|Cleveland|  Family - Cleveland Family

Birth: Early 1900's

Death: /

Arrival of the Porellos and Lonardos
The Cleveland crime family originated with the Porello and Lonardo crime families. Besides the Lonardos and Porellos it has been said that Anthony Rapisarda was the first Godfather of the Cleveland crime family, being the most powerful man coming from Bronte, Sicily around 1908. Not much is known about the Rapisarda family or of any particular interests they held in Cleveland before the Lonardos and Porellos took power. The Porello and Lonardo families migrated to the United States from Licata, Sicily in the late 1800s and the Porello and Lonardo brothers first established themselves as legitimate businessmen. The two groups dabbled in various criminal activities, such as robbery and extortion, before prohibition, but were not yet considered major organizations.


After Prohibition started, John Lonardo, the oldest of four Lonardo brothers, began supplying Cleveland's bootleggers with the sugar they needed to produce liquor. The Porello were also involved in the corn sugar business, and worked for the Lonardos at first. In 1926, the Porellos broke off from the Lonardos and formed their own business. In 1927, John Lonardo and one of his brothers were murdered while playing cards with some of the Porello brothers. Many suspected that the Porellos were responsible for the murders, but no one convicted for the crime.

After the deaths of two of the Lonardo brothers, the Porellos became the most powerful Corn sugar barons in Cleveland, but their time as Cleveland's top mob family was brief. Over the next three years, a continuing feud with the Lonardo family, another feud with a new, fast rising gang called the Mayfield Road Mob, increased police scrutiny, and decline in business, ultimately caused the Porellos to lose influence in the late 1920s and early 1930s. At the end of prohibition, most of the Porello brothers and their supporters had been killed or had sided with the Mayfield Road Mob. Thus, the power in Cleveland organized crime began to shift.

Decline of the Cleveland crime family
After the Death of John Scalish, it was decided by the family's members that Jack "Jack White" Licavoli would take over as boss. Licavoli had worked for the infamous Purple Gang in Detroit during Prohibition, and then moved to Cleveland, where he gradually rose up the ranks of the city's underworld.

During his reign, an Irish gangster named Danny Greene began competing with the Mafia for control of union rackets. This resulted in a violent mob war between the Mafia and Danny Greene gang (Danny was backed by mob associate and teamster John Nardi), during which there were almost 40 car bombings in Cleveland. Nardi was killed on May 17, 1977 by a car bomb in the parking lot of the Teamster Hall in Cleveland. After eight failed attempts to kill Greene, they realised they needed outside help. When they learned Greene planned to visit his dentist, Licavoli and Lonardo contracted Ray Ferritto to assassinate him in 1977.

When Greene was inside the building, Ferritto and Ronald "The Crab" Carabbia planted a box bomb in the passenger side door of his car. When Greene opened the door to his car, Caribbia set off the bomb, killing Greene instantly. Ferritto later heard that the Cleveland crime family wanted him dead, so he flipped and made a deal with the authorities.

In the aftermath of the conflict, many Cleveland Mafiosi, including the boss, Licavoli, were convicted of a variety of crimes. After Licavoli was sent to prison for the murder of Danny Greene in 1982, Angelo Lonardo, the son of Prohibition mob boss John Lonardo, took control of the Cleveland crime family. He led the family until 1984, when he was convicted of running a drug ring and was sentenced to life in prison. He then became an informant, making him the highest ranking Mafia turncoat up to that time. He informed on powerful Mafiosi from numerous families while in prison, and caused serious damage to the Mafia's infrastructure.

After Lonardo became an informant, the Cleveland crime family was ravaged by the FBI and other law enforcers to the point where it had no living members outside of prison by the early 1990s. It was declared inactive by the FBI and was even labeled extinct by some law enforcers.


In 1995, Joseph Iacobacci, a Cleveland Mafiosi, was released from prison. Over the next few years, Iacobacci, who became the boss of the remnants of the Cleveland mob, and another recently released member of the Cleveland mob, Russell Papalardo, steadily rebuilt the Cleveland crime family. Not much is known about the Cleveland mob today because it is a tight-knit low key group. It is estimated that it has about ten or fifteen members and many more associates, the reputed boss being Anthony "Bootsie" Giangiacomo and is said to be generating around $30 million a year.

Bosses of the Cleveland crime family

1919–1927 — Joseph "Big Joe" Lonardo (Murdered)
1927–1929 — Salvatore "Black Sam" Todaro (Murdered)
1929–1930 — Joseph "Big Joe" Porrello (Murdered)
1930–1935 — Frank Milano (went into Hiding, died 1970)
1935-1936 — Giuseppe Romano (1877–1936, Murdered)
1936–1945 — Alfred Polizzi (1903–1994, Retired)
1945–1976 — John Scalish (1912–1976, Died)
1976–1985 — James "Jack White" Licavoli (1904–1985, Died)
1985–1991 — John "Peanuts" Tronolone (1910–1991, Died)
1991–1993 — Anthony Liberatore (imprisoned, died in 1998)
1993–2006 — Joseph "Joe Loose" Iacobacci (Retired)
2006-present — Russel Papalardo

This gives a total of 12 bosses from which 4 were murdered (incl. the first 3) and 6 died of natural causes. The longest ruling boss was John Scalish for about 31 years.

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