He was a quiet man who dressed unnoticed and was known to never lose his rest. But no doubt Carlo Gambino, with his huge hawk nose and enigmatic smile, was one of the most powerful mob bosses of all time.
Gambino was born in Palermo, Sicily on August 24, 1902. The Palermo area, called Caccamo, in which Gambino grew up, had such an intense mob presence, police and even the military were afraid to enter his domain area. This left Mafioso to rule the area with impunity, knowing everything they did would not be reported to the police, if the police were concerned at all about what had happened there.
Carlo's mother's maiden name was Castellano, and she used the influence with her family, who were Mafiosos, to introduce Gambino to "Men of Respect" when Gambino was barely a teenager. Gambino, who was a little built and only 5-foot-7, quietly impressed his superiors with his composure, intellect, and ability to do what he needed to do, even if it meant killing someone he needed to kill.
In 1921, just before his twentieth birthday, Gambino was rewarded for his good deed by introducing himself to the Mafia, or what was known in Italy as the "deserved society." However, because of Benito Mussolini's vendetta against the Mafia (Mussolini arrested many mobs, including top Mafia boss Don Vitus Casci Ferro, sentenced to life in prison), many Mafioso, including Gambino, decided that Sicily was too dangerous to exist the way they used to. As a result, there was a huge Mafios exodus to that mountain of gold across the Atlantic Ocean called America.
In late 1921, Gambino left Sicily on the Vincenzo Florio freight bridge, which was sent to America. Gambino's entire voyage claimed only wine and anchovies, which, apart from olive oil, were the only nutrients on board.
SS Vincenzo Florio landed in Norfolk, Virginia on December 23, 1921 and landed Gambino as an illegal immigrant. Wearing a three-piece suit and a black fedora, Gambino walked the gangplank looking for a car, they told him that when he left for Palermo, he would wait for him when he boarded America, with flashing lights at the end of the dock. , Gambino spotted a Castellano native sitting behind the wheel. The two men hugged and in a matter of seconds headed for New York.
When Gambino arrived in New York City, he was pleased to discover that his Castellano relatives had already rented an apartment on Navy Street in Brooklyn, near the waterfront. They also appointed Gambino to work for a transportation company owned by his first cousins Peter and Paul Castellano. Soon Gambino got into an illegal bookmaking business, run by his Palermo counterpart Tommy Lucchese. The ban was enacted by the passage of the Volstead Act of 1919, which prohibited the manufacture, sale or transport of alcoholic beverages, but not their consumption. The matter led to another, and soon Gambino was the main gear on the crew of Joe "Chief" Masseria, the most powerful mobster in America.
However, another Mafioso escaped Mussolini's anger and arrived in America in the mid-1920s. His name was Salvatore Maranzano, the second in command of Don Vitu Cascio Ferro in Sicily. Maranzano concluded that the Sicilian Mafioso was much better than those in America, so it was natural that he should become the top mafia boss in America. This did not sit well with Masseria, and the result was the Castellammarese War, which flooded the streets of New York with many dead bodies from 1929-31.
Masseria MPs were soon joined by top mafia men like Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia and Vito Genovese, who were well-connected with Jewish gangsters Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. However, since Masseria did not like his men to do business with non-Sicilians (Costello, real name Castiglia, was from Calabria), Luciano, Costello, Anastasia and Genovese laid down their time, hoping that maybe Masseria and Maranzano would to kill off, so that younger men can take control of all their operations.
However, it was Gambino who made the first step in rectifying this situation. Feeling that he was on the losing side of the battle, Gambino secretly approached Maranzan and offered to jump to Maranzan's side. Maranzano readily agreed, and soon Luciano, Costello, Anastasia and Genovese wanted to join Maranzano's forces. Maranzano accepted their offer, provided that they part ways with Masseria once and for all. That task was accomplished on April 15, 1931, when Luciano lured Masseria to Nuova Villa Tammaro Restaurant on Coney Island. As Luciano went to the bathroom, Siegel, Genovese, Anastasia, and the Jewish killer Red Levine stormed through the front door and filled Masseria with lead, making him pretty dead and ending the Castellammarese war.
