Brooklier, Dominic (1914-1984)

Born 1914.

Died Tucson, AZ, July 18, 1984.

Brooklier, also known by the names Dominick Bruccoleri and Jimmy Regace, became a member of the Dragna Mafia Family in southern California in the mid-1940s. It appears that he rose to command the crime family, though much of his term as boss was spent under the withering scrutiny of law enforcement.

Early in his underworld career, he was responsible for at least one failed attempt on the life of Dragna rival Mickey Cohen.

Upon the death of Nick Licata in 1974, Brucceleri rose to lead the L.A. Mob. It appears that he became wise to the betrayal of informant Frank Bompensiero, leader of the Sicilian underworld in San Diego, and ordered Bompensiero executed. The order was not carried out until several years later.

Brucceleri spent much of his term as Family boss in prison. He was convicted of various crimes, including armed robbery, larceny and interstate transportation of forged documents. In 1975, he was jailed for extorting money from gamblers and dealers of pornography.

Late in 1980, he and codefendants Samuel Orlando Sciortino and Louis Tom Dragna were acquitted of the 1977 Bompensiero murder. However, they were convicted of racketeering, extortion and conspiracy charges. Also convicted in the same case were Jack LoCicero and Michael Rizzitello.
Brooklier was sentenced to four years in federal prison. He remained free as he pursued legal appeals.

He began his prison term on Aug. 27, 1983. Though originally ordered to serve his sentence in Minnesota, his southern California family convinced the court to order his transfer to Arizona for health reasons.

Brooklier died in the Federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Tucson, AZ, on July 18, 1984.

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Bonventre, Vito (1875-1930)

Born Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, 1875.

Killed Brooklyn, NY, July 15, 1930.

Born in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, in 1875, this second cousin of Joseph Bonanno crossed the Atlantic with a number of other relatives in 1906. He became a successful bootlegger in Brooklyn and a powerful member of Nicola Schiro's crime family. He possibly served briefly as a successor to Schiro atop that organization.

For many years, the Bonanno-Bonventre-Magaddino clan in Castellammare battled their rivals, the Buccellato Family. In the 1910s and early 1920s, that bloody rivalry reached American shores. Vito Bonventre appears to have played a major role in the elimination of Buccellatos in the U.S., and he was briefly a suspect in the New Jersey murder of Magaddino enemy Camillo Caiozzo in 1921 (the Good Killers case.)

According to Bonanno, Bonventre became the second wealthiest member of Cola Schiro's Brooklyn Family in the late 1920s (with Schiro being the wealthiest).

As the organization of boss of bosses Joe Masseria moved to put down an uprising of Castellammarese Mafiosi in Brooklyn, Bonventre was targeted. He was murdered outside his home garage on July 15, 1930. His murder and that of Detroit Castellammarese leader Gaspar Milazzo a month earlier are often considered the opening salvo of the Castellammarese War.

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Bonanno, Salvatore "Bill" (1932-2008)

Born Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 5, 1932

Died Tucson, AZ, Jan. 1, 2008.

Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno is the son of Joe Bonanno and the author of "Bound by Honor" and other books about the underworld.

Born in Brooklyn and educated at the University of Arizona, Salvatore served in various leadership positions within the Bonanno organization and was groomed by his father to take over the Family. The relationship between the two men is the subject of Gay Talese's largely unreliable journalistic endeavor, "Honor Thy Father."

Much of the Family membership and all of the Mafia Commission objected to Salvatore succeeding his father, leading to a civil war in the Family in the late 1960s. A faction of the Family led by Commission-favored Gaspar DiGregorio allegedly ambushed the younger Bonanno and his supporters at a supposed nighttime peace conference on Troutman Street in Brooklyn.

DiGregorio's men opened up with rifles and shotguns. Bonanno's side returned fire. It was said that the two sides fired 100 rounds at each other.

The incident - the most exciting of Bill Bonanno's underworld career - was either a complete fabrication or grossly exaggerated. There was no report of a single injury occurring at Troutman Street.

Salvatore Bonanno was imprisoned several times, beginning with a contempt conviction in 1968. He served four years in the Terminal Island prison near Los Angeles after being convicted of using a stolen credit card.

