Colombo Crime Family

Colombo Family by Christian Cipollini // Exclusively for MobCity Productions.

Joe Profaci

Joseph Magliocco

Joseph Colombo

“Even within the violent councils of America Mafia, authorities say, the Colombo crime

family has long been feared as an erratic, troublesome gang.” - Selwyn Raab, The New

York Times, 1991

From internal violence to brazen coups to profiting off porn, the Colombo family history is

marked by a number of noteworthy exploits and calamities. On the lighter end of family facts,

the family moniker is the most recent (circa 1963) among the five families. Although officially in

existence since 1931, the Colombo group actually formed just prior to the so-called

Castellammarese War. Its namesake was Giuseppe 'Joe' Profaci, who, incidentally, ended up being one of the longest reigning of the five original bosses.

Giuseppe 'Joe' Profaci

Profaci took power over a preceding family before the 1930 war was in full effect and remained a neutral party, at least on the surface, while other familial factions allied with either of the warring bosses -Joe Masseria or Salvatore Maranzano.

Profaci’s ascendency to power (over

what was descended from a lineage once lead by Ignazio ‘The Wolf’ Lupo) likely took place in 1928.

On December 5 of that year Police raided the Hotel Statler in Cleveland, essentially breaking up a significant meeting of mafia heads, arresting twenty-three men - mafia leaders from Tampa, New Jersey, Chicago,

St. Louis and New York, including Joe Profaci and his future underboss Joe Magliocco.

Joe Masseria
Salvatore Moranzano

After the murders of both Masseria and Maranzano in 1931, Profaci took a seat on the newly established board, which placed his family alongside those of Lucky Luciano, Joe Bonanno, Vincent Mangano and Gaetano Gagliano.

Profaci ruled the family for three decades. His reign slowly began to deteriorate in the early

1950s upon being called before senate hearings. No more was he able to maintain anonymity.

Claiming to be just a businessman, Profaci regularly deferred to his fifth amendment rights when

questioned. When he did talk, especially with regard to exchanges with Bobby Kennedy, the

dialogue often turned contentious. Behind the family’s scenes, there was instability.

This was especially true following the 1957 hit on then-boss of the Mangano Family - Albert Anastasia. The assassination had been carried out by Profaci soldiers lead by Crazy Joe Gallo, allegedly. Profaci however did not keep his end of the deal (giving Gallo a piece of the business created in the wake of the murder) and that sent Gallo into insurrection mode. Gallo wasn’t the only member of the family to lose faith in Profaci; others viewed their leader as an extremely ‘cheap’ boss. Gallo gained a following within the ranks and a civil war thus ensued.

In an unprecedented move, Gallo’s faction kidnapped Profaci loyalists and held for ransom (they

originally planned to kidnap Profaci himself). Eventually Joe Profaci agreed to a payoff in order

to quell the violence, but he certainly wasn’t going to let the affront go unanswered. Attempts

were made on Gallo loyalists, but Profaci also had problems on another front - his health.

Joe Gallo

Gallo ended up in jail in 1961. Then, Joe Profaci died of cancer on June 2, 1962, and the reigns were handed to underboss Magliocco. His leadership was short lived though. At the time of the famous Valachi Hearings in 1963, with Profaci dead and basied on the knowledge available, the

government referred to the family (and presented hierarchal chart) identified as ‘Magliocco.’

Joe Profaci and Joseph Magliocco

Joseph Bonanno

He was found guilty by the mob’s commission of plotting (with Joe Bonanno) to whack bosses of rival families, Magliocco was forced out in 1963. Law enforcement entities theorized Sonny Franzese might replace Magliocco, but that wasn’t the case. In Magliocco’s place, as approved by the ruling commission of bosses, stepped Joe Colombo, and the family took his name. When Gallo hit the streets again in 1971 he allegedly demanded a $100,000 pay day from the new

boss, which was of course flatly denied. That, as it turned out, would be the death knell for

Colombo, and ostensibly for Gallo too.

Meanwhile, the Colombo family was making big money from highly profitable market - porn. Morre specifically - the investment made in one of the most famous and lucrative adult films ever made… Deep Throat. The collusion (or hostile takeover) of adult film industry rackets by Colombo associates stirred government and media investigations, but very little information was revealed at the time.

As for Joe Colombo, he quickly became a highly-visible figure. His name made the newspapers on a fairly regular basis as the mouthpiece of a new organization he founded called the Italian-American Civil Rights League. Among its missions, the organization sought to remove the stigma of the “Mafia” and “La Cosa Nostra” from Italians Americans. Colombo’s group also accused the FBI of hiring informants to give false testimony and manufacturing conspiracies against Italian-Americans. He also went head to head with the producers of The Godfather over the use of certain words (Mafia and La Cosa Nostra). This negotiation between Hollywood and the mob is addressed in the recent dramatized limited series from Paramount Plus - The Offer.

Colombo’s high profile wasn’t pleasing to the other family bosses. That, paired with Joe Gallo’s

personal vendetta, proved nearly fatal for Colombo on June 28th, 1971. Speaking from the

stage at Columbus Circle, addressing the crowd present for the Unity Day festivities, Colombo

was shot by someone in the crowd. The gunman was subdued, but another gunman then shot

and killed the alleged shooter of Colombo.

Paramedics took the gravely injured mob boss to Roosevelt Hospital where surgeons quickly began the task of removing the bullets, a slug from the mid-brain and one from the neck, during the five-hour operation. Colombo survived, but remained in a coma. The original shooter was identified as Jerome Johnson.

His shooter was never identified. The question looming - who was behind the hit? Most theories pointed to Joe Gallo. Nobody was ever prosecuted for the shooting of Joe Colombo but Joey Gallo met his maker on April 2, 1972. While dining at Umberto’s Clam House in Manhattan, Gallo’s party of six was approached by at least two gunmen

who opened fire on Gallo with .32 and .38 calibers. Gallo was struck several times and stumbled outside, dying on the sidewalk. One of his dinner party was injured in the attack and some believe Gallo’s actions saved the others in his group (because he actively tried to draw the attention and fire towards himself and away from the others).

Joe Colombo

Joe Colombo remained in a coma and suffered other failing health issues for another seven years. He died on May 22, 1978 at the age of 54. The family went through another internal war and a series of leadership changes over the decades but still retains the Colombo name to this


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