Michael James Genovese (April 9, 1919 – October 31, 2006) was an alleged boss of the Pittsburgh crime family. Michael Genovese and Vito were not related in any way, per Roger Greenbank, former SA for FBI and who tracked Michael for 30 years. According to ancestry, no relation in any way, shape or form.
Genovese was born in East Liberty, Pennsylvania where he once controlled the Numbers Game, according to a report by the defunct Pennsylvania Crime Commission. His climb through the Pittsburgh crime family included stints as caporegime and underboss to John Sebastian LaRocca, who became boss in 1956. In 1957, Genovese accompanied LaRocca to the Apalachin Conference of mob bosses in Apalachin, New York with Gabriel Mannarino. In 1978, facing poor health, LaRocca formed a three-man commission of Genovese, Mannarino, and Joseph Pecora to take over day-to-day operations of the family.
Within a year, with the death of Mannarino and the imprisonment of Pecora, Genovese headed the Pittsburgh family. Under Genovese's leadership, the Pittsburgh mob became a middle man in drug deals with distribution rings in the Midwest and the Northeast and began making moves into the Youngstown, Ohio and Farrell, Pennsylvania territories that were vacated by a weakened Cleveland crime family. The family was also linked with an attempt to infiltrate an Indian casino near San Diego. Under Genovese's reign, the Pittsburgh family also dominated illegal gambling in Western Pennsylvania, the panhandle of West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio. The family was also involved in major drug trafficking in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along with loan sharking, scams, and theft. Genovese invested some of his illegal profits into numerous commercial properties around Pittsburgh. However, the Mafia Commission in New York would not allow Genovese to recruit new members into the family; he could only replace those who died or retired. Three years after Genovese took control, Pecora died at age 68. Genovese allegedly conducted at least one ceremony to induct or "make" proposed members.
In 1985, the Federal Bureau of Investigation described the Pittsburgh family as being one of the lower-ranked national families. However, in a 1995 report, the FBI implied that due to large scale federal prosecutions of New York's Five Families and the Chicago Outfit, the Pittsburgh organization was one of the stronger families in the Eastern United States.
Age and federal prosecutors began catching up with organized crime in Pittsburgh by the early 1990s. In March 1990, capo Charles "Chucky" Porter ,Genovese's ( right hand man )and Louis Raucci Sr., were indicted for distribution of narcotics, extortion, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, gambling and racketeering. The Pittsburgh mob at this time allegedly controlled the labor unions of LIUNA local 1058, Teamsters local 1053 and 211.
Police stake-outs at L.A. Motor in Verona, Pennsylvania where Genovese worked, revealed him meeting almost daily with Porter, and Raucci. However, surveillance equipment never recorded Genovese making any incriminating statements. Genovese was always careful to go outside when talking to his mob subordinates. Though Genovese was not indicted, he was named in this trial, as well as others in Ohio, as head of the Pittsburgh crime family. Porter, Raucci, and were all convicted. Porter and Youngstown capo Lenny Strollo, later became government witnesses.
In 1990, Genovese was suspected of ordering the takeover of territories of Youngstown and Cleveland, formerly held by the Cleveland crime family. In 1998, Genovese became a widower and later remarried to his longtime mistress.
On October 31, 2006, Genovese died of natural causes at his home in West Deer Township, Pennsylvania. Though he had served some time behind bars for refusing to testify, prosecutors were never able to assemble a successful racketeering case against him. Currently there is a legal battle between his wife and his adopted son over his estate.