Tourists face uncertainty as B.C. First Nations communities question safety

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As the province presses forward with its next phase of reopening for local tourism, many First Nations are keeping their territories closed to outsiders to avoid contagion.

“I’m getting 30, 40, 50 emails and phone calls asking me ‘Can I come?’ ‘Will there be blockades?’ and I just can’t keep up with them,” said Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. “If you plan to travel within a First Nation’s territory, call and ask them if they are open to visitors.”

The Nuu-chah-nulth announced plans to restrict entry to much of the West Coast of Vancouver Island until certain safety conditions are met.

“Things change, and if we get a whole lot more cases on Vancouver Island, we will batten down the hatches for sure,” said Sayers.

The provincial government had been asking people to refrain from unnecessary travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although this week said it will allow British Columbians to travel for pleasure.

Original Post

EasyJet apologizes for calling Italy region ‘land of mafia and earthquakes’

It sought to make an offer travelers wouldn’t refuse, but easyJet ended up apologizing for describing Italy as the “land of mafia and earthquakes” in a cringeworthy ad, according to reports.

“For an authentic taste of Italian life, there’s nothing better than Calabria,” the British low-cost airline’s ad read in Italian on its website. “The region suffers from a distinct lack of tourists because of its history of mafia activity and earthquakes.”

In the ad promoting flights to Lamezia, the airline added that the southern region — famous for its coastline, vibrant history and culture — suffered from “the lack of iconic cities such as Rome and Venice capable of attracting the Instagram crowd.”

Calabria — which occupies the “toe” of the boot-shaped country — is actually home to the ’Ndrangheta organized crime syndicate — but it also features spectacular beaches, national parks and other tourist attractions.

The area also was mostly spared from the ravages of the coronavirus outbreak and is eager to welcome tourists during the peak summer season.

Backlash to the ad was fierce.

Calabria’s governor, Jole Santelli, said the ad was “offensive, distorted and had a clear racist flavor.”

Opposition leader Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party said the airline should be ashamed of itself.

Peppe Provenzano, the minister for territorial cohesion, said in a tweet: “Easyjet apologize, to Calabria and Italy. There is nothing else to add.”

Cultural Heritage and Activities Undersecretary Anna Laura Orrico said that “if Easyjet thinks that Lamezia Terme airport is the entrance to such a dangerous and unattractive place, it could always decide to give up the profits, worthy of note, that it collects providing, let us remember, a service,” the Mirror reported.

The embattled company, whose CEO Johan Lundgren sent a letter of apology to Santelli, removed the offensive reference and promised to investigate how the ad originated.

EasyJet said it was sorry “if this content has caused any offense. The intention was to highlight how Calabria is underestimated as a holiday destination for international travelers and to inspire more people to explore the region.”

The airline revised the ad to say that “thanks to its attractive coves, white pristine beaches, wonderful mountain and alpine landscapes, it is a perfect destination for your holidays,” according to the Mirror.

“Lamezia Terme is a fabulous place that is worth visiting at any time of the year,” it added. “In winter temperatures are milder than in other European countries; in spring and autumn the weather is perfect for outings, while in summer temperatures of 35 degrees are reached! It is always the right time to visit this wonderful city.”

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Santelli said she appreciated the removal of the ad and the mea culpa, but said the best way to remedy the “unprecedented gaffe” would be to increase flights to the region.

With Post wires

Original Post

The Valenti Family of Rochester, NY

By The Other Guy | June 25, 2020

The city of Rochester, New York
The city of Rochester, New York

Located along Lake Ontario in the top half of Western New York State, the City of Rochester has a current population of just over 200,000 residents. But when the overall, greater Rochester metropolitan area is considered, it boasts just over one million people.

Rochester on the map of NYS
Rochester on the map of NYS

Sandwiched between Buffalo (73 miles away) and Syracuse (87 miles away), the city ranks as the third largest city in the state behind New York City and Buffalo. Located in Monroe County, it is approximately 35 square miles in size.

Rochester was the original birthplace of Kodak, Paychex, Western Union, French’s, Bausch & Lomb, Gleason, Ragu’, and Xerox.

Yet, it is a largely depressed region, with a black population of over 40%, and a poverty rate that tops a staggering 33% of its residents. It has seen its population drop by roughly one third from its 1950 high of over 330,000 residents, who called the city home.

The city was once a Mecca for Italian immigrants, who flocked up to Rochester in droves upon coming to America.

It never had one clearly delineated “Little Italy” neighborhood per se, yet even today, still one in five of its residents can boast Italian lineage.

The Genesee River
The Genesee River

But as the decades past, and they achieved higher education and growing affluence, by the 1960s the Italian people by and large were leaving the city for more expensive housing in the area’s bucolic outer suburbs.

Today, only 12% of city residents are of Italian extraction. But it wasn’t always that way.

Back in the day, the city of Rochester was a vibrant city that drew many Italians because of its wealth, business opportunities and growing metropolis.

