Angelo "Don Angelo" "Bruno aka "The Gentle Don" (born Angelo Annaloro Sammartino; May 21, 1910 – March 21, 1980) was a Italian-American mobster who was the boss of the Philadelphia Crime Family for over two decades. Bruno gained his nickname and reputation due to his preference for conciliation over violence, during his long-time peaceful and prosperous regime of the Philadelphia crime family. Bruno is considered to be the most successful boss of the Philadelphia crime family in history.
Early years Edit
Born in Villalba, Sicily, Bruno emigrated to the United States in his teens and settled in Philadelphia. The son of a grocer, Bruno was a close friend and long-time associate of Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino. Bruno was a cousin of mobster John Simone. Bruno dropped the name Annaloro and replaced it with his paternal grandmother's maiden name, Bruno.
Bruno was married to Sue Maranca and had two children. Bruno owned an extermination company in North Bergen, New Jersey, an aluminum products company in Hialeah, Florida, and a share in the Plaza Hotel in Havana, Cuba. Bruno owned several luxury mega-mansions in Miami, Florida, Las Vegas, and Havana, Cuba. Bruno also owned a jet plane, helicopter, cargo plane, several boats, several beach houses, stores, Italian restaurants, bars, clubs, and a 300-foot luxury yacht. Bruno's first arrest was in 1928 for reckless driving. Subsequent arrests included firearms violations, operating an illicit alcohol still, illegal gambling, extortion, loan sharking, alcohol bootlegging, assault, and receiving stolen property.
Family leader Edit
He earned his nickname "The Gentle Don" after refusing to kill a rival mobster by the name of Antonio Pollina "Mr. Miggs", during the 1950's, both were front runners to become the new official Boss of the Philadelphia mob after the deportation of Joe Ida, Bruno gained the approval and backing of the New York mafia Comission to become the new boss with the help of his old friend and ally Carlo Gambino. In 1959, Bruno succeeded Joseph Ida as boss of the Philadelphia family. Over the next 20 years, Bruno successfully avoided the intense media and law enforcement scrutiny and outbursts of violence that plagued other crime families. Bruno himself avoided lengthy prison terms despite several arrests; his longest term was two years for refusing to testify to a grand jury. Bruno did not allow his crime family involved in narcotics trafficking, preferring more traditional Cosa Nostra operations such as extortion, illegal gambling, numbers racket, protection rackets, cigarette smuggling, truck hijacking, aircraft hijacking, labor unions, labor racketeering, pornography, prostitution, bookmaking and loansharking. However, Bruno did allow other gangs to distribute narcotics in Philadelphia for a share of the proceeds. This arrangement angered some family members who wanted a share of the drug dealing profits. Bruno preferred to operate peacefully and through bribery rather than extreme violence, intimidation and fear. For instance, he banished an extremely violent and ferocious soldier, Nicodemo Scarfo, to the then-backwater of Atlantic City for being way too murderous, bloodthirsty, volatile, violent and psychotic. Despite the fact that Bruno operated in a more peaceful and conciliation fashion, he did in fact order as many as 2,000 murders.
Later in his tenure, Bruno had to deal with the New York crime families desire to operate in the increasingly lucrative Atlantic City gambling industry. The Five Families thought Atlantic City was far too lucrative for the Philadelphia family to get all of the action, even though Atlantic City had long been regarded as Philadelphia crime family's turf. While under Mafia rules, they couldn't set up shop in Atlantic City without Bruno's consent, Bruno knew that the Five Families were far more powerful, influential, larger, vicious and dangerous than his crime family, and Bruno knew better than to try to challenge the Five Families, and any attempt to challenge them or defy their orders could have led to the end of the entire Philadelphia crime family. Angelo Bruno knew that if he didn't follow orders from Five Families, then the Five Families would have him killed, and literally destroy the entire Philadelphia crime family by killing every single member and associate. Instead, Angelo Bruno allowed them to operate in Atlantic City in exchange for a cut of their profits. This decision didn't go over well with some of his underlings. Bruno was discussing his decision with his long-time underboss Philip Testa if they should allow the Five Families to rule Atlantic City with them, and Bruno was reluctant to accept it, so Philip Testa said to Bruno: "With all due respect Angelo the Five Families literally has our family a million times out-gunned, a million times outnumbered, a million times out-matched, and a million times out-powered. The Five Families is literally a billion times more powerful, influential and dangerous than us and our family, and for every one of our men they have a thousand, they have an endless army of soldiers, we don't, and they have trillion of dollars, we don't. They have way more Police, Judges, Politicians, U.S. Attorneys, District Attorneys, Senators, Mayors, Governors, Government Officials, and Federal Agents in their pockets. Lets not forget that they literally rule all of New York City, and most of the country with an iron fist. Fucking with the Five Families is suicide, that could get us and our entire organization, and our entire families killed, lets face it the Five Families are fucking invincible and untouchable, the Five bosses of New York are kings, we have to give them whatever they want, and we can't say no to them, they rule us too." Bruno quickly responded by saying "Your right about everything you just said."
Rebellion and death Edit
Several factions within the Philadelphia family began conspiring to betray the aging Bruno. On March 21, 1980, the 69 year-old Bruno was killed by a shotgun blast in the back of the head as he sat in his Cadillac Seville, with him at the time of his murder was future Boss of the Philly mob John Stanfa, who at the time was Bruno's driver. It is believed that the killing was ordered by Antonio Caponigro (aka Tony Bananas), Bruno's consigliere. A few weeks later, Caponigro's body was found stuffed in a body bag in the trunk of a car in North Bergen, NJ. About $300 in bills were jammed in his mouth and anus (to be interpreted as signs of greed). The Commission had reportedly ordered Caponigro's murder because he assassinated Bruno without their sanction. Other Philadelphia family members involved in Bruno's murder were tortured and killed. Ten other mobsters that was involved with Antonio Caponigro in Angelo Bruno's murder was also murdered by members of the Genovese crime family in similar fashion to the way they murdered Antonio Caponigro.
After Caponigro's murder, Philip Testa led the family for one year until he was killed by a nail bomb at his home. Testa's death resulted from an attempt by Peter Casella, Testa's underboss, and Frank "Chickie" Narducci, a capo, to become the Philadelphia boss and underboss. After Testa's death, Nicodemo Scarfo took over the Philadelphia family. In the ensuing years, the Philadelphia family would be decimated by government informants, more infighting, and the prosecutions of Scarfo and other mobsters.