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

Daniel Sansanese, Sr. (May 28, 1908, - Nov. 1, 1975)

Daniel "Danny" Sansanese was born May 28, 1908, in Buffalo to Gerardo and Maria Rinaldo Sansanese. His parents both were immigrants from Sicily who arrived in the United States in the 1890s.

Danny began criminal activities at an early age. On Dec. 15, 1921, when he was 13, he was arrested for grand larceny. The charge was reduced to juvenile delinquency. The court ordered that he be placed on probation and make restitution.

Sansanese in 1927
Following a March 13, 1927, arrest for vagrancy, the authorities noted that Danny's automobile was a match for one that had been used in a series of robberies. Sansanese was held on an open charge but later released due to lack of evidence.

Just two months later, Sansanese was critically wounded in a gun battle, when police interrupted a morning holdup of a Buffalo drug store. Sansanese's accomplice Domenic DiNapoli was killed in the exchange of gunfire. Sansanese was treated at Columbus Hospital for a bullet wound in his back. While there, he was arrested and charged with robbery. Following a guilty plea, he was sentenced to serve from seven to 15 years in prison. He was paroled on Nov. 26, 1932.

In 1935, a Bryant Street barber identified Sansanese, Angelo Polizzi and Joseph Gatti as the three men who robbed him of $114 at his shop on the morning of Nov. 19. Sansanese and Polizzi were convicted of first-degree robbery. As second-felony offenders, they were sentenced to maximum terms of 30 years at Attica State Prison. Gatti was acquitted of robbery but convicted of possession of a dangerous weapon.

Sansanese developed a strong relationship with Joseph Fino while both were doing time in Attica. They became gambling and loan shark racket partners after their releases. Sansanese was paroled from Attica on Dec. 23, 1944.

Sansanese, Fino and Edward Scillia, all of Buffalo, and Russell Mancuso of Utica, were charged in 1950 with the burglary of an American Legion Club in Oxford, NY. Mancuso pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unlawful entry. He received a one-year suspended prison sentence and a $500 fine. The other three defendants pleaded guilty to the burglary and were sentenced to two and a half to three years. They were paroled Oct. 6, 1953.

Murder suspect Sansanese
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, authorities identified Sansanese as the chief enforcer and collector for Frederico Randaccio. He was associated also with Buffalo underworld leaders Pasquale Natarelli, John Cammilleri and Joseph Fino, and seen in the company of Salvatore "George Raft" Bonito, Albert Billiteri and Pascal Politano. Sansanese was questioned in this period as the prime suspect in the unsolved gangland slayings of Frank and Fred Aquino, Richard Battaglia, Vincent Santangelo, Anthony Palestine, Alberto Agueci and Charles Gerass.

The McClellan Senate Investigating Committee learned in 1963 that Sansanese was a capodecina of the western New York Mafia and an inveterate gambler with no legitimate source of income.

Sansanese and several other high-ranking Buffalo Mafiosi were arrested for gambling during an Oct. 7, 1966, police raid on the Blue Banner Social Club. He was among the three dozen men arested in the May 8, 1967, raid at Panaro's Lounge. Charges against him were dismissed.

A strong supporter of the late 1960s rebellion of Buffalo Mafiosi against Niagara Falls-based crime boss Stefano Magaddino, Sansanese's underworld authority was increased by the success of the rebellion. When Buffalo Crime Family acting boss Sam Pieri was incarcerated in the early 1970s, acting underboss Joseph Fino stepped up to the top spot and named Sansanese his underboss.

During a 1972 investigation into attempts to tamper with the jury in a Fino gambling conspiracy case, Sansanese gave conflicting grand jury testimony and was charged with perjury. He was convicted of the charge and sentenced to five years in prison. Failing health - likely related to the prostate cancer, for which he was treated - caused his release after one year.

Sansanese, 67, died in Buffalo on Nov. 1, 1975.

Joseph Fino (March 13, 1915, - March 13, 1984)

Joseph Fino was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 13, 1915. His parents, Rocco (born Aug. 16, 1883) and Angeline Bertoline Fino (born Dec. 18, 1888), were both Italian immigrants to the U.S.

The Fino family moved to western New York when he was a boy. Joseph Fino was an unruly child and a habitual truant from school. At the age of 10, he was sent to Father Baker's Catholic Reformatory in Buffalo and St. John's Protectory reform school in Lackawanna. Before his 16th birthday, he had made more than a dozen appearances in Juvenile Court for offenses including petit larceny, burglary and truancy.

Joseph Fino in 1931
In the spring of 1931, 16-year-old Fino was convicted of burglary and sentenced to one year of probation. After another burglary arrest the following year, he was sent to the New York House of Refuge, a juvenile detention reformatory on Randall's Island in New York City.

