After mobster Michael Maggio died in March 1959 his protege Angelo Bruno used the Maggio Cheese Company on 11th and Washington Streets in Philadelphia, PA as headquarters from which the mob boss then ran his numbers racket according to FBI informants.
Philadelphia mobsters frequently were around Maggio and his cheese company. In August 1958 the FBI characterized Maggio as the "retired chairman of the Board" of the Greaser Gang and "retired head of the 'Mafia' in Philadelphia" who was "old and in bad health" but "still contacted concerning policy matters by Greaser Gang and other groups." One informant "advised that MAGGIO is one of the top men in the Greaser Gang with connections all over the United States as well as in Italy, that he was born in Sicily and is a member of the Mafia," and another informant "has reported that MAGGIO is one of the big men in the Mafia who has committed many murders and whose word goes far."
On July 26, 1958 "MAGGIO was interviewed at his residence by Bureau Agents" at 2519 South 21st Street, and "MAGGIO was receptive to an interview and talked at length concerning his legitimate enterprise, the Maggio Cheese Company of Philadelphia":
He admitted knowing ANGELO BRUNO; ANTONINO POLLINA, was., DOMINICK POLLINA; PETER CASELLA; FELIX DE TULLIO; PHIL TESTA, a known numbers writer and a reported Lieutenant of ANGELO BRUNO, mentioned above; and SALVATORE FALCONE. MAGGIO states that he associates with these individuals only as a result of business that comes up with the Maggio Cheese Company. MAGGIO denied that he ever engaged in any illegal activities. He stated that he has no use for anyone dealing in "bootlegging or dope."
The FBI confirmed through IRS and other records that loanshark Dominick Pollina in fact was a Maggio Cheese employee, and listed as a Vice President. One informant told the FBI that Pollina "actually uses that position as a front and office for a loan sharking business." According to another informant "POLLINA has a large amount of money, most of which he has made by loan sharking," and is "personally a physical coward unless he has strong arm men to back him up, but that with help, POLLINA will not hesitate to slap around any person who is slow in repaying loans."
A January 1958 FBI report makes the following claims about business operations for Maggio Cheese:
On December 16, 1957, Confidential Informant T-34 said that M. Maggio Cheese Company, with plants on the southwest corner of 11th and Washington Streets, 916-18 South 9th Street, and 903-11 Montrose Street, was organized by MICHAEL MAGGIO in 1920. MICHAEL is the president; [name redacted]; Peter J. MAGGIO, secretary, and [name redacted]. The financial condition of the company is listed as sound with turnover of assets normal or better. The company was charted on October 14, 1946, with capital stock of $50,000.
The Milkmaid Dairy Products, Inc., and the Vineland Cheese Company, Inc., both of 759 South East Boulevard, Vineland, N.J., occasionally sell to the M. Maggio Cheese Company. PETER J. MAGGIO is president of Milkmaid and secretary of the Vineland Cheese Company.
The M. Maggio Cheese Company employs an average of 25 persons, including six driver-salesmen and sells in the Philadelphia area. Business is located in a one-story brick building at 11th and Washington which is owned by the officers and rented to the corporation. It has a branch in Denton, Md., which is a receiving station for milk. The property on South 9th and Montrose Streets belong to the corporation and have a combined value of $27,300.
In March 1958 the FBI determined that "the Maggio Cheese Company maintains a bank account at the Broad Street Trust Company in Philadelphia, and the members of the firm, who are all members of the MAGGIO family, also have accounts there," and "the firm's account shows frequent withdrawals by check in three and four figures." FBI "inquiries during the week of 3/3/58 at Penn Fruit Stores Company, Food Fair Stores, and Acme Stores, reflect that M. Maggio Cheese Company does business with these concerns, averaging approximately $7,000 or better per year."
Michael Maggio apparently retired in late 1955 "due to age and ill health," and business operations were turned over to his son Peter. Michael Maggio wintered in Miami, FL where mobsters including Angelo Bruno frequently visited him but Maggio often returned to Philadelphia, and he drove a Florida-licensed 1958 cream colored four-door Cadillac sedan. Michael Maggio's health continued to deteriorate, and in February 1959 he was at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia "where he had a very serious operation." He was "released from the hospital in a very poor condition" by early March 1959, and "it was felt that MAGGIO probably had a malignant condition and due to his age was not given too long to live." On "being released from the hospital MAGGIO was immediately taken to his winter home in Miami Beach, Fla. by his son [name redacted]."
