Two Gambino Family informants had very different fates

Editor's note: Following is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement.

Police remove Santantonio's body from flower shop

Police remove Alfredo Santantonio's body from a Brooklyn flower shop.

Nipped in the bud
Alfredo Santantonio


On July 11, 1963, two men wearing makeup disguises entered the Flowers By Charm flower store in Brooklyn, New York, and fired five bullets at the owner before fleeing. Lying dead on the floor was forty-year-old Gambino Crime Family member Alfredo Santantonio. [1]  [2]

The murder had the hallmarks of a professional killing. Nothing was taken and Santantonio's father-in-law, who was in the store at the time, was left unharmed. Police dismissed any connection to the Gallo-Profaci War raging in Brooklyn at the time. It didn't take investigators long to figure out what happened.

Nearly eighteen months earlier, Santantonio had been sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to sell stolen bonds. [3] He was appealing his conviction when he was gunned down. Colombo Crime Family member-informant Gregory Scarpa secretly told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that "it was common talk in Brooklyn that [Santantonio] was killed because he was cooperating with the Government." [4]

Scarpa said that Santantonio's murder was part of a strategy to undermine La Cosa Nostra informant Joseph Valachi's upcoming appearance before a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime. [5] The government, according to Scarpa, "was planning to back up Valachi's testimony with testimony from Santantonio." By killing Santantonio, the LCN bosses hoped the government "would not be able to use Valachi now because we got rid of their corroborator."

The FBI never publicly confirmed Santantonio's cooperation even though newspaper reports at the time speculated that he was killed because he was "cooperating with investigations into narcotics and counterfeiting activities on the East Coast". [6] Researchers have been left to wonder what, if any, information did Santantonio share with law enforcement.

But recently declassified FBI documents show clearly that between December, 1962, and July, 1963, Santantonio secretly identified hundreds of La Cosa Nostra members and provided valuable Intel to law enforcement. [7]  [8] Santantonio operated under the informant symbol number "NY 3864-C-TE."

Santantonio family background

Alfredo Santantonio was born on March 13, 1923, in New York City. He was named for his maternal grandfather, Alfredo Calderone, who he lived with as a child.

Santantonio’s parents, Philip and Rosa, were first-generation Italian immigrants. Philip was a stenographer, and Rosa was a presser in a textile factory.

Santantonio grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and left school after the ninth grade. He married Marie Colombo in 1954.

His surname appears variously as “Santantonio” and “Sanantonio." Census records and newspapers generally used the variant, “Sanantonio,” but his mother's obituary notice used “Santantonio." Alfredo’s grave marker also used “Santantonio.” [72]

FBI memo 9 August 1963

FBI memo Aug. 9, 1963

Santantonio's secrets

Alfredo Santantonio told federal agents that he was inducted into the Gambino Crime Family in 1953, in the presence of Albert Anastasia. [9] His connection to the crime family was through his brother-in-law, Jack Parisi. Parisi was a longtime Gambino Crime Family member and a close associate of Anastasia since the 1930s. Parisi reported directly to Anastasia.

Dandy Jack Parisi


After he became a "made" man, Santantonio was assigned to the crew of Sicilian-born mobster, Charles "Charley Brush" Dongarra. His criminal career took off right away.

Albert Anastasia took a "liking" to Santantonio because he was Parisi's brother-in-law and began to give him various assignments. The first job Anastasia gave him was to oversee a crap game. It gave him the chance to see Anastasia every day for three years until he was killed.

In 1956, Anastasia ordered Santantonio to assault Bernard Adelstein, a union official for the private sanitation workers. Anastasia was convinced that Adelstein had kept $40,000 earmarked to bribe politicians to make new laws that would force businesses to use mob-controlled private sanitation companies. [10] Adelstein said he gave the money to Jack Parisi just before he died. Anastasia didn't believe him.

Santantonio gave Adelstein two beatings to get him to admit he stole the money, but Adelstein stuck to his story. Anastasia called off a third beating after law enforcement had begun to investigate the sanitation industry and things began to get "too hot."

Charles Dongarra


Santantonio said Gambino Crime Family members paid regular dues of $10 to $25, depending on their level of income. Sometimes they paid a "special assessment" if a member was in trouble. If anyone ever questioned the boss about the use of these funds, Santantonio said he would expect the individual would be killed.

Santantonio said Charles Dongarra spent his summers at his farm in Windham, New York. While he was away, Joseph Gallo acted in his place. Gallo had many contacts in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and often traveled to the area on business. [11] Santantonio said he didn't know anyone there personally.

Santantonio updated federal agents about the Gambino Crime Family's activities in the Miami-area where FBI penetration was low.

Every Gambino Crime Family member who lived year-round in the Miami-area reported to Joseph Silesi. He was one of approximately two-dozen caporegimes in the crime family. [12] Thomas Altamura acted in his place when he was away.

