|Cleveland|  James Licavoli

Birth: August 18, 1904

Death: November, 1985

James Licavoli was a boss of the Cleveland Mafia from 1976 until 1985 and was also one of the earliest mobsters to be convicted under the RICO Act.

Heading to Cleveland
James Licavoli was born in Missouri to Sicilian parents. In 1926 he was shot and was injured to his leg. In 1927 he survived another attack which left his friends Anthony Russo and Vincent Spicuzza dead. For a while he and his brothers moved to Detroit where they became part of the Purple Gang. After being convicted for bootlegging he moved to Toledo and eventually stranded in Cleveland.

Around 1940 he was made into the Cleveland Mafia, which was run by Alfred Polizzi. He quickly establishing control over illegal gambling and the vending machine industry in the neighboring cities of Youngstown and Warren. Called before the Kefauver Committee in 1951, Licavoli refused to answer any questions regarding his business activities.

Licavoli never married and remained a bachelor all of his life. During his time in Cleveland he became known as "The king of the hill", referring to Murray Hill, Little Italy. In 1976 longtime boss John Scalish died and left Licavoli in charge. During this period the Cleveland Mafia had a ongoing dispute with Danny Greene, a fearsome and rebel gangster who had already made some damage. One of Licavoli's own men, John Nardi, formed an alliance with Greene. The feud left about a dozen men killed, including Livavoli's trusted consiglieri Leo Moceri.

In May 1977 John Nardi was killed by a car bomb as retaliation and later, in october, they managed to kill Greene as well. After both Nardi and Greene were disposed of Licavoli assumed back control.

During the early 1980's Licavoli's longtime pall Jimmy Fratianno had become an informer which led to his prosecution. Licavoli was arrested in 1982 at his home and was one of the first to be indicted under the newly RICO act. The case led to a sentence of 17 years in prison. In 1985 he died while being locked up.

.:Back to American Mafia:.

2007 - 2015    |    Contact Webmaster