Transcripts on the Disappearance of Anthony ‘Tony Bender’ Strollo

The following is an excerpt from an article which appeared in the New York Times, dated January 8, 1970. 

It relates to the disappearance and probable murder of former Genovese crime family capo Anthony ‘Tony Bender’ Strollo, who disappeared on April 8, 1962.

Our bio on Anthony Strollo and his disappearance can be found here.

Anthony Strollo 1952
Pic: Corbis/Getty Images

F.B.I.‐Taped Conversation Sheds Light on 1962 Gangland Slaying of Strollo

According to the transcript of underworld conversations overheard and recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ruggiero (Richie the Boot) Boiardo, a reputed high ranking Mafioso in New Jersey, sought to give the impression that he alone was responsible for the death of Anthony (Tony Bender) Strollo.

It has been widely believed —and appears to be confirmed in the transcript—that Strollo, a major New Jersey Mafia figure who vanished in 1962, was killed on orders of Vito Genovese, the late Mafia “boss of all bosses.”

Strollo was said to have controlled the underworld’s bar and nightclub operations on New York’s East Side and in Greenwich Village. His fate has been a matter of conjecture since he walked out of his Fort Lee mansion one April evening in 1962 and disappeared. His body has never been found. 

Possible light on the mystery was shed in a conversation — monitored by the F.B.I. and included in the transcript—between Angelo (Gyp) DeCarlo and Anthony (Little Pussy) Russo, reputed captains in the Genovese Mafia family now headed by Gerardo (Jerry) Catena.

The talk, overheard in 1963, was kept secret by the F.B.I. until Federal Judge Robert Shaw in Newark ordered on Tuesday that all electronic surveillance of De Carlo and three co‐defendants in a loan shark extortion trial be made public. 

The transcript of this material‐1,200 pages of bugged conversations made by the F.B.I.—are unsworn, hearsay documents and, as such, do not constitute evidence. 

In the 1963 conversation, Russo related an alleged earlier talk he had with Boiardo and Sam (Momo) Giancana, who was then Mafia boss in Chicago. According to the F.B.I. report, Giancana, teasing the 79‐year‐ old Boiardo about keeping Russo in an important role, asked whom he had ever killed.

The New York Times
January 8, 1970

At this point, Russo’s conversation with De Carlo, as Russo recollected the earlier talk, is presented in the F.B.I. transcript as follows:

RUSSO: “. . . What is he learning? Has he killed any?” He (Boiardo) said, “Yeah?— He killed Tony Bender!” (Anthony Strollo). I said. 

“Mooney, please don’t get me involved.” (Giancana said) “Why? Are you yellow?”

DE CARLO: Don’t he (Giancana) know it was Vito’s orders to kill him? 

RUSSO: I thought of that, too.

DE CARLO: When you got Tony?

RUSSO: Yeah. 

De Carlo appeared to question that one of Giancana’s associates, who was in jail with Vito at the time, would not have known that the order to kill Bender was given, and so notified Giancana.

RUSSO: He (the Boot) didn’t even mention Vito’s name. (Apparently Boiardo tried to give the impression that he alone was responsible for Bender’s death.)

The F.B.I. preceded one of its many transcripts with this note of caution:

“It should be kept in mind that in the following conversation De Carlo is speaking to an underling and that, as is his habit, he may embellish the truth to picture himself as well liked and powerful.”

The article from the New York Times can be read in it’s entirety here

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