Since at least the 1920s, it also had a vibrant underworld that hosted a variety of ethnicities, all trying to grab their portion of the city’s illicit rackets.

But no group became more prevalent than the Italian crime groups of the city.

It is well-documented that a variety of independent and semi-independent Italian racketeers operated in the city, running a host of varied rackets through the years.

Genesee River - Downtown Aquaduct
Genesee River – Downtown Aquaduct

By at least the early 1940s, it seems that the mafia boss of the city of Buffalo, Stefano Magaddino, had cast his considerable shadow over Rochester, and considered it part of his racket domain.

Magaddino, who had immigrated from Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily, was one of the most important mafioso in America in that era, and the undisputed Capo of all Upstate New York.

It’s been well-documented over the years by the FBI, that various racketeers and mafiosi connected to his Family operated in Rochester. It was also well known that he regularly received his tithe as kingpin of the territory.

And yet, a funny thing happened along the way to maintaining that city as his personal mafia utopia.

It seems that by at least the early 1960s, a notorious racketeer who lived and operated in Rochester became its resident boss or “capo.”

More than that, it seems (and is well documented) that he actually formed his very own mafia borgata. And was clearly recognized as the “official” boss over all of the city.

That man was Frank Valenti, who with his brother Stanley, became the two highest profile mafiosi to ever operate in the city of Rochester.


Valenti at the height of his power
Valenti at the height of his power

Frank Joseph Valenti – aka “Francesco Valenti” (TN), “The Sphinx”, “Frank Valente”, “Frankie Ross” – was born on September 14, 1911 at 182 Mt. Hope Avenue in Rochester, NY. One of twelve children born into the family of Joseph and Rosalie Valenti.

He lived in Rochester until about 1930, at which time he relocated to the City of Pittsburgh, where he resided at 4606 Brownsville Road. By 1950, he had relocated to 6326 Monitor Street.

By early 1957, he was back living in Rochester, where he had his large family brood of parents, siblings, and other relatives. Valenti was residing at 1410 Highland Avenue.

FBI # 752390, Pittsburgh PD # 27741

In his early years, he operated in the Pittsburgh section of Pennsylvania, where he became a top hoodlum before reestablishing himself back in the City of Rochester decades later, where he had been raised and the Valenti family was also well known.

Costenze (Stanley) Valenti
Costenze (Stanley) Valenti

He had a much younger brother named Contenze, aka “Stanley”, who was very close with him, in both personal and business matters.

Stanley married Catherine Ripepi, the daughter of Antonio Ripepi, making both brothers related through marriage to a top Calabrian mafia figure, and LaRocca Family Caporegime.

He was also a known associate of Sebastian LaRocca, Samuel Mannarino, Michael Genovese, Joe Rosa, Dominick Anzalone, Geno Serventi, Jimmy Mattarazza, Joseph and Salvatore Falcone, and Vincent Scro. All of whom were notorious mafiosi.

Always a flashy hood, Frank had a reputation as a very well-dressed, dapper mafioso, who looked like a mobster straight out of central casting…it was a role he relished, and the news photographers ate up.

The Valenti-Ripepi marriage
The Valenti-Ripepi marriage

He was a slim, good looking man, who stood 5-feet 9-inches tall and weighed a trim 168pounds with a full head of coiffed grayish hair, which he styled into a duck-tail. He cut an imposing figure in gangland, and paraded around the city as its most dapper hood.

As a young hoodlum, he became a notorious figure in Pittsburgh, to both the police department and the local underworld.

capo - Antonio (Tony) Ripepi
Capo – Antonio (Tony) Ripepi

He was reportedly a wild man, and unafraid to flex his muscles, and push his way through Pittsburgh’s underworld as he attempted to gain prominence, and grab hold of his piece of the city’s rackets.

Valenti soon came to the attention of the resident mafiosi who ruled the territory and was taken under the wing of several established Italian racketeers, the most important of which was capo Antonio Ripepi.

Ripepi was an old-fashioned Calabrian Camorrista, who later joined the Sicilian-based Mafia. He was thought to have carried tremendous weight and respect within the Italian underworld, not only in Pittsburgh, but throughout the entire nation.

Because Frank’s brother Stanley had married Ripepi’s daughter. It gave both brothers a mob “license” so to speak, and a wide berth to pretty much operate as they wished.

Frank Valenti would actively operate within Pittsburgh from the 1930s through the 1950s era.

He too, would gain a wife like his brother Stanley, and three children as well, along the way. But after 9 years of marriage they divorced and Frank later got remarried to a young Indian girl twenty years his junior, named Eileen Barefoot.

1933 mugshot as a young hoodlum
1933 mugshot as a young hoodlum 

Frank picked up a long string of arrests along the way as well.