Santantonio said Joseph Indelicato had been suspended recently by the Gambino Crime Family because of excessive indebtedness. Indelicato had to report daily to Altamura until his debt was repaid and he could get himself reinstated. The length of the suspension was indeterminate. [13]

Santantonio cleared up the mystery of former Gambino Crime Family member Tommy Rava, who disappeared sometime after Anastasia was murdered. Rava had competed with Carlo Gambino to replace Anastasia. According to Santantonio, Joseph Indelicato and Thomas Altamura murdered Rava at a funeral parlor in Florida. They put Rava in a body bag, stuck him numerous times with an icepick and dumped his body in the ocean. [14]

Indelicato and Altamura also murdered a swindler by the name of Louis "Babe' Silvers at the Blue Bay motel in Miami. Silvers, according to another source, was allegedly murdered on the orders of Gambino Crime Family member Carmine Lombardozzi after he stole money.

Santantonio said that Indelicato and Altamura got away with the Silvers murder after they allegedly paid the district attorney's office a bribe of $40,000.

FBI teletype 3 January 1962

FBI teletype Jan. 3, 1962

Tidbits of Intel

Alfredo Santantonio fed the FBI Intel about a variety mobsters.

According to Santantonio, Gambino Crime Family member Anthony Scotto had replaced Anthony Anastasia, Albert's younger brother, as boss of the Brooklyn waterfront. [15]

Bonanno Crime Family member Benjamin Valvo told him that Frank Garofalo used to be the underboss in the crime family until he fled to Italy in the late 1950s. Valvo said that Garofalo was a narcotics trafficker and he "got frightened." This was during the period of time when mobsters like Vito Genovese and Carmine Galante began to receive heavy prison sentences for dealing heroin.

Valvo said his brother Mattie Valvo had replaced Giovanni Tartamella as a caporegime after Tartamella suffered a stroke. Tartamella also served as the consigliere, although Valvo didn't take on that role. Salvatore Bonanno was elected to the position of consigliere. Santantonio said John Morales was the "acting boss" when Joseph Bonanno was absent from New York City. [16]

Joe Valachi


Santantonio said the decision-making body in the Mafia underworld was called the "High Commission." This was a new way to refer to it. Joseph Valachi and other member-informants called it the Commission. Santantonio said it's called the "High Commission" to distinguish it from the Commission in each crime family. Members of Charles Dongarra's crew would meet every couple of years to be updated on the policy decisions made at the national level. [17]

It was at one of Dongarra's meetings that he was told Jack Scalish from Cleveland and Joseph Profaci from New York City were members of the "High Commission." The Commission expanded in 1962 to include Angelo Bruno of the Philadelphia Crime Family. He also said Gerry Catena represented the Genovese Crime Family while Vito Genovese was incarcerated. [18]

Charles Dongarra told Santantonio in December, 1962, that he had received word from Carlo Gambino that the "High Commission" had strictly forbidden bombings, kidnappings and the distribution of narcotics.

Santantonio said the bombing prohibition was in light of the recent car bomb in Cleveland that killed mobster Charles Cavallaro. The ban on narcotics had been in place for many years. The bosses didn't want to draw anymore attention from the FBI than they already did.

Santantonio told federal agents that Genovese Crime Family members Thomas Eboli and Dominick Alongi were with Vincent Gigante the night he shot at Frank Costello.

Santantonio identified hundreds of LCN members across New York City in all five crime families. And he helped to make sure the existing FBI membership lists were complete and accurate. In fact, until he pointed it out, the FBI had Santantonio listed as a member of the Colombo Crime Family. [19]

How to become a "made" man

Alfredo Santantonio gave a breakdown on the actions necessary to become an inducted member of the Gambino Crime Family. The FBI was still in the dark about much of this stuff in early 1963. Joseph Valachi and other informants had only just begun to fill in the blanks about the inner workings of La Cosa Nostra.

FBI report 16 August 1963

FBI report Aug. 16, 1963

Santantonio said the purpose of the organization is "self protection and self preservation from the underworld itself." He said individuals who operate on the fringes like bookmakers need to be affiliated with the organization to avoid being robbed or assaulted. He said the organization takes a percentage of the profits for this service. [20] He said for example that ninety-nine percent of all bookmakers in New York City are LCN members or are backed by an LCN member. [21] He advised New York City had about two thousand LCN members. [22]

Members of the organization weren't required to engage in illegal activity but given their criminal backgrounds, most members did. [23]

If a friend wanted to join the organization, Santantonio said his sponsor would be responsible to do a full background check on the individual, including contacting relatives in Italy, checking with sources in the police department, asking around the old neighborhood and talking to other crime families. An individual would be disqualified for membership if he ever made a living as a pimp or if his wife was ever a prostitute.

An existing member could sponsor a relative into the organization without a background check.

Frank Costello


The organization might ask an individual to participate in a killing or what Santantonio called "dirty work." He said that if an individual was in the company of a member and they happened to kill someone because of some unexpected trouble, the individual would be inducted into the crime family immediately or he would be killed.

If the background check panned out, the sponsor would seek his caporegime's permission to induct the individual.

