time rival Vittorio (Little Vic) Orena in his quest for freedom.
Orena and Persico went to war for control of the Colombo crime family in the early 1990s, with Persico serving a life prison sentence behind bars and Orena running crime family affairs on the street. Today, Orena sits in prison convicted of murder and racketeering linked to the unrest. Persico died behind bars two years ago.
Below is a breakdown of all the Colombo War action back in those crazy days and nights of 1991, 1992 and 1993, as factions of Persico and Orena loyalists stalked each other and engaged in wanton violence on the streets of Brookyln.
The Colombo War Hit List (1991-1993):
November 24, 1991 – Colombo soldier Henry (Hank the Bank) Smurra is killed behind the wheel of his car parked in front of a Dunkin Donuts in Brooklyn. Smurra was a Persico loyalist and a week earlier had been part of a hit team that opened fire on Persico’s primary muscle on the streets, Greg (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa, his young granddaughter and his daughter in their Brooklyn neighborhood in broad daylight.
December 2, 1991 – Aging Genovese crime family lieutenant Gaetano (Tommy Scars) Amato is shot to death in an attack on Colombo associate Joey Tolino on a Brooklyn street corner. Tolino was an Orena loyalist.
December 5, 1991 – Aging Colombo soldier Rosario (Black Sam) Nastasi is slain inside his Belvedere Social Club in Brooklyn while he was playing cards. Natasi was a Persico loyalist.
December 7, 1991 – Colombo crime family soldier Vincent (Vinnie Venus) Fusaro is murdered in front of his house in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn, gunned down as he hung his Christmas lights. Fusaro was an Orena loyalist,
December 8, 1991 – Innocent bystander Matteo Speranza, a teenage immigrant from Sicily, is killed by accident at a bagel shop in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn during an attack on a Persico loyalist.
January 7, 1992 – Colombo crime family captain Nicholas (Nicky Black) Grancio is shotgunned to death behind the wheel of his Toyota Land Cruiser SUV on a Brooklyn street corner. Grancio was a high-ranking Orena loyalist.
March 25, 1992 – Colombo crime family lieutenants Johnny Minerva & Mike Imbergamo are gunned down sitting in Minerva’s car outside the Broadway Diner in North Massapequa. Minerva and Imbergamo were Orena loyalists.
May 22, 1992 – Colombo crime family soldier Lorenzo (Larry Lamps) Lampisi is shot-gunned to death in his Brooklyn driveway. Lampisi was an Orena loyalist.
October 7, 1992 – Colombo crime family lieutenant Steven (Stevie Lightning) Mancusi is killed as he is getting into his car. Mancusi was a Persico loyalist.
October 20, 1993 – Colombo crime family capo Joey Scopo is executed in the front yard of his house in Queens, ending the war and keeping power with the Persico group. Scopo was a leader of the Orena faction and holding the fort down for the insurgence with Little Vic behind bars.
*Orena’s main muscle in the war was charismatic capo William (Wild Bill) Cutolo, who in the aftermath of the feud would eventually get promoted to underboss as a peace gesture, but slain in the spring of 1999 when Persico felt he was poised to launch another offensive.