The story that is not often told and believe me it includes some serious guys, is how Scarfo came to be, how Frank Tieri got revenge, and how Vincent "The Chin" Gigante was behind it all. I have gone on record before chastising those who make statements about the Gotti and Castellano issue, when in fact, others before him did the exact same thing. Carlo Gambino had three bosses killed. Vincent Gigante tried to kill Frank Costello, and had a hand in Castellano and Bruno's death. So from that perspective anyone who tries to argue John Gotti and the Paul Castellano hit, and how it was "out of line," just doesn't make any sense and holds no weight with me.
So how did this all happen? First of all, you need to understand a few things. Angelo Bruno was against drugs. Not that he was against taking profits from drugs, he just forbid any of his men to get involved in that business. The problem was, he was allowing Gambino's and Genovese's to move drugs in North Jersey, which was Philadelphia territory. It agitated most of the guys on the streets and they felt it was unfair that he allowed other crews from other families to move weight, yet they couldn't. Nobody was more incensed than Antonio Caponigro.
Nicodemo Scarfo was a maniac. One of the reasons Bruno banished Scarfo to Atlantic City was because "Little Nicky," was uber violent and couldn't seem to keep himself together. He literally stabbed a guy to death with a butter knife in a diner over a seat. All that being said Bruno sends Nicky to Atlantic City to essentially wither away. Bruno knew Atlantic City at the time was a dead end. It was a way of shelving Nick without ultimately doing so. Nicky was angry about it, but did his best to make ends meet. For Nicky it was just a waiting game.
With Caponigro frustrated and unwilling to sit by struggling financially as well as the guys on the streets he decides to make a move on Bruno. He knew Frank "Funzi" Tieri from the Genovese crime family. They had known each other a long time, and had a beef a few years prior. The beef was over rackets in Newark and North Jersey. While Caponigro had rackets there, Tieri moved in and refused to leave even though the territory belonged to Bruno. There was a sit down over the matter and Bruno sided with Caponigro, and believe me Tieri never forgot it. They eventually moved passed the beef, at least that's what Caponigro believed.
Caponigro returned to Philadelphia believing the hit had been sanctioned. It wasn't. Caponigro enlisted Frank Sindone, Alfre
d Salerno and John Simone. He gave the order, and the hit was done. Angelo Bruno was sitting outside his house in a car with John Stanfa. The gunmen walked up and shot Bruno multiple times, killing him. Stanfa was injured in the hit, but with just flesh wounds.
I have always thought John Stanfa was in on the hit. There is no reason as to why the gunmen wouldn't have killed him. A witness is no good, so the mere fact that Stanfa really wasn't hurt speaks volumes. In any event, when the commission finds out about the hit, they summon Caponigro to New York immediately. Vincent Gigante is the one who ordered Caponigro to New York. He told the rest of the commission he would handle it, and for them not to "concern themselves," with the issue.
When Caponigro arrived he was questioned. He had believed it had been sanctioned. After a while, probably out of fear he tells Gigante that it was Tieri who sanctioned it, and knew about it. Tieri denied knowing about it, having involvement in it, and acted shocked at the revelation. Immediately Vincent Gigante ordered him killed. Caponigro's body would be found in the trunk of his car with fourteen bullet wounds, stab wounds and money stuffed into his mouth as a sign that he got greedy.
What perhaps is most astonishing about the end result, is that Frank Tieri was handed all of Caponigro's rackets, which included those they had a beef over, and m
ore. Then Nicodemo Scarfo was made the boss of Philadelphia, and Nicky cut Vincent Gigante in on the SCARF, INC concrete business and was given generous kickbacks from the skim in Atlantic City. Vincent Gigante made huge amounts of money from the deal, and Nicky even allowed more drugs to be moved in and out of his territory. It was a win win for Gigante, Scarfo and Tieri. I'm a firm believer in the saying "if it looks like it, smells like it, it probably is."