Fino received a year sentence in the Erie County Prison following a 1935 conviction for second-degree assault. He was arrested in November 1937 as part of a gang involved in a series of "Lovers' Lane" robberies. Young couples in parked cars in an isolated area of Howard Road were assaulted and robbed by the gang. Fino's record of 22 previous arrests was noted as he was convicted and sentenced to 5-10 years in Attica State Prison. Fino was paroled on Aug. 11, 1943, but returned to the prison five months later as a parole violator. He was released Feb. 14, 1945.

At Attica, Fino developed a close friendship with Daniel Sansanese, who was serving a 30-year sentence for armed robbery. After their release, the two cooperated to manage gambling and loan shark rackets for the Magaddino Crime Family.

In 1945, Fino married Arlene Burkhart.

Fino, Sansanese and Edward Scillia, all of Buffalo, and Russell Mancuso of Utica were arrested June 19, 1950, and charged with the burglary of the Oxford, NY, American Legion Club. Mancuso pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor unlawful entry charge and received a suspended one-year prison sentence and a $500 fine. Guilty pleas by Fino, Sansanese and Scillia resulted in sentences of two and a half to three years in Attica. They were paroled on Oct. 6, 1953. A few years later, Fino and Scillia were arrested for accepting bets on horse races.

Buffalo Evening News, Aug. 20, 1956.
On April 19, 1956, Fino was charged with first degree assault. A complainant identified Fino as the man who fired three gunshots at him from the window of a passing car following an altercation at an Allen Street tavern.

In the 1960s, Fino focused his energies on managing bookmaking, gambling and loan sharking operations for the western New York Mafia. He was closely associated with Mafia leaders in Buffalo and often in company of underlings, such as his brother Nick Fino, Nick Mauro, Ralph Velocci and Salvatore "George Raft" Bonito. He, along with Nick Fino, Mauro and Velocci, were arrested in September 1964 for running a $5,000-a-day bookmaking operation. A jury acquitted the group of bookmaking, convicting them only of the lesser charges of possessing bookmaking records and attempting to destroy evidence.

Fino was among the three dozen men arrested at Panaro's Lounge in May 1967. Charges of consorting with known criminals were dismissed in Buffalo City Court.

Following the imprisonment of Frederico Randaccio, Fino was promoted in 1968 to the position of underboss of the Magaddino Crime Family. The next year, the crime family splintered, as Mafia leaders in Buffalo rebelled against the Niagara Falls-based Magaddino administration. The new Buffalo Crime Family selected Sam Pieri as acting boss, Fino as acting underboss and Joseph DiCarlo as acting consigliere. When Pieri was charged with transporting stolen property in 1970, Fino advanced further to the position of acting boss.

During this period, Buffalo underworld leaders supported the independence of Frank Valenti's criminal organization in Rochester from the Magaddino Mafia. In June, 1970, police officers found leaders of the two rebel organizations - Joseph Fino and Roy Carlisi of Buffalo and Frank Valenti and Rene Piccaretto of Rochester - meeting at a restaurant in Batavia. The group was arrested and charged with loitering and suspicion of intent to commit a crime.

Fino's leadership role in Buffalo made him a top target for federal investigators. In September 1971, a federal grand jury indicted him, Nick Fino, Daniel Sansanese, Sr., and Salvatore Bonito in connection with a multimillion-dollar horse race bookmaking racket. Joseph Fino was found not guilty at trial.

A factional split developed within the Buffalo Crime Family in spring 1973 over whether Victor Randaccio should continue to represent crime family interests in Local 210 of the Laborers Union. Fino, Sansanese and John Cammilleri supported the election of Fino's son Ronald to the business manager post held by Randaccio. The Pieri family, DiCarlo, Carlisi and Joseph Todaro, Sr., remained solidly behind Randaccio. Local 210 voted overwhelmingly for Ronald Fino.

Sam Pieri's December 1973 release from prison restored him to underworld leadership in Buffalo. He quickly took control of Fino's gambling operations. When Fino's close ally Cammilleri resisted, death sentences were issued for both Fino and Cammilleri. Cammilleri was shot to death in May 1974. Fino escaped a similar fate by a fortunate change in plans. He subsequently met with Pieri to negotiate his way out of the death sentence.

In the spring of 1977, federal indictments resulted from an FBI undercover operation at Buffalo Crime Family gambling parlors. Fino, Pieri and several other underworld figures were charged with conspiracy and operation of an illegal gambling business. Fino pleaded guilty to gambling conspiracy in 1979 and was sentenced to four years of probation and a $7,500 fine.

