The Incredible Allegations Against Former FBI Agent Paul Rico

IMG_2674We trust our prosecutors not to have grown up in bags but some of them have. We hope that when they have to use gangster witnesses they have the wherewithal to recognize when they are being scammed. When gangsters are looking for a deal they’ll give you what you want to hear. Just because it follows along with the theory of the case doesn’t mean it is true.

You can’t grow up in the protected suburbs, go to sheltered schools, and spend your life in what JJ Sullivan used to say “book learning” and get a law degree and then a lawyer job and think you know what is happening in the world of the street. Here’s an example of that. I had a conversation with a prosecutor who I’ll call Ryan. Ryan had lived a pretty sheltered life living in academia and achieving honors and it would turn out throughout Ryan’s life there was never any private sector employment. Ryan however did quite well in the law trying and winning murder cases, becoming a judge and so on.

One day walking back from court with Ryan after 4:00 p.m., we had both been on trial that day, Ryan said to me “you’ll never guess what happened in court today.” I let her continue. Ryan went on, “I was questioning this witness about where he heard something that he testified about. And he testified ‘on the street’. I then ask him what street that was and he didn’t give an answer. He just repeated ‘on the street.” Ryan was stymied. Now it could fairly be said Ryan not only grew up in a bag but was still in one.

Martorano spins a story about agent Paul Rico that tells me whoever accepted it as true was in the bag with Ryan. Rico was an FBI guy who was in Boston until 1970. Rico was very successful in destroying the Mafia when he was in Boston so it was always looking to return the favor. He moved to the FBI office in Miami.

He retired out of there after his five kids had graduated out of colleges. He eventually ended up as head of security at World Jai Alai in Miami. He hired other retired FBI agents to work with him and they ran from all that we can tell a pretty tight security operation at the frontons owned by the company.

Martorano has a friend John Callahan who was president of World Jai Alai. He described him as a successful accountant during the day and a gangster wannabe at night. Callahan lost his job because he was seen associating at night with gangsters at the Playboy Club in Boston, one of the gangsters was Johnny’s brother Jimmy Martorano, a Mafia guy.

The guy who replaced Callahan as president was Callahan’s good friend Richard Donovan. Roger Wheeler was the owner of the business and after he fired Callahan he brought in an outside company to check the company’s books. Callahan had been stealing money from the company and he feared getting caught. He went to Martorano and told him he was going to try to buy the business with Richard Donohue from Wheeler. That way his theft would not be uncovered.

Martorano said he told him this because he wanted to pay Winter Hill (Martorano, Flemmi and Whitey) $10,000 a week for protection from the Mafia. No one seems to think that was absurd because World Jai Alai was under no threat from the Mafia at that time and didn’t need gangsters protecting it. Nor did anyone think it strange that if there were a threat from the Mafia, these demented Boston hoodlums would actually be able to stand up against it.

Wheeler wouldn’t sell the business. Then Callahan told Martorano if they kill Wheeler maybe his wife will sell it. Martorano said he agreed to do it after his partner Stevie Flemmi and Whitey told him they “were on board.”  Martorano testifies Callahan talked it over with Rico. Does this make sense?  Out of the blue a respected FBI agent in a cushy security job surrounded by other FBI agents is discussing murdering the owner of his business in Oklahoma with a guy who was fired for hanging around with gangsters.

He then says Rico tells him to contact Joe McDonald. But up to this point Rico has never met or talked to Martorano. It is absurd to suggest a veteran FBI agent he would be suddenly be communicating with a fugitive from justice he never met before to plan a murder.

Joe McDonald was another Winter Hill member also is a fugitive from justice living in Florida. There is no evidence Rico even knew McDonald. Or, that he was in Florida.

There is evidence from Martorano’s testimony that he was often in touch with Joe. Martorano said Joe agreed to help Martorno because he owed Rico a favor because Rico helped his friend Buddy McLean. We’re talking 1982 and Buddy is dead a good 20 years. Joe supposedly agrees to murder a prominent businessman because of a 20 year old favor he owed for something, we are not told, that Rico did for someone else. Do you buy that?

I’d suggest people outside of a bag would recognize that Martorano and McDonald were once partners as late as 1979 and that in 1982 he’d be helping Martorano for that reason and not some vague and ancient owed favor. Plus the $50,000 they were to receive at the end would be helpful to Joe.

The next thing we hear is Callahan gives Martorano a paper with what Callahan saying it is in Rico’s handwriting. Martorano doesn’t know whose it is, it could be Callahan’s partner Richard Donovan. It contains information about Roger Wheeler’s home and business in Tulsa. It’s with this outlandish information and some similar type that Rico has been defamed.

Martorano and McDonald kill Wheeler and get $50,000 from Callahan. A year later they kill Callahan. To finish off the story Martorano say McDonald wonders what’s going on with the sale of the business. He couldn’t figure out that having murdered the guy who was buying it the sale was off.

