Back To The Gangsters: What’s The Story With Stevie Flemmi?

On the prior two days I answered questions from Jerome. I did not in the space available have time to answer his third question. He asked:

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”

Let me answer first by saying I do not consider a guy who was an FBI informant for about twenty-five years as being a tough gangster. The gangsters would consider him a rat or a stoolie. That’s one way to look at Flemmi is that he was hiding behind the skirts of the FBI like a little mouse squealing on other people to protect himself.

Another answer is how would a guy who murders his long time girl friend because she is leaving him for another guy or his step-daughter who is about to expose his sexual abuse of her as a child and afterward a tough guy? Do tough guys kill their girl friends or, as Whitey’s lawyer pointed out, the little girl who sat on his lap as a child and called him dad? Not only that having done it he says that someone else made him do it. What kind of tough guy blames another for what he did to folk who were as close to him as any people could be. Nah, that is not a person who is a tough guy. Gangster John Martorano went to great pains to try to demonstrated he was a tough guy but he also was repelled by the idea someone would suggest he murdered a woman. In the gangsters eyes that is not something you do. That’s another reason the gangsters would not consider him a tough guy.

Martorano had this to say about Flemmi: “at the age of sixty, he was not doing “good time”” and he was “waiting for someone — anyone — to ride to his rescue.” He began “attending religious services of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Knowing his weakness and seeing him testify, Martorano decided he was going to save himself.

Frank Salemme had this to say about him when asked why he became and informant: “It gave him a safe boundary so that he could do what he wanted, and obviously  he could do what he wanted up to time that we got indicted. It gave him   that sense of security that he could continue his criminal activity, and all he had to do was give up on jerks like me and he would be all set.” He certainly did not think he was the toughest gangster especially since he figured Flemmi tipped off the FBI where he was staying in New York City.

It is hard to think of Flemmi as being tough. I grew up with tough guys, like Billy O’Shea and Billy Madden. They used their fists in one on one combat and handled their beefs by themselves. Flemmi was not tough without a gun – didn’t he call Martorano after he got beat up at Basin Street looking for his help as Martorano said. An FBI informant noted he had been beaten up trying to collect a $300 bet.

He had a reputation that he was dangerous among those who were not tough guys the bookies and drug dealers – he was involved in murdering the Bennett brothers and Punchy McLaughlin – but there was much about him that showed he was like a punk who acted tough because he had the big guy’s backing, in this case it was the FBI.

But the truth does not matter but the perception that does. Some thought him a tough guy, others did not.  He outlasted them because he was a rat. The same with Whitey. That does not make someone a tough guy.

6 thoughts on “Back To The Gangsters: What’s The Story With Stevie Flemmi?

  1. Matt
    I was wondering if you ran into
    any of these guys circa 1962.
    Jimmy Connors and Barney Wagner wound
    up in MCI Concord. Wagner’s wife was involved in
    a shootout where she or a baby was hit by a bullet.

    I knew punchie enough to make eye contact. Did he wind
    up in MCI Concord?

    Jimmy Kerrigan, Donald Paiten and John Anthony
    we’re alumni of Timothy Leary.s Pscilocybin Psychedelic
    drug experiment at Concord Prison.

    Did you know of a hit man for the Boston Mafia named Floppiano
    who did time in Walpole during the early 60’s? He was from
    the North End.

    Did you ever drink/eat at the Red Hat in the Government
    Center on Cambridge street?
    Did you ever drink/eat at Sansones restaraunt in North
    Station(owned by Dixie Sansone)?

    1. I ate at the Red Hat. For no. I knew the owner. I worked on his house back in the early 70’s. I can’t recall his name. Coleman? Colbert? Cole slaw? I don’t know. I completely forget. But the food was great.

  2. Looking forward to your newest effort Matt.
    Sadly the new tough guys on the block are all packing,not like O’Shea and Madden in
    Dorchester or Leo Ryan from Byron corner in East Boston. You shut your mouth
    whether you gave or took a beating and that was it.

    1. Paul

      You might be interested in this
      Shut Your Mouth website.

      http://whosarat.websitetoolbox.com/categories

      In other news….

      https://www.rt.com/op-ed/525564-killer-robot-drone-human-target/

      Rise of the killer robot: An autonomous drone hunted down a human target in Libya last year & no one is talking about it

      Darius Shahtahmasebi
      is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst who focuses on US foreign policy in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific region. He is fully qualified as a lawyer in two international jurisdictions.
      3 Jun, 2021

      https://www.rt.com/news/525474-australia-afghanistan-prosthetic-leg-photos/

      ‘Hundreds’ of photos show Australian troops chugging beer from dead Afghan’s prosthetic leg, court is told
      2 Jun, 2021

  3. Hi Matt and thanks for answering my questions in your previous articles.

    1. What kind of criminals were Wimpy and Walter Bennett and did they show Flemmi that it is smart business practice to have a relationship with law enforcement?

    2. In your opinion why did Flemmi give Frank Salemme up in New York when they were on the run from the charges regarding Billy Bennett’s murder and a car bombing?

    3. Could Jackie Salemme have been associated with Larry Baione and the Angiulos?

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