§17: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: The Status Of Things In Mid-1973

Not Many Of These
In Whitey’s Future

Dave Farrell  a Boston Globe columnist was known to get his information from FBI and other law enforcement sources. He usually could be depended upon to give a fairly accurate picture of what was happening in the gangster world. He wrote a column in the Globe on April 3, 1973, that stated: “The recent gangland slayings in Boston are the result of  a struggle for power between two factions attempting to control illegal gambling in the city. . . .  Two groups have decided to slug it out for the spoils, according to well informed law enforcement agents. One faction is led by a Somerville racketeer who has the backing of the so-called Mullins(sic) gang of South Boston. That gang leaped into prominence in the underworld with the assassination of bookie Donald Killeen, who was gunned down outside his Framingham home 10 months ago. . . . Killeen and the Mullins gang had been feuding for a couple of years and the slaying cleared the way for the Mullins crowd to take over gaming in that section of the city.”

Farrell  jumped in with his information because people were concerned about the killings that occurred in March, 1973 of innocent victims Michael Milarno, Al Plummer and William O’Brien, all murdered by Murderman Martorano, Sims and another Somerville guy. Winter Hill did these murders in an arrangement made between Murderman, Howie Winter and Gerry Anguilo.

Farrell went on to write: “when North End racket leaders decided to pull out of gambling in recent months, the newly formed alliance branched out and aimed for control of gambling in other parts of the city.. . . their plans ran into trouble, according to police,  when another faction in the North End decided to step in to block their efforts. . . . More killings are expected as long as the struggle for power remains in doubt.”  Farrell was suggesting that Gerry Angiulo had decided to get out of the gaming business and this new group was coming in.

Farrell’s sources had the details confused. Angiulo was fortifying his gambling business rather than getting out. The struggle was within the Mafia’s house. The Notoranegeli brothers were pushing in on Angiulo so he hired Winter Hill to stop their encroachment on his business.

Farrell’s sources also had the perspective that the Mullens had won control of the Southie rackets. That meant Whitey and his gang the Killeens were out. Somerville under Howie Winter and the Mullens were now getting a cut out of the Southie gambling profits. What is important about Farrell’s column for our purpose is that there is no hint of Whitey being involved in any of this, rather the opposite conclusion could be drawn.

This is why I’ve suggested that into 1973, Whitey was apparent not visible by any of those with sources to these groups. Rather than being a prominent member at this time, Whitey was trying to figure out how to get accepted among the rest of the gang. Initially he had to impress and not be killed by the Roxbury group of  Murderman Johnny Martorano, his brother Jimmy and their friends including Stevie Flemmi who was on the lam but in contact with his buddies; or the Irish leadership under Howie Winter and his two buddies who were not strangers to murder, Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims. Joe was a hardened WWII veteran who had survived a ship sinking in a sea of sharks. Jimmy seems to have been Joe’s right hand man; while at the same time protecting himself from Pat Nee, Tommy King and Paulie McGonigle, Mullen gang people with little fondness for him.

Guys in Whitey’s position coming for help from more powerful and capable interest usually don’t survive too long. In a sense Whitey was getting in way over his head since he’s coming from a position of relative weakness  as a supplicant.  The Winter Hill gang were murderers. They had to have well over thirty murders among the membership, Whitey had none.

The worst of the bunch was Stevie Flemmi, mentioned yesterday. He is the one upon whose self-serving testimony many our ideas and court findings about Whitey are based. He would not come back to the scene until May 1974 until the fix is put in by the FBI to insure that the murder case and the case involving blowing up Attorney Fitzgerald’s car that are pending against him will be dismissed.

Stevie Flemmi is as low a person as has ever existed and has acquired membership in Dante’s lowest circle of Hell. He had been ratting out his friends since as early as the mid-’50s shortly after he got discharged following his service in the Army in Korea. His handler was the most corrupt FBI agent ever to work in Boston, Paul Rico. Rico transferred out of Boston in 1970 and went to the FBI’s Miami office where he stayed until 1975.  Rico’s partner was Dennis Condon who retired from the FBI in 1975. Before they retired, they had to fix Stevie up with another agent.

Stevie was interested only in money and women, according to his childhood friend Frankie Salemme. Stevie and Whitey would eventually hook after 1974 but at this time in mid-1973 Whitey is not even the same ball park as Stevie when it came to murdering people or to working with the FBI.

Mid-1973 is also the time FBI Agent John Connolly is coming back to Boston where he grew up. His ticket back was his arrest of Frankie Salemme in New York City where he was stationed. Salemme was set up by Stevie Flemmi.

Neither Whitey nor Connolly are big players at this point in time, all the others we have spoken about are. The ongoing corruption and murders are well underway. They can hardly be considered as the founding fathers of what would follow as we are supposed to believe.



