Angelo Meli was born on February 10, 1897 in San Cataldo, Sicily. As a youth, Meli's family immigrated to Detroit. In the early 1920s, Meli, Leo Cellura, and Chester LaMare opened the Venice Cafe in Detroit. The Meli Boys excelled in extorting brothels, gambling houses and bootlegging operations. With Meli's assistance, LaMare soon dominated crime in that city. It required an effort by state investigators on recommendations from Michigan Governor, Alex Groesbeck to smash the organization. Thirty-one criminals were convicted of liquor law violations. Meli escaped the crackdown and entered into an agreement with Salvatore Catalanotte, boss of Detroit's Unione Siciliane. With Catalanotte's support, Meli formed the Eastside Mob with top aides Leo Cellura, William Tocco, and Joseph Zerilli. Catalanotte was instrumental in establishing the partnership between the Eastside Mob and the River Gang and other Jewish groups. After Catalanotte's death in 1930, LaMare began raiding Meli-controlled speakeasies,and liquor storage houses. Meli responded by ordering LaMare's murder, which happened on February 6, 1931. After LaMare's murder, Meli oversaw the merger of Detroit's various mob factions into what later became the Detroit Partnership.
After the establishment of the Partnership
Once the Detroit Partnership was established, Meli became consigliere. He was a major figure in illegal weapons smuggling and in settling labor disputes. His involvement in labor racketeering helped Jimmy Hoffa's rise in the Teamsters Union., Charter Books, New York: He suffered only one conviction on charges of carrying a concealed weapon. Meli had extensive legitimate business holdings in the Michigan area. He remained a powerful figure in the Detroit Partnership until his death in December 1969 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, MI.
- Dan E. Moldea, The Hoffa Wars
- Kelly, Robert J. Encyclopedia of Organized Crime in the United States. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000. ISBN 0-313-30653-2
- Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-5694-3
- Sifakis, Carl. The Encyclopedia of American Crime. New York: Facts on File Inc., 2001. ISBN 0-8160-4040-0
- Dan E. Moldea, The Hoffa Wars, Charter Books, New York: 1978 (ISBN 0-441-34010-5).
- Charles Brandt, I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran and the inside story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the last ride of Jimmy Hoffa, Steerforth Press, Hanover (NH, USA) 2004 (ISBN 1-58642-077-1).