Liborio Salvatore "Barney" Bellomo (born January 8, 1957) is a veteran member of the Genovese crime family in New York City who currently serves as the family's boss. Bellomo is one of the fastest rising Mafia members in the United States today, becoming a captain in his mid-twenties. Bellomo was considered Vincent Gigante's logical successor as boss of the Genovese family until Bellomo was sent to prison in 1996.
Made Man and 116th Street Crew
Bellomo is the son of Salvatore Bellomo, an alleged made man in the Genovese crime family. Liborio Salvatore Bellomo is the double cousin of Genovese associate Liborio Thomas Bellomo; their fathers are brothers and their mothers are sisters. This has led law enforcement to confuse their identities on several occasions. In 1997, Liborio T swore in an affidavit that he was guilty of federal charges instead of his cousin Liborio S.
Liborio Salvatore Bellomo stands 6'0" and can speak both Italian and English. He spent a year studying business at Monsignor Scanlan High School in the Bronx, and then a year studying mortuary science. Unlike many mobsters of his era, Bellomo dressed in jeans and sweatshirts. Keen to avoid public attention, Bellomo only met fellow mobsters late at night in quiet locations. Bellomo is the father of three sons and one daughter. Bellomo owns a residence in Pelham Manor, New York along with several Bronx-based businesses, including a waste hauling company.
At age 17 Bellomo was arrested for gun possession and given three months probation. In 1977, at age 20, Bellomo was inducted into the Genovese crime family in a ceremony held in an apartment above an East Harlem pizzeria. Mobster Vincent Cafaro had sponsored Bellomo into the family, and Bellomo now joined capo Saverio Santora's East Harlem 116th Street Crew. The crew was involved in illegal gambling activities and labor racketeering within the New York City District Council of Carpenters. Around 1982, Saverio Santora became the family underboss and Bellomo took over the 116th Street Crew. During the late 1980s, Bellomo moved the crew from East Harlem to the Bronx, the center of the crew's most important rackets.
By the early 1990s, Bellomo had become one of the wealthiest and most feared organized crime figures in New York. He was directly involved in the family's most powerful rackets (including the waterfront, the Javits Center, and the Carpenter's Union), and was indirectly connected to powerful heroin traffickers. With fellow capo Vincent DiNapoli, Bellomo became the preeminent racketeer in the New York City District Council of Carpenters and an extremely influential figure in the New York construction industry. Gigante thought enough of him that in 1992, he named Bellomo as the family's street boss, giving him control of most of the family's day-to-day operations.
Carpenters union racketeer and the Jacob K. Javits Center
Bellomo demonstrated his power during disputes with rivals from other families, as well as those within the Genovese crime family. In or about 1987, Bellomo won a jurisdictional dispute against Genovese Little Italy captain Peter DeFeo, in which consigliere Louis Manna awarded Bellomo exclusive control over Bronx Carpenters Local 17, removing all of DeFeo's influence. Bellomo was a rising power in the family, in his mid-30's and close to the family's leaders, including Vincent Gigante and Venero Mangano. Bellomo was the undisputed leader of the family's East Harlem/Bronx faction.
Furthermore, Bellomo became dominant in the rackets at the Jacob K. Javits Center on the West Side of Manhattan by installing crew members in important union positions at the center, including soldier Ralph Coppola and his Genovese associate brother-in-law and Carpenters Local 257 shop steward Anthony Fiorino. Bellomo was also close to Genovese associate Attilio Bitondo who was Local 257's Vice-President, and involved in kickbacks from NYC contractors and businesses operating at the Javits Center. Around this time Genovese boss Vincent Gigante began mentoring Liborio Bellomo to take over as boss of the Genovese crime family.
A report by the New York State Organized Crime Task Force indicated that an alarmingly high number of the 100 carpenters that worked at the Javits Center had ties to organized crime, some of whom were made members of one of the Five Families. These carpenters made $100,000 salaries, and 60 of the 100 had criminal records. One of whom, Vincent Gigante, was the nephew of the Genovese family's Godfather. The Javits was controlled through affiliations with labor bosses Frederick Devine, Martin Forde, Attilio Bitondo, Eugene Hanley, Anthony Fiorino, Leonard Simon, Fabian Palomino, Carmine Fiore, and Ralph Coppola.
