Vincent "Vic" Cotroni (born 1911- died 1984) known as "The Egg", was the boss of the Montreal mafia.
Vic Cotroni was born in Calabria, Italy. In 1924, he immigrated with his family to Montreal. Rather than attend school, he worked briefly as a carpenter and then as a professional wrestler under the name Vic Vincent. But Cotroni found his true calling as a criminal - a path his brothers Giuseppe and Frank Cotroni would also follow - and by the age of twenty, had accumulated a lengthy record of minor offenses. The charges included theft, possession of counterfeit money, illegal sale of alcohol, assault and battery.
"The Egg", as he was sometimes called, was also charged with the rape of Maria Bresciano but the charges were dropped and the alleged victim became Cotroni's wife. She would stay loyally by his side until her death. While he was already an extremely successful and politically connected individual in Montreal's underworld, Cotroni's biggest opportunity came when Carmine Galante, an influential member of the New York based Bonanno crime family, arrived in Montreal in 1953. The Brooklyn gangster, nicknamed "Lilo", planned to make Montreal a pivotal location in the importation of narcotics from over seas for distribution in New York City and across America. Galante also demanded a "street tax" from gambling houses, night clubs, after-hours lounges, prostitutes, and abortionists.
Cotroni became a close associate to the feared Bonanno mobster and would eventually become godfather to one of Galante's children. When Salvatore "Little Sal" Giglio, the Bonanno gangster who was responsible for the Bonano Family's interests in Canada, was deported after police found 240 illegal Cuban cigars and 880 American cigarettes on him that had not been declared, Cotroni was bestowed the important position.
In the 1960s, the Montreal Godfather, who never learned to read or write, was riding high and enjoying life. He owned a limousine, a duplex in Rosemont and a brand new home in Lavaltrie. The house featured marvellous marble floors, an enormous conference room, a walk-in industrial sized refrigerator, a built-in movie screen, six bathrooms, and expensive crystal chandeliers. Vic Cotroni also donated large sums of money to Montreal churches and charities, and was the father of two children; a daughter with his wife Maria and a son with his French-Canadian mistress.
Cotroni liked to keep a low profile and didn't appreciate when Maclean's, an informative Canadian magazine referred to him as the "godfather" of Montreal in one of their articles. Cotroni, with lawyer Jean-Paul Ste. Marie, sued the magazine for $1.25 million in damages. The judge concluded that Cotroni's reputation was "tainted" and only awarded him an insulting $2. One dollar for the English version of Maclean's and another for the French version.
When the 1970s rolled around, Cotroni had crept even further into the shadows and had transferred the day-to-day activities of the family to his apprentice, the hot-headed Paolo Violi. Cotroni's role became more that of an adviser to the younger Calabrian.
In 1974, Cotroni was subpoenaed to stand before the Quebec Police Commission's inquiry into organized crime. He was sent to jail for one year on a contempt charge because his testimony, the Commission concluded, was "deliberately incomprehensible; rambling, vague, and nebulous". His lawyer eventually won a reversal but only after Cotroni had spent several months behind bars.
On April 30, 1974, Cotroni and Violi were over-heard on a police wiretap threatening Hamilton Mafia boss John Papalia. Papalia had used the two Montreal mobsters' names in a $300,000 extortion plot without notifying or cutting them in on the score. The two men summoned him to a meeting and demanded $150 thousand. Papalia argued that he only received $40 thousand and Cotroni responded "Let's hope because, eh, we'll kill you." The three men were sentenced to six years in prison but Cotroni and Violi had their convictions overturned on appeal.
On January 22, 1978, Paolo Violi, Cotroni's heir to the throne, was assassinated by the family's Sicilian faction, led by Nicolo Rizzuto. Cotroni remained sheltered in his Lavaltrie home for weeks after the murder. The Godfather had most likely ordered - or at least approved - the hit on Violi.
Vincenzo Cotroni, the old-fashioned Mafia Don who built a powerful criminal organization and accumulated a vast fortune, died of cancer on September 19, 1984. He was 74.
His funeral featured floral arrangements on twenty-three cars and a seventeen-piece brass band. It rained as his coffin was lowered into the ground and many mourned the passing of this "man of respect".