Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Informer index for 2008-09 available

An index to the five Informer issues published in 2008 and 2009 (Volumes 1 and 2) is now available for download through Scribd (see link below). Professionally printed and bound copies can be ordered through .

Informer: Mafia History Journal - Index for 2008 and 2009 issues

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vol. 2, No. 4: October 2009

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents

As Fidel Castro took control of Cuba a half century ago, it is commonly believed that he abruptly shut down Havana’s luxurious casinos and nightclubs and banished American racketeers from his island nation. While it is true that the end of Havana’s glitzy nightlife coincided with the final victory of Castro’s revolution, that end was not designed—or even sought—by the Cuban dictator. In addition, Castro’s relationships with American racketeers were far more complex than generally thought. His Cuban Revolution actually benefited from arms shipped to the island by American Mafiosi frustrated with the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista and hopeful of establishing a positive relationship with rising star Castro.

In the end, the casinos closed due to American reluctance to travel to postrevolution Cuba, despite Castro’s efforts to keep the tourist dollars flowing in. In this issue, we look back fifty years to the often misunderstood relationship between Castro and the Havana casinos (preview).

In his autobiography, Joseph Bonanno stated that the Buccellato clan of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, played no significant role in the American Mafia. It seems Bonanno ignored the
presence of Giuseppe Buccellato, a key figure in Bonanno’s own crime family and leader of Mafia rackets in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Historian Justin Dugard sets the record straight (preview).

Within this issue, we also look at Jack Ruby’s visit to Havana (preview) and at the membership of the early Bonanno Crime Family (preview). Books coverage includes an interview with Martha Sheldon, reviews and previews. Plus: A Look Back (preview), Ask the Informer (preview), and In the News (preview).

Fifty-six pages including cover and advertisements
Published October 19, 2009.

Castro and the Casinos

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents
Feature article

Until the success of Fidel Castro's revolution 50 years ago,
Havana Cuba was a playground for the wealthy
and a sanctuary for American Mafiosi

Castro and the Casinos
By Thomas Hunt

"A growing law enforcement threat at home in the early 1950s caused the American Mafia to transplant a number of its rackets to the island nation of Cuba - just outside United States jurisdiction. Protected by a friendly and thoroughly corrupt Cuban administration, the underworld pumped millions of dollars into gambling and narcotics enterprises on the island. The Cuban capital became a playground for wealthy tourists and a paradise for organized criminals."

Nineteen and a half pages article body
Four and a half pages endnotes
Eighteen images

Jack Ruby visits Havana in 1959

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents
Feature article

Jack Ruby visits
Havana in 1959

"Jack Ruby of Dallas, a prominent character in an American drama in 1963, appears to have played a role in the departure of American racketeers from Cuba four years earlier. How big a role he played remains uncertain."

Three pages
Two images

Giuseppe Buccellato & the Bushwick crew

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents
Feature article

Giuseppe Buccellato
and the Bushwick crew
By Justin Dugard

"Though overshadowed by a number of his peers, Giuseppe Buccellato was a high-ranking member of the Bonanno Family during the Natale Evola and Philip Rastelli regimes."

Five pages
Eight images

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Ask the Informer: William Flynn and the NYPD

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents
Ask the Informer

Question: New Yorker William Flynn reached the top spot in both the U.S. Secret Service and the federal Bureau of Investigation. What do we know of Flynn's experiences as an official of the New York Police Department?

A Look Back

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents
A Look Back

100 years ago:
  • Black Hand ring leader in Connecticut is sentenced.
  • Black Hander claims to be victim of extortion.
  • Mafia counterfeiters are arrested.
75 years ago:
  • Future mob boss commits a murder
  • Criminal lawyer dies.
50 years ago:
  • Dallas nightclub owner visits Cuba
  • Future NY Mafia boss convicted of obstructing investigation.
Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

In the News

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents

In the News:

  • NY Lucchese clan clobbered.
  • Gotti goes on trial for fourth time.
  • Plea deals likely for South Florida Bonanno crew.
  • Anastasia nephew on trial for racketeering.
  • Gambino soldier Carneglia gets life prison sentence.
  • 'Saint' wants plot charges dropped.
  • New England's Gennario Angiulo dies at 90.
  • Mafia Cops witness Kaplan dies at 75.

