Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno (August 15, 1911 – July 27, 1992) was a New York mobster who served as underboss and front boss of the Genovese crime family to family boss Vincent Gigante from the 1970s until his conviction in 1986. Usually seen wearing a fedora hat and chomping on a cigar, he was nicknamed "Fat Tony" due to his size.
Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno is one of the most powerful and richest gangsters in history. In 1982, Fortune Magazine listed Salerno as number #1 on its list of the "Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses in the World" Salerno raked in Billions of Dollars for the Genovese crime family and other crime families as well, and Anthony Salerno, Anthony Corallo, and Michael Franzese were the only three mobsters that made more money for the American Mafia since Al Capone. FBI Agent James Kallstrom has stated that " Anthony Salerno was one of the most powerful, influential, and efficient gangsters that the FBI has ever encountered, Salerno was an immense money-maker, but was also a ruthless killer, he made a bunch of money and killed a bunch of people for the American Mafia." It is believed by the FBI that Anthony Salerno murdered around 60 people, and ordered around 700 murders. Salerno was a Multi-Billionaire, In 1971 Salerno developed a jaw dropping net worth of around $26-$31 Billion, (Which is equivalent to roughly $83 Billion as of 2017), For 30 years Salerno was the most powerful and richest person in America. Salerno was also one of the most richest people in the World. Due to the fact that Salerno was hardly seen, and shunned the Limelight, and was always extremely secretive and low-key, he was never officially listed or ranked as one of the Worlds richest people, however, there were very few people in the World in the 1980's that had a net worth over $20 Billion, so he was in fact unofficially one of the Worlds richest people. From the early 1960s-1978, Salerno was making up to $85 Million a week, and from 1981-1985, Salerno had an annual income of $700 Million. During his era of "front boss" of the Genovese crime family Salerno was one of the most powerful, wealthiest, influential, intelligent, crafty, and dangerous crime bosses in the world. Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno is one of the most wealthiest and powerful criminals in history, and one of the most powerful Mobsters in history. Tony Salerno is the most richest criminal in history of the world. Tony Salerno always kept an extremely low profile from the media, public, and from law enforcement, Salerno also kept his net worth very secretive, due to the attention he might of got from the media. Salerno was never officially listed as one of the most richest people in the world, due to him keeping a low profile and being very secretive, even though Salerno was in fact one of the worlds richest people, but Salerno never wanted his massive and amazing not worth to go public or to be known. According to Tony Salerno's former protege and closest associate Vincent Cafaro "Tony Salerno only told me that he was a multi-billionaire, and i was amazed and shocked when he told me what he was worth, around 1982, were talking about money, and i remember him telling me, that he has all the money in the world, and he said that he could give 100 bucks to everybody in the world and still be a multi-billionaire, then i asked Tony Salerno if he could loan me $500,000, and when i asked him his response was, vincent I'm worth $25 Billion, fuck that, ill give you a million dollars, consider this an early christmas present my friend. So he just gave me $1 million, and i didn't even have to pay him back, at that point i saw the immense power and wealth that he had, and it was a good moment for me, and i always wondered, because i never knew that he was worth anywhere near that much, i mean i knew that he was extremely rich, i knew that he was the richest mobster in the world, and i knew that he was the biggest gangster in the world, and also knew he was an extremely powerful and influential guy, but i didn't know he was a fucking multi-billionaire, and i certainly didn't know that he was one of the richest people in the world."
Salerno was born and raised in East Harlem, New York. As a young man, he became involved in gambling, numbers, loansharking and protection rackets for the Lucky Luciano family, which later became the Genovese family. Salerno was in Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola's crew. Salerno climbed the family ranks by controlling a possible $250 Million dollar a year numbers racket operation in Harlem and a major loansharking operation. He was also involved in labor unions rackets.
