Thomas Eboli

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New York Police Department mugshot of Thomas Eboli

Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli (pronounced "EH-bow-lee") (June 13, 1911 Scisciano, Italy - July 16, 1972 Crown Heights, Brooklyn) was a New York City mobster who eventually became the acting boss of the Genovese crime family.

Early life[edit]

Born Tommaso Eboli in Scisciano, in the province of Naples, Italy to Louis and Madalena Maddalone, Eboli stood 5'10, weighed 165 pounds, and had a tattoo on his right arm. Eboli was the brother of Genovese crime family capo Pasquale "Patty Ryan" Eboli. To hide his Italian heritage, Eboli adapted the nickname "Tommy Ryan" from professional boxer Tommy Ryan. Eboli became a U.S. citizen on August 27, 1960.[1]

Thomas Eboli was married to Anna Ariola from Melrose Park, Illinois. Their children were Thomas Eboli Jr. and Chicago Outfit mobster Louis "The Mooch" Eboli.[1]

After separating from Ariola, Eboli entered a relationship with Mary Perello. She bore him two daughters, Madelena and Mary, and a son Saverio.[1] Eboli and his second family lived in a high rise apartment building in Fort Lee, New Jersey that overlooked the Hudson River. However, just before his death, Eboli had purchased a home in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.[2]

As a young man, Eboli worked as a professional boxer.[3] In the early 1920s, during Prohibition, Eboli became a bootlegger for future crime boss Lucky Luciano. By the early 1930s, Eboli had become the personal bodyguard for Luciano's underboss, Vito "Don Vito" Genovese. Some sources claim that Eboli committed as many as 20 murders for the Genovese family.[3]

In 1933, Eboli was arrested on six counts of illegal gambling and disorderly conduct.[1]

Boxing manager[edit]

At some point during the 1930s or 1940's, Eboli became a boxing manager. One of his early boxing protegees was future Genovese family boss Vincent Gigante.[4]

On January 11, 1952, Eboli assaulted two officials during a professional boxing match at Manhattan's Madison Square Garden Arena. On that evening, Eboli was managing middleweight boxer Rocky Castellani, who was fighting Ernie (The Rock) Durando. After Durando knocked down Castellani in the 6th and 7th rounds, referee Ray Miller stopped the fight and awarded a technical knockout victory to Durando. At that point, an enraged Eboli entered the boxing ring and punched Miller. Later in Castellani's dressing room, Eboli kicked Al Weill, the boxing promoter.[5] Sport writers later speculated that Eboli had expected his fighter to win due to an illegal arrangement with Weill.[6]

On January 23, 1952, Eboli was indicted on two counts of assault from the boxing incident.[5] On May 26, 1952, Eboli pleaded guilty to reduced charges and was later sentenced to 60 days in prison, his only incarceration during a life of crime.[7] The New York State Athletic Commission also banned Eboli from boxing for life.

Acting Boss[edit]

In 1957, Genovese finally became boss, and Eboli became the Caporegime over the old Greenwich Village Crew crew. Eboli was said to own several tourist nightclubs and gay bars in Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan.[8] Eboli also controlled rackets on the Hudson River docks in Manhattan. Eboli was also the owner of Jet Music Corporation, a jukebox supplier. and Tryan Cigarette Vending Service, Inc.[1][9]

On April 17, 1959, Genovese was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, leaving Eboli as acting boss of the family.[10] Gerardo "Jerry" Catena became underboss and Michele "Big Mike" Miranda became consigliere. Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo became Eboli's top aide. Some authors says that for the next ten years, family decisions were made collectively by a "Committee/Ruling Panel" that included Eboli, Catena, and capo Philip Lombardo.[11] Other authors state that Miranda, not Lombardo, was the third member of this panel.

On February 14, 1969, Genovese died of natural causes in prison, leaving the Genovese family hierarchy in turmoil.[12] Eboli was a logical successor, but his health had deteriorated that year plus he was under investigation. On July 28, 1969, Eboli suffered his third heart attack of that year. He was rushed to New York University Medical Center in Manhattan, where he eventually recovered. His previous heart attack occurred on July 17, two days after appearing before the New Jersey State Investigation Committee in hearings on organized crime. Eboli first suffered an attack in February 1969 at a New York State Investigation Commission meeting.[13] However, both law enforcement and other mobsters believed that Eboli had faked some of these attacks.[8]

After Genovese's death. Catena became the new official boss. However, Catena was indicted and jailed in 1970. With Catena gone, Eboli now became the official boss of the Genovese family. However, Lombardo and Miranda were really in charge and Eboli was just a front for law enforcement.