Starting in 1933 his record included:

  • 1933 – assault
  • 1934 – counterfeiting (2 years)
  • 1934 – criminal inquiry
  • 1934 – suspicion of forgery
  • 1936 – blackmail
  • 1937 – extortion
  • 1938 – breaking and entering
  • 1940 – liquor tax violations (1 year)
  • 1942 – gambling
  • 1944 – assault and battery
  • 1944 – robbery investigation
  • 1946 – accessory to murder
  • 1947 – conspiracy to violate the selective service act
  • 1948 – violation of the training act
  • 1958 – contempt of court (jailed for an indeterminate period)
  • 1960 – voter fraud (3 years probation)
  • 1972 – conspiracy and extortion (8 years federal prison)

He had the reputation as a strong-arm man and killer for the mafia, who was suspected in a string of gangland murders over the years.

He was the prime suspect in the double-murder of policy racketeers Freddie Garrow and Frank Evans in 1946.

Frank Valenti in the news
Frank Valenti in the news

Valenti was also heavily engaged in the “black market” rackets of sugar, and gas ration stamps. But at the time authorities stated that “he was too high up in the racket hierarchy to make any case against him stick.”

In 1953, Valenti was identified by a jeweler as one of three men who hijacked him on a highway in route to Pittsburgh, while he was carrying a briefcase full of precious stones and cash. He was subsequently robbed of these belongings.

At one time, Frank Valenti was considered Public Enemy #1 by the police in the city of Pittsburgh.

It was also documented by investigators that by the 1950s, Stanley Valenti was integral to the Treasury Balance ticket racket in the Rochester area.

Fallout from the Apalachin Meeting
Fallout from the Apalachin Meeting

The Valenti brothers growing prominence was clearly evident by their attendance at the infamous 1957 Mafia summit at Apalachin, New York.

Attended by over 100 of the country’s most important mafiosi, the racketeer bbq gave out invitations to only area bosses and their top hierarchy members. To be present at such a meeting is a telling sign of their position in the Italian underworld by the 1950s era.

Frank was one of 62 such mafiosi nabbed and detained by New York State Troopers, after they conducted a massive raid on Binghamton boss Giuseppe Barbara’s sprawling estate.

The subsequent nationwide newspaper exposure, and federal investigations the event would generate, would bring Frank Valenti’s name to prominence forever more.

By the mid 1950s, it seems that the Valenti brothers had relocated to the City of Rochester, New York. Once there, the brothers would quickly take over the city’s entire underworld.

He became part owner of Valenti’s, an Italian restaurant located at 123 State Street. Valenti previously owned the Doreen Jewelry Shop, and also partnered with his brothers Sam, John and Stanley, in his family’s Valenti Brothers Wholesale Produce Company, located at 202 Hamilton Street, in Rochester.

Giacomino (Jake Russo) Russolesi
Giacomino (Jake Russo) Russolesi

Over the years he acquired ownership interests in many other eateries including La Golondrina Restaurant, The Quill, Villa Roma, The Swallow, The Spaghetti Village, The Night Owl, Club 30, and another popular nightclub he named The Diamond Room.

He also held ownership in several notorious illegal after-hours clubs over the years in Pittsburgh, one of which was called American Boosters Assn (ABA).

He started to entrench himself there, but by 1960, Frank was put on ice for three years by a federal judge who banished him from the city based on a voter fraud conviction. A minor criminal charge that was used as an excuse to expel the hoodlum back to Pittsburgh for the three years.

But Frank was nothing if not determined, and very capable. He set his sights on taking over, and in doing so, upon his release off probation, quickly targeted the recognized leader of the Italian faction in the city for extermination.

In 1964, Giacomo (Jake Russo) Russolesi disappeared shortly after Valenti arrived in Rochester. And from that point forward, Frank was the #1 man again.

Jake Russo disappears
Jake Russo disappears

With Russolesi gone, everybody else fell in line. It allowed Frank to become the recognized boss of the city once and for all.

Valenti immediately started inducting several dozen resident Italian hoods he trusted. Making them formally recognized “soldiers” in his fledgling borgata.

Next he appointed several newly minted mafiosi to “captain” status,and formed several crews.

They next systematically started traveling throughout the city to shake down all the independent gaming operators; bookmakers, policy racketeers, guys running floating dice and card games, illegal money lenders, etc.

pinched.. Boss Frank Valenti in cuffs!
Pinched.. Boss Frank Valenti in cuffs!

Within months the Valenti Family was said to have organized better than 50% of the city’s organized underworld. And they were now steadily bringing in weekly envelopes totaling many thousands of dollars. They were on their way!

In 1965, FBI agents on surveillance caught several higher-ups in the Rochester Police Department clandestinely meet with Valenti. Detective Supervisor Lucien Di Giovanni and Detective John Li Pari of the Vice Control Unit, meet with the mobster several times.

When questioned about these meetings in follow up departmental hearings on the matter, the detectives emphatically denied ever meeting with Valenti. After being repeatedly grilled they eventually admitted the meetings.

For his part, Valenti repeatedly pled the Fifth Amendment before investigative panels.

It was a small Mafia Family by Cosa Nostra standards, only numbering several dozen members. But it was a bona fide, recognized Mafia borgata nonetheless.-In 1964, The New York Times wrote an extensive front-page story titled: “Rochester Upset By Mafia Report; Residents Caught in Middle as Police Watch Valenti.”

