Spring 2015 Took With It Passing Of Kansas City Mafia Made Man Pete Tamburello

Downtown Kansas city at night from the Liberty Memorial

Missouri mafia power, Pete Tamburello, the last of longtime Kansas City mob boss Nick Civella’s inner-circle, passed away last month. Tamburello, Civella’s trusted driver, bodyguard and gangland protégé, died of natural causes in early April at the age of 83.

A Korean War veteran, Tamburello was a restauranteur for years in the Kansas City area, owning and operating popular and tasty hot spots like Marty’s BBQ, Antonio’s Pizza, Hello, Dolly’s, Georgie Porgie’s and Taco Pete’s.

The legendary Nick Civella, respected and feared on a national LCN level, was overlord of mob affairs in Kansas City from 1953 until his death from lung cancer in 1983. He spent a portion of his last decade on this earth behind bars, before being released by a federal judge in the final weeks of his life so he could die at home in Missouri.

Civella and Tamburello were seen sitting in box seats at the 1980 World Series (their hometown Royals vs. Philadelphia Phillies), tickets for which were reserved for a state senator and arranged by a K.C. City Councilman and got into an altercation at the ballpark with reporters and cameramen that made it into local papers.

Convicted with Civella of conspiracy to bribe to a public official that same year and serving a short prison sentence (1981-1983), Tamburello was acquitted of skimming Las Vegas casinos of over two million dollars at a 1985 trial, in a case he was indicted in alongside several powerful Midwest mob dons.

Carl (Tuffy) DeLuna, Civella’s underboss, died in 2008. Civella’s brother and right-hand man, Carl (Corky) Civella, died behind bars in 1994. Tamburello was a pallbearer at fellow K.C. mob figure, Ben Palmettere’s funeral in 2011.

As of today, the FBI alleges John (Johnny Joe) Sciortino is the Godfather of the mafia in Kansas City, with Peter (Las Vegas Pete) Simone reputed to be serving as his underboss and No. 2 in charge.


Pete Tamburello c. 2014
Pete Tamburello c. 2014



  1. Thanks for posting, Scott. I love to hear about the smaller families people keep saying are dead, defunct or non-viable anymore. Keep’em coming.

  2. Thank you for the article. I lived in KC for a long time. The family during the 90s and on seem to always blend in with the local fabric and never got too much coverage. Antonio’s Pizza mentioned in the article was by the old Italian neighborhood and the former River Quay (now City Market) neighborhood.

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