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Bonanno Mafia Membership, 1900-1940s

Vol. 2, Issue 4, October 2009 Contents
Membership Chart

Researcher Bill Feather provides a chart of dozens of known and suspected Bonanno Crime Family members from the 1900-1940s era. Names, aliases, birth-death-immigration data, birthplaces and ranks are provided.

Three and a half pages

Ad: On the Rock book

On the Rock: 25 Years in Alcatraz
New Special Edition 2009
The personal prison story of Alvin Karpis, the longest-serving inmate of Alcatraz penitentiary.

Ad: The Case Against Lucky Luciano

The Case Against Lucky Luciano

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"Poulsen offers hoot after hoot while profiling the likes of Madame Supreme Polly Adler and riotous redoubtable Cokey Flo." - ALA Booklist.

Ad: Deep Water book

Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia

Joseph P. Macheca served as street warrior for the corrupt New Orleans Democratic machine, as pioneer of the Crescent City's fruit trade, and, according to legend, as "godfather" of the first Mafia organization to germinate on American soil.

Ad: On the Spot Journal

On the Spot Journal

On the Spot is the authority on Gangster Era history. Every issue features a rich and entertaining mix of articles, book and movie reviews, photographs and event announcements.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

1909 Newspaper: Petrosino to be forgotten

Interesting quote about a $450 candle constructed in memory of NYPD Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino and scheduled to be burned in a New York cathedral:

"Poor fools! One century hence the world will know not that Joe Petrosino ever lived, and the candle will be forgot long before that."
The comment came from the Lexington (KY) Blue Grass Blade, May 2, 1909. Strangely, the original Blue Grass Blade - an outspoken atheist newspaper - ceased publication one year after that prediction and is, itself, largely forgotten, while the memory of Petrosino certainly lingers. (The Blade's name recently has been used by a Lexington atheist organization.)

Informer remembered Joseph Petrosino and his NYPD Italian Squad in its January 2009 issue.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hunt discusses Danbury CT murder

The 1909 Mafia murder in Danbury, Connecticut, was the discussion topic at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society on Oct. 8, 2009. Informer Editor Thomas Hunt spoke to a small audience of 15 people about the slaying of farmer Giovanni Zarcone and that event's connections to the Morello Mafia organization of New York. He traced Zarcone back to his Sicilian roots in Bagheria and tracked his eventful life from his arrival in Manhattan in 1901, through the infamous Mafia Barrel Murder of 1903 to his ambush on a quiet country road on July 27, 1909.

On the 100th anniversary of the Danbury murder, a Hunt article on the 1909 murder was published in Informer: The Journal of American Mafia History. The Oct. 8 discussion was arranged by Brigid Guertin and Diane Hassan of the Danbury Museum and Historical Society.

The text of the Oct. 8 remarks can be downloaded through the service:
(A free Scribd account is required for download.)

The July issue of Informer, featuring the history of the Zarcone murder, also can be downloaded from the service:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hunt's remarks on Zarcone mystery

The text of Informer editor Thomas Hunt's Oct. 8, 2009, remarks at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society is available for download through the service:

A companion booklet of images relating to the 1909 Mafia Murder in Danbury, Connecticut, can also be downloads:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hunt to discuss 1909 Mafia murder

Informer editor Thomas Hunt will discuss "The 1909 Mafia Murder in Danbury, Connecticut," on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009, 7 p.m., at Huntington Hall, Danbury Museum and Historical Society, 43 Main Street.

A collection of images, news clippings and maps related to this topic is available through the service (a free membership may be required to view this document):

1909 Mafia Murder in Danbury