The U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments on June 1960 for the appeal of
the 20 convicted men. On November 28, 1960, the court announced a
unanimous reversal of that conviction with a severe reprimand for the prosecution.
Judge Lumbard noted, "But bad as many of these alleged conspirators may
be, their conviction for a crime which the government could not prove…cannot
be permitted to stand."
It was around this time period that additional information supposedly surfaced
about the Apalachin meeting. In addition to pursuing policies concerning
narcotics and the succession of Vito Genovese over Frank Costello and the
fate of Anastasia’s territory, it was alleged that the meeting was also
about the Mafia’s involvement in the building of gambling casinos in Cuba
and the need to raise cash. (Purpose #7) However, this is no credence
whatsoever as the need to finance a Havana casino as a reason for calling
the emergency 1957 Apalachin National Convention of La Cosa Nostra.
There is not a chance that Genovese would want other mobsters to be aware
of his private business. He barely knew some of these men and knew
others on a casual basis. If Genovese was looking for investors in
a Havana venture he would have been doing so very quietly, and among men
he could easily dominate. The last place he'd look would be to powerful
mob bosses who saw Vito as a rival.
In early 1957, shortly before he was murdered, Francisco Aguirre told Albert
Anastasia that Hilton International was asking for bids to operate the
Habana Hilton Hotel Casino on a concession basis. Aguirre told Anastasia
it would require a minimum of $2 million to close the deal, and asked if
he could use his influence as the hotel owner to try to get the Hiltons
to go along with the deal. Anastasia contacted Frank Costello and
asked him to become his partner in the casino deal and to finance the $2
million required for the Habana Hilton Casino operation.
Costello informed Anastasia that he was already financially committed to
the Riviera Hotel Casino in Havana, and under no circumstances could he
get involved in another Cuban casino. At the same time, Vito Genovese
was negotiating with a second group of Cuban casino builders that had also
approached Francisco Aguirre to seek his help with the Hiltons. The
New York underworld knew that Albert Anastasia and Vito Genovese vowed
to get each other at the first opportunity. Now with Anastasia and
Genovese vying for the lucrative Habana Hilton Casino, a showdown of some
sort would soon come. When word got back to Genovese that Frank Costello
might put up $1 million for Anastasia, Genovese vowed to get Costello first.
After Vito Genovese's orders to assassinate Anastasia were carried out,
Francisco Aguirre informed Genovese that he had very little time to put
up his million-dollar guarantee. To raise $3 million Genovese, contacted
Joe Profaci of Brooklyn of New York and Anthony Strollo of New Jersey to
help him raise the cash. Joseph Barbara's secluded mansion in Apalachin
was the designated meeting place for Genovese to entertain about fifty
or more wealthy potential buyers and woo them to his Cuban Hilton casino
plan. (Barbara was paid $100,000 to host this fund-raising
Vito Genovese told Barbara, Profaci and Strollo to not tell the guests
about the true purpose of the gathering. "Tell them it's a party
for the host, Barbara. The reason for the party is that he's recuperating
from a heart attack…Once we get them here, we'll feed them all the liquor
and food they can eat. I'll then give them my casino pitch and I'll
have a couple of casino guys from Havana at the meeting to give me a hand
Joseph Barbara suggested November 14, to which Genovese, Profaci and Strollo
agreed. About eleven o'clock on the morning of the 14th of November, Cadillacs,
Lincolns and Chrysler Imperials began arriving at Joseph Barbara's hilltop
mansion. By 12:30 p.m., some 28 automobiles had arrived and were
parked in the parking lot and dirt road alongside the house. As Barbara
was introducing the guests to one another, Barbara’ wife looked out the
window and spotted a marked New York state trooper's vehicle in front of
the garage and a trooper recording the license numbers.
Joseph Barbara then turned to his guests, "You men don't know that bastard
Sergeant Croswell like I do. He hates Italians and calls them guineas.
He'll think nothing of framing anyone of you men by planting a gun or some
dope in your car just because you're Italian and a friend of mine.
Men, you better leave now and watch those troopers closely so they can't
plant anything in your car, should they stop you and search it."
Someone asked, "…is there any way out of here
by walking?" Barbara answered, "In the back of the house is a footpath
that leads through the woods to the main road and past the spot those bastards
have blocked off. Once you get on the main road, have the driver
of your car pick you up there." It was then that a disarrayed exodus
of excited and nervous guests began. Most of them crowded into their
cars and drove away soon to be stopped at the roadblock. Genovese
never had the opportunity to discuss his proposition and raise $3 million
for the Hilton Casino.
In the wake of Apalachin, authorities were forced to acknowledge that there
was indeed a significant level of cooperation among criminal gangs across
the United States. The gathering proved the existence of a national
syndicate of organized crime. Before the Apalachin conference, the
McClellan Committee, a government panel, (Chief Council was Robert Kennedy),
concentrated its investigation on corruption in organized labor.
After Apalachin, the committee shifted its attention to organized crime. When
the Apalachin story broke, Congressmen, Senators and other elected officials
wanted to know who the men were and what they were doing.
Prior to November 1957, J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI,
publicly stated that there was no such thing as a national syndicate of
organized crime. To his embarrassment,
the rival Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs had piles of documents
on many of the participants in Apalachin and the Bureau quickly displayed
their data at various hearings and press conferences that followed Apalachin.Hoover
reacted with his characteristic anger and ordered a massive mafia intelligence
gathering operation, called the “Top Hoodlum Program.”
The FBI's mob informant
program moved into high gear, which decades later would result in a myriad
of abuses and indiscretions. Massive illegal bugging operations began
against mobsters. The electronic surveillance could not be used in
court but it helped the FBI understand who and what the American Mafia
was all about. The public testimony of ex-Mafia Joseph Valachi six years
later reinforced what the FBI already knew.
The Apalachin meeting in 1957 clearly demonstrated that there
was a significant existence of organized crime in the United States.
It took a convention in Apalachin to reveal the extent of Mafia activity
in the United States. Apalachin will forever be remembered as the
location of the best known, most important and most disastrous Mafia convention
| Timeline of events after the 1957
* May 21,
1959 - The Barbara estate is sold to LaRue Quick, a local builder.
He paid $50,000 in cash with a mortgage of $80,000. He and Vestal
realtor Russell Terry planned to turn it into a tourist attraction. Owego
denied the zoning and won an appeal made by LaRue and Terry.
* May 21,
1959 - Twenty seven men are indicted over their evasive answers about Apalachin.
* June 17,
1959 – Joseph Barbara, Sr. dies of a heart attack suffered May 29, 1959.
* 1959 - A
movie called "Inside the Mafia" is released. The Apalachin town name is
changed to "Apple Lake".
* July, 19,
1959 - Mad Magazine has a feature on Apalachin.
18, 1959 - Twenty hoods are convicted for conspiracy to obstruct justice
over the Apalachin affair.
13, 1960 - The twenty hoods are sentenced. Most get five years and
* July 27,
1960 - A court injunction is filed against the establishment of tours at
the Barbara estate.
* August 24,
1960 - The Barbara estate opens for tours.
28, 1960 - The U.S. Court of Appeals throws out the conviction of the 20
hoods. Charges against six others who had avoided trial, were dropped.
1, 1960 - Zoning ruling is upheld quashing development plans for the Barbara
6, 1961 - The Barbara estate is sold to Walter Gardner, Jr. for an estimated
The Barbara property was eventually bought by the Burt family who ran Burt's
Department Store. The daugher, Laura Burt, bought the estate, (probably
from her father's estate) in 1993 for $175,000. The estate was auctioned
off around 2002.
of the hoods formally identified as being at Barbara's on November 14,
Alaimo - member of the Barbara family.
Barbara - boss of his own family. Presently called the Bufalino family,
(but it's just about extinct).
Bonanno - boss of his own New York family, deposed in 1964.
Bonventre -uncle of Bonanno, former underboss to Bonanno. Retired
to Italy prior to Apalachin and probably couldn't resist meeting old friends.
Bufalino - underboss to Barbara. Became boss when Barbara died in
1959. A suspect in the Hoffa disappearance in 1975.
Cannone - member of the Barbara family.
Carlisi - member of the Magaddino family from Buffalo
Castellano - capo in the Gambino family. Took over as boss
when Gambino died in 1976. Whacked out by John Gotti in 1985.
Catena - underboss to Vito Genovese. Later helped run the family
when Genovese went off to prison.
Chivi - member of the Genovese family.
Civello - boss of Dallas family.
Colletti - boss of the Colorado family. Partner of Joe Bonanno in
the cheese business.
Cucchiara - member of the New England Family. Most commonly called
the Patriarca family.
D'Agostino - member of the Magaddino family.
DeMarco - capo or perhaps underboss in the Cleveland
family then run by John Scalish.
DeSimmone - boss of the Los Angeles family, he was a lawyer.
Evola - capo in the Bonanno family, later became boss of the family circa
Falcone - member of Barbara or Magaddino family.
Falcone - member of Barbara or Magaddino family.
Gambino - had just ascended to the head of the Gambino family after Albert
Anastasia was whacked out in October 1957.
Genovese - probably underboss of the Pittsburgh
Genovese - had just recently ascended to the head of the Genovese family
after previous boss, Frank Costello, had been wounded in a murder attempt
and then retired.
