Colombo Crime Family

The Colombo crime family is one of the "Five Families" that controls organized crime activities in New York City, USA, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). It was formerly known as the Profaci family.

Contents [hide]
1 History of the Colombo crime family
1.1 Joe Profaci
1.2 The Gallo brothers
1.3 Death of Profaci
1.4 Magliocco's treachery
1.5 The Colombo era
1.6 The family under Persico
1.7 Current leadership
2 Bosses of the Colombo crime family

When the Castellammarese War was brought to a close with the deaths of Joe Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano in 1931, the American Mafia was restructured by Charles "Lucky" Luciano, with five major branches forming the basis of a new era of cooperation between mobsters. One of these branches, or families, formed out of the Maranzano Family, was headed up by Joe Profacicolombo.jpg - a man hated by many of his underlings for his tight-fistedness and heavy taxation of family members. Under Profaci, the Brooklyn-based family pursued the usual mob enterprises of labor rackets, extortion, gambling, hijacking and loan sharking.

Considering his use of charges and tributes, along the lines of the old Sicilian Mafia families, it is fairly surprising that Profaci faced no serious challenge to his leadership of the family until the late 1950s. Many of the old-style "Moustache Petes" had been killed or marginalized as Luciano reorganized the mob, but Profaci kept his head down and managed to retain his power base, thanks in part to his close ties to the leader of another of the families, Joe Bonanno.

[edit] The Gallo brothers
Eventually, however, the anger of a few Profaci subordinates boiled over, and the serious conflicts that would dog the family for decades began in earnest. Ever the man with an eye for an opening, Carlo Gambino began stirring up unrest in the family to try to undermine the Profaci-Bonanno alliance, and Larry Gallo, Joey Gallo and Albert Gallo proved receptive to his overtures. Profaci had been taking a large chunk of the profits from the brothers' racketeering activities and they had had enough. The ill feeling was compounded when Profaci ordered the execution of Gallo crew member Frank Abbatemarco, simply for being disloyal and disrespectful in withholding tribute to his boss.

In February 1961, the Gallos kidnapped a number of prominent members of the family including underboss Joseph Magliocco and capo Joe Colombo. In return for their release, the brothers demanded changes in the way profits were divided between crews, and at first Profaci appeared to agree, following negotiations between the captors and Profaci's consigliere, Charles "The Sidge" Locicero.

But Profaci was simply biding his time before taking revenge on the Gallos. Gallo crew member Joseph "Joe Jelly" Gioelli was murdered by Profaci's men in September, and an attempt on Larry Gallo's life was interrupted by policemen in a Brooklyn bar. The brothers set about attacking Profaci's men wherever they saw them as all-out war erupted between the two factions.

The Gallo Brothers sparked two wars within the Colombo Crime Family both of which ended in their defeat[1][2]

[edit] Death of Profaci
For much of 1961/62, the heads of the other families (Bonanno excepted) were pressing for Profaci to step down as boss for the good of the mob. His health was failing, and eventually June 6, 1962, he lost his battle against cancer. He was replaced as boss of the family by Magliocco, a man very much in the Profaci mould, much to the disgust of the Gallo brothers who had no intention of ending the fight simply because Profaci was out of the way.

Two of Magliocco's chief enforcers, Carmine "Junior" Persico and one of his right-hand men, Hugh McIntosh, were targeted by the Gallo brothers but survived their respective attacks. And the Gallos were likely planning further attempts on the lives of Magliocco's crew, but the authorities had other ideas. A number of Gallo gang members were convicted on racketeering charges, two others were murdered in Magliocco reprisals, and the nominal head of the group, Joey Gallo, was himself already in prison and unable to sort out the reorganisation of his crew.

[edit] Magliocco's treachery
With the Gallos out of the way, Magliocco was able to consolidate his position and concentrate on the business of running the family's affairs. However, Joe Bonanno hatched a plot to murder the heads of the other three families which Magliocco decided to go along with. Joe Colombo was tasked with organising the hits but, realizing it was bad idea, talked to Carlo Gambino and Tommy Lucchese of the plans.

