Genovese members arrested in South Florida
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Brian Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, announced today that a Ft. Lauderdale federal grand jury returned a six (6) count Indictment charging defendants Renaldi “Ray” Ruggiero, Albert “Chinky” Facchiano, Joseph Dennis Colasacco, Mitchell Weissman, Francis J. O’Donnell, Clement Santoro, and Charles Steinberg with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d), and other crimes, including extortion, robbery, money laundering, and loan sharking. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge James I. Cohn, in Ft. Lauderdale.
According to the Indictment, from in or around 1994 through the date of Indictment, the defendants were employed by and associated with the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), a criminal enterprise. The Indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity that included extortion, robbery, money laundering, making of extortionate extensions of credit, collection of extensions of credit by extortionate means (loan sharking), travel in aid of racketeering, possession of stolen property, and bank fraud.
Specifically, the Indictment alleges that defendant Ruggiero is a captain in the Genovese Crime Family, in charge of its South Florida operations. Ruggiero is claimed to have supervised and directed the activities of LCN members and associates in South Florida, including authorizing acts of violence, such as beatings, to intimidate persons whom he believed were interfering with LCN criminal activities. Through direct and indirect threats and violence, Ruggiero and his co-defendants acquired and maintained interests in various legitimate business entities.
The Indictment also charges the defendants with money laundering. In May 2003, a Miami- Dade detective working undercover (UCA) with the FBI was purporting to be a drug dealer and money launderer. The UCA was asked by defendants Ruggiero, Colasacco, O’Donnell, and Weissman if they could launder the purported drug proceeds through one of O’Donnell’s companies, Coach Industries Group, Inc. (CIGI), in exchange for a fee. Ruggiero, Colasacco, O’Donnell, and Weissman laundered approximately $280,000 through companies owned by defendant O’Donnell or his employees.
United States Attorney Acosta stated, “The criminal activities of La Cosa Nostra are not just the stuff of movies and TV. The Genovese Crime Family, its members and associates, ran their South Florida operations through fear, violence, and intimidation. These criminal activities ranged from extortion, robbery, money laundering, loan sharking, to bank fraud. This prosecution reflects our continued efforts to rid South Florida of violent criminal elements.”
Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, stated, “The arrests of these seven individuals demonstrate the FBI’s continuous commitment to combating organized crime. The FBI has a long and successful history of investigating and bringing to justice members of organized criminal groups, such as La Cosa Nostra. Working with our law enforcement partners, we have dismantled a major organized criminal group based in South Florida.”
IRS Special Agent in Charge Brian Wimpling stated, “IRS-CI and the law enforcement community are united in our resolve to financially disrupt criminal organizations that commit crimes against our society and the world economy."
Mugshots of the five arrested as part of the Westshore Pizza loansharking case:
Good info on Richard Sabol - http://vls.law.vill.edu/locator/3d/Jul1999/99a2220p.asc
2 more, Richard Sabol and Joseph Carta, arrested in Westshore Pizza loansharking ring - one tied to OC (not the TV show)
Richard Sabol has ties to the Luchesse family and a capo named Joseph Giampa. Here's a little tidbit from 1999 on Giampa and Sabol:
Vincent Davis, a former New York City police officer left a federal prison recently on a $100,000 bond, after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered his release. Davis was convicted in March 1998 on charges that he told targets of a mob investigation that one of their key associates was an informant. His lawyer argued before the panel the judge had failed to instruct jurors that alcohol might have impaired Davis during crucial meetings with reputed mobsters.
Prosecutors charged that Davis' actions collapsed an undercover sting operation in 1994 in which agents used career felon Richie Sabol to bait Lucchese crime family members to sell stolen cars, guns, and gambling machines from a Cliffside Park, New Jersey warehouse. Sabol was serving a 20-year sentence in Georgia on drug charges when U.S. Customs agents arranged his transfer to the Morris County Jail so that he could help in a sting of reputed Lucchese mobster Joe Giampa.
Davis informed Giampa's stepson, Gennaro Vittorio, that Sabol was a federal informant. This prompted authorities to shut down the operation to protect the lives of Sabol and the agents who handled him. However, prosecutors had gained enough evidence to obtain racketeering convictions against Giampa, John "Johnny Hooks" Capra of Closter, and five other reputed mobsters. Davis, an 11-year veteran of the New York police force, lost his job because of the leak.
At the trial, Davis admitted to telling Vittorio, but said he had no idea that customs agents were using Sabol in a sting. Davis testified that he wanted to strain relations between Sabol, who had dated Davis' ex-wife, and the mob faction headed by Giampa. Davis testified that he fabricated news of the federal probe as a "ruse" to get enough information about Sabol to have him put back in prison.
The appeals panel will rule to reverse his conviction and/or order a new trial.
FDLE bust loansharking ring in Tampa
Today Barry Cliffton Durrance, and Joseph M. Tumminia Jr., both 38, were arrested following a year-long investigation by the Tampa Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County. Durrance and Tumminia were each charged with one count of criminal usury (FSS 687.071).
Durrance and Tumminia are charged with acting in concert with Josh Burke and other Bay area residents to lend money to owners of a number of Westshore Pizza outlets at rates of interest that violate the laws of Florida. The loans allowed Durrance and Tumminia to leverage an ownership interest in a Westshore Pizza outlet in Clearwater. In this incident, the storeowners were unable to obtain commercial loans from conventional lenders, so Durrance and Tumminia and their associates took full advantage of this position of financial deprivation, by charging interest rates between 36 and 48 percent per annum. The pizza storeowners in some instances made weekly cash payments for years to Tumminia and Durrance.
Durrance and Tumminia crafted elaborate agreements and promissory notes that the borrowers were required to sign. These agreements attempted to disguise the factual illegality of the transactions.
Durrance and Tumminia are additionally being investigated for their alleged role in a series of related fraudulent activities along with five other Bay area men believed to have likewise operated criminal enterprises. The activities of these individuals involved illegal lending and collection operations, threats of violence in the collection of loans and fraudulent activities that targeted start-up pizza restaurant owners and their suppliers throughout the Bay area.
Durrance and Tumminia have both disclosed and undisclosed ownership interests in a number of the Westshore Pizza outlets throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Durrance, has a criminal history for fraud and larceny; Tumminia has no known criminal record. Both men were booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on Orient Road in Tampa. Bond was set at $15,000 each.
ValuCar founder finally arrested
Almost five years after an FBI raid of the used-car chain, state officials have filed a charge of grand theft.
By BILL COATS, Times Staff Writer
Published February 26, 2005
Five years ago, ValuCar was a young, high-flying used-car chain doing $70-million a year in business.
That is, until FBI agents swarmed onto the car lots and seized enough records to fill a warehouse. Hapless customers discovered their extended warranties were worthless and the loans on their trade-ins had not been paid off.
