Skip navigation

Classic scene from "The Godfather" featuring a meeting of the five crime families

Classic scene from “The Godfather” featuring a meeting of the five crime families

BY John Marzulli ,daily nerws  The Mafia’s ruling hierarchy is out of commission.In 1931 the heads of the city’s five crime families formed the Mafia Commission to settle disputes and set mob policy. But the board hasn’t held a summit in more than 25 years, according to ex-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino.That secret came out this week when he testified for the feds at the murder trial of Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano.Massino said in Brooklyn Federal Court that the last meeting of all five heads was just before former Gambino boss Paul Castellanowas whacked outside Sparks steakhouse in midtown.”There ain’t no commission,” Massino said. “The last commission we had I was at in 1985 in November. When Paul Castellano got killed in December of 1985, there was never another commission meeting there.”

At the time of his death, Castellano was on trial with fellow crime bosses in the so-called Commission Case. The mob heads were all convicted of racketeering and sentenced to life in prison.

But Castellano’s slaying apparently sent a chilling message to aspiring bosses and they ended the get-togethers.

Thomas Reppetto, author of “American Mafia,” said the summits had been a key element in organized crime’s structure and were dramatized in “The Godfather” in a scene where Marlon Brando‘s Don Vito Corleone appeals to fellow bosses to end a bloody war.

“Today it is too dangerous for it to meet,” Reppetto said.

“The de facto destruction of the commission is one of the reasons that the New York Mafia is a shadow of its old self.”

While the commission no longer meets in person, it still must approve major changes – like the elevation of a crime family member to boss.

Mini-meetings also take place.

Genovese boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante was joined in his mother’s Greenwich Village townhouse by Gambino boss John Gotti and Luchese underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso for a sitdown in 1988.

But Massino lamented that when he convened a meeting of mob leaders in January 2000, a motley crew showed up.

Louie Bagels, the boss of the Luchese family; Pete Gotti, the acting boss of the Gambino family; Joe Waverly, the consigliere of the Colombo family; Skinny Larry, he was a captain on the panel of the Genovese family; and me, the boss of the Bonanno family,” Massino said.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45 other followers

%d bloggers like this: