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Brancato “Mafia Street Boss”

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439 pages7 hours

Summary

The story of Frank Brancato.

For the better part of half a century, Frank Brancato was one of the most feared men in Ohio.
The Sicilian immigrant claimed to be a humble tire salesman, but in reality he was the right-hand man of Cleveland Mafia Boss John Scalish.

Brancato—Mafia Street Boss traces Frank’s story from his days as a penniless Italian immigrant to his years as a wealthy and prosperous Cleveland businessman.

His children and grandchildren knew him as a kind, soft-spoken, generous man. But others saw a different side of him.
Entrepreneurs who were reluctant to share their bootlegging or gambling profits with the Cleveland “Family” were eliminated without delay.

People who were suspected of talking too much found themselves taking a “one-way ride.”

For many years, FBI agents were under orders from their famous leader, J. Edgar Hoover himself, to observe Brancato’s activities and try to collect information that would lead to his criminal conviction.

Immigration officers tried long and hard to deport Brancato, including an unsuccessful attempt to “kidnap” him from a Cleveland Federal Building and whisk him away on a one-way trip back to his homeland in Italy.

Police tried to pin various Mob “hits” on Brancato, but eyewitnesses frequently either died suddenly, or they mysteriously developed doubts about what they had seen. People who made trouble for the Mafia frequently had their lives cut short by explosions or gunfire.

Brancato was usually questioned in these incidents, but was released for lack of evidence.
He was nearly “bulletproof”—except for the wound from a gunbattle that nearly took his life and led to his only prison term.

Using newspaper reports, FBI and police files, and even stories told by family members, Frank Monastra chronicles the story of his grandfather, Frank Brancato, from his days as a Prohibition-era bootlegger and whiskey runner to his role in the rise of the gambling and nightclub industry.

Brancato—Mafia Street Boss gives an insider look at the rise of the Sicilian Mafia in Ohio in its heyday, from the 1920s to the 1970s.

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