The American Mafia

Chronology - Section V
1950-1988



Publicity and internecine warfare take a toll on the mob.

Jump to: Section IV (1932-1949)  |   1960   |   1970   |   1980  

Year
Month
Day
Location
Persons
Description of Event
1950
May
11
Washington, DC
Estes Kefauver
Kefauver Committee (U.S. Senate committee) hearings into organized crime's influence on interstate commerce begin. Committee will hear 600 witnesses during its first year. Kefauver will take the show on the road, conducting hearings in 14 cities.
1950
Dec.
13
Washington, D.C.
Willie Moretti
Moretti testifies about organized crime to Senate investigators. Moretti's mind seems to be slipping, and Syndicate Commission is fearful of what he might accidentally reveal.
1950


Chicago, US
Sam Giancana
Giancana becomes Chicago Family's gambling expert and serves as Chicago representative for dealings in Las Vegas. Giancana's power, wealth and prestige are greatly enhanced by his new position.
1951


Palisades, NJ
Willie Moretti
Mob discipline results in the shooting death of Moretti.
1951


Los Angeles, US
Mickey Cohen,
Jack Dragna
Cohen, who had been a thorn in the side of Dragna (and somehow avoided being killed in Dragna's numerous attempts) since 1947, was jailed for income tax evasion.
1951
April
19
Brooklyn, NY, US
Philip Mangano,
Vincent Mangano,
Albert Anastasia
The body of Philip Mangano is found in a marsh near Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn. He had been shot three times in the head. Albert Anastasia is believed to be responsible for the assassination of Philip Mangano and the unexplained earlier disappearance of Vincent Mangano. Anastasia, Joe Adonis and Frank Costello are questioned by authorities.
1951
May
28
Trenton, NJ
Joe Adonis
Adonis begins a two-year jail term in New Jersey State Prison for gambling violations.
1951
Sept.
8
New York, US
Meyer Lansky
Lansky is indicted for running gambling operations in Saratoga Springs, NY.
1952
May

Florida

Federal agents note a small meeting of Mafiosi in the Florida Keys.
1952
Aug.
15
New York, US
Frank Costello
Costello is sentenced to 18 months in prison for contempt of the U.S. Senate. Charges resulted from Costello walking out on Kefauver Committee hearings in New York.
1953
May
2
New York, US
Meyer Lansky
Lansky serves three months in a New York prison after pleading guilty to five of the 21 gambling charges against him. He is also fined $2,500 and put on three years' probation.
1953
July
16
Trenton, NJ
Joe Adonis
Adonis is released from prison but still faces perjury charges.
1953
Aug.
5
Washington, DC
Joe Adonis
Upon learning that Adonis lied about his birthplace (it wasn't Passaic, NJ) and is an Italian alien, U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. orders that he be deported. Order is not immediately carried out.
1953
Oct.
29
New York, US
Frank Costello
Costello is released from prison.
1954
March
25
Washington, DC
Joe Adonis
Adonis is found guilty of perjury. He faces two-year jail term as well as possible deportation. While appealing verdict, Adonis offers to voluntarily leave the U.S. in exchange for elimination of the jail term.
1954


New York, US

Lacking street soldiers, the Mafia reopens its membership. With just a few exceptions, new members had not been added since 1932.
1954


Sicily
Calogero Vizzini
Vizzini, 77, dies.
1954


Los Angeles

Federal agents report Mafia gathering in Los Angeles suburbs.
1954
July

Chicago

Federal agents report Mafia gathering just outside Chicago.
1954
Dec.
13
Mountainside, NJ

Federal agents report Mafia meeting.
1956
Jan.
3
Washington, DC
Joe Adonis
Federal authorities agree to let Adonis leave the country.
1956


Chicago, US
Tony Accardo,
Sam Giancana
Accardo decides to retire from day-to-day operations. Giancana becomes boss of the Chicago Outfit. Accardo continues to serve in an advisory capacity, further evidence of the cooperative nature of Chicago leadership since the start of Frank Nitti reign.
1956
April
5
New York, US
Johnny Dioguardi,
Victor Riesel
Johnny Dio is believed to be behind the acid-blinding of crusading journalist Victor Riesel. Key witnesses against Dio disappeared or changed their stories, and charges were dropped. Riesel continued to use radio and print for attacks on organized crime.
1956
May
14
New York, US
Frank Costello
Convicted on tax evasion charges, Costello enters federal prison.
1956
May
18
New York

