Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Danny Greene & The War With the Cleveland Mob

Danny Greene was one of those people who liked to think of themselves as Irish - for whatever reason - but his years of crime, bombings, and his feelings of invincibility, were at some point going to end in tears.  He helped turn Cleveland into the bomb capital of the USA in 1976, and his relentless taunting of the local Mafia family to the media, were headline grabbers.  What was not so well known was that for some years Greene had been an informant for the FBI.  Was this a case of "you grass guys up, we look the other way where you are concerned?"  This case also led to the arrest and subsequent co-operation of Mafia man Jimmy Fratianno.

    Danny Greene was born in 1930, but despite his grand use of the colour green for anything, he seems NOT to have had any Irish heritage.  It was on the west side of Cleveland that he built up labour racketeering, gambling and loan-sharking interests, and on top, got involved in the Longshoreman`s Union,and started clashing with the Licavoli family.  The FBI had turned Greene after convicting him of labour racketeering, but later, local cops had information that Greene was extorting money from out of town construction companies.  Greene did have a ally in John Nardi, a nephew of mob man Anthony Milano, and one prize they sought was control of a local Teamsters Union.

    1969 saw Greene have a serious fallout with his close friend Mike Frato.  Greene had formed the Cleveland Solid Waste Guild but haulier Frato was not playing ball.  1971 saw a bomb explosion kill Arthur Snepenger as he tried to plant a device on a car belonging to Frato.  Frato later tried to shoot Greene but missed and Greene shot him dead.  He was acquitted on the grounds of self defence.  Greene then had a serious dispute with Shondor Birns over money borrowed from a New York family to start up a bar.  Greene refused to pay, so a contract was put on him.  Two men took it up but both missed.  One was an attempted shooting, the other was a completely failed bomb attempt.  Another team from Collingwood took up the offer on Greene.  They blew up his apartment whilst he was in bed with his girlfriend.  Both were unscathed.  This started the tale that Greene was seemingly indestructible.  John Nardi was taken out in 1977 with - what else - a bomb.  IT was detonated by remote control as he sat in his car.  There were numerous attempts to kill Greene, but every time they failed.  In one tv interview, he was calling the Italians "maggots".

    But his time was soon to run out.  Los Angeles mob man Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno, brought in independant guy Ray Ferrito, to deal with Greene.  He had big promises made to him by the Cleveland Family if he succeeded.  He did.  He caught Greene with - a car bomb.  A car parked next to his ended Greene`s life.  But Ferrito was seen driving away, and witnesses not only gave a description, they took his licence plate as well.  He was soon caught.  Ferrito was expecting to be well looked after by the Cleveland mob whilst he was incarcerated but it seemed the promises were not going to be met.  He also feared a hit whilst in jail, so he rolled over and told all.  His information later led to the arrest of Fratianno.  Interviewed for the documentary series "Crime, Inc"  Ferrito described the initial satisfaction of killing Greene as "drinking a glass of good wine."