An induction ceremony usually takes place within a month of the sponsor extending the invitation to the individual. According to Santantonio, individuals always accept the invitation to become a member because they realize by this time that the organization is "vicious" and they don't want to be killed if they refuse.

Santantonio said members are usually inducted in the basement of a member's home. The homeowner's family is always out of the house when the ceremony takes place. Years ago, the induction ceremony would take place at a farm. [24]

"Good earners" can get inducted into the crime family but they con't get invited to all the meetings. Family leaders like earners because they mean more money in the leaders' pockets. [25]

The ceremony

The boss, the underboss and the consigliere all try to attend each Gambino Crime Family induction ceremony. Bosses don't perform the ceremony. The meeting is chaired by the caporegime conducting the ceremony. All the members of his crew are present. The meeting begins with the members standing and holding hands. The caporegime says in Italian, "In the name of our 'Causa Nostra' the meeting is open."

The caporegime starts by reminding members in arrears with their assessments to pay up. He then goes through other agenda items. If there is nothing else, the caporegime announces that the crime family intends to induct a new member. He gives the name of the proposed member and his sponsor.

If an existing member furnishes credible proof why the proposed member should not be inducted, he is killed on the spot. Hearsay allegations are not accepted. Sometimes a member throws out some bogus allegation to make the sponsor look bad in front of the boss. If there are no objections, members stand up, hold hands again and the caporegime closes the meeting.

At this point, the proposed member is brought into the room. The caporegime asks if he knows why he is there. The proposed member responds that his sponsor told him he's been invited to join the crime family. The caporegime asks if he knows anything else, and the proposed member says "no," as he has been coached to answer by his sponsor.

The caporegime then spells out the membership rules, including putting the crime family first before all things, the importance of paying assessment, clearing all legal and illegal activities with his caporegime, the prohibition on narcotics and bombings, etc. Members in the Gambino Crime Family aren't required to swear that they will put the organization before their faith or their country.

After the proposed member agrees to all the terms, everyone present stands, holds hands and the induction ceremony begins.

"I swear that I will not reveal anything that was said here, and I will do anything that I am told to do."

The sponsor pricks his own finger and the finger of the proposed member with a needle. They touch their two bloodied fingers together. The sponsor places a burning picture of a saint in the proposed member's hands and has him repeat the following oath, "I swear that I will not reveal anything that was said here, and I will do anything that I am told to do." (In most accounts from other informants, the oath is usually administered by an individual with a rank of caporegime or higher.)

The sponsor then kisses the new member and introduces him to his caporegime with the words, "amico nostro," or "he is a new friend of ours." The new member will then be similarly introduced to everyone else.

The caporegime provides the new member with information about the leaders of the other crime families and the members of the Commission. The meeting ends when everyone stands, holds hands and the caporegime announces in Italian, "the meeting is closed." Members leave the location in groups of two to avoid raising suspicion.

Santantonio said in 1963 that "the books" were closed, preventing the induction of new members, and would remain closed until the bosses decided they needed more money. New members were only inducted when the bosses needed money. He said the "act of 'making' individuals is a business proposition."

The Gambino Crime Family had between seven hundred and one thousand members, the Genovese Crime Family had about five hundred members, and the Lucchese and Bonanno Crime Families had about two hundred members. The Colombo Crime Family was the smallest at about one hundred and fifty members. [26]

Albert Anastasia


Anastasia murder

Alfredo Santantonio shed light on the mystery of who shot Albert Anastasia. [27] His understanding of how the actual murder went down is probably very close to the truth since he learned the details firsthand from one of the participants. [18]

The murder of Anastasia was orchestrated by Gambino Crime Family members Joseph Riccobono, Joseph Biondo and Charles Dongarra, after they were warned by a snitch in the Anastasia camp that he intended to kill them. [29] The trio along with Gambino Crime Family members Joseph Gallo and Andrew Alberti decided to act first in self-defence. [30]

Dongarra told Santantonio the actual shooters were Gambino Crime Family member Stephen "Stevie Coogan" Grammauta and his associate, Joseph Cahill. Grammauta was a heroin dealer in the crew of Steve Armone. [31] [32] Riccobono, Biondo, Dongarra, Gallo, Alberti and Armone were all originally from the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Santantonio said the killers targeted Anastasia at the hotel because they knew he frequented the hotel barbershop. The guns used in the murder were hidden in the hotel room of boxer Johnny Russo, the nephew of Gambino Crime Family member John "Johnny Connecticut" Russo. After the shooting, Grammauta and Cahill took the subway home.

After the murder, Riccobono, the ringleader, reached out to Gambino Crime Family caporegime Domenico Arcuri to declare that he represented the group that killed Albert Anastasia. Riccobono didn't divulge the names of anyone else in the group. He asked Arcuri to alert the other caporegimes in the crime family.

Did FBI know of threat to Santantonio?

