Cassandro Bonasera John Cammilleri Joseph Fino Sam Frangiamore Thomas Hunt Antonino Magaddino Stefano Magaddino Angelo Palmeri Michael A. Tona

Salvatore Frangiamore (Aug. 7, 1905, to Nov. 28, 1999)

Salvatore "Sam" Frangiamore was born Aug. 7, 1905, to Salvatore and Francesca Garofalo Frangiamore of Mussomeli, Sicily. (Mussomeli is an inland town in the province of Caltanissetta.)

His father sailed for America in the spring of 1907, initially staying with the Mistretta family in New York City before moving westward. Sam's older brother Filippo crossed the Atlantic in 1911 and joined Salvatore Sr. briefly in Ralston, PA. The two subsequently settled at 174 Terrace in Buffalo's Italian colony. In that period, numerous immigrants from Mussomeli selected Buffalo as their adopted home.


The Frangiamore family was reunited Oct. 10, 1912, when Sam, his mother and sisters Salvatrice (Sarah) and Vincenza (Jenny) reached New York aboard the S.S. Prinzess Irene.

Sam Frangiamore grew up in the Sicilian-Italian neighborhoods along Dante Place (formerly Canal Street). He attended Buffalo Public School No. 2 through the seventh grade. After leaving school at the age of 15, he went to work as a construction laborer.

On June 2, 1920, the Frangiamore and Todaro families were joined through the marriage of Salvatrice Frangiamore with Antonio Todaro. The couple's first child, Josephine Todaro, was born Oct. 30, 1921. A son, Joseph Todaro, was born Sept. 18, 1923.

Sam Frangiamore became a U.S. citizen through the naturalization of his father on March 7, 1921.

Frangiamore was arrested Sept. 2, 1927, as one of three suspects in a western Pennsylvania payroll robbery. The payroll of $15,000 had been stolen from couriers of the Erie PA Electric Company. On Sept. 27, 1928, Frangiamore was convicted of first degree armed robbery. He was sentenced to serve 10-20 years in Western State Penitentiary in Pittsburgh. He served little more than seven years of that sentence, as he was paroled from prison on Christmas Eve of 1935.

Just a year later, Frangiamore notched his second felony conviction. He was sentenced to 10-20 years in New York's Attica State Prison after being found guilty of first degree assault. While serving time in Attica, he became close to Joseph Fino and Daniel Sansanese, Sr., also serving time on robbery convictions.

Frangiamore was paroled from Attica on Feb. 16, 1944, and relocated to New Jersey. He married Josephine Piazza in Passaic on April 22, 1951.

In 1956, he moved back to Buffalo. A laborer on various construction sites, Frangiamore was a member of the mob-linked Laborers Local 210. At this time, he also became involved in gambling rackets sponsored by the Magaddino Mafia of western New York.

Frangiamore was among the approximately 50 men arrested in New York State Police raids of gambling establishments in the Buffalo region on Oct. 23, 1959. Others arrested were Pasquale Natarelli and Steven Cannarozzo. Police seized more than $50,000 in cash during the raids. Frangiamore and Natarelli were later convicted of conspiring to contrive a lottery. They were sentenced to serve six months in the Erie County Penitentiary.

An Oct. 7, 1966, raid by Buffalo Police and FBI agents at the Blue Banner Social Club resulted in the arrest of Frangiamore and several high-ranking Mafia members on gambling charges. Frangiamore and 35 others were arrested in the May 8, 1967, raid at Panaro's Lounge. They were charged with consorting with known criminals. These charges were later dismissed in Buffalo City Court.

Stefano Magaddino's control over the Buffalo underworld was damaged by the December 1967 imprisonment of his top lieutenants in the city, Frederico Randaccio and Pasquale Natarelli. Magaddino's efforts to rein in the Buffalo mobsters contributed to dissension and eventually to open rebellion.

In July 1969, a rebel underworld faction in Buffalo selected Sam Pieri as its acting boss, Joseph Fino as its acting underboss and Joseph DiCarlo as its acting consigliere. At that time, Frangiamore was elevated to the position of capodecina in the Buffalo Crime Family.


