Anthony Salerno - Life

Life

Salerno was born and raised in East Harlem, New York. As a young man, he became involved in gambling, numbers, loansharking and protection rackets for the Lucky Luciano family, which later became the Genovese family. Salerno was in Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola's crew. Salerno climbed the family ranks by controlling a possible million dollar a year numbers racket operation in Harlem and a major loansharking operation.

Unlike other mob bosses who were remote and reluctant to talk to outsiders, Salerno was very accessible. Mafiosi from Cleveland, Philadelphia, New England, Buffalo and other cities would visit Salerno to talk about various internal problems they wanted resolved. Salerno preferred a low-key existence and led an unpretentious life. He was never spotted at glitzy mob parties, nightclubs or other popular Mafia bistros. He even sent out Christmas cards with a picture of himself in pajamas on the front cover.

In 1959, Salerno was a secret financial backer of a heavyweight professional boxing title fight at New York's Yankee Stadium between Swedish boxer Ingemar Johansson and American boxer Floyd Patterson. No charges were filed against Salerno. Salerno divided his time between a home in Miami Beach, Florida, a 100-acre (0.40 km2) estate and horse farm in upstate Rhinebeck, New York, the Palma Boys Club in East Harlem, and his apartment in the upscale Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. He controlled S&A, a concrete contracting company, and Certified, one of the two major concrete suppliers in Manhattan. Salerno served as consigliere, underboss, and acting boss of the Genovese family.

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