Fino settled into retirement during his probation. He died following a heart attack on March 13, 1984, the day of his 69th birthday.

John Cammilleri (May 8, 1911, - May 8, 1974)

Police surveillance photo of John Cammilleri (left) and Salvatore "George Raft" Bonito

John Cammilleri was born May 8, 1911, to Angelo and Lucia Diana Cammilleri in Campobello Licata, Sicily. He crossed the Atlantic with his mother and three siblings at the age of five, arriving in the U.S. aboard the S.S. Giuseppe Verde on May 30, 1916.

Cammilleri was 19 when he was first arrested. The original charge of grand larceny was reduced to petit larceny, and Cammilleri received a suspended three-month prison sentence and a $10 fine. He was again arrested for grand larceny on June 5, 1931. That charge, stemming from the theft of an automobile, was reduced to malicious mischief and resulted in a $15 fine.

Cammilleri's good fortune in the courtroom continued two months later. He was arrested for first-degree assault after firing a gunshot at Joseph Morabello. The court discharged him.

On Dec. 23, 1931, Cammilleri married Josephine DeCarlo in Buffalo.

Cammilleri in 1933
The following summer, he was arrested after entering a Dante Place store and stealing $58 from its cash register. Convicted of third-degree burglary, he was given a suspended prison sentence and two years of probation.

At about this time, Cammilleri joined the DiCarlo Gang and began shaking down operators of craps games and bookmaking parlors for a share of their profits. He was arrested Oct. 2, 1933, with DiCarlo Gang members Anthony Tuttino, Sam "Doc" Alessi and George Rolando. The group was charged with first-degree robbery and extortion after holding up John Rogers for $22 and threatening to kill him if he did not make $5 weekly payments to the gang. Cammilleri was convicted and sentenced on Feb. 2, 1934, to a 20-year term in Emira Reformatory.

Cammilleri was labeled "Public Enemy No. 14" on a list compiled by Buffalo Police Commissioner Austin J. Roche, and his criminal record was filed with the FBI.

Released on parole in the summer of 1936, Cammilleri became a construction labor foreman with Laborers Local 210. In 1948, he established the J.C. Concrete Company and began working closely with Victor Randaccio to ensure Magaddino Crime Family control of Local 210. Cammilleri partnered with Frederico Randaccio and "Pat Titters" Natarelli to form Frontier Lathers, Inc., in 1960. The company supplied barricades and construction warning signs. Using his influence over Local 210, Cammilleri was able to extort contactors into using the services of the new company.

Cammilleri was identified as a Magaddino Crime Family lieutenant in a chart prepared for the U.S. Senate's McClellan Committee in October 1963. The FBI kept constant watch on his activities and documented his regular meetings with higher-ups at the Magaddino Memorial Chapel in Niagara Falls. In 1965, the New York Commission of Investigation questioned him under immunity about criminal activities in Rochester.

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

Cammilleri in 1969
As events of the late 1960s drove a wedge between Buffalo Mafiosi and their Niagara Falls-based leadership, Cammilleri lent his support to a rebel underworld faction headed by acting boss Sam Pieri, underboss Joseph Fino and consigliere Joseph DiCarlo.

In 1969, Cammilleri was found guilty of testifying falsely to a federal grand jury. He was sentenced to two years of probation.

Cammilleri's links to organized crime and organized labor came to light in June 1971, as a federal grand jury probed underworld involvement in the construction of Buffalo's new Federal Building. Early stages of the project had been plagued by delays and cost overruns relating to problems with workers from Laborers Local 210. After the contractor hired Cammilleri as a labor coordinator, all proceeded smoothly.

Factions developed within the Buffalo Crime Family in spring 1973, as a disagreement erupted over Victor Randaccio's continued role with Local 210. Cammilleri joined Fino and Daniel Sansanese in support of Fino's son Ronald as Local 210 business manager. DiCarlo, the Pieris, Roy Carlisi and Joseph Todaro, Sr., remained committed to Randaccio. Running on a reform platform, Ronald Fino won election overwhelmingly. However, following his victory, Ronald Fino refused to appoint Cammilleri to his desired position of Local 210 personnel director.

Cammilleri did not keep his disappointment a secret. He spoke angrily with Joseph Fino, expressed discontentment with Pieri's leadership and threatened to pull his crew out of the Buffalo Crime Family.

On the evening of May 8, 1974, Cammilleri celebrated his 63rd birthday with friends at Buffalo's Roseland Restaurant. He left briefly to attend a wake and then went back to the restaurant. As he stepped from his automobile, a light-colored sedan squealed to a stop behind him. A man armed with a .38-caliber revolver jumped out of the sedan and fired three shots, leaving Cammilleri dead on the sidewalk.