This week, authorities finally made an arrest. Nelson Valdes Jr., ValuCar's founder, was charged Wednesday with grand theft, punishable by as much as 30 years in prison. In a news release, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement accused Valdes of directing employees to deceive Ford Motor Credit Corp., which loaned ValuCar money to buy vehicles for its inventory.
"What they were trying to do was conceal the sale of the vehicle from Ford so they would not have to pay the money back to Ford," FDLE spokesman Rick Morera said.
Ford Credit audited its ValuCar arrangement and determined 182 vehicles it had financed weren't accounted for, the FDLE said. That created a net loss of nearly $1.7-million.
The FBI raid occurred on June 28, 2000.
Two weeks later, Ford declared ValuCar in default of nearly $1.5-million in loans. On the same day, Ernie Haire III, a Tampa Ford dealer and a partner in ValuCar, loaned ValuCar $1-million, a debt that became public after ValuCar declared bankruptcy. The FDLE said Haire repaid Ford Credit for some of the losses. But Ford representatives told investigators last year that the lender had lost $908,720 "due to Valdes' theft of their security interest in ValuCar's inventory," the FDLE statement said.
After ValuCar's collapse, Haire told the Times, "It's cost me millions."
A variety of lawsuits have followed. Valdes filed for personal bankruptcy in 2001 and was protected from creditors, including legal judgments. Three months ago, Valdes and his wife paid $635,000 for a house in New Tampa's Cory Lake Isles and sold their bayfront home in Apollo Beach for $1.06-million.
Valdes, 45, surrendered at the Manatee County Sheriff's Department and was released on his own recognizance. He did not return a phone call from the Times.
The FDLE's Morera said the complexity of the case was the reason 41/2 years had passed between the FBI's raid and Valdes' arrest.
"It was just the sheer volume of documentation that was taken back in 2000," Morera said. "It was just a warehouse full."
The FBI never publicly disclosed why it raided the Bradenton-based ValuCar. Search warrants were sealed. But Valdes had some curious associates.
Vincent LoScalzo, who was accused by law enforcement officials more than a decade ago of being a Tampa mob boss, worked for ValuCar, buying vehicles at wholesale auctions. And in 1998 Valdes had borrowed $250,000 from Anthony "Tony" Montello, an Oldsmar man who was indicted two months later in an $11-million international investment scam. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges against Montello, who was in fragile health and died in 2003.
The case against Valdes is to be prosecuted by Tampa attorneys working in the Florida Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution. The investigation remains open, Morera said.
"We just kind of let it take us wherever it leads," he said.
1/5/05The trial of Terry Scaglione, accused of being an associate of the Gambino family, is scheduled to start at the end of this month but I suspect the date will be pushed back. There's a good article in yesterday's Tampa Tribune about it..
12/2/04Here's the mugshot of Terry Scaglione, accused of being an associate of the Gambino family. Mugshot
Terry is the grandson of Nick Scaglione and grand-nephew of Al Scaglione. He is the president of Prestige Valet on West Kennedy in Tampa. In 2000, his vice president was John ALite of Vorhees, NJ- also named in the indictment. Alite is a former pal of John Gotti Jr. and an associate of the Gambino family. More evidence that the Gambinos are tied into Tampa?
12/1/04Here's the mugshot of John Alite- courtesy of the New York Daily News Mugshot
Six Gambinos indicted in Tampa.
Among those indicted are Gambino capo Ronnie "One Arm" Trucchio, John Alite, and Tampa resident Terry Scaglione. I'm fairly sure Terry is the grandson of late Tampa wiseguy and gambling figure Nick Scaglione. ALite has a long history. He was arrested in Rio deJaneiro last week and extradited to the US. He was a former associate of John Gotti Jr.
Scaglione owns a company called Prestige Valet. I have some documentation that ALite used to be involved with either that particular company or another valet company along with Scaglione. I heard, back in the late 90's, that they were muscling in on parking concessions in Ybor and conversly that the Gambinos ran many of the valet parking concessions in Tampa. Not sure if it's related to the indictment or not.
The indictment can be found here-
8/21/04FBI agent shoots mob suspect in Tampa. Of course it wasn't a Tampa mob guy- why would the FBI look into that? It's a Springfield, Mass Genovese guy.
I've been very busy lately but that's no excuse for the lack of frequent updates. I'm finalizing my last book signings in Florida as well as a July trip to my old stomping grounds of Jersey for a few signings up there.
I have been sent tons of emails from readers of my books- thanks!!! here are some webpages that were brought to my attention:
Charles Corces case
Good 2000 article about Judge Robert Bonnano
Interesting site about corruption in Tampa politics/police- Note: I'm a huge supporter of law enforcement and want to say that I'm in no way validating the information herein...that's not to say it isn't true though.
Well I'll be beginning a re-vamp of the site soon with many more updates and a bunch of pictures. I promise :-)
Gambling Arrests Made At Scoreboard Lounge
TAMPA - Two male owners and a woman were arrested at a bar Saturday while collecting money for bets on the Super Bowl, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
The three were freed on bail after being charged with operating a gambling house.
The sheriff's vice squad and agents from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco responded to a tip Saturday afternoon and inspected the Scoreboard Lounge, 11018 E. U.S. 92.
Three video gaming slot machines and documents showing four gambling football pools were seized, officials said.
Arthur Scarpo, 66, of 8707 W. Knights-Griffin Road, Plant City, who is listed in jail records as an owner of the bar, was charged with one count of keeping a gambling house. Christopher Stapleton, 32, of 9826 N. Gallagher Road, Dover, also was identified as a Scoreboard Lounge owner and was charged with one count of keeping a gambling house.
Candace Devilli, 47, of 522 C.R. 579, Seffner, a bartender at the lounge, was charged with being involved with a gambling house.
They were released from Orient Road Jail after posting $2,000 bail each.
Sheriff's officials said the slot machines inside the bar were played by patrons, and credits accumulated were paid off with beer.
Trafficante soldier John Mamone was indicted for a marijuana smugling and money laundering operation. I believe the late Steve Raffa was involved but not named since he is no more.
Springs couple among 8 indicted in marijuana smuggling ring
By Lisa J. Huriash
Posted January 15 2004
A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday against eight individuals alleges a racketeering conspiracy that has netted at least $80 million by transporting more than 1,000 kilos of marijuana from Mexico to the United States since 1991.
The indictment, returned Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale federal court, includes new charges against John Mamone, formerly of Coral Springs, who was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison in 2002. Mamone pleaded guilty to running a loan-sharking, bookmaking and money-laundering ring for the Tampa-based Trafficante crime family.
Now he is charged with providing his interstate trucking company, Gateway Transportation, to ship the marijuana from Arizona to the northeast.
His wife, Grace Mamone, the mother of four, is also named in the new indictment, charged with obstructing justice by trying to persuade a witness to lie to law enforcement officials. If she is convicted, Grace Mamone faces up to 20 years in prison.
"She has never previously been arrested and she will be entering a plea of not guilty," Richard Rosenbaum, Grace Mamone's criminal defense attorney, said Wednesday.
