Salvatore (Sal) Profaci, Sr., was born in 1905 in Villabate, Sicily.
He resided for many years in Brooklyn, first at 8215 14th Avenue, and after getting married, he moved to 242 Bay 10th Street in Brooklyn.
In 1941, he bought a beautiful second home at Mine Hill Road, in Upstate Cornwall, NY, where he would eventually primarily reside. He also often frequented and stayed in New Jersey.
Several of his children would eventually relocate to NJ.
He had three brothers (Joseph, Frank and Andrew), many cousins, a son (Salvatore, Jr.) and nephews who would later join him in the “life”.
He was married to Rose D’Agati (whose own father and brother were also borgata members), and together they would raise five children.
Their daughter Rosalie later married mob boss Joseph Bonanno’s eldest son Salvatore (Bill) Bonanno in a famed wedding said to have been attended by over 1000 guests, among whom were the hierarchies of almost every borgata in the United States.
He also had several sisters, one of whom Josephine, married Giuseppe Tipa Sr., a Villabate-born “soldato” in their Profaci borgata and a top numbers banker. Another, Maddelena, was a nun with the Dominican Order of the Roman Catholic Church.
He was also related through marriage to the Villabate-born Mangano family, who also had several members serving as “soldati” within their Profaci borgata.
Mangano relatives came over “on the boat” from Sicily with the Profaci brothers. They were both “compare” and ultimately relatives of the Profaci blood family.
And last, but certainly not least, the Profaci’s were intimately related through blood and marriage to the Magliocco family, who were mob powerhouses in their own right.
All these familial ties helped form and later solidify the power of this borgata. They were designed as a tight-knit bunch who only trusted each other, never outsiders. It made for a rock solid wall of Omerta for over five decades.
His criminal activities included bootlegging, policy rackets, garment racket operations, shylocking, and business infiltration.
Not all that much was ever known about Sal.
He operated in an era before the infamous Apalachin Mafia Meeting of 1957 and the tremendous scrutiny of law enforcement that event would bring.
And he died young in life, so his biography is limited.
He also seems to have been a low-key type of mafioso, very similar to the style exhibited by his brothers…a true Sicilian mentality that played it close to the breast and kept their business silent.
By virtue of his exulted position in the American underworld as the brother of one of the nation’s most important and venerable Mafia Family leaders, and his own position as the number one “capo di decina” and later the “consigliere” of the entire borgata, Salvatore Profaci, Sr., was in the very unique position to meet and run elbows with the elite of the American Cosa Nostra.
A short list of his close associates is a virtual road map through the underworld:
• His brothers
• Joseph Bonanno
• Willy Moretti
• Joseph Magliocco
• Ambrose Magliocco
• Antonio Magliocco
• Simone Andolino
• Salvatore Mussachio
• John Oddo
• Cassandro Bonasera
• Vito Genovese
• Albert Anastasia
• Frank Scalise
• Gaetano Lucchese
• Lucky Luciano
• Frank Costello
• Joseph Zerilli and William Tocco -Detroit bosses also related through marriage to the Profaci’s.
….the above are but an iota of the laundry list of his mob contacts and affiliates.
He owned and operated, in partnership with his brothers, several dress and coat factories.
Newburg Coat Co., PSL Coat & Suit Corp., PSL Clothes Manufacturing Co., and Jerri-James Frocks Inc., based in New York City and later Newburgh respectively, were sub-contractor “piece goods” sewing machine shops that assembled the garments contracted from top Manhattan garment firms and U.S. Army and Navy government contracts.
His garment firms would become million dollar companies and among the largest employers in Newburgh, employing upwards of 300 to 400 sewing machine operators at a time in order to service and fill $500,000 and $1,000,000 uniform orders for the armed services and Washington.
I’m sure he had made a tremendous “hook” in order to repeatedly win those contracts year after year…… besides being a “wiseguy”, Sal was obviously a very “smart guy”!
His companies became a major industry leader and much valued employer for the Newburgh area.
Side Note: He was partners in PSL with Philip Zuccaro, father of a businessman named John Zuccaro who would later marry a young attorney named Geraldine Ferraro.
She later became the first female Queens County District Attorney and would go on to run as the first woman V.P. contender on the Democratic presidential ticket with sitting Vice President Walter Mondale.
Sal Profaci also partnered with Philip Zuccaro in several Manhattan real estate ventures, developing property through construction and leasing out the buildings for lucrative rental income.
