Thursday, August 16, 2007

Secrets: Lombardo says he was just pretending

Joey "the Clown" Lombardo told the Family Secrets Trial jury that he has never been a member of an organized crime society and only occasionally acted the part of a mob enforcer in order to assist friends in debt collection, according to stories by Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times and Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune.

"...Like James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson," 78-year-old Lombardo (right) testified in a Chicago courtroom yesterday.

Lombardo, on trial with other men accused of running the Chicago Outfit criminal organization, was ready with answers to all of his apparent underworld links as he took the stand in his own defense.

Asked about a photo that shows him at a restaurant table with underworld characters including former Outfit boss Tony Accardo and Joey Aiuppa, Lombardo responded that he had just gone in to the restaurant "to get a sandwich" when an old friend called him over to say hello.

Asked about the killing of Daniel Seifert, who was prepared to testify against Lombardo in a union corruption case, Lombardo responded that he had "no idea Mr. Seifert was gonna testify against us."

Asked about his use of the word "we" when he and alleged racketeer Louis "The Mooch" Eboli discussed retribution against a business that didn't pay the mob "street tax," Lombardo said he merely misspoke.

Scarpa Jr. links DeVecchio to 1984 murder

Gregory Scarpa Jr., now imprisoned after a career as a mob gunman, told investigators that information from then-FBI Agent Lindley DeVecchio prompted the September 1984 murder of Mary Bari, 31, according to a story by Nancie L. Katz of the New York Daily News.

DeVecchio (left) reportedly told Scarpa's father that Bari was turning informant, a particularly worrisome accusation as Bari's boyfriend at the time was Colombo Crime Family boss Alphonse Persico. Investigators believe Scarpa and his father then shot the woman to death at a Brooklyn social club.

The Bari murder is one of four that prosecutors have linked to DeVecchio's alleged cooperation with members of the Colombo Family. DeVecchio is asking now for the case against him to be thrown out because prosecutors have made use of earlier testimony he provided while under immunity.

Six dead: Italian mob feud spills over into Germany

A gangland execution took the lives of six Italian men early Wednesday in Duisburg, Germany, according to a Reuters news report. All the victims were shot in the head near a pizza restaurant called Da Bruno. The victims were all connected in some way to the restaurant, in which a birthday celebration for one of the victims had taken place the previous night. Giuliano Amato, foreign minister of Italy, indicated that the deaths might be related to a feud the southern Italy criminal society known as 'Ndrangheta.

Duisburg is home to a large Italian immigrant population, according to a story by Mark Landler and Ian Fisher of the New York Times. 'Ndrangheta apparently moved in with those residents.

German police said the six victims were all from San Luca, a town in eastern Calabria. Two of the victims were brothers. Authorities believe the six were the latest casulaties in a a 16-year-old feud between the Strangio-Nirta and Pelle-Romeo families within the 'Ndrangheta society.

Montreal Mafioso's bail hearing begins

The bail hearing for alleged Montreal Mafia bigshot Nick Rizzuto began this week, according to a report by the Canadian Press. The hearing is expected to last two weeks and to include witnesses and wiretap evidence. A court order has banned publication of the hearing details.

Rizzuto, 83, was arrested nine months ago in a large police roundup of suspected organized criminals. He is charged with gangsterism, conspiracy and drug-related offenses.

About Me

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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.