The temptation is to continue writing about H. Paul Rico who was maliciously maligned by the media, prosecutors, investigators and courts if the highly informative book Rico is to be believed. I must avoid that and return to Whitey’s life from which I have strayed like a lamb in Ireland standing in peril of falling over the cliff into the wild sea. There are a couple things I want to mention about Rico which I ask you to consider.
The first because it is a theme running through everything we are confronted with in these matters surrounding Whitey. It is the acceptance of gangster sensationalism over reality. The acceptance that people who are on the record as having lied under oath are now to be believed. Almost all the evidence against Rico came out of the mouth of two lying gangsters, over 90% from one in particular, Steve Flemmi. He is on record as having used the truth as often as a member of the WCTU used a church key. It is basically his word against Rico’s — there is no corroboration for any of Flemmi’s statements against Rico — yet the above mentioned people prefer to believe him over Rico who served honorably in the FBI for about 25 years.
The second is the idea that Rico was involved in the night club scene and was some sort of roué. We never hear of his personal life. That silence is because it mocks the suggestion he was other than a hard working guy who brought down the leader of the Patriarca Mafia family and his Mafia buddies.
Rico dropped out of high school and volunteered to fight in WWII. He saw combat in Italy and earned three bronze stars. He returned went to college and played three years of semi-pro football while at college. He married his high school sweetheart Connie on the day he graduated from the FBI academy. They were married over fifty years. They had five children. The oldest, Joy, graduated from Florida State with a biochemistry degree, earned a pharmacy degree, and then a medical degree as a doctor. The second daughter, Melissa, earned a degree in nursing from the University of Florida and went on to the University of Cincinnati to earn a law degree. His next daughter, Suzanne entered the University of Florida at age 16 without graduating from high school. She earned a degree in engineering. The last of the girls graduated from American University and earned a masters in New Hampshire. The youngest, a boy, became a lawyer like his sister.
If the sins of the father fall upon his children, looking at his family you’d have to have grave doubts that he was running around jeopardizing his children’s future. Even more would you doubt the slander of Frank Salemme who was convicted of lying about a murder suggesting the FBI intercepted members of the McLaughlin gang talking on the telephone saying Rico was gay and that J. Edgar Hoover, Clyde Tolson and Rico had a manage a trios whenever he went to DC.
The basic reason to doubt it is Rico’s family life. Next, the FBI most likely didn’t intercepted these gangsters who were not Mafia so those conversations don’t exist. Finally, it makes no sense FBI agents telling Rico this, he then telling Flemmi this. What makes it absolutely ludicrous is that had it happened, Rico wanted the McLaughlins killed. He supposedly asked for a throw away gun so he could do the job himself if he had to.
This nonsense of course is accepted as truth and gleefully repeated by Howie Carr. We are supposed to believe because the gangsters may have been overheard by the FBI in a phone call saying that Rico was gay he wanted to murder them. The gangsters had to come up with some reason for their far fetched story that Rico teamed up with them. This is the best they could do.
That is what has happened to all the events surrounding Whitey. With nothing to back it up gangsters like Flemmi and Salemme, toss out lie after lie and gullible prosecutors and naive or willful judges mindlessly gobble them up like seagulls engorging themselves on the carcasses of filet fish dumped by a fishing ship. The improbability if not impossibility of their stories is never doubted. Rico is corrupt because Flemmi and Salemme say his is. And for saying that, they get a wonderful deal from the government. It sounds more like fiction that reality.
Now I must return to Whitey. I’m in the middle of doing my review of his life. I’ve called this period the Learning Years which is in the Seventies and will run up to the end of that decade until Whitey takes over Winter Hill. Tomorrow I’ll briefly go back over the highlights of what I have suggested and then will move on.