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Dominick "Mimi" Scialo

Dominick Scialo (born July 11, 1927 - murdered 1974) known as "Mimi", was a feared and well respected capo of the Colombo crime family who ruled over Coney Island, controlling gambling, loan sharking, numbers rackets, bookmaking, prostitution, pornography, labor racketeering, and other rackets for the Colombo crime family during the late 1960s until his murder in the mid 1970s. He was known to many as "The King of Coney Island".

Early Life

Dominick Scialo was born in Brooklyn in 1927, he had two older sisters and a kid brother. The New York census of 1940 shows his mother as the head of the household, his father was not present when he grew up. He seems to have been given the nickname "Mimi" at an early age, his family lived in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, in a modest home at 2827 West 15th street, located just a couple of blocks south of the restaurant where Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria was gunned down in 1931.

At an early age, he went to work as a longshoreman among the docks in South Brooklyn. It was here that he first came into contact with the various mobsters who controlled all kinds of rackets in that area. In August of 1951, Mimi first made the papers. He and a friend of his, Joseph Autori were reported as being shot in a tavern. The shooter, a former jewish prize fighter by the name of Alfred "Ally" Gordon, once arrested in a narcotics case, was quickly apprehended. The grand jury that indicted Gordon in this case heard testimony that he shot Autori to death and wounded Scialo because they had repeatedly taunted him with antisemitic remarks.

On the eve of his own murder trial, Gordon was shot to death right outside his in law´s home in Coney Island. Police said that the shots had come from a moving car and later when the car was located, 10 shells spent from a 30 caliber carbine were found.

Scialo´s rap sheet continued to grow. Between 1944 and 1959, he had been arrested 14 times on charges raging from felonious assault and rape to first degree murder. He was the main suspect in the Gordon murder but had never been sent to jail. He became a made men in the Profaci Family in the mid 1950's and was believed to be sponsored into the Profaci family by "Bath Beach" Johnny Oddo, a powerful Profaci member.

Murder Trial and Fugitive

Mimi Scialo

On March 17, 1958, 17 year old Alexander Menditto was found shot in front of 2121 Avenue Z in Brooklyn. He was still alive when found. The next day, 24 year old Bartholemew Garofalo was found shot to death in a lot at East 70th Street near Avenue W in Brooklyn. Garofalo´s legs were broken and he had been shot six times. Both victims had been severely beaten with chains.

Menditto died a week later at the hospital. At first, he had refused to say anything about what had happened but at the urging of his mother, Menditto started to talk. He said that he and Garofalo had been paid 1,000 dollars by Scialo to burn down Hibernian Hall, a dance hall located in Boston´s Roxbury section. The young mobsters bungled the job twice. Scialo demanded the money back but Menditto and Garofalo refused the demand. Then Scialo and two others, took them for a ride, beat them severely, shot them and threw them out of the car. Menditto named Scialo as the triggerman.

Police booked Louis Esposito, 25 and Thomas Caiazzo, 30 for homicide. An alarm was issued for Mimi Scialo and a 53 year old mobster by the name of Angelo "Shelly" Pero who the police said was the reputed mastermind of the "gang". Scialo and Pero were nowhere to be found though. Scialo was put at the top of New York Police Department´s 10 most wanted list and even made the FBI list of the nation's 10 most wanted fugitives. The FBI regarded Scialo as an extremely dangerous individual.

In the warrant, Scialo was described as 6 feet tall, of dark complexion and "likes flashy clothes". "He considers himself a 'ladies man'." Pero was described as very short, 5 feet 3 but weighs 180 pounds. He speaks slowly and has a mole in the center of his forehead."

There were talks of about 40,000 dollars being raised for Mimi and Pero's defense while they were on the run.

In July, 1959, after 16 months in hiding, Scialo gave up. When questioned by the police, he did not disclose anything other than his name and address and he pleaded innocent to the charges. However, Pero never surrendered and was never apprehended. He didn´t need to. The case against Esposito and Caiazzo was thrown out before Scialo surrendered and during the Scialo trial, it was learned that Menditto's signed deathbed statement had mysteriously disappeared and couldn't be found at the district attorney´s office. Therefore the case against Scialo and Pero was dismissed.

The First Colombo War

During the war between the Colombo's and the Gallo gang, Mimi was clearly on the Colombo side. He helped to plan and supervise the Larry Gallo hit. He was not present at the Sahara Lounge, where Carmine Persico, Salvatore "Sally D" D´Ambrosio and a third person, believed to be John Scimone, tried to garotte Larry Gallo to death.

Acting Capo of Franzese Crew

In 1962, "Sonny" John Franzese was upped to captain and Mimi, then a soldier, was put in his crew. When Franzese was indicted in 1967 on criminal charges, Mimi was selected to run Franzese´s crew on acting basis.

In 1970, Mimi was arrested together with 30 other high ranking NY Mafiosi, for refusing to testify before a crime probing Brooklyn grand jury. It was the biggest roundup of its kind since the Appalachin fiasco. Most of the guys went free, Mimi was one of them.

