Saturday, November 20, 2010

Special Mattix-memorial issue planned

Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement will publish a winter issue dedicated to the memory of the publication's Editorial Director Rick Mattix. (The release date has been penciled in for Feb. 14, 2011.) Rick, a highly regarded historian and mentor to true crime authors, died Oct. 27 at the age of 57.

ALL ADVERTISING INCOME from this issue will be forwarded directly to Rick Mattix's surviving family. So, this issue represents an opportunity for crime historians to promote their own works while making a special contribution to Rick's loved ones.

For this special issue, advertising prices have been reduced to:
$100 for a full-page (7.5 x 10.5 inches) ad
$ 55 for a half-page (7.5 x 5 inches) ad
$ 15 for a business-card-sized (3.5 x 2 inches) ad.

December 17, 2010, is the final day for submitting ad copy and payment. All payments must be sent through Paypal to . (If you agree to purchase an ad through email to that address, a bill will be emailed to you through the Paypal service. Paypal accepts major credit cards and cash transfers as payment.)

Writers interested in submitting items for this special winter issue should send them to by next Friday, Nov. 26. The journal welcomes well-researched articles of any length on any subject relating to American crime and law enforcement history.

Those who personally knew and/or worked with Rick Mattix are also encouraged to submit letters describing their experiences for inclusion in this issue.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rick Mattix (1953-2010), author, researcher

    Rick “Mad Dog” Mattix, 57, of Bussey, Iowa, died Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. He was born on September 21, 1953, at Oskaloosa, Iowa, the son of Virgil and Aletha McKim Mattix. He graduated from Twin Cedars High School with the class of 1971. Following high school Rick went to work for a local factory. He retired from there in 1998, after an accident.
    Rick’s passion in life was researching gangster history; he was a world renowned author, researcher and historian on the subject. He was known by the gangster community as the “Godfather” of gangster history. He had appeared on the History Channel and on an A&E Biography program, speaking on gangster history. He has written several books on the subject - including The Complete Public Enemy Almanac coauthored with his friend William Helmer - and his knowledge will be greatly missed. In July 2010, Rick announced that he and Thomas Hunt would partner in the operation of quarterly journal Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement.
    On April 28, 2000, he was united in marriage to Linda Steele at Bussey. He took Linda all over the country doing research. He will be remembered as a one of a kind person that never had a harsh word for anyone. He was an avid dog lover. He was a strong supporter of Indian rights and the National Rifle Association. He enjoyed listening to the Beatles and enjoyed a laid-back life.
    He is survived by his wife Linda Mattix of Bussey; two stepsons: Adam Steele of Bussey and Eli Steele of Des Moines; a very close grandson: Ridge Steele; a sister and her husband: Pamela and Terry Bonnett of Bussey; and two brothers: Duane and Barbara Mattix in Georgia, and Leland Mattix of Chicago, Illinois; his father in law: Kenny Hunt of Lacey; and many nieces and nephews.
    Rick was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers: Delmar and Darrel Mattix and Frank Wignal; and three sisters: Beverly McDaniels, Delores DeVore, and Patty Wilson; and his mother in law: Darlene Hunt.
    Funeral services for Rick Mattix, will be held Sunday, October 31, 2010, at 3 p.m. in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa with Pastor Alvern Boetsma officiating. As was Rick’s wish his body will be cremated following the funeral. The Bates Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Visitation will begin Saturday after 12 noon in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa and then continue until 6 p.m. on Saturday. Visitation will begin again on Sunday morning after 10 a.m. and the family will be at the funeral chapel on Sunday afternoon from 1:30 - 3 to greet friends and relatives. Memorials may be made to the Rick Mattix Memorial Fund.
    To send condolences to the Rick Mattix family, send e-mails to:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 2010 issue of Informer

October 2010 contents

Following the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the murders of John Scalise, Albert Anselmi and Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta, Chicago gang boss Alphonse Capone found himself targeted by law enforcement as well as underworld rivals. His summer 1929 jailing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, following a brief visit to Atlantic City, New Jersey, is viewed by many historians as more than a coincidence. 

It is often referred to as a Capone-orchestrated plot to shield the crime boss. While the possibility of Capone’s involvement in setting up his own arrest remains a mystery, in this issue, Thomas Hunt shows that Capone did not act like a willing prisoner and worked continuously to regain his liberty (preview).

