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Authors: Peter Edwards

Business or Blood

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Copyright © 2015 Peter Edwards and Antonio Nicaso

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Published in 2015 by Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company. Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

Random House Canada and colophon are registered trademarks.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Edwards, Peter, 1956–, author
Business or blood : Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto's last war / Peter Edwards and Antonio Nicaso.

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 978-0-345-81376-3
eBook ISBN 978-0-345-81378-7

1. Rizzuto, Vito. 2. Bonanno family. 3. Mafia—Québec (Province)—Montréal—History. 4. Mafia—New York (State)—New York—History. 5. Mafiosi—Canada—Biography. I. Nicaso, Antonio, author II. Title.

HV6453.C32Q8 2015            364.1092        C2014-905934-5

Cover images: (police car) © Reuters / Christinne Muschi;
(mugshot) © Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York



The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.

interpreting Dante Alighieri's
The Divine Comedy

Men of honour are neither evil nor schizophrenic. They are people like us. The tendency of the Western world … is to exorcise the evil by projecting on ethnic groups and behaviours that seem different from ours.

But if we are to effectively combat the Mafia, we should not turn it into a monster nor think it's an octopus or a cancer.

We must recognize that the Mafia resembles us.

Murdered by the Mafia in 1992


OCTOBER 16, 1828:
Attorney General's office in village of Cattolica Eraclea in Agrigento province, Sicily, notes presence of criminal organization with more than one hundred members, bound by oath of secrecy that calls for death of anyone who even divulges its existence.

APRIL 12, 1901:
Vito Rizzuto's grandfather, Vito Rizzuto Sr., born in Cattolica Eraclea to Nicola and Giuseppa Marra.

JUNE 23, 1921:
Vito Rizzuto Sr. sentenced by a military tribunal to two months in jail for theft.

MARCH 9, 1923:
Vito Rizzuto Sr. marries Maria Renda of his hometown. She's the daughter of Paolo Renda Sr. and Grazia Spinella.

FEBRUARY 18, 1924:
Nicolò Rizzuto born to Vito Rizzuto Sr. and Maria Renda in Cattolica Eraclea.

Nicolò Rizzuto is just ten months old when his father departs for North America with a forged passport, leaving his young family behind.

AUGUST 1933:
Vito Rizzuto Sr. buried in pauper's grave in Patterson, NY, after his body found hidden in a nearby swamp.

MARCH 20, 1945:
Nicolò Rizzuto marries Libertina Manno, daughter of Antonino (Don Nino), Mafia boss of Cattolica Eraclea. Nicolò is twenty-one and Libertina eighteen.

APRIL 22, 1946:
Vito Rizzuto baptized in Cattolica Eraclea. His paternal grandmother, Maria Renda, stands up for him in place of his late paternal grandfather, Vito Rizzuto Sr.

FEBRUARY 21, 1954:
Vito Rizzuto arrives in Canada at Pier 21 in Halifax on his eighth birthday, with his parents Nicolò and Libertina, and his six-year-old sister, Maria. Nicolò lists his occupation as “farmer” and declares he has just thirty dollars. Vito doesn't speak English or French. He's to be educated in English, considered the language of business.

Nicolò Rizzuto declares that he is a “cement contractor” as he buys a fourplex on Montreal's De Lorimier Avenue.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1964:
Nicolò Rizzuto's father-in-law, Antonino (Don Nino) Manno, immigrates to Canada.

SUMMER 1967:
Nicolò Rizzuto is now a partner in four construction-related firms and works on Expo 67 world's fair. His mob counterparts Paolo Violi and Vic (The Egg) Cotroni are also involved at Expo, supplying hot dogs made from tainted meat.

LATE 1972:
Nicolò Rizzuto learns there are plans afoot to murder him that were put in motion by Violi. He relocates to Venezuela, getting farther from Violi and closer to South American drug-smuggling routes. The move also puts distance between him and a public inquiry into organized crime under way in Montreal. By this time, Nicolò Rizzuto is a partner in five construction-related companies in the city.

JANUARY 22, 1978:
A shotgun blast kills Violi as he play cards with supposed friends at the Reggio Bar at 5880 Jean-Talon East in Montreal. His murder clears the way for Nicolò Rizzuto to return from Venezuela and assume the top spot in the Montreal underworld.

OCTOBER 1, 1980:
Nicolò Rizzuto's father-in-law, Antonino Manno, dies of natural causes at the age of seventy-six. He had sponsored many immigrants to Canada. He is entombed in a mausoleum crypt in Montreal alongside his wife, Giuseppa Cammalleri Manno. Beside them is the body of their daughter Giuseppina Manno, younger sister of Libertina and Domenico Manno.

MAY 5, 1981:
Nicolò Rizzuto's son, Vito, is among the gunmen slaughtering three mob captains in a Brooklyn social club. The crime secures Vito's status in the Bonanno crime family of New York, which considers Montreal its turf. The slain captains were disloyal to acting family boss Joe (Big Joey) Massino.

AUGUST 2, 1988:
Nicolò Rizzuto and four others arrested and imprisoned for cocaine trafficking in Venezuela.

MAY 23, 1993:
Nicolò Rizzuto greeted by thirty friends and family as he returns to Montreal, a few months after he is finally freed from Venezuelan prison.

OCTOBER 24, 1994:
Québécois mobster Raynald Desjardins hit with a fifteen-year prison term for massive marijuana-smuggling conspiracy. While boss Vito Rizzuto is strongly suspected in the operation, Desjardins takes the fall.

MARCH 1999:
Vito Rizzuto's friend George (George from Canada) Sciascia murdered in New York City by Gambino crime family, with no reaction from Vito's bosses in Bonanno crime family.

JANUARY 19, 2004:
Montreal strip club owner and former Rizzuto friend Paolo Gervasi shot dead. He was a mentor for several local mobsters, including Giuseppe (Ponytail) De Vito, who was once also considered part of the Rizzuto group.

JANUARY 20, 2004:
Vito Rizzuto arrested at his Montreal mansion and told he faces deportation to New York in relation to the 1981 Three Captains Murders. He immediately begins prolonged legal battle to stay in Canada.

APRIL 21, 2004:
Louise Russo, a forty-five-year-old mother of three, paralyzed by a stray bullet while standing at the counter of a California Sandwiches shop in North York, Toronto. The intended target of the hit team, mobster Michele (Mike, The American) Modica, escapes unscathed. Also in the sandwich shop and uninjured were Michael Marrese, convicted of mortgage fraud, Modica's bodyguard Andrea Fortunato Carbone and mobster Pietro Scaduto. Modica, Scaduto and Carbone are later deported from Canada to Sicily.

BOOK: Business or Blood
2.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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