She appeared in federal court Wednesday after turning herself in, and was expected to be released on $25,000 bail late in the day. Her husband and six other men -- Joseph Russo Jr., Jeffrey Tobin, David Tobin, Peter Rossi, Cecil Rowell and Robert Lewandowski -- face from 10 years to life in prison and fines up to $500,000 if they are convicted.
According to the indictment, the conspirators bought large amounts of marijuana from Mexico to be transported to California and Arizona for eventual distribution in the northeast, Midwest and South Florida by U.S. mail, Federal Express, cars, interstate trucking and airlines.
The Tobins and Rowell acquired rented warehouses, or "stash houses," in New York and New Jersey to keep the drugs until they could be distributed throughout the country, the indictment said.
Jeffrey Tobin, Russo and Lewandowski "would protect the enterprise's operation by kidnapping, assaulting and/or threatening to murder persons who were indebted to the organization or considered a threat to its continuing operation," it says. Others were in charge of paying criminal defense attorneys for those who were caught.
The government is seeking $80 million in forfeiture money.
Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4557
Author makes book on Tampa's mob
By TAMARA LUSH, Times Staff Writer
Published January 3, 2004
ST. PETERSBURG - Scott Deitche spends his days as a marine biologist, testing water samples for Pinellas County. When he goes home, he plays with his toddler, spends time with his wife, feeds his two cats and a dog. Then he turns to his computer, which is perched on a messy desk in a room just off the kitchen.
The computer is his portal into another world: gangland executions, bolita rackets, hitmen.
Deitche's specialty is the Tampa Mafia, and this month he will publish his first book on the subject - Cigar City Mafia: A Complete History of the Tampa Underworld.
The 291-page book, published by Barricade Books, traces the city's mobsters from the speakeasy days of the 1920s right up to a recent scandal involving a former Hillsborough County Sheriff's major.
"It's kind of consumed me," Deitche said.
Although he started the project in 1995, when he was 26, Deitche has been interested in the Mafia since he was a boy.
His grandfather used to "do a little bookmaking," he said, and was serving a short stint in prison when Deitche was born.
His mother was the one who introduced him to the Mafia, however: "My mom was always into mob movies."
Deitche grew up in New Jersey and came to Florida in 1989 to attend Eckerd College. He majored in biology.
In 1995, while surfing a mob history website, Deitche stumbled on some information about the Mafia in Tampa.
A man in England sent him more details.
This was history, Deitche realized. Right in his own back yard.
He learned about Charlie Wall, a gambling kingpin who ran a crooked bolita operation in Ybor City.
He discovered the "Era of Blood" during the late 1920s and 1930s, when scores of people were gunned down on Tampa's streets as rival mobs fought to gain control of the nickel-and-dime bolita bets.
He traced the rise of Santo Trafficante Jr., one of the nation's most powerful mobsters.
The research took Deitche around Florida, to libraries, newspaper archives and people's homes.
Deitche never felt in danger. Most of the crime figures are dead, with only their children and grandchildren left in Tampa.
Some were eager to talk about the city's Mafia legacy with Deitche. Others weren't.
"Tampa is a close-knit community," Deitche said. "The mob stuff has been swept under the rug."
His favorite character was Johnny "Scarface" Rivera, a bodyguard for Charlie Wall and the owner of the Boston Bar.
He was allegedly involved in numerous slayings, and used to brag about being the "door-opener" for hitmen, Detiche said.
He is about to begin a new book about the Mafia. He will co-write it with a former mobster who is now in the Witness Protection Program.
Deitche doesn't think Americans will ever tire of reading about the Mafia.
Though the Mafia has less influence today, people still enjoy watching shows like The Sopranos and reading stories about dons, he said.
"Somehow, they are more human than other criminals," he said.
- Tamara Lush can be reached at 226-3373 or at email@example.com
Cigar City Mafia will be in bookstores this month. Author Scott Deitche's first book signing will be Jan. 15, at Inkwood Books in Tampa, from 7 to 9 p.m. Other book signings include Borders in Carrollwood on Jan. 20, and Borders in St. Petersburg on Jan. 22.
An article from 12/19 Miami Herald about the mob in South Florida. They interviewed me but I guess my quotes just weren't good enough!! :-( Seriously, it's a great overview of some recent mob activity in the South Florida area.
Fri, Dec. 19, 2003
South Florida has long been deemed 'open' territory for the Five Families that dominate N.Y. organized crime.
This month's Fort Lauderdale indictment of 10 associates of the Gambino crime family proves that New York's criminal underworld still looks at South Florida as their home away from home.
''There has always been a strong connection in organized crime circles between New York and South Florida,'' U.S. Attorney Marcos Jiménez said.
Branching out from the old mainstays, gambling and loan-sharking, the mobsters have infiltrated nightclubs, restaurants, pawn shops, check-cashing stores, telemarketing ''boiler rooms,'' penny stock ''pump-and-dump'' schemes, credit-card scams and foreign-currency exchanges.
South Florida has long been deemed ''open'' territory for the Five Families -- Bonnano, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese -- that dominate New York organized crime. All have had a presence in the area since the 1930s.
As described in this month's indictment, members of the crew overseen by reputed Gambino capo Ronald ''Ronnie One-Arm'' Trucchio would drift south when they had run afoul of law enforcement or other mob families up north.
They might knock off a few banks, rob a jewelry store, steal credit card information from the mail, deal drugs, buy large quantities of weapons and eventually head back to the Big Apple.
In the old days, they lived in a swath from Miami Beach to Hollywood. But as the general population spread northward, so did the mobsters. Today's ''mob belt'' stretches from Hollywood north -- with a large concentration in the Pompano/Lighthouse Point area and another cluster in Boca Raton and Boynton Beach -- up to West Palm Beach.
In an ''open'' territory such as South Florida, criminal enterprises overlap. In recent years, criminals working at mob-connected, check-cashing stores for the Gambinos or Bonnanos also were laundering cash for the Tampa-based Trafficante family.
''There's always been cooperation between the families. Everyone earns,'' said another law enforcement source who declined to be named.
Blood is occasionally shed. This month's indictment made reference to three October 1995 murders in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton that have never been solved officially.
Gus Boulis, the flamboyant, combative self-made Greek multimillionaire, was murdered in February 2001 in an orchestrated shooting with all the trappings of a messy mob-style hit. Boulis was driving from his Fort Lauderdale office when one car stopped short, cutting him off. Another car pulled alongside, and the driver emptied a semiautomatic into the founder of Miami Subs and SunCruz Casinos.
Boulis supporters immediately started pointing fingers at Adam Kidan, the disbarred New York lawyer who had bought the floating casinos four months earlier for $147.5 million. Kidan's financing was shaky, and the deal had quickly imploded into lawsuits and fisticuffs.