Mafia meeting draws 35 known criminals.
1956


New York
Albert Anastasia,
Carlo Gambino
Anastasia makes Gambino his underboss.
1956


Italy
Joe Adonis
No longer able to convince authorities that he was born in America and facing perjury charges, Adonis agrees to be deported to Italy. Adonis's departure is a severe blow to the Mafia leadership faction headed by Frank Costello, and consisting of Costello, Adonis, Albert Anastasia.
1956
Oct.
17-18
Binghamton, NY

Federal agents report small Mafia meeting.
1957
March
11
New York, US
Frank Costello
Costello wins temporary release from federal prison while his appeal is being heard by the Supreme Court.
1957


Bronx, NY, US
Frank Scalise
Scalise is assassinated in a Bronx produce market. Two reasons have been given for the hit, which appears to have been officially sanctioned: 1. Scalise had encouraged bosses to participate in a heroin smuggling venture that ended badly and expensively. 2. Scalise had been found selling Mafia memberships for many thousands of dollars apiece, bringing in individuals who were not the secretive, loyal sort the Mafia was seeking.
1957
May
2
New York
Frank Costello
Costello's head is grazed by a would-be assassin's bullet. He announces that he's retiring from the rackets, leaving Luciano "Family" to Genovese.
1957


Los Angeles, US
Jack Dragna,
Frank DeSimone
Dragna dies and is succeeded as boss by DeSimone.
1957
Oct.
25
New York
Albert Anastasia,
Meyer Lansky,
Carlo Gambino,
Vito Genovese
Anastasia is killed in the Park Sheraton Hotel's barber shop. Gambino moves into leadership position and may have organized the hit. Genovese also had reason to act against the strong supporter of his rival for power, Frank Costello. Lansky is also believed to have had motive, as Anastasia was unhappy with Lansky's administration of the Mafia's offshore gaming houses in Cuba and Bahamas. It appears that Anastasia was negotiating his own deal with Cuba.
1957
Nov.
10
Livingston, NJ

Mafia meeting held.
1957
Nov.
14
Apalachin, NY

Sixty Mafiosi from around the country are known to have attended a convention in rural Apalachin, NY, at the home of Joseph Barbara. Their presence was documented by police who collected license plate numbers at the scene and rounded up, identified and searched the conventioneers as they attempted to leave the Barbara property. More may have attended and escaped police notice by exiting through a wooded area. Some accounts say the convention was organized by Vito Genovese in order to mend fences after his takeover of the Costello organization. In the wake of Apalachin, authorities are forced to acknowledge that there is indeed a significant level of cooperation among criminal gangs across the United States.
1957
Nov.
27
Washington, D.C.
J. Edgar Hoover
The FBI's immediate response to Apalachin revelations is to initiate the Top Hoodlum Program, focusing on interstate racketeers. At this time, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover looks to the Hobbs Act of the early 1940s for federal authority to combat racketeering. Additional legislation authorizing FBI action against mobsters will be passed in subsequent years.
1958
Jan.
8
New York, US
Johnny Dioguardi
Convicted of labor extortion and conspiracy, Johnny "Dio" is sentenced to serve 15-30 years in prison. During his trial, Dio was described as a good friend of Teamster leader James Hoffa. Dio would spend much of his remaining life behind bars, as he was repeatedly convicted of frauds and tax evasion.
1958


Brooklyn, NY, US
Joe Gallo,
Joseph Profaci
Gallo rebellion against Profaci crime family begins.
1958


Washington, D.C.

Confronted with the undeniable complicity of Mafiosi at the Apalachin meeting, the FBI redefines its position on the "Mafia" and compiles a report on Mafia history. (The first report is later discarded.) By the early 1960s, the FBI decides to save face by referring to the Sicilian-Italian underworld in the U.S. not as Mafia but as La Cosa Nostra or LCN. The new name appears to stem from informant Joe Valachi's use of the term "cosa nostra" (our thing) when discussing the Sicilian-Italian criminal society.
1959
Jan.
1
Havana, Cuba
Meyer Lansky,
Fulgencio Batista
The Mafia's casino operations in Havana are lost as Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista is forced into exile. Meyer Lansky returns to Miami after losing a huge investment, sets sights on Bahamas and trans-Atlantic gambling possibilities.
1959
Feb.
26
Orange, NJ
Abner Zwillman
"Longie" Zwillman is found hanging from a plastic clothesline in his home, an apparent suicide. Zwillman's coin-op machine rackets were being shut down by government attention and a tax evasion charge was haunting him.
1959
April
17
New York, US
Vito Genovese,
Natale Joseph Evola,
Vincent Gigante
Genovese Family leadership is convicted of narcotics trafficking and sent off to prison. Genovese gets 15 years. Gigante gets seven years. Evola, a lieutenant in the Bonanno organization, is also sentenced to a 10-year jail term.
1959
Sept.
25
New York, US
Anthony Carfano
Carfano (Little Augie Pisano) and his date, Mrs. Janice Drake, are called away from a dinner at a Lexington Avenue restaurant and later found dead in a new Cadillac in Queens. Both were shot in the back of their heads by a gunmen in the back seat of the car.
1959
Dec.
18
New York, US
Paul Castellano
Castellano is convicted of working to obstruct a government investigation. A month later, he is sentenced to five years in prison. He serves seven months.
 
1960
April
29
New York, US
Johnny Dioguardi
Johnny "Dio" is sentenced to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine for income tax evasion.
1960
Nov.
28
New York, US

A U.S. appeals court nullifies earlier conspiracy convictions against 20 men who attended the 1957 meeting at Apalachin, NY.
1961
May
4
Kansas City, MO, US

A grand jury finds evidence that the Kansas City police conspired with the local Mafia to permit criminal activities.
1961
June
29
New York, US
Frank Costello
Costello is released from prison.
1962
Jan
26
Naples, Italy
Charlie Luciano
Luciano dies of an apparent heart attack at Capodichino Airport in Naples. At the time, he was suspected of guiding a U.S.-Italian narcotics smuggling operation.
1962
June
6
Bay Shore, Long Island, US
Joseph Profaci
Profaci dies of cancer at Southside Hospital. He was 64. The Gallo-Profaci War continues. Profaci's brother-in-law Joseph Magliocco appears to take control over the crime family leadership.
1962


Philadelphia, US
Salvatore Sabella
Sabella dies in a Philadelphia hospital.
1963
Sept.
27
Washington, DC, US
Joseph Valachi
Valachi testimony before the Senate Investigations subcommittee are broadcast on radio and television. Valachi tells of his induction into "Cosa Nostra" and of the Castellamarese War Era.
1963
Sept.
28
Washington, DC, US
Joseph Valachi,
Vito Genovese
Valachi reveals that Genovese is the "Boss of Bosses" of the American Mafia.
President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas - Nov. 22, 1963.
1963
Dec.
28
West Islip, NY, US
Joseph Magliocco
Magliocco, 65, dies of a heart attack at Good Samaritan Hospital. Authorities do not become aware of his death until days later. Magliocco, an attendee of the Apalachin conference and a brother-in-law of Joseph Profaci, reportedly led the Profaci crime family from June of 1962 until his death.
1964
Jan.
19
Detroit, MI, US
Santo Perrone
A Detroit Mafia leader, Perrone is seriously injured when a bomb explodes in his car. Perrone's right leg is destroyed in the blast.
1964


Sicily

A long, bitter and bloody civil war between Sicilian Mafiosi ends. The warfare and public opposition to it triggered numerous violations of the omerta code, and Sicilian authorities benefit in their struggle against the secret society.
1964
March
18
Buffalo, NY, US
John C. Montana
A leading mafioso in the city, John C. Montana dies at age 70 in Buffalo General Hospital. Montana was among those arrested at the Apalachin meeting in 1957.
1964
Oct.
21
Manhattan, NY, US
Joseph Bonanno
The media reports that Joe Bonanno was kidnapped early in the morning from the front of a Park Avenue apartment building. Bonanno was scheduled to appear before a federal grand jury later in the day.
1965
Jan.
13
New York, US
Vincent Rao
Federal prosecutors seek to force 67-year-old Vincent John Rao to testify about Lucchese crime family rackets. Prosecutors grant Rao immunity from prosecution in an effort to circumvent 5th Amendment protection.
1965
Jan.
15
New York, US
Joseph Bonanno
Authorities believe the Bonanno crime family has fractured and will experience a civil war.
1965
March
18
New York, US
Vincent Rao
A federal grand jury indicts Rao for perjury.
1965
April
24
Hot Springs, Ark.
Owney Madden
Madden dies in a Hot Springs hospital.
1965
Nov.
23
Chicago, US
Murray Humphreys
Hours after resisting arrest by federal agents, Humphreys dies of a heart attack. He was believed to be a link between Chicago's Outfit and influential politicians.
1966


Chicago, US
Sam Giancana,
Tony Accardo
Released from prison in 1966, Giancana temporarily flees country to escape further prosecution. Accardo comes out of retirement as Family boss.
1966
May

New York, US
Joe Bonanno,
Gaspar DiGregorio
Absent for years, Bonanno suddenly resurfaces and announces he is once again in command of his New York crime Family. Gaspar DiGregorio, who at the urging of Bonanno enemies on the Commission has been fighting the leadership of Bonanno's son, loses support of the Commission and the rebellious Bonanno men. The Banana Wars will shortly conclude.
1966
May
17
New York, US
Joseph Bonanno
Bonanno, 61, turns himself in at the U.S. Courthouse at Foley Square. Authorities had been looking for him for 19 months. Recent speculation had put Bonanno in Tunis, controlling the flow of narcotics in the Mediterranean.
1966
Sept.

Queens, NY, US
Carlo Gambino,
Tommy Eboli,
Joe Colombo,
Joey Gallo,
Mike Miranda,
Aniello Dellacroce
Police raid the Lastella Restaurant in Queens to discover a meeting of top Mafia leaders from New York and New Orleans. The meeting is dubbed "Little Apalachin." One purpose of the meeting seems to be the distribution of Tommy Lucchese's rackets. Lucchese has been hospitalized with various ailments for more than a year.
1967
March

New Jersey, US
Harold Konigsberg
Helped by information supplied by convicted extortionist Harold Konigsberg, federal authorities discovered the location of a Mafia burial ground in New Jersey.
1967
May

Montreal, Canada
Joseph Bonanno
Authorities say the Bonanno crime family runs a narcotics trafficking route between Montreal and New York City.
1967
June

Westchester County, NY, US

Authorities claim that Westchester County, NY, garbage carting is monopolized by members of the Genovese and Gambino crime families.
1967
July
13
Long Island, NY, US
Tommy Lucchese
After years of illness, Lucchese dies of natural causes at his Lido Beach, Long Island, home at the age of 67. Lucchese entered Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in August 1965 with a brain tumor and a heart condition. After a year, his rackets were divided up at the "Little Apalachin" conference at Lastella Restaurant in Queens. He left the hospital for home on April 11, 1967.
1967
Nov.
17
New York, US
Vincent Rao
Rao is convicted of perjury and faces up to five years in prison. Media reports indicate that Rao has taken over Lucchese's crime family.
1967
Dec.
11
New York, US
Johnny Dioguardi
Convicted of bankruptcy fraud, Johnny "Dio" was sentenced to five years and a $10,000 fine.
1969


New York
Vito Genovese,
Tommy Eboli
After Genovese's death in prison, leadership of Genovese Family appears to pass to Eboli. There is reason to believe that Eboli was merely a front man, as the actual boss attempted to remain inconspicuous.
1971
June
28
New York, US
Joe Colombo,
Joey Gallo,
Carlo Gambino
Italian-American Unity Day ends bloody, as organizer Joe Colombo is mortally wounded by an assassin's bullet. The hit is initially believed to have been ordered by Joey Gallo but later attributed to former Colombo ally Carlo Gambino.
1971
Oct.
23
Las Vegas, NV, US
Meyer Lansky
Lansky is charged with skimming money from the Flamingo Hotel, the casino built by Lansky's departed friend, Benjamin Siegel. A federal grand jury charged that Lansky and three other men conspired to conceal and distribute $36 million in unreported income.
1972
Apr.
7
New York, US
Joey Gallo
Renegade Mafioso Joey Gallo is gunned down at Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy on his 43rd birthday.
1972
July
16
Brooklyn, US
Tommy Eboli
Eboli is killed - shot five times in his head and neck - at his girlfriend's home in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.
1973
Dec.
22
New York, US
Johnny Dioguardi
As he nears completion of a five-year prison term for bankruptcy fraud, Johnny "Dio" is convicted of stock fraud. He was accused of conning money from investors in a car-leading company.
1973



