I’ve suggested so far based on the evidence I could find that some of the important things that have been written about Whitey’s life are wrong. Here are some of what I suggest happened that contradicts the stories put out by the media authors.
They have it when Whitey he got out of prison he had a no-show job as a courthouse custodian that his brother Billy got for him. I know a person who went on to a distinguished legal career who had to work as a custodian to support his family while going to law school. He worked nights with Whitey. He said he and Whitey worked side by side doing their job. He has mentioned this from the time they first worked together.
The legitimate life didn’t suit Whitey. He got involved as an enforcer with the Killeen gang of bookies and loan sharks. A younger South Boston group the Mullens wanted in on the action. A little dust-up began between the two groups in Southie.
The media has it Whitey became an informant in 1971. Here’s what happened. FBI Agent Dennis Condon tried to bring Whitey on board as an informant using the pitch: “your life’s in danger, we can help you out.” Condon notified FBI headquarters of his hopes in two memos. Headquarters under the director’s signature wrote back asking Condon to keep it promptly advised of his contacts with Bulger.
An example of the media lies and distortions is how Howie Carr made up a more sinister story of this routine matter. Without mentioning Condon’s earlier memos he writes: “The directive to the Boston FBI office to reach out to Whitey came directly from J. Edgar Hoover himself. . . . Whitey was strictly a small-timer, with no contacts in the Mafia. It seems unlikely Hoover would have singled him out . . . unless perhaps he was doing a favor for the now retired [Speaker John] McCormick and some of his most loyal constituents, namely the Bulgers.”
If what Howie Carr made up had any connection to reality Whitey would have become an informant for according to Carr he was asking to become one. However Whitey never bit on Condon’s hook. Within four months Condon threw in the towel.
The South Boston battle continued. It would take three lives: two of the Killeens and the brother of one of the Mullens. Whitey finding himself on the losing end looked for a way out. John Martorano had it he approached him; Pat Nee, a Mullen, had it he approached Joe Russo a top Mafia guy seeking help. However it happened Howie Winter in late fall 1972 arranged for a peace meeting between Whitey and the Mullens at a sit down at Chandler’s restaurant in the South End (not to be confused with South Boston).
A truce was established. The Mullens weren’t too happy having their final takeover delayed. But they went along probably because the bigger gangster groups under Howie Winter and Gerry Angiulo, the latter the Mafia underboss, backed it. Warring groups attract attention which the gangsters like to avoid.
Up to that point Whitey had been a Southie hoodlum rarely venturing over any of its bridges into foreign lands. As Carr correctly said he was a small timer. He had fired weapons at some guys but never killed anyone. Knowing of the Mullens displeasure which made Southie a wee bit treacherous, he started to hang around with Howie Winter’s group in Somerville for protection. This would eventually be called the Winter Hill Group because its hangout was in a garage in the Winter Hill section of Somerville.
That group consisted of two smaller groups who were no strangers to murdering people having all participated in the Irish gang wars: the remnants of a Roxbury gang and Howie Winter’s gang. The Roxbury gang was originally composed of Frank Salemme, John and James Martorano, Stevie and Vincent (Jimmy) Flemmi among others. At the time when Whitey joined only the Martorano brothers were around. The other group was made up of Joe McDonald, Jimmy Sims, Howie Winter and a handful of others.
Whitey was the odd man out. He’d never fit in tight with either of those groups. It would not be until Steve Flemmi returned in May 1974 that he found a soul mate. Whitey was feared, respected and considered strange. To his face, everyone behaved nicely; behind his back they made fun of his peccadilloes. These guys were all heavy drinkers; Whitey wasn’t. He was part of the group but not part of it, biding his time and using his association with it for protection.
Shortly after he went over to Somerville John Martorano and Howie Winter agreed to do some murders for Gerry Angiulo who wanted people he felt were threatening him eliminated. Martorano has Whitey driving a crash car during the murders. I’ve suggested that’s unlikely because he was too new to the gang to be trusted and that Martorano to get his gold studded deal was encouraged to implicate Whitey in as many murders as he could.
The 30th article in my reexamination of Whitey was the last one written. In that I debunked the media suggestion that FBI Agent John Connolly was brought back from New York to the Boston office for the purpose of handling Stevie or Whitey. That was in 1973. Whitey was still pretty much a low-level tough guy and Stevie Flemmi was on the lam from a murder charge and the charges relating to the time he and Salemme set a bomb in Attorney John Fitzgerald’s car. I’ll go on with the 31st installment tomorrow.