In “Eastern State Penitentiary: A Bastion of Solitude,” Gregory Peduto examines the history of the famous penal institution that served as Capone’s home for most of his long stay in Philadelphia (preview). Additional coverage related to the Capone incarceration includes a collection of Capone’s comments to Philadelphia Director of Public Safety Lemuel Schofield, the text of English novelist Charles Dickens’ harsh criticism of Eastern State Penitentiary, a discussion of the famous photo of Capone and Atlantic City underworld leader Enoch “Nucky” Johnson strolling the Boardwalk together (preview), and Bill Feather’s chart of the Philadelphia Mafia Family membership (preview).

In addition, this issue features “A Room for Two” by Chriss Lyon, which explains the presence of gangsters Gus Winkeler and John Moran in Berrien County, Michigan (preview); an interview of freelance archivist Arthur Nash; and a review of Ron Chepesiuk’s new book, Sergeant Smack (preview).

Sixty pages
including cover and advertisements
Published October 7, 2010.

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Capone's long stay in Philly

October 2010 contents
Feature article

Never before imprisoned, Chicago’s underworld boss
may have underestimated a weapons charge in 1929.
80 years later, crime historians still argue about

Al Capone’s long
stay in Philadelphia

By Thomas Hunt

"On May 16, 1929, Chicago gang leader Al Capone and his bodyguard Frankie Rio were arrested as they exited a Philadelphia movie theater. The two men pleaded guilty to possession of concealed deadly weapons the following day and were sentenced to serve a year in prison. It was Capone’s first prison term. His treatment in Philadelphia was a dramatic change from the customary question-and-release law enforcement pattern in Chicago."

"Through the more than eighty years since the event, gangland historians have speculated that Capone deliberately set up the arrest and imprisonment to escape the wrath of rival gangsters, to appease underworld
higher-ups or to plan in guarded security the complete takeover of Chicago’s rackets."

Eighteen Pages including three pages of notes, two sidebar stories, twelve images.

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Eastern State: Bastion of solitude

October 2010 contents
Feature article

Alcatraz may rank as the world’s most fabled house of correction
but another institution spawned hundreds of imitators and
forever changed the history of penology

Eastern State Penitentiary:
A bastion of solitude

By Gregory Peduto

"Through much of recorded history, prisons were little more than dungeons constructed to inflict the maximum amount of punishment upon wrongdoers. With fetid conditions and severe corporal punishment, a person sentenced to an early “gaol” was unlikely to emerge alive." Six pages with four images.

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Room for Two: Winkeler and Moran

October 2010 Contents
Feature Article

Located along the busy route from Chicago to Detroit,
Berrien County was a popular stop for Prohibition Era gangsters

Room for two:
Winkeler and Moran

By Chriss Lyon

"Chicago became synonymous with the Gangster Era, but Chicago gangsters often strayed beyond the city limits. When Windy City racketeers felt in need of a change in scenery, the plentiful resorts and beaches of Berrien County in nearby southwest Michigan beckoned." Seven pages including notes and five images.

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Capone and Nucky Johnson, arm-in-arm

October 2010 contents

After eighty years, controversy still
surrounds Capone-Johnson photo

The photograph shows Chicago gang boss Al Capone walking down Atlantic City’s Boardwalk arm-in-arm with city political boss and underworld czar Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. It establishes the two men as friends and illustrates the bond between organized criminals of different regions of the country. There’s only one problem: Many believe the photo to be a fake.

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Criminal syndicates in Pennsylvania

October 2010 contents
Feature article
Agency document

Criminal syndicates
in Pennsylvania

By the Pennsylvania Crime Commission, 1970.

Excerpt from the Report on Organized Crime, Pennsylvania Crime Commission, 1970, examines the composition, history, leadership and enterprises of the five U.S. Mafia families involved in rackets within Pennsylvania - Philadelphia/Bruno, Scranton/Bufalino, Pittsburgh/LaRocca, New Jersey/DeCavalcante, Buffalo NY/Magaddino. Eight pages including notes.

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Books and Television

October 2010 Contents
Books, Television

Books and Television coverage in the October issue of Informer includes:
- Preview of HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
- Review of Ron Chepesiuk's Sergeant Smack.
- Announcement of Deep Water second edition.
- Notes on new releases - "Into the Heart of the Mafia," "Lucky Luciano: The Real and the Fake Gangster," "Gangsters of Virtue," "Jersey Boy," "Unsolved Crimes."

