Civella, Nick (1912-1983)

Born Kansas City, MO, March 19, 1912.

Died Kansas City, MO, March 12, 1983.

During Nick Civella's reign, from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, the KC mob moved aggressively into Las Vegas casinos and reportedly had large interests in the Stardust (opened in 1955), the Fremont (opened in 1956) and later the Landmark Hotel (opened in 1969). The move west was done in concert with Mafia families from Cleveland and Chicago.

Kansas City-born Civella was closely tied to the Teamsters Union during Jimmy Hoffa's presidency and the later presidency of Roy Williams (1915-1988) and appears to have had access to the Teamster pension fund. (After the mob boss's death, Roy Williams told authorities that he was intimidated into doing Civella's bidding.)

Civella is believed to have been an attendee at the 1957 Apalachin, NY, crime convention, though he was able to escape Joseph Barbara's estate without being noticed by authorities. Police found Civella and KC Mafia big shot Joseph Filardo in a taxi at the train station in nearby Binghamton, New York. Civella probably was not yet official boss of the KC crime family at the time, but his underworld faction - including relatives Carl and Anthony Civella and Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna - had become the most powerful in the local mob.

Thanks to his skimming from the Stardust, Civella earned an early place on the Nevada Gaming Commission's Exclusion List. He, his brother Carl and nine others were the first to be named on the list in 1960. In the 1970s, FBI wiretaps revealed the extent of the organized crime conspiracy to skim from the casinos.

Civella spent the later years of his life in prisons. He was released in failing health in 1980 and passed away in March 1983.

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