Former Rochester, New York Teamsters union member and east coast labor and mob historian Blair T. Kenny recently put out his second book, The Rochester Mob Wars (purchase a copy here) , chronicling the now-defunct crime family’s turbulent turf battles of the 1970s and early 1980s. The conflict became known in the media as the Alphabet Wars for its confusing alliances and “A”, “B,” and “C” team faction designations.

Kenny’s first publishing effort was The History of the Rochester Teamsters and he’s working on a third book tentatively titled Arson For Hire. looking into the mob torch racket of the Alphabet Wars era. Kenny is retired from Local 118.

In honor of Kenny’s new book, The Gangster Report gives you a Rochester Mob Wars timeline, spanning the years 1972 and 1984 and complete A, B and C Team rosters.


May 1972 – Rochester Godfather Frank Valenti is booted from the boss’ seat in a meeting at the Red Lion Inn with his underboss Sam (Red) Russotti and consigliere Rene (The Painter) Piccarreto after Russotti and Piccarreto discover Valenti is hoarding profits from a secret stash of rackets being conducted by a local mob subunit which reported directly to him and nobody else. Russotti takes Valenti’s place as boss as Valenti leaves for exile in Arizona and is soon indicted, convicted and incarcerated on racketeering charges.

June 5, 1972 – Rochester mob soldier Dominic Chirico, a Valenti lieutenant and the leader of his secret subunit, is shot-gunned to death outside his girlfriend’s apartment building.

April 3, 1973 — Rochester mob associate Ernie White is killed, his body dumped under a local bridge, the day after he was part of a mafia armed-robbery crew that knocked off a Department of Motor Vehicles office in Irondequoit, New York

November 23, 1973 – Rochester mob enforcer Vincent (Jimmy the Hammer) Massaro, a Valenti loyalist, is killed and stuffed in the trunk of his car after bucking under the thumb of the city’s new mafia regime.

December 1974 – Rochester mafia associate William (Zeke) Zimmerman flips, leading to the flipping of soldiers Charles & Angelo Monacchino and Joe (Spike) LaNovara, a chain-reaction that results in charges being brought in the Jimmy Massaro homicide.

November 10, 1976Sam (Red) Russotti, his underboss Salvatore (Sammy G) Gingello, his consigliere Rene (The Painter) Piccarreto and others are convicted at trial for murdering Jimmy Massaro and sent to prison. Russotti names Tommy Didio, a bodyguard of Gingello’s, as his acting boss and their relationship strained quickly.

January 31, 1978 – Amid a massive scandal in the police department and prosecutor’s office regarding tainted and manufactured evidence in the Massaro case, Russotti, Gingello and Piccarreto  have their murder convictions tossed and are set free, forming the so-called “A Team.” Refusing to get back in line behind Russotti’s regime, Didio goes underground, seeks support from an incarcerated Frank Valenti through Valenti’s brother and aide-de-camp Stan, and prepares for war as leader of the “B Team.”

April 23, 1978 – Ambitious Rochester mob underboss Salvatore (Sammy G) Gingello, 39, is killed in a car bombing in front of Ben’s Café Society Social Club after a long night of doing the town with his bodyguards, Tommy Torpey and Tommy Taylor, who survive the explosion. Dick (Molly) Marino assumed underboss duties. Torpey and Taylor go on to start up the C Team.

Spring 1978 – The city erupts in a spat of shootings and bombings connected to the Alphabet War: a number of Russotti’s betting parlors are bombed and B Team hit man Rosario Chirico, the brother to slain Valenti hit man Dominic Chirico, survives being shot by a sniper on May 25.

July 6, 1978 – Rochester mob chief and B Team boss Tommy Didio is machine-gunned to death inside a room at the Exit 45 Motel in Victor, New York.

July 30, 1978 – Rochester mafia associate and B Team member Rodney Starkweather is shot three times and flips soon thereafter.