The FBI may have suspected that Santantonio’s underworld associates were aware of his cooperation and were plotting to kill him. Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover instructed federal agents to interrogate him “immediately inasmuch as this source’s availability for any extended period of time is in question.” [73]

Riccobono also contacted New York bosses Thomas Lucchese and Vito Genovese to request a meeting to explain the reasoning for the murder. [33]

Riccobono had to appear before an underworld "trial" at the estate of Genovese Crime Family caporegime Richard Boiardo in New Jersey. Representatives from all the New York City crime families were there including Carmine Galante, Thomas Lucchese, Vito Genovese, Tommy Rava, Johnny Robbilotto, Joseph Biondo and many others. [34]

Riccobono spoke on behalf of the group. He explained the reasons for the murder and said he would take full responsibility if the group was out of order. Santantonio said Riccobono was able to persuade the bosses that the group acted in self-defence and was cleared of any wrongdoing. Everyone in the group was pardoned, including the shooters, Grammauta and Cahill. [35]

According to Santantonio, Apalachin was convened three weeks later so other crime families not in attendance at the New Jersey meeting could be notified in person about the reasons behind Anastasia's murder. This explanation for Apalachin runs counter to the one provided by Joseph Valachi. [36]

After a short run as a confidential informant, the valuable underworld Intel supplied by Santantonio ended abruptly when he was shot dead. [37] Santantonio had the potential to give the FBI ongoing, inside access to the Gambino Crime Family activities, like Gregory Scarpa would do for the Colombo Crime Family. [38]

Suspects in Santantonio killing

Suspects in the killing of Santantonio

No one was ever convicted of his murder. Authorities determined a Gambino execution squad led by Brooklyn-based caporegime Peter Ferrara killed Santantonio. As part of an unrelated investigation, law enforcement had planted a listening device in a mob-controlled Coney Island service station. The bug unexpectedly provided details of the murder conspiracy against Santantonio.

Ferrara suspected Santantonio had revealed to law enforcement details about the organization’s heroin trafficking network. He ordered Santantonio's murder to silence him and serve as a warning to others to keep quiet. The shooters were allegedly Angelo Meli and Joseph Farinella, while Ferrara and Nicholas Russo acted as backup shooters and waited outside the flower store. Authorities arrested the four men, but the district attorney tossed the murder charges in 1967 after the Supreme Court banned using evidence obtained from illegal electronic surveillance. [39]

Santantonio, a Navy veteran, was buried at the Long Island National Cemetery in East Farmingdale, New York.

A capo's tough times

About the same time Alfredo Santantonio was killed, another Gambino Crime Family member faced his own life-and-death struggles in Brooklyn. Carmine Lombardozzi was a Brooklyn-based caporegime with one of the largest crews in the crime family. He became caporegime in 1957 when he replaced the deceased Joseph Franco.

Carmine Lombardozzi


Lombardozzi made a fortune in gambling, loan sharking, labor racketeering and selling stolen securities. [40] He was at the forefront of white-collar crime long before it became the hallmark under future boss, Paul Castellano. Lombardozzi was one of five Gambino Crime Family members to attended Apalachin. [41] But two missteps nearly cost him his life.

An ill-advised romance with the daughter of one of his own crew members was his first mistake. [42] Lombardozzi was a married man and it was against the rules to keep a female relative of another member as a mistress. The girl's father brought a formal complaint against him. To save his own skin, Lombardozzi divorced his wife and married his mistress.

He found himself in hot water again when his brother and nephews attacked an FBI agent conducting surveillance at his father's funeral. The assault led to an unwelcome increase in federal scrutiny of the Gambino Crime Family and further soured the low-key Carlo Gambino on him. [43]

Soon afterwards, Lombardozzi was demoted to soldier. Many in the underworld thought he might be killed. [44]

Despite these incidents, Carmine Lombardozzi lived to age 79, dying of of natural causes in 1992. The hierarchy of the Gambino Crime Family attended his wake.

Lombardozzi and the informant

On August 22, 1968, Carmine Lombardozzi was charged with violating federal laws for fraud and transporting stolen goods. He was released after posting bail of $10,000. This may have been a breaking point. Soon afterward, an informant began to share confidential information with the FBI. [45] [46] He identified crime family members and shed light on organizational history. [47] Lombardozzi and the informant (who was assigned the symbol number "NY 6436-C-TE") match on four key points:

