John “Ivan” Naimovich — Elementary Questions — The Protection of Whitey Bulger

I talked to a person over the weekend who told me she was confused about the significance of John Naimovich.  I recognized that many people may not see the connection between Naimovich and the Whitey Bulger incidents.  I’ll try to make it clear here and as I go along to more fully explore this matter.

Naimovich was a state trooper for 23 years.  He worked in the special state police unit, the SSU for over half of that time probably from 1974 to 1988.  He was very effective in leading the wiretapping operations of that unit against bookies and organized crime figure.  Prior to joining the SSU he worked undercover running a gaming office in an organization run by Johnny Martorano, who will testify against Whitey. No one who worked with him over this period of time doubted his honesty.

I had my own personal experience with Naimovich.  Before meeting him I had heard local cops talking about him in a derogatory manner.  He was not well liked.  I had a very unfavorable opinion of him.

I met him in the summer of 1977.   I kept a close eye on him.  In August 1977 Naimovich and the SSU worked on wiretaps with me.  The evidence from those wiretaps led to the indictment of top bookies Richard Wilgoren,  Bernard Weisman, Melvin Berger and Irving Rothstein.  We also observed a meeting between Berger and Abe Sarkis, reputed to be a partner of the number two guy in the Boston Mafia, Larry Zannino and himself the head of a major gaming ring.

In March 1978 Naimovich and the SSU again worked on wiretaps with me.  This time we indicted Joseph Yerardi (Martorano’s main man), James Katz (a bookie the feds flipped against Whitey) and Eddie Lewis.

After a few years of operating in other counties taking down gaming rings Naimovich came back to Norfolk.  Beginning in early 1987 we started another gaming investigation.  The first wiretap was on May 19 in Plainville.  We then jumped on June 23 to Mansfield.  On July 6 we moved to Walpole.  On August 10 to Sharon.  On September 22 to Dedham.  Each move we slowly climbed the ladder of this gaming group.  On October 24 we had a tap on Abie Sarkis’s home telephone in Milton, on November 1 on Mel Berger’s phone in Newton and on November 24 on Sarkis’s office in Dedham.

During these moves we executed 26 search warrants and had six days of grand jury hearings.  We had again hit James Katz and another high level bookie Desotell who worked for Joey Yerardi and many others.

I point this out because if Naimovich was corrupt in any manner we would never have done these things.  One leak from inside our team would have shut down all of these operations which were run both by the Mafia and Whitey’s groups.

Yet, at the time Naimovich was leading these operations in 1987, the state police who were supposed to be helping us on these investigations were investigating Naimovich with the help of the FBI.

The reason why the FBI got the state police to investigate Naimovich was that he had leaked specific information to the Mafia.  When the FBI discovered that leak came from a secretary in its office it did not stop the investigation of Naimovich.  Nor did it tell the state police it had discovered the source of the leak.

Why would the FBI continue to investigate a trooper who previously was above suspicion when the initial reason for the investigation collapsed?  Why did it not tell the state police that the reason for their investigation no longer existed?   It’s like you being accused of robbing a bank but then someone else confesses and the cops decide to continue to investigate you hoping to find or manufacture something or another.

And as I mentioned before, why did it later accuse Naimovich of compromising its investigations when they weren’t compromised?

These are a few of the questions that suggest there was something else behind the investigation of Naimovich.

Some others questions are was it a coincidence that the FBI agents involved in the investigation of Naimovich had received gifts from Whitey or had dined with him courtesy of John Connolly?

Why didn’t the FBI agents take an elementary step when they learned that Naimovich was in contact with a bookie Francis McIntyre to determine whether there was a relationship between them, that is, McIntrye was Naimovich’s informant, a fact known to Naimovich’s direct supervisor and his predecessor?

I’ve suggested three reasons the FBI went far off into the darkness to cause the investigation of Naimovich.   If these are so then it shows the corruption ran throughout the FBI office in Boston to the point that to protect Whitey it would move against an innocent trooper.

9 thoughts on “John “Ivan” Naimovich — Elementary Questions — The Protection of Whitey Bulger

  1. Agree with your post but why did the state police go after Naimovich ? If he was doing his job and was good at it, as it appears, what motivated the state police to destroy their own man ?

