Stefano Magaddino (October 10, 1891 – July 19, 1974) was the Italian-American Boss of the Buffalo crime family, based in Buffalo, New York. Born in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, birthplace of numerous Mafiosi (including his cousin, Joseph Bonanno), Magaddino emigrated to the United States sometime in the early to mid 1910's and settled in Brooklyn, New York.
Magaddino was arrested for alleged involvement in the murder of a man in Avon, New Jersey in 1921, who was the member of the rival Buccellato clan from Castellammare del Golfo. An attempt on his own life was made sometime later in 1936 by rival gangsters, but his sister was killed in the bomb attack by mistake. He eventually moved to the Niagara Falls, New York, suburb of Lewiston, New York, running a profitable bootlegging business during Prohibition. The success of his business was in large part due to the proximity of his base in the Niagara Falls/Buffalo area to Canada, the source of the illegal alcohol.
After Prohibition, Magaddino and his crime family made their money through loan sharking, illegal gambling, extortion, hijacking, and labor racketeering. Although fairly popular, Magaddino nonetheless had his share of enemies. He was the survivor of several assassination attempts, including an attempt in 1958 to toss a hand grenade through his kitchen window, which failed to explode. This second attempt on his life was said to be directed at him by those who believed Magaddino was responsible for the 1957 Apalachin Conference debacle.
The Buffalo crime family Boss led his family from Prohibition era, through the 1960s and into the 1970s. For roughly 50 years Stefano Magaddino was a presence in the Western New York criminal underworld as well as being involved in national syndicate and La Cosa Nostra affairs. He was a charter member of Charles "Lucky" Luciano's Mafia Commission and attended important underworld summits such as the 1946 Havana Conference and the 1957 Apalachin meeting.
The Buffalo crime family held influence in the underworld territories of Western New York, Utica, New York, Rochester, New York along the Mohawk River as far as Amsterdam, New York, in Eastern Pennsylvania, Youngstown, Ohio and as far north as Ontario, Canada. Stefano Magaddino led the Buffalo family through its glory years and its most powerful and profitable era in La Cosa Nostra. He was an old-style Boss who preferred to stay in the background and not draw any attention to himself or his criminal activities if possible. He was the owner of the Magaddino Memorial Chapel, a funeral home in Niagara Falls.
Magaddino had never spent any significant time in prison, but in 1968 he and his son, Peter Magaddino were arrested and charged with interstate bookmaking. A raid on his son's home led to the discovery of approximately $473,134 in a suitcase. This created much animosity among the Buffalo crime family members and its top leaders and led to a breakdown of their cooperation concerning criminal activities.
The Buffalo family split into dissident factions; the leaders met in Rochester, New York at the end of 1968 and by early 1969 ousted Magaddino as boss, leaving him to lead a faction made up of his once powerful in-laws and older crime family members from 1969 until he died several years later.
Stefano Magaddino died of a heart attack on July 19, 1974 at age 82. Given a funeral at a local Roman Catholic church, he was buried in St. Joseph cemetery in Niagara Falls.