Tony Zerilli former Detroit Mafia acting boss has died


Anthony “Tony Z” Zerilli the former underboss and acting boss of the Detroit Mafia passed away of natural causes in Florida at the age of 87. He was the son of Joseph “Joe Uno” Zerilli himself a former Detroit mob godfather and the son-in-law of one time New York mafia don Joe Profaci. He was one of the last of the old guard that controlled the mafia in Detroit for years and is one of many passing’s in the organization in last couple years.


Tony Zerilli

Tony Zerilli


Zerilli was indicted back in 1996 along with then boss Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco and the rest of the administration in a massive racketeering case. Upon his release from prison in 2008 Zerilli was “shelved” or demoted and revealed of his position in the Detroit mob by Tocco blaming Zerilli for the bust. The evidence gathered by the feds came from a bug located in the car of one of Zerilli’s crew.

In 2012 Zerilli decided to talk to the feds giving them information about the possible burial ground of Jimmy Hoffa and the alleged story of his murder. He claimed Hoffa was killed by Detroit mob members and buried on land once owned by Tocco and his brother, dropping a dime on them both. He claimed he was told about the hit on Hoffa by former mafia street boss Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone the man Hoffa was supposed to be meeting for lunch the day he disappeared. After an extensive search of the property no body was recovered.

Detroit Mafia set to downsize under new regime


The Detroit mafia is now firmly under the control of a new regime lead by new official boss Jack “Jackie the Kid” Giacalone as its latest transition period winds down. The Detroit mob is going to be downsizing from having 5 crews on the streets down to four at least temporarily according to sources from Scott Burnstein’s Gangster Report. The mafia in Detroit has had five capo’s running their respective crews since the early 1990’s but Giacalone wants to minimize exposure and feels the smaller things are safer according to reports.


jackie giacalone

Jack Giacalone


The crew formerly run by now underboss Anthony “Chicago Tony” La Piana is set to be dissolved with in the next year per sources. It is now being run by acting co-capo’s Antonio “Toto” Ruggirello and Antonio “Tony the Exterminator” Ruggirello who are ready to retire with Chicago Tony already semi-retired and in an administration position. Once the Ruggirello boys retire the transition will be to dissolve the crew all together.

The mob in Detroit has been one of the more stable and low key mafia families for years and after the 2014 installation of new boss Giacalone and underboss La Piana things should remain that way. Both Jackie the Kid and Chicago Tony were groomed to take the lead running the family in an “acting” capacity for a couple of years before they were officially installed into the hierarchy by deceased former boss Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco. Recent mafia news out of The Motor City indicates the transition has been smooth.

Detroit Mafia appoints Anthony Palazzolo as new consigliere


Anthony “Tony Pal” Palazzolo has been appointed as the new official consigliere of the Detroit mafia. Previous consigliere Dominic “Uncle Dom” Bommarito has stepped down into retirement after holding his post during the recent leadership transition. Newly named boss Jack “Jackie the Kid” Giacalone has now fully taken the reigns of the family and now has his full administration in place with Palazzo and Anthony “Chicago Tony” La Piana holding rank of under boss.


anthony palazzolo


This trio has been dubbed “the future big 3″ by Detroit mob family administrators over the past few years according to Motor city mob expert Scott Burnstein who broke story of new consigliere in his gangster report column. A long time Detroit mobster Palazzolo now 74 has overseen the family interest in Canada and in the city’s downriver area. He has roots in the mafia as his father was a lieutenant in the Michigan mob under Goivanni Priziola longtime consigliere.

Palazzolo was named as a mob captain back in 1998 taking over the crew once led by capo Peter Vitale who groomed him through the years. According to the FBI Palazzolo has been a very illusive guy and hard to keep tabs on through out the years. The Giacalone , La Piana, and Palazzolo trio will lead the Detroit mafia into the next generation after the passing last July of long time boss Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco the longest tenured mob boss in America.

