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Anthony D'Anna

Anthony John D'Anna (December 10, 1899 - 1984) was a Sicilian-born mobster in the Detroit Partnership.

Biography Edit

D'Anna was born in Terrasini, Sicily into a family with a long history of underworld involvement in Sicily at the turn of the century. The D'Anna family played a major role in Detroit's crosstown mob war. During the course of the battle which claimed the lives of all the influential leaders form both sides, Anthony lost his father and two uncles all of whom represented Antonino Giannola's gang. Following the death of D'Anna's relatives he fell under the protection of the Unione Siciliana and it's leader Salvatore Catalanotte. As a show of his loyalty and exacting a touch of revenge for his fallen kin, D'Anna ended the Cross Town Mob war when he killed Giovanni Vitale in an ambush in 1920.

D'Anna was a bootlegger during Prohibition. Over the next 5 years D'Anna followed the orders of the respected Catalonotte and was rewarded with a place within the Pascuzzi Combine. D'Anna's duties consisted of providing the sugar that was used in the production of the Combine's bootlegged liquor. This chore brought Tony into contact with the men whom in his words "were known bootleggers," and later went on to form the Detroit Partnership. Among the powerful figures whom D'Anna provided sugar to were Angelo Meli, William Tocco, Joseph Zerilli, Thomas and Peter Licavoli as well as Chester LaMare and Leo Cellura.

Following the death of Sam Cantalonotte in 1930, D'Anna took his direction from Joe Massei, a powerful figure within the Unione Siciliana with ties to the Licavoli brothers. As the Detroit mafia was molded into a cohesive unit, D'Anna forged a relationship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford's right hand strong arm. Bennett had a history of dealing with underworld figures and was responsible for Chester LaMare and Bootlegger Joe Tocco securing vendor contracts with the Ford Motor Corp. D'Anna reportedly reached an agreement with Bennett that in exchange for the elimination of LaMare, Tony would be rewarded with a haul-away contract from the Ford Motor Corp which allowed him the exclusive rite to haul Ford cars between Highland Park and River Rouge Michigan "E&L Auto Transport" was the name of D'Anna's firm. With LaMare out of the way D'Anna began to eye the Ford holdings of Joe Tocco.

known as the Downriver Beer Baron during prohibition, D'Anna wanted to eliminate Tocco and take over his food concession contract which had been awarded by Bennett at a Ford Plant. Bennett reached an agreement with D'Anna that allowed Tocco to continue to keep breathing for another 5 years in exchange for a Ford agency in Wyandotte, Michigan. This subject was a major point of interest during the Kefauver hearings several years later. The Committee was unable to prove that such an agreement between Bennett and D'Anna had been struck but it did note that D'Anna did acquire 50% ownership of Pardon Auto Sales several weeks after the reported meeting.

D'Anna maintained his stake in this dealership for 8 years until his stake "which was acquired for a mere $6,000 and paid him an average of $27,000 a year for virtually nothing," until he transferred ownership into the name of his brother in 1939. Following his appearance before the Kefauver Committee D'Anna faded into the background running his business ventures "legal and other wise," from his Wyandotte base of operations.

Anthony D'Anna died of natural causes on May 27, 1984 at the age of 84.

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