Gallo, Joseph (1929-1972)

Born Brooklyn, NY, April 6, 1929.

Killed New York, NY, April 7, 1972.

Early in his career, Joey "Crazy Joe"/"Joe the Blond" Gallo served as an enforcer for the Brooklyn-based Joe Profaci crime family. Gallo is said to have bragged about his involvement in the 1957 assassination of Albert Anastasia.

Gallo and his brothers, Albert and Larry, were called to testify before the McClellan Committee in 1958 and answered all questions by citing the Fifth Amendment.

Profaci's Family and that of Joe Bonanno, linked by marriage, comprised a strong conservative wing of the Mafia's ruling Commission. By 1960, the Gallo brothers had serious disagreements with Profaci - reportedly related to controversial mob killings, rewards promised but undelivered by the boss and hefty fees for crime family membership. The brothers attempted to force concessions from Profaci by kidnapping top crime family lieutenants. Profaci initially agreed to terms and then turned on the Gallos. The rebel group took their complaints to Carlo Gambino, boss of another family and leader of the Commission's so-called "liberal" wing. Gambino reportedly took the complaints to a meeting of the Commission in 1962 and called on "Old Man" Profaci to retire.

When Profaci and Bonanno objected, the Commission - faced with the prospect of a civil war throughout the mob - gave Profaci a vote of confidence. The Gallos fell in line momentarily.

When Profaci died of cancer later in 1962, his crime family split apart, probably due to meddling by Gambino and allies. (The Bonanno family also splintered as a result of Commission politics.) Joe Magliocco, Profaci's underboss, attempted to control the family, but he was ill-suited to the job. The Gallo faction grew in strength and openly broke with Magliocco.

Magliocco died of a heart attack in 1963 and was succeeded by Gambino ally Joe Colombo. Colombo, helped by Joe Gallo's imprisonment for attempting to extort money from a Manhattan cafe owner, was able to negotiate a peace and restore crime family order.

Joe Gallo was released from prison in 1971 and was the prime suspect when Colombo was assassinated in that year. (Apparently, Gambino himself had grown disgusted with Colombo's publicity-seeking behavior and decided to eliminate him.)

Gallo reportedly declared that he was going straight and announced he was beginning work on his memoirs, a book the underworld did not want written. Early in the morning of April 7, 1972, continuing his birthday celebration begun on the evening of April 6, Gallo and some companions settled in for a meal at Umberto's Clam House in Manhattan's Little Italy. A gunman stepped into the building and shot Joe Gallo to death.

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