Inducted member
The informant and Lombardozzi were LCN members. [48]
Crime family affiliation
The informant and Lombardozzi were Gambino Crime Family members. [49]
The informant attended Apalachin in 1957 as part of the Gambino Crime Family delegation and was still active in the New York underworld. [50] The possible suspects are limited to the five Gambino Crime Family members who were known to have been there: Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, Tommy Rava, Joseph Riccobono and Carmine Lombardozzi. [51] (A sixth member, Armand Simonetti, may have been present, but was not named in Apalachin reports.)
By the time the informant disclosed this information to the FBI in 1968, Rava was deceased, Riccobono was inactive, while Gambino and Castellano were running the crime family and unlikely to be cooperating. [52] By eliminating the other attendees, Lombardozzi becomes the best suspect from this group.
The informant spent time in Baltimore on business. [53] The Gambino Crime Family had a longtime presence there led by Frank Corbi. He controlled much of the gambling and operated strip clubs in the city. [54] The informant said there were approximately fifty crime family members in Baltimore.
The informant advised that he and Joseph Franco (Lombardozzi's former crew leader before he died) attended the wake of Corbi's brother and the wedding of another member's daughter. [55] Lombardozzi also attended the same wake and wedding. There may have been other Gambino attendees, but they were not noted.
Moreover, the informant who furnished details about the activities of Lombardozzi and the informant in Baltimore was the same informant who attended Apalachin. [56] Lombardozzi appears to be the only Gambino Crime Family member who can be reliably placed in Baltimore and Apalachin. [57] In all likelihood, Carmine Lombardozzi was informant "NY 6436-C-TE".
FBI airtel 29 October 1968

FBI airtel Oct. 29, 1968

Wide ranging Intel

"NY 6436-C-TE" provided federal law enforcement with Intel covering a wide range of subjects. What follows was gleaned from multiple FBI reports between 1968 and 1969.

He estimated that there were two thousand LCN members on "the books" in New York City but five hundred of those were dead. [58]

He said there was no official retirement process in LCN. A member is considered retired when he reached his mid-seventies and other members stop calling on him to perform a service for the crime family. A member was expected to abide by all the organization rules until he died. Retired members were not given any financial pension.

The informant said the Commission had forbidden members from engaging in narcotics or counterfeiting since about 1953. The penalty for breaking the rule was death.

Father and sons, or brothers could belong to two different crime families as long as they had the permission of the bosses.

"NY 6436-C-TE" told federal agents that John LaRocca, the LCN boss from Pittsburgh, and Raymond Patriarca from the New England Crime Family attended the Apalachin meeting but were able to escape undetected. [59]

He said Russell Bufalino was the head of his own crime family based in Pittston, Pennsylvania. Bufalino had about fifty members. [60] He said its members lived in the small towns near Pittston and were active in the garment industry. He said he met Bufalino at Apalachin and had lunch with him often when he came to New York City. He described Bufalino's underboss as an "old time greaseball." He helped to dispel the misinformation supplied by Philadelphia Crime Family member-informant Rocco Scafidi that Bufalino was a Lucchese Crime Family member.

FBI airtel 1 April 1969

FBI airtel April 1, 1969

The Gambino Crime Family informant told federal agents that Chicago Outfit leader Sam Giancana was part-owner of Capra's restaurant in Miami. He said Santo Trafficante, the LCN boss in Tampa, was there "almost every night." [61]

Thomas Rava


He speculated that former Gambino Crime Family member Johnny Robbilotto was killed by Tommy Rava and Neil Dellacroce after he decided to shift his support to Carlo Gambino. He said Robbilotto had initially supported Rava against Gambino in his effort to succeed Albert Anastasia. According to "NY 6436-C-TE," other crime families were still talking about the murder a decade later.

He told the FBI that Genovese Crime Family member Salvatore Granello was trying to determine who ordered the death of his son, Michael Granello. Michael was killed gangland style in December, 1968, after he ignored warnings to shape up and stop stepping on the toes of LCN members. Salvatore Granello intended to kill whoever did it. He was murdered himself a short time afterwards. [62]

The informant told federal agents the somewhat improbable story of Lennie (last name unknown). Lennie was a Tampa Crime Family member who had been slated for death by boss Santo Trafficante. Trafficante farmed out the contract to the Genovese Crime Family because Lennie had moved to Coney Island, Brooklyn. The first attempt to kill Lennie was unsuccessful. The contract was then passed to the Lucchese Crime Family who also "missed." Eventually the Gambino Crime Family got in on the act but by that time Lennie got wind of what was going on and fled to San Francisco. The informant said as far he knew Lennie was alive in California. [63]

LCN meetings

Like Santantonio, informant "NY 6436-C-TE" told federal agents about a pre-Apalachin meeting at the estate of Richard Boiardo. This meeting was said to be an "inquiry" into the killing of Albert Anastasia and was larger than Apalachin. Attendees included Commission members Joseph Bonanno and Vito Genovese from New York, Sam Giancana from Chicago, Steve Magaddino from Buffalo, Joseph Ida from Philadelphia and Joseph Zerilli from Detroit. The Commission members, according to the informant, were "feeling the pulse" of everyone there. He said he got the impression some of the bosses knew beforehand why Anastasia was killed but others were in the dark. The meeting ran all day until the next morning at five o'clock. [64]

Carlo Gambino was reported to be one of the speakers. Gambino explained the murder was justified because "[Anastasia] was using people from other 'families' to kill people and he was killing some people who should not have been killed." [65] This was probably a reference to the alleged murder contract on Joseph Riccobono, Joseph Biondo and Charles Dongarra.

Unlike Santantonio, "NY 6436-C-TE" didn't disclose whether the plotters were pardoned at the end of this "inquiry," only that "it was decided to continue [the] meeting at another location." [66] This second gathering turned out to be Apalachin.

