Unrehearsed theater in the Halls of Congress: a modern creation thanks to the T.V.. Joe McCarthy had his day in the light – vilified to this day even though the Venona Papers from the former Soviet Union prove, he was exactly right.
Bobby Kennedy and his search for a “Crime-Free America” (political grandstanding for the advancement of the Kennedy-family, careers) ran up on America’s Team. No, not Dallas – the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Although this team tended to run by its own playbook, they played on a rough surface. Doctorate of Law (University of Virginia – School of Law, Charlottesville) looked mighty thin against a hardscrabble James Riddle Hoffa.
Lesson #1: You have to break the back of your opponent and you don’t go up against anybody unless you’ve got all the muscle you need to break their back – to rip out their heart (that is, come after their family) or ruin them in public disgrace.
Giovanni Montana born in Montedoro, Sicily – came to the United States in 1907 at the age of 14. For most of his life, Montana was to walk in all circles in his new home of Buffalo, New York. A local business man (it appeared) he formed the Buffalo Taxi Company in 1922 and in 1924 merged with the Yellow Cab Company.
Montana was a Republican and he enjoyed political goodwill with the power structure of Buffalo as well as in all Italian neighborhoods. In 1927 he was elected to the City’s Common Council from the Niagara District. While serving multiple times on the council, he became Chairman of the Housing and Slum Clearance Committee as well as Chairman of the Labor Relations and Compensation Committee. John Montana, as he was now known, lived a double life.
You must realize at the time (even the mayor had his brewery raided and was indicted while in office) it wasn’t hard for bootlegger, John Montana to hide. You may say that Mr. Montana was the model for big Paulie Castellano. On the ground floor of public transportation, still serving on the City Council when the Buffalo Airport opened in Cheektowaga and more than likely, making money off the Peace Bridge to Canada, the New York Central Station – a 17-floor combination office and terminus on the east side of Buffalo, putting his foot on the shovel for the City Hall Building (still a downtown landmark) and all the while, a consigliere of a small, but influential, crime family, under the boss – Stefano Magaddino. Through marriage, Montana cemented his position all the way up until 1957. No one knew he was a mafioso.
Montana ran for Congress in a primary against the Republican hierarchy and still did not lose favor within the party (even though he lost the primary to J. Francis Harder, an attorney who didn’t even live in the District). Shortly after the primary loss, Montana was named as a Delegate to the State’s Constitutional Convention which was seated to revise the laws of the State’s Constitution. It was at this Constitutional Convention that women were given a vote in New York State. He was instrumental in preserving due process, double jeopardy laws, eminent domain, the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against any unreasonable searches and seizures, and also oath or affirmation to secure a warrant of probable cause against a specific item they wanted to search. And of course, the right to “organize.”
It’s nice to have a man on the inside; not only was John Montana a friend to governors and presidents and powerful leaders of the nation, he was named Buffalo’s Man of the Year by the Erie Club – as Association of Police Officers which gave him the Award for Outstanding Civic Achievement (and they didn’t know he was a mafioso, right? Neither did New York Governor Averill Harriman?)
In November 1957, New York State Police raided a home in Applachin, New York which caused mob bosses to run for the woods like cockroaches when the light turns ON! John Montana was straddling a barbed wire fence in his expensive suit when found and so, powerful men made sure he was sacrificed in public so that nothing they had to hide would come to light.
Enter the Kennedy brothers: Joe Jr. had already been eliminated. Joe Sr. had more than average mafia ties due to prohibition. They set about to win the big prize and along the way they needed to make stepping-stones out of some very powerful people’s lives.
The mob meeting in Applachin, New York, presented what appeared to be the perfect vehicle for self-promotion through the halls of Congress. J.Edgar Hoover had long insisted that there was no such thing as La Cosa Nostra. (Carmine Bellino was an FBI agent.) Many Italian organizations came out insisting that the Italians were good Americans (and we know this to be true and we still don’t like it that they lost their casino money in Havana!) Now we know – rather than investigating the mob and unions, they should have been shaking the Capitol for criminals (and the State Houses too).
Also born in Montedoro, Sicily was Rosario Alberto Bufalino. Bufalino was younger than Montana but it seems as if their family ties go way back. In Buffalo, New York (and with the advent of prohibition,) Bufalino moved from traditional rackets to bootlegging. He left Buffalo and went to work with Joseph Barbara who owned that home in Appalachin which was raided in 1957. Bufalino became Barbara’s underboss; another small crime family in N.E. Pennsylvania (Pittston, Scranton and Wilkes-barre and some areas in upstate NY but also parts of NJ, OH and South Florida).
Control of coal mining, its unions and teamster locals in Pennsylvania, were highlighted by drugs, gambling, loan-sharking and general labor racketeering. What can been seen in Bufalino is what early FBI agents found in Alvin Karpas. Alvin would never stay in a nice hotel; he chose the seedy joints and stayed to himself. These early agents became your OSS, CYA means cover your ass.
Bufalino had a long-serving congressman under his employ. Investigated on eight separate occasions by U.S. Attorney’s office and 175 possible cases considered against him. Flood directed federal contracts to people and corporations in exchange for cash kickbacks.
Dan Flood: a former attorney for the Homeowners Loan Corporation, a federal entity. Mr. Flood was inspired by the rapacious Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who learned to fleece the government while Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson (prior to and during WWI). You couldn’t posit him any better. Truly? the politicians investigating the politicians? Absolute waste of time. They need rope burns. Flood was swept out in Eisenhower’s massive landslide in 1952 but came back with a vengeance two year’s later. Flood served until 1980.
Quite possibly Flood was the reincarnation of John Wilkes Booth. We’ll have to channel Sid Blumenthal to find out. The epitome of “bringing home the bacon.”
We see the marriage of politicians and criminality (with a Central Intelligence Agency as the go-between). Eisenhower’s warning of “The Congressional Military Industrial Complex” (original draft that the adolescent CFR’s impressed upon Eisenhower to omit the word, Congressional) bookended the Kennedy assassination.
Frank Sheeran, an up-and-coming business agent in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE, appears to have been a protegé of James Riddle Hoffa. He also had the hallmarks of a “Tony Pro” (Provenzano). The Genovese Family had an interim boss, Russell (Rosario) Bufalino, a powerful man. Frank Sheeran considered Bufalino a rabbi in an interview and then interjected that Jimmy Hoffa was also a rabbi. We all get old.
William Bufalino: a long-time Teamster and James Riddle Hoffa lawyer from Detroit, had a daughter who was going to be married. Mr. Sheeran was to attend the wedding and Mr. Hoffa was aware of that. Bill Bufalino can be seen with Maury Povich’s reporter naming the private detective who he paid to bug Marilyn Monroe’s residence at the behest of an infuriated Hoffa. No, Jimmy and Marilyn didn’t “go there” – she had kept a diary and there were two Kennedy boys in it. There is an awful lot of dirt to go around in JFK-LBJ-RMN and something’s need to be cleaned up.
Now the government has the biggest mob. Do we want things to run smoothly? You can’t ask that question from a mass grave. Let’s hope before they drop you in there, you don’t have a Joseph McCarthy demon on your shoulder telling you, “I told you so.”