Angelo Meli (February 10, 1897 - December 1969) was a Detroit, Michigan mobster who became a consigliere and then leading Chairman of the Detroit Partnership criminal organization of La Cosa Nostra.
Meli was born in San Cataldo, Sicily. As a youth, Meli's family immigrated to Detroit. In the early 1920s, Meli, Leo Cellura, and Chester LaMare opened the Venice Cafe in Detroit. The Meli Boys excelled in extorting brothels, gambling houses and bootlegging operations. With Meli's assistance, LaMare soon dominated crime in that city. It required an effort by state investigators on recommendations from Michigan Governor, Alex Groesbeck to smash the organization. Thirty-one criminals were convicted of liquor law violations. Meli escaped the crackdown and entered into an agreement with Salvatore Catalanotte, boss of Detroit's Unione Siciliane. With Catalanotte's support, Meli formed the Eastside Mob with top aides Leo Cellura, William Tocco, and Joseph Zerilli. Catalanotte was instrumental in establishing the partnership between the Eastside Mob and the River Gang and other Jewish groups.
Detroit Partnership Edit
After Catalanotte's death in 1930, LaMare began raiding Meli-controlled speakeasies,and liquor storage houses. Meli responded by ordering LaMare's murder, which happened on February 6, 1931. After LaMare's murder, Meli oversaw the merger of Detroit's various mob factions into what later became the Detroit Partnership. During the 1930s, Meli became such a notorious gangland figure that he was listed by Detroit police as Public Enemy No. 1.
Once the Detroit Partnership was established, Meli became consigliere. He was a major figure in illegal weapons smuggling and in settling labor disputes. His involvement in labor racketeering helped Jimmy Hoffa rise in the Teamsters Union. He suffered only one conviction on charges of carrying a concealed weapon. Meli had extensive legitimate business holdings in the Michigan area. He remained a powerful figure in the Detroit Mafia until his death in December, 1969 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.