After the murder, Boulis estate lawyers discovered that Kidan had paid $145,000 to Anthony Moscatiello, a childhood friend of the John Gotti family, as a food and beverage consultant to SunCruz. In an odd footnote, Kidan's mother, Judith Shemtov, had been murdered in 1993 in Staten Island in a mob-connected home invasion gone awry. The getaway driver: former South Beach club impresario-turned-informant Chris Paciello.
The Boulis murder case remains unsolved.
Gambino associate Freddie Massaro of Hollywood was sentenced to life in prison in 2002, the most serious charges hinging on his crew's role in the March 1999 murder of an exotic dancer whose trussed-up body was stuffed into a box and dumped in the Everglades.
Massaro, who ran his loan-sharking operations out of a Sunny Isles Beach pizza parlor, died in prison in August. The made man to whom he paid the customary financial tribute, Anthony ''Tony Pep'' Trentacosta, of suburban Atlanta, is serving an eight-year term.
Another Gambino associate of Trentacosta's, John Porcaro, owned several moving and storage companies and controlled a piece of Trump Financial, a lucrative Aventura ''boiler room'' fraud whose name gave the false impression of ties to Donald Trump. Porcaro, who dated Playboy playmates and models, told his wife he was going fishing June 13, 1998. He never returned.
Massaro found his Mercedes-Benz at the Fort Lauderdale airport. A few days after the disappearance, Massaro strolled into Trump Financial and announced he was taking over.
The highest-ranking mobster to set up permanent residence in South Florida in recent years is Alphonse ''Allie Boy'' Persico, son of legendary Colombo family boss Carmine ''The Snake'' Persico. ''The Snake,'' now 70, was sent to prison for 130 years in 1991.
Mob turncoats have testified that ''The Snake'' handpicked his son to succeed him, sparking a war that left 12 dead in the Colombo ranks. Allie Boy lived in Lighthouse Point in the late 1990s after his 1994 acquittal on charges that he ordered some of the murders.
His South Florida freedom was short-lived.
In September 1998, he was arrested in the Florida Keys after a routine Coast Guard inspection on his 50-foot yacht, Lookin' Good, found a 12-gauge shotgun, 20 shells, a .380-caliber pistol and 14 rounds of ammunition.
Persico, who had been convicted in 1986 on a heroin-trafficking-related racketeering charge, was not allowed to carry weapons. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
On the eve of his release, the feds unsealed a new indictment calling him the acting boss of the Colombos. One of the key witnesses: Chris Paciello, now in witness protection.
Allie Boy, 49, pleaded guilty in December 2001 to racketeering, loan-sharking and money-laundering. He was set to be sentenced to 13 years in prison but has accused prosecutors of hiding evidence and is hoping to withdraw the plea.
Mob figures have been coming to South Florida for fun and sun for decades. Al Capone ran a gambling house at the Hollywood Country Club. The late Gambino boss, Gotti, held an interest in a Boca Raton nightclub and visited whenever he came to South Florida.
The feds say Steve Kaplan, who was the public face of Club Boca, turned to the Gambino family after a Bonnano associate tried to muscle him out of his share of the nightclub-restaurant.
Gotti's nephew by marriage, John DiGiorgio, of Deerfield Beach, ran the Bobby Rubino's concession inside Club Boca. DiGiorgio was convicted in 1996 for his role in a violent home invasion crew that used cop Windbreakers, guns, fake badges and warrants to break into drug dealer homes. One dealer who refused to reveal where his money was stashed was hung from a shower curtain rod, beaten and tortured. Another lost an ear.
After Gotti was sent to prison, his heir apparent, Nicholas ''The Little Guy'' Corozzo, and six others were pinched while sunning on a Key Biscayne Beach in December 1996. The FBI let the mobsters cover their handcuffs with beach towels
An affidavit came out this week, from a Tampa police detective who infiltrated the Bonnano family in Florida, concerning allegation of corruption in Hillsborough County. Judge Greg Holder has been working witht the FBI and FDLE in providing info on official corruption. Coupled with the recent Steve LaBrake indictment looks liek things are coming into focus. Look for much more to come in addition to names like LoScalzo and Digerlando who pop up on the periphery. Here are links to some articles, including LaBrake's indictment:
St. Pete Times Article
Weekly Planet Article
I haven't posted the articles but there have been two gangland related hits in South Florida in recent weeks. The Miami Herald is looking into it and I'll start posting some of the follow up articles.
Graziano was the Bonanno's man in South Florida, and worked with some Trafficante associates
Islander, alleged consigliere, receives 9 years in prison
Anthony Graziano, of Huguenot, plotted to kill 2 goodfellas for acting badly in strip club
By ROBERT GAVIN and SAM DOLNICK
A wisecracking wiseguy reputed to be one of Staten Island's most powerful mobsters was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday for plotting the executions of two young goodfellas who got trigger-happy at a mob-linked Charleston strip club.
Anthony (TG) Graziano, 63, of Huguenot, the alleged consigliere of the Bonanno crime family, smiled and waved to his family as he entered a Brooklyn federal courtroom to await sentencing from federal Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
Graziano pleaded guilty in December to tax evasion and racketeering charges that included a plot to kill two reputed Colombo crime family associates who'd shot a man in a former Charleston strip joint called Hipps, which was allegedly controlled by Graziano. The associates were not harmed.
Graziano, during frequent courtroom comments, made it clear he believes he's been misportrayed by the government and some media members.
"I've been called a murderer, a drug-pusher, a torturer and a drug-user," Graziano told the court. "I've never been convicted of any of those allegations. I accept my responsibility of my guilt, but I want them to accept their responsibility of their guilt of calling me names that I'm not guilty of."
Graziano's Manhattan-based attorney, Jeffrey C. Hoffman, described his client as a feeble and sickly man who might die in prison. He asked the court to consider his client's poor health during sentencing.
Federal guidelines recommended Graziano be sentenced to between nine and no more than 12 years.
In addition to the murder conspiracy, Graziano pleaded guilty to loansharking, tax evasion and operating illegal joker-poker machines. The sentence will run alongside a racketeering sentence Graziano received in Florida earlier this year.
Federal prosecutors identified Graziano, who lived in a stone-and-timber Huguenot mansion, as the Bonanno family's consigliere, or third-in-command.
A law enforcement source told the Advance Graziano traveled to Mexico and Italy with reputed Bonanno boss Joe Massino -- and the two were once spotted meeting in front of a Staten Island hospital.
While prosecutors stopped short of calling the Bonannos the most powerful of the Big Apple's five crime families, they allege Massino, prior to his arrest, was the only New York mob boss still out on the street.
'THE LITTLE GUY'
They said Graziano, who's also been called "the Little Guy," was the only Staten Islander on the family's ruling panel. They allege Graziano sat on the panel behind Massino and former underboss Salvatore Vitale, Massino's brother-in-law, who is now set to sing for the feds.
Massino was charged in August with ordering the murder of reputed Bonanno capo Gerlando Sciascia, who was found shot to death in the Bronx in 1999. The feds suspect Sciascia was killed because he complained to Massino about Graziano's alleged drug use, according to published reports.