Bonanno and Magliocco were called to face the justice of the Commission. The former boss went into hiding, but Magliocco faced up to his crimes. Understanding that he had been following Bonanno's lead he was let off with a $50,000 fine, and forced to retire as the head of the family (he died not long after, of natural causes).

[edit] The Colombo era
For the loyalty he had shown, and because Gambino thought he could control him from behind the scenes, Colombo was named as the head of the family in Magliocco's place. To remove the association with its despised former head, the family was rechristened the Colombo family, as though to move into a new era following Profaci's greed and mistreatment of his men, as they saw it. At the age of 41, Colombo became the youngest leader of any mob family - many questioned his experience as a result.

The doubt at his appointment became bemusement when, following the arrest of his son on charges of debasing currency, Colombo set up the Italian-American Civil Rights League to defend Italian Americans from what he saw as prejudice at the hands of the law enforcement authorities. In an organisation that prided itself on keeping a low profile, the publicity Colombo brought on the mafia was decidedly unwelcome - through his involvement with the League, he was frequently to be found, willingly, on television and in the press, where a Mafia boss usually only finds himself when having to defend himself in court. Many will agree that the Colombos were a very rich family and Pietro "Petey" Moceo from Bensonhurst, brought in more than riches himself, as being one of the Colombo family's greatest racketeering, leaders of all time. He was a trusted man by all families, just like the crazy "Vingo" form the family. There were so many men like Petey Moceo that were around and stand up guys, but now a day, you dont see many at all.

February 1971 saw the release of Joey Gallo from prison. Four months later, Joe Colombo had been shot and left in a vegetative state, and the suspicion fell squarely on Gallo. At a League rally in Manhattan's Columbus Circle on June 28, Colombo was shot as he pushed through the crowd to get to the stage. The shooter, a young black man called Jerome Johnson, was then himself shot and killed by a member of Colombo's entourage. Gallo was suspected of organising the hit, largely because, against the wishes of many of his colleagues in the Mafia, he had openly courted the black criminal fraternity of Harlem, believing them to be potential partners in lucrative new avenues for the mob. Vincenzo "Vinny" Aloi took over a brief periode as the acting boss until the releasement of Carmine "Junior" Persico.

Gallo himself was shot and killed at Umberto's Clam House on Mulberry Street on April 7, 1972.

[edit] The family under Persico
Following the high-profiled exploits of Colombo (and, in his own way, Joe Gallo), the Colombo family needed a period of comparative calm. Colombo was in no position to run the family and the leadership fell to Thomas DiBella, a man adept at evading the authorities since his sole bootlegging conviction in 1932. Colombo died in 1978, and DiBella stepped down due to ill health in 1977, leaving a large power-vacuum at the head of the Colombo family.

However, Carmine Persico had grown in stature in the family and was clearly in line to take over, but he had been in and out of prison so much over the previous decade that it was unclear whether he would be in a position to do so. He nonetheless ran the family from prison with Gennaro "Jerry Lang" Langella as his street boss, until both men were indicted on massive RICO predicates during the mid 1980s and sentenced to 100 years in prison during a RICO trial in 1987, called the Mafia Commission Trial.

While serving life this time, it didn't change the fact that Persico continued to rule the Colombo family from his prison cell at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary in California, while using a various set of acting bosses, including his own cousin Vittorio "Vic" Orena, in the late 1980s.

Orena, however, desired the leadership on a permanent basis, and a battle for control broke out between supporters of Orena (including Gambino crime family leader John Gotti) and Persico loyalists. A failed hit on Orena led to the acting boss calling for the intervention of the Commission - Persico's consigliere, Carmine Sessa, who had led the attempt on Orena's life, appealed on behalf of his own boss.

