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Entries in Sandro Lo Piccolo (3)

Sunday
Apr062014

Last Days of the Lo Piccolos, part 1

A two-part look at the rise and fall of a father-and-son Mafia team

by Carl Russo

Salvatore Lo PiccoloGASPARE PULIZZI WAS DIGGING at a plate of tortellini with sea bass when a car pulled up to his house. Inside the vehicle were two men, one freshly killed, and Pulizzi was told he’d been assigned to bury him by the bosses responsible for the murder: Salvatore Lo Piccolo and his son Sandro.

The dead man was racketeer Giovanni Bonanno, the son of tough Palermo gangster Armando Bonanno, who had disappeared when Giovanni was still a teen. Now it was his turn to vanish, into the soil of a makeshift Mafia graveyard next to the freeway a few miles west of Palermo. Pulizzi, following orders, stepped into the car.

Giovanni Bonanno had been in desperate straits during Christmas of 2005. Fallen into debt and out of favor with the Lo Piccolos and their fellow bosses of the Madonia family, the 36-year-old extortioner’s regular shakedowns of shopkeepers were now met with, “We already paid somebody else.” Bonanno was not only unable to meet his obligation to support the families of imprisoned mafiosi, he was also suspected of embezzling mob funds and stood accused of calling Salvino Madonia’s son the fruit of an affair carried on behind the boss’s back.

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Sunday
Oct072012

News Muse 10.7.12

by Carl Russo

Flush a toilet, thank “Diabolik."

Godfather Matteo Messina Denaro, the super-fugitive from Castelvetrano with a playboy rep, was stripped of $33 million of his estimated $390 billion fortune last week. The booty included a group of eighteen companies that came to light with the recent capture of a frontman for the elusive “Diabolik," proving that the control of public works is still in the black hand of the mob.

Matteo Messina DenaroConstruction contracts worth $65 million kept his concrete pouring at seaports, resorts, highways and even the Palermo airport. The flush of many a hotel toilet came courtesy of the boss’ waterworks.

My only question is, while attending the couscous festival in San Vito Lo Capo some years back, did I lodge at a Messina Denaro hotel or a Bernardo Provenzano hotel? Each boss had his grubby mitts on the beach town’s tourist trade at the time.

Montreal’s former “Teflon Don,” Vito Rizzuto, may be free to roam Canada after a five-year repose in a Colorado prison—extortion, murder accessory, the usual—but he’s still a wanted wanted man in Sicily. His crime was the attempt to launder money through the biggest public project of them all: the bridge that will link the island to the Italian mainland.

Click to see the photosRizzuto will have to return to his native Cattolica Eraclea eventually, at the end of the long day, where he will spend eternity in a concrete crypt. Who gets that cement job?

Last Wednesday, the regional court in nearby Agrigento chose a unique method for the redistribution of ill-gotten wealth. As Giuseppe Falsone—another playboy don of the Messina Denaro mold—begins a long prison stint, his assets will be doled out to the citizens of the region for “existential damages.”

The $130,000 payout will be existential, too, hopefully poured back into drained city coffers in the land of crumbling Greek temples, with another $3.25 million to be fought over later.

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Saturday
Dec182010

The Boy King

by Bluto Ray

Gianni NicchiWith the arrests of some sixty-three mafiosi this week, police forces in Palermo claim victory over the extortion operation in the city’s northern half. The roundup is a sequel of sorts to an earlier raid that caught the most-wanted leader of that racket, Salvatore Lo Piccolo, along with his son Sandro, in late 2007.

A similar victory was trumpeted one year ago in the southern half of the city, when the boss of the rival racket, Gianni Nicchi, was apprehended. With that action, the police likely averted a full-scale Mafia war. From hours of surveillance tapes it was learned, among other revelations, that Lo Piccolo and Nicchi each wanted the other dead.

Nicchi’s crime career was meteoric as he rose from neighborhood barista to Italy’s second-most-wanted mafioso by the age of twenty-seven. Devoted service to his honorary godfather, capomafia Nino Rotolo, included a diplomatic mission to New York. There, Nicchi met with the American Gambino family that had hoped to reconnect lines from the glory days of the “Pizza Connection,” a US-Sicilian heroin operation busted up in the 1980s.

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