Veteran mob investigator Kenneth McCabe told a Brooklyn federal court last month that the Bonannos are now called the "Massino Family." Massino's lawyers have publicly denied the feds' allegations.
FBI agents reportedly approached Graziano outside Hipps in December 2001 and swooped up envelopes packed with holiday cash from alleged underlings.
Federal prosecutors say it was the 1994 shooting of a man named Johnathan Illchert at the nightclub that led to Graziano's murder conspiracy charges.
Graziano marked Colombo hitman Jonathan Pappa and Calvin Hennigar, a former Graniteville resident, for death because they shot Illchert -- but the hit was called off and resolved peacefully with the Colombos, prosecutors said.
Hoffman, Graziano's attorney, described him as a fiery man with a bad temper, and said the murder conspiracy was just another example of his client temporarily losing his cool. Weeks later, Graziano calmed down and called off the murder, Hoffman said.
Graziano was also fined $17,500 and told to pay the IRS restitution of $105,520.
Robert Gavin and Sam Dolnick are news reporters for the Advance. They may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Seems like Disney World is becoming the new mob hangout in central Florida!
Mickey mouse mob deal
By John Marzulli
New York Daily News
Yo, Mickey! Fuhgeddaboudit: Disney World is becoming a top attraction for the mob.
A judge has given reputed Gambino capo Salvatore Locascio permission to take his family to Disney World "any time he wishes," according to court documents.
Locascio, free on $10 million bail in a money laundering case, is the second reputed gangster to win a judicial pass to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. Last week, the Daily News reported that a judge let Andrew Gigante, son of Genovese crime boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante, take his family to Disney World before starting a two-year extortion sentence.
FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette noted that Disney isn't the best place for Mafia meetings. "I've been inside that 'It's a Small World' ride, and it will drive you crazy," he said.
Locascio lawyer Scott Leemon said his client is a "family man, and one of the reasons he left New York was to spend more time with his kids."
Tampa Trib article about Joe Antinori- interesting read...
If a trial's in the news, it's a good bet Joe Antinori shows up
By JOSHUA B. GOOD
TAMPA - Judge E.J. Salcines drapes his black robe over the shoulders of Joe Dionigi Antinori, 88. "Fits pretty good," Antinori says. Salcines shows Antinori to the bench in Tampa’s 2nd District Court of Appeal. Antinori sits and gazes out at the empty room. "Where’s the jurybox?" he asks. There isn’t one, Salcines explains. In this courtroom, it’s just the three judges, a court reporter, lawyers and a few spectators. "Whenever you’re short of a judge, call me," Antinori, says. "You just keep practicing law without a license," Salcines fires back.
Antinori is a Tampa native with a 9th-grade education. For nearly 40 years, he has watched high profile trials in Tampa. His encounter with Salcines came during a break in last month’s trial of Paula Gutierrez, who was found guilty of murder. Antinori attended most of Gutierrez’s three week trial. Hillsborough’s judges are used to seeing Antinori. Lawyers sometimes ask him for advice. "Sometimes you think he knows more about juries than the lawyers do," Judge Robert Simms says. Watching trials is ‘better than a soap opera. This is for real," Antinori says. "This is my cup of tea.
Antinori knows about another side of Tampa, as well. He was born here on Jan. 23, 1915 and raised in Thor City. His father, Stefano Antinori, was a cigarmaker who later ran the bar at the Italian Club. Joe Antinori’s uncle, Ignacio Antinori, alleged to be a Tampa mob boss, was gunned down in 1940. After Ignacio Antinori’s death, Santo Trafficante Sr. took over the mob in Tampa, according to Joe Antinori and published accounts of Mafia history. Joe Antinori said Trafficante’s son, Santo Trafficante Jr., was one of his childhood friends. For a time in the late 1920s, they both lived on 20th Street. They played baseball together. "I was better," Antinori says.
Antinori joined the Army to fight in World War II. He thought he would be sent overseas, but instead he ran a bar at the medical officers’ club at Fort Blanding in Jacksonville for four years. After the war, he returned to Tampa, working in bars and selling liquor for a wholesale distributor. In 1964, Antinori’s cousin, Paul Antinori, was elected Hillsborough state attorney. Joe came to court whenever his cousin had a big trial. One of the most memorable was the trial of Billy Ray Bobson, who shot and killed Tampa Police Officer William Krikava during a burglary on New Year’s Day 1965. Paul Antinori won a conviction, but never asked the jury to impose the death penalty. Bobson got life in prison. Paul Antinori was opposed to the death penalty and was roundly criticized, Joe Antinori says. "The Tampa Tribune gave him hell," Joe Antinori says.
When Paul Antinori went into private practice, he often turned to his cousin for advice. "He has such an uncanny perception of human nature, Paul Antinori says. In 1975, Joe sat through the trial of model Betty Lou Haber. Haber was married to Haber Department Store owner Albert Haber. She had her husband murdered. "She was a beautiful woman, but she was guilty as hell," Antinori says. Haber was paroled from prison this year.
In 1981, Antinori attended the trial of psychiatrist Louis Tsavaris, whom Paul Antinori represented. A jury found Tsavaris guilty of manslaughter for the death of one of his patients, Cassandra "Sally" Burton. Prosecutors said Tsavaris strangled her to keep her from telling Tsavaris’s wife that she and Tsavaris were having an affair. But Antinori believes the most damaging testimony was when Tsavaris said Burton called him for help. The psychiatrist stopped for ice cream on his way to her Town ‘N Country home instead of rushing to her aid.
As a salesman, Joe Antinori skipped work to attend trials without his boss’s knowledge. It caught up with him in 1984. Paul Antinori represented Norman S. Cannella in a federal corruption trial. Cannella was the chief assistant state attorney under Salcines when he was state attorney. Federal authorities accused Cannella of taking bribes to fix drug cases. After the prosecution rested its case, Paul Antinori asked the judge to dismiss the charges against Cannella. U.S. District Judge W. Terrell Hodges agreed and acquitted Cannella.
The story made the front page of The Tampa Tribune. So did Joe Antinori, who was photographed standing behind Cannella. His boss saw the photo the next day and asked him why he hadn’t been working. He was, Joe Antinori told his boss. He just happened to stop by at the end of his shift. Because Joe was a top salesman, his boss shrugged it off.
In 1987, Joe’s boyhood friend, Santo Trafficante Jr., was buried in Ybor City. Antinori didn’t attend the funeral. His life had taken a different path. Joe Antinori was never arrested, never charged with any crime, never brought before a grand jury. He has a wife, a son and three grandchildren. He has a nice home in Carrollwood. He has his days in the courthouse. And he has only one regret. "If I had my life to live over again, I think I’d like to be an attorney," Antinori says. "If I had gone to college, I’d have been dangerous. For now, he’s pinning his hopes on his youngest grand- son and namesake, Joe Antinori, a 22-year-old senior at Clemson University with hopes of becoming a lawyer.
