Sunday, September 28, 2014

Buffalo Mafia Part II

The man who was made the acting boss of the Buffalo Family, Fred "Lupo" Randaccio came to the United States  as a child.  Randaccio was arrested as a teen for gambling, bootlegging and armed robbery.  The US Government wanted to deport him in the 50’s but they dropped it when they found out he had been in the Army in the 1940’s.  Randaccio had the classic criminal resume for a Mafioso and by the 1960’s he was ready to be boss.

Two capos handled the gambling for the family in the Buffalo area: Daniel Sansanese and Joseph Fino.  The Family had a long history in labor and construction.  They also controlled the Unions via Capo John Cammilleri.  They also had crews in Toronto and Hamilton Canada that answered to the family.

Things ran smoothly with Randaccio as the acting boss and Stefano Maggadino as the recognized boss until the whole Paddy Calabrese incident that I have written about in the blog titled, “The Birth of WITSEC.”  Paddy Calabrese had given up a lot of details of the way Randaccio ran the family.  He told the FBI that Randaccio like to hold court at the Senate Grill with Patty Natarelli.  Patty would take care of rackets in Syracuse, Rochester and the numbers in Buffalo.   Randaccio and Natarelli were sent away to prison and Peter Magaddino was soon upped by his father to the acting boss spot.  This promotion did not sit well with the rest of the family because they felt he did not earn it.

In 1969 the word came down from Stefano that the Capos would be keeping a smaller percentage of their criminal earnings. They were to kick up more cash to Peter and this did not endear him to the Capos.  It all blew up in November when the FBI raided Peter’s home and found $521,000 in cash.  

The Buffalo and Rochester factions were to be under the leadership of Joseph Fino, Underboss Danny Sansanese and Consigliere Sammy Frangiamore. They stopped paying tribute to the Maggianos at this time.  There would be murders and in 1972 the new leaders were sent for by the Commission.  They would make the trip to Manhattan where the Genovese Family basically ran the Commission.  Tommy Eboli, the Boss of the Genovese Family, told the men that they were in the wrong by breaking away from the family and that Stefano was the boss.  Sammy Frangiamore was made acting boss, Peter Magaddino would be a Capo loyal to his father.  This change brought another relative of Sammy to the forefront Joseph “Lead Pipe” Todaro Sr.  Lead Pipe was a huge earner for the Family. He had bookmaking, shylocking, Las Vegas junkets and his pizza business.
Sammy was very sick by the 1980’s.  Lead Pipe was seen as the natural successor but there was some opposition, so again the Commission stepped in and made a decision.  The FBI had the Palma Boys Social Club in East Harlem New York bugged and they would catch Fat Tony Salerno on tape.  Fat Tony said that the Commision decided that Lead Pipe was the Boss.  That was it and Lead Pipe aka Joseph Todaro Sr was the new boss in early 1985.
Lead Pipe upped his son Joseph Todaro Jr to Underboss and Joe Pieri Sr was made consigliere.  He then started making new members to strengthen his reign.  He reached out to factions in Canada, Ohio and elsewhere solidifying his position as boss.

Lead Pipe would hand over the day to day operations of the family to his son Joseph Jr in the Mid 1990’s.  Joseph Jr was already a multi millionaire from his legitimate pizza and buffalo wing business by this time.  He has never been convicted of a crime.  

Today the family has between 35 and 50 active members plus associates.   The family has changed a lot and diversified in the years since Magadino.  The family was huge in the telemarketing business in the 1990’s, they still had the unions but the drugs were taken over by other Sicilian groups.  

For a good inside look at the family check out The Triangle Exit by Ronald Fino and Michael Rizzo. Michael Rizzo also has a number of good books on the subject.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Buffalo Mafia

The Buffalo New York Mafia family is not written about much and I have only touched on it.
I was told about the family by Jimmy Caci who was originally from Buffalo.  Jimmy had a brother Salvatore “Sam” Caci who was the LIUNA local 210 president for years.  There was also Al Caci and Charlie Caci aka Bobby Milano who were in Palm Springs, California.  I've written in past blogs about the first use of WITSEC in the Buffalo case where Bobby Milano and Fat Stevie Cino were locked up because of Paddy Calabrese.

Stefano Magaddino was born on October 10, 1891, in Castellammare, Sicily.  Because of Stefano there is a Buffalo Family.  Stefano along with his brothers Antonio and Pietro got into a feud with the Buccellato brothers in their native Sicily.  Pietro was murdered by the Buccellato faction and the remaining Magaddinos left for Brooklyn New York.

While in Brooklyn the Buccellato Clan tried to ambush Stefano and killed two innocent bystanders.  Soon after the attempted ambush a couple of Buccellatos were killed and Stefano made his way upstate to Buffalo.  

Stefano was soon taking over rackets in Buffalo and with Prohibition he quickly became an important figure in Organized Crime.  Buffalo is situated so close to Canada that the waterways became a waypoint for smuggled booze.  It was so important that Moe Dalitz made a deal with him to use the waterways to smuggle booze for Cleveland.  

The money was pouring into the family and Stefano was able to send money to Salvatore Maranzano who was in the middle of a war for control of the New York Cosa Nostra.

The Commission was soon formed and Stefano along with his cousin Joe Bonanno were sitting on it.  After the repeal of Prohibition the Buffalo Family branched out into Gambling, Shylocking and Labor racketeering.  They moved into parts of Ohio and Canada expanding the family.  

The FBI claimed there was no such thing as the Mafia until the Apalachin Mafia Summit in 1957.  A few leaders blamed Stefano for the debacle and someone even tossed a grenade through his window.  

In the early 1960’s Stefano’s cousin Joe Bonanno decided to make a move to take control of the Commision and the Cosa Nostra.  He was planning on killing Carlo Gambino, Tommy Lucchese and Stefano himself to gain power.  The Commision found out because Joe Colombo went to a Gambino and they stripped Bonanno of his position.  Some of the family did not want their leader gone so this was the beginning of the Banana War that lasted from 1964-68 until Bonanno had a heart attack.  It was during this war that Bonanno was supposedly kidnapped on orders from Stefano and held captive.  

Bonanno had made a lot of inroads into Canada where Stefano also had crews working.  Even today there is still a rogue faction of the Bonanno family.  They were active during the reign of Big Joey Massino and they were even used when the Capos were killed as portrayed in Donnie Brasco.  

Stefano had began to slow down by late 1960’s giving up control of the day to day running of the rackets to his underboss Fred "Lupo" Randaccio.  

More to come...