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Philadelphia Mafia Chart

October 2010 Contents
Membership Charts
by Bill Feather

The October issue includes a 1910-1960s Philadelphia Mafia Membership Chart by Bill Feather. The four-page chart includes dozens of documented and suspected Mafiosi along with birth, death, immigration, relationship, rank and other information.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Informer total readership tops 33,000

Readership of all Informer issues and indexes published to date has topped 33,000. The July 2010 issue, already accessed 412 times in print and electronic editions, has brought the publication's total readership figure to 33,191*. The total jumped more than 40 percent in the three months between May 6 and August 7, 2010.

Indexes remain the most popular of Informer's publications. The two indexes published to date have combined for about 13,000 readers, leaving the non-index issue readership total at 20,131 (a three-month increase of just under 40 percent).

The single most popular Informer issue remains April 2009. That issue, focused on the Mafia in Chicago, has a readership of 4,094. Currently, the issue with the quickest growing readership is April 2010, focused on Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo. Its numbers have nearly quadrupled since May. The seven non-index issues - excluding the one just released at the end of July - have averaged 2,817 readers.

Informer's print and electronic editions - distributed through and - remain available indefinitely. Over time, the issues become incorporated into Internet search engine databases, resulting in dramatic increases in readership.

Issue reader totals as of August 7, 2010 
(compared with three months earlier):
Sep 2008 issue - v1n1 - 3738 readers, up 18.8%
Jan 2009 issue - v2n1 - 3051 readers, up 19.8%
Apr 2009 issue - v2n2 - 4094 readers, up 31.2%
-Index v1n1 thru v2n2 - 7059 readers, up 29.4%
Jul 2009 issue - v2n3 - 3294 readers, up 34.2%
Oct 2009 issue - v2n4 - 2335 readers, up 36.2%
-Index v1n1 thru v2n4 - 6001 readers, up 59.1%
Jan 2010 issue - v3n1 - 2357 readers, up 90.1%
Apr 2010 issue - v3n2 - 850 readers, up 388.5%
Jul 2010 issue - v3n3 - 412 readers.

* Note: The service shows a higher total. It calculates that the electronic edition alone has accumulated 34,340 readers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mattix, Hunt combine to lead new Informer


      July 29, 2010 - The publishers of two quarterly true-crime journals plan to pool their resources in a new, combined publication. Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement, set to launch in October, will provide informative and well-documented historical articles on crime, organized crime, policing and penology.
      Rick Mattix (right) has been publisher and editor of the On the Spot Journal of Crime and Law Enforcement since fall of 2006. Thomas Hunt has held a similar role with Informer: The Journal of American Mafia History since fall of 2008. Mattix’s publication specialized in the history of the gangster era - the 1920s and 30s, while Hunt’s dealt exclusively with the history of the American Mafia.
      “Though I never thought of us as being in competition with each other,” Hunt said, “it’s clear there was considerable overlap in our publications. In fact, before launching Informer, I wrote several Mafia history articles for On the Spot. So, this seems a natural combination.”
      Mattix said, “I am pleased to participate in the new Informer, which I believe will be a worthy successor to both its parent journals as well as expanding our previous horizons in the history of American crime and crime control.”

      Hunt (left) will serve as publisher of the new Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement. He also will perform copy editing and page design tasks. Mattix will serve as editorial director and will be responsible for article acquisition and issue contents.
      The new publication will be distributed in electronic and print editions. The low-cost electronic edition will be distributed through the document sharing service. Individual electronic issues will be priced at $5 (US), with annual subscriptions available for $18. The high quality print edition will be produced and shipped by HP’s international print-on-demand service The cost of individual print edition issues, including shipping, is estimated to be just under $20. Annual subscriptions to the print edition will be offered at a price of $75.
      For more information on the publication, return to this website. Informer can also be found on Twitter (ID: informerjournal) and Facebook (



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MagCloud 50%-off "flash sale" July 20, printer of Informer's hardcopy edition, is scheduling two-hour 50%-off sales on July 19 and 20. The sales represent a rare opportunity to fill gaps in your Informer collection at bargain prices.

The next MagCloud 50%-off "flash sale" is scheduled for:
July 20 between 10 a.m. and noon Eastern Daylight Time (7-9 a.m. PDT).

Click here to preview or purchase Informer issues through MagCloud.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Informer issues available for iPad

Special announcement:
Issues of Informer can be read on your iPad device using the new MagCloud app downloadable from . All Informer issues are currently available free of charge (limited time).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

MagCloud 50%-off "flash sale" July 19, printer of Informer's hardcopy edition, is scheduling two-hour 50%-off sales on July 19 and 20. The sales represent a rare opportunity to fill gaps in your Informer collection at bargain prices.