6/25/03Forgot to announce ahead of time, but see if you can catch Mouthpiece for the Mob on the History Channel. One of the shows features late Trafficante attorney Frank Ragano and has soem great rare films of Sanot Trafficante Jr.
5/10/03MOb witness in Port Richey- victim of extortion- I have a nagging feeling I may know who this witness is. Here's the article:
A Port Richey man threatens to "whack" the witness if he doesn't pay a man serving time for organized crime, sheriff's officials say, but he's arrested.
By JAMIE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 10, 2003
PORT RICHEY - The two men met in the parking lot of the BobKatz Bar and Grill on Thursday evening.
One of the men had been in and out of the federal witness protection program. The other was William Bottone.
Bottone said he was there at the behest of Nicky Carasso, who is serving time in federal prison for organized crime, and his brother Jo Jo Carasso, according to Pasco sheriff's detectives.
Bottone said he had been instructed to collect $50,000 from the witness or "whack him," detectives said.
The man, who was not identified by detectives, asked Bottone if $5,000 would do. Bottone said he would call Jo Jo Carasso and check. Bottone asked the man to call him in an hour.
When the man called, Bottone said the price was going up, but he would take $5,000 that night.
They arranged to meet in the Publix parking lot on Ridge Road at 10:15 p.m.
There, Bottone took the man's $5,000 and ordered him to pay another $5,000 the next day.
But the man had a plan of his own.
About 20 Pasco sheriff's detectives and deputies were watching the exchange. The federal witness had contacted the Sheriff's Office, and detectives had wired the witness and taped the men's conversations.
Detectives arrested Bottone and seized his car. In the front seat, they found a semiautomatic handgun, loaded and cocked. Detectives recovered the $5,000.
Bottone, 51, of 6111 Seabreeze Drive in Port Richey was arrested on charges of extortion and felonious possession of a firearm. He was held Friday at the Land O'Lakes jail on $200,000 bond.
From his cell, Bottone declined a request for an interview. At his house, a teen who identified himself as Bottone's son said the family had no comment. Records show Bottone, who previously lived in New York, paid $131,900 for his house in October.
Neighbors said he moved in with his wife and children, left the house early every morning, frequently walked around in his bathing suit, and regularly had guests over to swim in the back yard or go out on his boat.
The case has ties to organized crime, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The Times, however, could find no record of Nicky and Jo Jo Carasso, who reportedly tried to organize the hit.
But the Times found two brothers who spell their last names slightly differently - Nicky and Jo Jo Corozzo, believed to have deep ties to the mob.
Both have reportedly, at different times, been the designated successors of the late John Gotti, once head of the Gambino crime family.
Capt. Alan Weinstein said he did not know whether the men's last names had been misspelled by Detective Lisa Mazza.
"Basically, that's the spelling we've got," Weinstein said. "Until it's checked further, we've got no reason to disbelieve it."
A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation declined to discuss the case.
Nicholas Corozzo, known as "Little Nick" and the "Little Guy," was in line to head Gotti's Mafia organization in 1997, before Corozzo pleaded guilty in federal court to racketeering, loan sharking, trafficking in stolen goods and other charges, according to the New York Times.
Prosecutors described him as a soldier, and later a captain, in the Gambino crime family, the newspaper reported. Also in 1997, Nicholas Corozzo was sentenced to almost seven years in prison after pleading guilty in Florida to conspiring in racketeering. Prosecutors said he had run the Gambino group's activities in Florida, according to the Times.
Corozzo's younger brother, Jo Jo, is a former driver and boyhood friend of Gotti, according to the New York Post. That newspaper reported in December that Jo Jo was believed to be the next heir to the Gambino crime family.
Friday, people living along Seabreeze Drive said they were stunned by the news involving their neighbor.
"He was going to what? Whack him?" said a puzzled James Hajcak, who lives across the street from Bottone.
Hajcak said he did not know Bottone very well, but said he came across as a laid back, friendly guy who did not cause problems in the neighborhood.
"He didn't seem aggressive at all," Hajcak said.
Bottone was sent to prison in 1977 for nine to 18 years after he was convicted of manslaughter in Queens. He and three other people killed a man with a hammer, said Linda Foglia, spokeswoman for the New York Department of Correctional Services.
Bottone was released from prison in 1985 and was repeatedly jailed in the next few years for violating his probation, Foglia said. Earlier, Bottone was convicted of robbery and sent to prison from 1972 to 1974.
Authorities did not release the name of the federal witness.
Mavis Dezulovich, spokeswoman for the federal Witness Security Program, said no one had ever died while actively participating in the program. However, if witnesses refuse to follow security guidelines, their safety cannot be guaranteed.
-- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jamie Jones covers crime in Pasco County. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
4/17/03 Charles Clay has been acquitted. Here's the article:
A disgraced former Margate police officer did not tip local mobsters off about an FBI investigation into their loan-sharking, racketeering and money-laundering businesses, a federal jury decided Wednesday.
The 12-member jury in West Palm Beach federal court deliberated just four hours before returning two not-guilty verdicts in the case against Charles Clay. He was a police officer for 25 years before resigning in 2001 so he could fight the charges -- conspiracy to obstruct law enforcement officers and illegal gambling
Clay, 53, was one of dozens arrested and charged in far-reaching indictments in 2000 and 2002 targeted at cracking down on organized crime in South Florida.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Frederick Scarola, of Fort Lauderdale, and two other men were using check-cashing stores to launder millions of dollars. They said Clay tipped off Scarola in February 2000 that FBI agents were watching the Gold Coast Check Cashing store in Margate.
The truth according to Clay's lawyer, Richard Hamar, is that agents raided the Gold Coast in January of that year, and the only thing Clay did one night in February was drink too much at Bobby Rubino's bar in North Lauderdale and shoot his mouth off to a bartender about old news.
While on patrol in November 1999, Clay told the bartender, he spotted a suspicious car parked in a gas station near the Gold Coast Check Cashing store. When he confronted the driver, the man identified himself as an FBI agent who was doing surveillance. The agent must have been watching the Gold Coast, Clay surmised aloud.
The bartender passed the story along to Scarola, who also hung out at Bobby Rubino's, Hamar said. Clay got into trouble when Scarola, who was being bugged by federal agents, started bragging to mobsters that he had a friend at the Margate Police Department who was giving him information, Hamar said.
"The corruption squad heard that on the wiretaps, and they decided to find the crooked cop," Hamar said.
Clay admitted on the witness stand this week that he had problems with drinking and gambling. He said he placed bets with Alan Wolf, the Bobby Rubino's bartender, and that he knew Scarola was the bookie. But he never threatened fellow law enforcement officers by passing information to the mob, he said.
"His testimony was so honest, he admitted things he didn't have to admit," Hamar said. "When he got up and testified and he laid his soul on the carpet and stood there naked ... it helped him" with the jury.
