Age is no obstacle when it comes to running a business, especially when it’s a Genovese crime family business. Apparently it’s no obstacle to getting arrested either. Matty “the Horse” Ianniello, a longtime Genovese capo, knows the lesson as well as anyone. On Thursday, July 28, federal agents and local police arrested Ianniello and 19 other alleged members and associates on extortion, loansharking and other charges. Ianniello, 85, who at one point allegedly served as acting family boss following the conviction of Vincent “the Chin” Gigante (see photo), was still active. “Don’t let age fool you,” said FBI Agent Matt Heron. “He’s still an influential player in the Genovese family.”
The family has been playing hard these past several years. The federal indictment leading to the arrest alleges that Genovese members, led by Ianniello, infiltrated the Queens, N.Y.-based Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus drivers. Three top officials of the local, including its president, were among those indicted. Prosecutors say that union officials conducted business with mob figures over lunch at an Italian restaurant in Queens owned by a Genovese captain. They also accuse the defendants of extorting $100,000 in cash payments in 1997 from a medical center that rented space from the local, and collecting regular, additional payments since.
Ianniello’s brother, Bobby, achieved a certain notoriety decades ago. He was the owner of Umberto’s Clam House, the Little Italy restaurant where a hit man gunned down mobster Joey Gallo in April 1972. Tourists still occasionally visit the place to inspect the woodwork and kitchen door for leftover bullet holes. Matty Ianniello has been sent to the slammer before, in 1986 for skimming restaurant proceeds. At his age, if he returns, it’s unlikely he’ll see the outside again. (Associated Press, 7/28).