1974 police surveillance photo of Cammilleri leaving Roseland Restaurant.

Salvatore Pieri (Jan. 29, 1911, - Aug. 24, 1981)

Sam Pieri in 1931

Salvatore "Sam" Pieri was born Jan. 29, 1911, in Buffalo to Sicilian immigrants Giovanni and Ignazia (Anna) Ciresi Pieri. Giovanni and Ignazia were both born in Montemaggiore Belsito, a hilly Sicilian region north of Valledolmo and Vallelunga. Giovanni entered the U.S. on April 20, 1893. Ignazia entered July 1, 1898. They were married in Buffalo's St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church on Nov. 16, 1900.

Sam was the seventh of nine children born to the couple. His siblings were Salvatora "Elsie" (married to Joseph DiCarlo on Nov. 29, 1924), Vincenza "Genevieve," Adelina, Giovanni "Johnny Rai," Giuseppina "Josephine," Giuseppe "Joe," Stefano "Steve," and Horace "Hobbie."

He first ran into trouble with the law when he was just 10 years old. He was arrested Aug. 7, 1921, for malicious mischief. He was later discharged. Grand larceny and juvenile delinquency charges against him were similarly dropped in 1926. He was charged with truancy on Oct. 27, 1927, and turned over to a truant officer. Sam completed seventh grade and then did not return to school.

As a result of Pieri's first criminal conviction, for second-degree larceny, he was sentenced in June 1928 to an indefinite period of probation.

Pieri in 1933

Pieri and brothers John and Joe became members of the DiCarlo Gang. Working for their brother-in-law Joseph DiCarlo, they extorted payments from operators of craps games and bookmaking parlors.

Sam Pieri and fellow DiCarlo Gang member Joe "the Goose" Gatti were arrested Jan. 6, 1931, along with two other alleged accomplices. They were charged with first-degree robbery in connection with the $3,000 armed holdup of a gambling establishment in Rochester. The charge was eventually dropped.

Pieri was less fortunate later that year. On Sept. 2, he and two other men were arrested as they unloaded 300 quarts of Canadian ale from a rowboat at the foot of Buffalo's Hudson Street. (A fourth member of the bootlegging group escaped by swimming away.) Pieri was convicted of bootlegging and tariff violations and sentenced to 60 days in Erie County Prison.

Pieri and "Goose" Gatti escaped conviction on another first-degree robbery charge in the spring of 1933. By the end of that year, 22-year-old Pieri made Buffalo Police Commissioner Austin J. Roche's list of Public Enemies (No. 12).

On Jan. 23, 1934, Pieri married Caroline LoTempio. DiCarlo Gangster and future Cleveland crime boss John "Peanuts" Tronolone was Pieri's best man.

Pieri, Tronolone, Anthony "Lucky" Perna and others were arrested in spring 1935 for violating the new Brownell Law, which made consorting of criminals unlawful. Though the men were convicted, their six-month prison sentences were suspended.

Pieri in 1969

Pieri earned the respect of western New York crime boss Stefano Magaddino the following year, as he imposed mob discipline upon a relative. The LoTempio brothers, Pieri cousins, were believed responsible for a May 1936 bombing that took the life of Magaddino's sister. The LoTempios were rebelling against a Magaddino-imposed tax on their gambling rackets. Pieri arranged for Frank LoTempio to attend the wedding of a relative in Buffalo. Following the reception, Pieri escorted LoTempio to his car. After a short conversation, Pieri shook LoTempio's hand and turned away. Two men emerged from a nearby parked vehicle and shot LoTempio to death.

The 1949 disappearance of gambler Patsy Quigliano was also linked to Pieri. Quigliano was deeply in debt to mob higher-ups, and Pieri reportedly was to transport him to meet with Joseph DiCarlo in Cleveland on the day he disappeared.

In the early 1950s, a three-year Federal Bureau of Narcotics investigation pointed to Sam Pieri and Salvatore Rizzo as the regional leaders of a heroin and cocaine smuggling ring involving Buffalo, New York City and Cleveland. Pieri and Rizzo were arrested May 22, 1954. Charges against Rizzo were dismissed. Pieri was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in Atlanta Federal Prison. He was released May 7, 1963.

The prison term enhanced Pieri's stature in the underworld. Within the institution's walls, he established strong relationships with members of the Profaci and Genovese crime families and became especially close to jailed crime boss Vito Genovese. Upon Pieri's release, law enforcement officials wondered if he might become more powerful than Magaddino underboss Frederico Randaccio or possibly Magaddino himself.

