LA Gangland 1950’s & LCN Tradition
Nick Licata would rule the Los Angeles Family for seven years. He continued working with many of the Eastern Cosa Nostra Families. He had great connections with the Detroit family. Nick's son Carlo, a made man in the LA Family, had married Detroit Family Capo Black Bill Tocco's
After Frank DiSimone died, Nick stepped in the top spot easily because he was the Underboss.
Nick was now in a whole different game. He would no longer be the guy who operated from the shadows. He was very low key and did not attract much attention until he held the alibi party for Jimmy Frattiano on the night he killed the Two Tony's. After that he was always a blip on the radar of the LAPD and the FBI.
Nick was in poor health and had to spend six months locked up after he was given immunity by a grand jury in Los Angeles. Nick appointed Joe Dippolito, a well liked member of the family, as his underboss. Joe Dip was a serious landowner in the inland empire and he had wineries. He also took part in a couple of murders, so he had the respect of the family. Joe Dippolito died 9 months before Nick died. Nick then appointed the loyal Jimmy Regace aka Dominic Brooklier as his underboss. Dominic was well liked by the white collar members of the family, but he had also taken part in some killings, including the attempted hit on Mickey Cohen in front of Sherry's. They would make a lot of members that were capable. The goal of being made or inducted into the Cosa Nostra used to be the highest honor a criminal could obtain. Today that is no longer a main motivating factor in the life.
Jimmy Frattiano described being made in his book The Last Mafioso. You can tell by his words that even when he told the story more than 40 years later, he was excited. He was brought to a winery in LA where he was escorted into a room by Johnny Roselli. Once inside, he joined fifty men already seated around the large fermentation room. The family had all come together to induct five new members. Three would move on to become bosses and another would be underboss in the future. They had a dagger and a pistol on the table. They would prick the inductee’s trigger finger and then recite the oath. Then the men were Amico Nostra, “A friend of ours.”
The years would take their toll on the Family. The FBI would record the New England Families Ceremony, and from that point on it would no longer be a secret ceremony.
I know that Pete J Milano aka Shakes was made by Brooklier, but I do not know how it went down. Jimmy also wrote in his book about making Mike Rizzi. They were in Murrietta, California on June 6, 1976. It was Mike Rizzi, Frank Bomp, Louie Dragna and Jimmy in a car. Jimmy would explain what Bomp was saying as he recited the words in Sicilian. They would do the whole thing in the car at the end of a dirt road. They had no pistol or knife, but Dragna had a pin that they used to prick Mike's trigger finger.
Jimmy Caci many years later would tell me a little about his experience. He told me that they all played golf in Palm Springs. Pete Milano was boss. Carmen Milano was underboss and after dinner they went back to a hotel room. That is where Jimmy was made into the family. He told me it was not what he thought it would be, and that he wished he never did it. He would tell me later that he had wasted his life, that it all just fell apart. It was sad when Jimmy told me that. We were sitting at a restaurant in Ontario after we left the Auto Mart in 2003. He was telling me about how good the old days were and then how it all went downhill.
Some years later I would be in New York and a former Colombo guy would tell me about his big day. He wore a suit. He was picked up by his Capo and driven to a home in Long Island. He was waiting upstairs with a guy named Joe Baudanza and he was called downstairs. The
acting boss and the Underboss were down there with a number of Capos. They had a pistol and a dagger on the table. They did the ceremony in English and he was made. Next, they brought down Joe and made him.
Later Joe would sit on the panel that ruled the family and he would be one of those that gave the okay to shoot my friend. They failed but it goes to show you how far the Cosa Nostra had fallen. So we sat in a Midtown restaurant on a rainy day talking about it. He told me that none of it was worth it. That the whole thing was wrecked it was not what he thought. He told me that his Capo had taken him aside and told him not to get into the life. I asked him if he knew anyone in the life who lived a happy life.
The two of us could not think of one person.
The LA Family was big in gambling in LA, San Diego, Tijuana and Palm Springs. The Sica brothers worked with them running action up to Northern California and the new boss formerly Jimmy Regace, now Brooklier was close to them. Once Dominic became boss he would make Pete Milano which was a smart move because Pete’s father was the underboss of the Cleveland family and his uncle had been boss. He started sending word to other families that he was the boss. He then appointed a very well connected Sam Sciortino as his underboss to help him get the family in shape. Sam was a smart choice because he was related to the under boss of the San Francisco Family, he was also related to a Capo in the New Orleans family. He had deep connections in the garment center in Los Angeles and Dallas. He was also big into trucking.
These guys could have led the family into a new era of prosperity but the heat was on.
More next week!