Andrew Russo was the acting boss of the Colombo Family on January 20, 2011 when he was arrested by the FBI. The FBI knows this because there was a meeting in Brooklyn on May 11, 2010, and with the FBI listening, Russo was introduced to Ralph Scopo (a Colombo Soldier) as the Acting Boss of the family. The FBI agents that listened to the recording must have chuckled when Russo accepted the congratulations from Scopo on his promotion.
Russo had some work to do inside the Colombo Family after being away for a number of years. The Family had been run by a panel for years. The panel was 3 or 4 Capos that decided what the family would do and handled the day to day operations of the family.
Russo started reaching out for Colombo Family members and asking them to pledge their allegiance to the family. He told people he was putting the family back together again after the war in the 1990s and all the busts that went down. He told everyone that anyone who would not pledge allegiance to the family would be placed on an “enemy list” that would go to the other families. If any of them worked with any of the guys on the list they would be placed on the list too. These are Russo’s exact words from the wire:
“Yeah, what my intentions are that when I’m finished, who really doesn’t want to come in, I’m making up a list. I’m giving it to all the borgatas and they’re outlaws. Anybody that deals with them is my enemy. I’m making it as clear as that.”
I know the Persicos and I don't know anyone who would want to be on that list.
On June 29, 2010 the FBI was watching and listening when Russo had a meeting at a house on Staten Island with his son Billy (capo), Benji the Claw (underboss), Richie Fusco (consigliere) and Anthony Russo (capo). He was talking about the family business and inducting new members. He wanted them to be smart, capable of murder and capable of doing time.
The FBI was again listening when incarcerated Russo bumped up Thomas Farese to consigliere.
Russo was very active in putting the family on the right track, the only problem is the FBI was there for every step. I think he did do a lot of good (if you can call it that) for the family.
He had meeting after meeting with his capos to settle beefs, and even one beef they had with the Gambino Family. He approved a gambling spot complete with Joker Poker machines that would bring more cash into the family. He let Joseph Savarese and Larry Seesa run a bookmaking business.
Andrew Russo was so well liked that actor James Caan offered to put up his bail for him. The judge must have liked him also because he only gave him 33 months. Now he is 80 years old and a free man.