Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on November 10, 1982 · Page 9
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page 9

Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Wednesday, November 10, 1982
Page 9
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DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. ROCHESTER, N.Y., WEDNESDAY. NOVEMBER 10. 1982 HA "i" . iw""f'",i ll I mil ..Wo ' V.' S & J I 4 :j.,t,UA.fc...CL..J. - ' ' - -' ' - ...;...-f. ' mew Colombo accused of pulling the trigger He is one of 10 charged yesterday in underworld plot to kill Thomas Didio By David Galant uff um uemocr.i ana enro . Anthony M. Colombo of Rochester, center, entering court in the Federal Building yesterday with unidentified companions. Democrat and Chromcla The hired asaaaun who killed reputed mob figure Thomas Didio eluded law enforcement officials for more than four yean. But yesterday morning, Anthony M. Colombo, a Rochester construction worker, was- accused of being the trigger man in the 1978 machine gun slaying of Didio at the Exit 45 Motel in Victor. Colombo, 40, was arrested yesterday with nine other men who federal officials say comprise the top echelon of the Rochester underworld. All 10 are accused of plotting Didio 's death. Colombo was cordial as he shook a reporter's hand last night in front of his house at 34 Brentwood St. He Was wearing the same three-quarter-length, black leather coat he wore earlier in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Michael A. Telesca. Asked if he would discuss the charges against him, Colombo smiled and said, "Thank you, but I'd really rather not" Colombo also was accused yesterday of attempting to murder reputed mob figure Rosario "Ross" Chirico in Gates on May 25, 197a ' Police say that Colombo is a member of the Rochester underworld and is a body- . guard of Rene Piccarreto, who police said is the mob's counselor and second-in-command. Colombo's close friend, Anthony F. Oli- veri, was a key witness in a three-year federal probe that led to the indictment against Colombo and the other organized crime figures, a source close to the investigation said. Oliveri is now in the federal Witness Protection Program and living in another city, the source said. Oliveri was believed to have been with Colombo the night Didio was slain and on the morning Chirico was shot in the left forearm when he stopped his pickup truck at an intersection in Greece, the source said. Colombo and Oliveri were arrested on March 13, 1979 after a high-speed chase by police in Gates. Police sources say the two men that night had conspired to kill mob figure Angelo "Oskie" DeMarco, the former long-time operator of the 44 Club, a suspected gambling establishment on Lake Avenue. The night they were arrested. Oliveri and Colombo had parked their car in front of DeMarco's house on Firestone Drive in Gates. A mile-long chase ensued when police approached. Police charged the two with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, but the charge was later dismissed in Gates Town Court because authorities could not find the man who was believed to be the vehicle's owner. Police searched along Firestone Drive the night of the chase and found a loaded .357- caliber Magnum and an unloaded .12-gauge, sawed -off shotgun. The next day, Colombo and Oliveri were served with subpoenas from the state Organized Crime Task Force to appear before a federal grand jury. Colombo was later charged with first-degree criminal com tempt for failing to testify before the grand jury. Colombo became a member of the faction of the Rochester underworld known as the A Team in 1978, shortly after five faction leaders were released from prison, sources said. The five had been convicted of murder in the 1973 slaying of Vincent "Jimmy the Hammer" Massaro. But the convictions were overturned when a former Monroe County sheriffs deputy admitted the evidence used to convict the men was fabricated. In March, Colombo and Piccarreto were . charged with third-degree assault in connection with a Feb. 23 incident on Lyell Avenue. The charges are pending. Piccarreto is accused of punching Charles Perotti III, 26, of 83 Lime St, after Perotti greeted him on Lyell Aveune. Perotti told police he retaliated and was grappling with Piccarreto when Colombo clubbed him over the head with a handgun. Colombo and Piccarreto, police said, then dumped Perotti over a fence. The 'heavy gun' behind the probe Special U.S. attorney King Very thorough, very meticulous' in 3-year effort to get indictments By Jody McPhillips Democrat and Chronicle ' Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L King was as tight-lipped as usual yesterday, hours after FBI agents and police moved out to arrest the 10 men he'd been working for three years to indict : ; King, seeming uncomfortable in the limelight said, "I can't comment on that" over and over as reporters pressed him for more information about the federal probe that led to the in- dictments. "I'd