Meatballs: A Brief Pasta-Based History of the Mafia in Broward
It made brief mention of Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, and Nicky Scarfo, but it was a superficial gloss-over with a few quotes from so-called experts. If you really want to know about the Mafia in Broward, read on.
And the easiest way to chart the Mafia is, of course, through the ristorantes.
Take what is perhaps the county's most popular Italian place, Martorano's on Oakland Park Boulevard. It's owned by Steve Martorano, who is the nephew of infamous
mobster Raymond "Long John" Martorano, a late soldier who worked with Scarfo, one of the basest and most brutal mobsters you'll ever hear about. Long John was a 74-year-old ex-con wiseguy when he was gunned down on his way to the doctor's office in 2002.
Those three reputed Genovese crime family soldiers, along with capo Sam Salerno, had deep tentacles in South Florida's open territory at one time. The Bonnano crime family's Anthony Rabito, a player in Joe "Donnie Brasco" Pistone's investigation, has operated in Dania Beach. Most recently, reputed Bonnano capo Gerard Chilli was busted at his restaurant, JJ's, on the Hollywood Boardwalk.
Chilli, along with numerous associates, was hit with several criminal charges in 2006, among them a charge of selling stolen salmon at the restaurant.
But when it comes to Broward, one crime family stands out: the Gambinos. And here again, that leads to a well-known restaurant chain, Bobby Rubino's A Place for Ribs restaurants, which federal court documents show began as a Mob front. Bobby Rubino himself was a low-level Mafia bagman; the man who really ran the operation was Gambino capo Ettore Zappi, a colorful character who held court for years in Broward County.
The guy who blew the whistle on Bobby Rubino's was Pasquale Nigro, whose importance as a Mafia informant dwarfs that of Rothstein's. Nigro also gave testimony about Gambino skimming from Michael Peter's strip clubs.
But the most infamous Broward case involving the Gambino family has got to be the assassination of Greek restaurateur Gus Boulis. Allegedly involved in that murder was reputed Gambino capo Anthony Moscatiello, who was charged in the Boulis hit along with two associates. Moscatiello is alleged to have masterminded the killing as a favor for businessman Adam Kidan and hence-indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who had purchased Boulis' gambling operation, SunCruz. Not sure what's happening with that case, which has a big flaw: Why would Moscatiello kill Boulis without a specific order from Kidan or Abramoff, who haven't been charged? It's a question that haunts the case.
Not sure where Moscatiello liked to eat, but you can be pretty sure it wasn't Miami Subs, Boulis' restaurant chain. There may be a lot of names in this post, but it's just a small piece of Broward Mob pie. I might add more as it comes to me.