Even within organized crime some mobsters are more degenerate than others, and Alfred Miniaci apparently had ties to the filthiest among them.
The jukebox king and money lender had numerous ties to reputed mobsters as detailed in the new book The Mafia and the Gays by Phillip Crawford Jr. Among the wise guys with whom Miniaci seemingly rubbed financial elbows was Gambino capo Robert DiBernardo. In 1972 the two men were among the five principal shareholders in Sentry Sound Systems Inc. which marketed burglar alarms for vending machines.
The FBI's New York field office had been monitoring DiBernardo's role in the smut trade since 1968 when he was arrested by the NYPD on his first obscenity charge for distributing a porno mag entitled Young Stuff. In 1986 federal postal inspectors discovered cartons of magazines seemingly depicting underage boys "engaged in sexually explicit conduct" at smut shops in Times Square and Greenwich Village which allegedly were distributed by DiBernardo, and during a subsequent March 1986 raid on DiBernardo's office seized alleged "child pornography and financial records." Unfortunately, the feds were precluded by intervening events from indicting DiBernardo on the kiddie porn. In a power play for control over the Gambino family John Gotti whacked family boss Paul Castellano on December 16, 1985, and only months later whacked Castellano's trusted capo DiBernardo on June 5, 1986.
Miniaci's relationship with DiBernardo perhaps existed even before the pair were co-principals in Sentry Sound Systems Inc. Among the many corporate entities under Miniaci's control was Alfred Miniaci, Inc., and according to New York State Liquor Authority records it loaned $1,000 in September 1966 to Galp Enterprises, Inc. which operated a restaurant on Long Island at 488 Chestnut Street in Cedarhurst, NY from September 1966 to February 1968. The premises previously was the Villa Capra where Lucchese mobster Frank Manza conducted his business, and according to the SLA was "the scene of a 1965 underworld Cosa Nostra crime council attended by the reputed head of the Chicago underworld and by top leaders of the Vito Genovese, Joseph Bonanno and Tommy (Three Finger Brown) Lucchese 'families.'" The SLA revoked Manza's license for the Villa Capra in August 1966, and only weeks later Galp Enterprises was approved as the new licensee. However, the SLA then acted against Galp Enterprises -- its sole shareholder was Alan Lenchner -- upon concern that DiBernardo had an undisclosed role with the premises. The SLA alleges in a 1968 report:
The Authority was informed by law enforcement officials that Alan Lenchner, the then licensee's sole principal, was under investigation in connection with a jewelry theft; that one Robert DiBernardo was participating in the management of the licensed premises; that DiBernardo had a police department identification number and was connected with the DeCavalcante New Jersey underworld "family"; that DiBernardo was also associated with John "Sonny" Franzese; that DiBernardo was also associated with Gaetano (Corkey) Vestola, known by the police to be a shylock, a strong arm gunman, and a hijack man for the Cosa Nostra; that the shylock, Vestola, had loaned $7000 to the then licensee; and that DiBernardo and Lenchner, were partners in another enterprise. The Authority instituted an investigation of these premises which disclosed that DiBernardo was a maitre d' therein; that the licensee and its principal paid for DiBernardo's rented car and for improvements to DiBernardo's home; and that the licensee had borrowed $4000 from one Red Robbie Wisch, who was then under investigation in connection with a homicide and with undisclosed interests in various licensed premises in New York.
In April 1968 the SLA formerly revoked Galp Enterprise's liquor license for the Cedarhurt premises. It's unclear whether Galp Enterprises ever paid back the $1,000 loan from Alfred Miniaci, Inc.
It wasn't just reputed Gambino capo and alleged child pornographer Robert DiBernardo with whom Alfred Miniaci seemingly had a financial tie; the money lender also may have loaned money to a company which was a suspected front for reputed Genovese capo and alleged child rapist Salvatore Granello. In 1966 Barry H. Trupin borrowed $20,000 from Interboro Funds of which Alfred Miniaci was a co-principal in connection with his purchase of the Charlie Bates nightclub at 1487 First Avenue from Charles Diorio. Interboro Funds came to Barry Trubin upon the recommendation of Lillian Bicks who had been a nightclub broker since 1940, and was the biggest player in the New York. Among her employees was Genovese mobster Salvatore Cioffi with whom she also apparently shared a bed at her New Rochelle home.
The SLA developed concerns that Trupin might be a front for Granello when Trupin applied to buy an 80 percent interest from Arthur Kettler in Basin Street East at 137-139 East 48th Street. Multiple sources claimed to the FBI throughout the 1960s that Granello "has taken advantage of several young girls," and "is known to be extremely rough with his female companions." Indeed, multiple complaints were filed with local police involving Granello's alleged rapes of 14- and 15-year-old girls. In connection with Granello's suspected ties to Trupin in the nightlife industry a June 1967 SLA report alleges the following:
Acting upon information that one Salvatore Granello, alias Sally Burns, had an undisclosed interest in Basin Street East, that he was also involved in the Charlie Bates Restaurant licensed to Trupin Enterprises, Inc. and that Trubin was fronting for Burns, the Authority conducted an investigation.
Questioned by the Authority, the licensee's principal, Kettler, stated that Sally Burns has been a frequent visitor to the Basin Street East premises with Barry Trupin; that Burns did the redecorating of Basin Street East while the premises were closed to the public during early 1967; that he ordered new chairs for the premises and that Sally Burns was often accompanied by Conti.
Questioned by the Authority, Trupin testified that he met both Burns and [Granello associate Dino] Conti at the Charlie Bates Restaurant about a month before the signing of the contract relating to Basin Street East; that he thereafter saw Burns at Charlie Bates and elsewhere many times; that he also saw Burns frequently at Basin Street East while the redecorating was taking place; that Burns advised on the decorating and gave his opinion on different matters and that he, Trupin, discussed acts and entertainment with Burns.
The SLA may have put the kibosh on Trupin's budding career as a nightlife impresario but all wasn't lost for him. Barry Trupin later made hundreds of millions promoting tax shelters although he later was hobbled by federal convictions in the 1990s for purchasing a stolen Marc Chagall painting and then evading capital gains taxes on a Southampton mansion.
Although he liked to crow about what a real humanitarian he was it appears there was a darker underbelly to Alfred Miniaci's life, and perhaps he was little more than a predatory wolf in sheep's clothing who financially profited from ties to the most repugnant mobsters within the Mafia crime families.
Further reading that may be of interest: