Back To the Gangsters: Black Mass Fictitious Tale of Whitey Bulger

Jerome wrote me an email which he does probably once a month asking me some questions which relate to the gangsters in and around Whitey Bulger. Most recently he ended his email saying: “Of course feel free to address these things on your blog if you care to.” That appeared to me to be a good suggestion. I thought there may be others who are interested in these matters as well.

I emailed back saying I would use the blog to answer some of them. Jerome who sticks to the gangster stuff reminded me that that the original purpose of the blog was to deal with the gangsters and Whitey. I’ve toyed with the idea of setting another blog specifically dealing with gangsters, but I have not taken the steps to do so up to now.

The Jerome’s email of recent days is: “Hello Matt  Have you finished your Irish Gang War book? If so release in fall of 2021?

Also I know you have been critical of the book Black Mass and Deadly Alliance. And you have addressed some of your issues in your blog posts regarding these two books. My question is – Does your new Irish Gang War book fill in the gaps and share the “truths” not in the twins oks:

2) Do you think Whitey Bulger took any secrets to the grave regarding his crimes and if so what do you speculate that they are?

3) Is Steve Flemmi somehow the “toughest” gangster of his era given he was never killed and outlasted so many of his peers. From a gangster perspective”

I wrote back telling Jerome that I expect the book to be on Amazon this summer. The folk who have read it in the publishing industry think it is too local of a story for them. I cannot disagree because it was written as a prelude to a book about Whitey.

The book Deadly Alliance by Ralph Ranelli I did not recall having many issues with. It is a must read for those interested in these matters. I will have to go back to it and see where I may disagree with it which I will soon.

Of course Black Mass is a different kettle of fish. Much of it was animated by animosity and within it are made up quotations. The book makes up a scene to fit its belief. The major problem aside from that is it treats James “Whitey” Bulger as a master criminal back when he is hardly a blip on anyone’s radar screen.

And, of course, its constant attempt to weave his brother Bill into Whitey’s nefarious, though highly unspectacular, activities. It tried to make Whitey into something he was not so that it could smear Bill.

Black Mass in chapter one which I discuss here is all made up especially where they attribute quotes to people drawn out of thin air. It opens with as scene at Wollaston Beach where Whitey meets John Connolly in the fall of 1975. It tells how Connolly made Whitey his informant by saying the Mafia was planning to set him up using bad cops or to hit him. If that was his pitch Whitey would have known that it was nonsense.

In 1973 and 1974 Winter Hill of which Whitey was a member worked closely on behalf of the Mafia murdering the Notarangelli gang which was a threat to the Mafia. There was no animosity between Winter Hill and the Mafia that would endanger Whitey. If there were the target would have been Howie Winter, its leader, not Whitey. The authors of Black Mass pretty much admit they set out a fairy tale when at the end the chapter they note, “one of Bulger’s first reports was the warfare and bloodshed supposedly pending between Winter Hill and the Mafia had fizzled – much ado about nothing.”

How could Whitey earlier in the month be convinced to be an informant because of a supposed Mafia planned warfare yet by the end of the month say there was nothing to it. That makes no sense nor does the idea that Whitey became an FBI informant because he feared being set up by Angiulo who would have some Boston cops plant something on him. The FBI could not protect him from the Boston cops.

Black Mass tells of the 1972 episode with Condon saying Whitey gave him “extensive inside information . . . on an Irish gang war that was dominating the city’s underworld.” There was no Irish gang war or any gang war dominating the city at that time. The so-called Irish gang war ended in 1967.

It never addresses how it was that Whitey and Stevie Flemmi came to work together. It says, “Bulger blended in Flemmi and a package deal was forged” with Connolly, How does he blend in a guy who has been an informant for the FBI for ten years. If anything, it would have been the other way around.

It has Whitey as the “legendary Whitey Bulger” in 1975 when he was known to few and later refers to him as a “midlevel gangster.” That’s just some of the errors in the first chapter.

I realized I did not answer Jerome’s questions having again addressed the Black Mass fairy tale. I’ll get to them tomorrow.


4 thoughts on “Back To the Gangsters: Black Mass Fictitious Tale of Whitey Bulger

  1. Excellent questions and excellent answers. Look forward to reading your new book

  2. A few points. I moved a mile up Dot Ave from Old Harbor to Belfort St. in Savin Hill, one block down from St. Williams Church, when i was five years old or younger. Anyway, I attended Savin Hill’s public school John Motley, over the bridge, from kindergarten through six grade. I then went to BLS junior high, took red line to Park to green line, or got a ride from Dad. Then I walked to B.C. high for the first year and into the second year, when Mom and Dad moved us to Milton. But within nine months I had a driver’s license and only slept in Milton/
    My entire life I hung out in Savin Hill, Parks, Beaches, Streets, Barrooms etc. Our group of 100 guys within a year or two hung out at Connors Tavern or Bulldog’s Lounge, earlier Moakley’s Tavern and Joyce and Keenes. We also hung out at other barrooms down to the Adelphia, on Dot Ave, for example.
    The point is myself and my younger brother are homies in Savin Hill . . .Whitey Bulger was not a presence in our life.
    Savie guys feared, maybe, be invaded by 200 hundred guys from Southie, who did on day, or more feared if individuals, like my cousins JImmy Concannon or Roger Concannon came looking for an individual for a one on one fist fight.
    Fist fights were par for the course, a sport in Savin Hill, where we had Golden Glove champions and several solid pro boxers, and great all pro lineman like the Colts Danny Sullivan. We didn’t fear anyone.
    Five friends or fathers/ relatives of friends were killed, gunned down by Gangsters. I’ll name three Eddie Connors (my wife and I stayed at his cottage free one summer’s weekend; Eddie was very well liked in Savie as were his brothers.) Another shot dead on Savin Hill Avenue, O’Toole, had previously shot a friend Bobby, three in the chest, one off the chin, one of his wrist. He survived, I visited him in the hospital and saw his xrays.
    A third killed by gangsters was one of my heroes Tony Veranis, with a pro boxing record of 26-2-2 who was snuck up and shot in the back of the head by Martorano. Howie Carr relates too totally false versions. Howie Carr made “Johnny”Martorano his friend. Carr knew nothing of Savin HIll or other neighborhoods nearby in Dot and Southie.
    Two others were shot dead by gangsters.

    2. I asked Oneil and Lehr what was John Connolly’s motive, at their book presentation on Washington Street. They said, “Connolly wanted to rise in the FBI” FALSE. Connolly retired in 1990. ONeil and Lehr wrote Black Mass to enhance their repurations and to make money. Putrid lying dog Globe Reporters. Lehr and Oneil also cite Federal Cases as “evidence” of john connolly’s wrongdoing . . .and the Black Mass, the my arse writers, failed to tell their readers that all those Federal Civil Cases John Connolly

  3. Hi Matt and thanks for your recent article.

    1. In your opinion was John Morris, Richard Schneiderhan and Billy Stewart among the worst members of law enforcement in Boston?

    2. How did Paul Rico and Dennis Condon meet Stevie Flemmi?

    3. What is your understanding of the murders of Margaret Sylvester and Andrew Von Etter?

    1. David:

      1. Within their departments they sure were close to the op of the worst members oaf law enforcement. John Morris in the FBI not only took money from at least two of the gangsters he formed a relationship with: Bulger and Flemmi for tipping off a wire tap on Baharian and Berkowitz who ran Chelsea openly, he also brought charges against Boston cops who were getting a free lunch for themselves as well as tried to get Whitey killed by breaching the time honored rule of keeping an informants identity secret by tipping off the Globe that Whitey was an informant.

      Richard Schneiderhan in the Massachusetts State Police was at the top. He worked in the attorney generals office when we had to borrow their equipment to do wiretaps and he would insist that the AG did not want the equipment lent out unless we brought in thee court order that mentioned the targets and the telephone numbers. He was responsible for compromising an unknown number of investigations and it continued on after he left there, plus he had contacts in the telephone company who gave him info on toll requests. He was on the payroll of the guys from the Roxbury gangs and admired Steve Flemmi

      Billy Stewart was in the Boston Police. He was the source of information to some of the gangsters. I’m not so sure whether that included the Boston Mafia but most likely. He had no involvement in stuff I was doing so I don’t know too much about him although we had indications he was connected with the George Hamilton murder.

      2. Steve Flemmi was recruited by Paul Rico. The gangsters say Wimpy Bennett who brought him into the rackets was also an informant for Rico and it was through him that Flemmi became one. I tend to believe Wimpy was not an informant and that Rico recruited him by offering him protection for information. Flemmi feared doing time so it was a good deal for him. If he worked with Rico he would also have to have known Condon was his partner and would work with him also.

      3. Von Etter was with Billy Kelly when they murdered Charles Von Maxcy (10/3/1966) in Florida according to John Sweet. Billy Geraway said he was approached by Walter Bennett to do the job but turned it down. He then said Walter went to others. Von Etter was considered a weak link in the case and most likely was killed because of that to protect Walter or Kelly, if the others can be believed. Interesting is Walter was killed two months after Von Etter by Flemmi’s group in Roxbury.

      Sylvester was murdered working for a joint in Boston owned by the Martoranos. The night before he had an pretty loud argument with John Martorano’s brother Jimmy Martorano, She came back the night after the argument ready to go at it again. She as knifed to death and taken to the third floor of the joint and wrapped in a carpet.

      John Martorano always carried a knife. John Martorano liked to take revenge on individuals who gave his family a hard time. He said he was at home the night she was killed but also said he was always at the joint and never home. John Martorano would say that Jimmy “the Bear” Flemmi murdered her but that was not his style – he was a shooter and mutilator. Joe “the Animal” Barbosa said that John Martorano murdered her. It looks like the Animal probably knows what he is speaking about especially because John went out of his way afterward to murder all the witnesses to her murder. She is one of at least two women who John Martorano probably murdered.

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