Louis Tom Dragna

Louis Tom Dragna (born July 18, 1920 - died November 16, 2012) known as "The Reluctant Prince", was a former high ranking mobster in Southern California. He was the nephew of Jack Dragna and son of Tom Dragna. He was active in the Los Angeles crime family from the 1940s until the early 1980s and was one of the top earners in the Los Angeles family's history.

Early life

Louis Tom Dragna was born on July 18, 1920 in Los Angeles, California to father Tom Dragna. He has a younger brother, Frank Paul Dragna (nicknamed "Two Eyes" to distinguish him from his cousin who had the same name and had a glass eye). They are second generation immigrants and Louis was the only younger Dragna to be heavily involved in the Mafia. His grandparents Francesco Paolo Dragna and Anna Dragna immigrated to the United States on November 18, 1898, but returned to Sicily 10 years later. His family then returned to New York City in the 1910s and made their way West to California. In 1931 his uncle Jack Dragna became Boss of the Los Angeles crime family and named Tom his Consigliere.

Criminal career

According to his army enlistment record, Louis Dragna spent two years in college. He started to become involved in the crime family in the 1940s. Under his uncle Jack, the Mafia in Los Angeles was growing into a very widespread enterprise. Louis has an arrest record dating back to 1946. Dragna became a made man in 1947 along with Jimmy "the weasel" Fratianno, Dominic Brooklier, Charles Dippolito, and Salvatore "Dago Louie" Piscopo. Louis Dragna was eventually promoted to Captain (caporegime) in the family by his uncle. Some say that Louis never "made his bones" i.e. committed a murder on the Mafia's orders.

According to Fratianno, Dragna was among other L.A. mobsters sitting in a room and watching as Fratianno and another expert killer, Frank "Bomp" Bompensiero, garroted one Louis "Russian Louie" Strauss as he entered the room. Years later Dragna, according to Fratianno, was still ecstatic about how that killing had gone and told him: "I've never forgotten how quickly it happened to Russian Louie. The fucking guy walked in Gaspare's (Matranga's) house and you and Bomp moved so fast he was a goner in ten seconds." The ingracious Fratianno said he put Louie Dragna down by telling him he "ought to try" killing someone himself sometime.

In 1959 Dragna was arrested with mobsters Joseph Sica, Frankie Carbo, Frank "Blinky" Palermo, and Truman Gibson for extorting Jackie Leonard the manager of boxing champion Don Jordan in 1958. They were accused of trying to muscle in on the fight earnings of Jordan. On May 30, 1961, they were all found guilty in Los Angeles Federal District Court of conspiring to extort money and of transmitting by interstate commerce threats of harm to Jackie Leonard and sentenced to prison times of various lengths, with Dragna sentenced to five years. The defendants appealed their ruling and on February 13, 1963 the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of four of the defendants, with Dragna 's sentence being overturned. His lawyers argued that the defense against him was weak and questioned Leonard's creditability. Leonard's only testimony on Dragna stated that he was present at the times threats were made against him, but that Dragna never made any threats himself.

Labor racketeer and later years

Louis Tom Dragna

On June 16, 1960 the Nevada Gaming Commission opened its first Black Book. It was a list of all personal who were banned from entering any casino in Nevada. Dragna was one of the 11 original entries to the list and the last surviving member. In the 1940s Johnny Dio taught Dragna how to manipulate labour unions in the Garment District. By the 1970s Dragna's company, "Roberta Manufacturing Co." was a $10 million a year business. When boss Dominic Brooklier was imprisoned in 1975, he chose Dragna as his acting boss, to run the family while he was in jail. Brooklier knew Dragna would never have had the nerve or the inclination to take over the family permanently. Dragna, however declined the opportunity and the job was given to Fratianno, with Dragna named co-leader. Dragna's refusal to become boss despite his uncle's and father's former positions in the family earned him the nickname "the Reluctant Prince".

In 1978 Louis Dragna, Michael Rizzitello, Thomas "TR" Ricciardi, Jack LoCicero, and Dominick Raffone were indicted on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) charges related to the murder of Frank Bompensiero and extortion. On October 14, 1980 Aladena Fratianno, a longtime member of the Los Angeles crime family and close associate of Dragna's testified in the case. During an October 23 hearing FBI agent John Barron offered testimony that Louis Tom Dragna admitted to being a member of the Mafia and gave up the leadership structure of the Los Angeles crime family at a meeting held on October 14, 1976. Dragna started serving a one year sentence in a community center in 1984. He was released on March 18, 1985 and completed his sentence which included 1,000 hours of community service. After serving his sentence, Dragna was forced to step away from organized crime.

According to federal prosecutors, Peter Milano once discussed in the 1980s with members of the Cleveland crime family a plot to have Dragna murdered for violating the oath of Omertà. During Milano’s arrest in 1987, prosecutors were going to call Cleveland crime family underboss-turned-government witness Angelo Lonardo to testify to this allegation. Milano’s lawyer strongly denied these allegations, stating that if it were true, Dragna would have received a formal warning from the FBI. Milano pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and a trial never took place.

Dragna died of natural causes in November, 2012.

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