If so, did they influence him, especially early in his political career?
The Demise of the Mafia - HISTORY
Or were these allegations overblown and mainly the result of rumor, guilt by association and misinformation? Perhaps a bigger question is if the Mob held sway over Nixon, why did he as president pursue organized crime so aggressively with reform legislation and stepped-up enforcement? Perhaps an explanation is that Nixon used various means, legal and illicit, to move up quickly from congressman to senator, vice president and president. But from his perch in power in the White House, as a policy maker, he clearly fought against Mob interests.
Also that month, his Justice Department in Miami compelled major U. McClellan said in that the proposal, Senate Bill 30, would revive the battle taken up by the former Attorney General Robert Kennedy eight years before but that had foundered since Kennedy resigned his post in , months after his brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Robert was assassinated in June Nixon pressed Congress on this comprehensive legislation, and out of the effort with Democrats came the Organized Crime Control Act of The final bill included a crucial section, giving federal prosecutors the right to charge criminal conspirators — acting on or threatening murder, bribery, extortion, embezzlement and other lawbreaking — under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations RICO provision.
Years later, in the s, RICO laws were used to severely cripple organized crime syndicates across America.
By fall , the criminal division of the Justice Department boasted of obtaining indictments of major Mob figures since January Of course, any discussion or speculation about Nixon must include the elephant in the room — the mind-boggling criminal conspiracy known as Watergate that Nixon directed while president in the early s. The record showed that Nixon, like a racketeer in his own right, was more than willing to break laws with impunity — including ordering illegal burglaries, espionage, the raising of cash for payoffs, bugging and wiretapping to spy on and intimidate political enemies to ensure his re-election in I want you to stonewall it, tell them to plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or anything else.
His actions to impede Justice Department and congressional investigations prompted the Democratic Party-controlled House Judiciary Committee to recommend his impeachment to the full House of Representatives. When told that if impeached charged by the House, he did not have the support to block conviction in the Senate, he resigned as president on August 9, About 40 people associated with his administration went to jail from the scandal.
The following are some of the main allegations of Mob associations, such as they were or were not, made about Nixon over the years:. The most widely published missive tying Nixon to the Mob originated from an oral statement that former L. But under scrutiny, the statement loses credibility based on factual errors. But Bulger was also a rat, an informer who turned in rivals in return for protection from corrupt law enforcement agents, inexcusable in the mafia world. What nobody could understand was why authorities had decided to transfer Bulger from a Florida prison to one in West Virginia and put him with other inmates in general population.
What was really telling, though, was who had killed Bulger. Geas, who according to reports had a fearsome reputation as a ruthless killer and enforcer, was serving multiple life sentences for murder. Anthony Arillotta knew as soon as Bulger was sent to the same prison as his old friend Freddy Geas that Geas was probably responsible.
Geas and his brother Ty used to work as enforcers for Arillotta when he was a capo in the Genovese family. The journey by car to Springfield from Queens takes a little more than two hours. You take the coast road up through Connecticut before joining I, which shoots north through Hartford up into Massachusetts.
Traditionally, in order to become a made member of the mob, you had to have killed someone. At the time, Artie Nigro was the acting boss of the Genovese family and he asked Arillotta to shoot someone in New York. After the year-old Dadabo climbed into his car, Arillotta and Ty Geas ran to the vehicle and emptied nine bullets through the window. The government thought the Albanians did it. They never had a clue it was us. But Dadabo did not die — and he did not report the shooting to police either.
Soon after, Arillotta was inducted into the Genovese family. I would die for them. Bruno was 57 when he was shot in the chin, neck, elbow, cheek and groin one Sunday night in November , as he walked into the parking lot of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Society, a social club in Springfield.
He was still clutching his cigar when he died. At his trial, Arillotta pleaded guilty to the murder, the attempted murder of Dadabo and to various other offences, including drug dealing and extortion. Arillotta would serve just eight years. When he got out, Arillotta opted out of witness protection and moved back to Springfield. Some thought the move brazen; the FBI reckons he still has a target on his head today. Arillotta jumps in my car and we drive around his old haunts in Springfield.