Detroit Mafia Godfather Jack Tocco Passes Away


Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco the longtime boss of the Detroit Mafia passed away of natural causes in an unexpected bit of mafia news. Tocco took power of the mob in Detroit back in 1979 and was the longest tenured mafia boss in the country. He was known as a very low key old school style boss who was more intelligent and business savvy then he was violent. Tocco was born into the mob with his dad William “Black Bill” Tocco being one of the founding fathers of the crime family. Black Jack operated behind the scenes and was able to avoid many of the pitfalls of a mafia boss staying out of jail for the majority of his career, except for a 1998 conviction on racketeering charges resulting in an 11 month stay in prison.


Giacomo Tocco

Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco


Tocco was long considered a suspect in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa and then was directly implicated in his disappearance by former Detroit Mafia underboss and his first cousin Anthony “Tony Z” Zerilli. Acting on information supplied by Zerilli the FBI dug up plots of farmland once owned by Tocco back in 2013 hoping to recover Hoffa’s remains.

Zerilli claimed that mob underlings informed him that Hoffa was taken out to the property beaten to death with a shovel and buried there. Tony Z was also convicted in 1998 along with Tocco and the two had a falling out which eventually led to him cooperating with the FBI in 2012 leading to the search in 2013. But the dig came up empty and no remains of Hoffa were discovered.


Jack Tocco was one of the last remaining links to the mafia of old the Golden Era or the American Mafia of the 60’s through the early 80’s. The Detroit Mafia has just recently began moving into a new era with new leadership but Giacomo was truly one of the last Godfathers.


For more information on the history of the Mafia in Detroit check out Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit (Images of America) and other great mafia titles by author Scott M. Burnstein.


New Detroit mob boss Jack Giacalone appoints new mob hierarchy


Jack “Jackie the Kid” Giacalone the new boss of the Detroit mafia has officially appointed his cabinet, so to speak, recently filling slots for his underboss, street boss and consigliere posts according to sources.

There were no surprises in the selections.

Underworld sources claim that Giacalone, 62, tapped Anthony (Chicago Tony) La Piana his underboss, Peter (Specs) Tocco his street boss and Anthony (Tony Pal) Palazzolo his acting consigliere, with a promise to move him into the position in a permanent capacity soon.

Earlier this year, Giacalone was named only the fourth-ever Godfather in the 83-year history of the Midwest mafia family that his father and uncle helped build and protect dating back to the 1930s through the 2000s, replacing the retiring Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco, 87, previously the longest-sitting mafia boss in the United States, leading the Family for the past three and a half decades.


“Jack Giacalone”


Tocco went into semi-retirement two years ago, easing Giacalone into the role of don, appointing him acting boss in 2012. Prior to the promotion, Jackie the Kid, the son of deceased underboss Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone and nephew of Michigan mob icon Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, was the syndicate’s street boss for roughly 15 years. He took over for his uncle who died of cancer in 2001 while under a massive federal racketeering indictment he would never face in court after 40 years running the Family’s day-to-day affairs.

Informants tell local law enforcement that It’s been long known across the Motor City mob landscape that Jackie the Kid, Chicago Tony, Tony Pal and Specs Tocco represented the future hierarchy of the Family, a foursome of capos Black Jack hand-picked more than a decade ago.

La Piana, 71, is a protégé and nephew via marriage of Jack Tocco. Born and raised in Chicago, he married Michigan La Cosa Nostra royalty, wedding the daughter of capo and future underboss Vincent (Little Vince) Meli, in 1974 and moving to Detroit, after years in the Windy City learning the tricks of the gangland trade from mob heavyweights like, John (Johnny No Nose) Di Fronzo and Sam (Wings) Carlisi.

Although La Piana has been identified as a major Midwest mafia power broker in numerous federal government reports, U.S. congressional committee testimony and police intelligence logs over the last 30 years, he hasn’t faced criminal charges since he was a young mob wannabe on the Westside of Chicago in the late-1960s. Chicago Tony beat federal truck-hijacking charges out of Illinois at trial in 1968. He was called Jack Tocco’s “lieutenant for labor union affairs” at Tocco’s federal racketeering trial in 1998, however avoided ensnarement in the giant Operation GameTax bust himself.