Eboli's downfall[edit]

Eboli continued as the "front boss" of the family for next two years. However, Eboli wanted to be the real head of the Genovese family. To further his advancement, Eboli borrowed $4 million from the Commission chairman and head of the rival Gambino crime family, Carlo Gambino to fund a new drug trafficking operation.[3] However, law enforcement soon shut down Eboli's drug racket and arrested most of his crew. Gambino and his underboss Paul Castellano allegedly came to Eboli to get their money back, but Eboli didn't have it. Gambino then allegedly ordered Eboli's murder due to lack of payment. However, many people believed that Gambino actually wanted to replace Eboli with Gambino ally Frank "Funzi" Tieri. Some even believe that Gambino used the drug trafficking operation to set up Eboli.[3]

On July 16, 1972, Eboli left his girlfriend's apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn around 1:00 A.M and walked to his chauffeured Cadillac car. As Eboli sat in the parked car, a gunman in a passing truck shot him five times. Hit in the head and neck, Eboli died instantly.[14][15] No one was ever charged in this murder.

Eboli was buried at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, New Jersey.[16] Aside from the Eboli family, the only attendees at the graveside were law enforcement.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e Giancana, United States Treasury Department, Bureau of Narcotics ; foreword by Sam (2007). Mafia : the government's secret file on organized crime (1st ed.). New York: Collins. pp. 304A. ISBN 0-06-136385-5. 
  2. ^ Burks, Edward C. (July 18, 1972). "Eboli's Slaying Ends a Fort Lee Era". New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Newton, Michael (2009). The encyclopedia of unsolved crimes (2nd ed.). New York: Facts on File. p. 115. ISBN 1-4381-1914-3. 
  4. ^ Raab, Selwyn (December 20, 2005). ""Thomas Eboli&scp=68 "Vincent Gigante, Mob Boss Who Feigned Incompetence to Avoid Jail, Dies at 77" Check |url= value (help). New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "2 in Garden Brawl Held for Assault". New York Times. January 23, 1952. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Smith, Red (July 19, 1972). "Dear Dead Days Beyond Recall". New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Pleads Guilty in Melee". New York Times. May 27, 1952. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Pace, Eric (July 117, 1972). "Eboli Showed a Fiery Temper, But He Had No Feuds or Fear". New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ "Judge: Can't Probe Jukes". Billboard Magazine. April 24, 1965. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Feinberg, Alexander (April 18, 1959). "Genovese is Given 15 Years in Prison in Narcotics Case". New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Deitche, Scott M. (2009). The everything mafia book : true-life accounts of legendary figures, infamous crime families, and nefarious deeds (2nd ed.). Avon, Mass.: Adams Media. p. 93. ISBN 1-59869-779-X. 
  12. ^ Grutzner, Charles (February 15, 1969). "Ruled 'Family' of 450; Genovese Dies in Prison at 71; 'Boss of Bosses' of Mafia Here". New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Eboli's Condition Serious; 3rd Heart Attack Feared". New York Times. July 29, 1969. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Pace, Eric (July 23, 1972). "Funerals Aren't What They Used to Be". New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Perlmutter, Emanuel (July 17, 1972). "A Key Gang Figure Slain in Brooklyn". New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Browse by Cemetery: George Washington Memorial Park, Find A Grave, accessed April 6, 2007

Further reading[edit]

  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864225-2
  • Davis, John H. Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. ISBN 0-06-016357-7
  • Kwitny, Jonathan. Vicious Circles: The Mafia in the Marketplace. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979. ISBN 0-393-01188-7
  • 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
  • Mafia: The Government's Secret File on Organized Crime

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Vito Genovese
Genovese crime family
Acting boss

Succeeded by
Philip Lombardo
as boss (effective)
Preceded by
Vito Genovese
Genovese crime family
Front boss

Succeeded by
Frank Tieri