Maranzano immediately called for a meeting all the top Mafioso in the city (reportedly over 500 people) to a warehouse in the Bronx. At this meeting, Maranzano said, "Whatever has happened in the past is over. There is no more hatred among us. Those who lost someone in the war must be forgiven and forgotten."
Maranzano then founded five families, each with a boss and an assistant. Under two top men, each family would have captains or captains who would rule the rest of the family: soldatos or soldiers. The five bosses were Joe Bonanno, Joe Profaci, Lucky Luciano, Tommy Lucchese and Vincent Mangano. Albert Anastasia became Mangano's commander, and Carlo Gambino – captain in Mangano's family. Of course, Maranzano made himself "the boss of all bosses" (Capo Di Tutti Capi), who did not sit well with the rest of the young Mafioso.
Despite all the pretty stories of "no more hatred among us," Maranzano had a secret plan to kill Luciano, Genovese, and Costello – men whom Maranzano thought were ambitious and a threat to his rule. Maranzano summoned sinister Irish killer Vincent "Mad Dog" Cole to eliminate his perceived competition. Maranzano paid Cole $ 25,000 on the spot and an additional $ 25,000 after the dirty work was done. To set the trap, Maranzano invited Luciano, Genovese and Costello to his office in Midtown Manhattan.
However, Luciano caught the plot via an informant close to Maranzano, who is believed to be Tommy Lucchese. Instead of showing up at Maranzano's office, Luciano sent four Jewish killers to a proposed meeting, led by Red Levine, one man who left Masseria. The four men, posing as detectives, bulldozed past the Maranzan bodyguards in an outside office. They then exploded into Maranzan's office, where he was kicked and killed. On their way out of the building, four murderers ran into "Mad Dog" Kol. They told him not to bother – Maranzano was dead and police were on their way. Cole dealt his face, whistling a happy tune, earning $ 25,000 in payouts without firing a single shot.
Luciano soon called the bosses of the other four mafia families and told them that Maranzano was eliminating the title "Boss of all bosses." Luciano then formed the National Crime Commission, which included Jewish mobsters Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, and the Dutch Schultz.
Gambino, now firmly enlisted as a captain in the Mangano family, has become the biggest money-maker in the entire New York mob. And in the mob, money brings prestige.
In 1932, in money-filled pockets, Gambino married his first cousin, Catherine Castellano Carlo, and Catherine Gambino eventually raised three sons and a daughter. (Marrying a first cousin was common in Italy, not hated in the US as it is today. In fact, marrying a first cousin is illegal in the current majority, but not in all countries. Editors note: My grandparents for my 39 & # 39; were first cousins, married in Sicily in early 1900)
When the ban was lifted in 1933, Gambino was already ready to cash in on the now legal farming business, but he did so illegally. While Prohibition was raising the illegal sale of the Mafia, Gambino had planned days when he would know the Prohibition would end. To achieve his goals, Gambino cooked up as many illegal photographs as he could; in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and even in Maryland. When the ban ended and the price of alcohol blew through the roof, Gambino had the largest illegal liquor distribution system on the east coast of America. And since he was making the potion himself and paying no state taxes, Gambino was able to undermine legal distributors, thus making himself and the Mangano families a small fortune from the mid to late 1930s.
The onset of World War II gave Gambino another opportunity to earn even more illegal cash, through his war stamps with stamps. A war that is inevitable against both Germany and Japan, the United States Government on August 28, 1941, established the Office of Price Management (OPA), whose task was to print and distribute stamps to the American public. Without these stamps, people would not be able to buy gasoline, tires, shoes, nylon, sugar, fuel oil, coffee, meat and processed foods. Gambino thought the only way to get him to market stamps with rations for sale on the black market was to steal them in the end.
Gambino sent his best secure second-floor crackers and men to the vaults inside the Office of Price Management, so they showed up with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of brands. When some low-level OPA employees realized that their laundry stole their meal stamps, they decided to make a contract, stealing them stamps and selling them to Gambin and his boys, of course, with a bargain. – underground prices. Gambino understood why we risk stealing meal stamps, with the potential to be caught. So he took the wrong offer from the OPA staff and started buying stamps with meals in them.
