In 1920, the United States outlawed the production and sale of alcoholic beverages (Prohibition), creating the opportunity for an extremely lucrative illegal racket for the Liberty City gangs.
By 1920, Conti's only significant rival was Giovanni "Big John" Marchetti. Marchetti had taken over the Barbieri family interests, and by the mid-1920s, had begun to amass power and influence to rival that of Conti. By the late 1920s, Conti and Marchetti were headed for a showdown.
On October 10, 1928, Marchetti gunmen assassinated Vito Conti outside his home. Conti's second-in-command, Alfredo Greco, and his right-hand man, Stefano Favigno, now commanded the largest and most influential Sicilian gang in Liberty City.
In 1930, the Broker War started between Marchetti and Francesco Battaglia, the new leader of Carbone's gang, for control of Italian-American organized crime in Liberty City. Greco was a casualty; he and Favigno were shot dead during an assassination attempt on Marchetti on November 3rd, 1930. In April 1931, Marchetti was murdered in a restaurant by several of his gang members who had defected to Battaglia. Battaglia declared himself the boss of all bosses and reorganized all the Liberty gangs into five crime families. Battaglia appointed Gianni La Manna as head of the old Conti/Greco gang, now designated as one of Liberty City's new five families.
In September 1931, Battaglia was himself assassinated in his office by a squad of contract killers. The main beneficiary (and organizer of both hits) was Lorenzo "Lefty" Angelo. Angelo kept Battaglia's five families and added a Commission to mediate disputes and prevent more gang warfare.
Also in 1931, Angelo replaced La Manna with Giacomo "Jack" Zasa as head of the Conti/Greco gang, now the Zasa Crime Family. Zasa also received a seat on the new Commission. The modern era of the Cosa Nostra had begun.
Jack Zasa, Boss from 1931 - 1948
Jack Zasa now took over the family, with his brother Dante as consiglieri and Samuel Verrastro as underboss. Zasa still believed in the Old World mob traditions of "honor", "tradition", "respect" and "dignity." However, he was somewhat more forward-looking than either Marchetti and Battaglia. To compensate for loss of massive revenues with the end of Prohibition in 1933, Zasa moved his family into extortion, union racketeering, and illegal gambling operations including horse betting, running numbers and lotteries.
Zasa also established the East Island Club, ostensibly to promote American values. In reality, the Club was a cover for The Black Hand, the notorious band of mainly Jewish snd Hispanic hitmen who performed contract murders for the Cosa Nostra nationwide. Verrastro was the operating head of The Black Hand he was popularly known as the "Bullseye".
Jack Zasa also had close ties with Ralph Mazzarino, a vice-president of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA). Through the ILA, Zasa and the family completely controlled the Algonquin and Broker/Dukes waterfronts. From 1932 onward, the president of ILA Local 1718 was Phil "Fast Philly" Verrastro, Samuel Verrastro's younger brother. Phil was one of the family's biggest earners, steering millions of dollars in kickbacks and payoffs into the family's coffers. Phil made no secret of his ties to the mob; he only had to say "my brother Samuel" to get his point across. With the family's backing, the Broker waterfront was Phil's bailiwick for 30 years.
Around this time, Fabrizio Corsino was promoted within the Zasa family, along with another future boss, Corsino's best friend and soon Brother in Law, Salvatore Vitale.
Samuel Verrastro and the Zasa brothers were usually in conflict, even though they worked together for 20 years. On numerous occasions, Verrastro and Zasa came close to physical conflict. Zasa felt uncomfortable with Verrastro's close ties to Lefty Angelo, Michael Vario, Donato Ancellotti and other top mobsters outside his family. Zasa was also jealous of Verrastro's strong power base in The Black Hand and the waterfront unions. In April 1948, Jack Zasa disappeared without a trace, while his brother Dante was found dead. No one was ever charged in the Zasa brothers' deaths, and Jack's body was never found. However, it is generally believed that Verrastro murdered both of them.
Samuel Verrastro, Boss from 1948 - 1951
Called to face the Commission, Verrastro refused to accept guilt for the Zasa murders. However, Verrastro did claim that Jack Zasa had been planning to kill him. Verrastro was already running the family in Jack Zasa's "absence", and the Commission members were intimidated by Verrastro. With the support of Michael Vario, boss of the Angelo Crime Family, the Commission confirmed Verrastro ascension as boss of what was now the Verrastro Crime Family. Fabrizio Corsino, a wily character with designs on the leadership himself, maneuvered himself into position as underboss.
