||Kansas City| Frank DeMayo
Birth: April 6, 1885 - Sicily
Death: August 12, 1949 (?)
Little is known of DeMayo's early days in the Kansas City Mafia clan. It is known that by 1927 he had attained the leadership of that city's crime family. The Kansas City family, like other families around the USA, gained immense wealth and power during the Prohibition years. Although the nation's organized crime families had not yet officially organized under the plan put forth by Charles "Lucky" Luciano, the various criminal entities in KCMO had put aside their differences and managed to get along relativeley well during this period of prosperity. A vast majority of the murders that occurred during this era were committed by the mob in an attempt to protect their bootlegging operations in the city and surrounding area. The local mob ran numerous stills in various creative places. The largest stills were located in the "jungle" that bordered the Missouri River east of the city limits-an area that was all but inaccessible by curious Federal agents and curious policemen. Stills were also located in well disguised underground facilities dotted about the city's North Side (also known as Little Italy). One large still was even uncovered on the second floor of a cafe located across the street from the county courthouse.
It was estimated by Federal Prohibition agents that DeMayo was personally raking in more than $1,000,000.00 annually from the still operations-an astounding sum of money for that era. The U.S. Attorney General was made aware of the situation in Kansas City and he ordered that the mob clan be dismantled. The task of bringing the mob down was given to the Federal Prohibition agency and to the Bureau of Narcotics (the Kansas City family had begun dealing heroin and other illegal narcotics throughout the city during the early 1920's). The Bureau of Narcotics efforts met with difficulty due to the fact that no sooner would an informant be developed than that person would be "taken for a ride" and murdered. Eventually they were able to develop an informant by the name of Gus West who would enable the Feds to bring down DeMayo.
The fact that DeMayo was apparently a hands-on boss who was more involved than he should have been with the day to day operations of his crime family would lead to his demise. His choice for a headquarters was also not wise, in the fact that it was located in an office building directly across the street from the Federal Building downtown. The Prohibition agents set up a surveillance of DeMayo's headquarters. A large portion of the surveillance was conducted from offices inside the Federal Building that faced DeMayo's headquarters.
Using the Bureau of Narcotics informant, Gus West, the Prohibition agents managed to get an undercover agent by the name of James Kominakis introduced to DeMayo. Kominakis played the roll of a major Illinois bootlegger that was interested in purchasing large quantities of the KC mob's whiskey for transport to rural areas of Illinois. Kominakis was allowed to purchase a small amount of whiskey and some counterfeit whiskey revenue stamps from Robert Carnahan, a close associate of Frank DeMayo. This purchase occurred in April of 1927.
Kominakis returned a few days later claiming that his contacts in Illinois had liked the product and wanted more. A larger sale was arranged, and DeMayo and Carnahan met Kominakis at a Kansas City warehouse where he purchased 50 gallons of whiskey. With the sale completed, the other agents moved in and arrested DeMayo and Carnahan.
The pair went to trial in late 1927, but the jury hung and a mistrial was declared. Two more trials resulted in hung juries before the Feds managed to discover that DeMayo's men were bribing jurors to get an acquittal. The DeMayo man assigned to this task, James "Manny" Akers, was indicted for jury tampering and sent to prison. Two of the jurors from the third trial were also indicted for taking bribes. The Feds then tried DeMayo and Carnahan again and this time they received convictions. Robert Carnahan received a fine and a one year sentence, while DeMayo received the maximum sentence. He was fined $10,000.00 and sentenced to two years in prison. The sentence was handed down in the last week of April, 1928. This paved the way for John Lazia to take over the crime family-which he would do in dramatic fashion a week later.
Upon his release from prison, DeMayo was deported back to Sicily, ending his direct involvement with the Kansas City family. Carnahan would be sent to Wichita, Kansas by the local crime family following his release from prison. He would remain in constant contact with the KC family and was known to be closely aligned with Tony Gizzo in later years.
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