    1. Thanks for your comment. It takes a historical knowledge to give you a good answer so bear with me. Naimovich worked for the SSU as I mentioned for 12 or so years. During most of the time he worked under Charlie Henderson who went on to become the head of the state police. After Charlie, he worked under Bob Haley who was a sergeant. Both of these men knew Naimovich’s informant was Francis McIntyre. When I began my operation with the SSU in the spring of 1987 that is how things stood.
      Now go back to 1980. The state police were about to take down the Boston Mafia and Winter Hill gangs with electronic surveillance. If the state police succeeded, the FBI would have been hugely embarrassed since it had focused its reputation on taking down the Boston Mafia and protecting Winter Hill. When the feds learned of the state police investigation it was compromised. But the FBI always worried about the state police outdoing them.
      In 1984 in order to control the state police, the FBI suggested the state police develop an intelligence unit to work with it against organized crime. For some strange reason the state police agreed to do this. It assigned Lieutenant David Mattioli to organize the unit and it brought young troopers in to work with it, one being Tom Foley (who would also become head of the state police and who wrote a book Most Wanted about this) This state police group was in awe of the FBI at the time and pretty much considered it an honor to work with it.
      I’ve written about Foley’s naivete before.
      In 1987, I don’t know the exact time but it was probably in the summer, the state police combined the intelligence unit and the SSU under the command of Mattioli. Mattioli and Naimovich clashed immediately. Naimovich bridled at the thought of being ordered to do things from a person with hardly any experience in the investigation of organized crime. I’m sure his attitude reflected this.
      So it wasn’t hard for the FBI to get Mattioli and the guys loyal to him to turn on Naimovich. At pages 311 to 312 in his book Foley admits he was naïve and spells out a little of what happened — based on the information the FBI gave him he thought it was the right thing to do to work for the FBI against his own. Mattioli, of course, needed no encouragement because he hated Naimovich.
      When the units merged, Mattioli’s first order was that Naimovich and the others disclose the identities of their informants in writing upsetting the tradition of the SSU. Naimovich discussed this with me. I said he could not do it without the permission of the informant and that putting down their names in writing he would lose control over them.
      It was just a handful of state police and the FBI who investigated Naimovich. He was then indicted by AUSA O’Sullivan. Once he was indicted I stayed in contact with him for a while because I knew he wasn’t corrupt. Everyone else in the state police walked away from him, at least publicly. No one defended him openly. It was sad. Naimovich expressed to me that what hurt him the most was the guys he had worked with for many years running away from him. Not all, of course. I recall Stevie Lowell and a few other troopers hung in there. One high ranking officer secretly met with me on late Saturday afternoons at a highway restaurant to keep me posted on the case.
      In their defense, the state police were really afraid of the FBI since in everyone’s mind the FBI walked on water. The media loved it. It was a different time — to show that I’ll quote a passage from O’Neill’s and Lehr’s book, Black Mass. They talked about the FBI going after District Attorney Delahunt. “Delahunt had limped away from a bruising encounter with the FBI over using Myles Connor as an informant, chewed up in the FBI public relations maw”.
      I hope I have answered the question. It was not all the state police but a small group in awe of the FBI whose leader had a great animus toward Naimovich. When the indictments came down no one dared support him. Even the union would not pay for his lawyer. It wasn’t a pretty time.

  2. This story from an FBI point of view is erroneous and without fact. There was no policy from the FBI in this area. Info from this guy is pure rumor and speculation. Riding the glow of Foley’s accusations in his “Most Wanted” doesn’t sound true. When this guy is called as a witness for Bulger he can tell his ‘story’ again. this time under oath.

    1. Fitz: I’m not writing from the FBI point of view. If I was I’d have nothing to say.

      I’m still waiting for you to tell us how you took the Angiulo Mafia group down when you weren’t in Boston when the evidence against it was gathered. By the way what I read is that Agent Quinn who was the affiant in the 98 Prince Street investigation (the electronic surveillance was not at Anguilo’s home as you wrote) made the arrest of Anguilo.

      From the book The Underboss by O’Neill and Lehr.

      Edward Quinn was the first FBI agent through the door of the restaurant. As the other agents fanned out to make sure no young up-and-comer tried something foolish to save the Angiulos, Quinn kept his eyes focused straight ahead on the mobsters’ table in back. In the end, it would take a matter of seconds. But just as waterlogged timber is double in weight, these seconds, soaked in years of FBI sweat, passed in a kind of slow time.

      Looking up, Angiulo spotted Quinn. “Mr. Quinn,” he called out, referring to the agent as he had in their first encounter.

      Quinn’s response had four parts:

      “Mr. Angiulo.”

      “FBI.”

      “You’re under arrest.”

      “Stand up.”

      Quinn already had the handcuffs out. He pulled Angiulo’s arms behind him. The other agents moved in on Frank and Mike.

      “There is no reason for that,” Angiulo snarled. He tried to move his hands in front. Of course he had known for months that this was coming—the FBI had the tapes, which contained even his own prescient insights about his outfits mounting slip-ups and vulnerabilities. “You know what happened?” he once asked Larry Zannino. “Gennaro Angiulo fell asleep.” But even if he knew Quinn’s appearance was inevitable, it didn’t mean he had to suffer the indignity of having his hands cuffed behind his back.”

  3. Thanks for your response. It sounds like the state police hung Naimovich for their own political purposes and were played by the FBI who wanted him out of their way to protect Bulger and others. Not a pretty picture realizing our LE agencies put politics ahead of ethics. Wonder how many lives they’ve ruined so far ?

    1. Nota:

      You got that right. Anyone who stood in the way of of their top echelon informants was taken out by the FBI indirectly if not directly.

  4. Who are You????? Your info, on its face, appears to be on point. In overview I suspect you may have missed a couple of links which may be benefical to what I percieve as the intent of your presentation.
    I would like to know who I am about to address.

    1. I’m not attempting to hide my identity. I’ve been identified by others in this blog. The Quincy Patriot Ledger that picks up this blog has my identity set out on it. I was a former top level prosecutor for over 23 years and a former criminal defense attorney for ten years. I specialized in wiretaps and investigation of OC matters. I go by the pseudonym mtc9393. How I got that was my son set up the site and that’s what he suggested programming in. My hope is that you judge me by my writing and analysis rather than anything else. Do I miss the mark on some things, you’ll see I do but I’ve admitted it when I found out. Early on I set out my purpose in writing the blog. If you have a chance take a look at it. Since that time I have been amazed at how much more I have discovered when I started concentrating my focus. I appreciate your comment and interest. Corrections to my errors are welcome as are different view points. I’d like to have a free exchange of idea in this area and let the chips fall where they may. Thanks.

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