Charles Luciano - Rise To Power - Power Play

Power Play

In early 1931, Luciano moved to eliminate Masseria. The war had been going badly for Masseria, and Luciano saw an opportunity to switch allegiance. In a secret deal with Maranzano, Luciano agreed to engineer Masseria's death in return for receiving Masseria's rackets and becoming Maranzano's second-in-command.

On April 15, 1931, Luciano invited Masseria and two other associates to lunch in a Coney Island restaurant. After finishing their meal, the mobsters decided to play cards. At that point, Luciano went to the bathroom. Four gunmen – Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Vito Genovese, Albert Anastasia, and Joe Adonis – then walked into the dining room and shot and killed Masseria and his two men. With Maranzano's blessing, Luciano took over Masseria's gang and became Maranzano's lieutenant. The Castellammarese War was over.

With Masseria gone, Maranzano divided all the Italian-American gangs in New York City into Five Families. The five newly formed crime families were headed by Maranzano, Luciano, Profaci, Gagliano, and Vincent Mangano. Maranzano promised that all the families would be equal and free to make money. However, at a meeting of crime bosses in Upstate New York, Maranzano declared himself capo di tutti capi, the absolute boss of all of the crime families. Maranzano also whittled down the rackets of the rival families in favor of his own. Luciano appeared to accept these changes, but was merely biding his time before removing Maranzano. Although Maranzano was slightly more forward-thinking than Masseria, Luciano had come to believe that Maranzano was greedier and more hidebound than Masseria had been.

By September 1931, Maranzano realized that Luciano was a threat, and hired Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, an Irish gangster, to kill him. However, Lucchese alerted Luciano that he was marked for death. On September 10, Maranzano ordered Luciano and Genovese to come to his office at 230 Park Avenue in Manhattan. Convinced that Maranzano planned to murder them, Luciano decided to act first. He sent five Jewish gangsters dressed as government agents to Maranzano's office. While two of the "agents" disarmed Maranzano's bodyguards, the other three stabbed Maranzano multiple times before shooting him.

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