Anthony Corallo

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Antonio Corallo
Born February 12, 1913 (1913-02-12)
East Harlem, New York City, U.S.
Died August 23, 2000 (2000-08-24) (aged 87)
Springfield, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation Mobster and boss of Lucchese crime family
Criminal penalty 100 years
Criminal status Deceased

Antonio "Tony Ducks" Corallo (February 12, 1913 – August 23, 2000) was a New York City mobster and boss of the Lucchese crime family. Corallo exercised a tremendous control over trucking and construction unions in New York.


Corallo was born in New York City in 1913 and grew up in the Italian neighborhood of East Harlem. Corallo got his nickname, "Tony Ducks" by his ability to avoid, or "duck," subpoenas and convictions during a criminal career that spanned seven decades.

Corallo was a quiet, unassuming man who enjoyed gardening, opera, and pasta. In his later years, Corallo owned a luxurious home in Oyster Bay Cove, New York. Corallo was married and had a son and a daughter.[1]

Early criminal career[edit]

In the 1920s, Corallo joined the 107th Street Gang in East Harlem. His first arrest in 1929, for grand larceny, was at age 16. He was not convicted.[2]

By 1935, Corallo had become a member of the Gagliano crime family, forerunner of the Lucchese family. Underboss Tommy Lucchese recruited Corallo to work with mobster Johnny Dio, the leader of labor racketeering operations in the Manhattan Garment District.[3]

In 1941, Corallo was arrested after police found him in possession of a narcotics cache valued at $150,000. He was later convicted of narcotics violations and sent to the city jail on Rikers Island for six months.[2]

Rise to power[edit]

In 1943, Corallo was appointed as a caporegime of his own crew, an accomplishment for a man in his early 30s. He then moved his base of operations from East Harlem to Queens.[3] Corallo and Dio eventually controlled five local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The two gangsters used these paper locals to set up favorable deals with trucking companies and exploit the rank and file chapter members. Corallo and Dio also controlled local chapters of the Conduit Workers Union (now called the Communication Workers' Union), the United Textile Workers Union (now called UNITE HERE), and the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators (now called the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades). These labor racketeering activities earned millions of dollars for the Gagliano family.[3]

In 1951, longtime boss Tommy Gagliano died of natural causes and Lucchese took over the family.

On August 15, 1959, Corallo testified before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management The senators wanted Corallo to explain the theft of $70,000 US dollars from Teamsters Union local 239 by using names of dead mob members. Like many other mobsters, Corallo refused to answer any questions; he pleaded the Fifth Amendment 120 times during his two-hour interrogation.[2]

On December 7, 1961, Corallo was indicted on charges of trying to bribe New York Supreme Court Justice J. Vincent Keogh and former U.S. Attorney Elliot Kanaher. Corallo wanted them to drop a bankruptcy fraud case against one of his associates.[4] On June 17, 1961, Corallo was convicted of bribery.[5] On August 2, 1962, Corallo was sentenced to two years in state prison.[6]

Family boss[edit]

On July 13, 1967, Lucchese died of a brain tumor.[7] Corallo was the leading candidate to become boss, but he was facing indictment later that same year.

On December 18, 1967, Corallo was indicted on charges of receiving a kickback payment from a contractor for the renovation of the Jerome Park Reservoir in the Bronx. Also indicted was James L. Marcus, the former city water commissioner, who had started dealing with Corallo due to loanshark debts.[8] On June 19, 1968, Corallo was convicted in the Marcus bribery case.[9] On July 26, 1968, Corallo was sentenced to three years in federal prison.[10]

With Corallo in prison, the Commission designated Carmine Tramunti as interim Lucchese boss. Some historians have speculated that Corallo became boss immediately upon his 1970 release from prison, and that Tramunti was only an "acting" or "front" boss for the next three years. On May 7, 1973, Tramunti was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.[11] Corallo then became the indisputable boss of the Lucchese family.

