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