Peter Magaddino (February 25, 1917 - August 1976) was a mobster in the Magaddino crime family of Buffalo, New York. The son of crime boss Stefano "The Undertaker" Magaddino, Magaddino was a caporegime in the family and possibly an underboss.
Early years[edit | edit source]
The Magaddino family immigrated to the U.S. from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily and settled in New York City. Peter was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1921, the family suddenly moved to Niagara Falls, New York. Due to some mob shootings in Brooklyn, Stefano had to leave New York City for his own safety. He decided to relocate to Niagara Falls because a large number of Castellammarese immigrants lived there and it was more peaceful than New York. Early in his criminal career, Peter married the niece of prominent Western New York businessman and Buffalo crime family consigliere John C. Montana.
In 1940 he opened a funeral home with Paul Palmeri. When Palmeri left Niagara Falls in 1942. Peter took over operation. He already had one college degree and now went to mortuary school and became a licensed funeral director. He ran the Magaddino Memorial Chapel, a funeral home in Niagara Falls, New York.
Bananas War[edit | edit source]
In the mid 1960's, Magaddino became involved in the New York gang war known as the "Bananas War". The conflict got its name from Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno, former head of the Bonanno crime family and cousin to Peter's father, Stefano. On October 21, 1964, Bonanno was walking down Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York with his lawyer William P. Maloney. When they stopped in front of an apartment building on 36th Street, Bonanno was kidnapped, allegedly by Peter and his uncle, Antonio "Nino" Magaddino among others.  According to Bonanno, he was held captive in Upstate New York by Stefano. Magaddino claimed to represent the Mafia Commission when he told Bonanno that he "took up too much space in the air", a Sicilian metaphor for being arrogant. After some more conversations, Bonanno allegedly convinced the Magaddinos that he would retire and Stefano released him.
Family conflict[edit | edit source]
In 1967, Buffalo underboss Frederico "Freddie the Wolf" Randaccio was arrested and sent to prison. According to former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Joe Griffin, author of the book Mob Nemesis, Peter was appointed by his father to fill the gap and run the day-to-day activities. However, many believe that capo and future acting boss, Joseph Fino, was named underboss in 1968. It is possible that Peter was named acting underboss until Fino got the permanent job later. In either case, many top family members believed that Peter didn't deserve the job.
By the 1960s, many Buffalo family members viewed Stefano as a paranoid and greedy leader who could no longer be trusted to lead the family. In late 1968, the situation worsened when Stefano told his capos Salvatore "Samuel Johns" Pieri, Fino, and Daniel "Boots" Sansanese that he was cutting their percentage of the family profits and, worse yet, eliminating their Christmas bonuses! Stefano claimed that money was tight; however, that argument wasn't too convincing as Stefano was grossing between $20,000 to $30,000 weekly on his personal sports book.
Breakup[edit | edit source]
Due to unexpected intervention by the FBI, resentment over Stefano and Peter Magaddino within the family came to a head. In November 1968, Peter and Stefano were arrested and charged with interstate bookmaking. While searching Peter's home in Niagara Falls, the FBI uncovered nearly $500,000 in cash inside a bedroom wall. When the rest of the Buffalo crime family learned about the hidden money, it provoked an internal rebellion.
Before the year was done, the Buffalo family had split into several dissident factions and the Magaddinos were effectively deposed. However, the Mafia Commission continued to recognize Stefano as family boss until his death. The dissident factions were led by a succession of defacto bosses, including capos Sam Pieri, Joseph Fino, and Samuel "Sam the Farmer" Frangiamore.
Peter Magaddino remained a loyal member of his father's faction until Stefano died on July 19, 1974. Peter then quietly removed himself from the family's criminal activities. He died August 16, 1976.
References[edit | edit source]
- Griffin, p. 128
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Bonanno, Bill. Bound by Honor: A Mafioso's Story. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. ISBN 0-312-97147-8
- Bonanno, Joseph. A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003. ISBN 0-312-97923-1
- United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Assassinations. Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: hearings before the Select Committee on Assassinations. 1979. 
[edit | edit source]
- AmericanMafia.com: Buffalo, NY by Mario Machi, Allan May, and Charlie Molino