§39: Judge Wolf’s Fragile Foundation: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]

Alligator Getting Impatient Waiting for Judge Wolf
Alligator Getting Impatient Waiting for Judge Wolf

Judge Wolf in his 1999 661 page findings speaking of the 1974/1975 time frame said the FBI recognized Whitey had been deeply involved in a violent gang war. Just prior to this he wrote the written record concerning this matter is sparse. Sparse? It’s non existent.

During the hearings in front of him the only gang war that had evidence about was about the Irish Gang War. That happened while Whitey was in prison. It is unusual for a judge to pull such an assertion out of thin air and attribute something to the FBI which it had no knowledge about.  It’s an early indication of his confusing the Whitey of 1999, the time of the decision, with the Whitey of 1975.

Judge Wolf doesn’t end there. As I noted yesterday, he went on to say that when Whitey was recruited he was “widely regarded” as being brutally violent.  This is also unusual for two reasons. First Whitey’s reputation had hardly gone beyond the confines of South Boston at that time; and, he had before him practically no evidence to support this statement.

Judge Wolf wrote he came to that conclusion from “Morris’s actions.” He has all these witnesses testifying in front of him for month after month and he is limited to inferring his conclusion not from something someone said or what was contained in a document but from someone’s actions.  The person he chooses is the vile and corrupt FBI agent John Morris who admitted when he told the Boston Globe Whitey was an informant he was hoping Whitey would get murdered.

The puzzlement is why is Judge Wolf intent on making Whitey more than he is at that time. In 1999 Whitey has been at large running from an indictment since January 1995 and had been put on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Wolf takes the reputation of Whitey at the time he is writing and bringing it back twenty or so years earlier.

This enigma can’t be solved by suggesting it is confusion that brought it about. The way he manufactured support for the basis for his conclusion makes it seem he deliberately makes Whitey more of an evil force than he really was at the time. Is this done to let others like Flemmi slip away? I can’t figure Wolf being so off base.

Wolf doesn’t let his reliance on “Morris’s actions” just hang out there. He wants to justify why he wrote that so he gets into specifics.

He writes: “More specifically, in 1974 or 1975, . . ” and sets out in detail how  Morris’s testified he was trying to get Eddie Miani a two-bit hoodlum and bookie out of Revere as an informant. On July 19, 1975, Morris placed a bomb on the gas tank of Miani’s car. He then called the Revere cops to have them discover it. Morris in his benighted mind figured the Revere cops would tell Eddie they found a bomb in his car.

He assumed Eddie would be so scared he’d run to Morris for help. This by the way is a typical FBI tactic at the time. FBI Agent Dennis Condon used it to try to recruit Whitey as an informant. He told Whitey his life was at risk with the Mullens coming down on him and his only hope of survival laid with the FBI.

Like Whitey, Eddie didn’t scare easily. Then, according to Wolf, Morris testified he went to Eddie and told him Whitey planted the bomb. Morris said he  figured attributing the act to Whitey would really scare Miani.

This makes no sense. Eddie operated out of Revere. At the time Whitey was not known outside of South Boston. If you know Boston, Revere is like in another world. There is no evidence Miani knew Whitey existed.

Further, Miani was connected with the Italians. Morris was trying to get Miani to give him information on the Mafia. How would he think Miani would give him that if some hoodlum for Southie was after him? The most likely course for Miani would have been to go to “In Town” and sic them after Whitey.

You see you have to go beyond testimony of people in trouble trying to get deals by making Whitey seem really, really bad to figure out what is going on. You have to look at the whole picture. You have to say to yourself does it make sense based on what I know of these people and their relationships.

It’s bad enough for Wolf to be accepting Morris’s far-fetched statement about Miani. He knows he has to have more than the Miani incident to support the idea that Whitey was widely regarded as brutally violent.  Judge Wolf uses two other incidents. That’s when he jumps the shark. I know I said I’d talk about it today but I can’t fit it in under my word limit so you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what Wolf did. You’ll be amazed.

