The Bonanno crime family mobster who was whacked in a pre-dawn hit in Staten Island as he waited for a bus to take him to his city construction job was allegedly thinking the unthinkable, Mafia-wise.
Sources tell Gang Land that soldier Anthony (Little Anthony) Seccafico was being investigated for possible involvement in an imprisoned mob chieftain's plan to kill Greg Andres, a top federal prosecutor who has been a plague against the crime family in recent years.
Seccafico, 46, a member of Local 79 of the Laborers International Union of North America, was ambushed and shot to death at 4:15 AM on July 2 just a few blocks from his Arden Heights home as he waited for an express bus to take him to a Manhattan job site where he worked.
Sources say Seccafico was recently overheard discussing an aborted 2005 plot to whack Andres with a member of the Bonanno family's Sicilian faction. Little Anthony, and the second suspect, whose identity Gang Land could not immediately confirm, were part of a Bronx-based crew that is viewed as the power base for the battered Bonannos, sources say.
There is little doubt that Seccafico's murder was a genuine mob rubout - one that was sanctioned by leaders of the Bonanno family. But it was unclear whether the rubout had anything to do with the ongoing investigation into Little Anthony and others by the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office. Spokesmen for both offices declined to comment about the investigation, and the impact Seccafico's murder has had on the probe.
Seccafico has long been aligned with Salvatore (Sal the Ironworker) Montagna, the family's Sicilian-born acting boss whom the feds deported to Canada three months ago. Back in 2002, they were among 20 defendants - including capo Patrick (Patty from the Bronx) DeFilippo - who were hit with state racketeering and other charges in a takedown by the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
Until the feds developed evidence linking Seccafico to the Andres plot, the alleged scheme was believed to have begun and ended with Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, the onetime acting boss who was sentenced to life last year for the shotgun rubout of a mob rival in 2001.
Basic Mafia ground rules preclude the killing of cops, prosecutors and judges on the sensible premise that it's very bad for business. But Basciano wasn't the first to consider it. In recent years, former Luchese underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso made plans to whack a judge, and imprisoned Colombo boss Carmine (Junior) Persico ordered a prosecutor's murder.
Basciano, 48, still faces charges for soliciting then-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino for permission to whack Andres. The wired-up turncoat mob boss snared Vinny Gorgeous while both were housed in a federal lockup in Brooklyn in early 2005. In the same indictment, Basciano faces the death penalty for the 2004 contract slaying of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo in a much-delayed case that is slated for trial next year.
During two tape-recorded conversations in January, 2005, Massino got Basciano to say several times that he had floated the idea of whacking Andres a few weeks earlier when they met in prison after Basciano was added to a then-pending murder indictment against Massino.
Andres, who now oversees all criminal prosecutions in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island had been the lead prosecutor at a 2004 trial at which Massino was convicted of seven murders.
Knowledgeable Gang Land sources say that Little Anthony has been on the outs with Bonanno wiseguys for about four years, when he earned the wrath of soldier John (Johnny Joe) Spirito, a Bronx-based wiseguy who had been nailed with Seccafico in 2002 by the Manhattan DA's office. In the summer of 2003, Spirito and their capo, Patty DeFilippo, were nailed by the feds for a 1998 murder that was ordered by Massino, and detained without bail.
Among the chores that fell on Little Anthony was to make sure that the families of the increasing number of family men who were being held without bail received the required living expenses that would normally be furnished by their otherwise occupied bread winners.
In 2005, sources say Spirito's son, also named John, questioned Little Anthony about the regularity, and the amount of money that he was bringing his mother, who was a frequent courtroom supporter of her husband's and even got into an angry harangue with Andres at one court session. According to accounts provided by knowledgeable sources, this is how the confrontation between Johnny Boy Spirito and Little Anthony evolved:
"You're not doing the right thing with my mother," complained young Spirito.
Little Anthony slapped him and pushed him down in a chair and told him, "I'm around now, not your father. If you have a problem, tell your father to come around and see me when he gets home."
That was the beginning of the end for Little Anthony, who was also suspected of skimming some of the funds he was supposed to be distributing, and spending a little too much time with some of the wives he would visit on his appointed rounds.
"He was an errand boy who thought who the hell he was. He disrespected a lot of good fellows and he paid the price," said one source who is familiar with the federal probe of Seccafico.
Johnny Joe, now 50, ultimately pleaded guilty to the murder of Bonanno capo Gerlando (George from Canada) Sciascia in return for a 20 year sentence. He is due out in 2021.
The new suits were needed after DeFilippo, who is now 75, decided that 20 years would be a life sentence. So he rolled the dice and went to trial on the charges that Johnny Joe pleaded guilty to. But while DeFilippo was awaiting trial, he lost 100 pounds. This of course required new suits for the judge and jury. So Little Anthony was dispatched to Vito's, a favorite mob haberdasher in the Bronx.
Little Anthony had other ideas though, sources say.
"He went to the Men's Warehouse or some other wholesale joint. Patty was livid. He wanted to strangle him," said one knowledgeable source.
This incident alone may have been enough to seal Little Anthony's fate. It is one thing to shortchange the families of imprisoned fellow mobsters. But sending your capo into the courtroom wearing a baggy, off-the-rack set of threads? That can be fatal.