Bonanno, Joseph (1905-2002)

Born Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, Jan. 18, 1905.

Died Tucson, AZ, May 12, 2002.

Referred to in the press as "Joe Bananas," Bonanno is the unusual case of a long-time Mafia boss who wrote his own autobiography. Bonanno's book, "A Man of Honor," deals at length with the author's personal Robin Hood fantasy and very little with the assortment of crimes of which he certainly was guilty. (It was most likely written because even the duped Gay Talese had not reported all the the malarkey handed to him by the Bonannos during his research for "Honor Thy Father.")

Born Jan. 18, 1905 in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, Bonanno first came to the U.S. with his family (established Mafia leaders) at age 3. The family returned to Sicily when he was about 7 to protect its interests there. Bonanno traveled back to Brooklyn in 1924. He entered the country illegally through Florida and settled with his Brooklyn NY relatives, the Bonventres.

Within a few years, Bonanno was actively bootlegging for the Cola Schiro organization. The group was cofounded by another Bonanno relative, Stefano Maggadino, some years earlier. It included a large number of Castellammarese immigrants.

Bonanno was a staunch supporter of Salvatore Maranzano in the Castellammarese War, but was welcomed into the new Mafia hierarchy after Maranzano's assassination in 1931.

Bonanno claimed he was made boss of the Brooklyn Castellammarese clan after Maranzano's death. He held that role and expanded his family's interests into Canada, Arizona, Colorado and California - with some serious competition (made famous in the press as the "Banana Wars") and occasional interruptions (he was once allegedly kidnapped) - into the 1980s.

After Bonanno's retirement, his crime family was kicked off the Commission in the 1980s.
Bonanno died of natural causes May 12, 2002.

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Bompensiero, Frank (1905-1977)

Born Milwaukee, WI, Sept. 29, 1905.

Killed San Diego, CA, Feb. 10, 1977.

Bompensiero, known as "Bomp" or "the Bomp," was a key member of the west coast Dragna crime family, a San Diego mob chief and a government informant.

Born in the U.S. midwest, Bompensiero became a California Mafia enforcer in his twenties. By 1950, he was responsible for at least one failed attempt on the life of west coast gambling czar Mickey Cohen.

Jack Dragna put Bompensiero in charge of the San Diego region around 1950. Five years later, law enforcement officials succeeded in putting Bomp behind bars for bribery. He served a five-year term.

In the mid-60s, Bompensiero avoided additional prison time by becoming an informant for the FBI. He fed information to federal agents for more than a decade. During much of that time, the Los Angeles Family grew suspicious of Bompensiero.

On Feb. 10, 1975, Bompensiero was shot to death at a telephone booth.


Bazzano, John (1889-1932)

Born Palizzi Marina, Calabria, May 22, 1889.

Killed Brooklyn, NY, Aug. 6, 1932.

Bazzano, owner of a Pittsburgh coffee shop and a dealer in bootlegging supplies, took over the Pittsburgh Mafia family upon the assassination of boss Giuseppe Siragusa on Sept. 13, 1931. (The killing of Siragusa, a former ally of Salvatore Maranzano in the Castellammarese War, is cited by those who claim that there were underworld purges following Luciano's assassination of Maranzano.)

Soon after taking control of the Family, Bazzano had to fend off incursions by the Volpe brothers. The Volpes, powerful in the Wilmerding PA area, were moving into the established territories of the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Mafia organizations.

Three Volpes were shot to death at Bazzano's coffee shop on July 29, 1932. Bazzano was believed to be responsible.

The rest of the Volpe clan reportedly protested the murders to the newly formed Mafia Commission, and Bazzano was sentenced to die for his offense.

Bazzano's corpse was found in a large sack in Brooklyn. He had been stabbed to death with ice picks. Santo Volpe, a Pittson PA mob boss who was not related to the deceased Volpe brothers, and Anastasia were both suspects in the Bazzano slaying. No one was ever prosecuted for the crime.

Vincenzo Capizzi replaced Bazzano as Pittsburgh crime boss.

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