Although this informant claimed he attended both meetings, Santantonio's account of the pre-Apalachin meeting that followed Anastasia's murder appears to be more accurate. "NY 6436-C-TE" said the meeting at Richard Boiardo's estate occurred "two months prior to the Apalachin meeting" and "was to discuss the Anastasia killing," which is impossible since Anastasia died less than three weeks before Apalachin. [67]

"[Anastasia] was using people from other 'families' to kill people and he was killing some people who should not have been killed."

Even if "NY 6436-C-TE" only got the date wrong about the pre-Apalachin meeting, it's difficult to imagine Commission members from Philadelphia, Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago rushing to New Jersey and then proceeding to Upstate New York within the short window between Anastasia's murder and Apalachin. (Santantonio made no mention of Commission members from outside of New York attending the pre-Apalachin meeting.)

In this recollection of events from ten years earlier, the informant, although an eyewitness, may have conflated details from three separate events that occurred in 1957: (i) the reconciliation meeting between Genovese and Anastasia after Frank Costello was shot in May, (ii) the pre-Apalachin meeting (or underworld trial) after Anastasia was killed, and (iii) Apalachin in November.

At least one attempt was made to broker a truce between Albert Anastasia and Vito Genovese after Frank Costello was shot. Joseph Bonanno wrote in his memoir that he and the other New York bosses attended a dinner where Anastasia and Genovese kissed and hashed out a (temporary) truce. [68] And a secret FBI listening device intercepted a conversation between Philadelphia mob leaders that revealed a meeting took place in the "last quarter of 1957" between Albert Anastasia, Sam Giancana, Tony Accardo, Dominic Pollina and others. [69]

Details about this meeting are scant but Anastasia was said to have acted "fearful" and wouldn't go to the proposed venue at the estate of Richard Boiardo, so it had to be moved to the basement of a restaurant.

FBI airtel 12 February 1969

FBI airtel Feb. 12, 1969

The meeting that "NY 6436-C-TE" said occurred "two months prior to the Apalachin meeting" may have been the reconciliation dinner between Anastasia and Genovese that ultimately failed. And contrary to what he told the FBI, the pre-Apalachin meeting that followed Anastasia's murder was probably as Santantonio described it - an underworld trial of Anastasia's killers conducted strictly by the New York bosses.

The extent that "NY 6436-C-TE" cooperated with authorities is unknown. But it appears that he cooperated irregularly [70] and his information had little lasting impact. When FBI agent Bruce Mouw took over the Gambino Crime Family file in 1980, he found the Intel "was ancient history, at least a decade old" and was like "starting with zero." [71]



1 Alfredo "Freddie the Sidge" Santantonio had a long rap sheet with arrests in Florida and New York for narcotics, armed robbery and assault.

2 "Ex-Convict Is Slain By 2 In Flower Shop," New York Times, July 12, 1963, p. 28. Flowers By Charm was located at 197 Avenue T in Brooklyn, N.Y.; New York and Brooklyn Daily, July 12, 1963. "When reporters asked [Santantonio's father-in-law] to tell his story he turned away icily and said, "I don't know nothing."

3 "Three Sentenced in U.S. Bond Fraud," New York Times, Feb. 6, 1962, p. 72. Santantonio, Edward Coppola and Anthony Campisi were convicted of "fraudulently passing $50,000 worth of stolen United States Savings Bonds." Three others involved in the scheme received suspended sentences after pleading guilty and cooperating with the government.

4 FBI Memorandum, New York Office, Aug. 5, 1963.

5 FBI Memorandum, Sept. 4, 1963, Letter from the SAC, New York Office, to the Director, FBI, p. 6.

6 "Ex-Convict Is Slain By 2 In Flower Shop," New York Times, July 12, 1963.

7 FBI, Criminal Intelligence Program, New York Office, August 16, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10212-10393, p. 18-28. Santantonio identified more than 200 New York-area LCN members.

8 FBI, Criminal Intelligence Program, New York Office, Aug. 16, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10212-10393, p. 18-28. Many deceased mobsters were included on the Family Charts at the Valachi Hearings but Santantonio wasn't listed. Did the FBI purposely deemphasize him to avoid having to explain why a federal informant was murdered?

9 FBI, Criminal Intelligence Program, New York Office, Jan. 3, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90066-10007, p. 2-11. The date or Anastasia's rank is off since he said Anastasia was the underboss at the time of his induction ceremony. Anastasia was underboss between 1930 and 1951, and boss between 1951 and 1957.

10 Mobsters Vincent Squillante and Joseph Schipani raised the money by forcing private sanitation companies to pay a mob tax of $200 each.

11 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, July 10, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10278-10253.

12 FBI, Crime Conditions in Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Office, March 19, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90031-10015, p. 59.

13 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p. 49.

14 FBI, Crime Conditions in Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Office, March 19, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90031-10015, p. 59.;FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Sept. 26, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10290-10437, p. 253. A Bonanno Crime Family informant told federal agents that Toddo Avarello shot Rava to death. Both informants agree Rava was killed in Florida.