The beauty of this scheme was that Gambino already had a ready-made distribution network: its network of illegal beverage distributors. In October 1963, Mafia informant Joe Valachi testified before Arkansas Senator John L. McClellan, the investigative subcommittee on government operations, that Gambino had sent over $ 1 million in revenue in one trademark deal.
Being a smart businessman, Gambino knew he couldn't live a high life without reporting significant income to the government. So Gambino invested the money he earned from illegal jobs, estimated to be several million dollars, into legal jobs such as meat markets, pizza parlors, olive and cheese importers, customs companies, clothing factories, bakeries and restaurants.
By 1951, thanks to Gambino's incredible income-generating ability, the Mangano family was one of the most promising in the Mafia. The problem was that Mangano couldn't handle his subordinate Anastasia. Mangano was jealous of Anastasia's closeness with other bosses, such as Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano, who was in exile in Italy; a provision of a pardon agreement he received from the United States government after serving 9 years in prison on a convicted prostitution charge. Mangano physically attacked Anastasia several times, with a silly gesture, as the younger and stronger Anastasia easily beat her boss with her fist.
Rumors had it that Mangano was planning to kill Anastasia, Anastasia, with the blessing of crime boss Frank Costell, decided to strike first. On April 19, 1951, the body of Pier Phil Mangano, brother of Vincent Mangano, was found in a swamp near Sheephead Bay. He was shot five times in the head. When police investigating the murder tried to contact Vincent Mangana about his brother's death, they could not find a clue. Vincent Mangano's body was never found.
Within days, Anastasia sat down with the other bosses and explained that he had killed Mangana before Mangano could kill him. With the support of Costell, Anastasia bowed to the head of the Mangano family, and the name was changed to the Anastasia family. Anastasia made Frank Scalise and Joe Adonis their subordinates, and gave his captain Carl Gambin more people and more power within the organization.
However, Anastasia's reign lasted less than seven years. Anastasia continually hits her head with villainous crime boss Vit Genovese, who wanted to take all the rackets in New York, even if it meant killing the other bosses one by one. Anastasia received a terrible blow when his co-star Joe Adonis was deported back to Italy as an unwelcome stranger. Anastasia knew his days were numbered when, in early 1956, Frank Costello shot the head of Genovese journalist Vincent "The Beard" Gigante. Costello survived the shooting, and at the trial of Gigante, Costello, loyal to the mafia code "omerta," refused to name Gigante his attacker.
However, this greatly diminished Costello's power in the Mafia, and at Genovese's insistence, Costello was ousted as one of the Chiefs of Staff at the Mafia Commission. This left Anastasia without her closest ally, and put Anastasia in a vulnerable position. Shortly after, Frank Scalise's second husband, Anastasia, was killed while buying fruit and vegetables on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.
The final shoe fell off when, on October 25, 1957, Anastasia was shot dead while sitting in a barber chair at the Sheridan Park Hotel in central Manhattan. With Anastasia now dead, Genovese called for a seat with the other chiefs and suggested that Carlo Gambino, whom he had let on his plot to kill Anastasia, take over Anastasia's family. The commission agreed and they renamed the family to the Gambino family.
The greedy Genovese called for a meeting of all the crime bosses, doubles, captains and respected Mafia men in America, scheduled to take place in the dormant city of Apalachin, New York, at the home of Joseph Barbara, the gateway to the crime family of boss Stefan Magaddin. There were several items on Genovese's agenda, but originally it was that Genovese would be declared "Capo Di Tutti Capi" or "Boss of all Chiefs", a title that had been vacant since the death of Salvatore Maranzano.
On November 17, 1957, a mob of mobsters headed to Barbara's house. The group includes crime bosses John Scalish, of Cleveland, Sam Giancan of Chicago, Frank DeSimone of California, Santo Trafficante of Florida, Gerardo Catena and Frank Majuri of New Jersey, and Carlo Gambino, Joe Profaci, Tommy Lucchese and Vito Genovese of New York.
However, before the festivities began, Sergeant Major Edgar Roswell, along with a dozen state troopers, burst into the house. Later, Roswell said he became suspicious when he spotted Joseph Barbara Jr. how to book a hotel for a dozen or more towels. Roswell said he then drove past the Barbara residence and saw a dozen luxury cars parked in and around Barbara. Roswell said he called for great support, and when his soldiers arrived, they set off.
