A Christmas Story: A Good Cop Dying Young: Murdered by the FBI’s Top Echelon Informant Program – 2 of 3

() NaimovichThe names of the people we started to do the bug and wiretaps on might mean nothing to you now but let me tell you how they were described in a September 16, 1979 in a Boston Herald American article.

Abe Sarkis: “Attended mini meeting with Jerry Angiulo – 1975. Numerous convictions for tax evasion, possession of a gun, federal bookmaking charges. One time listed as among top five gamblers in Massachusetts by State Crime Commission. . . . Sarkis employs 50 workers and associates – connected to Illario Zannino mob.”

Mel Berger: “Convicted bookmaker. Serving federal prison for contempt, he refuses to answer questions by grand jury about mini-Mafia meeting he attended at Café Pompeii with Jerry Angiulo. Indicted November 1977, for $25 million gambling operation . . . “

Their past troubled had not slowed them down. They had only grown in stature and influence. The Herald American article was written in 1979. Also going on at that time according to the same article was this:

James J. Bulger, 49, of Logan Way, South Boston is one of two men vying for the leadership of the Howard Winter mob in Somerville. [Winter was convicted in 1978 doing an 18 – 20 year sentence.] Bulger, whose nickname is “Whitey” admitted to a series of bank robberies and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the mid-50s. He has since become a key member of the Winter gang and is considered one of the most vicious enforcers for loanshark debts”

“Stephen J. “The Rifleman” Flemmi, 45, of Milton, wants to head the Howard Winter mob in Somerville with James “Whitey”  Bulger of South Boston. Considered a vicious enforcer, he was indicted in the 1968 car bombing of John E. Fitzgerald, the attorney for Joseph (Barboza) Baron, an underworld informant. Six years later charges were dropped for “insufficient evidence.”  Dennis Condon, the guy now over the State Police, was instrumental in bringing that about.

The staff writers in the Herald, Dick Levitan and George Brooks knew what they were talking about. Whitey and Stevie did take over. They started to move into taking over the booking in the Boston area. Chico Krantz a former independent had been forced to pay them tribute. He would be squeezed into testifying against them.

Mel Berger and Abe Sarkis had been also continuing along their criminal ways. It was likely they also were paying tribute. We were at the point where with some hard work we may have been able to get evidence against Whitey and Stevie. We went into operation against both Sarkis and Berger.

Naimovich is the guy in charge of our operation. He met with me on an almost daily basis keeping me advised of the progress of the investigation. At one point reading the log of the prior day’s wiretap I noticed a short call that went to Sarkis. I listened to it on the tape. He was asked to meet the caller right away at the Venetian restaurant near Edward Everett Square in Dorchester where the gangsters often met. It sounded like something we were waiting for.

I asked Naimovich what happened at the meeting. He said it wasn’t surveilled. I remember being upset. We should have had troopers on hand to watch who Sarkis had met. Naimovich, as usual, covered for his guys. My gut told me something was wrong since the SSU guys were always on top of things like this. How was I to know that the guys who were supposed to be doing our surveillance were watching Naimovich and not the gangsters at the behest of the FBI.

When Mattioli came in, he started to give the information we were obtaining to the FBI something I knew nothing about and something I never would have done. Not that I knew back then the FBI was protecting Whitey and Stevie; it is just that I always operated on a need-to-know basis. For the first time we had the FBI watching us and controlling what we did through its State Police supplicants. Keep in mind, it was 7 years earlier where the State Police refused to do a wiretap with the FBI on Lancaster Street because of its connections with Whitey and Stevie. Now they were providing them the evidence we were gaining against them. The foxes were in the hen-house.

Mattioli put Foley and his guys into our investigation. Sometime around that time Foley was frightened into thinking the FBI thought of him as a leak to Vinny Ferrara, a Mafia guy. Let me read what Foley wrote: “[Ring] let me twist in the wind with the vague allegation that I was behind the leaks, and then set me to nail Naimovich.”  You can bet Foley worked overtime to prove his innocence. Ring knew how to press the right button.


  1. Tom Foley is a decent guy. You state the case backwards, writing ” I am sure he worked overtime to prove his innocence. ” Foley was up against it. It was his ass or John Naimovitch’s and he is honest enough to state the choice he felt powerless not to make, ” Nail Naimovitch. ” I feel badly for Foley. He is self- aggrandizing when penning his tome about his role in Affairs Bulger, but he was placed by the Bureau in a torturous position. There is no question of his brief being to work overtime to prove John’s innocence, so your statement is a literal one. Tom Foley had to defend himself from a spurious allegation and his salvation as he saw it was to make Naimovitch the ” Sacrifice. ”
    In Lena Wertmullers seventies opus, the film SEVEN BEAUTIES , the protagonist is forced by sadistic nazi concentration camp guards to choose between shooting a fellow prisoner, or being shot. He chooses instead to take a running leap into a huge cistern of human excrement in the middle of the floor and drown himself. This is the position Foley was placed in. He chose to live. None among us can claim his behavior was less than beatified unless we are in his shoes.
    The whole deal is a cistern of shit . Yet from the muck the Lotus is born. How much time now do you have to flower? Start drawing conclusions that stop tip-toeing around the TRUTH ; Bulger’s Appeal should be granted ; SUNSHINE IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT. It is not a ” RAT ” people really smell with Jimmy Bulger as he is not and has never been one. It is their own fear of the FBI that they smell. And with good cause . 🙂 The Bureau is a noble thing. It can withstand this cathartic cleansing and emerge stronger and much more credible. It will have a tonic effect. There is much ” Noble Cause Corruption ” involved ; that’s something to the FBI’s credit that requires this … sanitizing … as Well 🙂

  2. They didn’t follow him to the restaurant?? I would have been extremely upset myself. Why was Namovich a higher priority to watch ? was it because he could do more damage due to being on the law side of things ?