December 17, 1981 – Rochester mob capo and labor union leader John (Johnny Flowers) Fiorino is shot-gunned to death outside the Blue Gardenia restaurant by John (Mad Dog) Sullivan, on orders of the C Team. The Blue Gardenia was a favorite area mob haunt of that era and was owned by Rochester mafia associate Ben (Benny Manning) Managazze. Fiorino was the Teamsters vice-president in the Rochester region.

March 1982 – Members of the C Team severely beat a Red Russotti betting-parlor operator, putting him in the hospital for a month for not paying them tribute. Court records show in reaction to the assault, Russotti via Piccarreto placed open murder contracts on the C Team.

May 25, 1982 – Rochester mobster and C Team member Nick Mastrodonato is allegedly slain by A Team hit man Dominic (Trigger Dom) Taddeo.

August 26, 1982 – Rochester mobster and C Team member Gerry Pelusio is killed in a hail of shot-gun fire in an attack on him and his brother and fellow C Team affiliate Tommy Pelusio. A Team hit man Dominic Taddeo is again linked to the latter Alphabet War violence.

November 1982 – Red Russotti and Rene Piccaretto are indicted with eight other A Teamers in a wide-reaching federal racketeering case.

April 2, 1983 – Rochester mobster and C Team member Dino Tortarice is killed outside his home in another murder tied to Taddeo.

April & November 1983 – Rochester mob capo and A Team member Tommy Marotta survives attempts on his life in the spring and late fall of ‘83, with the April attack seeing him shot seven times. Marotta was Sammy Gingello’s right-hand man in the 1970s and Tommy Didio’s first cousin.

October 1984 – Red Russotti is convicted in his federal racketeering case, pulling him off the street for good. Russotti died of a heart attack in a Michigan prison hospital in June of 1993.

The Rosters

The A Team

Sam (Red) Russotti

Salvatore (Sammy G) Gingello

Rene (The Painter) Piccarreto

Dick (Molly) Marino

Salvatore (Sammy Camps) Campanella — eventually joined the B Team

Salvatore (Sammy D) Di Gaetano

Eugene (Gene the Firecracker) DeFrancesco

Dominic (Trigger Dom) Taddeo

Anthony Colombo

Joe (Joey T) Trieste

John (Johnny Flap) Trivigno

Angelo (Oskie) DeMarco

Tommy Marotta

Anthony (Tony G) Gingello

Loren Piccarreto

Angelo Amico

Joseph (Joe the Hop) Rossi

Anthony (Tony Dags) D’Agostino

Nick (Bugsy the Fence) Fosco

Lou (Louie Tree Tops) Imburgia

Joseph (Joe the Genie) Geniola

Joseph (Joe Desserts)  La Dolce

Anthony Oliveri

Bobby Palmiere

Lenny Stebbans

Joe (Joey Tubes) Tiraborelli

Anthony (Nippy) Arena

Joseph (Joe the Banker) Lippa

Don (Monroe Street Donnie) Paone

Orlando (Orlie P) Paone

Lou (Yamaha Louie) Santonato

Robert (Bobby Fernwood) Silveri

The B Team

Tommy Didio

Dominic (Sonny) Celestino

Charles (Charlie the Ox) Indovino

Frank (Frankie the Farmer) Frassetto

Angelo Vaccaro

Jimmy Canarozza

Rosario Chirico

Tony Chirico

Rodney Starkweather

Billy Barton

Vinnie Tobacco

Vincenzo (Vinnie the Captain) Cottone

Jimmy (Crazy Carlos) Bates

Joseph (Joe the Bowler) La Mendola

The C Team

Tommy Torpey

Tommy Taylor

Louie DiGuilo

Danny Bookles

Paul Comfort

Ray Sampson

Dino Tortarice

Jimmy & Stevie McAfee

Nicky Mastrodonato

Gerry, Tommy & Mike Pelusio

Richie Tribunella

Mario Tribunella

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