15 FBI, Crime Conditions in the New York Division, New York Office, Nov. 27, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10348-10069, p. 26.

16 FBI, Crime Conditions in the New York Division, New York Office, Nov. 27, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10348-10069, p. 7.

17 It's unclear what Santantonio meant by the "Commission" in each family. The FBI would have almost certainly circled back to get clarification on this point.

18 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p. 15

19 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, June 1, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10278-10231 p. 68

20 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p. 9.

21 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p. 32.

22 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p16

23 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p. 17.

24 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p. 25. In the available FBI documents, Santantonio never indicated where he was inducted but his caporegime Charles Dongarra did own a farm.

25 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90149-10084, p. 20-21.

26 FBI, La Causa Nostra, New York Office, Jan. 31, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10211-10300, p. 54.

27 Maas, Peter, The Valachi Papers, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1968, p. 248-249. According to Valachi, rival New York bosses Vito Genovese and Thomas Lucchese were behind Anastasia's murder. Anastasia was a strong supporter of Genovese rival Frank Costello and he may have wanted to avenge Costello's shooting. It's possible both versions are true: Riccobono and his group went after Anastasia because he was going to kill them, and Lucchese and Genovese took advantage of the opportunity to remove Anastasia when it presented itself.

28 FBI, LCN, New York Office, February 12, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10297-10003, p. 12. At various times, the Gallo brothers, the Persico crew and others have claimed responsibility for the killing. But killers from outside the Gambino Crime Family were always unlikely since that was one rationale put forward by the anti-Anastasia group to justify his murder.

29 The source of the information was Joseph Franco, a caporegime and a close associate of Anastasia. Why he would betray Anastasia is unclear. Santantonio never stated the reason Anastasia wanted them dead. Interestingly, Franco died soon after he ratted out Anastasia, so the veracity of his statement could never be verified.

30 Gallo also conspired in the murder of crime family boss Paul Castellano in 1985.

31 Grammauta and Armone were cousins. Armone died in 1960.

32 Mob expert Jerry Capeci broke the story in 2001. He claimed the shooters were Stephen Grammauta and his associate Arnold Wittenberg (rather than Joseph Cahill).

33 FBI, Criminal Intelligence Program, New York Office, Jan. 3, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-90066-10007, p. 8-10. Rather than deny any involvement in the assassination, Riccobono boldly declared his role to the Commission. This suggests that Vito Genovese and Thomas Lucchese were aware of the plot in advance (although not necessarily behind it) and the outcome of the underworld trial was predetermined.

34 The only New York City crime family without a representative specifically mentioned was the Colombo Crime Family. (Joseph Bonanno didn't mention this meeting in his memoir.)

35 After a narcotics conviction in the 1960s and a number of years out of the underworld spotlight, Grammauta resurfaced in a senior role under John Gotti.

36 Maas, Peter, The Valachi Papers, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1968, p. 251-252. According to Valachi, the Apalachin agenda items were: (i) formal recognition of Genovese as new Family boss, (ii) expulsion of unworthy members, and (iii) prohibition of drug dealing.

37 U.S. Congress, Senate, Invasions of Privacy: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 89th Congress, 1st Session, part 3, p. 1158. In 1965, U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach revealed 25 federal informants involved in organized crime had been murdered between 1961 and 1965.

38 FBI Memorandum, New York Office, Jan. 4, 1966. Scarpa told the FBI that one of Santantonio's suspected killers was Gambino Crime Family member Angelo Meli.

39 "U.S. Hunts Fourth Suspect In Killing At Flower Shop,” New York Daily News, March 28, 1965; “Three to Go Free in Killing Because of Ban on Bugging,” New York Daily News, Sept. 4, 1967.

40 FBI, Crime Conditions in the New York Division, Dec. 3, 1962, NARA Record No. 124-10348-10068, p.50 According to one source, Lombardozzi had loans worth $5 million on the street in 1962.

41 One underworld report stated he was ordered to attend Apalachin to respond to charges he mismanaged the Mob's jukebox racket. This gathering seems to be an unlikely venue to resolve such a dispute.

42 His mistress was the daughter of Gambino Crime Family member Sabato Muro. A few years later, Muro himself fell out of favor and was suspended by the crime family.

43 FBI, Criminal Intelligence Program, C.A. Evans to Mr. Belmont, April 30, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10284-10234.

44 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Oct. 20, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10277-10308, p. 53; FBI, Memorandum, New York Office, April 25, 1963, pp. 4-5. Lombardozzi was replaced by Joseph Gennaro about 1963/4. Lombardozzi's old crew was split between Gennaro and James Failla in 1967. Gregory Scarpa told agents that many mobsters believed Lombardozzi would eventually be killed by Gambino "in order to get the FBI to remove the pressure from Brooklyn."

45 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Sept. 26, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10290-10437, p. 244.