The first MagCloud 50%-off "flash sale" is scheduled for:
July 19 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Click here to preview or purchase Informer issues through MagCloud.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vol. 3, No. 3: July 2010

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010
Issue Contents

Since the American Civil War, Louisiana underworld organizations have exhibited the ability to project their influence far beyond the state’s borders. Mafiosi from the Pelican State have left their marks on the criminal histories of Florida’s Gulf coast, central and eastern Texas and southern California. In this issue of Informer, we illustrate this point through three very different feature articles.

We lead off with Richard N. Warner’s in-depth look at Vito DiGiorgio, the earliest known boss of a united southern California Mafia (preview). Warner pays special attention to DiGiorgio’s rise through the Mafia of southern Louisiana and his continued reliance on a New Orleans powerbase until his May 1922 assassination.

Thomas Hunt follows with a look at the Piranio-Civello Mafia of interior Texas (preview). That organization, too, had roots in Louisiana. The Piranio family migrated to Dallas from the Shreveport area, and the Civellos moved into Texas from East Baton Rouge.

The final article, by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon, deals with the earliest known Mafia War in the United States (preview). That conflict was fought by Palermo– and Messina-oriented factions in New Orleans during the Reconstruction Period. Surprisingly, even at that early date, the fledgling underworld organizations of Louisiana had established colonies in the area of Galveston and Houston, Texas.

We also include membership charts for the Texas and New Orleans Mafia families by Bill Feather (preview), A Look Back (preview), book reviews and notes (preview), and current events and obituaries (preview).

Sixty pages
including cover and advertisements
Published July 13, 2010.

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DiGiorgio: First crime boss of Los Angeles?

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010 Contents
Feature article

Before Dragna called the shots, the southern California Mafia
took its orders from a relocated New Orleans grocer.
Might the mysterious Vito DiGiorgio have been...

The first crime boss
of Los Angeles?

By Richard N. Warner

"In many people's minds, Los Angeles organized crime began with Jack Dragna, Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel and Mickey Cohen. Some secondary sources go so far as to list Dragna as the first Mafia boss in southern California. Through the help of informants, organized crime specialists with the Federal Bureau of Investigation were able to turn the clock back a bit before Dragna's reign, discovering bosses Joe Ardizzone and Rosario DeSimone. One underworld chronicler provides a glimpse into the more distant past and describes the man who was possibly the first Mafia chieftain of Los Angeles. In 1960s-era memoirs and interviews, Mafioso Nicola 'Zio Cola' Gentile described a previously unknown southern California boss by the name of Vito DiGiorgio."

Twelve pages
including two pages of notes.
Five images.

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The Mafia of Dallas, 1910-1970

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010 Contents
Feature article

Too long dismissed as merely a "satellite'
of the older New Orleans organization

The Mafia of Dallas

By Thomas Hunt

"Like other Mafia organizations across the American south, the Dallas Mafia grew from Louisiana roots. In fact some believe the Sicilian-Italian underworld in Dallas was never more than a "satellite" of the older and more influential Mafia of New Orleans. It may be a mistake to consider the Dallas organization to be merely a crew of the New Orleans crime family. However, beginning before the First World War and continuing more than half a century, the Sicilian underworld bosses of Dallas all were transplanted from and maintained connections with the Pelican State."

Fifteen pages
including two pages of notes
Thirteen images including a regional map.

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America's first Mafia war, 1868-1872

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010 Contents
Feature Article

New Orleans, Louisiana, was home to the earliest
Sicilian criminal society in the United States.
In 1868-1872, the city also hosted...

America's first
Mafia war

By Thomas Hunt
and Martha Macheca Sheldon

"Late in the 1868 Presidential election season, a large, heavily armed Democratic organization known as the Innocenti took to the streets of New Orleans' French Quarter in an effort to break up Republican meetings and to discourage newly enfranchised African-Americans from casting ballots for Republican nominee... No one could have imagined that a single event that night would lead to a protracted gang war and would plant the seed of a united, regional Sicilian criminal organization."

Thirteen pages
including two pages of notes.
Nine images including a map of New Orleans.

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Book News and Reviews

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010 Contents
Book News and Reviews
  • Experience the Big Easy through "Mr. New Orleans" by Brouillette and Randazzo.
  • Chepesiuk's latest volume explores the "Gangsters of Miami."
  • Harmon's "Mafia Son" available in paperback.
Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

A Look Back

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010 Contents
A Look Back
  • 25 years ago: Trial begins in Boston for six accused Mafia leaders; Italian police arrest more than 100 Mafia suspects.
  • 75 years ago: Dutch Schultz escapes tax evasion charge; Lupo is arrested for conspiracy.
  • 100 years ago: Pittsburgh man charged with counterfeiting.
Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Texas, New Orleans Membership Charts

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010 Contents
Membership Charts
by Bill Feather

In the July issue, we present two Mafia membership charts by Bill Feather: New Orleans, 1920s-1970s, and Texas, 1900-1970s. Each chart includes more than 50 members and provides birth/death/immigration data, nicknames, underworld ranks and other information.