He explains why he decided to cooperate with prosecutors. He says he tried to get the Geas brothers to cooperate too, but without success.
Part one: All roads lead to New York
We arrive at a suburb called Agawam and Arillotta points me towards a small, steep entrance to a now-vacant plot of land. We drive up, park the car and walk 50 feet to the corner of the plot, now owned by the local electricity board. He had a string of robbery and drug convictions, as well as ties to the mob, and even now Arillotta has no regrets about killing him.
Then we dragged him over there by that track. There were more trees here back then. Arillotta knows exactly what Freddy Geas is capable of. He also knows that in the mafia retribution always comes — eventually. When Sal Romano was an associate of the Gambino family, he possibly made more money than any mafioso in America. He still lives and works under an assumed name today and asks that I not identify exactly where we meet: a nondescript, tall glass office building off a Florida highway.
Instead, Romano appears at the back door of the building wearing a baggy brown suit and navy-blue shirt with an oversized collar. He finishes a cigarette as he leads us to his offices. Instead, you find smaller companies that want to become publicly traded. Then, Romano would bribe brokers to recommend that stock to their clients and then sell his stock. By working with the Gambino family, Romano suddenly found he had a seemingly never-ending supply of bent brokers to play ball with.
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And this, Romano told me, is how the mafia still operates today. John Alite had told me there was no standard formula for kicking money up the chain of command. When he was on the streets and he put someone in a particular position — running a nightclub, for example — he may have asked for 50 per cent of the takings.
If it was a friend who opened up a nightclub without his help, he may not ask for anything. Instead, he may put cigarette machines, poker machines and pool tables in there and make money that way. Romano was released from prison at the end of and is now working on a book about his exploits.
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The markets are at all-time highs. Wall Street is up. Stress capital is up. Think Wall Street, construction, the unions.
On the outside looking in, things are probably very, very good back home. Still today, part of their core street business is gambling and loan-sharking. And those loans are recouped at anywhere from one to six per cent a week. Phil Scala says the idea that Sal Romano kicked up 20 per cent of his takings to his capo sounds accurate. Romano was a big earner. The mob knew he could make big money from the con games that the brokers controlled. But Scala says there are a number of streams that flow into the main river of organised crime.
As a year veteran of the FBI, before his retirement a few years back Scala was head of the squad investigating the Gambino family. He helped put away John Gotti Sr. Today he runs a private investigation firm. On the street there are the low-level associates selling counterfeit goods, cigarettes or committing robberies. Then there are the earners, the guys who were connected with the unions or involved in construction and who today are involved in anything that makes money. Scala worked a case a few years back that was described as the largest consumer fraud in US history, the details of which, he says, offer an insight into the financial dealings of the modern-day mob.
The scam involved reputed Gambino capo Salvatore Locascio and two soldiers, Richard Martino and Andrew Campos, people that Scala says Gotti had marked out as the future of the crime family. In the first case, people would call what they believed was a freephone number and were charged without their knowledge.
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With the phone sex scam, the amounts were small, showing up on the bill as something innocuous. According to Scala, the men — working for the Gambino family — owned the business providing the pornographic videos, the telecoms company and a bank in Missouri that processed the credit card payments. And the mafia continues to do this in different industries today. And then they have a second set of books whereby they can give money, cash, checks and wire transfers to different accounts to basically legitimise their games.
The ex-mobsters leaned on their expertise to deduce that the number of vehicles involved could reveal whether this was a true gangland hit. Michael DiLeonardo, right, accused of being a member of the Gambino crime family, right, followed by his attorney Craig Gillen, left, leave the federal building in Atlanta, Wednesday, Aug. With no explanation from defense attorneys and prosecutors, testimony in the Gold Club trial was abruptly canceled Wednesday, and the proceedings were put on hold.
At the end of the first day of trial for extortion conspiracy in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield, Mass. Arillotta, 39, second from left, smiles to family members in the court. From left at the defense table are Vincent A.