8 thoughts on Ҥ17: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: The Status Of Things In Mid-1973

  1. Matt, thanks; that clears it up in my mind. More food for thought: Is it your opinion that the FBI let the key witness walk (a) because of negligence or (b) because the FBI or DOJ intentionally wanted to keep Flemmi on the street as an informant? Why wasn’t there a clamor in the DOJ, among federal prosecutors, or among state jurists and state proescutors when it was learned that a key witness in a trial for attempted murder disappeared? Talk about a vicious, heinous act: planting a bomb in a defense lawyer’s car! Did the Middlesex guys, DAs and judges, demand an investigation or explanation? Did the press go ballistic? What was the FBI’s explanation at that time? When O’Sullivan became the US attorney, he knew Flemmi had escaped conviction for a heinous murder attempt by a fluke, which should have given O’Sullivan more incentive to prosecute Flemmi in the race-fixing case. In my mind, all of this confirms your view that there was some generally understood and accepted practice in the DOJ and FBI that informants were to be protected at almost all costs. One final thought: Whatever happened to the witness Dadaico? If the statute of limitations stopped running while Flemmi was in Canada, was there still a chance for a retrial if Dadaico was ever found? Another final thought: Rico and Condon might have pushed for someone else to handle Flemmi, but who at the top of the DOJ and FBI thought it was a good idea to continue Flemmi as an informant when he had been indicted for attempted murder of an innocent civilian, a defense attorney, Fitzgerald. This is what should be investigated: who at the top of the FBI and DOJ approved Flemmi the Bomber as an informant?
    P.S. my anonymous source asks this question: Since Fitzgerald was representing Barboza and since Rico/Condon recruited Barboza as an informant, and since Barboza was providing key information against the Mafia, doesn’t that fact exculpate Rico/Condon from being complicit with the Mafia? Maybe it was the Mafia that persuaded the DOJ that Rico/Condon were corrupt and maybe it was the Mafia that persuaded Dadaico to flee so that their boy Flemmi could get back to work. I don’t know! The plot thickens!
    I’d join you in demanding an inestigation of (a) how Dadaico fled and (b) who at the top approved that Flemmi the Bomber, the indicted attempted killer of an innocent lawyer, be continued as an informant. The fish rots from the head. The more I read, the more I’m convinced Connolly was scapegoated.

    1. Bill:
      Rico told Daddieco who was the witness to the Flemmi bombing to skip town until the case went away. They wanted Flemmi to come back to the area to continue to feed them information. Remember, Whitey being Irish had no information to give about the Mafia. Flemmi had an in and was the one who provided that type information to the FBI. Again understand this, back in those days the FBI ran the prosecution show. Agents could walk into judges lobbies and make pitches for criminals behind state prosecutors backs. The FBI could pressure DAs into doing thing it wanted. Bob Banks as straight a guy as ever lived had a big clash with the FBI when it wanted him to do something that was totally unethical. (I just remembered that and will have to learn more about it. It involved something in Brookline.) The media was also enamored with the FBI. I’m still not sure how he got the Suffolk murder case dismissed on a speedy trial issue when he fled the jurisdiction. I have to learn more about that also.
      But the key is understanding that the FBI ruled the roost. Think of yourself and what you believed about the FBI growing up. Everyone thought its agents walked on water and J.Edgar had promulgated that image. No one would think anything bad about it.
      Daddieco was still around and surfaced later. The bombing incident had a statute of limitations.The dismissal of that charge because of Daddieco’s absence would have meant he’d have to be again indicted which would have occurred after the statute expired but no one was paying attention after that.
      It’s a good point you mention – who approved using Flemmi with that record to become an informant. It seems to me Flemmi was the type of guy they were looking for to join their Top Echelon Informant program. It was created for such a guy.
      Flemmi’s FBI record does not reflect reality. Flemmi began as in informant in the Fifties but the FBI’s record shows him being opened on November 27, 1965, just at the time of the end of the Boston gang wars. FBI records show he was closed in 1967 – but reopened in September 1980, stayed open until 1982, closed until 1986 and again opened until 1990. Flemmi testified he thought he was open all the time. It’s absolutely clear the FBI records are false because Morris and Connolly went to O’Sullivan in 1979 and said he was an informant.
      Rico/Condon say Barboza was not an informant, they say he was a cooperating witness. Apparently the FBI distinguishes between the two. Barboza was used to give evidence in a handful of cases while an informant will not testify but will provide information about things, often over a long period of time. As far as Rico/Condon being in bed with the Mafia, I’m not sure anyone’s accused them of that. They were mainly concerned with going after the Mafia and were wrongfully involved with the Somerville side in the Boston gangster war. I have to think more on that and go back over some of the stuff I’ve read but I don’t connect them with being pro-Mafia at all because they arranged for Anguilo’s, Patriarca’s and Tamelio’s prosecutions. I don’t see the Mafia being interested in helping out Flemmi as much as I see Rico with his long term relationship with him doing it.
      As far as Connolly being scapegoated, I don’t think he was as pure as you believe. But there is no doubt I believe he was scapegoated. Just about everything he did was known to and approved by the FBI. That’s why I called my book,”Don’t Embarrass The Family.” Connolly was not prosecuted for anything he did, he was prosecuted because what he did became public.

