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Encyclopedia > Unione Siciliana

The Unione Siciliane (or Unione Siciliana) was a Sicilian-American political organization which eventually controlled much of the Italian-American votes within the United States during the early twentieth century. The organization would be a major source of conflict as underworld figures who, through a series of puppet presidents largely controlled by the Chicago Outfit, fought to control the highly influential organization during Prohibition. Outfit leadership in 1978. ...


Originally formed in the 1880's as a fraternal organization for Sicilian immigrants, the Unione Siciliane providing insurance and social gatherings in New York. Growing in power over the decades, the organization began to become highly influential as many of the cities Italian-American wards provided a considerable amount of support in city elections. Based in New York's Italian Harlem, the organization's influence would soon expand to other major cities across the country by the early 1900's. 1880 (MDCCCLXXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ...


In the early 1910's however, mobster Ignazio Saietta infiltrated the organization eventually bringing it under the control of the Morello crime family though a ruthless campaign of murder and extortion to become its president by 1914. Saietta would use the organization to expand criminal operations into Italian-American neighborhoods including racketeering, prostitution, extortion, kidnapping, and murder for hire. Installing meat hooks in his office, Saietta was said to have hung his victims on them and suspected to have burned six political opponents alive in his basement furnace. After Saietta's imprisonment in 1918, Frankie Yale would become president of the organization, although he would feud with Chicago rival Al Capone for the position throughout the decade ending with Yale’s murder in 1927. Ignazio Saietta a. ... The Morello Crime Family was one of the earliest crime families to be established in the United States. ... Frankie Yale (1893 - July 1, 1928) was a Brooklyn gangster and original employer of Al Capone, before the latter moved to Chicago to start his own gang. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ...


Capone's efforts to gain control of the organization failed, as he was initially excluded as both of Neapolitan decent and a resident of Chicago. He would soon gain control of Chicago's chapter through Capone ally Mike Merlo. Following his death in 1924, the chapter organization (later renamed the Italo-American National Union) split into several factions as various underworld groups struggled for control of the organization. Mike Merlo was born Michele Umberto Merlo in Vizzini, Sicily on August 1, 1888. ...


Of these factions, "Bloody" Angelo Genna claimed the presidency following Merlo's death; however he was murdered the following year by members of the North Side Gang. Genna's successor, Samuzzo "Samoots" Amatuna, would be killed by Northsider Vincent Drucci in a barbershop that same year. During this time Capone had amassed enough power in Chicago to place Antonio Lombardo as head of the Unione Siciliane, passing several reforms specifically opening the organization to non-Sicilians. The longest reigning president in office, Lombardo held considerable influence in Italian-American communities including acting as a negotiator between Black Hand kidnappers and victims families. Although supported by Capone, many members of the organization opposed the reforms as a faction under Capone rival Joe Aiello challenged Lombardo, calling for his withdrawal from office. Lombardo's refusal would result in his death on September 7, 1928. Samuel Samuzzo Samoots Amatuna (1899-November 13, 1925) was a Italian-American Prohibition gangster and member of the Genna Brothers, who served as president of the Unione Siciliane. ... Vincent The Schemer Drucci (1898–April 4, 1927), was a prominent organized crime figure from Chicagos Prohibition era, a lieutenant under Dion OBanions North Side Gang. ... Antonio The Scourge Lombardo (1892-September 7, 1928) was an advisor, or consigliere, to Al Capone and later President of the Unione Siciliana. ...


Lombardo's brother Pasqualino "Patsy" Lolordo would assume the presidency in his brothers place for around four months until his own murder by Joe Aiello and his two brothers after inviting them for dinner at his home on January 8, 1929. Claiming the presidency the next day, Aiello would hold the office for a year and a half until his death by Chicago Outfit gunman on October 23, 1930. Outfit leadership in 1978. ... October 23 is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 69 days remaining. ... 1930 (MCMXXX) is a common year starting on Wednesday. ...


After Aiello's death, there were few within the organization who would accept the office and, as the United States entered the Great Depression, the organization gradually disappeared by the end of the decade. The Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn, starting in 1929 (although it effects were not fully felt until late in 1930) and lasting through most of the 1930s. ...


Presidents

Chicago

Ignazio Saietta a. ... Frankie Yale (1893 - July 1, 1928) was a Brooklyn gangster and original employer of Al Capone, before the latter moved to Chicago to start his own gang. ... Mike Merlo was born Michele Umberto Merlo in Vizzini, Sicily on August 1, 1888. ... Samuel Samuzzo Samoots Amatuna (1899-November 13, 1925) was a Italian-American Prohibition gangster and member of the Genna Brothers, who served as president of the Unione Siciliane. ... Antonio The Scourge Lombardo (1892-September 7, 1928) was an advisor, or consigliere, to Al Capone and later President of the Unione Siciliana. ... Philip DAndrea (September 8, 1902 - December 29, 1952) was a member of the Chicago Outfit and bodyguard to Al Capone. ...

Notes

1 Shortly following Yale's election as president of the Unione Siciliane, Al Capone would compete for official recognition of the Chicago chapter of the Unione Siciliane. During this time the presidency of the "officical" Unione Siciliane is in dispute.
2 After Yale's death in 1928, control of the organization reverted to Antonio Lombardo.

References

  • Nash, Jay Robert. The Encyclopedia of World Crime (S-Z) Vol. IV. Wilmette: CrimeBooks Inc., 1990.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Part IV of Chicago (4295 words)
At this meeting the treachery of Frank Uale, the national president of the Unione Siciliana in New York, was discussed and his fate decided.
Phil D’Andrea testified that from 1934 to 1941 he was president of the Unione Siciliana and was responsible for bringing his friends, Tony Accardo, Charles Fischetti, Paul Ricca, John Capone and Nick Circella (alias Nick Dean), into this organization as members.
"The exploitation of the Unione Siciliana, a benevolent association, for the advancement of the Capone organization was not peculiar to Chicago.
Chicago (5258 words)
The Unione Siciliana was as mysterious an organization as the Mafia, the Black Hand and the Camorra.
Leadership, no. The Unione Siciliana’s leadership exclusivity would be a stone in the shoe of the most infamous gangster of all time – Al Capone, who was of Neapolitan heritage – and result in most leaders of Unione Siciliana being murdered during the 1920s because of their gang allegiances.
Next: Unione Siciliana president Mike Merlo’s death leads to a war between Al Capone and the North Side gang leaders; the Unione permeates Chicago’s Little Italy; and three Unione Siciliana presidents are murdered.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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