Sal, his older brother Joe, and a third brother Frank, also invested and ran several other real estate firms that owned, developed land, and leased buildings and storefronts.
They operated as landlords accumulating multiple dwellings and industrial buildings over several decades starting in the 1940s.
Early on, he additionally shared in profits derived from several companies active in the Italian cheese and wholesale food supply industry including Filippo Berio Olive Oil, Mamma Mia Imports, etc., in partnership with his Profaci relatives.
In 1937, Sal Profaci got his driving privileges revoked and was named a habitual DMV violator. He later got them reinstated through a friendly judges influence.
In 1948, Sal was among ten key Profaci capos and soldiers who were arrested and indicted during a series of four lightening raids on a $500,000 a week ($25,000,000 million-a-year) Brooklyn-based numbers-lottery operation.
Based in the back room of a nondescript garage at 1901 Cropsey Avenue where they housed the operation, a team of 20 police raiders confiscated a 500-pound printing press machine, printing plates, cutting equipment, 250,000 freshly printed policy slips, phones, calculating machines, books and ledgers, related paraphernalia, and two automobiles that turned out hundreds of thousands of printed lottery tickets for a weekly draw.
Police said the ring operated for years exclusively in the Bath Beach, Coney Island and Bensonhurst sections of the borough where the Family’s seat of power lay.
Arrested in the raid were Salvatore Profaci (42), Giuseppe Tipa Sr. (62), and Joseph Tipa, Jr.(34). Authorities described all three as the “bankers” of the gambling ring.
Simone (Sam) Andolino (40), capo Harry Fontana’s brother Philip Fontana (50), and Philip Mangano (40), were all described as area “controllers”.
Oswaldo Mangano (29) was described as a runner, Ignazio Mortarano (62) as manager of the plant, and Anthony D’Amico (37) as the printer.
The fourth raid and tenth arrest was at the home of soldier Gaetano Mangano (66) who was also nabbed on policy charges plus possession of a revolver.
They were all charged with felony operation of a policy business, possession of policy tickets, conspiracy, and other gambling related counts. At the time authorities touted the arrests as the biggest policy operation ever broken up in Kings County.
I believe that all defendants later pled out to various reduced gambling counts with none serving jail time…… thus was the state of affairs in 1940s Brooklyn! Lol.
Aside from overseeing the Brooklyn policy racket for the borgata, most importantly, Sal was his brother Joe’s eyes and ears watching over the lower ranks of the Family.
First serving as his most important “capo di decina” and confidant, and later, after being elevated to the official “consigliere” position, serving in that capacity for the entire borgata.,
It is typically the consigliere who is responsible to smooth out conflicts and problems among the rank and file, serving in this capacity for the borgata and with that of the other New York Families.
He handled these matters until his untimely death on July 25, 1954 due to severe burns from a engine explosion and the subsequent fire on his 40-foot cabin cruiser “Rosalie”, while it was docked at a boat slip in Neptune, New Jersey, after a day out fishing with a friend.
Shortly before his death in 1954, Sal was involved in a very contentious federal court case brought against his brother Joe.
The Feds had indicted Joseph on tax evasion charges claiming he criminally evaded and owed over $880,000 in back tax monies due the government.
They looked to seize four Brooklyn properties Joe owned.
Salvatore stepped in claiming he was entitled to foreclose on two of those properties for loans he had previously provided to his brother, paying off several mortgages owed banks which Joe had defaulted on, having come to his brother’s rescue.
The government claimed the brothers were trying to defraud the government of their due.
I do not know if he would have been able to see ahead or to preempt what would end up becoming the worst underworld conflict since the 1929 to 1931 “Castellammarese War”, but within a few short years after his death, the Gallo-Profaci War would all but consume the NY and NJ Mafia.
At the time of his death, Salvatore Profaci, Sr., was said to have left an “on record” documented recorded estate worth the equivalent of approximately $5,500,000 in 2019 dollars….. I dare say that he probably left a few more “sheckles” in untraceable cash as well.
He was never really arrested on any significant charges and never served a single day in jail.
He also didn’t have the reputation of a vicious guy, but rather that of a astute businessman and gentleman.
And aside from his early death, which was unfortunate, I’d say, all in all, Salvatore Profaci had lived a very enviable life while he was among the living….and left his blood family in great financial shape upon his passing.
Turiddo Profaci…Riposa in pace! (Rest in peace)
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