Born New York, NY, Feb. 21, 1910.
Killed Brooklyn, NY, July 12, 1979.
"Lilo" Galante was regarded as one of the more ruthless of the American Mafiosi. Many believe he ascended to the leadership of the Bonanno crime Family in New York upon Philip "Rusty" Rastelli's 10-year conviction in 1974 for extortion. Some insist that Galante was never recognized as Family boss and only led a rebellious wing of the Bonanno clan.
Galante certainly had designs on the boss job and looks to have meddled a bit in affairs of other Families. That earned him a number of powerful enemies.
Galante, reportedly born in New York to Vincenzo and Vincenza Russo Galante, was arrested numerous times, beginning with a robbery and assault charge when he was just 16 years old. He was arrested for attempted robbery in 1930. He was considered a prime suspect in the 1943 murder of Carlo Tresca (the murder was committed while Galante was out of prison on parole). He invested in a number of legitimate businesses, including the Rosina Costume Company of Brooklyn, the Abco Vending Company of West New York, NJ, and the Latimer Shipping Company of Manhattan.
Galante is believed to have been one of the masterminds of the international narcotics trade. He made frequent trips from New York to Montreal and Sicily and was known to employ fiercely loyal Sicilian immigrants ("Zips") as bodyguards. His attendance at a 1956 Mafia convention near Endicott, NY, was documented when he was caught speeding on a return trip to New York City. His presence at the Apalachin convention the following year was suspected but not documented.
When Rastelli emerged from prison early, in 1979, it is believed that he and Gambino Family underboss Aniello Dellacroce set Galante up. Galante was shot to death at the conclusion of a meal in the grotto of Joe and Mary's Restaurant, 205 Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn, on July 12, 1979. He was 69 years old.
Galante's Sicilian immigrant ("Zip") bodyguards proved to be of little worth on the occasion and are believed to have cooperated in the hit. Rastelli regained control of the Bonanno Family and remained boss until he was once again successfully prosecuted in 1985.