Lucchese crime family turncoat claims that veteran mobster Michael DeSantis is the crime families new acting boss.
John Pennisi took the stand at the racketeering trial of alleged wiseguy Eugene Castelle and had some interesting things to say. Although most of it didn’t seem all that damaging to Castelle’s case in particular. According to Pennisi imprisoned Lucchese family boss Vittorio Amuso authorized a changing of the guard within the crime family back in 2017. He claims a coded letter was sent by Amuso from prison to loyalists and passed on to Steven Crea threatening deadly action if his orders were not carried out. Amuso wanted then acting boss Matthew Madonna to step aside and let DeSantis take the reigns. Amuso threatened to have Crea his son and other members of the families Bronx crews taken out if they didn’t go along with him said, Pennisi. Crea has long been seen as the leading voice within the family even though it was Madonna who carried the title of acting boss for years.
Pennisi claims that he learned about the takeover plan from fellow wiseguy Patrick (Patty Red) Dellorusso. According to the Gangland News report, law enforcement sources say that Dellorusso is now the families acting underboss for Crea who is awaiting trial. If the elder Crea is convicted in the upcoming trial Dellorusso would then officially replace him. They also believe that Andrew DeSimone is the Cosa Nostra families new consigliere replacing imprisoned mobster Joseph DiNapoli. According to Pennisi DeSimone would have been one of the targeted Bronx crew members along with the Creas if they didn’t fall in line.
While on the stand Pennisi laid out the details of how he became aware of the takeover plan. He testified that the purposed hit list were members of the families Bronx faction that may have been a problem for those planning to take control of the family. Pennisi said that a coded letter sent to Amuso detailed complaints that the families administration had shifted to be the Bronx but “there was a crew of guys very loyal to him out here, all Brooklyn guys, (who) wanted to take the family back to Brooklyn. That’s really what this was about.” Dellorusso later told Pennisi that they received a letter back from Amuso and he approved of them taking over positions in the families new administration.
A meeting with Crea was set to show him the letter according to Pennisi. He said Dellorusso told him he hoped Crea would step aside peacefully but if he didn’t agree with the moves they would deal with the guys from the Bronx. But Crea and Madonna both agreed to the changes to avoid what may have turned into a bloodbath. Crea was well aware of Amuso’s violent history and the last time he and his top lieutenant Anthony Casso had suspicions about the families Bronx crew which led to several murders. Michael DeSantis and Dellorusso were both convicted of racketeering back in the 1990s but have been back in the mix for several years since their release.
Pennisi also laid out the current list of crews within the Lucchese family while he was on the stand. He claimed there were currently seven active crews which included two crews in both the Bronx and Long Island, along with crews in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. He also replayed the events that led to his defection. He said members of the mafia family had wrongly suspected him of being an informer and had marked him for death. He claims that he became concerned after spotting two guys parked on the street near his home. He said the men turned their faces so he couldn’t see them and one pulled down a baseball cap over his face.
He immediately recognized it as being something the mob had taught him to do. He said, “That’s the first thing that, in that life, that they do; they want to start getting your routine down, what time you come home, what time you leave, which way you go, you know, they start getting a pattern with you.” So back in October of last year he simply walked into the Manhattan headquarters of the FBI and said he needed protection. He is also set to testify against Madonna and Crea in the upcoming Lucchese family trial.