The former boss of The Black Hand, Verrastro was a vicious murderer who inspired fear throughout the Liberty City families. With Vario as an ally, Verrastro came to control the Commission. Vario's bitter rival was Donato "Smokey" Ancelotti, a former underboss for Lefty Angelo. Since 1946, Ancelotti had been scheming to remove Vario from power, but was not powerful enough to face Verrastro.
Verrastro's own brutal actions soon created a favorable climate in Liberty City for his removal. In 1951, Verrastro ordered the murder of a Broker man Jerome McAfee who had aided in the capture of bank robber Martin Murdoch. Verrastro did not like the fact that McAfee had helped the police. The Liberty City families were outraged by this gratuitous killing that raised a large amount of public furor. Verrastro also alienated one of Angelo's powerful associates, Roberto Torres, by opening casinos in Cuba to compete with Torres. Ancelotti and Torres soon recruited Fabrizio Corsino to the conspiracy by offering him the chance to replace Verrastro and become boss himself.
In May 1951, Michael Vario escaped a Ancelotti-organized murder attempt with a minor injury and decided to resign as boss. However, Ancelotti and Corsino soon learned that Vario was conspiring with Verrastro to regain power. They decided to kill Verrastro.
On October 25th, 1951, several masked gunmen murdered Verrastro while he was having a family picnic at Middle Park in Algonquin. As Verrastro sat on his lawn chair, the three assailants rushed in, shoved his wife out of the way, and started shooting. The wounded Verrastro allegedly lunged at his killers but failed. Verrastro died at the scene. Many historians believe that Corsino ordered caporegime Bill Lupo to kill Verrastro and Lupo gave the contract to a squad of Corsino drug dealers led by Paul Armaretto.
Fabrizio Corsino, Boss from 1951 - 1976
With Verrastro's death, Fabrizio Corsino became boss of what was now called the Corsino Crime Family. Bill Lupo became underboss, supposedly as a reward for the Verrastro killing. However, Corsino was upset by Lupo's misbehavior and replaced him with Luca Genarose in 1965.
By all accounts, Donato Ancellotti was angling to become boss of all bosses, and believed that Corsino would support him. Corsino, however, had his own plan in mind. He secretly joined forces with Lefty Angelo and Michael Vario to get Ancellotti out of the way. Corsino helped trick Ancellotti into a lucrative drug deal, then paid a small-time Puerto Rican dealer to testify against him. In April 1959, Ancellotti was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, where he died in 1969.
Corsino quickly built the family into the most powerful crime family in the United States. He was helped by Roberto Torres offshore gaming houses in Cuba and the Bahamas, a lucrative business for the Cosa Nostra.
In 1964, Joe Messina, the head of the Messina Crime Family, and Donald Sarante, the new boss of the Provaccio Crime Family, conspired to kill Corsino and his allies on the Commission. However, the man entrusted with the job, Mario Pavano, instead revealed the plot to Corsino. The Commission, led by Corsino, forced Sarante to resign and hand over his family to Pavano, while Messina fled Liberty City. Corsino then became the most powerful leader of the "Five Families".
In 1971, Corsino allegedly used his power to orchestrate the shooting of Pavano. Corsino and his allies were unhappy about Pavano's high public profile. Arnez Hamilton shot Pavano on June 28, 1971 at the second "Italian-American Unity Day" rally. Hamilton was tentatively linked to the Corsino family, but no one else was charged in the shooting. Pavano survived the shooting, but remained paralyzed until his death in 1978.
Corsino's influence also stretched into behind-the-scenes control of the Lupisella Crime Family, led by Carmine "Blue Eyes" Valenti.
In 1972, Corsino allegedly picked Gerald Figgoro to be front boss of the Ancellotti Crime Family. Corsino had allegedly ordered the murder of Figgoro predecessor Sam Endrizzi after he failed to repay a $3 million loan to Corsino. It is also believed that Endrizzi was killed by his own crime family for his erratic ways.
Under Corsino, the family gained particularly strong influence in the construction industry. It acquired behind-the-scenes control of Teamsters Local 818, which controlled access to most building materials in the Liberty City area and could literally bring most construction jobs in Liberty City to a halt.
