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Rick Porrello

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Rick Porrello is a veteran police officer who is currently the Chief of Police of the Lyndhurst Police Department.  His “first book grew out of his research into the murder of his grandfather and several uncles, who were Prohibition-era mob leaders. The result became The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia - Corn Sugar and Blood (Barricade Books, 1995). Rick followed that book with his second book, To Kill the Irishman - the War that Crippled the Mafia (Next Hat Press, 1998), which is the story of notorious mob foe Danny Greene. To Kill the Irishman has been optioned for a motion picture. An accomplished jazz drummer, Rick spend almost three years traveling internationally with the legendary entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. He continues to perform in Ohio, where he lives with his wife and two children. 

Rick Porrello is the author of To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia; The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia: Corn Sugar and Blood; and, Superthief: A Master Burglar, the Mafia, and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History.

According to the book description of To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia, “The Irishman was fearless and cunning - loved by his neighbors and hated by his business competitors - the members of the Cleveland Mafia. Fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, he was a Celtic warrior at heart, obsessed with the color green - green car, green jackets, green ink pens. Through the 1970s, the ruggedly handsome Danny Greene (that's right, Danny Greene), had been boldly encroaching on mob territory. Their threats didn't worry him.

"Since I'm Irish Catholic, I've got the best guardian angel there is. Besides, it's the man upstairs who pulls the strings." Danny was a proud Catholic. He was also a killer.  Danny got his start in racketeering as president of the local International Association of Longshoremen. He could have been a highly successful businessman, but it wasn't the life for him. After a shocking expose by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he was ousted from the docks and fined $10,000 for embezzling union funds. Danny had been forcing longshoremen to unload filthy grain boats and "donate" their paychecks to a union hall "renovation fund." The hall had already been renovated - painted green when Danny took office.

Later Danny worked for as an enforcer for local mobsters including Alex "Shondor" Birns, well-known Jewish racketeer. After a dispute over a $60,000 Greene refused to repay, Birns had a bomb planted in his car. It was the first in a series of botched attempts on the brash Irishman's life. Danny found the bomb.  "Luck of the Irish," he would often say. "I'll return this to the old bastard who sent it to me," Greene promised.

Sure enough, a few weeks later Birns was blown out the roof of his car, in two pieces. It was an excellent hit and Danny was proud.  Danny's big mistake was the 1976 murder of Leo "Lips" Moceri, the respected and feared new underboss of the Cleveland Mafia, and the bombing of enforcer Eugene "The Animal" Ciasullo. Aging mob boss James Licavoli ordered his henchman to "get rid of the Irishman," but the inexperienced soldiers had no luck. The attempts by the self-proclaimed tough guys were almost comical. Then west coast wise guy Jimmy 'the Weasel" Fratianno recommended a hired killer from Erie.

In the end, Danny went out the way he predicted. "When you live by the bomb, you die by the bomb." The Irishman was dead. But the Mafia's celebration was cut short. There was much sloppy work, a few observant witnesses (one of whom was a sketch artist!) and extraordinary investigations by federal, state and local officials. The aftermath of Greene's assassination brought about a mob murder plot against Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich and charges against Mahoning County Sheriff James Traficant for accepting Mafia bribe money. Traficant was acquitted and is now a United States Congressman.

As a direct result of Danny's murder, Jimmy "Weasel" Fratianno defected and co-authored The Last Mafioso and Vengeance is Mine. His courtroom testimony and that of Angelo Lonardo, called "the highest ranking mobster ever to testify for the government" helped put away mob bosses Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno of New York's Genovese Mafia family, Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo of the Luchesse clan and Carmine Persico of the Colombo family. Federal investigators trace these major mob convictions right back to the murder of Greene. Danny would have been proud.”

One reader of To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia said, “Rick Porello has succeeded in giving a very clear account of the rise of a mob figure, and the ultimate demise of both him and his adversaries, ultimately weakening La Cosa Nostra nationwide. It does not surprise me that this book might lead to a movie, since it perfectly lays out a compelling true story script.”

