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Bari-Supply-Mafia-commission_scaled-Down

A hoard of FBI agents and NYPD detectives nearly caught a clandestine Mafia Commission meeting at the Bari Restaurant supply company.

Address: 234 Bowery

Status: In business

 

By the early 1980s, the mafia’s last generation of godfathers were in serious trouble. Hounded by state and Federal anti-organized crime units and a new law called RICO, the old but wiley mob bosses relied on an elaborate system of clandestine meetings and secret conferences to manage their elicit kingdoms.

 

Know as The Commission, the dons of the Five Families met to approve murders, settle beefs, air grievances, make new members, and most importantly, to divide the proceeds from the biggest cement and construction jobs in New York City.

 

The feds wanted to bust up the Mafia Commission with the help of RICO, but first they had to catch the bosses in the act. With over 300 Special Agents, 100 NYPD organized crime detectives and the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, chasing the Commission often got chaotic. On June 13, 1983 the FBI, NYPD, and NY State Organized  Crime Task Force were literally tripping over themselves to surveil a Commission meeting set for the Bari Restaurant Supply Company located on the Bowery.

 

On June 13, 1983 The Bari Restaurant Supply company hosted a mafia Commission meeting.

On June 13, 1983, The Bari Restaurant Supply company hosted a mafia Commission meeting.

 

 

The Concrete Club

 

The dons knew the meetings were risky, but in the name of greed, the meetings were essential to divide the plunder from all major cement work in New York City. According to According to FBI agent Jules Bonavolonta:

 

“On any cement work in New York over $2 million, only six firms, all of them previously selected by the Cosa Nostra, would be allowed to bid. In exchange for that privilege of bidding on the jobs, the six firms had to pay the Colombo, Gambino, Lucchese, and the Genovese Families two points on every contract…”– Jules Bonavolonta, The Good Guys

 

From top to bottom, the Five Families squeezed the New York cement industry, controlling the unions, the contractors, the construction companies and the people who owned them. Gambino chieftain, Paul Castellano, ruled over Local 282, the Concrete Divers Union. With little more than a nod of his aquiline head, Castellano could shut down a jobsite by having drivers refuse to pour cement, letting it solidify in the trucks. Mafia turncoat Fish Cafaro later recalled in a Senate hearing:

 

“So many jobs, and so many were given out. And everybody got a piece of the action. Every family’s representative that was there got a job. With the contractors. Or for the contractors.” —Fish Cafaro, Mafia turncoat (Click to read his testimony)

 

Mafia Commission members present at the meeting at Bari. Top to bottom: Big Paul Castellano, Fat Tony Salerno, Tony Ducks Corallo,

Mafia Commission members present at the meeting at Bari. Top to bottom: Big Paul Castellano, Fat Tony Salerno, Tony Ducks Corallo,

 

 

The Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, and Colombo families would divide all profits on all projects over $2 million. By 1983, the Five Families held New York’s construction industry in a stranglehold.

 

Tony Ducks and the Bugged Jaguar

 

Earlier that year, Ronald Goldstock and the NY Organized Crime Task Force’s spymasters planted a bug in the Sal Avellino’s Jaguar. As chauffeur to Tony Ducks Corallo, boss of the Lucchese Family, the bug would topple the Luccheses and inadvertently alert the FBI to the meeting at the Bari Restaurant Supply Company.  

 

On June 14, a horde of investigators and a hovering helicopter, tailed Avallino, Corallo, and underboss Tom Mix Santoro through the back streets of Manhattan. The Feds had no idea where the trail would end, but they needed photographic evidence of a Commission meeting to build a RICO case. The trail ended at Bari. Fish Cafaro reminisced,

 

The Commission meeting was held at Bari, a pizza equipment shop in the heart of the Lower East Side.

The Commission meeting was held at Bari, a pizza equipment shop in the heart of the Lower East Side.

 

“It was in Bari’s on Houston Street…They sell restaurant equipment.”–Fish Cafaro, Mafia informant (Click to read his testimony)

 

The Mafia Commission Meeting at Bari

 

Huddled among the pizza ovens and industrial mixing bowls, the leaders of the Five Families gathered to discuss the business of crime. There was Jerry Lang and Donny Shacks for the Colombo Family and Big Paul Castellano and Joe Gallo from the Gambinos. Tony Ducks Corallo and Tom Mix Santoro represented the Lucchese Family, while Vincent the Chin Gigante and Fat Tony Salerno represented the Genovese Family. Outside, the FBI, NYPD and New York State Organized Crime Task Force prowled around the restaurant depot.

 

The Dons Scatter

 

From the inside, Big Paul Castellano spotted Joseph O’Brien, a hulking six-foot-five FBI agent, peering through Bari’s plate glass window. O’Brien had been stalking Castellano for months, the Gambino boss immediately recognized him and sounded the alarm. Fish Cafaro recalled,

 

“He [Fat Tony] says, there was the agents there…He says, I had to go through a window…they had to push me through the window to get out. He couldn’t fit; he was too fat.” Fish Cafaro, Mafia informant (Click to read his testimony)

 

The mafia dons scattered into the street, narrowly avoiding the agents, but time was running out for Cosa Nostra. At the next Commission meeting, the bosses wouldn’t be so lucky.

 

The Commission Case

 

On November 19, 1986, the Feds slapped Tony Salerno and the rest of the Mafia Commission members with 100 year prison sentences for their involvement with the Concrete Club and other illicit enterprises, breaking the power structure of Cosa Nostra.

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