James S. “Jimmy” Duardi

Jimmy DuardiGaetano Lococo was known as one of the “5 Iron Men” in Kansas City La Cosa Nostra history. He started as an enforcer for a 1930s Kansas City political boss named Johnny Lazia. In the famous 1950s Kefauver hearings on Organized Crime, Senator Kefauver described “Tano” Lococo as  “Lococo was a mousy, insignificant, bespectacled little man whose appearance belied his reputation as another of Binaggio’s enforcers.’”  It is said that a well known Kansas City Italian restaurant “Gaetanos” was named after him. He had a nephew named James S. “Jimmy” Duardi. Jimmy Duardi began in the Kansas City Rackets during and just after WW II. Jimmy first came to law enforcement attention when he was suspected of being involved with Nick Civella in the Binaggio and Gargotta murders and later in 1952 he was arrested in another murder.  Jimmy moved to Vallejo California for a few years until he cooled down in Kansas City.

Gargotta-crime-scene-with-Truman-300x223I was once following Lococo and another of the original “5 Iron Men”, Joseph Filardo. Filardo was famous for being caught with Nick Civella at the 1957 Mob Conference in Apalachin, New York. I entered an elevator with these famous gangsters and they were like a couple of little (under 5-5) old men. It was hard to see them as men who struck fear in the hearts of others.

Back to Jimmy Duardi. When I was first assigned to the Intelligence Unit, my friend, Bobby Arnold was also a new guy in the unit. He had been out looking for the movements of known mob guys and noticed a large gregarious man at a restaurant frequented by mobsters. He was back at the Unit and saw Duardi’s picture on the wall. He claimed this was the man he saw. The older detectives hooted him down because they just knew Jimmy was in prison in LeavenworthLeavenworth. Bobby calls Leavenworth and learns that Jimmy is assigned to the minimum security farm and one of his jobs entails him taking a prison vehicle into Kansas City to pick up supplies. And, Jimmy was supposed to be in Kansas City on that date.

My next post will be the story of why Jimmy was in Leavenworth and then on to Bobby Arnold and I monitoring Jimmy when he was released from prison.


10 thoughts on “James S. “Jimmy” Duardi”

  1. Kathrine Panning

    I have an old family photo of my great grandfather with a group of people on a porch. I believe Gaetano Lococo is in the photo. I have looked for many years for someone that looked similar to the man in the photo, as the family mystery has always been “who is this?”. We were always told my great grandfather worked for a gangster at one time and that the pic was taken somewhere in Kansas.

    1. Any other clues? You know that Gaetano LaCocco was Duardi’s uncle. I will send you a picture of him via email.

  2. Great article Gary! I’m a big fan of your podcast and a while back I heard the one about jimmy duardi. It really rang a bell with me because I lived in both grand lake area where he operated and I also lived in vallejo California where he used to hide out. An article in the vallejo Herald was just published about him . I requested a copy and I’ll send you a copy when I get it. I also remember I talked to you in the past about the San Francisco mob and you mentioned maybe doin a podcast on them. Is that still in the works? Thank you Gary. Keep up the good work

    1. Thank you so much. Actually that writer contacted me for some help on the KC end of that story. He sent me a copy. Thanks for thinking of me. I did a little research on San Francisco and then got distracted by so many other stories. This may get me back to that. I am working on several different series of stories that revolve around a specific crime recently. I have a 3 part series on the Las Vegas Hole in the Wall Gand and the Bertha’s caper. I have a KC horror crime I am conducting interviews for and I have been researching a mob connected 3 million dollar armoured car company heist in Chicago.

  3. I grew up two houses down from the Duardi’s on 70th terrace. He was a great neighbor. He was especially good to our family. Obviously, this does not off-set his other activities.

    1. I spent many hours over there straight west across Ward Parkway watching for him to leave so we could follow him.

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