For Whitey! ICT’s mob stories by Steve Maher: #1 Reposting: Three Mafia families quarreled over Worcester porn racket

Written by admin on June 26th, 2011

#1 Reposting: Three Mafia families quarreled over Worcester porn racket

By Steven R. Maher

In these days of the Internet, purchasing pornography can be done with the click of a button in the privacy of one’s home. But thirty years ago, those wanting to indulge such weaknesses furtively sought out places like United Books on Main Street in Worcester, where hard core pornography was sold. And in what had the potential to become a shooting war, three Mafia “families” became embroiled in a bitter dispute over control of the lucrative Worcester smut trade in 1980.

Worcester Mafia boss Carlo Mastrototaro and Boston based underboss Gennaro J. Angiulo co-owned United Books, which was managed by Thomas A. Palladino. Angiulo was the second in command of the Patriarca family. Mastrototaro was affiliated with the Genovese family of New York, which was America’s most powerful crime family. In July 1984 an attorney for the New England Organized Crime Strike Force told a federal judge that Mastrototaro was a soldier in the Genovese family.

Mastrototaro, without consulting Angiulo and Palladino, opened a second porno shop in Worcester, the “Green Street News & Smoke Shop”. Mastrototaro hired Kenneth F. Guarino to outfit the new store with peep shoes and magazines. Guarino had ties with New York’s Gambino’s family, America’s second most powerful crime family. Another Gambino connected pornographer, Robert “DeeBee” DiBernardo, supplied the new store with merchandise. (DiBernardo would later be shot to death on John Gotti’s personal order over an unrelated matter.)

Mastrototaro had permission from the New York mob to open the Green Street store, according to the “Meese Report on Pornography and Society”. Said the report: “Palladino could not understand why the New York family had authorized Carlo [Mastrototaro] to operate a competing pornography business”

“The opening in November 1980 of an adult bookstore in Worcester attracted little attention from the public, but it sent shock waves through organized crime circles in Massachusetts and New York,” a 1983 Boston Globe spotlight report claimed. “Intelligence developed by law enforcement investigators in Worcester County and in Boston indicates that the store’s opening touched off a bitter dispute between Mastrototaro, 62, and Gennaro J. Angiulo, 63, the alleged crime boss of Boston.”

Angiulo livid

“Angiulo, livid at the intrusion into his turf, told Palladino that he would immediately intervene on his behalf,” wrote Gerard O’Neil and Dick Lehr in their Angiulo biography “Underboss”. Angiulo met with Palladino and his cousin for three hours in Angiulo’s North End headquarters. The FBI listened in, courtesy of a bug that was to become a focal point in the Whitey Bulger scandal.

“You know the most important part of this conversation?” Angiulo asked rhetorically. “The law over there knows exactly what we are. If we would allow a different group to come in and they run roughshod over everybody, the law would lose respect for us. You don’t mind losing the respect of that section, but then you lose it in every other section. What am I supposed to do? The law in that section tells the other law, say, ‘Hey, these f-king motherf-kers got no balls here. They backed away from..’”

“At the center of the disagreement were territorial rights of different crime families,” explained the Globe’s Spotlight report. “It is a general rule that one crime family cannot locate a business in another family’s geographic area without the approval of the home family. Both Palladinos were worried that the new store would cut into the profits of the Worcester bookstore they owned with Mastrototaro.”

Angiulo had other concerns. One of the Palladinos had borrowed $200,000 from Angiulo and the “vig” – the interest on the loan – was $2,000 a week. Angiulo worried that the competition from Mastrototaro’s new bookstore might make it difficult for Palladino to service the loan.

“You ain’t never gonna cry baby, and you’re never gonna miss a week,” the salty crime boss warned Palladino.

“I’m gonna tell you the kinda f-king people we are.”

Large stakes

There was a lot at stake. Said the Globe: “There is little doubt that the pornographic bookstores operated by Mastrototaro and his adjuncts were a thriving adjunct to his other enterprises. Shortly before the [Operation Big League] indictments were handed down, Mastrototaro installed computer terminals in two of his Worcester offices that contained the inventories and price lists of all the pornographic items sold by the stores he and his associates owned.”

One of Mastrototaro’s partners estimated the weekly gross of the average porn shop was $2,500.
High level talks in New York Mafia circles were initiated to resolve the dispute between Mastrototaro and Angiulo. “It is not known how the dispute was resolved,” said the spotlight report. Mastrototaro’s “Green Street News & Smoke Shop” closed in December 1981 after he was indicted in “Operation Big League”.

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