Jimmy was born in Ribera, Sicily, he came to the United States in 1947 settling in Elizabeth. He married his wife Terri in 1969 and he moved to the shore in 1977, residing in Ortley Beach. He is believed to have joined the DeCavalcante family some time in the 1950s.
Murdering Al Colicchio
On September 13, 1960, Palermo allegedly murdered Alphonso "Zeeny" Colicchio. Colicchio was the owner of a bar and grill in Elizabeth, New Jersey who had been disrespectful to DeCavalcante boss Nicholas Delmore. On Delmore's orders, Palermo and other DeCavalcante mobsters entered Colicchio's bar and started beating him. When Collicio resisted, Palermo allegedly shot him to death. Palermo kept the murder quiet for the sake of fellow DeCavalcante mobster Giovanni Riggi, who was Colicchio's brother-in-law.
From made man to underboss
In the late 1970s, Palermo became a made man, or full member, of the DeCavalcante family. With the retirement of boss Sam DeCavalcante, Giovanni Riggi became the family boss and designated Palermo as his underboss.
In 1989, Riggi and Palermo, along with several other associates, were put on trial for racketeering and extortion by illegally using Local 394 of the International Association of Laborers and Hod Carriers, to extort jobs, goods and services from the construction industry in New Jersey. Additionally, Riggi used his power and influence to place subcontractors and workers other than laborers at various construction projects around the state. In this way, Riggi and the DeCavalcantes were able to rip-off union welfare and pension funds. In 1990, Giovanni Riggi was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Palermo was acquitted on his racketeering charges.
On the ruling panel
During the 1990s, acting boss Giacomo Amari died of stomach cancer, which triggered a huge power vacuum between several mobsters who were trying to reorganize the DeCavalcante crime family. But Palermo and Consigliere Stefano Vitabile were loyal to the imprisoned Giovanni Riggi, and decided to create the "Ruling Committee/Panel", which consisted of three various capos who were to run the family's day-to-day activities. Vincent Palermo (not related to Giacomo Palermo) and Charles "Big Ears" Majuri, together with Giacomo Palermo who was demoted to Caporegime, were placed on the panel, which went as an administration of "street bosses" in the 1990s.
Riggi's acting boss
After Vincent Palermo became only one of the mobsters turning state's evidence after 2000, as well as increased law enforcement pressuring the entire DeCavalcante crime family, the imprisoned Giovanni Riggi used Giacomo Palermo along with Stefano Vitabile and Giuseppe Schifilliti as the family's acting bosses. Palermo became a victim of his own success, as he was indicted on labor racketeering, extortion and two murder conspiracy charges, and ultimately put under house arrest in 2004.
Later house-arrest and Death
As of December, 2007, Girolamo Palermo, was still recognized as a prominent member of the DeCavalcante crime family, despite the fact that he was on trial on murder and conspiracy charges, and held against bail. Palermo eventually went under house arrest again, as well as being permanently barred from holding an office in, or being employed by, Local 394 as an officer.
Palermo died on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Toms River, New Jersey at the age of 75. At the time of his death he was listed as a retired general contractor and was a member of Ribera Club of Elizabeth and a parishioner of St Joseph RC Church in Toms River.