Later, another rumor spread that it was Meyer Lansky, without a big fan of Vito Genovese, who secretly gave a tip to state troopers about the upcoming Mafia convention.
Either way, as troops stormed the house, Mafioso scattered like a Chinese fire on all sides. Men in expensive suits jumped out the open windows, and if they could not reach the car, they were pushed through the woods on foot, destroying their patent leather shoes. Giancana himself escaped safely by escaping through the forest, as did Bonanno submarine Carmine Galente. But both men were in disarray; their suits were destroyed by thorny bushes. Some cars moved away from the property before the roadblock was set up, but most failed. When she cleared the dust, 58 Mafia members were detained and told to empty their pockets. A total of $ 300,000 cash was found in 58 men, making state police increasingly suspicious of the meeting.
What was significant at the meeting were the men who decided not to attend. In addition to Lanski, those who were absent were Frank Costello, Carlo Marcello of New Orleans and Lansky, Jose Joseph "Doc" Stracher.
Of the 58 men, 27 were charged with obstruction of justice, of which 20 were convicted of refusing to answer the meeting's questions. One of the men convicted was Gambino's cousin Paul Castellano, who ended up in a slag for a year.
A broken meeting, more than anything else, led to the downfall of Vito Genovese. Not only did he not receive the sublime title of "boss of all chiefs", he became a mafia pariah; ridiculed as stupid and greedy for inviting so many important men to the same place for his purposes.
The day after the attack, entire nations published stories about the incident. People could no longer claim that the mafia did not exist. Police and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who have denied the existence of the mafia for years, went on a rampage, putting extreme pressure on the mafia's operations.
Although at first it seemed that Carlo Gambino was a victim of circumstance, the wise conspiracy veteran conspired to turn the incident to his advantage. In fact, it was speculated that Gambino knew about the attack beforehand and intentionally went there so that no one would suspect him of being in treason; which would make sense in light of further developments.
With Genovese still giving up on losing face, Gambino quarrels with Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano (still in exile in Italy but able to move freely to Cuba to meet his friends) to get Genovese a multi-million dollar international drug deal. Although the mob forbade it from dealing drugs, the greedy Genovese couldn't resist the urge to make a ton of dough.
When the time came, Gambino informed the Bureau of Narcotics about the drug trade, which resulted in the arrest of Genovese. At the Genovese trial, Gambino paid a false witness named Nelson Cantellops, who insisted on the witness's position that Genovese was not only involved in this particular drug business, but was actually involved in dozens of narcotics over the years. . As a result, Genovese was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Genovese served a little more than ten years in prison before he died in prison on February 14, 1969.
With Anastasi dead, Genovese in prison, Luciano in exile, Frank Costello basically out of the mafia loop, Joe Profaci older and weaker, and Joe Bonanno out of a relatively small family of criminals, Carlo Gambino has undoubtedly become the most powerful mafia boss in America. His crew of over 500 performed men on the streets, including his subordinate Joe Biondo, consul Joseph Riccobono and capos Armand "Tommy" Rava, Aniello "Mr. Neil" Dellacroce, Paul Castellano, Carmine "The Doctor" Lombardozzi, Joseph " Joe Piney "Armone, and Carmine" Wagon Wheels "Fatico.
Gambino has expanded its businesses across the United States. In addition to New York, Gambino had his fingers in a pot in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Gambino also ruled the powerful International Union of Long Crossings, which controlled all evidence in New York, the major port of import to America.
After Joe Valachi became the first known mafia informant, Gambino reinforced a rule that banned the sale of drugs on his crew. Gambino's rational was that the penalties for drug sales were so severe that men could become rats when arrested, rather than spend their time in prison like the real Mafia men did in the past. The Gambino family policy was "Deal and Die" and he enforced that rule without exception.
