Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli (b. June 13, 1911 - July 16, 1972) was a New York City mobster, known for being the acting boss of the Genovese crime family.
Born Tommaso Eboli, little is known about his early life other than that he was born in Italy. Eboli was reportedly arrested in 1933 for six counts of illegal gambling and disorderly conduct. During his entire criminal career, Eboli only spent 60 days in prison for assaulting a boxing referee. The referee, Ray Miller, made what Eboli considered was a bad call, giving Ernie Durando a victory over Rocky Castellani, Eboli's fighter. Eboli's subsequent outburst caused him to be banned from boxing activities. The Lucchese crime family boss Thomas Gagliano was the cousin of mob Eboli's chauffer and bodyguard Dominick Alongi who would later achieve notoriety when Gagliano, Eboli and Alongi were among the many mobsters arrested by the FBI and police fleeing the famous 1957 Apalachin Meeting. He is the father of Thomas Eboli Jr. He is theuncle of Louis "The Mooch" Eboli and the father of Pasquale "Patty Ryan" Eboli.
In 1931, the murders of Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, ended the bloody Castellammarese War among the New York gangs. Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, the pre-eminent mob boss of this era, created the Commission, which consisted of all the heads of the Five Families of New York, the Chicago Outfit, and representatives of other crime families. Luciano became the Chairman of this Commission. Eboli, who had been with Luciano since the beginning of the Prohibition, became the personal bodyguard for Luciano's Underboss, Vito "Don Vito" Genovese sometime in the early 1930s.
In 1936, after Luciano's imprisonment, his Consigliere Frank Costello became Acting Boss of the family, much to Genovese's disappointment. Luciano was deported to Italy in 1946 and it soon became clear that Costello was the permanent Boss of the Luciano crime family.
In 1957, Genovese eventually organized a murder-attempt on Costello. Costello was shot in the head, but survived and decided to retire from the Cosa Nostra that same year. Eboli soon turned Caporegime of the new Genovese crime family, taking over the old Genovese crew in the late 1950s. In 1959, Genovese was arrested for drug trafficking and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, again shuffling the family leadership.
From 1959, Eboli was promoted to the Acting Boss position, with Gerardo "Jerry" Catena as Underboss and Michele "Big Mike" Miranda as Consigliere, with Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo as Eboli's top aide. At the same time, Caporegime Philip "Benny Squint" Lombardo was to have a final say in things. These men were known as the Committee/Ruling Panel, and were in charge of the Genovese crime family throughout the 1950s, when toward the late 1960s, after the death of Vito Genovese, Eboli was made the one and only official Acting Boss.
After the death of Genovese in 1969 and the indictment of Gerardo "Jerry" Catena in 1970, Eboli became the front boss of the Genovese family. Later that year, Eboli was listed as the official Boss or Acting boss, as Philip "Benny Squint" Lombardo and Michele "Big Mike" Miranda were really the ones in charge of the Genovese crime family, and Eboli just a cover for the authorities. As Eboli thought to be the new head of the Genovese crimefamily, he wanted to start a new drug trafficking operation, but borrowed $4 million dollars from the Commission chairman and head of the rival Gambino crime family, Carlo Gambino, to fund the operation.
Eboli continued as the Front Boss of the family for two more years. U.S. authorities arrested most of the Eboli crew, and shut down the $4 million dollar drug-operation during the early 1970s. Allegedly, Gambino crime family leaders Carlo Gambino and Paul Castellano came to get a refund only days later, only one thing; Eboli didn't had the money to pay back Gambino. On July 16, 1972, around 1:00 a.m. Eboli was leaving the apartment of a girlfriend. Just as he reached his car, Eboli was shot five times and died immediately. No one was ever arrested for the murder of Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli. Gambino reportedly organized Eboli's murder so that Gambino's friend, Genovese Caporegime Frank "Funzi" Tieri, could become Boss of the Genovese crime family. Some even believe that the entire drug trafficking operation had been a setup by Carlo Gambino from day one.
Eboli was buried at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, New Jersey.