love to talk about it but I can't under federal law. I don't want to go to jail." King was referring to federal regulations making it a crime to discuss the workings of a federal grand jury. It's a line he's been repeating for months when questioned about the activities of the special federal grand jury investigating organized crime. It took lawyers, police and federal investigators three years to put together the evidence that convinced members of the special federal grand jury to indict the 10 reputed mobsten arrested yesterday. ' , . v - King said the grand jury actually at least three separate grand juries, of up to 23 members each were called together from as far away as Perm Yan and Elmira to weigh the evidence assembled by investigators. Jurors could meet weekly or at longer intervals, depending on the amount of evidence to be sifted through, he said. United States Attorney for the Western Dis- trict Salvatore R. Martoche, was effusive yester-' day in his praise for the cooperation among federal officials, the district attorney's office, and city and suburban police agencies. The Organized Crime Strike Force is made up of two United States Department of Justice law-yers, Dan DeRose and Michael Tallon. Second Assistant District Attorney Donald J. Wisner, elected last week to the Monroe County Court bench, was assigned to the strike force with King three years ago, First Assistant District Attorney Howard R. Relin said last night. "In the beginning, it was pretty much 50-50 between Don and Bob," he said. "But after Don decided to run for office, Bob took over." Relin described King as "very thorough, very meticulous . . . he's one of the best trial attorneys we have. There's no question. He's one of our heavy guns." Two other lawyers King and Assistant District Attorney Kenneth R. Fisher were a major part of the effort, especially in the last year of the investigation, sources said. Fisher, who drafted much of ths legal briefs in the investigation, is another lawyer who knows how to guard hi tongue. Asked how he felt after yesterday's Indictments, ha said, "We're happy the procM has begun and hope justice will be served. How's that?" WOKR cameraman struck by Trivigno after arraignment Democrat and Chronicle One Of the 10 reputed mobsters charged yes- , terday with racketeering, didn't like the media x '" coverage at the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building, and left swinging. v John Trivigno, 38, of 147 Nichols St, took a punch at a television cameraman, Democrat and Chronicle photographer Burr Lewis said. Lewis said as Trivigno left the Federal Building elevator after his court appearance, "he came out like a bull charging" when he saw photographers. Lewis said he saw Trivigno throw a punch, knocking a photographer to the floor. Russell Glenn, a cameraman for WOKR-TV, Channel 13, said he will file a police report about the incident but isn't going to decide about pressing charges until after he talks with Gil Buettner, Channel 13's news director, today. "There was just nothing I could do about it. I couldn't get out of his way," Glenn said. Glenn wasn't seriously injured, receiving only bruised jaw. His equipment was shaken up a little, he said, but is back in working order. H.Y. LOTTERY Yesterday's winning number was 863. The Win Four number was 3212. 10 indictments are the latest chapter in tale of the alphabet war FROM PAGE 1A Rene J. Piccarreto, the reputed consiglieri an adviser to the boss; Richard J. Marino and Thomas E. Marotta, described as "captains" mobsters who pass on the bosses' orders; and Eugene A. DeFrancesco, an enforcer someone who backs up those orders with threats or force. But after serving only little more than a year of their sentences, all but DeFrancesco, who was also jailed for other offenses, were released on Jan- 31, 1978 after Monroe County Sheriffs investigators admitted falsifying the evidence used to convict them. N While the mob leaders were in prison, they left men behind to run Rochester's gambling parlor and rackets. Those men were entrusted to take care of the business and the jailed leaders' families. But that didn't happen: those given power by their one-time bosses refused to take orders. Their obstinence emerged in the form of a new -power structure the B Team led by Thomas Didio, Angelo Vaccaro, Rosario Chirico and Dominic "Sonny" Celestino. They liked running the show too much to relinquish their power when the old mob leadership got out of prison. Thus began the alphabet war B Team against A Team, with the latter led by Russotti, Piccarreto, Gingello, Marino, and Marotta. The B Team was accused of planting a number of bombs in late 1977 and early 1978 to let the returning A Team leaders know there would be no surrender of control One of those bombs, planted under a black Buick sedan near Ben's Cafe Society in downtown Rochester, killed Gingello on April 23, 1978. Gingello had come up through the ranks of the mob under former boss Frank Valenti. Gingello was