The news article went on to report about how the police were watching the city’s underworld intensely now that Frank Valenti had returned to Rochester. And that a celebratory dinner, attended by over 100 of the city’s mob guys, had been held in Valenti’s honor to welcome him back.

Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino
Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino

That he’d come back after a three-year court-appointed exile for a voter fraud conviction. A judge had banished him back to Pittsburgh for that duration. Now that the sentence had ended, Valenti had returned.

It also went on to state that since his return, there had been several beatings, shootings, and car bombings of independent gamblers and racketeers who failed to fall in line under Valenti’s domination.

Valenti and his troops were now reorganizing the city’s rackets under the Valenti Family of Cosa Nostra, and anybody who refused to share their racket profits with Valenti soon became a victim of mafia vengeance.

It was a damning article, and a story widely publicized around the country…It is no wonder Valenti garnered the notorious, and deadly reputation that he did.

Subsequent to the release of the story, in fact the very same day, both local Rochester and New York State Police conducted 35 raids, and made over 141 arrests on various gambling operations around the city.

Rochester tabloids report on Valenti

Side Note: Although his brother Stanley has often been identified as the actual “boss” of that city, he was but a door holder for Frank, who was the real gangster and force to be reckoned with. It was because of Stanley’s marriage to Ripepi’s daughter that often led to this thinking, but there is no data to back it up.

In truth, although an inducted mafia soldier, Stanley operated and oversaw their joint business, Valenti Brothers Produce Company. With the exception of his attendance at Apalachin in 1957, Stanley managed to stay away from most street rackets per se. He largely ran under the radar, both before and after the Apalachin debacle.

Capo - Sammy Gingello
Capo – Sammy Gingello

Side Note: There has been much conjecture and speculation over the years about just how Frank Valenti was able to formulate a brand new mafia Family in Rochester, and be widely recognized as its “official” boss, but he did. Rochester had traditionally been under the auspices of the Magaddino Family of Buffalo. Yet, boss Stefano Magaddino allowed this “Johnny come lately” to invade a Buffalo Family bailiwick without reprisals.

It was thought that the Pittsburgh Family gave the ok for Valenti to travel to Rochester, to organize a borgata and consolidate the city’s rackets.

But this could only have been accomplished with the blessing of the Buffalo boss.

Soldier - Dominick Chirico
Soldier – Dominick Chirico

It is possible, in fact probable, that although Valenti did indeed become boss of his very own small mafia borgata, he still sent an occasional “tribute” to the longtime recognized overall capo of the Upstate New York and Toronto, Canada area, Stefano Magaddino.

There has also been conjecture that Valenti was still under the protection and dictates of the Pittsburgh Family, from which he started from.

Or that he was in fact later subservient to New York City’s Bonanno Family, of which several members of the Rochester crew held strong ties to.

And lastly, that for whatever reason Valenti was completely autonomous. And was truly a boss in his own right.

Soldier – Thomas Didio

Side Note: The formation of a new mafia Family so many years after the original 1931 structuring of several dozen Families across the country was in and of itself, a very unique and strange occurrence. I can think of no other time during the Mafia’s existence in the United States of something like this happening.

He ruled over a small membership that probably numbered no more than 25 to 30 or so inducted mafia members.

But of course they dealt with the larger Rochester underworld which was comprised of many ethnicities.

Frank Valenti was thought to have been the boss from 1964 through 1972.

Soldier – Anthony Gingello

By the early 1970s trouble was brewing within his Family by several subordinates who accused him of diverting monies due their troops.

He was accused of robbing their borgata, and soon faced an insurrection, ultimately forcing him to abdicate power, and his expulsion from the Family. He essentially became “persona non grata”, and was forced to flee the city for fear of being killed.

Whatever previous backing he had from the Pittsburgh crew and it’s mob powers was no longer, and Valenti was thought to have hightailed from Rochester. He never returned to the area, or was a player in the city’s underworld again.

Soldier – Thomas Marotta

1972 was an especially bad year for Frank. Valenti also suffered his arrest, conviction, and jailing for conspiracy and extortion in the shakedown of a Batavia, New York, contractor.

Finally paroled from federal prison in 1980. he immediately left New York State, never to return again.

But even with Valenti long gone, the Rochester Family was an unruly and contentious bunch, even amongst themselves. In the coming years, the various soldiers and capos would argue and split into at least three separate factions.

Samuel (Red) Russotti
Samuel (Red) Russotti

This unstable Family ultimately waged a gang war on one another, which destroyed them from within.

They were a very small Family to begin with, and between them killing each other off, and the federal onslaught brought down on them by the FBI and local authorities in an attempt to quell the warfare, was more than the borgata could withstand.

Wanton gangland shootings and murders, with bodies left strewn in the streets, dynamite car bombings and other mob mayhem, would eventually bring intense law enforcement scrutiny and many prosecutions that ripped apart whatever semblance of organization the Family had left.

