The time now is Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:00 pm | Log in to check your private messages
View unanswered posts
crimefile Forum Indexcrimefile Forum Index
Memberlist Usergroups Register Log in

Johnny Russo...
Post new topic   Reply to topic    crimefile Forum Index » Russo, Johnny
View previous topic | View next topic  
Author Message
FINCEN
Administrative Assassin


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 1346

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Johnny Russo... Reply with quote

Quote:



The exact origins of Johnny Russo's birth remain shrouded in mystery some 47 years after his death. Part of the mystery stems from Russo's parentage. Documents provided during his deportation hearings indicate he was born January 15, 1901 in Belmonte, Sicily. Other documents signed by Russo state his place of birth as Polozzi in the province of Palermo. Whatever the facts are what can be substantiated is Russo arrived in the U.S., on September 6, 1912. Accompanying Russo on his journey were his adoptive parents the Russos. The Russo family settled in St. Louis before moving west and purchasing a sprawling estate located in Riverside's Casablanca neighborhood in 1917. Casablanca was then as it remains a predominately hispanic area in which Russo learned to read, write and speak fluent spanish.

Not much is known of his parents other than they were well respected and by all accounts fine upstanding citizens. There is no indication that they had any connection to organized criminality or blackhand extortion groups. Their standing made young Domenico's career choice all the more puzzling. Under the name Johnny Russo, Domenico began making waves throughout Riverside county as a notorious bootlegger while still in his teens. By the mid 20s Russo was the premiere illicit liquor dealer in Rancho Cucamonga. Securing a portion of his stash from the Italian Vineyard Company run by Secondo Guasti, Russo acted as a peacemaker between the hispanic and Italian vineyard workers who worked Guasti's vast expanse of vineyards.

To supplement his income and provide a convenient front for his liquor activities, Russo established a small store along the railroad tracks just outside the borders of Guasti, California. Arrested twice for bootlegging and selling liquor to a minor, Russo arranged for a minion to take the rap and then showed up in court to represent the man as his lawyer. After entering a plea of guilty, Russo "as he was known exclusively by this time," peeled from a thick roll of bills the $200 fine accessed.

Years later Russo would move onto Long Beach and Santa Barbara, California where he operated a gambling hall and bar. In one unfortunate incident a disturbance brought out in one of Russo establishments and the peace and long run of good luck ended for Russo. In an incident steaped in secrecy Russo produced a pistol and fired one shot through the heart of a man who had been a frequent visitor to his business. Russo was quickly convicted and sentenced to prison. After a stint in San Quentin Russo emerged from prison and returned to the Inland Empire where he became one of the leading figures in the areas storied vice district.

Russo was so successful that he became one of the towns most influential citizens despite his unsavory dealings. Russo avoided all efforts to curb his booming business until 1950 when after a nasty political fight, he was rounded up and ordered deported without having been convicted of the offense for which he was charged. Maintaining houses of prostitution. Russo remained active in southern California vice circles until his death in 1959. From his fold came Joe Dippolito and his murderous crew of associates which included Angelo Polizzi, Jimmy Fratianno, Louie Piscopo and the Battaglia brothers.


Gatecitypublishing 2006

Contains excerpts from the Gate City Project Recreating the Red Light District.


Last edited by FINCEN on Thu May 05, 2011 5:22 pm; edited 3 times in total
...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Back to top
jomahmah
Commission Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 450

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jiggy,
Did you say that some of Russo's relatives are still alive and living in the area?
_________________
jomahmah
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
FINCEN
Administrative Assassin


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 1346

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:00 pm    Post subject: Russo relatives Reply with quote

Russo's wife never moved out of San Bernardino and his daughter finished her schooling in town before moving after she married. Russo has a son "or step son," who still lives in town. There is a house on the west end of Baseline near Mt. Vernon very neatly kept which has been in the Russo family for years and is owned by the son.

There are other illegitmate children of Russo "one of which worked in the Mayor's office for about 25 years," spread around town.
...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Back to top
jomahmah
Commission Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 450

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd sure like to know that name, the one that worked for the Mayor's office. I've got relatives that worked at SB City Hall in the past.
_________________
jomahmah
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
FINCEN
Administrative Assassin


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 1346

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:35 pm    Post subject: Link Reply with quote

You should be able to access that link so long as you are logged in. If you can't I send you the link via email.
...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Back to top
jomahmah
Commission Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 450

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:12 am    Post subject: Mayor Holcomb's wife Reply with quote

Jiggy,
Would you know if one of Johnny's daughters married Bob Holcomb, former Mayor of SB?? An oldtimer I met a few weeks ago is fairly certain of it, can you substantiate? Thanks.
_________________
jomahmah
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
beemoe
Commission Member


Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 840

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply Reply with quote

This is pretty juicy fellas! I never realized San Berdoo had a Peyton Place. Where`s the link?
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
jomahmah
Commission Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 450

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jiggy,
As the rackets boss of the IE and a sicilian, was Johnny responsible to Jack Dragna?? Have you ever found any intell of them ever meeting, of him ever attending any high level meetings or gatherings or listed on any rackets report by the Feds?
_________________
jomahmah
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
FINCEN
Administrative Assassin


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 1346

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:30 pm    Post subject: Russo and Dragna Reply with quote