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

In the News

Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2010 Contents

In the News:
  • Rivals move against Rizzutos of Montreal.
  • Man framed for murder gets $9.9 million.
  • Sammartino pleads guilty to loansharking.
  • Brooklyn Massullo brothers sentenced to prison.
  • Palumbo indicted for 1992 mob murder.
  • Buffalo's Cohen charged with gambling.
  • Rossetti faces drug-related charges.
  • Las Vegas Mob Experience to open in December.
  • Gatto of New Jersey dies at 65.
  • Seattle's Colacurcio dies at 93.
  • Aleman of Chicago, 71, dies in prison hospital.
  • Montreal's Cuntrera and bodyguard murdered.
  • Riccobene grandson is murdered near home.
  • Anastasio, 81, an apparent suicide.
Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Informer readership figures

The average readership of individual Informer (non-index) issues has grown to 2,057, a jump of 17% since Feb. 4. That average was held down by the recent release of the April 2020 issue, which has reached just 174 readers to date. Excluding that April issue leaves an average readership of more than 2,370. Readership of Informer's two published indexes climbed to 9,229, a jump of nearly 38% over February. Informer publications (regular issues and indexes) to date have totaled 23,627 readers. Most of Informer's readers - more than 99% of them - prefer to read the electronic edition of the periodical than to order its print edition.

Sep 2008 issue - v1n1 - 3147 readers, up 13.2%
Jan 2009 issue - v2n1 - 2547 readers, up 21.9%
Apr 2009 issue - v2n2 - 3120 readers, up 34.8%
-Index v1n1 thru v2n2 - 5456 readers, up 20.5%
Jul 2009 issue - v2n3 - 2455 readers, up 30.4%
Oct 2009 issue - v2n4 - 1715 readers, up 56.5%
-Index v1n1 thru v2n4 - 3773 readers, up 73.6%
Jan 2010 issue - v3n1 - 1240 readers, up 217.1%
Apr 2010 issue - v3n2 - 174 readers

Average readership for a (non-index) journal issue:
2057 readers, up 17% from February 2010.

'Mafia Son' bookreading May 17

"Mafia Son" author Sandra Harmon will appear at the Ellington Room, Manhattan Plaza (400 W. 43rd St., 2nd floor, at 9th Ave.) in New York at 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 17, to read from her book and answer audience questions. "Mafia Son" is the story of Gregory Scarpa Jr., Colombo crime family capo and government informant.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Look Back