Two years later, with Pieri in prison and Fino facing federal gambling indictments, faction leaders moved Frangiamore into the nominal position of acting boss. The FBI learned of Frangiamore's promotion but decided that he was merely serving as a stand-in for Pieri. The real power in the Buffalo Crime Family at that moment rested with underboss Roy Carlisi and capodecina Daniel Sansanese, Sr. Carlisi and Sansanese hoped that law enforcement would focus its attention on Frangiamore and leave them free to pursue their rackets.

Frangiamore accepted his figurehead position but was uncomfortable with it. With two felony convictions already on his criminal record, the 66-year-old feared that another conviction could result in a life sentence. Informants told the FBI in September 1975 that Frangiamore was acting boss in name only. The Buffalo Crime Family authority reportedly was held by Sam Pieri's brother, Joseph Angelo Pieri.

As the 1978 Nairy's Social Club gambling case closed, the FBI examined the hierarchy of the Buffalo Crime Family and determined that it was led by a triumvirate comprised of Joseph Pieri, Roy Carlisi and Sam Frangiamore. The Bureau concluded that Pieri was the most powerful of the three, with Carlisi serving as underboss and Frangiamore holding a figurehead role to screen the activities of the other two.

Following the death of Carlisi, the Buffalo Crime Family split into factions competing for control of Laborers Local 210. Frangiamore became a key figure in the struggle. He and his nephew Joseph Todaro, Sr., led a group opposed to the Pieri-DiCarlo faction.

The deaths of Joseph DiCarlo in 1980 and Sam Pieri in 1981 weakened the Pieri wing of the crime family and permitted the rise of the Frangiamore-Todaro group. The transition between the Pieri-DiCarlo underworld administration and the new Frangiamore-Todaro regime was completed in autumn of 1984. At that time, Frangiamore retired and allowed Joseph Todaro, Sr., to take over as boss.

Frangiamore died of natural causes on Nov. 28, 1999. He was 94 years old.

Antonino Magaddino (June 18, 1897, to April 13, 1971)


Antonino "Nino" Magaddino was born to Giovanni and Giuseppa Ciaravino Magaddino in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, on June 18, 1897. His family was prominent in the local Mafia, and at the time of his birth the Magaddino's were engaged in an underworld feud with the Buccellato clan, also of Castellammare.

Magaddino was arrested in 1916 for falsifying a passport.
Magaddino's first arrest was recorded in Sicily when he was just a teenager. His police record grew considerably in a short time. He was charged early in 1916 with falsifying a passport. On March 15, 1916, he was arrested for conducting "clandestine activities." He was released a month later. On Aug. 14 of that year he was arrested and charged with a double-murder in Castellammare, likely a flareup in the Magaddino-Buccellato feud. Magaddino's older brother Pietro and Giovanni Buccellato both had been murdered in July 1916. Magaddino was discharged in 1917, when authorities decided that the available evidence was insufficient for prosecution.

Nino Magaddino married Vincenza Vitale in Castellammare on Feb. 2, 1922. A short time later his brother Stefano, who had risen to command of a Mafia organization in western New York, called him to the U.S. to help manage regional bootlegging rackets. Nino Magaddino arrived in the U.S. aboard the S.S. Patria on Nov. 1, 1923. He immediately became Stefano's trusted aide.

Though Magaddino was on the other side of the Atlantic, he still managed to continue to get in trouble with Italian authorities. In June 1928, he was charged with violating immigration laws. In November of that year, he was charged with robbery, rape and extortion, in connection with events that took place years earlier. All those charges were dropped by 1931. In 1948, Magaddino was naturalized a citizen of the U.S. His wife and children traveled to the U.S. and joined him in Niagara Falls in 1950.

Following Prohibition, Magaddino moved into gambling ventures and also became involved in the family's funeral home business. Paul Palmeri, operator of the Panepinto & Palmeri Funeral Home since 1925, welcomed Nino Magaddino as a partner in 1939. When Palmeri moved to New Jersey in 1941, the funeral home business was taken over by the Magaddinos. Stefano's son Peter was installed as president, and Nino Magaddino became vice president.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Nino Magaddino supervised gambling rackets in the Niagara Falls region.

