William Dominick Cammisano, Sr. (born April 26, 1914- died January 26, 1995) known as "Willie the Rat", was a feared and ruthless mobster from Kansas City, Missouri. He was the boss of the Kansas City crime family from 1984 until 1988 when he stepped down to become the underboss of Anthony Civella while other sources claim he remained the boss of Kansas City family until his death in 1995.
Cammisano was born in Kansas City and by 1929, at the young age of 15, already had an extensive rap sheet. He had been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, bootlegging, numbers racketeering, extortion, running illegal dice games, pistol whipping a robbery victim, running an alcohol still, being AWOL from the U.S. Army, disturbing the peace, and gambling. It was said that he had stolen everything from the wheels off a truck to the rings off a woman's fingers. Cammisano was said to have more than 100 entries into his arrest sheet. Cammisano once served a felony sentence at a federal prison in El Reno, Oklahoma. In the 1940s, he opened a tavern and called it the El Reno Bar, stating that had been the name of his favorite prison (Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno). He is the father of current Kansas City crime family capo William Cammisano, Jr. He lived in Winchester, Nevada. His brother Joseph Cammisano, was also a member of the Kansas City crime family and his closest associate. Cammisano was a capo of a gritty crew and was known as a tough mobster and vicious killer. He operated on the fringes of the Kansas City outfit and was something of an independent operator.
However, by the 1960s, Cammisano had become a high-ranking member of Nick Civella's Mafia organization. Cammisano controlled much of the vice rackets in the 12th street district of Kansas City, which included prostitution, seedy lounges and drug peddling. Cammisano was called in 1980 to appear before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee investigating organized crime activity in Kansas City. During the investigation, government witness Fred Harvey Bonadonna described how Cammisano used strong arm tactics in the River Quay neighborhood redevelopment project to turn the area into a red light district with brothels and other vice. Bonadonna stated that Cammisano murdered his father, a business associate of Cammisano's, for refusing to obtain liquor licenses for mob establishments in River Quay: "Willie Cammisano told my father that he would kill me. My father (David) said he'd have to kill him first." Cammisano and his gang essentially destroyed the once bustling town of River Quay by thrashing sections of the town and making trouble for anyone who wouldn't allow them to have their way. By 1980, River Quay had become a ghost town.
During the Senate investigation, Cammisano was serving a five-year prison sentence for extortion in Springfield, Missouri. Cammisano refused to cooperate with the committee; he was cited for Contempt of Congress on May 14, 1981 and received added prison time.
Boss of Kansas City and death Edit
In 1983, Cammisano was released from prison at just the right time to become the new leader of the Kansas City crime family with the 1984 imprisonment of Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna, Anthony and Carl Civella. Because of the unfavorable publicity of recent criminal trials, the Chicago Outfit officially disowned Kansas City as an affiliate. With the crime family under his control and now totally independent of The Outfit, this gave Cammisano the opportunity to establish new operations in California, Florida and Washington, D.C. without Outfit approval or interference. This expansion reinvigorated the Kansas city organization. Cammisano also reportedly rejuvenated the crime family's ranks by inducting 10 to 12 new members in 1987. He allegedly stepped down as boss in 1988 when Anthony Civella was released from prison and became his underboss, while other sources believe Cammisano remained the boss of the Kansas City family until his death.
On January 26, 1995, William Cammisano died of multiple organ failure related to lung cancer. His son William Cammisano, Jr. pleaded guilty to running illegal gambling in Kansas City in February 2010 and is currently a reputed capo and rising star in the Kansas City family. The family is said to currently have 20-25 made members.