The Magaddino organization was staggered by the imprisonment of Buffalo underworld leaders Randaccio and Pasquale Natarelli in December of 1967. Pieri and DiCarlo took advantage of the situation, mobilizing elements of the old DiCarlo Gang to take control of gambling rackets in Buffalo.

Claiming there had been a dramatic dropoff in underworld revenues, Magaddino imposed additional taxes on his men, refused to assist in gambling racket financing and eliminated bonuses he had previously paid to his lieutenants. In November 1968, Magaddino was proved a liar, as federal agents discovered nearly a half-million dollars in cash hidden in a wall of his son Peter's home.

The events of the 1960s drove a wedge between Buffalo Mafiosi and the organization's Niagara Falls-based leadership. In July 1969, a rebel Mafia faction in Buffalo selected Pieri as its acting boss, Joseph Fino as its acting underboss and Joseph DiCarlo as its acting consigliere. When informants brought the news to the FBI, Pieri became the Bureau's top target in Buffalo.

Pieri, Anthony Romano and Ralph Jacobs stood trial in 1970 for transporting stolen jewelry. As the state was concluding its case, authorities heard evidence that Pieri had attempted to bribe a juror. A mistrial was declared, and Pieri was charged with obstruction of justice. He was convicted of jury tampering and sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Pieri in 1975

When paroled in December 1973, Pieri immediately returned to his top position in the Buffalo Crime Family. Capodecina John Cammilleri's brief challenge to Pieri's leadership ended with Cammilleri's murder on May 8, 1974.

The FBI's next move against the Pieri administration consisted of inserting an undercover agent into two Buffalo gambling clubs that featured high-stakes Ziganette card games. As a result of the investigation, Pieri was found in violation of his parole and returned to prison to complete his jury tampering sentence.

Upon his release, Pieri found federal authorities ready to try him for conspiracy and gambling in connection with the Ziganette parlors. Pieri eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Securing his release after four months, Pieri sought to reestablish discipline in a criminal organization that had been shaken by informants and law enforcement infiltration. The May 1980 murder of William "Billy" Sciolino, a mob informant, was intended as an example.

Less than a month later, the partly decomposed body of Carl Rizzo was found in the trunk of a car. Rizzo was initially suspected of also being an informant, but investigators learned he had been involved in a Pieri-sponsored racket related to union dental plans.

Pieri's hold on the Buffalo Crime Family was weakened with the October 1980 death of Joseph DiCarlo. DiCarlo provided continuity during Pieri's prison sentence and conferred legitimacy upon Pieri's leadership claims.

Seven months later, Pieri became seriously ill. He passed away Aug. 24, 1981, at the age of 70.

Pieri gravesite

Pasquale Natarelli (July 9, 1910, - April 22, 1993)

Pasquale "Pat Titters" Natarelli was born to Italian immigrant parents in Buffalo on July 9, 1910. His father Valentino (born Feb. 18, 1881) was from Chieti in Italy's Abruzzo region, along the Adriatic Sea. His mother, Rose Panaro (born June 15, 1885) was from Bella Basilicata in the southern Italian province of Potenza.

Natarelli was first arrested at the age of 14, when he was charged with petit larceny. His juvenile arrest record grew to include six additional arrests for petit larceny, burglary and vagrancy.

Pasquale Natarelli in 1931

A 1931 burglary conviction resulted in a 90-day sentence at Erie County Penitentiary. The prison stay did little to deter him from a life of crime. By the end of 1933, his record included seven additional arrests for robbery, burglary, grand larceny and vagrancy.

As a member of the DiCarlo Gang, Natarelli became acquainted with Frederico Randaccio, John Cammilleri and the Pieri brothers. With them, he engaged in shaking down the operators of craps games and bookmaking parlors for protection payments.

On Jan. 17, 1934, four witnesses identified Natarelli as a member of a group of three bandits who held up a dice game in the rear of a Tonawanda, NY, tobacco store. Thirty patrons of the game were robbed at gunpoint of $2,400 in cash. Sam and Joseph Pieri also were arrested for participating in the holdup but were released after witnesses failed to identify them. Later investigation showed that the holdup was arranged by Joseph DiCarlo, described as "an individual who exercised considerable influence in gambling rackets in the Buffalo area" to discipline a gambling operator who failed to contribute a share of his profits.

Natarelli was sentenced to 15 years following conviction on a reduced charge of second-degree robbery. He was released early on Nov. 22, 1943, but sent back into Attica State Prison on Aug. 12, 1948, for violating parole by associating with Frederico Randaccio. His prison sentence expired Feb. 16, 1949.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, Natarelli was a key figure in the Buffalo gambling rackets supervised by Randaccio. He served 90 days in prison following a 1951 conviction for possession of policy slips. Eight years later, he was arrested in state police raids of western New York gambling establishments. He and Sam Frangiamore were convicted of conspiring to contrive a lottery and were sentenced to six months in county prison.

