Russell J. "RJ" Papalardo (Born July 4, 1941) is allegedly the current head of the Cleveland crime family.
Papalardo is said to have been inducted into the Cleveland mob along with Joseph Iacobacci in 1983 by Angelo Lonardo. Lonardo later turned government witness and in a sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, by way of Affidavit, Lonardo testified that John "Curly" Montana and Papalardo were the men who placed the Trojan Horse Bomb in the Teamsters Parking lot, causing the death of John Nardi.
As part of a continuing investigation by the Cleveland Organized Crime Strike Force in the 1980s, Papalardo and associates John F. Absher, Ronald Anselmo, Sam M. Bontempo Jr., Dominic C. Lonardo (the late brother of former Cleveland mob boss Angelo "Big Ange" Lonardo), Kenneth W. Odom, Salvatore P. Scalish (nephew of the late Cleveland don John Scalish), Lester R. "Skip" Williams, and others were arrested.
Papalardo was convicted in 1986 of helping to run a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring with leaders of the Cleveland mob, according to published reports. He served about four years in prison. He is said to be a licensed real estate agent and works for Carriage Hill Realty, a firm owned and operated by his brother Fred Papalardo. He is said to be involved in insurance and labor union schemes.
In 1993, after the arrest of "Tony Lib" Anthony Liberatore, it is believed that Iacobacci became the boss of the family and later moved to Pensylvannia and retired from mob activity in 2006, at which point Papalardo is rumored to have taken over the Cleveland mob and is currently running the day to day activities and rebuilding the organization which is said to have 15 to 20 made members.
Not much is known about the Cleveland mob today because it is a tight-knit low key group.