On October 15, 1976, Fabrizio Corsino died of a heart attack. Following his wishes, control of the family was passed to Salvatore Vitale, whose sister was married to Corsino. Vitale kept longtime underboss Luca Genarose in his position. Many Genarose allies were bitterly disappointed by Vitale's ascension, but Genarose insisted that they obey Corsino's instructions.
Salvatore Vitale, Boss from 1976 - 1985
When Vitale became boss, he negotiated a division of responsibilities between himself and Genarose. Vitale took control of the so-called "white collar crimes" that included stock embezzlement and other big money rackets. Genarose retained control of the traditional Cosa Nostra activities. To maintain control over the Genarose faction, Vitale relied on the crew run by Lou Gaggliardi and Pete LaTorre. The LaTorre crew allegedly committed from 74 to 200 murders during the late 1970s and mid-1980s.
During his regime, Vitale vastly expanded the family's influence in the construction industry. His new alliance with the Irish-American McReary Family made millions of dollars for the family in construction rackets. For all intents and purposes, the Corsino's held veto power over all construction projects worth over $2 million in Liberty City. The LaTorre gang also ran a very lucrative car theft ring. Vitale relied on a four-man ruling panel to supervise family operations. This panel consisted of powerful Garment District leader Henry Corsino, bodyguard and later underboss Thomas Bardi, and powerful Dukes faction-leaders Richard Giordano and George Fratelli.
In response to the Corsino rise, federal prosecutors targeted the family leadership. On March 31, 1984 a federal grand jury indicted Vitale and 20 other Corsino members and associates with charges of drug trafficking, murder, theft, and prostitution. This group included Tony Innocenti's brother Frankie Innocenti and his best friend Eddie Scarpa. In early 1985, Vitale was indicted along with other Cosa Nostra leaders in the Mafia Commission case. Facing the possibility of time in prison, Vitale announced that Henry Corsino would become acting boss in Vitale's absence, with Bardi as acting underboss to replace the ailing Genarose.
The Corsino family was making more money, but the internal strife continued to grow. The Genarose faction considered Vitale a businessman, not a mob boss. They grew infuriated when Vitale increased their tribute requirements while building himself a grand mansion in Beachgate. Vitale became increasingly detached from family members, conducting all family business at his mansion. Vitale's announcement about Corsino and Bardi further enraged the Genarose partisans.
Vitale's most vocal critic was Tony Innocenti, a Dukes-based capo and Genarose protégé. Innocenti was ambitious and wanted to be boss himself. He was also angry that Vitale allowed the LaTorre crew to deal in narcotics while forbidding him from doing it. Innocenti and his men conducted their drug trade in secret. The 1983 Scarpa indictment came from phone conversations that Federal agents had recorded on Innocenti's phone. The taped conversations included Scarpa discussing drug deals and expressing his contempt for Vitale. By law, the defendants were allowed transcripts of these wiretap conversations to aid their defense. Vitale immediately demanded copies for himself. Genarose kept the transcripts from Vitale – the drug dealing and disrespectful language on the transcripts would have given Vitale cause to kill both Scarpa and Innocenti. In turn, Genarose prevented Innocenti from deposing Vitale, citing his promise to Fabrizio Corsino
On December 2, 1985, Genarose died of cancer. With Genarose gone, Scarpa could no longer keep the incriminating transcripts away from Vitale. Innocenti quickly realized that now was the best time to murder Vitale and seize power. He recruited three major earners from his generation into the plot along with Scarpa: capo Frank D'Amico and soldiers Silvio Palladino and Bernard Gavino. To win the support of family old-timers, he recruited longtime capo Jeffrey Assante into the conspiracy, who dated back in the family's history to the Zasa brothers.
On December 16, 1985, Bardi and Vitale arrived at Superstar Cafe in Algonquin for a dinner meeting with capo Frank D'Amico. As the two men were exiting their car, four unidentified men shot them to death.