After the verdict, Clay said he did not know what he's going to do with his future. He is collecting his full pension -- about $3,000 a month -- but he had to sell his house and work at a sandwich shop to help pay for his defense.
The Broward County Police Benevolent Association paid for most of Clay's defense team, which included Hamar, a San Francisco lawyer who specializes in defending cops accused of wrongdoing, Fort Lauderdale lawyer Jon May, and two investigators -- Bill Venturi and Steve Rybar, a retired FBI agent.
"I'm just elated at the outcome of the trial," Clay said as stood on the balcony of Hamar's room at the Bradley House hotel in Palm Beach. "I wish to thank the Broward County PBA for their support.
"I resigned to fight this because I knew all along I was not guilty," he said. "I owe them my life for saving me."
Staff Researchers Barbara Hijek and William Lucey and Staff Writer John Holland contributed to this report.
4/13/03 Anthony Graziano, Bonnano mobster, pleads guilty in South Florida court to charges stemmign from boiler room scams run by the Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo, and Trafficante families. Also indicted with Graziano were Trafficante associates Frederick Scarola and Charles Clay, a former Margate policeman who fed information to the Bonnanos and Trafficantes.
3/14/03Rocky Rodriguez retires, but will law enforcement still look into this guy- I know I will- too many mob connections and other shady dealings. Here's an article from today's St. Pete Times:Link
2/4/03A series of articles from the Trib about the recent corruption allegations and Rocky Rodriguez Link
Also in happy news, the Feds finally busted local terrorist scumbag Sami Al-Arian. Here's a link to stories about him from the Trib:
2/4/03Another article from Tampa Trib about corruption/OC investigation in Hillsborough County. Here's the link: Link
1/22/02The biggest news of course is the birth of our first daughter, Sylvia Rose on 1/16. In more pertinent Tampa mob news- some old stuff that I missed (Hey, it happens!):
Trafficante gambling associate Frank Fraterrigo Vega died at age 75 on March 11, 2002. Also, Bennie Husick, Operation Coldwater/Donnie Brasco figure and associate of the Trafficante family in Miami died at age 91 on April 19, 2002.
12/22/02In-depth article from Tampa Trib about corruption investigation in Hillsborough County. Here's the link: Link
11/24/02Another article on Major Rocky Rodriguez. Here's the link: Link
11/10/02Sam C. Trafficante, Santo's brother, died on November 9th in Tampa. Here is his obit from the Tampa Trib:
TRAFFICANTE, Sam C., age 85, of Tampa, passed away November 9, 2002. A native and lifelong resident of Tampa, Mr. Trafficante is survived by his wife of sixty-two years, Elsie Trafficante; daughter, LucilleT. Albano and husband, Frank; grandchildren, Peter S. Albano and Stephanie Hovsepian and husband, Edward; brother, Henry Trafficante; and several loving nieces and nephews. Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday morning at 11 o'clock from the chapel of Gonzalez Funeral Home with entombment to follow in L'Unione Italiana Cemetery Mausoleum. Pallbearers include; Santo Paniello, Peter S. Albano, Carmen Cannavo,Tom Smith, Edward Hovsepian, Michael Gonzalez, Sam Lumia and Frank Trafficante. Honorary Pallbearers include; Santo Trafficante, Mario Pullara and Ralph Castellano. Flowers will be accepted or contributionsmay be made to the American Heart Assoc., or the American Cancer Society in memory of Mr. Trafficante. The family would like to give special thanks to the Doctors, Nurses and staff at UCH ICU#1 and Manor Care Skilled Nursing for their loving care and attention. The family will receive friends this evening Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Chapel of GONZALEZ FUNERAL HOME Julio Gonzalez-Roel, L.F.D. Adolfo Gonzalez-Roel, L.F.D. 7209 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. (813) 931-1833
11/11/02More Tampa shenanigans. A sheriff's office major is target of an FBI sting into organized crime activity. The informant used to snare him? None other than Mr. Valu-car himself, Nelson Valdes. Here's the link:
11/10/02Monica Sierra won her judicial seat in last Tuesday's election.
10/15/02Not news per say, but I saw a campaign sign for Monica Sierra on Kennedy Blvd. last Thursday night on my way to the Rush concert. You can read about her in the August 22nd post below. Should be an interesting election in Hillsborough County this year!
9/12/02South Florida faction memberJohn Mamone has been sentenced. Here's the link:
8/29/02Sam Pupello Sr. died. He was named in the Key Bank investigation as a member of the Trafficante family (which he wasn't) , and me as a potential business associate (which he may have been). Here's his obit from the Tampa Tribune:
PUPELLO, Sam, 89, a native and lifelong resident of Tampa passed away on Tuesday, August 27, 2002. Mr. Pupello was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great- grand father. He was a retiredbusiness man and investor and a well known and respected member of the community. Survivors include his loving wife of 24 years, Sandra; and his children, Marilyn Downing, Sam Pupello, Jr., J. V. Pupello, and his wife Linda; step- daughters, Kim Grandoff and husband John, Lisa Schalk and husband Jim, Debi Rivera and husband Alex; grandchildren, Vincent J. Downing, Jamie Lynn Oliva, Thomas and Michael Grandoff,Taylor and Courtney Schalk, Kendall and Ricky Rivera; great-grandchildren, Angelina and Alexandra Oliva; brother, Frank Pupello and wife Nancy; sister, Josephine Lazzara; sisters-in-law, Peggy Pupello and Connie Schwartz; and many nieces and nephews. Mr. Pupello was preceded in death by his first wife, Angelina Spoto Pupello and brothers, Peter Pupello and Joseph Pupello. Pallbearers are Vincent Downing, Joseph Pupello, Michael Pupello, Peter Pupello, Jr., John Grandoff, Jim Schalk, Alex Rivera, Thomas and Michael Grandoff and Jim Downing. The family would like to extend special appreciation to Diana Torres and staff at Buena Vida Residence and the Purple Team of LifePath Hospice for their loving care. Expressions of sympathy may be made by donations to the Alzheimer's Association -TampaBay Chapter, 9365 U. S. Highway 19 North, Suite B, Pinellas Park, FL 33728 or to LifePath Hospice, 3010 W. Azeele St., Tampa, FL 33609 in memory of Mr. Pupello. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. onFriday, August 30, 2002 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. The family will receive friends at the church from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. prior to services. Private family interment will follow. MARSICANO-B. MARION REED STOWERS
Also Sam "The Fat Man" Cagnina III was acquitted of murder conspiracy charges on August 6th. Only nine years left on his sentence then he'll be home free...at age 75.
8/22/02More fun with Tampa politics!! I guess since LoScalzo lost his influence in the courts, with the departures of Ficarotta, Alvarez and Bonnano, he needs some new blood.
With some lists, best check twice
By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD and TAMARA LUSH
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 22, 2002
Kicking off her campaign for Hillsborough circuit judge in June, Monica Sierra held an hors d'oeuvres-and-refreshments reception at the Tampa Garden Center.
