Frankie Carbo

Frankie Carbo- the early years

Paul John Carbo (born Paolo Giovanni Carbo; AKA Frankie Carbo was a New York City Mafia soldier in the Lucchese crime family. He was a gunman and assassin for “Lepke” Louis Buchalter in the Murder Inc. organization. Authorities arrested Carbo seventeen times for murder.  He will gravitate to California and continue his murderous habits. In 1939, he was a suspect in the murder of informant Harry “Big Greenie” Greenberg in California. “Kid Twist” Abe Reles agreed to testify against Franky Carbo in this case. In one of the most famous suspicious deaths in mob history, Kid Twist Reles will either be pushed out a window or otherwise sustain a fatal fall from an 8th story window while under police protection. The prosecutor dismissed the case against Carbo. Informants at the time claimed Carbo was responsible for murdering Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel in Beverly Hills, California in 1947.

Boxing Promoter

During World War II, Carbo started promoting boxing matches in California. He joined with a group of other boxing promoters known as the Combination. They will become successful and promote many high-profile matches and fix those same matches for Mob gambling interests. Frankie Carbo had become the mob’s unofficial commissioner for boxing and controlled many fighters. They did not put in the fix on every fight. One of the more famous fixes was Kid Galivan and Johnny Saxon. Carbo Lieutenant, Blinky Palermo from Philadelphia, controlled Saxon. After a fifteen-round fight, the referees awarded the match to Saxton. Most boxing fans believed Kid Galivan won that match.

Franky Carbo and Sonny Liston

By 1959, Franky Carbo and his partner Blinky Palermo owned a piece of heavyweight boxer Sonny Liston. He would win the World Heavyweight Championship in 1962. From the start of his pro career in 1953, St. Louis crime family mobster John Vitale had been an owner of Liston’s first contract and he sold a piece of Liston to Carbo and Blinky Palermo. At the time, Carbo was imprisoned after the government convicted him of the undercover management of prize-fighters and unlicensed matchmaking. At the time law enforcement and the entire sports world knew that Vitale and other mobsters-controlled Liston’s contract. Liston fought 12 fights under the control of Vitale, Carbo, and Palermo.

Franky Carbo and Legal troubles

After serving a sentence for racketeering in 1960, a Senate investigation committee on mob influence on boxing subpoenaed Carbo and others to a hearing. Franky Carbo took the Fifth Amendment 25 times, answering “I cannot be compelled to be a witness against myself.” In 1961, after that hearing, the FBI made a case of conspiracy and extortion on Carbo and Palmero. This was for threats made to the National Boxing Association Welterweight Champion Don Jordan. Attorney General Robert Kennedy served as a prosecutor and the court sentenced Carbo to 25 years in Alcatraz Island Penitentiary. Granted early parole due to ill health, Carbo was released from prison. He died in Miami Beach, Florida on November 22, 1976.

Show Notes by Gary Jenkins

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