  2. Henry Barth’s link is excellent. There are countless examples of prosecutorial excess: the Amiraults’ cases; the Duke lacrosse cases; Raymond Donovan’s case; Chuck Turner’s set up; the Probation Department “scandal” wherein 40% of people recommended for jobs by the Legislature were hired and 60% were not hired (some scandal); wherein the Feds could find that out of some 1000 hires during O’Brien’s tenure(my estimate) only 20 people hired may have been “less qualified” than some other applicants. Less qaulified? Says who? A handful of federal prosecutors? Boston Attorney Paul Ware? When did Ware and Federal prosecutors become employment specialists? I can’t wait for someone to examine hires in the DOJ’s Boston Office and see how many prosecutors, including Ortiz, had politicians recommending them and how many federal hires were “less qualified” than other applicants. I’ve been told that the selection of Ortiz passed over three more qualified male applicants. Should she be indicted? What’s good for the gander . . .
    On another point: You have way more information about these matters than I do, but I wonder if you could explain this: Salemme and Flemmi blow up Fitzgerald’s car; both are indicted; both flee; Salemme is arrested and convicted. Was the deal that if Flemmi told the Feds where Salemme was, Flemmi could return from Canada and wouldn’t be prosecuted? Did the FBI work out this deal with the Middlesex DA? Or did the Feds and Middlesex decide at some point not to prosecute Flemmi because witnesses had recanted? Who made the decision not to prosecute Flemmi? John Connolly was on the lowest rung of the FBI ladder and obviously had nothing to do with this decision. How did the FBI persuade the Middlesex DA not to prosecute Flemmi? Was Salemme ever aware that Flemmi had turned against him? Didn’t Salemme rejoin Bulger and Flemmi in 1989 or 1990 upon his release from prison? Even in 1989 before Judge Wolfe, Flemmi and Salemme seemed close; at least their lawyers were not at each others’ throats; their lawyers, in fact, were former partners: Cardinale and Fishman.
    One other question: when was Flemmi’s FBI informant status discontinued? Prior to 1973? When did Bulger persuade Flemmi to join him as an informant? In 1974? If so, was Flemmi an official FBI informant for almost every year between the mid-1960s to the early 1990s? Rico’s gone in 1970. Who handled him between then and 1973?

    1. Bill:
      Here’s the deal. Rico and Condon are about to retire. They need to protect Flemmi. They arrange for Flemmi to give up Salemme’s location in NY City so that Connolly could arrest him. That let them bring Connolly back to Boston to handle Flemmi.
      Flemmi was on the lam for Fitzgerald’s car and a Bennett murder. The FBI worked out the deal. It had Dadaico,(spelling) the witness against Salemme in Middlesex who got convicted. The FBI had him take a long walk out of town so he wouldn’t be around for the Flemmi trial. Flemmi had the Boston murder charge tossed out on a speedy motion issue which seemed strange. Then, the Middlesex case crumbled because the witness couldn’t be found.
      Connolly had no juice at that time so the Flemmi deal was done by Rico and Condon. Salemme is dumb as nails. I’m not sure he knows to this day that Flemmi did him in. He has indicated he knew but Flemmi is such and old friend that he has trouble believing it.
      When Salemme got out he and Flemmi got together. Salemme was also the loyal soldier to Raymond Patriarca Jr. and became a made man after he got out and was assigned to work for Raymond Jr. Whitey didn’t like the Salemme-Flemmi relationship and complained about it. Whitey had nothing to do with Salemme.
      Even after Salemme found out Flemmi was a rat his reaction was not one of hostility. Salemme only got mad at Flemmi when Connolly did not come in and testify to the agreement that Flemmi said he had with him but testified it was with Morris.
      It seems Flemmi was an FBI informant since the middle 50s. On the FBI’s books he was closed out and opened at times but those entries had nothing to do with reality. Flemmi never knew he was ever closed. Bulger never persuaded Flemmi to become an informant, it was the other way around. Flemmi was handled by Condon who was Rico’s partner. Even though Rico was still in Florida he stayed in touch with Flemmi and Condon up until 1975. That year Condon retired as did Rico and Connolly took on Flemmi who then arranged for Bulger to join the fold.

    1. Henry: In 1970 the Bear got hit with a 4 to 18 year sentence at Walpole. That would put him in prison when Spike got hit on December 1, 1973. However, those were the days of the furlough programs. December 1 was a Saturday. The Bear may have been out on a weekend furlough. It is reported that in 1976 he escaped from being on furlough. So I don’t know whether he was in or out when Spike was killed.
      I understand your point which is that there were lots of guys who wanted to kill O’Toole. Any one of a 100 could have done it. Martorano put himself there just to bring Whitey along. Seems like that could be the case because when you come down to it Martorano had little on Whitey but a lot on himself so whenever he could dime out Whitey for a sentence break he was glad to do it.

  3. A friend sent me this link today, a reminder of Massachusetts prosecutorial standards in another case:

    1. Henry;
      Dorothy Rabinowitz was absolutely on the mark when it came to the Fells Acre case. Her articles over the year showed that was a great miscarriage of justice. A close friend of mine, a real hard type prosecutor, was put on the Parole Board. This guy was smart, Commonwealth orientated, and not swayed by anything other than the cold facts. He voted to pardon Tookie Amerault since he had no doubt of his innocence. Thanks for recalling it to me.

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