On the invitation, Sierra, whose motto is "Your vote for justice," lists the names of some 160 supporters, including family members, friends and well-connected business types.
But one particular name caught our attention:
Mr. Vincent LoScalzo.
Federal agents would recognize the name. For years, authorities identified LoScalzo, 65, as the head of organized crime in Tampa, the successor to the notorious Santo Trafficante Jr. -- accusations LoScalzo denies.
In the 1990s, LoScalzo and six others were charged in an investment scam that culminated in his agreeing to a plea deal of three years' probation.
Sierra, 35, who has the endorsement of the Police Benevolent Association, said LoScalzo's name appeared on her campaign material because her brothers handed out endorsement forms at the Columbia Restaurant.
Sierra says she doesn't know LoScalzo, never met LoScalzo and hasn't taken campaign money from LoScalzo -- a claim borne out by a check of her campaign contribution records.
"There's going be a lot of people that support me that I don't know," Sierra said. "The list includes doctors, teachers, lawyers. I have just huge across-the-board support."
Still, she said, "I'm reviewing everything more closely now."
8/2/02- this is from 6/7/02-Joseph Silvestri has been found guilty in connection with the Trafficante family's Miami faction case.
7/27/02- Great article from St. Petersburg Times about 22nd Street- the old center of black social life in St. Pete. The article has some information and stories about Charlie Williams, the numbers kingpin in the 1940s and 50s. Williams was gunned down outside an Ybor City barber shop in February of 1953. From my research he was most likely killed by the Trafficante family. Here's the link:
7/25/02- Sam "The Fat Man " Cagnina, an old Tampa associate is on trial with Gambino capo Gregory DePalma. Here's an article from the Daily News. More on this trial in coming days.
Killer pegs mob in hit
By ROBERT GEARTY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
As two aging mobsters listened in wheelchairs, a self-confessed killer druglord took the witness stand yesterday and implicated them in a murder-for-hire plot.
Sitting steely-eyed in Manhattan Federal Court, Gambino capo Gregory DePalma, 69, and Sam (Fat Man) Cagnina, 66, listened as Jose Reyes said he was recruited to kill a Bronx car dealer while the pair were confined to a federal prison hospital in Missouri.
Reyes, 32 - who also uses a wheelchair after a gunshot from a drug rival left him paralyzed in 1992 - testified he went to the authorities after DePalma and Cagnina asked if he could find someone to kill the car dealer, Nicky LaSorsa.
Prosecutors said DePalma wanted LaSorsa dead because LaSorsa had muscled in on one of his rackets: the collection of $2,500 a week in protection money from a businessman.
Seat cushion wired
"He was the reason Nicky was a made guy - and this was the way Nicky was paying him," Reyes testified.
Reyes - who is serving a life sentence for his role in seven killings and who pleaded guilty last week to five more - allowed the feds to plant a microphone in the seat cushion of his wheelchair to record conversations with DePalma and Cagnina, who were arrested in September.
"When I left he was so ... jealous, of me, of everything I did. ... He was nobody. I brought him all around, I gave him a name, this ...," DePalma said of LaSorsa in one tape.
LaSorsa declined to comment yesterday.
DePalma's attorney, Robert Ellis, said Reyes made up the murder-for-hire account to reduce his sentence.
Cagnina and DePalma are both in federal prison; DePalma is serving a 70-month sentence on federal charges of racketeering, gambling and other crimes.
5/14/02- Gaspar Ciaccio died on May 1st. Here's his obit from the Tampa Tribune:
CIACCIO, Gaspar, age 69 of Tampa, passed away May 1,
2002. Born in Ybor City on April
4, 1933, a Catholic, he became a successful self made
business man. He joined with his brother in 1952 and
help build Tampa Plastering and Stucco. In 1960, the
vision of starting Temple Terrace Lounge (now known as
the Temple Terrace Bar and Grill) became a reality and
remains a landmark today. In 1983, he formed Color
Concepts Commercial Printing. He was a member of the
Egypt Temple Shrine and Masonic Lodge #330, F & AM and
a graduate of Jefferson High School Class of 1952. He
will always be remembered as a generous and vibrant
person who's work ethic was unquestioned and regularly
contributed to churches, pol itical and civic
organizations. He possessed the rare quality of being
able to meet and become quick friends with everyone he
met. Mr. Ciaccio was affectionately known by his close
friends as `PapaNedo`.
1/17/02-Article about Bonanno bust with Trafficante defendant
1/17/02-Article about another guilty plea in Trafficante family's Miami faction case
11/13/01-Sun-Sentinel article on Joe Spilateri's guilty plea in Trafficante case- from 11/13/01 (I dropped the ball on this one!)
11/18/01- Weekly Planet- article on Tampa mob boss Vincent LoScalzo
10/03/01- Sources report that Genovese crime family capo Mario Gigante, brother of imprisoned boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante has been spending some time lately in the Tampa Bay area and reportedly has a vacation home on Lido Key. In other news, I just found that reputed Trafficante family soldier Salvatore Carollo is residing in a condo on Sand Key. I'll have to check if he still has a place in Pasco County or not.He may have been there for a while but I just got the info recently.
...and are the rumors about a Patriarca (Boston/Providence) family member backing a new gentlemen's club north of downtown Tampa true??
8/10/01- New Orleans mob associate Lebo Mancuso was ordered to report to prison to begin his sentence for fraud charges in Tampa.
4/19/01- Ciro Spoto Bellucia died at age 79. Bellucia was the former owner of the Silver Meteor Bar where janitor Henry Hicks was killed on the night of June 6, 1953. The gunshot that killed Hicks was intended for gangster Paul Ferraro. On June 14, 1962 Bellucia was charged with allowing prostitution on the Meteor premises. He was also part of a huge Tampa-based bookmaking operation led by legendary bolita figure Eddie Blanco which was busted up in 1971. Bellucia was convicted on gambling offenses.
5/20/01- Longtime Trafficante crime family associate James W. "Jimmy" Donofrio died at age 90 on May 17th in Tampa. Here's his obituary from the Tampa Tribune:
DONOFRIO, James W., 90, of Lutz, passed away May 17, 2001 at his home. He is survived by one sister, Rose Filaseta of Bethlehem, Penn., and several nieces and nephews. He was born in Bethlehem, Penn. and moved to Lutz from Penn in 1946. He was a retired owner of Rio Liquors, Inc of Tampa. He served in the Air Force in World War II He was a Catholic. Interment will be in Bethlehem, Penn.
5/31/01- Trafficante crime family associate Luis Charbonier died at age 74. Luis and his brother Raul were arrested and convicted for extortion along with Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke in 1973 for assaulting a local Tampa bar owner over gambling debts. The incident was featured in a brief scene in the movie Goodfellas . Luis and Raul were close with members of the crime family and ran gambling, loansharking, and cockfighting. Luis also owned the Char-Pal Lounge, located across the street from Busch Gardens.