Their aren't any FBI reports detailing a connection between the two thanks to Russo's initial favor with Senator Swing. By the time the two parted ways, Russo was quickly rounded up and deported. As for ties between Dragna and Russo, there was a link that surfaced in the late 20s in relation to the attempted takeover of Western Grape Products Company. Dragna was one of those tied to that takeover effort that failed due to the heat generated by the disappearances of Joseph Neuman and Frank Baumgarteker. The two are also suspected of conducting business prior to Russo's incarceration for murder. While Dragna operated out of Long Beach, Russo ran a bar up the coast near Santa Barbara.
...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Back to top
jomahmah
Commission Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 450

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess my real question is: Once he returned to the IE, was Russo allowed to operate by Dragna, similar to the way Mirabile did in San Diego, you know, cutting Jack in on legitimate and illegitemate business' in exchange? I'd not seen his name in any print linking him with the LA Family during his long rein in the IE. Or did he operate on the fringes, similar to what Cornero did. Your thoughts.
_________________
jomahmah
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
FINCEN
Administrative Assassin


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 1346

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:47 pm    Post subject: Excellent question Reply with quote

Russo's authority stemmed from the protection he enjoyed from the power brokers in the Inland Empire. It seems implausible today that their ever could have been this widespread network of power extending from this city that has fallen so far off the map. However in her heyday San Bernardino's politicians wielded enough clout to affect legislation on a national level. One of the primary architects of the model that was used so successfully by Senator Swing was Judge Byron Brewster Waters. Judge Waters was a contemporary of Judge Nicholas Earp "father of the legendary band of sometime outlaws, lawmen and gamblers," and the eastern representatives of the banking establishments that helped settle the west.

Russo did a huge favor for Senator Swing when he went off to prison and kept his mouth shut on the murder case. At the time he was under tremendous pressure from investigators who were putting a ton of heat on to unravel some of the irregularities that were taking place at the wineries in Ontario and Cucamonga. Russo's conviction was orchestrated to keep him away from the investigators until the heat died down. With his prison stint complete, Russo returned to San Bernardino where he jumped right in and secured a sizable portion of San Bernardino's prostitution business albeit outside of the D. Street corridor. This in itself is of note because Hell's half acre hand been dominated by Eddie Clippinger and Jim Bunning and no one had been allowed to establish any significant trade outside of the D. Street area.

This feat was accomplished thanks to Senator Swing. As an added bonus, Russo was cut in as a silent partner in Clippinger's Vegas expansion. As you will note Clippinger's operation was housed in the same building that once hosted Tony Cornero's Meadows Club. So the answer to your question is no Russo was not required to quick back any money to Dragna or his sponsor Salvatore Streva.
...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Back to top
jomahmah
Commission Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 450

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is Salvatore Steva?? Was he Johnny's sponsor? and to what?
_________________
jomahmah
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
FINCEN
Administrative Assassin


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 1346

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:11 am    Post subject: Salvatore "Sam" Streva Reply with quote

Streva was a contemporary of Joe Cuccia during the early 1900s. Streva was an Italian immigrant who exercised complete dominance over the Italian colonies at Los Angeles Harbor and Long Beach. One of his primary contacts was an undersized yet aggressive gunman known as Jack Rizzotto. Rizzotto "or Dragna," had been an associate of Streva's for many years. He'd counted on Streva's Italian connections to endear himself to the leader of Corleone's underworld while the pair served a prison term at the Italian conscription camp in Corleone Sicily. At the time he was known as prisoner #512 registered under the name of Iganazio Dragna. Upon his release from prison, Dragna followed his family to the United States and met up with Streva who employed him in his extortionate activities. It was one such scheme that landed both in prison. Inmate #29262 began serving a 3 year term on January 26, 1916. 54 year old Salvatore Sam Streva inmate #30486 began serving his own 3 year term March 28, 1917. Discharged in July 1917, Steva purchased a 20 acre plot of undeveloped land and built a small ranch. The ranch located in Van Nuys near Devonshire street and Woodley Avenue would house the Streva family for the next 6 decades.

It was there "in June 1928," that members of the dry squad seized more than 1,300 gallons of Streva produced wine. The dry squad received information that the Streva's were selling large quantities of wine. Upon making an investigation, members of the dry squad discovered a room beneath a sliding floor controlled by an electrical device. After gaining entrance to the underground room, the officers discovered Streva's liquor cache hidden behind a sliding wall. Streva later pled guilty in Van Nuys Municipal Court and was fined a grand total of $350 by Judge Frank Gray.

Streva outlived his infamous minion by decades and outlived the infamy of his youth. He died at the age of 98 in the home he'd constructed for his wife Frances and their children Leonard, Joseph and Mary 'Bonaccorso.

I've secured photos of both a very young Dragna and Streva that I'll put up later.
...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Back to top
jomahmah
Commission Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 450

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So after prohibition ended, what did Streva do?? Was he still involved in the rackets, or did he go legit, or semi-legit??
_________________
jomahmah
...
View user's profile Send private message
Back to top
FINCEN
Administrative Assassin


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 1346

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:20 pm    Post subject: Streva Reply with quote

He operated his market, invested in real-estate and poured money into local politics. He also held an interest in Dragna's vineyard property.
...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Back to top
Post new topic   Reply to topic    crimefile Forum Index » Russo, Johnny
Display posts from previous:   
 
 
All times are GMT
Jump to:  
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group
Web Hosting Directory
Theme created OMI of Kyomii Designs for BRIX-CENTRAL.tk.

For Support - http://forums.BizHat.com

Free Web Hosting | Free Forum Hosting | Photo Gallery | Free Matrimonial

Powered by PhpBBweb.com, setup your forum now!