Charles (Fortunato) and Thomas (Gaetano, Donato or "Joe") LoMonte were horse-feed sellers and lieutenants in the East Harlem gang of Giosue Gallucci beginning around 1909.
Through their close association with Gallucci and their relationship to the Terranova-Morello mob, the LoMontes managed to secure a lucrative monopoly for their feed business at 2103 First Avenue near East 108th Street in Harlem.
When Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo were sent off to prison in 1910, the LoMontes looked to be the most important chiefs of the East Harlem Sicilian underworld. They rivaled Brooklyn boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila in power.
The attractiveness of the downtown rackets drew the attention of a number of Italian Harlem racketeers. It seems the LoMontes were among those who moved to establish a leadership presence on the Lower East Side and among those who paid for ambition with their lives.
Charles was gunned down in a daylight attack, on the morning of Saturday, May 23, 1914, at the corner of East 108th Street and Second Avenue. He was shot three times in the back as he left his business office. He lingered for a while at Harlem Hospital but refused to provide any information to police.
Assassins struck again on Oct. 13, 1915. Thomas, 29, had been visiting his cousin Rose at 312 East 116th Street. He and his cousin stepped out of her building in the evening. They were followed for a short distance before they were both shot from behind at East 116th Street and First Avenue. Thomas died quickly. Rose was alive when she reached Harlem Hospital but later succumbed. A man named Antonio Impoluzzo was arrested for the double-murder. He was found in bed in a nearby house, with his clothes on and hiding a pistol.
The press of the time identified the LoMontes as "cousins" of Ciro Terranova.
Charles and Thomas LoMonte might have been dispatched as part of the Mafia-Camorra wars of the period. They might also have been murdered by nervous and greedy Brooklyn-based boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila. Mafioso Nick Gentile pointed a finger at D'Aquila in his autobiography, indicating that D'Aquila ordered Umberto Valente to carry out the LoMonte killings.
Author David Chandler offered another view, writing that Charles LoMonte was a loyal soldier in a Morello-Terranova outfit who was gunned down by rebellious forces under Giuseppe Masseria. Frankly, there is little evidence for any Masseria rebellion (Masseria looks to have been the champion of the pro-Morello and anti-D'Aquila faction), and Chandler himself seems to have a hard time reconciling his argument with known facts and later occurrences.
Another explanation could be a falling out between the LoMontes and Gallucci. Gallucci's odd - for the time - combination of Sicilian and Neapolitan gangsters eventually fell apart. Gallucci lost his life around the same time as the LoMonte brothers.
© 2007 T.Hunt
The American "Mafia"