Catching up on my reading I’ve also come across the new book by Lehr and O’Neill on Whitey. Much of it is a repeat if not retraction of some of the material that was set out in Black Mass. No longer do they maintain the position that there was the secret Wollaston Beach meeting where FBI Agent John Connolly first recruited Whitey with the idea that he would help him fight the Mafia. They suggest now that Connolly was going to recruit Whitey as an informant which he did “In a series of meetings throughout 1974, which included at least one get-together that also involved Stevie Flemmi and Dennis Condon at a coffee shop in the close suburb of Newton, Connolly drew from the playbook his predecessors have developed.”
They say that Connolly’s ultimate pitch was “that Boston Mafia underboss Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo and his five brothers stationed in the city’s North End neighborhood were out to get Whitey . . . that the Mafia had a slew of its own “sources” at the local level of law enforcement, and that Whitey therefore needed a friend at a higher level. The FBI would be an ideal match.”
This is more in line with the story put out by the other Globe authors Cullen and Murphy in their book as the basis for Whitey being recruited by Connolly. The authors don’t even recognize the internal contradiction in their writings. First, during this time period Winter Hill and Whitey, as the authors had earlier written, were on good terms with Angiulo, they had taken on the contract of wiping out Indian Al and his gang. Howie Winter and John Martorano were meeting directly with Gerry Angiulo. The idea Whitey would believe Connolly’s pitch when his partners were in direct contact with Gerry begger belief. Next, the idea of Connolly telling Whitey he could use connections in law enforcement makes Whitey look like a naive waif. Whitey figured this out a long time before Connolly came along.
The overall problem is none of those who have written about Whitey have any idea how it was he first got hooked up with Connolly. They sit around and come up with things like above which are contradictory to other parts of their story. Nor have they dealt with the idea that Stevie Flemmi never stopped being an FBI informant even though not carried on the books as such. They also point to the FBI’s opening a file on September 18, 1975, as proof that Whitey was an informant (the authors have him as a Top Echelon informant at that time but it wasn’t until later he was designated as that) when we know that there is no relation between an FBI informant file and reality.
There is much like that demonstrating the authors mistaken assumptions and misleading information. What prompted me to write this post however was not the above. I’m just coming to the end of Chapter 16 and the authors are writing about the Richie Castucci case. The federal prosecutors with their gangster witnesses have put it out that Castucci was murdered because he was an FBI informant and Connolly tipped of the gangsters to that fact. I’ve previously shown that was not the case in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family.
The reason why Castucci was killed was because it allowed Winter Hill to get out of debt it owed the NY Mafia. Castucci was the courier who would take the money owed by Winter Hill to the NY Mafia. Winter Hill came up with the idea that it could wipe out its $150,000 plus debt by murdering him and then telling the NY Mafia people that they had paid him the money. It lured him to Somerville telling him it had the money, gave him the money, and then killed him. It told NY someone else must have killed him and taken the money. It saved itself a lot of money.
Lehr and O’Neill write: “Castucci’s killing at the end of the nation’s bicentennial year marked another historic milestone. Castucci was the first murder resulting from a Connolly tip — a killing, no less, of an FBI informant who was cooperating against them. “Castucci was the first [informant],” a federal judge later ruled, “killed by, or at the behest of Bulger and Flemmi after the disclosure of his identity to them by Connolly.”
The judge’s quote is taken from a September 5, 2006 decision by Judge Lindsay who noted: “Castucci was the first of four FBI informants . . . . ” with the rest as set out by the authors. Judge Lindsay based his findings on Stevie Flemmi’s testimony. It may be he did not have the information on ripping off the NY Mafia from Flemmi but in any event Flemmi is far from a paragon of truth as we’ve seen.
Lehr and O’Neill then note: “Castucci killing was the “gateway killing.” . . . Connolly had gone the distance — violating every FBI rule in the book, exposing an informer, and conspiring, in effect, in murder?
The authors leave out a critical bit of information that they should have told the readers of their book. It is this big deliberate deception that makes their product suspect and their motives questionable. The information does not fit into their thesis so they omit it.
They fail to mention that in 2002 Connolly was charged with obstruction of justice by disclosing that Castucci was an informant. This would be the only time the government would have to prove to a jury that was the case. The government failed. Connolly was acquitted of that charge by a federal jury in Boston. I would suggest that is an important piece of the story. I wonder why the authors didn’t think so.