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|New York|  Philip Lombardo

Birth: October 6, 1908

Death: 1985












Philip "Benny Squint", "Cockeyed Ben" Lombardo was the Boss of the Genovese crime family, the most powerful and richest mafia faction in the country.

Little known mobster Philip Lombardo began his career as a soldier on Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola's powerful East Harlem 116th Street Crew. Before long "Benny Squint", who received his nickname due to wearing thick glasses, would be made a captain. In 1959, Vito Genovese was sent to prison. Through the use of acting bosses Genovese maintained control of his family from prison. In 1969, Genovese died leaving the top spot vacant. For years it was believed that Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli was the boss until 1972, followed by Frank "Funzi" Tieri until 1980, and finally Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno through much of the 1980's. However shocking testimony from longtime Genovese soldier and turncoat Vincent Cafaro revealed that Lombardo was the real boss and was using Eboli, Tieri, and Salerno as decoys. Lombardo used them as fronts to insulate himself from law enforcement.

By 1981, Lombardo was in poor health and played a more relaxed role in the day to day operations of the family. Although he resided in Inglewood, New Jersey, he spent his remaining winters in Florida. He made it clear that Vincent "Chin" Gigante was to become the new boss, and Salerno would continue as the front boss. Although he began to pass leadership to Gigante, Lombardo was still the real power in the Genovese crime family until his death in the mid-1980's.

Lombardo is claimed to be the most successful Cosa Nostra boss in history. His true position in the family was not known to law enforcement until years after his death. Through the use of front bosses Lombardo was able to keep a low profile and run his family from behind the scenes for more than twenty years. His ability to stay out of the limelight is a trait that many other mobsters wish to possess.


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