Riding on top of the mob, Carlo Gambino has become a popular figure in the streets of New York, small Italy. While the other chiefs barricaded themselves in their mansions, armed with bodyguards, burglar alarms and electrified fences, Gambino walked the streets with impunity, stopping conversations with old friends while buying vegetables and fruits from street vendors. Gambino went to Ferrara on Grand Street, between Mulberry and Mott, to make pastries. He would then walk the block to get his Italian meat, cheeses and Italian delicacies from Aleva at the corner of Mulberry and Grand.
Beginning in March 1970, Gambino began to have problems with the law. As he walked down Brooklyn Street, Gambino was surrounded by New York police and FBI members. They arrested Gambino and accused him of mastering a scheme to steal $ 30 million in cash from an armored truck company based in the Bronx. Gambino was eventually indicted, but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence.
That forced the Feders to try another tactic to remove the Gambins from the streets. The government issued a deportation order to the Gambino in 1966, but for some reason that order was never enforced. In early 1971, after Gambino's wife Catherine died of cancer, the Feders did indeed try to carry out this order, but hearing of his imminent danger, the cunning Gambino faked a serious heart attack. The Feds were furious with Gambia's craft, so the U.S. Public Health Service gave Gambia complete physical. The Feds were upset when it was determined that Gambino indeed had a severe heart condition. This was confirmed in 1972, when Gambino flew from his home at 2230 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, to Columbus Hospital in Manhattan with a massive heart attack. Why the Brooklyn hospital is not appropriate for the Gambino has never been revealed.
While recovering at home, Gambino broke one of the laws he set for himself – "Get drugs and die." Acting Genovese Chief Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli approached Gambino with a "can't miss" proposal to broker a multi-million dollar drug deal with Louis Civill, considered by the Feds as the largest drug dealer in America. The problem was that Eboli, a former boxing manager and notorious bad gambler, did not have the $ 4 million needed to continue the operation. Gambino had seized four million dollars from Eboli, but he lost it all when the Feds arrested Civillo and confiscated his drugs and money. When Gambino approached Eboli for his missing $ 4 million, Eboli turned his pockets inside, showing that the apartment was broken.
The Gambino didn't enjoy it too much. As a result, on July 16, 1972, at about 1 a.m., Eboli was shot five times while leaving his girlfriend's apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Eboli died on the spot, and Gambino had enough influence with the Mafia Commission to order that his close friend, Genovese Captain Frank "Funzi" Tieri, now be the new boss of the Genovese family. And so it was done.
Gambino had another difficulty when his 29-year-old nephew Emmanuel "Manny" Gambino was bought out in early 1973 for ransom. The same gang had previously kidnapped Gambino crime family captain Frank "Frankie Wop" Manzo for $ 100,000. After that amount was paid for the safe return of Manzo, the gang became more ambitious about abducting Manny Gambino – this time asking for $ 200,000. Gambino tried to negotiate by offering them only $ 50,000. Shortly after, Manny Gambino's body was found sitting in a New Jersey landfill near Earle Naval's ammunition depot. On June 1, 1973, degenerate gambler Robert Senter pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Senter reportedly remained indebted to Gambino and it was easier to kill Gambino then pay the debt.
After his nephew's death was overcome by the agony of his wife's death, Gambino became a witch at his home on Ocean Parkway. He surrounded himself with family members, the most famous of whom was Paul Castellano's cousin. By 1975, it was clear that Gambino's heart condition would not allow him to live much longer. So he began to plan his legacy as the head of the criminal Gambino family. Wanting to keep power in the blood of his own family, Gambino anointed his cousin Paul Castellano to inherit it.
This did not go too far with the other Gambinos, who expected longtime Mafioso Aniello Dellacroce to be the natural heir to the Gambino. To appease Dellacroce, Gambino gave him all the rackets in Manhattan controlled by the Gambino family. And it really was a great gift.
On October 15, 1976, Carlo Gambino took his last breath as his heart finally gave out. The Gambino funeral was one of the most developed ever held in Brooklyn County. More than 100 cars participated in the funeral procession that ended at Saint John & # 39; s Cemetery in Queens, New York City; his lifelong friend Charles "Lucky" Luciano is buried in the same cemetery.
In the 1985 film Prizzi of Honor, directed by John Huston and played by Jack Nicholson, actor William Hickey played Don Corrado Prizzi, a character based on Don Carl Gambino.