During their investigations, law enforcement tracked the carnage. Police categorized the various splintered mob factions as Team A, Team B, Team C.

Sammy Gingello & Frank Valenti
Sammy Gingello & Frank Valenti

These various factions were alternately headed by Samuel (Red) Russotti, Salvatore (Sammy G) Gingello, Thomas Didio, Tommy Marotta, and Rene Piccarreto.

Other key combatants included Angelo Amico, Dominic Chirico, Richie Marino, Dominick Taddeo, Joseph (Joe the Hop) Rossi, Donald Paone, and Joseph (Joe T) Trieste, among many other soldiers and associates engaged in this conflict.

Among the gangland casualties were Dom Chirico, Didio, Gingello, John Fiorino, Vincent (The Hammer) Massaro, and Nicky Mastrodonato.

As a result of the carnage and police pressure several members also turned informer. These included Joseph (Spike) LoNovara, Albert DeCanzio, Joseph LaMendola, and Angelo Monachino, among others.

Boss - Frank Valenti as he aged
Boss – Frank Valenti as he aged

By the time all the gangland smoke had cleared, there was nothing left of the Rochester Family of Cosa Nostra. It can be argued that they were the shortest tenured Mafia Family in the history of the United States.

Only operating from approximately the early 1960s through the 1980s, they were arguably the most unequipped, and ill-prepared bunch of mafia ner-do-wells to ever don a “button”!

Their most storied member, Frank J. Valenti, died with his shoes off, in an nursing home located at Sugar Land, Texas, at the very ripe old age of 97 years old in 2008.

After his expulsion from Rochester, Valenti had first relocated out to Arizona, and in his later years moved on to Texas. It was a quiet end to a very tumultuous life.

Side Note: Frank’s brother Stanley, born in 1926, would live to the age of 75 years old, passing away in 2001.


The Rochester Family of Cosa Nostra is no longer active in that city. There will always be racketeers in one form or another. But the organized Italian element of the Mafia is but a bygone memory in Rochester.

This article was originally posted “here

Imprisoned Chicago Mob Chief Looks To Lady Luck, Jimmy Marcello Throws Hail Mary In Re-Sentencing Bid

June 25, 2020 — A little luck of the Irish wouldn’t hurt right about now for a Windy City mafia power hoping for a break and a possible re-sentencing on the horizon. Former Chicago mob boss James (Jimmy the Man) Marcello, half Irish on his mother’s side, has filed an appeal of his federal racketeering and murder conviction in the landmark Operation Family Secrets case on the grounds that his sentence was overly punitive, citing a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision from last year. In the high court’s 2019 “Davis ruling,” sentences increased for criminal activity committed with a gun have been determined to be unconstitutionally vague.

The 76-year old Marcello was the Outfit’s street boss in the early 2000s. In 2007, he was found guilty of driving Las Vegas crew boss Tony (The Ant) Spilotro and his little brother Mickey, to a Bensenville residence on June 14, 1986 where they were beaten and strangled to death in the basement for Tony’s flagrant and subversive behavior in the desert.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel sentenced Marcello, a career criminal out of the Chicago mob’s Cicero regime, to life in prison. He’s doing his time in the Florence, Colorado Supermax facility for the nation’s most powerful and dangerous felons.

Marcello came up through the Outfit as a driver for Chicago mob boss Sam (Wings) Carlisi. Marcello’s dad was slain Cicero crew collector Sam (Sammy Eyes) Marcello, murdered in 1973 by small-time,Outfit-connected crook Sam (Sammy Paper) Rantis, who himself would pop up dead weeks later. Rantis didn’t have Marcello’s tribute one day close to Christmas and killed Marcello and his bodyguard when they came to collect.

FBI informants claim a young Jimmy Marcello, then known as “Little Jimmy” or “Jimmy Light,” made his bones on the Sammy Paper hit. Marcello was inducted into the Chicago mob in a 1983 ceremony, per court records.

He was busted with Carlisi in the 1990s in a federal racketeering case and did a decade in the can before emerging from a Milan, Michigan prison cell in 2003 and ascending directly to the throne, being named acting boss of the Outfit. His reign on top of the Chicago underworld was short lived and he was swept up as a lead defendant in the groundbreaking Family Secrets indictment that dropped in the spring of 2005.

Jimmy the Man’s not-so-little brother Michael (Big Mickey) Marcello was nailed in the Family Secrets case and did prison time as well. Big Mickey Marcello, 70, was arrested for social security fraud late last year and is currently awaiting trial.

Original Post

Cadillac Frank Secretly Attended Son’s ’95 Funeral While In Hiding, Final Days Of Salemme N.E. Mob Regime Somber In Tone

June 24, 2020 – With the full force of the federal government aimed at finding and arresting him, then-New England mob boss Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme sneaked back into Boston to attend his son’s funeral 25 years ago this week, per exclusive Gangster Report sources. Hot-tempered Boston wiseguy Francis (Frankie Boy) Salemme, Jr. died of AIDS-related cancer and was laid to rest on the morning of June 24, 1995. He was 38 and under indictment for extortion when he passed.