46 FBI, LCN Conspiracy, New York Office, Feb. 11, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10290-10499, p. 2.

47 FBI, NY 6436-C-TE TECIP, New York Office, Oct. 29, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10244.

48 FBI, LCN, New York Office, Oct. 30, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10240, p. 2. By virtue of his age and rank by 1957, he was likely inducted sometime after WWII.

49 FBI, LCN, New York Office, Feb. 12, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10297-10002. "Informant advised that he drove to the meeting with several members of the Gambino group from Brooklyn."

50 FBI, NY 6436-C-TE TECIP, New York Office, Oct. 29, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10244, p. 3.

51 Lombardozzi was the junior member of this group. Rava had battled for top spot in the Gambino Crime Family while Riccobono was a long-time caporegime and future consigliere. Castellano was cousin and right-hand to Gambino. Lombardozzi may have attended as an aide-de-camp or a chauffeur. Or perhaps he was there to corroborate (the late) Joseph Franco's claim that Anastasia was plotting to kill Riccobono and the others.

52 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Oct. 20, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10277-10308, p. 53. Paul Castellano was promoted to acting boss in 1967 to insulate Carlo Gambino from the attention of law enforcement. The potential damage Gambino or Castellano could have done to the Gambino Crime Family far exceeds anything shared by the informant.

53 FBI, LCN, New York Office, Oct. 30, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10240, p. 2.

54 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, New York Office, Oct. 20, 1967, NARA Record No. 124-10277-10308, p. 148; FBI, NY 6436-C-TE TECIP, New York Office, Oct. 29 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10244.

55 FBI, NY 6436-C-TE TECIP, New York Office, Oct. 29, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10244, p. 2. Agents often produced multiple reports on the same subject. A comparison can often lead to a fuller understanding of the subject and provide inadvertent clues to an informant's identity.

56 FBI, NY 6436-C-TE TECIP, New York Office, Oct. 29, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10244, p. 2. "Informant was introduced to Bufalino at Appalachia (sic)…".

57 Joseph Gallo was the only other Gambino Crime Family member who had confirmed business in Baltimore. But he can be ruled out as the informant because he didn't attend the Apalachin meeting.

58 FBI, LCN Conspiracy, New York Office, Feb. 11, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10290-10499, p. 2.

59 FBI, NY 6436-C-TE TECIP, New York Office, Oct. 29, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10244.

60 FBI, La Cosa Nostra, Nov. 25, 1968, NARA Record No. 124-10293-10248.

61 FBI, Santo Trafficante, Jr., Miami Office, Feb. 26, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10213-10207, p. 33.

62 FBI, Salvatore Granello, New York Office, Jan. 3, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-90066-10074.

63 FBI, NARA Record No. 124-10213-10206, p. 13.

64 FBI, LCN, New York Office, Feb. 12, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10297-10002. "Informant advised that he drove to the meeting with several members of the Gambino group from Brooklyn. They drove to a big restaurant in Newark, New Jersey, which informant advised he believed was owned by Jerry Catena. They parked their automobile in the parking lot of this restaurant where they were met by 'made guys' from New Jersey who had their own automobiles. They got out of their car, as did other, and the Jersey 'made guys' acted as chauffeurs and drove them to Richie Boiardo's house two at a time."

65 FBI, LCN, New York Office, Feb. 12, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10297-10003, p. 12.

66 FBI, LCN, New York Office, Feb. 12, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10297-10003, p. 13.

67 FBI, LCN, New York Office, Feb. 12, 1969, NARA Record No. 124-10297-10003, p. 12.

68 Bonanno, Joseph, with Sergio Lalli, A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983, p. 185.

69 FBI, Angelo Bruno, Philadelphia Office, June 22, 1962, NARA Record No. 124-10203-10430, p. 10-13; FBI The Criminal Commission, New York Office, Dec. 27, 1962, NARA Record No. 124-10288-10164, p. 32. In 1962, Philadelphia Crime Family member Pasquale Massi was overheard telling Angelo Bruno about a meeting he attended in New Jersey involving Anastasia and some other Commission members. The meeting can be dated to "last quarter of 1957" because: (i) Dominic Pollina had succeeded Joseph Ida as Philadelphia boss by this time, (ii) Sam Giancana had succeeded Tony Accardo as boss of Chicago (Accardo could have been introducing Giancana to the other Commission members on this trip), and (iii) Anastasia was acting "fearful" which would be consistent with the loss of his mob protector, Frank Costello. Bonanno's attendance wasn't noted. This meeting could be different from the one described by Bonanno.

70 A mobster will sometimes share information if he has lost favor with the boss. The cooperation stops once he regains his standing.

71 Blum, Howard, Gangland: How the FBI Broke the Mob, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993, p. 43-48.

72 United States Census, 1940; “Rose Santantonio Obituary,” New York Daily News, May 2, 1971; Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 07 April 2018), memorial page for Alfred Santantonio (13 Mar 1923–11 Jul 1963).

73 FBI, The Criminal “Commission," Director J. Edgar Hoover, January 8, 1963, NARA Record No. 124-10217-10107.