Sunday, January 29, 2017

Anthony Colombo Dies

Another one bites the dust.

This time it is the son of Joseph Colombo, the original man the Colombo crime family is named after. The one time boss of the Colombo crime family brought a lot of unwanted attention to the Mafia by forming a civil rights group. His son Anthony was the vice president of the Italian American Civil Rights League, which rallied Italians to the streets to protest the unfair treatment of Italians.  They were group that bullied the producers of the Godfather to remove the words “mafia” and “La Cosa Nostra” from the movie.

That all ended when Joseph Colombo was shot in the head and neck by a man named Jerome Johnson during the Italian Unity Day Rally. Johnson was wrestled to the ground and shot, but nobody was ever convicted of his murder.  Joseph Colombo remained paralyzed for the next seven years, until his death in 1978.

Anthony Colombo was a made member of the Colombo crime family, and when the war between the Persico faction and Vic Orena broke out in 1991, he choose to side with the Orena faction.  Carmine Persico was the boss of the family and Vic Orena was an acting boss who did not want to step down for Allie Boy Persico, who had been locked up.  

The war in the streets of Brooklyn and Staten Island left 12 people dead.  A number of associates also went missing.  The Colombos were barred from the Mafia Commission and most of its leadership was sent to prison.

After the war, Anthony Colombo and Gerard Clemenza, both Made members of the family, were put on the shelf by the Persicos. Which means that although they were still members of the family, they were to have no business with the family and other members were told to ignore them.

So Anthony, Gerard and Christopher Colombo formed the Colombo Brothers Crew in Orange County, New York. It was basically a traditional mafia crew that operated on its own.

Philippe Dioguardi, also known as “Fat Philly,” was a man I knew from Palm Springs, California.  He used to be with Jimmy Caci, a capo in the Los Angeles family.  He was involved with Jimmy and the guys so we used to see him a lot at the club on Palm Canyon Drive.  He was a long time friend of the Colombo brothers and Gerard Clemenza.

One day I was with Jimmy at a bagel place in downtown Palm Springs and Fat Philly came to sit down with us.  Vince Lupo ended up at the table too.  Philly explained that he was going to move to Queens.

Fat Philly became part of the Colombo brothers crew.  He was called a “bagman” by the prosecutors in the case.  Fat Philly would pick up cash in Manhattan and bring it to Anthony Colombo’s home. The problem was the organised crime squad was watching and listening to the crew.

They all ended up being charged with racketeering in the Southern District Federal Court.

The Indictment was the usual: gambling, extortion, loan sharking, etc, but they were also charged with defrauding the internet advertiser Doubleclick.

Anthony Colombo plead guilty to, among other things, getting Fat Philly a no show construction job with EDP Enterprises.  

He received 14 years.

He died at his home in San Diego, California at the age of 71 from complications due to diabetes on January 6.

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