William Cammisano

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William "Willie Rat" Dominick Cammisano Sr. (April 26, 1914-January 26, 1995) was a Kansas City, Missouri, mobster and enforcer for Nicholas Civella's Kansas City crime family.

By 1929, Cammisano had an extensive rap sheet. He been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, bootlegging, pistol whipping a robbery victim, running an alcohol still, being AWOL from the U.S. Army, disturbing the peace, and gambling. It was said that he had stolen everything from the wheels off a truck to the rings off a woman’s fingers. Cammisano once served a felony sentence at a federal prison in El Reno, Oklahoma. In the 1940s, he opened a tavern and called it the El Reno Bar, stating that had been the name of his favorite prison (Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno). He is the father and namesake of William Dominick Cammisano Jr. born May 8, 1949 in Kansas City, Missouri. He lived in Winchester, Nevada.

A high-ranking member of Civella's organization, Cammisano was called in 1980 to appear before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee investigating organized crime activity in Kansas City. During the investigation, government witness Fred Harvey Bonadonna described how Cammisano's used strong arm tactics in the River Quay neighborhood redevelopment project to turn the area into a red light district with brothels and other vice. Bonadonna stated that Cammisano murdered his father, a business associate of Cammisano's, for refusing to obtain liquor licenses for mob establishments in River Quay: "Willie [Cammisano] told my father that he would kill me. My father (David) said he'd have to kill him first."

During the Senate investigation, Cammisano was serving a five-year prison sentence for extortion in Springfield, Missouri. Cammisano refused to cooperate with the committee; he was cited for Contempt of Congress on May 14, 1981 and received added prison time.

With Civella's conviction in 1983, Cammisano became the new leader of the Kansas City organization. Because of the unfavorable publicity of recent criminal trials, the Chicago Outfit officially disowned Kansas City as an affiliate. This gave Cammisano the opportunity to establish new operations in California, Florida and Washington, D.C without Outfit approval or interference. This expansion reinvigorated the Kansas city organization.

On January 26, 1995, William Cammisano died of multiple organ failure related to lung disease. His son William "Willie" Cammisano, Jr. pleaded guilty to running illegal gambling in Kansas City in February 2010 and is considered a capo. The family is said to currently have 20-25 made members.

Further reading[edit]

  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864225-2

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