Pasquale Natarelli in 1962

By 1965, Natarelli was one of boss Stefano Magaddino's top lieutenants.

He was arrested in Toronto in 1965 with Albert, Eugene and Paul Volpe. The four men were charged with conspiracy and with extorting 100,000 shares of silver-mining stock from the president of a brokerage company. The case against them resulted in three mistrials and finally an acquittal.

Natarelli was taken into custody in 1966 following the Buffalo Police raid of the Blue Banner Social Club gambling parlor and again seven months later in the raid of Panaro's Lounge. In June 1967, he was arrested on federal conspiracy charges resulting from planned robberies in West Virginia and California.

Natarelli and codefendants Randaccio, Stephen Cino, Charles Caci and Louis Sorgi were convicted on Nov. 22, 1967, of violating the federal Hobbs Act, which made it a crime to conspire to obstruct interstate commerce. Natarelli and Randaccio were sentenced to maximum 20-year prison terms. The Magaddino Mafia organization was staggered by the loss of its top two Buffalo administrators.

Following his parole, the FBI learned that Natarelli had been moved into an underworld position in Niagara Falls. He had been granted permission to take a percentage of all gambling revenue in the city and was said to be shaking down larger bookmakers for his share of their profits.

Natarelli died April 22, 1993, at the age of 82. His final resting place lies a short distance from the grave of his lifetime underworld associate Frederico Randaccio.

Natarelli gravesite

Frederico Randaccio (July 1, 1907. - Oct. 4, 2004)

Frederico "Lupo" Randaccio was born in Palermo, July 1, 1907. His father Umberto (born Oct. 16, 1880) crossed the Atlantic early in 1910, arriving in the U.S. on Feb. 9, 1910. Frederico, his sister Eloisa and his mother Maria D'Amico Randaccio followed five months later, using the assumed surname of Fassi.

Frederico attended Buffalo public schools until the seventh grade. Following his thirteenth birthday in July 1920, he was arrested as a juvenile delinquent. A second juvenile delinquency arrest followed two years later.

As a member of Buffalo's DiCarlo Gang, Randaccio became acquainted with Pasquale "Pat Titters" Natarelli, John Cammilleri and the Pieri brothers. He also became well acquainted with the local authorities. He was arrested for gambling in 1925 and for bootlegging early in 1926.

One of the DiCarlo Gang's money-making rackets was extorting payments from bookmakers and operators of crap games. Randaccio became adept at extracting payments from gambling enterprises.

In 1928, he was fined $10 after being convicted of third-degree assault. A year later, he and his father were arrested on an open charge and questioned by police in connection with the murder of Joseph Syracuse.

Randaccio was sentenced to ten years in Elmira Reformatory following a September 1930 conviction for first-degree robbery. Released early, he was returned to prison for parole violation and remained there until June 11, 1941.

During the 1940s, Randaccio was closely associated with horserace wire rooms operated by Joseph DiCarlo and John Tronolone. Randaccio was questioned at length following the murder of anti-gambling crusader Edward Pospichal.

An honorable discharge after six months' service in the U.S. Army in 1945 allowed Randaccio to obtain his U.S. citizenship.

After DiCarlo's move to Youngstown, Ohio, Randaccio became the chief enforcer for Buffalo crime family leaders Vito "Buck Jones" Domiano, Angelo Acquisto and James "Julie" Caputo. Caputo's 1951 death allowed Randaccio to step into the role of Domiano's bodyguard and collector. The deaths of Acquisto in 1956 and Domiano in 1958 drew Randaccio up into the leadership of the western New York crime family commanded by Niagara Falls-based Stefano Magaddino. In 1958, Randaccio was Magaddino's chief lieutenant in Buffalo and overseer of all Mafia gambling operations in the city. At that time, Pasquale Natarelli became Randaccio's right-hand man. Randaccio's accession followed the Mafia's exposure at the Apalachin convention and coincided with an intensification of FBI efforts against racketeers. Randaccio was targeted by the Top Hoodlum Program initiated by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Randaccio's brother Victor and John Cammilleri helped to establish underworld control over Buffalo Local 210 of the International Laborers' Union.

Randaccio successfully quelled local opposition to Magaddino during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Independent-minded burglars Frank and Fred Aquino were murdered in September 1958, and Vincent Santangelo and Anthony Palestine met their violent ends in August 1961. Later that year, after Magaddino Crime Family narcotics trafficking became known to authorities, accused drug smuggler Alberto Agueci attempted to force Magaddino to provide financial support to himself and his brother, also charged with drug trafficking. Agueci's charred corpse was found in cornfield outside of Rochester on Nov. 23, 1961. FBI surveillance overheard Randaccio describing the disposal of Agueci's body.