Magaddino and Domenick D'Agostino
appear before a grand jury in 1958.
Magaddino was among the scores of Mafiosi taken in for questioning when New York State Troopers and agents of the U.S. Treasury Department broke up a Nov. 14, 1957, gangland convention at the Apalachin, NY, home of Joseph Barbara. Other attendees from the western New York Mafia included John Montana, James LaDuca, Roy Carlisi, Sam Lagattuta and Domenick D'Agostino. Magaddino was apprehended as he attempted to flee from Barbara's home through a wooded area.

When questioned by police, Magaddino said he was in Apalachin by accident. He insisted he was driving Montana to New York City for a business meeting, when car trouble forced them to drop by the home of his acquaintance Joseph Barbara for help.

A 1958 grand jury investigating Apalachin called Magaddino as a witness but learned nothing new from him. He refused to answer its questions, invoking the Fifth Amendment 24 times. He was subsequently indicted for conspiring to obstruct justice. The following year, federal agents attempting to serve Magaddino with papers stemming from the indictment could not locate him. He became the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

The charges against Magaddino were dropped in 1960, after an appeals court threw out obstruction convictions against other Apalachin attendees.

Nino Magaddino was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1969. He died April 13, 1971, at the age of 73.

Magaddino gravesite, St. Joseph's Cemetery, Niagara Falls.

Stefano Magaddino (Oct. 10, 1891, to July 19, 1974)


Stefano Magaddino was born in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, on Oct. 10, 1891. He was the third of eight children born to Giovanni and Giuseppe Ciaravino Magaddino. At the time of his birth, the Magaddino clan and its relatives were embroiled in a bitter underworld feud with the local Buccellato family.

Stefano arrived in the U.S. aboard the S.S. San Giorgio on Feb. 7, 1909. He settled in a Castellammarese colony in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Though a number of Mafia families existed in the New York area at that time, Magaddino was inducted into the underworld society in a ceremony held in Chicago. He was regarded as a leader of Castellammarese Mafiosi in the U.S., a group that became known as "the Good Killers."

Magaddino married Carmela Caroddo in 1913 (his brother Gaspare married Carmela's sister).

In 1916, a flareup of gangland violence in Castellammare del Golfo took the life of Magaddino's brother Pietro. Camillo Caiozzo, believed to have been an accomplice in Pietro's murder, fled Sicily for New York. Magaddino responded by plotting Caiozzo's murder. In 1921, Caiozzo's dead body was pulled from a cove of the Shark River in New Jersey. Caiozzo's killer, Bartolomeo Fontana, confessed to the crime and told authorities that Castellammarese Mafiosi had forced him into it. Magaddino and several members of the Good Killers were arrested as conspirators in Caiozzo's murder. Charges were later dropped against the Good Killers, though Fontana served about 20 years in prison.

Magaddino traveled throughout the U.S. and became well known in Buffalo in the early 1920s, as local Mafia boss Giuseppe DiCarlo was forced by declining health into retirement. Upon DiCarlo's death in the summer of 1922, Magaddino was chosen as his successor.

Magaddino in 1931
The following year, Magaddino brought his brother Antonino to Buffalo from Castellammare. Antonino became a trusted adviser, as Magaddino set up a Niagara Falls, NY, headquarters for the Mafia of western New York. Angelo Palmeri and Filippo Mazzara, Castellammarese Mafiosi who held leadership positions under DiCarlo, oversaw operations within the city of Buffalo.

Magaddino was naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1924.

In the Prohibition Era, Magaddino's western New York crime family was ideally positioned to control the flow of illegal liquor into the U.S. from Canada. Bootlegging dollars greatly enhanced Magaddino's wealth and influence.

In 1930, New York City-based Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria decided that Magaddino and other Castellammarese Mafia leaders in the U.S. were inciting rebellion against his administration. He summoned Magaddino to appear before him in New York City. When Magaddino did not appear, Masseria imposed a death sentence against him and other Castellammarese Mafiosi.