According to the book description of Superthief: A Master Burglar, the Mafia, and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History, “Superthief is a captivating first-hand look at the life of Phil Christopher, a career criminal, Mafia associate, and one of the most successful bank burglars in the United States. In a raw and candid accounting, Author Rick Porrello takes readers inside Phil's brutal street world and prison life and exposes the details behind the planning and execution of the daring and record-setting 1972 United California Bank burglary in Orange County, California. The UCB burglary is the biggest in United States history and has been featured in documentaries on Court TV and the Discovery Channel.”


To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia
Rick Porrello  More Info

The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia: Corn Sugar and Blood (Gangsters and Rum Runners)
Rick Porrello  More Info

Superthief: A Master Burglar, the Mafia, and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History
Rick Porrello  More Info

According to the book description of The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia: Corn Sugar and Blood, “Rick Porrello writes about the important connection with mega-mobsters Charles Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, the Cleveland mob's move to Las Vegas, and the first top-level national meeting of the Sicilian-American Mafia.”

One reader of The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia: Corn Sugar and Blood said, “This book was an outstanding read. I couldn't put it down. I gave it four stars simply because I felt it should have discussed the Cleveland Syndicate further. For example what about Moishe Wexler? He owned the Theatrical Grill, a great club in its day. As a born and raised Clevelander, It was very interesting to find out more about stories that I have heard since childhood. I would recommend this book, and in fact I am planning on putting it on the reading list for my criminology classes at Kent State.”

One reader of Superthief: A Master Burglar, the Mafia, and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History said, “From robbing the milkman at age nine through petty thievery to union strongarming, safecracking, and the biggest bank heist in American history, with Mafia associations, drug dealing, and murder along the way, Phil Christopher's story is fast-paced, exciting, and ultimately tragic. As Phil himself admits from behind prison walls, "crime...does pay, but just not for long." Filled with double-dealing, deceit, broken lives, successful crimes, plus his own colossal failures which put Christopher behind bars for over half his life, this is one of best inside accounts of a career criminal I've ever seen. And no one is better qualified to bring Phil's story out than author-cop Rick Porrello, who knows so well the Cleveland underworld that spawned the Superthief.”

About the Lyndhurst Police Department

According to the Lyndhurst Police Department it “is comprised of 31 sworn Police Officers. This includes the Chief of Police, Executive Lieutenant, Traffic Lieutenant, Detective Lieutenant, 3 Shift Lieutenants, 3 Shift Sergeants, a School Resource Officer /Detective, 2 officers assigned to the Detective Bureau, and 18 Patrolmen. Additionally, the Department has 6 full time Dispatchers, an Animal Control Officer, 2 full time and one part time Secretaries, 22 Auxiliary Police officers and 4 school Crossing Guards.

The Patrol Division is responsible for patrolling and protecting a city of 17000 people and an area of 4.3 square miles, 24 hrs per day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. The backbone of the Police Department is its basic patrol. These are the men and women who patrol the streets 24 hrs per day 365 days a year. They answer calls for service, assist other departments in the city, enforce the traffic laws, maintain order, protect and serve.

As they are the first on the scene of a serious incident, be it a traffic crash or criminal act, how well they do their job will determine how successful we are in solving the crime or determining what violation of law was committed that caused the accident.

The visibility of the patrol division assists the Department in suppressing criminal activity. For this reason, the Lyndhurst Police Department vehicles are the traditional black and white paint pattern. Patrol officers spend a portion of their tour of duty on foot patrol in the business district and schools.

The Patrol Division is comprised of 4 six-officer shifts. They patrol 4.3 square miles and protect 17000 residents. Additionally, the Department offers Bicycle Safety talks, Crime Prevention Information, Child Photo ID Pictures, Fingerprinting of Civilians. An Auxiliary Police unit with an authorized strength of 25 members supports the Basic Patrol. Seven of these Auxiliary Police Officers are also sworn officers.”

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