July 15, 2020 – Slain Hamilton (ON) mafia don Pasquale (Fat Pat) Musitano got backing from the Montreal mob in his climb to power back in the late 1990s, according to RCMP records related to Montreal’s Rizzuto crime family, and the Rizzutos supported his desire to bump off all local gangland players loyal to Buffalo’s Magaddino crime family. Fat Pat’s connection to Rizzuto would eventually pull him and his brother into a mob war they would both fall victim to.
The bold and cocksure 53-year old Musitano was murdered last Friday in broad daylight in a Burlington, Ontario shopping mall parking lot, bringing an end to the Musitano mob dynasty that traces its roots all the way back to the 1930s. Per the RCMP documents, Musitano met with Montreal Godfather Vito Rizzuto and one of Rizzuto’s top lieutenants in the months before and after Musitano ordered the high-profile slayings of Hamilton capo John (Johnny Pops) Papalia and Niagara Falls capo Carmen Barillaro, both of the Buffalo family, in 1997, in an effort to consolidate rackets in the area.
Rizzuto’s extradition to the U.S. in to serve time behind bars for a famous triple murder he participated in 25 years previous plunged the Canadian underworld into chaos and ultimately a war that still rages today and claimed the life of Fat Pat Mustiano last week. His younger brother and underboss Angelo (Big Ange) Musitano was gunned down in his driveway three years ago.
Rizzuto died of cancer in 2013. The Rizzuto mob empire took form in Quebec in the late 1970s after the assassination of Montreal mafia street boss Paolo Violi, a hit Rizzuto’s dad, crime family patriarch Nicolo (Uncle Nick) Rizzuto, is suspected of ordering. Uncle Nick Rizzuto was a casualty of the war in 2010, shot dead in his kitchen by a sniper’s rifle.
Violi’s sons, Dom and Joe, took refuge in Hamilton under the protection of Buffalo’s Magaddino clan and stately local don Giacomo Luppino. Today, Dom Violi, 54, is the Buffalo mob’s alleged underboss.
Violi was caught on a 2017 wiretap predicting Fat Pat Musitano’s demise, the same year he ascended to the crime family’s No. 2 spot at a ceremony in Florida, per court records. CeCe Luppino, great nephew to “Don Giacomo,” was killed last year in Hamilton, another victim of the ongoing gangland conflict in the Great White North.
The roots of Musitano’s reign were planted by his paternal bloodline, but you can trace his downfall directly to his hubris and oversized ambition. More specifically, his grandiose vision of a complete takeover of the Hamilton mafia and the murders of Johnny Pops and his entire crew in the 1990s.
When the beloved Giacomo Luppino died of natural causes in 1987 at 87 years old, the crass, snarling Johnny Pops took over as capo of the Buffalo mob faction in Hamilton. Dominic Musitano, Fat Pat’s dad, ran his own crime family in the area, founded by his uncle Angelo (The Beast) Musitano back in the 1930s, and had cordial relations with Papalia’s crew.
After Dominic Musitano died of a heart attack in 1995, Fat Pat assumed the throne in the Musitano crime family and crafted an alliance with the Rizzutos in Montreal. He headquartered his affairs out of The Gathering Spot, his downtown Hamilton bar and restaurant and set his sights on picking off the Papalia crew, one by one.
Vito Rizzuto was angry at Johnny Pops at that time for a $7,000,000 loan Rizzuto had given him and that was never repaid, according to RCMP informant dossiers. Musitano wanted Papalia’s territory and leveraged Rizzuto’s beef into backing for his gangland power play, per informants.
Enio (Pegleg) Mora, Johnny Pops’ top enforcer, was the first to go. Mora was killed in his gold-plated Cadillac on September 11, 1996 in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan. In April 1997, Fat Pat Mustiano met with Gaetano (Guy) Panepinto, Vito Rizzuto’s capo representing his interests in Ontario, at a Niagara Falls casino to discuss future measures, according to RCMP records.
On May 31, 1997, Johnny Pops is shot to death outside his Galaxy Vending Co. headquarters by Musitano hit man Kenny Murdock. Fat Pat and his brother Big Ange attended Papalia’s funeral for public appearance sake and further draw the ire of the Papalia crew. Johnny Pops’ second-in-charge, Carmen Barillaro out of Niagara Falls drove to Buffalo immediately after the funeral and had a meeting with then Buffalo mob boss Joseph (Lead Pipe Joe) Todaro to voice his displeasure and state his plans for revenge.
Barillaro never got the chance. Murdock and Big Ange Musitano stalked and killed Barillaro at his own doorstep on July 23, 1997. Three nights later, on July 26, 1997, RCMP surveillance teams watched as Fat Pat threw himself a coronation at The Gathering Spot, with soldiers and lieutenants from all across Canada coming to pay their respects and offer their congratulations.
Fat Pat Musitano and his surrogate brother, Joe (Pino) Arvignone, met with Vito Rizzuto and Guy Panepinto at a Hamilton restaurant on the evening of October 22, 1997, per RCMP surveillance logs. Among the topics of discussion, according to RCMP documents, was Musitano’s desire to bump off the Violi brothers and several of members of the Luppino family.
Murdock was busted for extortion in 1998 and flipped, making it so Fat Pat could never follow through on his plan to snuff out the remaining Violi and Luppino bloodlines in the Canadian mafia. Panepinto was slain in the fall of 2000 allegedly spawning from a dispute with Toronto mob don Jimmy DeMaria over a pair of unsanctioned murders of DeMaria’s men.
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