Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Springfield Crew

I've been writing about the Mafia in different places and how they operate.  This is a story much like that of the Lucchese Family's New Jersey Crew, except this is about the Genovese Springfield Massachusetts Crew.  

Big Al
The Springfield crew was driven by the same Mafia Code as the rest of the family: Greed, Power and Murder.  The long time Capo of the crew was Salvatore "Big Nose Sam" Cufari who ran the crew unchecked through the 1970's until 1983 when he passed away.  One of his crew members stepped up to the number one position in Springfield and that man was Francesco “Skyball” Scibelli.  Frankie Skyball was so well respected that during the 1980's when Pete Milano was rebuilding the Los Angeles Family they reached out to Skyball when they had an associate from Massachusetts that was proposed for membership.  Skyball became the second sponsor and the man was made into the family.   The Springfield Crew would continue to prosper despite Federal indictments.  Skyball’s brother Baba Scibelli would run the crew after Skyball went away in the 1990's until Baba was indicted for running a huge amount of poker machines.  Baba admitted to being a member of the Genovese family and running the crew.  He would would retire with his millions.  

The next man to step up to the leadership role was Adolfo Bruno, who was better known by the nickname Big Al.  Big Al was known for his Hawaiian shirts and the ever present cigar.   Big Al would inherit a crew in the changing demographics of the Mafia.  Gone were the dozens of young eager recruits from Italian families.  Instead, Big Al had to make do with what he had, and one of those was Anthony J. Arillotta.  Anthony is exactly what is happening in every Mafia family around the world.  He represents what America itself has become.  Nobody is willing to put in the time to work their way up in whatever field they choose.  Everyone today wants everything right now with no time to really get to know what they are doing.
Big Al would soon face increasing pressure from the powerful acting boss of the Genovese Family, Arthur “Artie” Nigro, to kick up more cash from the Springfield rackets.  Artie was not happy.  Arillotta, who at the time was an up and coming member of Big Al’s crew, took part in everything from extortions to drug dealing.  Arillotta used two brothers in his organization as enforcers:: Fotios aka Freddy and Ty Geas.   They would help him extort $12,000 a month from a local stripclub and other collections.  Arillotta saw the rift between Artie and Big Al and he stepped in to take advantage of the situation.  He began to communicate with Artie and kick up  cash, plus he did a favor for Artie. Artie had a beef with a Union shop steward for the Cement Workers Union Local 780 in the Bronx named Frank Dadabo, so Artie asked Arillotta to do a piece of work. Artie gave Arillotta two pistols with silencers for the work and the location of Dadabo. In May of 2003 Arillotta and Ty Geas sat on a Bronx City Bench until they saw Dadabo walking to his car.  They got up and started walking towards him as he got into his car and then they opened fire, shattering the window and striking Dadabo.  Dadabo survived the shooting and Artie’s words to Arillotta were, “you need to get better at head shots.” Artie must have still been happy because Arillotta was Badged into the Genovese Family in a Bronx apartment building in the summer of 2003.  He then was caught on FBI wiretaps telling people he was no longer with Big Al and that he now took orders from Artie.  This created a strange situation in the Springfield underworld, but greed will always win out.

An immigrant from Italy, Emilo Fusco, who became a Badged member of the Genovese family, came across an FBI memo in which an FBI Agent stated that Big Al told the FBI about a Made member of the Springfield crew. Armed with this, Arillotta sought permission to murder Big Al from Artie and the Genovese Family over a steak dinner in the Bronx.  This is where a man named John Bologna comes into play in the Springfield Crew.  John Bologna was a longtime Gambino associate who ran a large bookmaking operation and helped the Gambinos in the Carting business until he switched crews.  He soon became close to Artie and Artie put him in charge of making sure the guys in Springfield brought in the cash they were supposed to at the right time.  He was also feeding negative reports to Artie about Big Al.  Artie soon gave the order to another Genovese man in Springfield named Felix Tranghese who passed it on to Arillotta.  They tried a number of times when Big Al was going to dinners in New York or other places.  John Bologna told them to do what they were supposed to do.  So Arillotta hired a prison buddy of Freddy Geas named Frankie Roche who was nicknamed Crash Dummy because of his reckless ways.  Frankie agreed to do the hit for 10,000 dollars.  Since he already had a beef with Big Al over his trashing of a bar, it came easy.    

Frankie retrieved a 45 cal auto pistol from under a dumpster and began stalking Big Al.  Frankie missed him a couple of times at The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society, until on November 23 2003 he got a call from Fusco letting him know where Big Als was that night.  So Frankie waited outside while Big Al played cards.  He hid next to a vending machine until Big Al and another man walked to his car.  Frankie then yelled “Hey Al” and he answered, “Whats’ up buddy?”  Frankie then said “Are you looking for me?” and shot Big Al as he fell against the car he shot him four more times and then a final time.  Frankie then got into an unregistered car and drove away.  That was the beginning of the end for Arillotta crew.  John Bologna soon disappeared from Springfield and the State Police stepped up their investigation.  They would all be arrested and Arillotta would be one of the first to flip.  Felix Tanghese flipped, Frankie Roche flipped and they all testified against Artie, The Geas Brothers andFusco.   They were all convicted of the murder except Fusco, who was still given 25 years. It would come out that John Bologna had been an FBI informant for 20 years.  

1 comment:

  1. the springfield crew still exists alot smaller now after the recent inditments