Historic underworld events from the month of April:
  • 01 Apr 1869 - New Orleans Mafia boss Raffaele Agnello is shot to death.
  • 02 Apr 1973 - New York Mafioso Frank "Funzi" Tieri is arrested and charged with loansharking.
  • 03 Apr 1941 - Harry Maione and Frank Abbandando are convicted - in their second trial - of the murder of George Rudnick.
  • 04 Apr 1927 - Chicago Detective Dan Healy shoots and kills North Side gangster Vincent "the Schemer" Drucci.
  • 04 Apr 1931 - After hiding out for 10 weeks, Dutch Schultz shows up for questioning by the NYPD related to a Jan. 24 nightclub brawl.
  • 05 Apr 1884 - The lifeless body of Camillo Farach is found in a field on Staten Island.
  • 06 Apr 1890 - Provenzano-Matranga feud erupts with a Provenzano attack on a wagon carrying Matranga workers. Two men are seriously injured.
  • 06 Apr 2009 - Federal agents arrest reputed Bonanno boss Salatore Montagna and plan to deport him to his native Canada.
  • 07 Apr 1972 - Renegade New York Mafioso "Crazy Joey' Gallo is shot and killed at Umberto's Clam House in Manhattan.
  • 08 Apr 1962 - New York mobster Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo disappears.
  • 09 Apr 1913 - Amadeo Buonomo, believed to be a member of Aniello Prisco's East Harlem gang, dies from a gunshot wound to the head.
  • 09 Apr 1974 - In Detroit, Anthony and Vito Giacalone are acquitted of income tax evasion.
  • 09 Apr 1984 - Four hundred law enforcement agents raid homes and businesses from New York to the Midwest to break up the Pizza Connection heroin ring.
  • 10 Apr 1959 - Santo Trafficante-backed Sans Souci nightclub in Havana is closed due to financial problems.
  • 10 Apr 1977 - John Lardiere, out of prison on a two-day Easter furlough, is found shot to death at the Red Bull Inn in Bridgewater NJ.
  • 11 Apr 1974 - Anthony Russo wins release from prison after agreeing to testify before NJ crime commission.
  • 11 Apr 1920 - Counterfeiter Giuseppe Calicchio is paroled from Atlanta Federal Prison.
  • 12 Apr 1914 - On Sumner Street in East Boston, Antonio Messina is shot three times but claims he did not see the gunman.
  • 14 Apr 1887 - Believed responsible for an 1881 Mafia killing, Antonio Flaccomio is attacked in New York but escapes.
  • 14 Apr 1903 - The body of Benedetto Madonia is found within a barrel left at New York's 11th Street and Avenue D.
  • 15 Apr 1931 - Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria is assassinated during lunch at Coney Island's Nuova Villa Tammaro restaurant, 2715 W. 15th Street.
  • 16 Apr 1912 - Calogero Morello, son of jailed Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello, is shot to death in an East Harlem gunfight.
  • 16 Apr 1957 - Former Chicago underworld boss Johnny Torrio dies of natural causes in New York.
  • 17 Apr 1959 - Genovese crime family leaders are convicted of narcotics trafficking. Vito Genovese is sentenced to 15 years.
  • 19 Apr 1951 - The body of New York Mafioso Philip Mangano is found in a marsh near Jamaica Bay.
  • 22 Apr 1907 - Trial of 13 Italians accused of Black Hand society membership begins in Wilkes Barre, PA.
  • 23 Apr 1918 - Vito Genovese is arrested for felonious assault in Queens, NY.
  • 24 Apr 1903 - Chicago Mafioso Anthony D'Andrea is sentenced to 13 months in Joliet for counterfeiting.
  • 24 Apr 1965 - Former New York gang leader Owen Madden dies of natural causes in a Hot Springs, AR, hospital.
  • 27 Apr 1951 - Kings County District Attorney's office questions Mafia boss Frank Costello about the murder of Philip Mangano.
  • 27 Apr 2009 - Angelo Prisco, 69, reputed Genovese Crime Family lieutenant, is convicted of conspiring to kill his first cousin on orders from boss Vincent Gigante.
  • 28 Apr 1906 - Anthony Accardo, future Chicago crime boss, is born.
  • 28 Apr 2009 - Chicago jury convicts former deputy U.S. Marshal John T. Ambrose of leaking information about a federal racketeering witness.
  • 29 Apr 1914 - "Johnny Dio" Dioguardi, future New York labor racketeer, is born.
  • 29 Apr 1960 - Dioguardi, 46, is sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vol. 3, No. 2: April 2010

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents

One hundred years ago, the U.S. government scored an impressive victory over an interstate counterfeiting operation administered by New York-based Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello.
A mountain of evidence gathered over a period of years by Secret Service agent William Flynn secured the conviction of Morello, his lieutenant and brother-in-law Ignazio Lupo and a number of their associates. The 1910 counterfeiting case revealed the methods, the hierarchy and the influence of the American Mafia. In this expanded issue, we look at that landmark case as well as at the incarceration of the Sicilian underworld leaders.

We start with excerpts from the story told by informant Antonio Comito to Secret Service investigators (preview). An out-ofwork printer, Comito claimed that Morello’s Mafia forced him to work at the production of counterfeit American and Canadian currency. Comito was the prosecution’s key witness at the Morello-Lupo trial.

A timeline (preview) shows the significant events during the imprisonment of the Morello counterfeiters. The courtroom testimony of several defense witnesses, including Ignazio Lupo himself, is presented next (preview). Morello’s long prison sentence dethroned him as Mafia boss of bosses and also sent him into a deep depression. We look within surviving correspondence and other prison records for evidence of the jailed underworld leader’s emotional struggle (preview).

Finally, we examine the life and career of William Flynn, whose detective work made him the nemesis of counterfeiters and also the terror of American radicals (preview).

The issue also includes an early Gambino Crime Family membership chart by Bill Feather (preview), Ask the Informer (preview), and A Look Back (preview).

Eighty pages including cover and advertisements
Published April 2, 2010.