Tony Innocenti, Boss from 1985 - 1998
In January 1986, Tony Innocenti was acclaimed as the new boss of the family. Innocenti appointed Frank D'Amico as underboss and promoted Malvada and Palladino to capo. Innocenti was known as "Don Debonaire", renowned for his hand-tailored suits and silk ties. Unlike his colleagues, he made little effort to hide his mob connections and was very willing to provide interesting sound bites to the media. His home in Beachgate was frequently seen on television. He liked to hold meetings with family members while walking in public places so that law enforcement agents could not record the conversations. One of Innocenti's neighbors in Beachgate was Joseph Trinno, underboss of the Messina Crime Family. Innocenti and Trinno had a longstanding friendship dating back to the 1970s, when they were known as two of the most proficient truck hijackers in Liberty City.
Mob leaders from the other families were enraged at the Vitale murder and disapproved of Innocenti's high-profile style. Innocenti's strongest enemy was Ancellotti Crime Family boss Russel "Finger" Grimaldi, a former Vitale ally. Grimaldi conspired with Lupisella Boss Leo Clemente to have Innocenti killed. Clemente gave the contract to two top members of his family, Vittorio "Vic" Amato and Anthony "Pipes" Casano. On April 13, 1986, they killed D'Amico with a remote-controlled bomb while he was attending a meeting with other capos. The bomb had been meant for Innocenti as well, but he skipped the meeting at the last minute. D'Amico was succeeded by Jeffrey Assante, but only a year later he was convicted on racketeering charges alongside longtime consigliere Pepe Gatto.
Innocenti was tried three times by federal and state officials, but was acquitted each time, earning him the nickname "The Silk Don." It turned out that the trials had been compromised by witness intimidation, juror misconduct, and jury tampering. Innocenti's flamboyance, however, proved to be his undoing. The FIB had managed to bug an apartment above his headquarters in the Drusilla's Restaurant in Little Italy. Innocenti was heard planning criminal activities and complaining about his underlings. In particular, he complained about Palladino, portraying him as a "mad dog" killer. Palladino responded by turning state's evidence and testifying against Innocenti and other members of the family. Innocenti and consiglieri Derrick Manganelli were convicted on all charges on April 2, 1992, largely on the strength of Palladino's testimony, and sentenced to life without parole.
Mariano Corsino, Boss since 2002
Innocenti continued to run the family from prison until 1998 then appointed, then underboss, Ray "Toothpick" Cipriani as Acting Boss until further notice. September 17 2002, Anthony Innocenti AKA Don Debonaire AKA The Silk Don, The Don of The Corsino Crime Family, died of throat cancer while in prison. During his burial on September 19 2002, The heads of the Five Families attended but it has been stated by other mobsters that the tension was thick. The only people that did not attend was Mariano "Riano" Corsino, the Grandson of Fabrizio Corsino. He was a Capo at the time and ran a crew of both ruthless and intelligent men.
Cipriani felt offended at Corsino's absence and put a hit on him. Once word got out that Cipriani wanted Corsino dead, that gave Corsino the green light to assassinate Cipriani. He teamed up with Jimmy Pegorino, Don of The Pegorino Crime Family from Alderney and conspired against Cipriani. Pegorino wanted some rackets in Little Italy in return to which Corsino agreed. On October 9 2002, Cipriani was assassinated in front of his home by three masked assailants. October 12 2002, Cipriani's Underboss, Thomas "Kitty" Caprisi, was also assassinated by the same three masked assailants in Alderney City, Alderney. October 21 2002, Riano called a meeting with three Cipriani Capo's: Frank Rizzo, Artie Costanza, and Nicolas Leonetti. Alongside Innocenti Capo's: Robert Collevechio and Aldo LoSanti plus old-timer Corsino and Vitale Capo Vittore "Vitty"Croccetti.
They all met at Drusilla's to talk about the person responsible for the deaths of Cipriani and Caprisi. But it was really a plot of assassinate all remaining Cipriani and Innocenti supporters with help from Vitty Croccetti. Corsino, his right hand man, Sonny Gragucci, and Vitty Croccetti pulled out their guns and killed all five Capo's. This would be infamously known as The 5 Capo Massacre. Corsino would then be given the position as Don of The Corsino Crime Family with Gragucci as his Underboss and Vitty Croccetti as his Consiglieri. Croccetti died of heart failure in 2007, he was succeeded by Gragucci which also made Riano's Brother in law, Enzo Franzezza Underboss.
Riano Corsino continues to run the family to this day without any unwanted attention from the FIB and the media.