With no sign of consensus or a decision from the Commission, Persico's captain, Gregory Scarpa Sr., was ambushed by Orena supporters on November 18, 1991, while driving with his family, but the Scarpas all got away without injury. Orena's supporters hit back with the killing of Persico supporter Henry "Hank the Bank" Smurra. Ultimately, with men being killed on both sides, the police intervened and Orena, his capo Pasquale "Patty" Amato and large numbers of loyalists from both sides were sent to prison. In 1993, Orena and Amato were also sentenced to life in prison. With the Orena camp effectively beheaded, Persico claimed victory and continued to run the family from prison. *American Organized Crime - Colombo Crime Family - Third War - Orena v. Persico

[edit] Current leadership
Carmine "Junior" Persico, 73, allegedly remains in charge of the much-weakened Colombo family. He currently resides in a federal prison in North Carolina but according to reports all major decisions in the family are still made by "The Snake". His son, Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico, was earmarked to take over but has been repeatedly targeted by the authorities and was convicted in December 2007 along with prominent Underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss of ordering the killing of family rival William Cutolo in 1999. [1]

Bitter enemy John "Sonny" Franzese, 90 years old, is alleged to be Persico's Underboss. Franzese has spent large parts of his life in jail and is under tight parole restrictions but that has not stopped him from again assuming a top spot in the family. Sonny Franzense was arrested in May 2007 on parole violation charges stemming from meetings with Colombo caporegimes and high ranking members of other families. Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli is running affairs on the street. Not much is known about Gioeli but he has spent little time in jail during his career and was an ally of the Persico faction during the Colombo war. Long time and much respected Vincenzo "Vinny" Aloi is said to be the Colombo family Consigliere. The strength of the family today is unclear but the family has avoided members flipping and major indictments the last few years and some people believe that the Colombo crime family is quietly rebuilding and regaining lost power. [2]

[edit] Bosses of the Colombo crime family
1928–1962 — Joseph "Don Peppino" Profaci
1962–1963 — Joseph "Joe Malyak" Magliocco
1964–1971 — Joseph "Joe C." Colombo
1971– Joseph "Joe Yak" Yacovelli (acting boss)
1971–1973 — Vincenzo "Vinny" Aloi (acting boss, jailed)
1973–Present — Carmine "Junior" Persico (Boss) (aka. "The Snake") (jailed 1973-79, 1981-84, 1985-present)
1973– Joseph "Joey" Brancato (acting boss, jailed)
1974–1979 — Thomas "Old Man" DiBella (acting boss, stepped down)
1981–1984 — Gennaro "Jerry Lang" Langella (acting boss, jailed)
1985–1986 — Anthony "Scappy" Scarpati (acting boss, jailed)
1986–1988 — 3 Man Ruling Committee/Panel (Capos) Vittorio "Vic" Orena, Joseph "Jo Jo" Russo, Benedetto "Benny" Aloi (disbanded 1988)
1988–1992 — Vittorio "Vic" Orena (acting boss, jailed 1992 during the Colombo War 1991-93)
1992–1993 — Joseph "Joey" Scopo (acting boss, Orena loyalist and last to be killed in Colombo War)
1993–1994 — Ruling Committee/Panel (Capos) Theodore "Teddy" Persico, Joseph Baudanza, Joseph "Joe T." Tomasello (disbanded 1994)
1994–1996 — Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo (acting boss, jailed)
1999–2000 — Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico (acting boss, jailed)
2000–2004 — Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace (acting boss, jailed)
2004–2007 — Carmine "Junior" Persico (Boss, imprisoned), Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli (street boss), John "Sonny" Franzese (underboss), Ralph "Ralphie" Lombardo (acting consigliere), Paul "Paulie Guns" Bevacqua (acting caporegime' of Gioeli crew), (Franzese imprisoned on parole violation in May of 2007)
2007–2008 — Carmine "Junior" Persico (Boss, imprisoned), Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli (street boss), John "Sonny" Franzese (underboss) (imprisoned for violation of parole), Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo (acting underboss), Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace (consigliere, imprisoned), Ralph "Ralphie" Lombardo (acting consigliere), Paul "Paulie Guns" Bevacqua (top caporegime & aide to Gioelli), Benedetto "Benny" Aloi (capo, elderstatesman and advis

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