One of Corallo's first moves as boss was to take over gravel distribution in various areas of New York such as Long Island. In owning major gravel companies in his territories or areas of influence, Corallo increased the Lucchese crime family's influence in the construction industry and with the unions involved. The garbage industry would be next on his list. With the help of a union official named Bernie Adelstein, the front business would be called Private Sanitation Industry Association. Next with the help of Lucchese capo Paul Vario and his crew, Corallo would gain power at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Mafia Commission case[edit]

An FBI mugshot of Anthony Corallo

In the early 1980s, Corallo unwittingly provided the government with evidence that would all but end his career. Investigators found out the Lucchese Crime Family had a controlling interest in garbage collection on Long Island. This information was brought to them by Robert Kubecka, a man who owned a small garbage collection company in Long Island. After being threatened by Avellino, he went to the F.B.I. and agreed to help them as a secret informant by wearing a wire. Due to the recordings that were obtained, he was able to give investigators probable cause to wire-tap Sal Avellino's phone in his house. From this wire-tap, they learned that Avellino would pick Corallo up from his home in Oyster Bay every morning and chaeuffer Corallo around. Through Greg Scarpa, an upper-echelon informant for the F.B.I., they were able to use his tip about Avellino and Corallo discussing business in the Jaguar as probable cause to obtain a court-ordered warrant to bug the Jaguar. After obtaining the warrant to bug Avellino's Jaguar, agents placed a microphone and a recorder in his car on a rainy night while he was at a dinner dance in Long Island.

Within days, they had Corrallo on tape saying he was the boss of the family. In addition to that, investigators obtained recordings that not only implicated Corallo, but also seven other high ranking mobsters in other families and provided the first proof as to the existence of the Mafia Commission. Corallo and Avellino had long conversations on many topics. The government now had the chance to attack the high levels of several Cosa Nostra families.[1] This would be called the Mafia Commission case.

On February 25, 1985, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and New York City Police went to Corallo's Oyster Bay home to arrest him on racketeering charges. However, Corallo was in the hospital and was not arrested until after his release a few days later. Among the defendants were underboss Salvatore "Tom Mix" Santoro and consigliere Christopher "Christie Tick" Furnari.

As the trial wore on, Corallo realized that he would not only be found guilty, but faced a sentence that would all but assure he would die in prison. Knowing that Santoro and Furnari were headed for prison as well, in the fall of 1986 he decided to ensure an orderly transfer of power. At a meeting at Furnari's home, he named one of Furnari's understudies, Victor Amuso, as his successor.

On November 19, 1986, Corallo and the other defendants were convicted of all charges.[12] On January 13, 1987, Corallo was sentenced to 100 years in federal prison.[13]


On August 23, 2000, Anthony Corallo died of natural causes at the Federal Medical Center for prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Feuer, Alan (September 1, 2000). "Anthony Corallo, Mob Boss, Dies in Federal Prison at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Silent Racketeer: Anthony Corallo". New York Times. August 16, 1957. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Volkman, Ernest. Gangbusters: The Destruction of America's Last Great Mafia Dynasty. 1998. (pg. 128)
  4. ^ Ranzal, Edward (December 8, 1961). "STATE JUSTICE, RACKETEER AND EX-U.S. AIDE INDICTED IN FEDERAL COURT FIX CASE". New York Times. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "News Summary and Index". New York Times. June 17, 1962. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Evans Asbury, Edith (August 3, 1962). "KEOGH SENTENCED TO 2-YEAR TERM IN COURT FIX CASE; Kahaner and Corallo Draw Same Penalty". New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Bruno, Anthony. "The Lucchese Family: Three Finger Brown". TruTV Crime Library. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Reeves, RichardD (December 19, 1967). "MARCUS, EX-LINDSAY AIDE, HELD WITH CORALLO, A MIAFIA LEADER, IN KICKBACKS ON CITY CONTRACT". New York Times. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Collier, Barnard L. (July 20, 1968). "Corallo, Fried, and Motto Convicted in Marcus Case". New York Times. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Tolchin, Martin (July 27, 1968). "CORALLO IS GIVEN 3 YEARS IN PRISON FOR MARCUS BRIBE". New York Times. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Perlmutter, Emanuel (May 8, 1974). "Tramunti, Called 'Dangerous', Gets 15 Years on Drug Charge". New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "U.S. JURY CONVICTS EIGHT AS MEMBERS OF MOB COMMISSION". New York Times. November 20, 1986. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  13. ^ Lubasch, Arnold H. (January 14, 1987). "JUDGE SENTENCES 8 MAFIA LEADERS TO PRISON TERMS". New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
American Mafia
Preceded by
Carmine Tramunti
Lucchese crime family

Succeeded by
Victor Amuso