Sunday, June 22, 2014

Nicholas Santora & Bonanno Family

Nicholas Santora is a second generation mobster, who continued in his father’s footsteps, like so many others have done. Modesto Santora was a soldier in the Colombo Family, and his son has far out shone his father when it comes to the Mafia. Nicholas was inducted into the Bonanno Family in the mid 1970s by then-boss Philip Rastelli and he was placed in Capo Mike Sabella's crew.

The Bonanno Family at the time was in a state of turmoil because boss Rusty Rastelli was away in prison and powerful Capo Carmine Galante had been released.  Carmine Galante began to make moves for the top spot in the family.  He also started to consolidate the Heroin business with the Sicilians. The other families including the Gambino family did not like this so they went to the Commission who handed down the order to kill Galante.  Nicholas was the messenger between the Capos loyal to Rusty setting up the hit.
On July 12th 1979 they blasted Carmine Galante as he was finishing up his lunch.   It ended up being an iconic killing because a reporter snapped a picture of his sprawled out body with a cigar still clenched in his teeth.

Sonny Black was upped to Capo and Nicholas was placed in his crew with a few notables like Lefty Ruggierro and Donnie Brasco. The crew was based in Brooklyn out of the Motion Lounge. Nicholas would head down to Florida to work with Donnie Brasco and with the worsening internal family problems, things would soon blow up.

It soon came out that fellow crew member Donnie Brasco was an FBI Agent.  Sonny Black would be executed and Nichalas was promoted to Capo of his crew.  He did not last long because he was given time for the whole Donnie Brasco Operation.

He was locked up until the 1990s, and when he was released he got right back to work.  Nicholas started working his gambling business and soon he was back on the rise.  Nicholas worked closely with Sal Vitale and Joey Massino.   The Massino family did not work out like they planned and Sal Vitale flipped after two Capos flipped on him.  Then Joey Massino flipped in order to save his assets and a death penalty trial.  Vinnie Basciano became boss and Nicholas was bumped up to underboss.

When Massino was still boss, a guy took me down to Bamonte's in Brooklyn on a Saturday afternoon.  There were a lot of Bonanno guys in the place and I even saw a Lucchese associate named Jerry Degerolamo, who didn't want me to tell anyone he was there.  We went out in the parking lot and Nicholas opened up his SUV gave us some NFL Jerseys.  I recorded the whole thing and later the FBI told me not to worry.  A few weeks later they took down everyone.  I left the jersey when I left New York - not a big loss since it was free.

Nicholas did a few years and came out as a Capo running his crew out of Brooklyn. He then worked with a man named Nicholas Bernhard who just happened to be the President of Local 917 of the Teamsters.  Santora and friends actively campaigned for him in 2010 and when he won he used his position to enrich himself and the Bonanno family.  He had a shop steward help the crew get players for their sportsbook from the Union and he also pushed shylock loans to them.  The Bookmaking took in 7 million in one year and they were selling Viagra and Cyalis, along with heavy pain killers.  A few years ago the NYPD Joint Taskforce took him down, and the case is currently still going on.  Somethings never change.

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