Randaccio was arrested in the May 8, 1967, police raid on Panaro's Lounge. He and 35 others, including Joseph DiCarlo and Pasquale Natarelli, were charged with consorting with known criminals. At the time of the arrests, Randaccio flew into a rage and cursed law enforcement officers. The charges were later dismissed, but Randaccio's behavior and the failure of his political connections to warn him of the raid drew the ire of his boss Magaddino.

Randaccio, Natarelli, Stephen Cino, Charles Caci and Louis Sorgi subsequently faced federal conspiracy charges in connection with planned robberies in West Virginia and California. Testimony by mob informant Pascal Calabrese helped to convict all five defendants in November 1967. Randaccio and Natarelli were sentenced to 20-year terms in federal prison.

In the absence of the Magaddino Crime Family's top two Buffalo administrators, an anti-Magaddino faction took hold in the city's underworld.

Randaccio was paroled from prison at the age of 71. He had served 11 years of his conspiracy sentence. While law enforcement expected him to attempt to seize control of the Mafia in Buffalo, Randaccio instead settled into a quiet semi-retirement.

He died of natural causes, Oct. 4, 2004, at the age of 97.

Grave of Frederico Randaccio

Minnie Clark (July 1887-Nov. 20, 1959)

"Jew Minnie" Clark

Minnie Leventhal was born in Europe in July 1887 to Barthart and Rose Leventhal. Documents do not agree on the family's origin. The earliest points to Germany, while later documents indicate Russia. Minnie had two older sisters, Lillian and May. The family arrived in the U.S. in 1889 and was settled in Cheektowaga, NY, by the time of the 1900 Census. Barthart worked as sexton of a Jewish cemetery.

Minnie married Charles Zifle Clark in Chicago on Oct. 15, 1908. The marriage certificate listed her birthplace as New York. She and her husband returned to Cheektowaga, where they lived with the Leventhals. A daughter, Verna, was born to Charles and Minnie Clark the following year.

Minnie Clark

By 1920, the Clark family moved to Best Street in Buffalo. Charles was proprietor of a hotel but was earning a reputation as an inveterate gambler. Minnie Clark and daughter Verna were on their own by the following year. They lived at the Auto Inn in Williamsville, NY, where Minnie served as manager.

Auto Inn and other similar establishments in the area were repeatedly raided during the early days of the Prohibition Era. Minnie was arrested in the summer of 1921 when she was found in possession of a dozen bottles of whiskey.

During this period, "Jew Minnie," as she was widely known, was believed to be romantically involved with Giuseppe DiCarlo. After Giuseppe's death, similar rumors circulated about Minnie Clark and Giuseppe's son, Joseph DiCarlo.

An FBI report written in 1952 recalled the situation:

"At one time [Joseph DiCarlo] was engaged in business with, and apparently had as his paramour one Jew Minnie Clark, and with this woman for several years prior to 1924 operated a road house and speak-easy known as the Auto Rest in Williamsville, New York. It has been reported that this woman was formerly the paramour of DiCarlo's father."

Joseph DiCarlo became the principal owner of the road house in March 1922 and renamed the business Auto Rest. Clark, Joseph DiCarlo and two employees were arrested at the road house during a raid of Prohibition agents on Sept. 11, 1922. Newspapers reporting on the event described DiCarlo and Clark as man and wife, addressing Clark as "Minnie Clark DiCarlo." Though not legally married, the two reportedly were living together at Auto Rest at that time.

Minnie Clark and
daughter Verna

at the Auto Inn, 1921.

Later that year, Minnie Clark's name was mentioned by the press for a different reason: She won a silver cup for the most beautiful gown at the third annual ball of the Thomas J.B. Dyke Association.

Auto Rest was raided by the Ku Klux Klan on March 15, 1924. Red flares were ignited around the building and dozens of white robed and hooded men entered the road house to deliver a warning against the continued sale of alcohol.

Joseph DiCarlo did not remain in Minnie Clark's life. Late in 1924, he married Elsie Pieri. The next spring, he began a sentence in Atlanta Federal Prison for witness intimidation.

In February of 1927, Clark became manager of the Silver Slipper, a night club located at 560 Pearl Street in Buffalo. The night club was owned by Dan Rogers, manager of boxer Rocky Kansas and a close friend of the DiCarlo family. The 1930 Census found her living on Kensington Avenue in Cheektowaga with her daughter Verna and son-in-law Americo Bono. Clark reported that she was married and worked as a hotel proprietor.