A war between Mafia factions erupted, as Masseria was opposed in New York by forces led by Magaddino ally Salvatore Maranzano. Treachery in the Masseria camp led to Joe the Boss's assassination in spring 1931. Maranzano briefly served as Mafia boss of bosses until his own Sept. 10 assassination. Following the violence of 1930-31, the U.S. Mafia abandoned the boss of bosses position and established a representative Commission to settle disputes among crime families. Magaddino was chosen in 1932 as one of seven Commission members.

Magaddino in 1943
With the repeal of Prohibition, the western New York Mafia focused its attention on the control of illegal gambling. In 1936, a gang of rebellious bookmakers opposed Magaddino's tax on their profits. Magaddino's sister was killed in a bomb explosion at her home. Leaders of the rebel organization were executed over the following year.

The regional Mafia extended its territory into southern Ontario, Canada, and central New York in the 1940s and 1950s. It also came to control Buffalo Local 210 of the Laborers Union. John Montana, who moved into the position of Magaddino's Buffalo-based underboss, was a leading businessman and political figure in the city and helped the Magaddino Mafia secure its connections to local government.

On Nov. 14, 1957, New York State Police and agents of the U.S. Treasury Department broke up a convention of leading Mafiosi at the rural Apalachin, NY, home of Joseph Barbara. Scores of underworld figures were rounded up and identified. Magaddino brother Antonino, son-in-law James LaDuca and underboss John Montana were all taken in and questioned by police. Magaddino reportedly escaped detection at the event by hiding within a secret room at Barbara's estate.

The following year, Buffalo's FBI field office labeled Magaddino a "top hoodlum" in its territory. (FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had instituted the Top Hoodlum Program following Apalachin.) The designation came with intense law enforcement scrutiny. He avoided Apalachin-related questioning by the New York State Crime Commission in 1960 by becoming suddenly ill with a heart condition.

Surveillance photo of Magaddino and bodyguard Sam Rangatore.

American and Canadian authorities broke up a regional narcotics ring in 1961. The operation had been approved by Magaddino, who regularly took a share of its profits. Among those arrested were brothers Alberto and Vito Agueci, Magaddino underlings from Canada. The imprisoned Aguecis expected but did not receive Magaddino protection and support. Alberto was freed on bail after his wife borrowed money and sold the family home. He reportedly intended to confront Magaddino and demand that the boss provide bail for Vito Agueci's release, threatening to expose Magaddino's involvement in the narcotics ring if Vito was not released. On Nov. 23, 1961, Alberto Agueci's charred corpse was found in a cornfield near a suburb of Rochester, NY.

A year later, the FBI installed electronic eavesdropping equipment in the Magaddino Memorial Chapel, a funeral home that served as the principal meeting place for Magaddino and his underworld associates. The device gathered enough information within three years to fill 70,000 transcribed pages.

Magaddino was identified as "irrefutable boss" of the Mafia of western New York and southern Ontario before the McClellan Senate Investigating Committee in 1963.

In 1964, following the reported kidnapping of New York City crime boss Joseph Bonanno (Magaddino's cousin), newspaper columnist Walter Winchell reported that Bonanno was being held by Magaddino at a farm in upstate New York. Magaddino was subpoenaed in May 1965 to appear before a special grand jury probing the Bonanno disappearance. Magaddino did not testify, as he developed coronary symptoms the next day and was hospitalized. The press noted that it was the second time in five years that Magaddino health problems neatly coincided with a government demand for his testimony.

Federal law enforcement launched determined strikes against the leadership of the western New York Mafia in 1967. In December of that year, Magaddino lost his two top men in Buffalo - Frederico Randaccio and Pasquale Natarelli - to long prison sentences. Magaddino began pleading poverty to his remaining lieutenants, demanding greater shares of their profits and eliminating bonuses he had previously awarded them.

Stefano Magaddino, his son Peter and several bookmakers and collectors were arrested the following year following an FBI investigation of a sports betting ring. A search of Peter Magaddino's home turned up nearly a half-million dollars in cash. Buffalo Mafia leaders used the reports of the discovered cash to ignite a rebellion against the Magaddino administration.

In July 1969, the rebel faction selected Sam Pieri as its acting boss, Joseph Fino as acting underboss and Joseph DiCarlo as acting consigliere. A demand for Magaddino's resignation as boss was refused, and the rebel group brought its case to the national Commission. The Commission took no action against its longtime member, apparently content to await the death of "toothless tiger" Magaddino.

