Mob control of Fulton Fish Market
Beginning in the 1920s, the Fulton Fish Market had been controlled by mobsters. Unloading crews would extort "parking fees" and kickbacks from out of town fish companies. If a company refused to pay, the unloaders would let the fish spoil. Mob employees and mob-controlled companies received special benefits. The Market’s security force operated a protection racket for retail shops and vehicles located on the margins of the Market waterfront. Two of Romano's top soldiers would become powerful captains in their own right sharing the Fish Market, Rosario Gangi and Alphonse "Allie Shades" Malangone Across the street from the Fish Market was Carmine's Restaurant, which was owned by Carmine's uncle. Upstairs from the dining room was Romano's headquarters for operations at the Fish Market. He was the brother of Vincent and Peter Romano and the cousin of Genovese mobster, Augie Cataldo, also involved with the Fulton Fish Market and owner of Grampas Comedy Club of Staten Island. Augie spent 10 years in prison for racketeering, gambling, extortion and is currently Captain of the Genovese crime family. Augie Cataldo father of Pete "Scarface" Cataldo, Genovese soldier who runs part of Local 731 Laborers Union located in New York.
Prison for Romano
Authorities made some small efforts to clean up the corruption. In the late 1970s, Romano was removed from the leadership of the seafood union for extorting wholesalers and enforcing a cartel. Finally, in 1981 Mob boss Romano was shifting control into New Jersey to his younger crew. Herman Weiner took control of operations in New Jersey and was untouched for many years. Later in 1982 Romano was convicted of racketeering and sent to prison for 14 years. However, Genovese domination of the market continued.
Before going to prison in 1981, Romano tried to intimidate the current non-mob owner of Carmine's restaurant into selling it back to Romano's uncle. According to court documents, Romano and associates visited the owner on the morning of January 21, 1981. They began their visit by breaking glasses, smashing all the windows, mirrors, tables, and chairs, throwing food around, destroying the coffee and cigarette machines, and yanking the stove out of the wall. Finally, they robbed the cash register and left. Despite this attempt at intimidation, the owner refused to sell it back.
Cleanup of Fish Market
In 1994, new mayor Rudy Giuliani launched a campaign to end mob control of the market. Through civil suits and new regulations, the city expelled mob employees and vendors and ended the extortion rackets against honest seafood vendors. The Genovese family retailiated with arson and wildcat strikes, but were unable to stop the city.
In 1999, Romano was released from prison and moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he was the owner of Hygrade Ocean Products. In November 2005, the City of New York moved all seafood wholesale operations to a new facility in Hunts Point in the Bronx and permanently closed the Fulton Fish Market. Romano died January 28, 2011 in New Bedford.
- Jacobs, James B., Coleen Friel and Robert Radick. Gotham Unbound: How New York City Was Liberated from the Grip of Organized Crime. New York: NYU Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8147-4247-5
- Raab, Selwyn. Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York: St. Martin Press, 2005. ISBN 0-312-30094-8
- Southcoasttoday.com Fulton today By JOHN DOHERTY
- Southcoasttoday.com The Hear No Evil fishing corp By JOHN DOHERTY
- City-journal.org How To Run the Mob Out of Gotham by Steven Malanga
- Obituary (2011-01-30). "Carmine N. Romano". SouthCoastToday.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.