Clarence "Chauncey" Smaldone

Clarence "Chauncey" Smaldone (born on 1924 October 16, died 2006) was the last known boss of the Denver crime family and last surviving member of the infamous Colorado Smaldone brothers.


Chauncey was the 10th child and seventh son of Mamie and Ralph Smaldone. Ralph was a grocer, bondsman and small-time bootlegger in North Denver. However it was his brothers Clyde and Eugene Smaldone who pulled down the bulk of the media attention in the family's life of crime, which started with bootlegging and car theft in the 1920s. He was the man who watched over Gaetano's, the family's popular Italian restaurant which opened in 1947.

He was big, over 6 feet tall, barrel-chested, strong and "an outgoing guy". Almost 20 years younger than his two siblings, Chauncey grew up childhood friends with Smaldone nephews "Fat Paulie" Villano and "Young Gene" Eugene's son. Chauncey was first arrested in July 1945, when he and seven others were detained in a gambling raid. Periodically, there followed arrests for gambling, bookmaking, income-tax evasion, assault and jury tampering. The three brothers and Paul Villano were in and out of jail for various crimes over a 40-year period, almost always related to gambling. By 1982, the four had amassed 12 felony convictions. One Denver police Detective once told reporters, "Every time we raid one of these four men, we find the telephone number of the other three handy for 'laying off' bets."

Conviction and Death

The Smaldone brothers dabbled in loan sharking and bookmaking, but gambling was their milieu. They were dead set against drug dealing of any kind - Chauncey was quoted in the newspaper as saying, "I hate drugs and hate anybody'd fool with 'em or takes 'em. Anybody who fools with dope is the filthiest scum on Earth" - and stayed away from prostitution. His last run in with the law came in the form of a 10-year sentence with Checkers and cousin Fat Paulie in 1983 for running a loan-sharking operation out of the restaurant.

In 1991, Clarence was released from a Fort Worth prison hospital after serving eight years for the 1983 loan sharking conviction. At the time of his conviction he was considered to be the underboss of the Denver crime family and upon his brothers death in 1992, boss. In October 2006, Clarence "Chauncey" Smaldone died of natural causes. His death closed the book on the Smaldone crime family, whose members oversaw gambling and bookmaking operations in Denver and Adams County and in Central City decades before gambling was legalized in the mountain town. Eugene Smaldone's grandson, also named Eugene Smaldone, is the last surviving member of the Smaldone crime family.

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