Martorano then tells of an incredible meeting where Rico meets with a fugitive, Martorano, and a gangster, Flemmi, after two people have been murdered by them, at his place of business to discuss the status of the sale of the business.  Things like that don’t happen in the real world. But maybe inside that little bag some prosecutors are roaming around in they do.



18 thoughts on “The Incredible Allegations Against Former FBI Agent Paul Rico

  1. When do we get to see the probable cause used to indict Paul Rico…They talk about all kinds of BS ….if all they had was mobsters framing him sgt huff has a lot of explaining to do….what has the Tulsa prosecutor produced to back the charge….the public has a right to know

  2. Anyone who’s never testified in federal court should try it out one day. No wonder why they have a 98% conviction rate. The stuff they allow into evidence is appalling. Triple hearsay. One cop testifying as to what another cop was thinking. Truly scary. I’ve always had my doubts about John Connolly’s conviction, and now you see why. Too easy to get it wrong. Very few safeguards.

    1. AJ:

      I testified for John Naimovich who was accused of being on the take. He was found not guilty. You can immagine how innocent he must have been for that to have happened.

  3. If memory serves, Rico was represented by Bill Cagney at one point. A former BC basketball player under Bob Cousy and later an AUSA in Newark who went into private practice, Bill was as straight as string. Always struck me that if Rico was as bent as the media claimed, Cagney was a strange choice as his lawyer.(He and Atty. Ed McDonald were contemporaries in the Henry Hill/Goodfellas days, two BC jocks in NYC law enforcement).

    1. Aging:

      I don’t think Rico was corrupt. No objective evidence of it. All silly gangster stories like he and four other agents were going to murder Georgie McLaughlin becaused McLaughlin said Rico was gay. The worst that can be said of Rico is that in the Deegan case he knew Barboza gave Jimmy Flemmi a pass in a murder prosecution and put another guy in his place. Even that is debatable if you read his testimony that he gave the case to the Suffolk DA to prosecute and went on to other things. If Rico was corrupt, Dennis Condon was also corrupt and I don’t think anyone believes the latter guy was. Your instincts are right. Rico took down the Mafia, the Mafia used the court system to take its revenge.

  4. real quick Matt, JR Russo killed Barboza correct? Salemme is saying russo was in boston when that happened. Is that where salemme got in trouble for perjury?

    1. Doubting:

      No that was one minor lie. Flemmi denied during Connolly trial he didn’t know the whereabouts of one person (forget who now) and it was shown that he did. His perjury came as a result of the Connolly trial testimony.

  5. I understand, I can’t seem to find those transcripts of him from October 2001. I did read a ralph ranalli article he did for a Tulsa newspaper,Totally sh*t on him. But I agree with you. I am only referring to what I have learned about him, and what I thought I learned may be a complete fictitious spin mass media style. Thanks for giving me another perspective.

    1. Doubting:

      I believed exactly like you did not too long ago. Then I started looking at who was saying things about Rico and asking myself where is anything that I can rely on objectively to accept it. Rico went before a Congressional hearing where he knew the Congressmen were out to get him He said his attorney told him to take the 5th but he’s done nothing wrong so they can ask him anything he wants; they asked him where his attorney was; he said he didn’t need one. He was coming in to tell the truth. That tells me a lot about the guy. Add to that married 50 years, raised 5 kids who went on to succesful careers, surrounding himself with other FBI men, and having taken down the Mafia – who if they had anything on him never would have let him do that. I’ve concluded we’ve been sold a false story about the guy and the Mafia is enjoying having all the rubes fall for it.

    2. Read the book”RICO” by Joe wolfinger and Chris Kerr….makes you wonder how crooked or completely stupid congressman schayes is or was.
      It details how crooked the govt. pursued Rico and how brutally he was treated.

  6. As far as him acting like a cold hearted bastard in that committee hearing and putting Salvati,Limone,Tamelo,Greco, in prison due to Barboza makes me cringe. ”whatta you want from tears?” what a prick.

    1. Doubting:

      You have to read the transcript of the hearing to understand that remark. It’s after he was continually asked by Shays of Connecticut who was brow beating him about the Barboza case. And the story of that case is not so clear cut as the media wants you to believe, just like it wants you to fall for the one media story about Whitey.

  7. To be clear it is of your opinion that H. Paul Rico is a clean agent above board on all fronts? Or is it just this particular scenario he was clean? Just for my memory’s museum. Salemme drops his name a lot in that report when he had immunity…Salemme seems to have landed safe in sound.

    1. Doubting:

      Objective evidence makes me believe Rico was on the level but the Mafia had their boys and associates start making things up about him. None of their stories stand up to close examination. Salemmed tells how Rico wanted him to get him a throw away gun so that he could kill one of the McLaughlins and when he arrested him without killing him he told Flemmi he could only get 4 out of 5 FBI agents with him to go along with the killing so he didn’t do it. I might think the FBI has its problems but the FBI agents I knew, some of whom I may not have like, would never have conspired like that to murder someone. Look at Rico’s life and ask yourself would he give that up to murder someone as these hoodlums allege. I don’t see it.

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