Carl Spero and Nick Civella

meat market smallThe B & C Meat Co. was owned by Al Brandemeyer and the Civella family. I remember it was located just east of Paseo about 8th or 9th St. They sold a lot of meat to restaurants. The Outfit has always owned companies that supplied bars and restaurants. Cigarette machine and other vending machines were often owned by mob dominated businesses. I believe this is  because many mob associates as well as people who gamble and drink are involved in these endeavors. You might notice the names of the two guys that did the arson on the Hereford House. Mr. Pisciotta and Mr. Sorrentino may be what we call, “connected guys”. When the Mob does business with restaurant and bar owners, they keep a constant  source of information coming in about who is doing good and bad. That information lets them know who is vulnerable and susceptible to illegal help.

Gangland Wire documents the war between the Spero Brothers and the Civella Family. Carl Spero wanted to put pressure on the Civella family in an attempt to “take over” the  La Cosa Nostra family in Kansas City. Part of this was the robbery of Al Brandemeyer of proceeds from B & C Meats.

Carl Spero helped  a  guy named Leonard Crego get out of the Missouri State Penitentiary by giving him a job (at least on paper). Crego was a very dangerous man. He was known as “the Arab” and was the head of all illegal activities among Caucasian prisoners in the pen.  His criminal specialty was armed robbery. He was in the pen for robbing a supermarket. During this supermarket robbery, The Arab carried 2 handguns.

Spero sent Crego to  B & C and he robbed Al Brandemeyer of over $10,000.00 in cash. This money was probably Civella money from the sports book. After the actual robbery, he forced Brandemeyer into the trunk of his own car. Once inside, Crego, who was carrying 2 hand guns, emptied both guns into the trunk. By some miracle, none of the bullets  struck Brandemeyer. While he was shooting, Brandemeyer reported the suspect yelled, “Tell that fucking Nick Civella the Arab is in town.” Shortly after, a suspect was arrested during the robbery of a drug dealer (a family member slipped out and called  the cops during the home invasion robbery). This suspect had 2 handguns and was named Leonard Crego. He was on parole and the parole was violated. Bob Arnold and I went to the Jackson County jail and interviewed him about the Spero connection. He refused to talk. The Arab was one of the scariest individuals I have ever interviewed.  I was relieved to exit that interview room. We heard that even the Spero brothers were relieved to get the Arab out of circulation because he was hard to control and so dangerous.

Leonard Crego goes back to Jefferson City, behind the walls, to maximum security. He has aged and lost something because he cannot regain his power and dies from a heart attack shortly after his return. This is not before he has to make a spear from a shank wired to a  broom handle and fight off 4 or 5 young prisoners. This guy was one bad dude. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the Arab.

Nick Civella and his gang learned the identity of the B & C Meat Co. robbery suspect and his connection to Carl Spero. They would soon strike back in a horrible gruesome manner.

7 Responses to “Carl Spero and Nick Civella”

  1. kc Joe says:

    Hi Gary was B&C located in the building the holds the new Schimeca sausage company. The FBI identified Pisciotta as a made member and Sorrentino as a long time associate. While Spero stated that was his reason I think it had more to do with vengeance for the murder of his brother Nick who was trying to garner power within the teamsters in an effort to force Civella out. This was a move that was back by a few other guys who later ended up dead, one being David Bonadonna. I think he was dead weather it was Cammisano or Civella.

    • Gary Jenkins says:

      I am not sure, I have a very vague memory of the B&C building for some reason. You know, Carl and his brothers were angry about Nick, but they also felt they were slighted in connection to Mike Spero not getting a better Teamsters job, like the one Sam Ancona got. I interviewed 2 non-italians who were small time criminals during this time. We had connected them to Carl in some manner. They both claimed Carl had recruited them to be part of his “organization” and that Carl said he was going to “move in” on the Civella domination of sports book gambling. One guy (who was later killed in a drug deal gone bad) even claimed Carl was going to open a night club at 103 St. and State Line. Carl old him they would have a back room for meetings of his organization. I am sure if I could find that out from these dumb ass talkative peckerwoods, the Outfit knew of these plans.

  2. kc joe says:

    You know that does make sense, from what I heard Carl had a very high opinion of himself, you got to admit though he had balls, any sane man would have known what he was contemplating was not feasible.

  3. John D. says:

    I was maybe 16 when I met the “Arab”…For some reason I was thinking the meat company was just off Troost on 8th or 9th. I was doing “boiler room” operations group of phone callers selling discount restaurant coupons. The Italian guy I was working for double printed the coupons and was skimming off Cork Civella. We got called to the meat company. I remember because the “Untouchables was on TV at the time and an episode had them murdering people at the Meat packing Plant. Hanging them on hooks.
    The Arab scared the shit out of me and especially Joe. Gun got shoved in his mouth as I watched. He admitted to the double printing but said he was ripping the restaurant owner off not Cork. He then produced a wad of bills and gave it to the Arab for Cork. We couldn’t leave until Civella showed up an hour later. Took the money , talked in Sicilian to Joe and everybody laughed. But it was more nervous laughter from Joe and I. I never knew what was going on. Met the Arab couple more times alwayds frightened me

  4. kc Joe says:

    There is one thing that confuses me, this was all a little before my time, but were the Spero’s ever part of the Civella group and broke off or were they always a separate entity and if the Arab was Spero’s guy why would he be collecting for Civella. Can you shine some light on this for me Gary.

  5. Gary Jenkins says:

    Joe,
    As you know Kansas City is not that big, so if you grew up in northeast and were a professional criminal or a wannabe, people knew each other. The Spero brothers were what we might term as associates and not “made” guys. There was a bunch of these young guys like the Spero brothers, for example Sonny Bowen, Mike Ruffalo, Frankie Robertson, Calia, and others. They knew each other and sometimes did scores together. If you have ever seen GoodFellas or read the book,Nick Pileggi gives an accurate depiction of the relationship between a group of professional criminals(both peckerwoods and Sicilians) and made guys.

    If regards to the Arab, we are not sure this is the same person, but I believe it is. These associates, and particularly psychopaths like Crego, are not loyal to anyone, but to whoever can help them out. Loyalties shift, egos rule and drug and alcohol addled brains make decisions that do not make sense to the observer.

  6. kc joe says:

    Gotcha, thanks Gary, never was clear on the conection between Spero and Civella.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>