More health problems impaired the government's ability to bring the western New York crime boss to trial. Arraignment in the bookmaking case had to be conducted in the bedroom of Magaddino's home. Doctors determined that the aging Magaddino was too frail to appear in court.

In 1973, an FBI refusal to identify an informant used in their bookmaking investigation led to the charges against Magaddino being dismissed.

Stefano Magaddino suffered a heart attack and died July 19, 1974. he was buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Niagara Falls.

Magaddino gravesite.

John Montana (July 1, 1893, - March 18, 1964)


John Montana was born July 1, 1893, in Montedoro, Sicily, one of 13 children born to Calogero and Rosa Valente Montana. He arrived in the U.S. in 1907 aboard the S.S. Perugia. He was naturalized a citizen in 1921.

Montana began his business career at an early age. While still in grammar school, he worked as a delivery boy for a west side candy store. He founded the Buffalo Taxi Service - beginning with a single vehicle - before the age of 20. His taxi business grew considerably over the years. In 1922, he purchased the Yellow Cab Company, and seven years later merged into the Van Dyke Taxi and Transfer Company. The resulting firm was the largest taxi company in western New York.

Montana also served as president of the Frontier Liquor Corporation and as an officer of the Empire State Brewery in Olean, New York. In addition, he owned Montana Motors, a Buffalo car dealership.

Politics was another of Montana's interests, and he was a respected Republican leader in the city. Beginning in 1927, he served two terms as a city councilman representing the Niagara District of Buffalo's west side. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Montana found considerable success in a more secret interest. In the early 1930s, Montana became the Buffalo-based underboss of western New York's regional crime boss Stefano Magaddino. He accompanied Magaddino to a May 1931 conference of Mafiosi hosted by Al Capone in Chicago.

Two marriages caused Montana and Magaddino to become related.  Montana's nephew, Charles Montana, married Magaddino's daughter. Montana's niece, Frances, married Magaddino's son.

Buffalo Evening News,
Aug. 13, 1940
In 1956, the Erie Club, a fraternal organization of Buffalo police officers, voted him the city's "Man of the Year" for his business achievements and civic contributions. The designation became a source of local embarrassment the following year, when Montana was found to be part of the western Buffalo-area delegation to an underworld convention at Apalachin, New York.

Scores of Mafiosi from around the country were rounded up, identified and questioned after New York State Troopers and Treasury Department agents crashed the party at Joseph Barbara's Apalachin home on Nov. 14, 1957. Troopers apprehended Montana as he attempted to flee the Barbara estate through a hilly wooded area. When police reached him, he was tangled in a barbed-wire fence.

During later questioning, Montana offered a feeble explanation for his presence among the gangsters at Apalachin. He was on his way to business meetings in Pennsylvania and New York City, he said, and car trouble near Apalachin forced him to seek assistance at the home of old friend Joseph Barbara.

Buffalo Courier Express, June 16, 1960
In 1959, Montana was one of 20 Apalachin attendees charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by refusing to testify truthfully about the gathering. He was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The conviction was later reversed, but Montana's reputation suffered irreparable damage.

Senate subcommittee hearings into organized crime in 1960 linked Montana with Joseph DiCarlo.

Montana's role as Magaddino's underboss was publicly exposed during Joseph Valachi's 1963 testimony before Senator John McClellan's committee.

Montana suffered a heart attack five months after that testimony. He died March 18, 1964, at the age of 70.


John Montana gravesite

Rosario Carlisi (April 10, 1909, - April 29, 1980)


Rosario "Roy" Carlisi was born April 10, 1909, in Chicago. His parents, Giuseppe and Calogera Cassaro Carlisi, were originally from the Sicilian province of Agrigento. While in Chicago, Giuseppe was involved in bootlegging activities and was reported to be a member of Al Capone's underworld "Outfit."

