Tag: families

Cleveland Mafia families – Its rise and fall

It was during the late 1800s that 7 Porello brothers and 4 Lonardo brothers all of them being childhood friends along with sulphur mine workers had come down to the States from their hometown Licata, in Sicily.  They settled in Cleveland’s Woodland district. Big Joe, the Lonardo clan leader had become a successful entrepreneur in lower region of Woodland Avenue. At the height of Prohibition, he became a successful dealer of corn sugar, used by bootleggers for making corn liquor. He provided raw materials and stills to poor Italian residents in the districts to prepare booze and to sell it to Big Joe for a good commission.  Hence, hear earned their respect and also was feared as godfather or ‘padrone’. He went on to establish a vicious and powerful gang called corn sugar ‘baron’ making Joe Porello, his corporal.

Emergence of the Porello family business

Soon the Porello brothers left their employment with the Lonardo gang and started their own wholesaling of sugar business and had become successful dealers establishing their headquarters in upper Woodland Avenue. The Lonardo’s business flourished as small competitors, bootleggers and sugar dealers died mysteriously of violent deaths leaving the Porellos, their old friends to be their main competitors.

The youngest Porello, Raymond got arrested for arranging 100 gallons of whisky  for sale at a barbershop owned by Porello and got sentenced to Dayton, Ohio Workhouse. The much influential Big Joe was paid huge for helping Raymond out of prison, which he failed, but did not return the money back. Big Joe had to visit Sicily to check out on his relatives and mother in 1926, during which the Porellos took advantage of the lack of business skills of the younger Lonardo. On 13th October 1927, in an ambush at Porello barbershop, Big Joe died when shot at, while Angelo escaped by ducking under the chair. Angelo succeeded Lonardos to become corn sugar ‘baron’ and appointed himself as Cleveland Mafia’s capo.

But problems arose between both the families with each killing the other to seek revenge.

Downfall of Cleveland Mafia

Angelo Lonardo, in 1983 who was once the boss of Cleveland Mafia was said to have turned government informant. He had been sentenced to 103 years for racketeering and drug convictions along with life imprisonment. Thus got reduced the Cleveland mafia families and their activities in the region.

All about the Mafia families of the 1930’s era

The Mafia families were said to have come from Sicily, at a time, when their activities there were hampered by the law authorities and were either forced into exile or arrested, convicted to be sentenced to life term or hanged till death. To escape this, they had fled to the United States, where they diversified into different regions and established their control over their respective areas.

Influence of the Mafia

With the alcohol prohibition being lifted in the year 1933, the Mafia bootlegging industry was in grave danger to lose its business. Very soon, the Mafia had its trade to be shifted to prostitution and drugs as alcohol became easily available. The changes noticed in this scheme were regarded to be the master plan of Salvatore Luciana, who was popularly called Lucky Luciano by many. This Mafia legend had a clear vision. After few bloodbath series, which obliterated traditional Mafia clans that is known to have preferred Omerta against profiteering, another scheme was said to be engineered by Luciano for preserving source of livelihood. With alcohol business more than finished, prostitution and drugs seemed to the Mafia members to be an assuring financial option. However, for carrying out these illegal activities, the Mafia was required to team with the Irish and Jewish rivals. This alliance did last long for 40 years and more.

Trading in heroin and other illegal drugs

Heroin was regarded to be a viable alternative, since not many heroin addicts is said to have existed like that of alcoholics. Although the heroin market lacked in numbers, but it did provide the facility to transport it without any hassle, since heroin is much lighter in weight and can be easily shipped and distributed to any region within the U.S. It was discovered by Luciano that when his prostitutes were drugged, they had turned to become much more subservient, while being more eager to perform and provide immense satisfaction to their clients. Furthermore, usage of heroin did drive the prostitute to get into serious addiction, which automatically meant that the Mafia can add them to their existing customers for the illegal trade carried out by them.

Other activities

Among all this aspects, another idea struck Luciano, which was forming of the multi-family commission that is likely to approve and regulate the mafia activities. It was the bosses who represented their respective families of which the notorious among them was regarded to be Al Capone.

The Commission and the Mafia families

It was Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano, who in 1931 had established The Commission in New Jersey’s Atlantic City. However, its formation did not help prevent the gang wars which ensued. But the frequency and scale of gang wars that did take place got reduced to a considerable extent. Once a Mafia family had declared war on the other group, then the aggressor family automatically found itself at war not only with the other family, but also with that of the Commission and remaining Mafia members. The Families, in this manner were provided with a powerful incentive for having their disputes negotiated without actually indulging in wars or bloodshed of any sort.

Importance of the Commission

The Commission at times appointed a new Don of a Family for settling wars as well as internal conflicts. However, the previous Don or the usurper was assassinated. The Bonanno War fought by the Bonanno Family is a classic example of this type of case.

History of The Commission

Originally, it comprised of Dons from 7 Mafia families, Five Family leaders of New York (Tommy Gagliano, Vincent Mangano, Joe Profaci, Joseph Bonanno and Lucky Luciano), Buffalo (Stefano Magddino) and Al Capone from the Chicago’s Outfit, representing everything present in Western U.S. But after the Apalachin Convention held in 1957, The Commission allowed the entrance of two more family leaders.,  who were Joseph Zerilli ‘Joe Z’ of Detroit Partnership and Angelo Bruno ‘Gentle Don’ of Philadelphia Crime Family. But over 1960’s and 70’s, these positions declined.

Current affairs of the Commission

Currently, the membership of The Commission is said to comprise of bosses from the Five Families, Philadelphia Crime Family and The Chicago Outfit. Due to the recent FBI crackdowns on the Mafia families, its activities were being kept a guard secret from public view.

Enrolling members

Joining the syndicate was also allowed to the non-Italian mobsters. However, voting power was considered to be limited strictly to that of the Italian members. The Commission’s Financial Advisor and Luciano’s chief advisor was Lansky. The Commission had no ‘Boss’, but there was the post of a Chairman, who was nominated.

The aims and beliefs of The Commission were enforced via Murder, Inc. operation, which was notorious and ran from Brooklyn. It was by voting that The Commission approved and authorized the service. With the target numbers limited generally to a few or single individuals, The Commission, in this manner prevented confusion circumstance, which otherwise may have resulted in gang wars, while minimizing exposure to the press.

Small Fish in a Barrel

Hey it’s Jack_-Dragna reporting for the American Mafia Times newspaper.  


Awhile back, I had written about a man named Twinkie who started a family, claiming it was under the Outfit Empire, was shortly assassinated for it. It seems as though Twinkie’s son Tom-Hitman had followed in his fathers footsteps, and opened another Outfit family without an authorization. On top of everything, he had whacked several family Madmen, Associates,  even killing the Don of the Corleone Misfits, and Sidekicks. He and his Consigliere were whacked, but yet the Dons still don’t know who had whacked their members.


For example,  VictorG was told who the killers were and yet he still made a forum about not knowing who had killed them.


So to all of the Dons or members who lost a member or a friend, please know the killer has been killed, so you can peacefully return to business as usual.


From AM Times HQ, this is Jack_-Dragna with the news. Stay safe and have fun.