Michael Maggio died in Miami Beach on March 14, and "his body was returned to Philadelphia for viewing on 3/18/59, and burial on 3/19/59." Two FBI "informants were present at the viewing and state that 'everybody who is anybody in the business' was there to show their respect":
Both informants estimated several thousand persons attended the viewing and both stated they understood the funeral procession contained at least 20 or 30 flower cars. They said this large funeral would indicate the position MAGGIO held in the criminal world. [Redacted] said that in his opinion, because of MAGGIO's age and physical condition, the turnout was for MAGGIO's influence in the past when he had been more active and not for any recent activity.
One informant "advised that ANGELO BRUNO attended the funeral of MICHAEL MAGGIO, mentioned above," and "the informant said that BRUNO told him he made the trip from Miami specifically to attend the funeral and was going to return immediately to Miami after the funeral as he was seriously considering making Miami his permanent home." This same "informant also advised that with the death of MICHAEL MAGGIO, BRUNO is probably now considered the 'Mahoff' of the Italian criminal element, in the Philadelphia area."
A September 1959 FBI report alleges the following:
During the period covered by this report, according to T-16 and T-18, ANGELO BRUNO has been increasingly mentioned as the Philadelphia leader of the Italian racketeers. In March of 1959, MICHAEL MAGGIO, who has been reported in the past by some sources to have been a sort of chairman of the board in Italian racket activities died in Florida. [Name redacted] is now operating his family business, the Maggio Cheese Company and according to T-16, participates in discussions of matters involving the Greasers. T-16 has also reported that when in Philadelphia ANGELO BRUNO uses the offices of the Maggio Cheese Company as his headquarters.
On June 10, 1959, T-16 said that on the previous day he had been in the office of the Maggio Cheese Company, 11th and Washington Streets, Philadelphia, where he had seen ANGELO BRUNO's son, MICHAEL, who was visited by a number of men recognized by T-16 as numbers writers and pickup men. T-16 believed that this indicated that MICHAEL BRUNO was running his father's numbers business.
MICHAEL MAGGIO, former Philadelphia Top Hoodlum, President of the Maggio Cheese Company in Philadelphia, died in Florida in March 1959 [name redacted] has taken over the direction of the business. T-16 has reported that ANGELO BRUNO, Philadelphia Top Hoodlum, uses the cheese company office as his business headquarters and that T-16 has conferred with BRUNO there. [Name redacted] frequently sits in on these conferences. T-16 has also seen ANGELO BRUNO's son, Michael, doing business with numbers writers and pick-up men in the office of the Maggio Cheese Company.
On December 4, 1959 a "PCI [confidential informant name redacted] advised that 'a lot of numbers action' was going into the Maggio Cheese Company at the present time," and that "the Maggio Cheese Company is the location of BRUNO's numbers bank." Loanshark Dominick Pollina still "is employed by instant company located at 11th Street and Washington Avenue, Philadelphia, which is also a known hangout of BRUNO." Moreover, "on 12/1/59, Special Agents, Philadelphia Division, observed a 1950 Buick, Pennsylvania registration L 05458 at the Maggio Cheese Company which is registered to IGNAZIO DENARO who is known to most informants as a leading loan shark in Philadelphia."
The FBI advised the IRS "of BRUNO's [alleged] numbers bank location" on December 9, 1959, and an IRS Philadelphia section chief "states he intends, based on this information, to use approximately a six man force to establish the existence of a gambling (numbers) operation at the Maggio Cheese Company with the objective of arresting BRUNO, POLLINA and others for not possession a federal gambling stamp." Although the IRS official "says this would be a weak case for prosecution in federal court . . . a search incidental to arrest would be made hoping to locate records, money or any material for possible prosecution." By January 21, 1960 "agents of the Internal Revenue Service are now conducting an audit of the books of the Maggio Cheese Company formerly owned by MICHAEL MAGGIO, deceased, and presently controlled by the MAGGIO sons," and although "this cheese company is known to be a hangout of ANGELO BRUNO and he is reported to maintain an office there" since "the Internal Revenue agents have been auditing the books, BRUNO has not been around and he is supposed to be out of town."
Michael Maggio's son Peter died in 1992, and the company sold by legitimate heirs nearly two decades ago.