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Comito's story

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

Trapped into working for a band of counterfeiters,
an immigrant printer lived and toiled alongside Mafiosi
and came face-to-face with boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello
Comito's story
By Antonio Comito

"The reader will pardon me, if, in reading this story of my life in New York, there are errors of language and periods not well expressed. During the latter part of 1908 and a good part of 1909, I had occasion to know many malefactors who horrified me from the very start, and whom I gradually came to fear as I studied their brutal character. I refrained from denouncing these men to the police because I was constantly in danger of losing my life had I done so."

Ten pages
Seven images

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Imprisonment timeline

Vol 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents

Imprisonment Timeline

Nov 15 - Secret Service agents from William Flynn's New York office arrest Giuseppe Morello and a number of his associates, charging them with counterfeiting.
Nov 17 - New York Police arrest Ignazio Lupo for extortion."

Four pages

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Witnesses for the defense

Vol 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo hoped alibis
would save them from counterfeiting convictions
Witnesses for the defense

"Confronted with the prosecution's mountain of evidence against them, counterfeiting defendants Ignazio "the Wolf" Lupo and Giuseppe Morello attempted in early February 1910 to establish alibis... Excerpts from trial testimony held in the National Archives."

Sixteen pages
including one and a half pages of notes
Four images and one map

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Boss of bosses despairs in prison

Vol 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

Morello prison correspondence, health records
reveal him as brooding, sickly and suspicious

Mafia boss of bosses
despairs in prison
By Thomas Hunt

"Convicted of counterfeiting, Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo were incarcerated within the United States Penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia, on February 21, 1910. They were assigned consecutive numbers in the prison register. Morello, whose reign as boss of bosses of the American Mafia was brought to an end by his conviction, became Prisoner No. 2882. His brother-in-law and Mafia lieutenant Lupo became No. 2883. The two men were locked away in separate cells and had very different experiences while in prison."

Twelve pages
Six images
Correspondence chart

Nemesis of counterfeiters: William Flynn

Vol. 3, Issue 1, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

The dismantling of the Morello Mafia leadership
was one highlight in a long law enforcement career

Nemesis of Counterfeiters:
William J. Flynn
By Thomas Hunt

In 1910, much of the early Mafia network in New York was dismantled through the efforts of a tenacious and resourceful Secret Service agent named William J. Flynn. Flynn had spent years building a counterfeiting case against Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello and his henchmen. While Flynn won great notoriety for the successful conclusion of the Morello counterfeiting trial and related prosecutions, that case was just one highlight in a law enforcement career that spanned a quarter-century and included all levels of government.

Twenty-three pages
including four and a half pages of notes
Thirteen images

Ask the Informer: Morello crime family descendant

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Ask the Informer

Question: What became of the Morello-Lupo Mafia organization? Is there a current crime family in New York that can claim to be a direct descendant?

A Look Back

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
A Look Back

50 years ago:
  • A labor racketeer is sentenced to four years for income tax evasion.
  • Lewis McWillie becomes a pit boss for a Trafficante-run casino in Havana.
25 years ago:
  • Leaders of NYs crime families are indicted for racketeering.

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Gambino Mafia Membership, 1910s-40s

Vol. 3, Issue 1, April 2010 Contents
Membership Chart

Researcher Bill Feather provides a chart including 150 known and suspected members of the Gambino Crime Family from the 1910s-40s era. Names, aliases, birth-death-immigration years, birthplaces and underworld ranks are shown.

Six pages

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gangster museum opens in New York

The Museum of the American Gangster, 80 St. Marks Place in New York City, opens its doors this spring. A special pre-opening event is scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 7.

The museum, constructed within an East Village structure that once housed a Prohibition Era speakeasy, includes 800 square feet of gallery space. It features artifacts and documents related to organized crime.

Lorcan Otway and Eric Ferrara founded the museum with assistance from crime historians and descendants of crime figures. Hours of operation will be noon to 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

Admission during the preview period is priced at $10.
For more information, visit:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vol. 3, No. 1: January 2010

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents

Before anything else, we want to wish you — our readers, contributors and advertisers — a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. As this sixth quarterly issue of Informer rolls off the presses, we are well aware that the journal would not be possible without your enthusiastic participation.

In this issue, we look at the underworld of Cleveland, Ohio. We lead off with an excerpt from Rick Porrello’s book, To Kill the Irishman. It is the story of Irish racketeer Danny Greene’s explosive war against the Cleveland Mafia (preview).

The puzzling 1928 Mafia convention in Cleveland, interrupted by arrests of more than twenty suspicious persons at the landmark Hotel Statler, is the subject of an article by Thomas Hunt and Michael A. Tona. Hunt and Tona argue that a coronation for new United States Mafia boss of bosses Joseph Masseria was the most probable reason for the gathering (preview).