The next year, she returned to the Auto Rest, and operated the business as a night club/restaurant under the name Mayfair Club. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Mayfair Club became Colonial Inn, operated by Minnie Clark and her husband Leo Brown.

Minnie passed away Nov. 20, 1959, at the age of 71.

[Sources include interview with Clark Bono, other interviews, U.S. Census records, marriage certificate, business certificates, newspaper reports.]

Minnie Clark obituary

Joseph DiCarlo (Nov. 1, 1899, - Oct. 11, 1980)

Joseph DiCarlo was once known as "the Al Capone of Buffalo" and, in 1932, Buffalo Police Commission Austin Roche labeled him "Public Enemy No. 1."

He was born in Vallelunga Sicily in 1899 to Giuseppe and Vincenza Grasso DiCarlo. He and his family entered the U.S. in 1905-06, settling first in New York City before moving on to Buffalo. There his father was the region's first known Sicilian underworld boss from 1908 to his death in 1922.

DiCarlo, still young and irresponsible at the time of his father's death, was rejected as heir to his father's criminal empire. After spending troubled years as a vassal of the influential Stefano Magaddino, DiCarlo and his underlings wandered, seeking their fortunes in Youngstown, Ohio, and Miami Beach, Florida.

DiCarlo returned home to advise and lead a Buffalo-based insurrection against Magaddino and establish an independent Buffalo Crime Family led by the DiCarlo-Pieri family.

After reigning as consigliere of that organization for more than a decade, DiCarlo died of natural causes in 1980.

Carlo Gambino (Aug. 24, 1902, - Oct. 15, 1976)

Born in Palermo, Sicily, Gambino is believed to have entered the U.S. illegally. A leading figure in the Gambino-Castellano faction within the D'Aquila-Mineo Mafia organization in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Gambino sided with Salvatore Maranzano in the Castellammarese War.

In the 1950s, following Albert Anastasia's rise to command, Gambino was named underboss of the crime family. He was tentatively supported as boss following the murder of Anastasia. Anastasia loyalists continued to resist him. One leader of that cause, Armand Thomas Rava, disappeared. Gambino eventually appointed another, Aniello Dellacroce, as his underboss.

Gambino died of a heart attack at his home on Long Island in 1976.

Frank Costello (Jan. 26, 1891, - Feb. 18, 1973)

Calabrian Costello entered the U.S. at age 4. He was raised in New York City and became well acquainted with the Italian communities in East Harlem and New York's Lower East Side. A trusted adviser of the Luciano organization following the Castellammarese War, Costello became boss of the organization in the 1930s after Luciano was imprisoned and underboss Vito Genovese fled to Italy to escape prosecution for murder. Costello oversaw Mafia investments in casinos and gambling devices. In 1957, Costello survived an assassination attempt by a Genovese gunman and decided to retire. He died of natural causes in 1973.

John Bazzano (May 22, 1890, - Aug. 6, 1932)

A native Calabrian, Bazzano rose to command the Mafia in Pittsburgh. He seized the leadership after having boss Giuseppe Siragusa murdered several days after Siragusa's protector, Salvatore Maranzano, was murdered in New York City. Bazzano dealt in similar fashion with Neapolitan rivals, the Volpe brothers. Bazzano had three of the brothers shot to death at his Rome Coffee Shop in Pittsburgh. Called before a council of Mafiosi in New York City, Bazzano provided no justification for his action against the Volpes. His body, bearing multiple stab wounds from ice picks, was found within a large sack in Brooklyn.

Albert Anastasia (Feb. 25, 1902, - Oct. 25, 1957)

A native Calabrian, Anastasia entered the U.S. illegally as a teenager. He found work on the docks in New York Harbor and engaged in waterfront racketeering. Following the Castellammarese War, he was recognized as underboss in the organization of Vincent Mangano (later the Gambino Crime Family). He is believed to have had Mangano and his brother murdered in 1951, when he took over the crime family as boss. During the 1950s, Anastasia attempted to establish an independent gambling presence in Cuba. Anastasia was shot to death while sitting in a barber's chair at the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City. His successor was Carlo Gambino.

Joe Aiello (Sep. 27, 1890, - Oct. 23, 1930)

Aiello succeeded to the leadership of the Sicilian Mafia in Prohibition Era Chicago after the departure of the Genna family. Aiello, a native of Bagheria, Sicily, lived for a time in Utica, NY, before settling in Chicago. His feud with Capone and the mediation of Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Masseria was a catalyst for the Castellammarese War. Aiello was shot to death by Capone gunmen Oct. 23, 1931, at the corner of Kolmar and West End Avenues in Chicago.