Frank Joseph Valenti (September 14, 1911 - September 20, 2008) was a legendary boss and founder of the Rochester crime family, which he headed from 1964 until 1972. The organization was formed with help of the Pittsburgh crime family and operated on territory of the Buffalo crime family. Valenti was the mastermind behind the Columbus Day bombings, which was a complex scheme to draw away Law enforcement scrutiny from the small crime family that he had formed so they could operate more freely and draw away "Heat". Valenti was also one of the last surviving attendees of the infamous Apalachin Conference in 1957.
Frank Valenti was born in 1911 and began his criminal career inside streetgangs, committing petty crimes. Since 1933 he had several arrests including extortion, counterfeiting and bootlegging. During the 1950's Valenti became a well earning member of the Pittsburgh Family, which was then under the command of John LaRocca. Valenti became a crew member of Antonio Ripepi, the father-in-law of his brother. When Valenti's brother started to run a crew in Rochester and took over the criminal activities there, Frank was also sent over to help. The Rochester territory however was mainly in the hands of Buffalo crime family big-shot Stefano Magaddino, but they were authorized to operate there. During this period Valenti also became associated with the Bonanno crime family.
During his time in his brother's crew, Frank began to run the gambling, prostitution and extortion rackets. In 1957 he and his brother were invited at Joseph Barbara's ranch at Apalachin to attend a large Mafia summit. Both got arrested when the police suddenly raided the meeting. Both were jailed. During their absence in Rochester one of their crew members, Jake Russo, took his shot and started a takeover of the family. Valenti tried to stop Russo but was arrested again shortly after for violation of New York State election laws. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to stay away from the state of New York for 3 years. Informers later revealed that the arrest was set up by Valenti enemies who wanted him out of Rochester. In 1964, backed by associates of the Pittsburgh crime family, he returned to Rochester with means to get rid of Jake Russo and to regain control of the organization. Not much later Russo disappeared, never to be seen again.
Independence from the Magaddino family
During the late 1960's Stefano Magaddino started to have troubles within his own organization as a couple of members under the leadership of Sam Pieri wanted to remove the elder Magaddino as boss of the family. In 1968 a group of Buffalo capo's went to the farmhouse of Valenti in Rochester to discuss the future of the family. Amongst them were Sam Pieri himself and future boss Joseph Todaro. Valenti also reputedly rebelled against Magaddino until he and his relative Antonio Ripepi, a LaRocca Family capo, announced that the Valenti's would no longer be under the influence of the Magaddino Family. Stefano Magaddino gave his blessing to the independence of the Valenti group but demanded that they keep paying tributes to him. Both agreed and Valenti took no more part in the Magaddino feud.
The Colombus Day bombings
In 1970 a newly made capo named Salvatore "Sammy G" Gingello, had collected a total sum of $100.000 in deposits for a gambling junket to Las Vegas. The money however, vanished. Both Gingello and Valenti underboss Samuel Russotti blamed a man named William Lupo, a former associate of Jake Russo. Lupo was murdered shortly after. During this period law enforcement kept a close eye on the Valenti family and noticed criminal activities were increasing in Rochester. Valenti started to feel the heat and knew he had to draw the attention away from his organization.
On October 12, 1970, bombs were detonated in two local churches, the Monroe County Office Building, the U. S. Courthouse and Federal Building, and at the home of a union official. Police suspected anti-Vietnam protesters and radical groups, drawing attention away from Valenti's organization. Another benefit of their action which followed was that Valenti's enemies, who knew he was behind the bombings, were shaken by his hard measures. Valenti was pleased that his actions worked and had six more bombings, between October 27 and December 14 that same year, carried out. In 1975 however the truth behind the bombings was revealed. Salvatore Gingello and soldier Eugene DeFrancesco, who carried out the bombings, were amongst the men arrested in the aftermath. Also Valenti was indicted but because of ill health did not receive a sentence. DeFrancesco on the other hand was put behind bars for 11 years. In 1979 Valenti was tried again for possession of a "destructive device" and pled guilty. He only received a sentence of 3 years on probation.
Retirement to Arizona
Before his trials and indictments started Valenti had allready been confronted with the thought of retirement. In 1972 Valenti's consigliere Rene Piccarreto, underboss Samuel Russotti and capo Salvatore Gingello accused him of holding profits to himself so he could buy property in Arizona. Some time later they again approached Valenti and demanded him to give back the money and to step down. Valenti felt disgraced but did return the money. He however also wanted to punish his men for this. Therefore he ordered his trusted capo Dominic Chirico to organize a hit against Gingello, Russotti and Piccarreto. However, to murder made members of the mafia Valenti had to get permission of the other families, including the Pittsburgh and Bonanno crime family, under house sanction his organization operated. The answer was no. Russotti, Gingello and Piccarreto were safe but had heard of the plot against them and were out for revenge. They went to see Bonanno family officials to have their support in the removal and probable murder of Valenti, but they're request was also turned down due to Valenti's connections to the LaRocca crime family of Pittsburgh. Although they weren't allowed to kill Valenti, they still wanted to have revenge and murdered Dominic Chirico, a loyal Valenti capo. He was killed by a shotgun blast on June 5, 1972. Tensions inside the Valenti family were now running high.
On December 15 of the same year Valenti was convicted of extortion in a case involving a building contractor in Batavia, New York. The Valentis were now officially out of Rochester and their ties to the Pittsburgh crime family slowly vanished. Sam Russoti became the new boss of Rochester with Gingello as his underboss. Both Frank and his brother Constenze Valenti went to live in Arizona.
Frank would live up to the ripe old age of 97 and passed away in a nursing home in Sugar Land near Houston, Texas.