His dad, on the run from the FBI since that winter, watched the funeral from a car in the distance, according to sources, doing a “drive by” to pay his respects while exposing himself to capture at a cemetery burial crawling with cops. Cadillac Frank had fled Boston for Florida after the 1994 holidays to avoid being taken into custody in a largescale racketeering case filed against him and his Winter Hill Gang allies, James (Whitey) Bulger and Stevie (The Rifleman) Flemmi.

The elder Salemme was very close to his son and per one source, thought saying goodbye to Frankie Boy, even if from a distant, was worth the risk of getting caught. Salemme’s time on the run didn’t last much longer and he was finally nabbed in Palm Beach, Florida on August 12, 1995, his reign as mafia don having come to an unceremonious end.

Cadillac Frank, who was half Irish, had leveraged his close ties to Boston’s Irish mob, known as the Winter Hill Gang, in his rise to power in the Patriarca crime family at the beginning of the decade. When he was in state prison for a car bombing in the 1970s and most of the 1980s, the Winter Hill crew protected Frankie Boy on the street.

Today, the 86-year old Salemme is serving a life sentence at a prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri for a first-degree murder conviction he incurred two years ago. In the summer of 2018, Salemme was found guilty of ordering the gangland slaying of nightclub owner Stevie DiSarro during his rocky Beantown mob regime of the early 1990s.   

DiSarro, 43, was strangled to death by Frankie Boy Salemme in the Salemme family home in the upscale suburb of Sharon, Massachusetts on the morning of May 10, 1993. Cadillac Frank summoned DiSarro, a partner of his and his son’s in a South Boston go-go bar, to see him and watched as Frankie Boy choked him out in the kitchen. Stevie Flemmi accidentally walked in on the hit as it was occurring.

The Salemmes suspected DiSarro was stealing from the iconic rock club-turned-strip-joint they were running and cooperating with the FBI and IRS. The three of them had muscled their way into ownership of The Channel, a legendary music venue from the 1980s in the heart of Winter Hill Gang territory, but by 1993 they had rebranded it as a topless bar called Soiree. One of the reasons for the pivot was Frankie Boy’s constant erratic behavior, getting into physical altercations with musicians, patrons and the club’s previous owner.

Based on a tip from a cooperator out of the Patriarca’s Rhode Island wing, the feds exhumed DiSarro’s remains from behind a converted textile mill in Providence in 2016. Salemme had entered the Witness Protection Program in 1999 upon learning of Bulger and Flemmi’s longtime work as confidential informants for the FBI. At the time DiSarro’s body was dug up, Cadillac Frank was living under an assumed identity in Atlanta. Years earlier he had pleaded guilty to perjury charges connected to lying about his knowledge of DiSarro’s murder in his initial cooperation agreement.

The DiSarro murder is just one of at least a half-dozen mob hits Salemme is believed to have lied and misled the feds about. A federal grand jury has been impaneled in Providence for the last three years hearing testimony in the 1992 Kevin Hanrahan murder case, per sources. Informants have told the FBI that Salemme ordered Hanrahan killed when word began to spread of Hanrahan, an enforcer for the crime family, planning a revolt and intending on executing Salemme and his entire mob cabinet.

Original Post

“La Barbie” Helped DEA Hunt Down Cartel Boss, Beltran-Leyva In ’09, War Ensued Court Records Claim

June 23, 2020 — According to U.S. federal court documents, American-born Mexican drug cartel don, Edgar (La Barbie) Valdez, gave information to the FBI and DEA that led to his boss’ death in a shootout with authorities. Mexican magazine Aristegui Noticias ran a story last week about Valdez’s dealings with the U.S. government prior to his 2010 arrest.

Valdez’s boss, drug baron Arturo (Botas Blancos) Beltran-Leyva and three of his bodyguards, were killed on December 16, 2009 in a 90-minute gun battle with hundreds of Mexican police, a DEA swat team and members of the U.S. military outside a luxury apartment complex in Cuernavaca, Mexico Beltran-Leyva was using as hideaway. Valdez gave up the location of the safe house to a DEA agent per the court records. In the aftermath of Beltran-Leyva’s death, Valdez went to war for his organization against his three brothers, resulting in mass carnage before he was finally taken off the street less than a year later.

Most of Valdez’s cooperation had to do with corruption within the Mexican government under former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. He’s expected to be a star witness at the upcoming drug trial of Genero Garcia Luna, Mexico’s top security officer in Calderon’s administration, who was arrested by the DEA last year. The article in Aristegui Noticias details tips Valdez gave the DEA and FBI between 2008 and 2010.

The 46-year old Valdez was sentenced to 50 years in prison out of federal court in Atlanta in 2018 for narcotics trafficking. He started his career in the Mexican drug world landscape, as a bodyguard for notorious Narcos boss, Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman of the Sinaloa cartel. Nicknamed after the American blonde-doll toy franchise, La Barbie was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, where he was a high school football star and then a local marijuana kingpin.

