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 had 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 has an arrest record that dates back to 1966 but his only felony conviction came in 1989 for obstruction of justice in a case that centered on Cammisano threatening a witness in a grand jury investigation of a gangland slaying. Willie, Jr is also listed in the infamous "Black Book", the Nevada Gaming Control Board list of excluded persons.[1] It is believed Willie, Jr owned a share of the Argent Casino in Las Vegas and met with Chicago mafia members to discuss retrieving his portion of the sale price and skim monies from that casino.[2]

William's other son Gerlarmo "Jerry" Cammisano pleaded guilty in 2011 to federal charges he ran a $3.5 million illegal sports betting ring. Jerry was sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $201,137, according to records. Jerry's son, Vito Cammisano is a swimmer that attended the University of Missouri. Vito became well known when he was filmed kissing his boyfriend Michael Sam right after it was announced that Sam would be the first openly gay NFL football player to be drafted, when the St. Louis Rams picked him in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.[3]

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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