When it comes to the Gambino family the first name that comes to mind for many is still John Gotti something Cali probably hopes remains that way. The 53-year-old wiseguy has been described as being unassuming and low key the polar opposite of the Dapper Don. The Gambino family was once the most powerful of the New York Mafia families and it could be again. The Gotti era brought with it unnecessary attention and exposure leading to a steep decline in the families power and influence. But the current hierarchy has quietly established the family and has steadily rebuilt its ranks.
“Frank (Franky Boy) Cali”
Francesco Paolo Augusto Calì was born and raised in New York by His parents both of whom are natives of Palermo, Sicily. Frank is part of the Mafia families now dominate Sicilian faction. He is the nephew-in-law of John Gambino and the great-nephew of Bonanno mobsters Vito Bonventre and Giovanni Bonventre. According to authorities, Cali is a member of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra along with being a made man in the NY Mafia. He has close ties through marriage to the Inzerillo family in Palermo. In 2003 a Sicilian mobster that traveled to NY was caught on wiretap telling his boss back in Italy “He’s our friend and he is everything over there”, in reference to Cali.
Cali also known as “Franky Boy” began to rise through the ranks of the NY crime family becoming an acting capo after Jackie D’Amico was promoted to street boss in 2005. He was a big earner and was considered by many to be a rising star within the American Mafia and continued to increase his stock within the Gambino family. His ascension was slowed some in 2008 when he was part of a massive mob bust called “Operation Old Bridge” that took down over 60 mobsters and associates. The investigation exposed a drug trafficking partnership between the Gambino’s and the Sicilian Mafia in Italy. Prosecutors claimed that Cali was the Gambino’s ambassador to the Sicilian mobsters and the go-between for the two organizations.
Frank was hit with various charges but ended up pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced to 16 months behind bars. He was released in 2009 and stepped back in as a major part of the Sicilian faction which now has a grip on the Cosa Nostra family. His low key old-school approach to doing business has allowed him to avoid any additional run-ins with law enforcement over the last few years. The powerful Sicilian faction that Cali is a part of also includes Domenico “Italian Dom” Cefalù, Lorenzo Mannino, and John Gambino before he passed away in 2017 among others, they have avoided the exposure and media attention that the Gambino’s became known for during Gotti’s reign.
According to reports they have reinfused the family with zips (mobsters from the old country) that are more interested in making money then they are in making headlines. They continue to control traditional and modern-day mob rackets including a heavy presence in drug trafficking. One law enforcement source when talking about Cali said: “no one ever sees him.” So the question often asked today is whether or not Frank Cali is currently the boss/street boss of the crime family.
Well, that remains unclear as reports of his current position in the family differ. Dom Cefalu who reportedly took control around 2011 may still hold the top spot and there are other veteran wiseguys within the hierarchy like Mannino which could also fit. There have even been reports that Cali had turned down a chance to take over back in 2013 perhaps in an effort to avoid additional attention. While the feds still list Peter Gotti as the official boss it’s clear he holds the rank only on their charts and in name only.
One thing seems clear that regardless of the official rank that Cali currently holds he is the driving force within the family and is primed to lead the Gambino’s for years to come and possibly back to being the most powerful American mafia family in the country. Well if he can continue to avoid the feds who most certainly are keeping as close an eye on him as ever along with the rest of the rebuilding organized crime family.
UPDATE: Frank Cali gunned down read more HERE