Mafia historian Richard N. Warner adds weight to that 1928 convention hypothesis by noting in his article that much of Joseph Masseria’s family considered Cleveland its hometown (preview).

Bill Feather provides a membership chart of the Cleveland Mafia from the 1930s-50s era (preview). Author Rick Porrello sits for an interview. He discusses his many “hats,” his several true crime books and an upcoming movie based on To Kill the Irishman. The Informer checks into what is known of an enigmatic Cleveland Mafioso known as Dr. Romano (preview).

As usual, we finish up with a look at underworld current events (preview).

Fifty-six pages including cover and advertisements
Published January 7, 2010.

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To Kill the Irishman

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents
Feature article

The subject of a soon-to-be-released motion picture,
Irish racketeer Danny Green single-handedly
took on the Mafia of Cleveland

To Kill the Irishman
By Rick Porrello

"On May 12, 1975, Lieutenant Ed Kovacic, a supervisor with the Cleveland Police Scientific Investigation Unit, was enjoying breakfast when he heard an explosion in the distance."

Seven pages
Six images

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Convention was to be Masseria coronation

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents
Feature article

Police acted to hastily when they broke up
a 1928 assembly of Mafiosi at the Hotel Statler

Cleveland convention was
to be Masseria coronation
By Thomas Hunt
and Michael A. Tona

"Cleveland Patrolman Joseph Frank Osowski was walking his downtown beat at four-thirty Wednesday morning, December 5, 1928, when he spotted several newcomers to the city chatting with a known member of the local underworld."

Twenty pages including sidebar
Four pages of endnotes
Thirty-five images

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The Masserias of Cleveland

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents
Feature article

While "Joe the Boss" made his reputation
on Manhattan's Lower East Side,
Cleveland was very much his hometown

The Masserias of Cleveland
By Richard N. Warner

"Joseph Masseria, known to the underworld and the press as "Joe the Boss," was not only an important figure in New York's early Mob history, but by virtue of having so many relatives there, was also a significant influence in the early years of Cleveland outfit."

Three pages
including notes
Three images

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Ask the Informer: Dr. Romano of Cleveland

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents
Ask the Informer

Question: I see the name of "Dr. Romano" coming up in accounts of the early Cleveland Mafia. Who was Romano? Was he really a doctor?

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A Look Back

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents
A Look Back

100 years ago:

  • A federal jury convicts New York Mafiosi of counterfeiting.
  • Leadership of American Mafia changes.

75 years ago:

  • Lindbergh baby kidnapping case concludes.

50 years ago:

  • Six are tried for robbing a National Guard armory.

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In the News

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents

In the News:
  • Fourth Gotti trial ends with hung jury.
  • New England Mafia under new management.
  • Massachusetts man charged with being Colombo boss.
  • Genovese capodecina sentenced to 16 years.
  • Police round up 22 Gambino, Lucchese suspects.
  • Grand jury indicts alleged member of Bonanno leadership.
  • Gambino capodecina Gregory DePalma dies at 78
Two pages

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Cleveland Mafia Membership, 1930s-50s

Vol. 3, Issue 1, January 2010 Contents
Membership Chart

Researcher Bill Feather provides a chart including more than 100 known and suspected members of the Cleveland Crime Family from the 1930s-1950s era. Names, aliases, birth-death-immigration years, birthplaces and underworld ranks are shown.

Five pages

Click here to preview or purchase this issue.

Informer readership figures

Readership of existing Informer issues climbed by another 12.8 percent during the month of December (Dec. 12 through Jan. 6). In that period, special interest was shown in the April 2009 issue - vol. 2, no. 2. That issue focused on the early history of the Chicago Mafia. Its readership jumped 17.2 percent, as it became the second most read Informer issue to date.

Sep 2008 issue - v1n1 - 2641 readers, up 06.1%
Jan 2009 issue - v2n1 - 1923 readers, up 09.0%
Apr 2009 issue - v2n2 - 2019 readers, up 17.2%
-Index v1n1 thru v2n2 - 4119 readers, up 09.6%
Jul 2009 issue - v2n3 - 1668 readers, up 12.8%
Oct 2009 issue - v2n4 - 0889 readers, up 37.2%
-Index v1n1 thru v2n4 - 1557 readers, up 56.0%

Average readership for a (non-index) journal issue:
1,828 readers, up 12.8% from January average.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

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