Paul "The Waiter" Ricca (1897 - October 11, 1972) was an influential Italian-American mobster and boss of the powerful Chicago Outfit, from 1932 to his Death in 1972. He was legendary Chicago Mafia boss Al Capone's protege, trusted advisor and right-hand man until his imprisonment for tax evasion in 1932.
Born in 1897, "Felice DeLucia" in Naples, Italy. In 1915, Ricca got his first real taste of lawlessness when he brutally murdered Emilio Parrillo by slitting his throat with a small machete, nearly decapitating him, receiving two years in prison for the crime. Vincenzo Capasso, a Sicilian, witnessed the murder and testified against Ricca at his trial, and was later murdered by Ricca as well. After killing Capasso by stabbing him to death with an ice pick, he changed his name to "Paolo Maglio" and fled to Apricena, 90 miles north of Naples. From there, he made it to France and boarded a boat bound for New York City. On August 10, 1920 he arrived in New York, and shortly thereafter anglicized his name to "Paul Ricca".
Shortly after arriving in New York, he moved to a small neighborhood in Chicago. He managed to get a job as a theater usher and later became a waiter, at a small family restaurant in Chicago owned by "Diamond Joe" Joseph Esposito. Ricca had the reputation of an easy-going and sweet-talking businessman. Ricca was soon on a first name basis with many of the mobsters who came in the door, including Al Capone. Ricca and Capone had several mutual friends among Neapolitan gangsters who had returned to the old country. Capone and Ricca became good friends, Capone regulary visited the restaurant and Ricca was soon hired as a full-time gangster. He rose very quickly in the ranks of the mob; for instance, Capone was the best man at his wedding in 1927. He also served as Capone's emissary on the East Coast. Rica quickly gained a formidable reputation for brutality and intelligence, and for his money-making abilities. Ricca not only impressed gangsters in Chicago, but also impressed Law enforcement for his incredible intelligence for business and for his sophisticated and ingenious abilities to make enormous amounts of money on a daily basis, he was later dubbed as "The Genius". Ricca was as smart as he was ruthless and lethal, he was a huge money-maker and an professional hitman for the Chicago Outfit. By 1928, Ricca was making more than $10 million a day for the Outfit, and was making a staggering $4 billion a year for the Outfit. By 1929, Ricca became a billionaire, having a net worth of a whopping $2 billion.
Boss of the Outfit
In May 1932, Capone was sent to Atlanta U.S. Penitentiary. Frank Nitti became the new official boss of the Chicago Outfit in Al Capone's absence, and Ricca was promoted as the new underboss. However, by nearly all accounts, Ricca was the boss in all but name. Nitti was not regarded very highly in national mob circles; the top leaders of the emerging National Crime Syndicate (such as "Lucky" Charles Luciano and Meyer Lansky) dealt with Ricca, not Nitti, He frequently overruled Nitti's orders. Such a move would normally be unthinkable in any crime family, but Nitti didn't object.
Johnny Roselli, the Outfit captain who was sent to Hollywood to extort the major movie studios like RKO, Paramount, MGM and 20th Century Fox made major inroads in accomplishing that. On March 18, 1943, the top capos of the Chicago mob met at Nitti's Chicago home. At this meeting, Ricca ordered Nitti to take the fall for them all. Nitti was facing 15-years in federal prison. This suggestion didn't go over well with Nitti (who suffered from severe claustrophobia and feared the confinement of prison). The next day, Nitti committed suicide in a local railroad yard. Ricca now took over as head of the Chicago mob in name as well as in fact, appointing enforcement chief Tony Accardo as underboss. Ricca was never caught of doing crime he let others do the crime for him. He his behind a mask
Prison & Death
On December 30, 1943 a federal jury returned a guilty verdict to Ricca and his associates, Ricca receiving 10 years in prison. Thanks to the efforts of Murray "The Camel" Humphreys the Chicago mob's political "fixer," namely a phone call to Attorney General Tom C. Clark, Ricca and Rosselli were out in three. However, as a condition of his parole, Ricca could no longer be present in the company of mobsters. Ricca then went into semi-retirement, serving as a senior consultant to the Outfit's leadership. However, no decision was made without his knowledge. Accardo later joined him as a senior consultant, and it was generally acknowledged that the two were the real powers in the Chicago Outfit. No important moves, and certainly no hits, occurred without his permission. Ricca was known for being soft-spoken, but also could be very ruthless. Whenever he wanted someone hit, he famously ordered, "Make'a him go away." He supported taking several members of the Forty-Two Gang into the mob, including Sam Giancana.
Ricca died of heart attack on October 11, 1972.