Valdez fled the law in the U.S. in the late 1990s and hooked up with Guzman, first as an enforcer and personal driver and then as head of the Sinaloa’s Gulf region. The DEA estimates he oversaw the transportation and distribution of 2,000 kilos of cocaine a month into the U.S. through Texas.

When the four Beltran-Leyva brothers (Arturo, Carlos, Hector and Alfredo) decided to break off from Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel and start their own narcotics conglomerate, Valdez joined them and given his own crew to run known as “Los Negros.” While living in Mexico, he met and married the daughter of fellow drug lord Carlos (El Charro) Montemayor.

After Arturo Beltran-Leyva was killed, Valdez squared off against his brother, Hector (El Ingeniero) Beltran-Leyva, for control of the organization in a bloody power struggle that resulted in hundreds of slayings. Valdez became famous for videotaping murders, decapitations and torture sessions and circulating them on-line as an intimidation tactic.

There are currently two Hollywood films in development about Valdez’s life. In 2011, Legendary Pictures optioned a Rolling Stone Magazine article about Valdez and have attached Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy fame to the project as El Barbie. Actor Arnie Hammer purchased Valdez’s life rights in 2016 and intends on starring in and producing a biopic as well.

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Dix says he was unaware of reports of anti-Indigenous racism in B.C. health-care system

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Provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix says he had not seen reports from March, 2019, that came to light last week detailing systemic racism against Indigenous people in the B.C. health-care system.

The reports were released by Metis Nation B.C. and detailed both overt and surreptitious acts of anti-Indigenous racism.

The first, called Mapping the Harms of Anti-Indigenous Racism in the B.C. Health Care System, “was not a report that was brought to my attention,” the minister said on Monday.

The second, called Dismantling Anti-Indigenous Racism Within the Health Care System, includes 83 recommendations to get rid of racism. It is still in draft form, Dix said.

In one case — which the first report said showed inequities perpetuated by health-care institutions that ignore poverty, inadequate housing, food insecurity and other health issues — an Indigenous man was discharged from hospital after surgery with no consideration of his living conditions.

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Federal Judge Springs Chicago Wiseguy Mario Rainone From The Can On Compassionate Release

June 22, 2020 — The long arm of the law showed a little mercy for the long arm of the Chicago mob. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Leinenweber granted Chicago Outfit soldier Mario (The Arm) Rainone motion for compassionate release Monday, letting the 65-year old wiseguy out of his gun case almost a decade early due to health concerns (prostate cancer, liver damage and a heart condition)/

Rainone has been locked up since 2009 and wasn’t scheduled for release until 2028. He used to be a collector for old North Side crime bosses Lenny Patrick and Gus (Slim) Alex, building a citywide reputation for himself as a menacing mob enforcer in the Outfit of the 1980s. His old-time Outfit running buddy, Albert (Albie the Falcon) Vena, is alleged to be running the Chicago mob these days as the Outfit’s overall street boss. Vena and Rainone were Patrick and Alex’s top collection team.

But in 1989, fearing for his life after a falling out with Patrick, Rainone betrayed his Outfit superiors and briefly agreed to enter the Witness Protection Program; before changing his mind and backing out of his cooperation deal when his mother’s front porch was firebombed. It’s not clear how or if Rainone was let back into the Chicago mob after he played ball with the feds, even if just for a short period of time.

In March 2009, Rainone was arrested for possession of a handgun found on his bedroom nightstand when his Addison residence was searched in the hours after he was suspected of burglarizing a Lincolnshire condo. The North Side crew was disbanded in the late 1990s and rolled into the Grand Avenue-Westside regime.

For years, Lenny Patrick ran the Outfit’s Jewish faction out of Rogers Park. Slim Alex was a top advisor and political fixer for longtime Chicago mob boss Tony (Joe Batters) Accardo and controlled vice in the “Loop” business district downtown. Patrick flipped on Alex and was the star witness at Alex’s heavily-covered racketeering and extortion trial in 1992, resulting in a guilty verdict for Alex and him spending the rest of his life behind bars. Tony Accardo died peacefully of natural causes in the months preceding Alex’s trial.

Today, Albie Vena headquarters off Grand Avenue at Richard’s Bar. The status of Vena and Rainone’s current relationship is unknown.

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Gangster Report Retraction: “Wild West Breaks Out In West Bloomfield …” Article Pulled From Site

June 22, 2020 — The Gangster Report has retracted it’s June 21, 2020 story, “Wild West Breaks Out In West Bloomfield, Shootout In Suburbs Tied To Detroit Dope Game.” In the story, Detroit area businessman Tony Yasso, who was shot last week in front of his home in West Bloomfield, Michigan, is linked to a drug feud. There is no evidence supporting Yasso’s involvement in illegal narcotics dealings, as the article inferred, and the article has been removed from the site. Yasso, 31, has no criminal record.