Unlike other mob bosses who were remote and reluctant to talk to outsiders, Salerno was very accessible. Mafiosi from Cleveland, Philadelphia, New England, Buffalo and other cities would visit Salerno to talk about various internal problems they wanted resolved. Salerno preferred a low-key existence and led an unpretentious life. He was never spotted at glitzy mob parties, nightclubs or other popular Mafia bistros. He even sent out Christmas cards with a picture of himself in pajamas on the front cover.
In 1959, Salerno was a secret financial backer of a heavyweight professional boxing title fight at New York's Yankee Stadium between Swedish boxer Ingemar Johansson and American boxer Floyd Patterson. No charges were filed against Salerno. Salerno divided his time between a home in Miami Beach, Florida, a 100-acre (0.40 km2) estate and horse farm in upstate Rhinebeck, New York, the Palma Boys Club in East Harlem, and his apartment in the upscale Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. He controlled S&A, a concrete contracting company, and Certified, one of the two major concrete suppliers in Manhattan. Salerno served as consigliere, underboss, and acting boss of the Genovese family.
By the 1960s, Salerno controlled the largest numbers racket operation in New York, grossing up to $400 million per year. Many mobsters moved out of Harlem and East Harlem when they became predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhoods. However, Salerno kept his headquarters at the Palma Boys Social Club in East Harlem and continued to work in these areas. The FBI accused him of heading a bookie and loan shark network that grossed $100 million annually. Salerno hired Roy Cohn as his attorney. On April 20, 1978, Salerno was sentenced to six months in federal prison for illegal gambling and tax evasion charges. In early 1981, after his release from prison, Salerno suffered a mild stroke and retreated to his Rhinebeck estate to recuperate. At the time of his stroke, Salerno was Vito Genovese's underboss.
Genovese front bossEdit
After Salerno's recovery from his stroke and the March 31, 1981 death of Genovese front boss Frank Tieri, Salerno became the new head of the Genovese crime family. Although law enforcement at the time thought that Salerno was the boss of the Genovese family, it later became clear that Salerno was not the true power. Vincent "The Fish" Cafaro, Salerno's right hand man later turned informant, said that Salerno was only a "front man". Ever since the death of boss Vito Genovese in 1969, the real family leader had been Phillip Lombardo. Over the years, Lombardo used several acting bosses to disguise his true status from law enforcement and the other four New York crime families. Over the years, Lombardo trained Vincent Gigante as his successor. According to Cafaro, Salerno became front boss in 1981 to protect Gigante.
On February 25, 1985, Salerno and eight other New York bosses on the "Mafia Commission" were indicted in the Mafia Commission Trial. The trial started in September 1986 and lasted three months. In October 1986, Fortune Magazine named the 75-year-old Salerno as America's top gangster in power, wealth, reach, and influence. Salerno bail request was denied and his attorneys appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. However, in United States v. Salerno the Supreme Court ruled that he could be held without bail because of his potential danger to the community. On November 19, 1986, Salerno was convicted on RICO charges and was later sentenced, along with six other defendants, to 100 years in prison.
While awaiting the Mafia Commission trial, Salerno was indicted on March 21, 1986 in a second federal racketeering indictment. The indictment accused Salerno of infiltrating concrete companies to control the construction of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and other Manhattan high-rise projects. Salerno was also accused of illegally aiding the election of Roy Lee Williams to the national presidency of the Teamsters Union. Salerno pleaded not guilty on all charges. In 1988, Salerno was convicted and sentenced to 70 years in federal prison.
Prison and deathEdit
After his conviction and imprisonment, Salerno's health deteriorated because of his diabetes and suspected prostate cancer. On July 27th 1992, Anthony Salerno died of a stroke at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He died alone at age 81 without family members allowed at his bedside. Salerno was buried at Saint Raymond's Cemetery in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx in New York. Tony Salerno's children inherited his $16 Billion that he had left. Including the money in had in dozens of banks in New York.
In popular cultureEdit
- In the 2011 gangster movie Kill the Irishman, Salerno was portrayed by Paul Sorvino. The film depicts Salerno's role in the gangland war between the Cleveland crime family and Irish Mob boss Danny Greene.