Bonaventura Pinzolo
Born (1887-12-01)December 1, 1887
Died September 5, 1930(1930-09-05) (aged 42)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.

Bonaventura "Joseph/Fat Joe" Pinzolo (1887 – September 5, 1930) was the head of the Lucchese crime family in New York City for a brief period during 1930.

Following the February 1930 murder of Tom Reina, mob boss Joe Masseria tried to take control of Reina's gang by backing Pinzolo, a close supporter, as Reina's replacement. Pinzolo may have been responsible for Reina's killing, though the most widely-suspected culprit for that crime remains Vito Genovese.

Pinzolo took charge of Reina's Bronx area ice distribution business for Masseria ahead of top Reina gang members Tommy Gagliano and Tommy Lucchese. The two men felt Pinzolo had been promoted in order to secure the underworld interests of Masseria and not the former Reina followers. Pinzolo certainly did not help his own cause by being a most disagreeable man - the majority of his subordinates apparently grew to hate him with little time and effort. Charles "Lucky" Luciano once said of Pinzolo:

As big a shit as Masseria was, he didn't hold a candle to Pinzolo. That guy was fatter, uglier and dirtier than Masseria was on the worst day when the old bastard didn't take a bath, which was most of the time.[citation needed]

Bonanno crime family boss Joe Bonanno later revealed that Gagliano and Lucchese formed a splinter group within the family along with a several other key members, including Dominick "the Gap" Petrilli, a friend of Joe Valachi.

Their festering resentment and personal distaste along with the general lawlessness unleashed by the Castellammarese War ultimately led to Pinzolo's murder. In September 1930, Pinzolo was lured to an office rented by Lucchese on Broadway in Manhattan, where Pinzolo was shot five times. The killer is reputed to have been Petrilli, Girolamo "Bobby Doyle" Santucci, or possibly Lucchese himself. Lucchese was indicted for the crime but the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence. Masseria apparently attributed the killing to rival Castellammarese boss Salvatore Maranzano.

The Pinzolo murder by the former Reina loyalists supports a long held theory by Mafia historians that the Gagliano-Lucchese faction kept their alliance with the Maranzano forces even after the death of Reina while top crime family members such as Lucchese acted as a spy for the Maranzano faction by faking support for Masseria.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Bonanno, Joseph. A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003. ISBN 0-312-97923-1
  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864225-2
  • Peterson, Robert W. Crime & the American Response. New York: Facts on File, 1973. ISBN 0-87196-227-6
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi: Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. 1988. [1]
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Government Operations Committee. Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics. 1964. [2]

External links[edit | edit source]

Business positions
Preceded by
Gaetano "Tommy" Reina
Lucchese crime family

Succeeded by
Gaetano "Tommy" Gagliano

Template:Lucchese crime family Template:American Mafia

it:Joseph Pinzolo

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