Guarnieri - capo in the Barbara family.
Bartolo - probable member of the Barbara family or at the least an associate
of the family.
Ida - boss of Philly. He retired shortly after the mess of Apalachin.
LaDuca - capo in the Magaddino family, related by marriage to Magaddino.
Laguttuta - member of the Magaddino family.
Larasso - capo in the New Jersey family then lead by Phil Amari. Became
underboss to Nick Delmore when he took over for Amari in 1957. He
was whacked out in the 1990s.
Lombardozzi - capo in the Gambino family.
Magaddino - capo in the Magaddino family and brother of boss Stefano Magaddino.
Magliocco - underboss of the Joseph Profaci family which is now the Colombo
Majuri - underboss in the New Jersey family of Phil Amari. Slid down
to capo when Amari retired later in 1957 and was replaced by Nick Delmore.
Bumped up later to underboss in the regime of Sam DeCavalcante in the 60’s
after Delmore died.
Mancuso - member of Barbara or Magaddino family.
Mannarino - capo in the Barbara family.
Miranda - capo in the Genovese family.
Monachino - member of Barbara or Magaddino family.
Monachino- member of Barbara or Magaddino family.
Montana - underboss in the Magaddino family, demoted after Apalachin.
Olivetto – may have been a member of the New Jersey family.
Ormento - capo in the Luchese family. Not too long after Apalachin,
he got yet another narcotics conviction and spent the rest of his life
Osticco - capo in the Barbara family.
Profaci - long time boss of his own family until his death in 1962.
Family is now called the Colombo family.
Rao - consigliere in the Luchese family.
Rava - member of the Gambino family. Was whacked out not too long
afterwards because he was an ally of the slain Albert Anastasia.
Riccobono - consigliere in the Gambino family.
Riela - capo in the Bonanno family, active even in the "Donnie Brasco"
Rosato - member of the Gambino family.
Santos (Santos Trafficante) - boss of the Tampa family.
Scalish - boss of the Cleveland family.
Sciandra - capo in the Barbara family.
Sciortino - member of Barbara or Magaddino family.
Scozzari - underboss in the LA family.
Tornabe - member of the Profaci (now Colombo) family, died December 30,
Turrigiano - member of Barbara or Magaddino family.
Valente - probable member of the Buffalo
family. The debate is whether Rochester was an independent family
or simply a part of the larger Buffalo family.
Valente - probable member of the Buffalo family.
Zicari - member of the Barbara family.
Zito - Boss of the Springfield, Illinois family.
Probable attendees / participants:
Barbara, Jr. was not at the meeting although he was probably going to be.
He arrived from the family bottling works after the troopers were set up
and is not listed as an attendee.
clothes of Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino were found in a car "stashed"
in a barn at Barbara's a day or two after November 14, 1957.
boss Joe Zerilli used his license to rent a car in Binghamton shortly after
boss John LaRocca was registered in an area motel but he was never caught.
Francisco boss James Lanza was registered
in a motel in the area but he was not caught.
City boss Nick Civella and…
J Filardo were tentatively identified as the two men who placed a phone
call in a local business to call a cab.
Migliore, then a soldier in the Luchese family, was allegedly involved
in a traffic accident in Binghamton the day after the fiasco. The speculation
was that he came to pick up…
Luchese, the boss, who was never caught (logic says he would have attended).
of Barbara's housekeepers tentatively identified Carmine Galante, Bonanno's
new underboss, as being one of several men who were still at Barbara's
a day after the fiasco.
other mob powers, including the Chicago delegation, were on their
way to Barbara's and lucked out by arriving late and were able to avoid
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Mafia In Apalachin by:
Hafer Genealogy" home page
Apalachin Community Press. November 1997.
“A Reporter Recalls His Biggest Story: Apalachin Raid.”
Steve Hambelek. The Sunday Press & Sun-Bulletin, November 13,
“Apalachin.” Jerry Capeci. Gangland News. November
Honor Thy Father. Gay Talese. Ballantine Books,
“The Apalachin Mafia Convention.” 1997. Apalachin Community Press.
“The Day Apalachin Made History.” Richard Schroeder. The
Sun-Bulletin, November 14, 1977
The Encyclopedia of American Crime. New York. 1982.
“The Raid At Apalachin.”
John William Tuohy. Gambling Magazine. 1999.
“The True Story About The Apalachin "Mafia" Conclave.” John Scarne.
“1957 Raid Exposed The Mafiosi.” Woodie Fitchette.
The Sunday Press & Sun-Bulletin, November 13, 1977.
Andy (Anonymous), involved in mafia research / writing for forty some
years and contributor to Jerry Capeci's on-line column called "Ask Andy",