 

19 thoughts on “§39: Judge Wolf’s Fragile Foundation: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]

  1. Matt,

    Bulger may have been a two-bit hoodlum around this time, but though the evidence seems scant, it makes sense that LCN and others could know about a hoodlum in South Boston, especially one connected to a gang war b/w the Mullens and Killeen. LCN, and especially Patriarca (though he was finishing up a prison sentence around this time), would know what’s going on. Also, geographic distance does not seem relevant. Revere may be another world from Boston, but it had always been a major mob hangout. Richie Castucci’s Ebb Tide, where the Barboza crew met before the Deegan murder, was in
    Revere. Gerry Ouimette in his book recalls visits to Revere if I recall (though in the 80s). It doesn’t seem at all far fetched that gangsters in Revere would know about gangsters in South Boston. Martorano hung out in Roxbury if I recall (but my memory may be wrong here), anf Flemmi too.

    On another note, WPRI came out with a story today about WH ties to RI based on the Bulger-Flemmi FBI files:

    http://www.wpri.com/dpp/target_12/inside_mafia/whitey-bulger-fbi-files-may13

    Apparently, these files have been released. Are these files accessible to the general public. If so, do you know where one can get them?

    Jon

    1. Jon:
      I grew up in South Boston and Savin Hill which borders pretty closely on South Boston. I knew about Revere. In fact, I used to trek over there to watch Tony Veranis fight as he made his way up in his weight division. He was murdered by Martorano. But Revere was like going into the darkest of Africa since we were all homebodies who never liked to roam too far from our home turf. Even Brighton another section of Boston was like going off to Missouri.

      John Martorano (who did hang out in Roxbury with Flemmi and Salemme) tells of this in his book about how he first met Whitey and Whitey was asking him to set up a meeting with Howie Winter and how he was talking about the Killeen/Mullen war and Martorano being from Roxbury just a few miles from Southie had never heard of it. What happened in Southie, stayed in Southie, or may have leaked over to Savin Hill or other parts of Dorchester, but it was mostly local stuff.

      Revere was a mob hangout and some Southie guys went there to a nightclub or two but they didn’t hang around there. Revere was Italian territory and although Italians and Irish at times gingerly associated, neither group of gangsters trusted the other or particularly liked the other although outside the Mafia there was intermingling.

      I’m not saying it was impossible for Morris to have told Miani that Whitey planted the bomb and Miani was then more frightened than he normally would be if someone else left a bomb on his gas tank; I’m just suggesting my gut tell me Morris’s story is nonsense not only because of Whitey being a low level hood in Southie but also because the first thing Miani would have done is ask Morris why Whitey would be doing that to him when he had no connection to Whitey.

      I read the article you referred to from WPRI. I assume the files are part of the discovery in the Donohue case and are part of the court records or you may want to call the reporter and ask him where he picked them up. I find little new in these FBI reports since they basically substantiate the points I’ve been making that Flemmi was the go to man for the Mafia and the one who was providing information to the FBI about the Mafia. Whitey was a much lesser player.

      1. Thanks very much for the reply. I do not know Boston like I know Providence, which is where I grew up. In fact, my interest in the Patriarca family is how I got interested in this whole Whitey saga. It seems that we’ve learned a whole lot more about the who and what of the NE mob from all that’s come out in the whole Whitey saga. And these docs add more interesting detail, like the docs referring to Salemme meeting with Junior Patriarca in March ’89, 3 months before he was shot in Saugus. Which btw reminds me of a passage in Carr’s book where he says Connolly planted stories in the press that Salemme was trying to take over the Boston faction, as if JR Russo and Ferrarra wouldn’t know that already. The late 80s, early 90s were quite a turbulent time, and Flemmi seemed to be in the thick of the action. I’d love to learn more through the docs. Even if they are raw reports, it’d be good to get a better “feel” for the major players and what was going on.

        It always fascinated me how much power “Raymond” was able to wield throughout New England.

        1. Jon:

          The extent of his power is shown by the trips that Salemme and Flemmi made to visit him for consultation even though they were not part of the Mafia. Even Joe Barboza went to visit with him to get permission to murder some people. He had his power because the Mafia had that old idea of obedience to the boss and what Raymond wanted he could make sure that he got. Raymond working with and through Agiulo had others do the killings for them. It seemed everyone wanted to be on the good side of the bosses.