Capo in the Colombo Family

Mimi Scialo

In 1971, Mimi was given his own crew, some of the men assigned to his crew were; Gaetano "Tommy" Barbusca (murdered in 1974 in a car parked outside 1717 Club in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn with Scialo associate John Coiro), Paul D´Amico, Harry Fontana (a former captain) and Fontana´s two brothers Philip and Salvatore.

Franzese´s crew was taken over by Joey Brancato (on acting basis). It was said that Scialo handled all gambling and loansharking for the Colombo's in the Coney Island area. His status and reputation grew and was, for awhile at least, considered boss material.

Personality

Joseph Cantalupo offers the following on Mimi Scialo: "Mimi was by many called "The King of Coney Island". When he was sober, he was a piece of bread, the nicest guy you could ever meet. When he drank, he was hell on wheels, a man of incredible violence. He hated blacks, particularly when under the influence and if he saw them anywhere in his neighborhood when he was in that condition, he would think nothing of beating them up or killing them on the spot. He also headed up a vicious crew of enforcers for the Colombos, leg breakers and killers who were as tough as any in the Family, including those of Persico. He also had a reputation as a cop beater, and he got away with it. On more than one occasion, he beat up cops when he was drunk, actually broke some legs, and the charges against him were dropped. All that added to his reputation."

Disrespecting the Don and Demise

Mimi finally went too far one day in Garguilo´s restaurant in Coney Island, a popular Italian eatery where a lot of important people came to eat. One of those people was Don Carlo Gambino, who walked in for dinner with some friends. Mimi was drinking heavily at another table and he spotted Gambino and started to mess with him in front of his friends. Unbeknownst to Gambino that Scialo was just playing around with him, he said "You fucking old boss". Which is a complete violation of mafia rules and protocol, you never disrespect or mess with a boss in any way, you must always respect any boss of any mafia family.

He kept harassing Gambino who, as always, kept his cool and tried to calm Mimi down. Carlo was a peacemaker, a negotiator. He didn´t like fights or violence unless it was absolutely necessary. It took others to shut Mimi up and get him out of Garguilo´s, but it wasn't long before the whispers started in the streets: "Mimi´s dead, he fucked up so bad, theres agoing to be a fucking army after him."

In the middle of all this, Mimi found himself indicted for murder together with a certain "Sammy the Bull" Salvatore Gravano. Early on, Gravano was a Colombo associate before being released to the Gambinos. In this case, Mimi and Larry Martieri were indicted for the murders of the Dunn brothers (Arthur and Joseph). A cooperating witness, Michael Hardy, a self confessed hitman for the Mafia, implicated Gravano, Alley Cuomo and Liborio Milito in the crime. In the winter of 1969, Hardy recounted, he was in Coney Island to discuss business with Mimi Scialo. Hardy claimed he found Mimi and Larry Martieri in a pizzeria on Neptune Avenue. After "paying the proper respect", Hardy swore he had sat with the two men and that he heard the two men discussing the Dunn brothers. Mimi said that one of them owed him money but didn't want to pay up. Larry suggested to hit them and also suggested Sammy Bull and Alley Cuomo as the hitters. Mimi, according to Hardy, okay-ed it.

The defense produced the pizza owner, who swore that Martieri hadn't been in his place for 18 to 20 years, They produced businessmen who swore that businesses hadn't existed when Hardy said they had. They produced an ex-con, who swore he had been with Hardy in prison when Hardy said he was "going to get even with Martieri one way or the other". The jury took five hours before rendering the verdict of not guilty. Mimi was not in place to hear the not guilty verdict. In fact he was never at the trial. Just like in the Menditto/Garofalo case more than 10 years earlier, Mimi was labeled "a fugitive".

Informants started to report that Mimi was dead and a CI claimed he knew where Mimi was buried.

On Oct 9, 1974, federal agents found remains of two persons in a shallow grave inside a Brooklyn social club. Mimi´s body had been "encased" in concrete according to some accounts. The grave was inside Otto's Social Club on President Street, in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, only a few doors away from the headquarters of the old Gallo gang. It was said that "Charlie Moose" Charles Panarella, a powerful Colombo captain was the one who had set Mimi up.

Alleged Reasons for his Death

The family consigliere at the time, informed Gregory Scarpa that Scialo had recruited some young turks who secretly did dirty work for him and had refused to reveal the identities of these young turks which infuriated De-facto Boss Carmine Persico. He suspected that Scialo was planning to take over the Family. And later, Scarpa informed the FBI that Scialo was hit because he had become a liability to the Family, when the bosses found out that Scialo was undergoing psychiatric treatment. In addition, Scialo had also shot Larry Lampasi Sr. (who survived), a long time made member, during a sit down when Scialo's murder of a Colombo associate, named Miguel Cosmos, was being discussed. Scialo also had several hits on him for disrespecting don Carlo Gambino.

Whatever the reason for Scialo's murder, or perhaps it was a combination of all his transgressions that did him in, Mimi Scialo, a very violent man, met a very violent end.

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