Jimmy Fratianno and his Lawyer

August 9, 2021

Jimmy Fratianno and the Lawyer

Dennis McDonald was a civil lawyer who became fast friends with Jimmy Fratianno just before he went into witness protection. This is a rare interview with Dennis McDonald who gives listeners a rare insight into a member of the La Cosa Nostra. After a life of crime, the government was expending a lot of resources on nailing Jimmy Fratianno. As this was happening, he wanted to hire a civil lawyer to file a lawsuit in a business deal. He interviewed a San Franciso area lawyer named Dennis McDonald and hired him. this began a friendship that would last the rest of his life. Gary was asked to appear on another podcast as an expert on Fratianno and during his preparation, he located Dennis Mcdonald on his retirement ranch in Montana. This is an interview of Mr. McDonald’s remembrances of his time as Jimmy Fratianno’s confidant, friend, and advisor.

James Aladena Fratianno – Background

James Aladena “Jimmy the Weasel” Frantianno started his life of crime in Cleveland. As with most of these guys, he started stealing as a teenager. As a matter of act, he was being chased by a cop who exclaimed he looked like a Weasel as he ran away. Others picked up on that nickname and he was known by the sops and the press as Jimmy the Weasel the rest of his life. As with most young Italian immigrants, he did some time and never talked to the cops. He was released from a long robbery sentence right after World War II and again like many Americans, life in California seemed to hold opportunities he could not find in Cleveland. Older mobsters advised Jimmy Fratianno to find Johnny Roselli, the Chicago Outfit man in California for connections. He quickly fell in as an enforcer and collector for Mickey Cohn’s gambling operation. When the split came between Cohn and Jack Dragna, Fratianno chose his paisans in the Mafia.  He orchestrated the murder of the Two Tony’s, Tony Brancato and Tony Trombino for holding up protected gamblers. Dragna rewarded him with his induction into that crime family. Jimmy Fratianno went on to own a successful trucking company and a roving fixer for other mob families throughout the United States. He will end his mob career as a co-boss of the Los Angeles Family with Tom Dragna. After he is asked to help murder his friend Frank “The Bomp” Bompensiaro, Dragna tries to discredit him with other mobsters. He learned he has significant government problems and about to be charged with a murder conspiracy with Frank Fertitta for the bombing murder of Cleveland racketeer Danny Greene. the final straw was when he noticed a couple of men in his neighborhood who he believed were sent to kill him. He will end up in witness protection after these events.

Show notes by Gary Jenkins
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2 comments on “Jimmy Fratianno and his Lawyer

  1. Robert Arnold Aug 9, 2021

    Great interview on Fratianno.

  2. Some errors here. For starters Fratianno was made into the LA Brugad long before the two Tony’s hit. Another is Tom Dragna is the father of Louie Tom Dragna. You meant to say Louie not his father. Jimmy was the acting underboss who was beneath Louie, the acting boss. Also, Johnny Roselli was not with the Chicago Outfit until a full decade after Fratianno landed. Roselli transferred right after Jack Dragna’s death. Jimmy followed shortly after.

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