||New York| Frank Valenti
Birth: September 14, 1911
Death: September 20, 2008 - Texas
Frank Valenti was the boss of the Rochester Mafia from 1964 until 1972. The organization was formed with help from the LaRocca Family from Pittsburgh and operated on territory of Stefano Magaddino. Valenti was also one of the last remaining attendees of the infamous Apalachin meeting in 1957.
Heading for Rochester
Frank Valenti was born in 1911 and began his criminal career inside streetgangs, committing petty crimes. Since 1933 he had several arrests including extortion, counterfeiting and bootlegging. During the 1950's Valenti became a well earning member of the Pittsburgh Family, which was then under the command of John LaRocca. Valenti became a crew member of Antonio Ripepi, the father-in-law of his brother. When Valenti's brother started to ran a crew in Rochester and took over the criminal activities there, also Frank was sent over to help. The Rochester territory however was mainly in hands of Buffalo bigshot Stefano Magaddino, but they were authorized to operate there. During this period Valenti also became associated with the Bonanno family.
During the tenure of his brother, Frank began to ran the gambling, prostitution and extortion rackets. In 1957 he and his brother were invited at Joseph Barbara's ranch at Apalachin to attend a large Mafia summit. Both got arrested when suddenly the police invaded the meeting. In the aftermath they were also jailed for a specific period because they had kept their mouth shut when being questionned. During their absence in Rochester one of their crewmembers, Jake Russo, took his shot and started a takeover of the family. Valenti tried to stop that but was arrested again shortly after for violation of New York State election laws. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to stay away from the state of New York for 3 years. Informers later revealed that the arrest was set up by Valenti enemies who wanted him out of Rochester. In 1964, backed by associates of the LaRocca family, he returned to Rochester with means to get rid of Jake Russo and to regain control of the organization. Not much later Russo disappeared, never to be seen again.
Independence from the Magaddino family
During the late 1960's Stefano Magaddino started to have troubles within his own organization as a couple of members under the leadership of Sam Pieri wanted to remove the elder Magaddino as boss of the family. In 1968 a group of Buffalo capo's went to the farmhouse of Valenti in Rochester to discuss the future of the family. Amongst them were Sam Pieri himself and future boss Joseph Todaro. Valenti also reputedly rebelled against Magaddino until he and his relative Antonio Ripepi, the LaRocca Family capo, announced that the Valenti's would no longer be under the influence of the Magaddino Family. Stefano Magaddino gave his blessing to the independence of the Valenti group but demanded that they kept on paying tributes to him. Both agreed and he took no more part in the Magaddino feud.
The Colombus Day bombings
In 1970 a newly made capo named Salvatore "Sammy G" Gingello, had collected a total sum of 100.000$ in deposits for a gambling junket to Las Vegas. The money however suddenly vanished (whether or not it was stolen still remains a question). Both Gingello and Valenti underboss Sam Russoti blamed a man named William Lupo, a former associate of Jake Russo. Lupo was murdered shortly after. During this period law enforcements had kept an eye on the Valenti family and noticed criminal activities were increasing in Rochester. Valenti started to feel the heat and knew he had to draw the attention away from his organization.
On October 12, 1970, bombs were detonated in two local churches, the Monroe County Office Building, the U. S. Courthouse and Federal Building, and at the home of a union official. Police suspected anti-vietnam protesters and radical groups and by this left Valenti alone. Another benefit of their action which followed was that Valenti's enemies, who knew he was behind the bombings, were shaken by his hard measures. Valenti was pleased that his actions worked and had six more bombings between October 27 and December 14 that same year. In 1975 however the truth behind the bombings was revealed. Salvatore Gingello and soldier Eugene DeFrancesco, who assembled the bombings, were amongst the men arrested in the aftermath. Also Valenti was indicted but because of ill health did not receive a sentence. DeFrancesco on the other hand was put behind bars for 11 years. In 1979 Valenti was tried again for possession of a "destructive device" and pled guilty. He only received a sentence of 3 years on probation.
Retirement to Arizona
Before his trials and indictments started Valenti had allready been confronted with the thought of retirement. In 1972 Valenti's consigliere Rene Piccarreto, underboss Sam Russoti and capo Salvatore Gingello accused him of holding profits to himself so he could buy property in Arizona. Some time later they again approached Valenti and demanded him to give back the money and to step down. Valenti felt disgraced but did return the money. He however also wanted to punish his men for this. Therefore he ordered his trusted capo Dominic Chirico to organize a hit against Gingello, Ruzzoti and Piccarreto. However, to murder made members of the mafia Valenti had to get permission of the other families, including the LaRocca and Bonanno family. The answer was no. Ruzzoti, Gingello and Piccarreto were safe but had heard of the plot against them and were out for revenge. They went to see Bonanno Family officials to have their support in the removal off Valenti but they were also advised that killing Valenti would be sanctioned due to his connections in the LaRocca Family. Although they weren't allowed to kill Valenti, they still wanted to have revenge and murdered Dominic Chirico, the loyal Valenti capo. He was killed by a shotgun blast on June 5, 1972. Tensions inside the Valenti family were now running high.
On December 15 that same year Frank Valenti was convicted of extortion in a case involving a building contractor in Batavia, New York. The Valenti's were now officially out of Rochester and the ties with the LaRocca family slowly vanished. Sam Russoti became the new boss with Gingello as his underboss. Both Frank and his brother Costenze later went to live in Arizona. Frank would eventually live up to the ripe old age of 97 and passed away in a nursing home in Texas.
(Source: "Libel: rights, risks, responsibilities" by Edward Douglas Hamilton; "The Government's Secret File on Organized Crime" Bureau of Narcotics; elpasotimes.com, rocwiki.org, Americanmafia.com)
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