          1. Indeed. But not all bosses are as crafty and shrewd as Raymond. His son was said to unable to run a brownie troop.

          2. Jon:
            Raymond, Jr., was somewhat of a failure. He didn’t last too long. He’s probably much happier being a normal guy rather than having to run his old man’s business. Not all sons can fill their father’s shoes. Every man is different. That’s why the dynasties in many nations have collapsed when the off-spring of the king could not measure up to the old man. You’re from Providence. You can probably tell us what he’s up to.

          3. Just FYI in case you are interested: I understand that Raymond gained power long before Angiulo, running with Butsy Morelli during Prohibition and also in cahoots with Lombardo and Buccola. When Buccola and Morelli retired in the late 40s early 50s, Raymond ascended to the top position, and solidified it when he arranged the murder of the Irishman Carleton O Brien, who was trying to compete on the horse wires, in 1952. In Boston, Larry Baione was one of his main muscle guys. When the Kefauver hearing threatened to come to Boston, Lombardo shut down all gambling but Angiulo went to him and asked to take over the number rackets, assuming all the risk but still sharing the returns. Angiulo proved a good moneymaker, but got shaken down regularly, particularly by Baione. Angiulo got the idea to go down to Providence with 50K and give it to Raymond, along w/ a promise to give him 100K every year. Raymond then made a call to Baione and the shakedowns ceased. Angiulo went on to make millions.

          4. Jon:
            Thanks. That’s good to know. I knew Baione was the muscle guy in the Boston area but I always thought he and Gerry Angiulo and his brothers were on good terms. It’s probably for the reasons that you spell out that Raymond LS put it on Baione. If Gerry was giving something to Raymond he must have been also cutting Baione into some of the deals. Baione was from Roxbury/South End and he was pals with Flemmi and Salemme who also did work for Raymond.

          5. As far as I know, Raymond Junior is living in Lincoln, RI and works in real estate. I read somewhere that he attended the Jerry Angiulo funeral in 2009. But from what I’ve read, he’s not in the “business” anymore. And yes, probably happier.

            As for Angiulo-Baione, I get the sense the relationship flipped over time so that Angiulo would have ascended to boss in 1984 if the FBI crew, including Connolly, had not succeeded in wiretapping 98 Prince and getting the indictment that led to his imprisonment. Angiulo was pushed around back in the 50s, until he started making a lot of money for the right people, thus gaining his power. Because he hadn’t “made his bones” in the Martorano way (though of course he ordered murders), he was never respected in the way that Martorano or Baione would be.

      2. Another tidbit I forgot to mention is that Raymond in his formative years also managed to form relationships with the Genovese and Profaci (later Colombo) families. I’ve always wondered how he did it. I guess it was through his Boston/Providence connections, since LCN was a national organization. I just wish I knew more details. Raymond was a real Machiavellian genius of organized crime.

  2. Matt,
    I agree with Jon – i would love to see those FBI files…..
    On another note, how much do you believe MK ULTRA will play into Whitey’s defense? Has to right? thanks as always

    1. SJM:
      I agree that they would make good reading as long as you keep in mind they are raw and not necessarily a correct rendition of the realities outside. As far as MK Ultra it’ll have little relevance. Whitey’s not saying “I did it but have mercy because the Government made me do it; rather, he is denying having committed most of the crimes.

  3. just did some due diligence and if you click on the item that says “Photos: Bulger’s Rhode island ties” within this article you put a link to, and you scroll down from the pictures you will see a spot to link up to the FBI file associated with that particular comment they are referencing. I would like to see all of them though……

        1. I sent an email to Tim White on the Bulger-Flemmi ties and he replied. Here is what he said:

          “The Bulger files were entered in as evidence in the 2006 federal civil trial McIntyre v. US.

          I don’t think they would mail you the discs, but you could try calling the chief clerk at Boston’s US District Court and ask.

          A colleague of mine had to physically pick them up.”

    1. SJM:

      Keep up your due diligence and you may tell us all how to access those files. Thanks for the information.

  4. likewise me too. it seemd shelley murphy and the press have access to them, so i imagine they are accessible somehow. it says the “files were released as part of a 2006 civil case against us government by the family of john mcintyre….”

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