also reported to be part of the old A Team power play that knocked Valenti out as boss in 1972. The bombings continued after Gingellos's death. On May 19, a pipe bomb was thrown through the window of the Social Club of Monroe, run by Donald Paone, one of Gingello's . closest friends. Three days later, the 1445 Club on University Avenue was bombed. The war between the two factions was in full force. On May 25, a sniper fired a shot at B Team leader Chirico. Police believed it was in retaliation for Gingello's death. Chirico was one of the few B Team members not in hiding. The beginning of the end for the B Team came June 18, when Celestino was arrested on a weapons charge. With him at the time was Francesco Frassetto, believed by police and the A Team to be loyal to the A Team. Surveillance on Frassetto had led police to the B Team's source of explosives. On July 6, Didio was machine-gunned to death in a room at Exit 45 Motel in Victor. Didio was reputed to have been the brains and the main muscle for B team's control of the underworld. Didio was one a Gingello bodyguard. His death, like Massaro's would become an event central to yesterday's indictments. Twenty-four days after Didio's killing, Rodney Starkweather, another B Team figure and suspect in the Gingello slaying, was shot in the stomach and the arm by an unknown assailant In Febraury 1979, Starkweather, facing charges of receiving explosives in February and March of 1978, knowing they would be used to kill Gingello, pleaded guilty to lesser charges pf conspiracy and unlawful possession of destructive devices. He became an informant and joined the Federal Witness Protection Program. On April 12, 1979, the B Team leadership was indicted in connection with Gingello's death. Named were Frassetto, Rosario and Anthony Chirico, Angelo Vaccaro, Celestino. William "Billy" Barton and Stanley Valenti. The eharges included illegal possession and use of explosives. The indictment said Gingello's death was part of a larger racketeering conspiracy. With their arrests, the B Team's short-lived control of some of the mob rackets ended. The A Team regained control and the mob war abated. In January 1980, after a three-week trial, all the indicted defendants, except Valenti who was judged too ill to stand trial, were ponvicted, Barton received 10 years imprisonment; Anthony Chirico, 15; his father, Rosario Chirico, 25; Celestino, 30; Frassetto, 30 and his wife Betti Frasset to, two years, for an obstruction of justice conviction. But nearly two years of calm In Rochester's underworld was shattered on Dec. 17, 1981. John M. Fiorino, vice president and paid business agent of Teamsters Local 398, was shot to death in front of the former Blue Gardenia Restaurant in Irondequoit. Fiorino was a reputed A Team underboss. A suspect, Louis DeGiulio quickly was taken into custody. A passenger in the getaway car . fired at an Irondequoit police officer and fled on foot Police later identified the gunman as Joseph John Sullivan. Fiorino's killing signified the beginning of a new gangland war in Rochester, said police who believed his assassination a warning to mob leaders to step aside. Those doing the warning, police believed, were members of yet another insurgent faction trying to take control of the mob rackets. This new faction was controlled by Thomas M. Torpey and Thomas E. Taylor, two former A Team loyalists, police said. Taylor and Torpey were Gin-. gello's body guards the night he was killed. In February 1982, Sullivan was arrested by FBI agents at the Denonville Inn in Penfield, and charged with murder in Fiorino's death. A Monroe County grand jury indicted Sullivan and reindicted DiGiulio on charges of second-degree murder, But Sullivan's arrest didn't stop the killings. On May 25, Nicholas Mastrodonato, a reputed associate pf Torpey and Taylor, was shot to death at Mr. Gold's Coin Shop in Gates. On June 10, Torpey and Taylor were charged with second-degree murder in the Fiorino shooting. On Aug. 27, Gerald Pelusio, also linked to the new Insurgent faction of the mob, was gunned down in front of an Irondequoit apartment Police believed Pelusio's brother, Thomas, was the real target, because Thomas had reportedly slapped Rene Piccarreto a month earlier. On Sept 23, Sullivan was convicted of second-degree murder in Fiorino's death, although he is acquitted of attempted second-degree murder in connection with shots fired at the Irondequoit police officer. During the trial, DiGiulio had testified that Fiorino's Jnurder was part of a larger scheme of the insurgent faction to take over the local mob. Torpey and Taylor are still awaiting trial. Then,' yesterday, 10 men who police say now head the A Team were arrested on federal racketeering charges, capping a three-year investigation by at least three federal special grand juries. imported Dy Scfuetteim & Co New York NY 198 SSI- TAKE-OUT DISH IViUJtC ucuan... I iitpiilP xr WITH CRISP WHITE WAN FU WINE. 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