Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cicale: 'Gorgeous' ordered 2004 murder

Dominick Cicale, former lieutenant in the Bonanno Crime Family, testified yesterday that acting Bonanno bosses Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano and Michael Mancuso ordered the November 2004 murder of Randolph Pizzolo, according to a story by Anthony M. DeStefano published on AM New York.

Pizzolo was shot to death after Basciano (right) was arrested on racketeering charges. Cicale testified that Mancuso, standing in for Basciano as boss, approved the hit, while Bonanno soldier Anthony Aiello carried it out. The murder was called for, Cicale said, because of Pizzolo's indiscrete talk and actions.

Basciano, 47, is now on trial for the February 2001 racketeering murder of Frank Santoro in the Bronx. A capital murder trial on the Pizzolo murder is scheduled for next year. Mancuso and Aiello face racketeering trials, which include the Pizzolo murder charge.

Cicale noted that Basciano's personal involvement in the murder of Santoro left the mob bigshot with a bad bruise on his jaw, the result of a shotgun recoil, according to a story by Stefanie Cohen of the New York Post. Cicale said he, Basciano and another mobster drove up to Santoro as he was walking his dog on Feb. 15, 2001. Cicale and Basciano shot the man in the street.

That hit was ordered by Basciano because he learned that Santoro, a drug addict, planned to kidnap one of Basciano's children for ransom.

Cicale, 40, was an acting crew leader in the Bonanno clan. During cross examination, he acknowledged lying at times to avoid going to jail.

In earlier testimony, Cicale explained that Basciano was paranoid that an underworld associate might be working with law enforcement, accoridng to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. During a meeting with the boss in 2004, he demanded that underlings strip down to their underwear so he could be sure none were wearing a "wire."

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Colombo got no-show job for pal

Four months after a federal mistrial on racketeering charges, Anthony Colombo pleaded guilty Tuesday to setting friend Philip Dioguardi up with a no-show job at EDP Construction from 1999 to 2000, according to a story by Kati Cornell of the New York Post.

Through a plea bargain, Colombo could be sentenced up to 18 months for defrauding the Manhattan-based construction firm.

EDP owner Dominick Forti claimed that he also paid a $600 a month salary and $24,000 in bonuses to Colombo's wife Carol, who did not in fact work for him. Forti said he did so fearing the wrath of Colombo, son of the late mob boss Joe Colombo.

Secrets: Shakedown video and the Clown's driver

Jurors in Chicago's Family Secrets trial on Tuesday were shown a videotape of an Outfit "street tax" collector at work. Frank "the German" Schweis, whose case was severed from the current trial because he is ill, was shown trying to persuade adult-bookstore owner William "Red" Wemette to pay the $1,100 a month tax, according to a story by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune.

Cooperating with authorities, Wemette told Schweis (right) that an underworld competitor was already taking protection payments from him. Schweis suggested that no one would dare to compete with the Outfit. He recalled one competitor who was eliminated: "Lumbo made it real [expletive] clear to him."

Prosecutors say "Lumbo" is a nickname for Family Secrets defendant Joseph Lombardo.

On Wednesday, the jury heard from a former driver for Lombardo (left). Alva Johnson Rodgers, 78, was brought into the Outfit in 1973 after helping Chicago gangster Marshall Caifano in a successful legal appeal. Rodgers, a habitual criminal, and Caifano once shared a cell in Atlanta federal prison, according to a Coen story in the Tribune.

Rodgers recalled when Lombardo was promoted over Caifano within the Outfit. Rodgers then went to work as Lombardo's driver. Soon after, Rodgers and Caifano started a peep-show business in Chicago and moved to monopolize the porn industry in the city under Outfit control.

Prosecutors on Wednesday also played an audio tape of Lombardo threatening the life of a casino owner who failed to pay back a loan.

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.