Tony Pal oversees Detroit’s Downriver area and is in charge of the Family’s rackets in Canada. His last run-in with the law came in 1993 when he was arrested and served time for operating a money-laundering service for local underworld types looking to wash their criminal proceeds. FBI audio surveillance caught Palazzolo bragging to an undercover policemen from Canada that, “This is my city,” as he gazed out the window of a hotel suite at the Detroit skyline.

Palazollo, 73, had his name surface in the Jimmy Hoffa murder investigation, both at the time that it occurred in 1975 and last year, when deposed Detroit underboss Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli pointed the FBI to a piece of property once-owned by Jack Tocco, his first-cousin, in suburban Oakland County and told investigators that he was informed by Tony Giacalone that Palazzolo bludgeoned Hoffa with a shovel and then buried him there alive. According to what

Giacalone filled Zerilli in on, Hoffa was lured to the property by then-capo Peter (Bozzi) Vitale, the Family’s longtime “Godfather of Greektown” (a popular entertainment district downtown) and Tony Pal’s mentor.

While Tocco’s underboss and the city’s undisputed porno king for the past 50 years, Joseph (Joe Hooks) Mirabile is retiring along with him, his consigliere Dominic (Uncle Dom) Bommarito is said to be staying on temporarily to help guide the transition of power. Uncle Dom is expected to step aside in the next year or two and pass the No. 3 spot on the Family totem pole to Palazollo.

Specs Tocco, Jack Tocco’s nephew, has been acting street boss since 2012 when Jackie the Kid Giacalone got bumped up to acting boss. Both Specs, (sometimes also referred to by his childhood nickname, “Blackie”) and Jackie the Kid were indicted on federal racketeering and gambling charges in 2006, the lead defendants in a case which saw Tocco, 66, convicted and hit with prison time (2 and a half years) and Giacalone acquitted at trial.

Giacalone, Specs Tocco and La Piana are alleged to have all been “made” together in a February 1986 induction ceremony and according to informants and FBI documents, “made their bones” alongside each other. All three are considered suspects in the 1984 murder of labor leader Ralph Proctor, a onetime Hoffa ally, and Giacalone and Tocco, are suspects in the 1985 slayings of Detroit underworld figures Peter (Fast Pete) Cavataio and Harold (Harry Mack) Macairz.

The Family’s new brass keeps the balance between the syndicates’ street and boardroom groups that has existed ever since Jack Tocco took power in the
1970s, with Giacalone, like his father an uncle before him, representing the blue-collar faction and La Piana, the white-collar faction.

Retired federal prosecutor and Detroit mob nemesis Keith Corbett compares the situation to a successfully-implemented “Castellano-Gotti” alliance, referencing the power split in New York’s Gambino Family during the 1980s where roughneck John Gotti seized control by assassinating the more refined, business-oriented Paul Castellano.

“Jack Tocco was always more akin to Castellano and the Giacalones more like Gotti and unlike what happened in New York they always made it work, so I see no reason why this new arrangement, which is similar, but not an exact replica, won’t work as well,” he said. “Now, it’s just reversed with whose No. 1 and whose No. 2. In the tradition of his family, Jackie is more Gotti and La Piana, who was brought up under Tocco, is more Castellano. I’m pretty sure just like with Jack Tocco, Tony La Piana is fine being in the background and having a Giacalone out in front taking most of the exposure.”

The Giacalone brothers in tandem did significant more prison time and faced numerous more indictments in their gangland careers than Jack Tocco and his brother and top aide Anthony (Tony T) Tocco (died in 2012) – well over 25 years locked up combined for the Giacalones against a paltry two for the Toccos.


Article courtesy of Scott M. Burnstein Author of Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit (Images of America) and other great mafia titles.