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Isiah’s Good Guy Image Began To Crack Before Jordan Beef, News Of GJ Appearance Broke 30 Years Ago

June 22, 2020 – The news of NBA superstar Isiah Thomas’ alleged mob ties came to light 30 years ago this week when the CBS television affiliate in Detroit broke a story about the Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame point guard being called to testify in front of a federal grand jury investigating a mafia gambling business in Southeast Michigan. The story ran on June 15, 1990, on the day the Pistons returned home to Detroit from the west coast where they had beaten the Portland Trailblazers to repeat as NBA champions and Thomas had been named MVP of the NBA Finals.

Sport Illustrated booted the Pistons off the cover of the following week’s issue in favor of PGA U.S. Open winner Hale Irwin and the story inside was titled “Thorns In The Roses,” a reference to the allegations of Thomas’ gambling and the small-scale rioting that erupted on the streets of Detroit in celebration of the Pistons championship the night they won the crown. Thomas and CBS television sports reporter Virg Jacques got into a physical altercation outside the Pistons’ practice facility when Jacques attempted to ask the superstar hoopster about his connections to the federal gambling probe.

Prior to the 1990 television report and grand jury appearance, Isiah’s image and reputation had been squeaky clean, his pretty boy good looks, glowing smile and natural charm making him the perfect pitch man and role model. Behind the scenes, per more than one retired NBA vet, Thomas was known as a smiling assassin, feared for his cunning and locker room politicking.

Per FBI and court records, Thomas was introduced to members of the Detroit mob family from his best friend and neighbor Emmet Denha, an Iraqi Christian grocery store mogul. Denha helped the family’s Giacalone crew launder money through his Shopper’s Market grocery chain. Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone and his younger brother Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone were the street bosses of the Tocco-Zerilli crime family and prime suspects in the famous 1975 unsolved murder and disappearance of Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa.

When the FBI scanned Denha’s financial records, agents noticed Thomas was cashing hundreds of thousands of dollars of checks through a number of Shopper’s Markets around Metro Detroit. Informants told the FBI, Denha got Thomas to host mob-backed “Las Vegas nights” at his posh Bloomfield Hills, Michigan mansion on multiple occasions throughout the late 1980s, where heavy-rollers from around Detroit would gather to play high-stakes dice and blackjack. Jack (Jackie the Kid) Giacalone, Billy Jack’s son, and gambling chief Allen (The General) Hilf, were in charge of the games, which acted as a floating casino, moving from spot to spot depending on the week.

Thomas told prosecutors the checks he cashed where his wife’s allowance and he cashed them at Denha’s stores to avoid the fanfare of going into a bank. The U.S. Attorneys Office stated clearly it was not investigating Thomas at the time the story broke in the summer of 1990. Hilf, the biggest bookie in the state of Michigan for decades, sat courtside at virtually every Pistons home game.

Billy Jack, Jackie the Kid, Allen Hilf, Emmett Denha and several others were indicted in a federal gambling and racketeering conspiracy in March 1991. They were all convicted in the case and did prison time.

According to federal documents, the FBI fielded tips that Thomas shaved points in three games in the 1988-1989 season on behalf of Hilf and Giacalone. The FBI never uncovered enough evidence to support the accusation per the documents. One FBI report from the spring of 1989 recounts a meeting between two FBI agents and Detroit Pistons starting small forward, Mark Aguirre, Thomas’ childhood friend and closest teammate, where Aguirre requested assistance in steering Thomas away from his gambling habits and loose mob affiliations.

The 59-year old Thomas retired in 1994, as beloved of a pro athlete as the city of Detroit had ever had. The mob taint never stuck to him. A 12-time NBA All-Star, he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.

The storied Giacalone Brothers both passed peacefully in 2001 and 2012, respectively. Hilf died of kidney failure in 2014. Jackie Giacalone, who just turned 70 years old this month, is reputed to be the boss of the Detroit mob today. Denha, 70, recently put his Bloomfield Township mansion up on the market for $3.2 million bucks.

Thomas’ name has been back in the headlines lately with all the buzz surrounding the ESPN Michael Jordan 30-for-30 documentary The Last Dance, chronicling Jordan’s career and final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. Considered the best basketball player in history , Jordan achieved his status as GOAT by finally slaying Isiah and the Pistons in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals to take the Bulls to their first of six NBA crowns and end the Piston’s “Bad Boys” era.

The Pistons-Bulls rivalry was so intense, Thomas led a walk-off during the closing moments of the ’91 series, refusing to shake hands with Jordan and wish him luck in the NBA Finals. Most reports say Jordan retaliated by blocking Isiah from joining the Dream Team in the 1992 U.S Olympics, but Jordan denied doing so in the interviews he did for The Last Dance.

Jordan’s own gambling habits almost got him in trouble back in the 1990s. Instead of attending a White House honoring of his Bulls ’91 title with his teammates, Jordan hit the golf course with noted North Carolina drug lord and driving range hustler James (Slim) Bouler and in Hilton Head, South Carolina and racked up $57,000 in debt. Jordan was called to testify at Bouler’s 1992 trial drug and racketeering.

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