Frank Costello
Costello dies.
1975
June
19
Chicago, US
Sam Giancana
Giancana is shot to death at his home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had just located Giancana and was poised to call him to testify. His murder also coincides with the discovery of combined CIA-underworld involvement in 1961 attempts on the life of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Investigators believe Giancana was the victim of an underworld rebellion.
1975
July
30
Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, MI, US
Jimmy Hoffa,
Anthony Provenzano,
Anthony Giacalone,
Russell Bufalino
Hoping to mend fences with his former underworld associates on his return to the Teamster union presidency, Hoffa schedules a meeting at the Machus Red Fox restaurant outside of Detroit. It is generally believed that Hoffa was to meet "Tony Pro" Provenzano and Detroit mobster Anthony Giacalone. But some say Russell Bufalino was invited instead. Hoffa calls his wife at 2:15 to say he has been stood up. He is never seen or heard from again. Investigators focus their attention on Provenzano and Giacalone. Each has alibis for the date.
1976
Oct.
15
New York, US
Carlo Gambino,
Aniello Dellacroce,
Paul Castellano
Gambino dies of a heart attack. Family passes over underboss Aniello Dellacroce to select Gambino protege Paul Castellano as boss. Dellacroce wing of the family is offended, but loyal Dellacroce keeps them in line.
1978
March
21
Manhattan, NY, US
Salvatore Briguglio,
Anthony Provenzano,
Harold Konigsberg
Briguglio is found shot to death in Manhattan's Little Italy. He was 48. Briguglio, Anthony Provenzano and Harold Konigsberg were scheduled to go on trial May 1 in Kingston, NY, for the 1961 murder of Anthony Castellito. Witnesses said Briguglio was knocked down by two men in front of the Andrea Doria Social Club, 165 Mulberry Street (near Grand). The men drew weapons and shot Briguglio four times in the face and once in the chest. Briguglio, an official in Provenzano's Union, NJ, Teamster organization, had been questioned in connection with James Hoffa's disappearance.
1978
June
15
Kingston, NY, US
Anthony Provenzano,
Harold Konigsberg
Provenzano is convicted of participating in the murder of his union rival, Anthony Castellito, in 1961. Also convicted was a Provenzano enforcer, Harold Konigsberg.
1979
Jan.
12
Pennsylvania, US
Johnny Dioguardi
Johnny "Dio" died of natural causes at a Pennsylvania hospital. He was 64. Dioguardi, a longtime Mafia leader and labor racketeer, was serving a sentence in federal prison for stock fraud.
1979
July
11
Newark, NJ, US
Anthony Provenzano
Provenzano, 63, is sentences to 20 years in federal prison for labor racketeering. "Tony Pro" was convicted of extracting payoffs from trucking companies in exchange for guaranteeing labor peace.
1979
July
12
Brooklyn, US
Carmine Galante
Former Bonanno underboss Carmine Galante is murdered at Joe & Mary's Italian Restaurant in Brooklyn.
1985
May
11
New York, US

The Federal Bureau of Investigation brings charges against the alleged heads of the five Mafia families in New York City.
1985
Dec.
2
New York, US
Aniello Dellacroce
"Neil" Dellacroce, protege of Albert Anastasia and idol of John Gotti, dies. His departure frees his supporters to act against the Castellano leadership.
1985
Dec.
16
New York, US
Paul Castellano,
Thomas Bilotti,
John Gotti
Gotti is believed to have masterminded the assassination of "Big Paul" Castellano and his driver/bodyguard Thomas Bilotti outside of Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan. Gotti allegedly siezes leadership of the Gambino crime family.
1986




Federal authorities estimate that the Mafia families across the United States include 1,700 "made" members and many thousands of associates. The Mafia, which remains the dominant force in the American organized crime Syndicate, continues to draw its membership from those of Italian and Sicilian descent. But affiliated organizations include gangs and individuals of every ethnic background.
1988
Dec.
12
Lompoc, CA, US
Anthony Provenzano
"Tony Pro" dies of a heart attack while serving a 20-year sentence for labor racketeering. He was 71 years old.
























See this website's bibliography page for a list of sources used in compiling this timeline.
Compiled and edited by Thomas Hunt, New Milford, CT
Copyright 2005-07