Sunday, July 7, 2013

Colombo War: A Father-Son Story

I write about the Mafia in its true form.  You can read it and see for yourself what is true, or you can choose to believe what some know-nothing Hollywood scribe churns out.  I love to read and laugh at books by a newspaper writer or a scholar, who has never lived the life.  They only know what they read or are told.  How many crews were they with?  I write about what I know and my information comes from who I know.  

The Colombo Family I know and the players I know.  Wild Bill Cutolo aka Billy Fingers or just plain Dad to Bill Cutolo Jr was a charismatic Colombo family Mobster who shot to the top by playing it right. Nobody knew him better than his son Bill Jr. Bill Cutolo Sr disappeared on May 26, 1999 in Bayridge Brooklyn.  

The main players on the dark side of his life story were Allie Boy Persico (the son of Carmine “Gimpy” Persico, aka The Snake), Jackie DeRoss, Tommy Geoli and Dino Saracino.   
Jackie DeRoss

Allie Boy Persico
In 1999, Bill Cutolo Sr was the underboss of the Colombo Family. The signs began showing in early May of that year when Jackie DeRoss was making rounds in Brooklyn asking guys what they had going with Bill Sr.  This was a move by the then Capo Jackie to try and get a grip on some of the rackets Bill Sr controlled.  Joe Campanella or Joe Campy (a made member of Bill Cutolo Sr’s crew) saw what Jackie was doing and spoke about it to Bill Jr.  Joe Campy was reluctant to share his thoughts with Bill Sr because Bill Sr had been best man at Jackie DeRoss’s wedding.  Joe didn’t want to stir trouble between two friends, so he went through Bill’s son instead of directly to Bill Sr.

Bill Jr also had a bad feeling when he heard the news from Joe Campy.  Bill Jr had been at his fathers place playing pool when he saw an old fashioned popcorn machine he had never seen before, and asked his father about it.  Bill Sr told him Allie Boy Persico the Colombo Family Boss had sent it over as a gesture of good will.  This did not sit well with Bill Jr who had never liked Allie Boy and felt that he could not be trusted because of his weak girl like handshake.

Earlier in the same decade (1191-1993) Vic Orena and Bill Cutolo Sr had led a civil war for control of the Colombo Family but had lost.  A lot of the men sided with them in this fight against the ruling Persico clan because many felt the Persicos had run the family into the ground.  The Persico's, led by the imprisoned-for-life Carmine Persico, had benefited from their murderous Scarpa Crew faction led by Greg Scarpa.  Joe Campy had been with a team of shooters that had failed to murder Greg Scarpa after the opening shots of the war.

Bill Cutolo Sr aka Wild Bill
The war lasted two years until the violence became so bad the FBI and NYPD stepped up prosecution on the family. By that point twelve people had been murdered and sixteen others had been wounded.  The other four Crime Families in the City asked the Commission to end the war because of the added heat from law enforcement it was drawing.  The Persico's had won overall, but at a huge cost.  The family was in shambles and no one was making any money because they were all spending their time fighting.  Contrary to popular Hollywood mythology, the soldiers in the war were not taken care of by the higher ups, and most families were given less than $200 a week and had to resort to survival on food stamps, as they had no life skills to get regular jobs.  The Persico's moved Bill Cutolo Sr to the number two position of Underboss as a “gesture of peace”.  In reality, they were following the old adage of keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  

Bill Cutolo Jr
On the day Bill Sr disappeared he had last spoken to his son that morning.  He planned to get a haircut and go to his union office.  When Bill Sr. walked into his union office, his personal secretary, Kitty, received a call from a man whose name she did not recognize, but Bill Sr. said to go ahead and put through to him.  A few minutes later Bill Sr walked out telling Kitty he had to attend a meeting, and gave her no other details.  Later the same afternoon, Bill Jr beeped his dad several times and got no response.  Bill Jr instantly realized something was not right, so he called his mother who had spoken to Bill Sr. earlier and he had told her he was on his way to a meeting.  Bill Jr knew his dad’s schedule of meetings, and was aware of a big Colombo family administration meeting the following day, but knew there were no meetings scheduled that day.  He continued to beep his dad all afternoon and evening, and tried his mother again around midnight and found she had still not heard from his dad but was not too concerned.  

To be continued....

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