June 26, 2020 – Tensions began to rise between New England mob figures Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme and Raymond (Ray Rubber Lips) Patriarca, Jr. after Salemme survived an assassination attempt in the late 1980s and Patriarca, Jr. failed to follow through on a promise to pick up the tab for his hospital stay, per FBI records. At the time, Patriarca, Jr. was in the process of being forced out as boss of the Patriarca crime family, named after his dad, who died of a heart attack in 1984.
Patriarca, Jr. went to prison shortly thereafter and Cadillac Frank Salemme eventually became boss himself. Upon Salemme taking the reins of the crime family, Patriarca, Jr. put a murder contract on his head from behind bars, giving the contract to feared Providence mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan. Salemme got wind of the plot and had Hanrahan whacked, per informants.
Hanrahan was shot to death in Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood on September 18, 1992 leaving a dinner at The Arch steakhouse with Salemme lieutenants. A federal grand jury has been convened for the past three years in Rhode Island hearing testimony on the Hanrahan case, per sources.
Salemme is already serving life in prison for the May 1993 gangland slaying of nightclub owner Stevie DiSarro, who was partnered with Salemme in a South Boston go-go bar and alleged to be stealing and cooperating with the government. DiSarro’s body was dug up in 2016 behind a converted Providence textile mill and Salemme, in hiding in the Witness Protection Program, was arrested that summer and convicted at a 2018 trial.
According to testimony at the trial, Cadillac Frank called DiSarro to a meeting at his home in Sharon, Massachusetts and watched as his wiseguy son, Francis (Frankie Boy) Salemme, Jr. strangled him to death. Frankie Boy Salemme, Jr. died of AIDS-related cancer 25 years ago this week and never faced any charges in the DiSarro hit. Salemme, Jr. was under indictment for extorting an FBI-created film company out of California though at the time of his death.
When Salemme entered the Witness Protection Program in 1999, he had lied about his knowledge of DiSarro’s homicide. The FBI thinks he lied about what he knew regarding Hanrahan’s murder too.
Cutting his teeth as a hit man in the Boston Irish Mob Wars of the 1960s, Salemme served 15 years in prison for a car bomb attack and returned to New England in late 1987 ready to make a run at the region’s Italian mob throne. He was made into the Patriarca crime family by Ray Rubber Lips in a March 1988 ceremony near Patriarca, Jr’s office in Providence, per federal records, and by the following summer was promoted to capo, becoming known as the mild-mannered Patriarca Jr.’s main muscle in Massachusetts. He had his sights set bigger though, looking to leverage discontent in the ranks revolving around Patriarca Jr.’s lack of charisma and leadership skill towards his own campaign to ascend to don.
Early returns on that plan were not good, as Salemme’s increased power gave way to worries from the Boston faction of the Family that the brash Cadillac Frank, prone to popping his collar and talking a big game, was on the verge of assuming control of all the Beantown rackets and cutting out the remnants of the old Angiulo crew in the North End and East Boston. Jerry Angiulo and his brothers ran the mafia Beantown for 25 years until they were incarcerated in the early 1980s. Instead of stabilizing the unrest in Massachusetts, Salemme’s emergence turned everything upside down and escalated brewing animosities.
On June 16, 1989, Cadillac Frank was supposed to meet members of the Family’s Boston wing for breakfast at a Saugus, Massachusetts International House of Pancakes, but was shot six times in the parking lot instead in an ambush. Salemme was hospitalized for a month and then took refuge in California. Patriarca, Jr. told Salemme he would take care of the medical bills, but never did, according to federal documents.
Cadillac Frank returned to New England in the spring of 1990 and given control over the Patriarca’s Boston affairs by new well-connected boss Nicky Bianco, who headquartered in Providence and was friendly with all of the Five Families in New York, per court records. Bianco’s ties to the Gambino Family helped quell the insurgence from the Boston crews months before. When Bianco was locked up in 1991, Salemme became boss, meeting with members of New York’s Five Families that fall to be confirmed in the post.
Angry that Patriarca, Jr. reneged on his promise to pay his hospital bill, one of the first things Salemme did when he was crowned don was to take possession of a garage full of classic and antique cars belonging to Patriarca and sell them without giving Patriarca, Jr. a cent. He also allegedly began killing anyone having anything to do with his shooting at the IHOP.
Patriarca, Jr., according to informants, reached out to Kevin Hanrahan, a longtime hit man and collector for Patriarca’s Providence branch, to kill Salemme and Salemme’s Rhode Island-based underboss Luigi (Baby Shacks) Manocchio. Hanrahan, a suspect in area several gangland hits from the 1970s and 1980s, considered using a suitcase bomb or an explosive device attached to a model airplane to murder Baby Shacks and Cadillac Frank, however never got the chance because he was murdered himself. Informants told the FBI, Hanrahan had angered Salemme and Manocchio by trying to shake down already-protected bookies from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Salemme’s mob reign came to a screeching halt in 1995 when he was busted for racketeering. Stately Baby Shacks Manocchio replaced Salemme as boss of the Patriarca clan and Cadillac Frank flipped in 1999, entering the Witness Protection Program. Manocchio, 93, has been retired for the last decade. The 75-year old Patriarca, Jr. was released from prison in 1998 and reinvented himself as a real estate broker.
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