I had to go back to Ralph Ranalli’s book Deadly Alliance which I recommended in the early days of this blog to refresh my recollection about an FBI report. Ranalli wrote one of the earliest of the Bulger books which he put together after attending the hearing held by Judge Wolf in late 1997 and 1998. It is a general overview by a good writer that is off the mark in several important areas. Since I started a more in-depth study of these matter and gained a greater insight, Ranalli pretty much puts out the black and white government and media mindset that everything relating to Bulger is evil, although he does suggest the FBI is no slacker when it comes to doing evil deeds.
It is little wonder because many of his sources are media people, prosecutors and their investigators. Ranalli lists his five most helpful sources. First is the FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick who broke his solemn duty of protecting an informant’s identity by divulging to the media that Bulger was an informant. He wrote an inane book full of inaccuracies. He clearly demonstrated he hated all things Bulger. His description of a meeting with Billy Bulger would border on the hilarious if it wasn’t written by a person who at the time was an Assistant Agent in Charge of the Boston FBI office which makes it tragic. The other four most helpful sources were two investigators of the Roger Wheeler homicide in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and two attorneys for the gangsters, Tony Cardinale, who represented Frank Salemme, and Ken Fishman, who represented Steve Flemmi, the latter two with obvious anti-Bulger biases.
My foray back into it was to again read memos from FBI Agent Dennis Condon which went to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The first was in mid-May 1971. Hoover would die within a year on May 1, 1972. Condon told of a meeting with Whitey saying he was “employed by Suffolk County, Mass. in maintenance department.” Whitey had suggested to Condon he thought his life was in danger.
I mentioned earlier Whitey had left his janitor’s job with Suffolk after working less than a year back in 1967 or 1968. Condon reports him as being employed in it as of 1971. We do know he was kept on the payroll but not being paid up until 1978 when he was removed by John E. Powers. This resulted in a little brouhaha between two Southie pols, Powers and Billy Bulger.
My take on this is that Whitey left the job in 1968 but stayed on the payroll without being paid because he needed to report a legitimate occupation to the federal parole people. I have a hard time believing he showed up for work up until 1971. By that time he was fully employed in the South Boston rackets by Donald Killeen.
The first part of Whitey’s early year ended when he left the courthouse job. The second part involved the so-called Killeen/Mullen war (K/M) over the South Boston rackets. This war has achieved legendary status in Southie even though it paled in comparison to the earlier Irish War between the McLean/McLaughlin gangs where it is estimated 50 were killed.
On the Killeen side were the Killeen brothers, Donald, Kenneth and Edward, Whitey, Jack Curran and Billy O’Sullivan; on the Mullen side were Dennis (Buddy) Roache, Pat Nee, Jimmy Lydon, Francis (Buddy) Leonard, Tommy King, Mickey Dwyer and its leader Paulie McGonagle. The Mullen gang was named after the place where they hung out: John Joseph Mullen Square at O and East Second Street, South Boston. (Books on Whitey call the gang Mullin, misspelling the name. One book by Carr doesn’t even know the name of the gang calling it the McGonagles.)
The K/M war which was brewing for a while broke out in 1969. Some suggest it started when Pat Nee’s brother Peter Nee was gunned down in April, 1969. But that had nothing to do with it. Peter’s death resulted from a beer induced argument among a handful of Southie guys in the Coachman bar on East Broadway. A couple of them left angry and one, Kevin Dailey, returned and used a small .22 caliber to murder Peter and wound Bobby McGonagle. Because Peter was the brother of Pat Nee, and Bobby of Paulie McGongle, people inferred the killings were part of the K/M war rather than the booze. Pat Nee would hunt down Kevin Daily and seriously wound him on November 10, 1969.
The K/M shooting war began in July 1969 when Kenny Killeen shot Mickey Dwyer in the arm and bit off a piece of his nose at the Transit Café near Broadway in Southie. The Mullens went looking for Kenny seeking to get revenge. The die had been cast. Whitey would be active in this war as we will see tomorrow.