Genovese's Final Try For Power
Vito Genovese's final move for domination of La Cosa Nostra came in 1957 with the removal of three of New York's most powerful Mafia bosses. On May 2, Genovese gunman and protégé, Vincent "Chin" Gigante tried to kill Luciano Family boss Frank Costello in the lobby of his Manhattan apartment building but failed leaving Costello with only a minor head wound. Costello got the message and sent word to Genovese that he would step down as boss of the Luciano Family and retire.
The following month, Anastasia Family underboss and Luciano/Costello ally, Frank "Don Cheech" Scalise was assassinated on June 17 by Anastasia nephew and gunman, James "Jimmy/Jerome" Squillante.
Genovese and his allies used the Scalise hit along with Anastasia's attempt to muscle into the Havana casino operations of Meyer Lansky and his partner, Florida boss Santo Trafficante, Jr. as another example of Anastasia's madness and a reason to kill him. On October 25, 1957, in the barber shop of Manhattan's Park Sheraton Hotel, Anastasia was shot and killed by two masked gunmen sent by Genovese, Gambino and Profaci, who was also an Anastasia rival in Brooklyn. Genovese was now head of the Genovese crime family and a Commission member, making him the most powerful boss in La Cosa Nostra.
The composition of the Commission would continue changing, strengthening the "Liberal Faction" still more throughout the years. In 1957, Chicago mafioso, "Sam" Giancana was elected to replace former Chicago Outfit boss and Commission member, Anthony Accardo, giving the new "Liberal Faction" another ally. By 1960, two more bosses who had achieved great power in La Cosa Nostra, Joseph "Joe Z." Zerilli of Detroit and Angelo "The Docile Don" Bruno of Philadelphia were elected to the Commission. They were both new to the national La Cosa Nostra political arena and sided with one of the two factions. Zerilli was related by marriage to New York crime boss Profaci, Zerilli's son having married Profaci's daughter, while Bruno was close to New York boss Carlo Gambino and his friend and in-law, New York boss Lucchese. Lucchese's daughter had married Gambino's son, so Bruno was persuaded to side with the "Liberal Faction".
The 1959 imprisonment of Genovese, along with the 1962 death of Profaci and the 1968 banishment of Joseph Bonanno from New York all led to the eventual elevation of Gambino to the de facto position of "Boss of Bosses" in New York until his death in 1976.
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