Nick Civella – A Reporter’s View

April 2, 2018

Nick CivellaBill Norton covered the Kansas City mob boss Nick Civella and the crime beat for the Kansas City Star newspaper from his first day as a reporter. In the Nick Civella1970s, the KC Police Department furnished a bare bones office with one desk and a telephone for the crime reporter. Bill did not report to the Star offices but rather went to work each day at police headquarters. He developed police sources as well as many criminal sources during his tenure. Bill gradually was able to leave the reporting of day to day crime and became the Star’s expert on the mafia. Bill tells how he learned from the older reporters about covering Nick Civella and relates several funny stories about his various interactions with the KC crime family.





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7 comments on “Nick Civella – A Reporter’s View

  1. Russell Farley Apr 3, 2018

    I have a story about this guy.. My 2nd wife was from KC, and although we lived in the Dallas area, she claimed that Nick Civella routinely called her for numbers to bet at the roulette wheel in Vegas. She said he actually won $50,000 one night from a number she gave him. To say the least, I thought that a little farfetched, until one Saturday evening when the phone rang, with some guy wanting to talk with my wife. I asked who it was, and he said “Nick.” “Civella?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said. Well, I just had to take my chance, so I told him of my wife’s tale of she giving him numbers for the roulette wheel. “True,” he said. “And,” I went on, “Did you really win $50,000 using one of the numbers she gave you?” He paused a second, then said, “Yeah. True.” With that, I said, “Well, thanks for talking me. Here she is.” True story.

  2. Sharon Snyder Apr 3, 2018

    Jack Anderson owned the Red Apple and Bachelor’s III. The reason Carl Spero spent so much time there was because his girlfriend, Toni LanFranca worked there. He finally married her and it was her mother that was Gene Shepherd’s girlfriend. She had been Cork Civella’s girlfriend prior to going with Carl Spero. I was married to Toni LanFranca’s step-father, Louie Cornejo who raised her. Freddy Bonadonna was a close friend with Louie Cornejo and was the godfather of one of his children. As a matter of fact, when Freddy’s father was killed we heard it on the news. I was cooking dinner and Freddy showed up unexpectedly and we asked him what he was doing there? He was laughing and joking until we told him what we had just heard on the news. He hadn’t heard about it yet. I was very close to everything that was going on in those days.

  3. Jonathan Taylor Apr 21, 2018

    Great podcast!

    • Gary Jenkins Apr 21, 2018

      Thank you Jonathan, we try. Bill Norton had a very exciting life covering the mob. I have tried to get him to write his personal story.