Monday, April 8, 2013

The San Diego Crew


The man seated at the table in front of the cafe did not fit the stereotype of a Hollywood Mafioso.  The roly poly man in the ill-fitting suit was Frank Bompensiero.  Frank Bompensiero was at one time the Capo in charge of the San Diego area for the Los Angeles Family. After being demoted, he later became a soldier in the family.  Frank lost everything when he was sent to prison in 1955 on bribery charges. He had been caught using his connections with the State Board of Equalization to get liquor Licenses for bars, which brought in big money.

On this particular day Frank was sitting, sipping on his coffee, a cigar stuck in his mouth, contemplating revenge.  Gone were his bars: Maestro Music, the Algiers, the Cadillac, his connections, and his position as Capo in the family.  

A smartly dressed man approached the table and Frank stood up and shook his hand.  The man sat and they begin to talk. There was another man in the car the man had emerged from, also taking in the situation.

The two men are Special Agents with the FBI and Frank is their informant.  What would lead this lifelong criminal, former Capo, a killer, to work for the FBI as an informant?  I am sure money was not the motive.  Maybe it was the fact that he spent 5 years in State Prison. It was during that time that nobody from the LA Family helped out his family. He was not given a cent for his wife, kids or himself. He was loyal to Jack Dragna, the boss, and he had killed plenty of people for the family. Jack Dragna had died of a heart attack while Frank was locked up.  Desimone had come to see Frank while he was locked up, trying to earn his vote for taking over the position as boss.  Frank told him he did not want him to become boss.  Desimone became boss anyway, and then demoted Frank to soldier.  

I am fascinated by this move by the bosses in the Cosa Nostra.  They demoted guys or put them on the shelf when they are away.  When they get out they do not help them. Where is the honor? I had a Capo say to me, “That a guy was a loser, a brokester.”   When I brought up the fact that the guy did 9 years for the family, he just laughed.  That Capo is now taking his turn “away” and is sick, so lets see how he does when he gets out.

Frank was giving the FBI tidbits of information, just enough so they would stay off his back.  One of the important things he failed to tell them about was Tamara Rand.

Tamara Rand was a wealthy business woman from her career in real estate.  She was married to a prominent doctor in San Diego.  She had also invested largely in Las Vegas Casinos before it became the corporate playground that it is today.  It was the playground of the Mob.  

She had loaned 500K to Allen Glick, the owner of Argent (which had received Teamster loans to buy 4 Casinos: the Hacienda, Fremont, Marina and The Stardust).  Tamara thought she was buying 5 percent of his Casinos.  When Glick did not honor his part of the deal, Tamara filed a lawsuit.  She was about to open the books of the Casinos.  That would have been bad because of the Teamster Loans and their corresponding Skim that was kicked back to Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and Milwaukee.  

Frank Balistrieri, the boss of Milwaukee, went to Chicago to see the Bosses and told them about Glick’s problem.  They sent word to their man out West - Tony Spilatro.  

So, Tony enlisted his friend in San Diego, Frank Bompenseiro, and together they cased Tamara Rand’s home.  On the afternoon of November 9, 1975, Tamara had left work early to get ready for dinner with her husband.  Somebody was waiting for her inside her home.  When she came into the kitchen, they struck her with a pistol with a suppressor. The sound would be like a cap gun not like the sounds made in the movies.  They shot her five times, including one shot under the chin.  Frank would later tell Jimmy Frattiano that he had driven Tony Spilatro to the Mission Hills home. Since both Frank and Tony were killed by their families we will never know the whole story.

Why would Frank do it?  He wanted to be transferred to Chicago but Sam Giancana did not take him.  More likely, he wanted to get his foot into Las Vegas be part of the skim or maybe get a gift shop.  Frank had hated Johnny Roselli because he did not help him get in the Chicago Family and he felt that Rosselli had gotten his reward for a killing.  Roselli had gotten a couple of gift shops in some Casinos. So Frank had decided in revenge to feed the FBI information.  The more the LA Family treated him badly the more he informed. That is until FOREX.

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