Posts tagged “Augie Palmaisano

Organized Crime Flick Provides Insight into Thug Life

One of SF’s popular blog posts is Max & the Mob, the story of Max Adonnis and his involvement with organized crime in Milwaukee.

For those of you interested in the workings of organized crime, the movie Kill the Irishman is a must see.  The DVD was released in mid-June.

I purchased the book, by the same name, after its release in 2004. The author, Rick Porrello, is a retired Cleveland PD detective.  Porrello began his law enforcement career when he was just 18-years-old.  In his early 30s, he made detective and was soon assigned to the Special Investigations Unit, where he kept tabs on that city’s mob scene. 

Portello grew-up in the same blue collar neighborhood as Danny Greene, an Irish ruffian who hardened his fists warding-off a group of tough Sicilian kids.  After working as a laborer on the Cleveland docks, Greene stepped into the organized crime scene by taking over the longshoreman’s union, where he hatched a  two-bit larceny ring, which included both Irish union associates and members of Cleveland’s Italian crime family. These crews looted cargo trailers while leaving a trail of enemies that eventually ratted Greene out.  While in custody, Greene maintained the code of silence. Once he was released, he became a smarter criminal and soon found work with a Jewish gangster’s loan sharking operation.

But, like most organized crime figures, the list of Greene’s enemies grew.  He soon found himself in hot water with the godfather of Cleveland’s Jewish mob—a man Greene later killed.

Greene’s rise within Cleveland’s organized crime hierarchy later caused him to run afoul with a La Cosa Nostra crime family.  The battle for Cleveland was on, as bombs exploded and bodies were scraped from the pavement. The movie features some actual footage of crime scenes; however, the message is simple: very few of those living the thug life reach the retirement age untouched by perdition or the law.

SF gives Kill the Irishman five stars. The movie brought back memories of Augie  Palmisano, the Milwaukee organized crime figure allegedly killed by a member of the Chicago mob on June 30, 1978.  


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.  

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© Steve Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011