The murder of former Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish is an integral piece of the recent racketeering indictments against the hierarchy of the Lucchese crime family.
According to the indictment, the mafia hit is specifically being charged as a murder in aid of racketeering along with various other charges as part of a long-running racketeering conspiracy by the Lucchese family. High ranking members of the Cosa Nostra family charged with the Meldish murder include acting boss Matthew Madonna and underboss Steven Crea along with capo Steven Crea Jr, soldier Christopher Londonio, and mob associate Terrence Caldwell. Even though the indictment doesn’t supply a reason for the murder sources familiar with the case believe it was linked to a breach of old school mafia protocol.
“Matthew Madonna and Michael Meldish”
When Meldish was found shot to death back in 2013 there were several theories as to who had killed him and why. The 62-year-old mobster was a stone cold killer believed to have carried out or been a part of at least 10 hits in the 1970’s and 80’s according to law enforcement. The Purple Gang terrorized the city for a couple of decades controlling a large part of the drug trade in Harlem and the Bronx. The crew was affiliated with several New York Mafia families including the Lucchese family giving Meldish a certain standing in the world of organized crime. But by the late 1980s, the gang’s power and influence had dwindled and it more or less evaporated although Meldish remained an associate of the Lucchese family according to reports.
Details surrounding the murder began to take shape when Christopher Londonio and Terrence Caldwell were indicted by federal prosecutors for their roles in the hit. According to sources familiar with the case including GanglandNews Meldish was warned to stop fooling around with the girlfriend of Bonanno family boss Michael Mancuso. He refused to heed those warnings leading to him being harshly beaten in public by Bonanno family mobster Ernest Aiello the year before he was brutally killed. The NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division got wind of the altercation and paid Madonna a visit warning him against any retaliation which could trigger a war between the mafia families. Madonna seemingly agreed although Meldish remained hell bent on revenge and decided to take matters into his own hands according to sources which likely sealed his fate.
A few months later near the location where Meldish was assaulted he orchestrated the attempted murder of Bonanno family soldier Enzo Stagno sources say. He did so without the okay of Lucchese family leaders which lead to reports of Madonna bad mouthing Meldish for disrespecting him by disobeying orders a few months later. Sources say Madonna and the Lucchese family hierarchy had enough and the two-man hit team of Londonio and Caldwell was ordered to take Meldish out. This shows that even though the modern day American Mafia isn’t as violent as it once was a breach of mob protocol such as this can still be a death sentence.