In 1931, the Carlisi family moved from Chicago to western New York and opened a restaurant/tavern. Roy and Giuseppe Carlisi partnered in bootlegging enterprises with Calogero Romano and apparently did so with the approval of the Magaddino Mafia. Romano, owner of a tavern on Buffalo's lower west side, was a close associate of boss Stefano Magaddino. Roy Carlisi's marriage to Romano's daughter Filippa (Fanny) strengthened his relationship to his Mafia superiors.

Roy Carlisi in 1932
In 1933, Roy and his father were questioned by Buffalo police during the investigation of the murders of Vincent and Salvatore Callea. The Calleas, supported by Mafia elements from outside western New York, had set themselves up as rivals to the Magaddino organization.

During the 1930s, Giuseppe Carlisi relocated back to Chicago. On a visit to that city in December 1937, Roy Carlisi was arrested for the first time. He and his father were charged with possession of untaxed liquor after a 300-gallon still was seized by Alcohol Revenue Agents. The charges were later dismissed in federal court.

Three years later, Roy Carlisi established the C&C Market, a wholesale seafood company in Buffalo. His underworld connections afforded him a monopoly on the wholesaling of clams in the Buffalo area, and he became known as "Roy the Clam Man." His monopoly would linger through several decades.

Carlisi, Frederico Randaccio and Willie "the Whale" Castellani were questioned at length by police after the 1945 murder of anti-gambling crusader Edward Pospichal.

Carlisi opened Club 97 in 1948. The bar/restaurant became a popular night spot for members of the Buffalo underworld. During the 1950s, Carlisi reportedly became a close associate of Stefano Magaddino and his Buffalo underbosses John Montana and Frederico Randaccio.

Buffalo Courier Express, Jan. 18, 1958
Carlisi was part of the western New York delegation rounded up by New York State Troopers and U.S. Treasury Department agents outside of Joseph Barbara's Apalachin, New York, home on Nov. 14, 1957. He was among the scores of Mafiosi taken into custody and questioned as they left Barbara's residence and encountered a police roadblock.

As the FBI joined the fight against organized crime following the events at Apalachin, the Bureau's Buffalo Field Office labeled Carlisi a "top hoodlum" in its territory and kept him under intense scrutiny.

During a grand jury investigation into the Apalachin convention, Carlisi refused to answer questions 77 times, despite a grant of immunity from prosecution and a court demand that he testify. As a result of his defiance, he was charged on March 7, 1958, with 15 counts of criminal contempt. He was found guilty and sentenced to a 60-day term in prison.

Carlisi's underworld involvement came to the attention of the New York State Liquor Authority, which revoked his liquor license forcing the closure of Club 97. The authority determined that Carlisi's failure to disclose his 1937 arrest on his liquor license application was a violation of its regulations.

A chart presented in 1963 to Senator John McClellan's committee investigating organized crime identified Carlisi as a lieutenant in the Magaddino Mafia.

Carlisi was among the three dozen men, including Joseph DiCarlo, Frederico Randaccio, Pasquale Natarelli and Joseph Fino, arrested during a May 8, 1967, police raid at Panaro's Lounge. Charges of consorting with known criminals were later dropped in Buffalo City Court.

Despite his ties to Magaddino, Carlisi became a strong supporter of a rebel Buffalo underworld faction in 1969. He was offered the leadership of the breakaway Buffalo Crime Family but refused it, fearing the additional law enforcement scrutiny that would result. The organization selected Sam Pieri as acting boss, Joseph Fino as acting underboss and Joseph DiCarlo as acting consigliere.

A Rochester, New York, Mafia organization commanded by Frank Valenti also sought its independence from Magaddino and won the support of the Buffalo Crime Family. Leaders from Buffalo and Rochester met at a Batavia restaurant on June 2, 1970, apparently to discuss the matter. Police officers raided the meeting and arrested Carlisi and Fino, as well as Rochester leaders Valenti and Rene Piccaretto. The four men were charged with loitering and suspicion of intent to commit a crime.

During the 1970s, Carlisi played an important advisory role in the Buffalo Crime Family and helped to oversee mob control of Laborers' Local 210 in Buffalo. He largely avoided the attention of law enforcement by focusing on his business roles as owner of C&C Market and co-owner of the Turf Club restaurant on Buffalo's lower west side.

Carlisi, 71, died April 29, 1980, following a heart attack.