To maintain control, Anthony Fiorino, Bellomo's brother-in-law and the Local 257 steward in charge of the Javits, once threatened a man's life at a Local 257 meeting in 1984, telling him his kids could be hurt if he "steps on people's toes". Fiorino was also responsible for funneling tribute payments the Genovese and the Irish Westies Mob received from contractors operating in the Javits to the labor bosses and Barney Bellomo.
Acting boss and indictment
In 1990, after Gigante's indictment in the Windows Case, Bellomo was appointed acting boss of the Genovese family. On June 11, 1996, Bellomo was indicted on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges, including the murders of mobster Ralph DeSimone and Antonio DiLorenzo, extortion, and labor racketeering. Dilorenzo was found shot to death in the backyard of his home in West New York, New Jersey. DeSimone was found in the trunk of his car at La Guardia Airport in Queens, shot five times. Both DeSimone and DiLorenzo were murdered because the Genovese leadership thought they were government informants.
Bellomo's lawyers stated that their client passed two polygraph tests in which he denied killing anyone. FBI agents shaved Bellomo's head, looking for evidence that Bellomo had used drugs to beat the polygraph machines.
In February 1997, prosecutors dropped the DeSimone and DiLorenzo murder charges and offered Bellomo a chance to plead guilty to extorting payoffs from a construction union and a garbage hauling company. Bellomo accepted the deal and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Prison and more indictments
On July 13, 2001, the imprisoned Bellomo was indicted on money laundering charges related to the Genovese family's involvement in the waterfront rackets and control of the ILA. Bellomo was accused of hiding money stolen from the ILA's members pension fund account between 1996 and 1997. Bellomo again pleaded guilty to lesser charges, pushing back his scheduled release date in 2004.
On February 23, 2006, Bellomo and over 30 Genovese family members were indicted on more racketeering charges. Bellomo was specifically charged with ordering the 1998 murder of Ralph Coppola, the acting captain of Bellomo's crew and Bellomo's good friend. On September 16, 1998, Coppola disappeared a few weeks before his sentencing on fraud charges and was never found. Government witness Peter Peluso, a former lawyer for the Genovese crime family, stated that he had transported a message from Bellomo in prison ordering Coppola's murder. Some accounts state that Coppola was disrespectful, others say that he was stealing family profits. According to the Bellomo indictment:
"LIBORIO S. BELLOMO, a/k/a "Barney Bellomo," the defendant, was, at various times relevant to this Indictment, a Soldier, Capo, and Acting Boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family. Prior to becoming Acting Boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family in or about 1992, BELLOMO was first a Soldier in the Genovese Family, and then a powerful Capo, who controlled a crew of Soldiers and associates based in the Bronx, New York. BELLOMO was responsible for, amongst other things, control over labor unions associated with the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. BELLOMO became the Acting Boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family in or about 1992, following the incarceration of Genovese Family Boss Vincent Gigante. In or about 1996, BELLOMO was himself incarcerated after being arrested on Federal criminal charges filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Following his incarceration, and even after being replaced as Acting Boss, BELLOMO retained significant power and authority within the Genovese Organized Crime Family, and he continued to be consulted on, and make decisions with respect to, the Genovese Family's criminal activities. In or about 1997, following his conviction on Federal extortion charges, BELLOMO was sentenced to a term of 10 years' imprisonment. BELLOMO's criminal activities included the 1998 murder of Ralph Coppola, a Genovese Family Soldier and Acting Capo, as well as his participation in two schemes to obstruct justice, one by conspiring to tamper with a potential witness, and the other by giving false and misleading testimony in a grand jury proceeding."
Peluso pleaded guilty to his role in the murder. However, the government had no proof that Peluso had indeed met with Bellomo. With insufficient evidence to press the murder charge against Bellomo, the government offered him a plea bargain for mail fraud. Bellomo accepted and received one additional year in prison. His daughter Sabrina, is credited with helping get her father a light sentence with a tearful plea to judge Lewis A. Kaplan. Due to her father's 12 year imprisonment, he had missed her high school, college, and law school graduations.
Release from prison and personal life
On December 1, 2008, Bellomo was released from prison after serving 12 years.
In 2016, Liborio Bellomo has been identified as the current Genovese family boss. The 59 year old mobster has been calling the shots and sitting atop the ranks of the family very quietly for the last few years according to reports by NY Mafia expert Jerry Capeci and sources in law enforcement circles.