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Mafia Dreams – The Young Italians

Retired Kansas City Police Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins interviews non-fiction author Frank Hayde about his newest book, Mafia¬†Dreams: A True Crime Saga of Young Men at the End of an Era in Kansas City.¬† Frank tells how an FBI investigation into the insurance crimes of Travis Riley ended with his son, Joe Riley, being shot to death during a drug reverse-sting in an Airport hotel room.¬† The FBI turned their sights on Riley’s son, Joe Riley, to put pressure on the Father and learn where he had hidden all his hidden assets. Joe Riley delivered himself up to the FBI because he was trying too hard to be a gangster. He was inexperienced and easily tricked. Before that investigation was done, an FBI agent shoots and kills Joe Riley.¬† This story also tells about the demise of the KC Mafia and how the FBI used the grand jury immunity process to jail many young men whose only crime was to be seen talking to a made guy and then refuse to testify.

Other books by Frank Haye are The Mafia and The Machine,  The Italian Gardens: A History of Kansas City though its Most Favorite Restaurant.  
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Welcome all you Wiretappers out there good to be back here in studio Gangland Wire. I have a Kansas City story but it kind of stretches out to Las Vegas you’re gonna hear a little tidbit little interesting teaser about Oscar Goodman, the famous mob lawyer which is you know, I’ve done a story about so Welcome Frank. Hey, I really appreciate you coming on the show Frank.

Thanks for having me back Gary

Now we did another show about the Mafia and the Machine is like the history of the mob and Kansas City so Frank is steeped in the mafia in Kansas City. And go back and check that show out I think I titled it the Mafia and the Machine and but whatever you can find it you know, Google Frank Hatde HAYDE on YouTube or you know, gangland wire and Frank Hayde Mafia and the Machine. You’ll you’ll find it I’ll have a link to it down below guys. We’re going to talk about his new book mafia dreams a true crime saga of young men at the end of an era in Kansas City. Frank, you told me this is about these young guys that came along after we did the straw man caper. And all the old guys Nick’s about died, Corky Civella, Tuffy DeLuna and Tony Ripe Civella and Charlie Mortena. All of them went to jail for long periods of time. And these are the next generation of Mob guys. So, Frank, start, tell me how did you get into this book? How did you get into this? It’s an interesting story with twin twist.

Right? Well, you know, after I wrote them off you in the machine, I worked with the DiCapofamily, and we wrote the history of Italian Gardens restaurant, this very iconic restaurant in Kansas City, it was downtown at 12 iand Baltimore for 75 years run by the same four families that were all in a related by blood and marriage. It was a real icon of the city, very much a landmark restaurant. And you can kind of experience the history of Kansas City through the history of Italian Gardens. So that was a really fun book fun project. And that’s how I got clued into this story, that the DiCapos and other people that were closely associated with Italian Guardian mention this story. And it is it was featured to a very small degree in the Italian Gardens. We just kind of scratched the surface with it in that. But I wanted to dive deeper into it because it was a fascinating story. And it centers around. These guys you might call the Young Italians. I know that you were still I think on the PD. At the time that the initial Young Italians investigation got started,

the FBI actually labeled it the Young Italians. Right, and looking into drug dealers and drug rip offs and, and all that and these young guys were wanting to score big and you know, probation is over. And gambling is kind of on its way down to the old guys got that so that but narcotics is the next moneymaker. So go ahead.

Right You know, it was a big drug case that involved elements of the KC mafia and a Colombian cocaine cartel. So young Italians, that name kind of grew out of one particular case that involved elements of the KC mob and a Colombian cocaine cartel. Pretty soon that the label kind of expanded and got applied to any young Italian, I was aspiring to be part of this next generation of Kansas City mobsters. Interestingly, for purposes of my book, The most prominent Italian in this story was a non Italian and Joe Riley. We’ll shift gears a little bit here to give you some background on who Joe Riley was, and why he is really the character.

Now that Joe Riley, Joe Riley, I remember him and he was one of those guys who used to call them a peckerwood that wanted to be an Italian. He was a white guy that wanted to be an Italian is to see that periodically. So go ahead.

So Joe Riley definitely wanted to be Italian. Everybody seems to agree on that. And he definitely had gangster ambitions. And it’s an interesting thing. He was the son of a man named Ferrell Travis Riley, when basically went that Travis Riley and Travis Riley was in a juggernaut of insurance in the 70s 80s and into the 90s. And he was known as the biggest con man in the insurance business on a national level. Basically, he he ran insurance scams in a dozen different states, when when regulators that’s up to him in one state, he wouldn’t move on to the next. And this is actually before there was any federal laws regulating insurance industry, it was all state right back then. And so Travis Riley figured out the vulnerabilities in the system. And he learned how to exploit these loopholes. And he, he made millions and millions of dollars, what

would be? What would be an example of of how that work one particularly?

Well, it gets, you know, I don’t want to get too far down in the weeds. And it’s, for course, it’s all, you know, explained in detail in the book. Yeah. But, you know, imagine he had, he had a dozen different ways to make money through scamming and insurance companies up he would scam other insurance companies. He would stiff policyholders. He would, you know, sell sell policies that he never intended to pay on, or only we would pay only 10 or 15%. of, you know, it gets really complicated. And pretty fascinating. This was big time white collar crime, it was actually International, in Travis Riley at shell corporations. In the Dominican Republic, he had shell corporations. Now, in other parts of the Caribbean, he had connections to Bolivia and to parts of Europe, he was working with international criminals from other countries. So this is the operation that the right that Travis Riley, and his own family, he had a fairly large family had five kids. And they were all involved. Most of them were involved in this prime enterprise, this insurance fraud enterprise and the Riley family was basically prime family unto themselves. And they landed in Kansas City in that day in 1991. After MIT meeting, insurance fraud, big time insurance fraud in a whole bunch of other states. At this point, they’re pretty notorious even on the national level, you had the FBI, investigating them, you’ve had rational committees, looking into Travis Riley and and using Travis Riley as an example of why the insurance industry needed to be federally regulated, etc, etc. This Riley family this time family onto themselves. They show up in Kansas City in 1991. And at this time, you know, as you know, Gary, this was after straw man. So the big guys had had gone to prison. And some of the others old guys had died off. And it was a pivotal time for the mob in Kansas City. Things were looking good. Things were on the wane. They were on the decline. But it was still happening. From an investigation was a crippling blow organized crime in Kansas City, but but it did not eliminate the mob in Kansas City. So things were still happening. There was still action on the streets. And this is the city that Joe Riley Young Joe Riley, the youngest member of the family stepped into. And you know, he had seen the Scorsese films that were popular at around this time. It seen oh and Goodfellas and that sort of thing. And he was really enamored with the mafia life. And so when he finally found himself in a mafia town, he started looking for ways to experience the act. And that’s when he started going down to Italian Gardens down 12 Baltimore, making friends down there. He really kind of made a splash down there, I guess you could say is very brash personality. You know, he really tried to play the part of a mobster. I mean, he was wearing hand you know, tailored suits and Churchill cigars and sunglasses and slicked back hair if kids only 19 years old, but this is how he dressed you know, first people just kind of laughed at him but and they figured out they kind of liked the guy and he was fun to have around and he was kind of the life of the party and he was also very generous with his money. He was always spread the money around because the in the Riley family was living in a big mansion, West a loose Park. They were hooked in a lot of parties, you know, they know is the kind of guy that always picked up the tap. So he ingratiate himself with a lot of the other young Italians you go guys who are his own age who have either already had connections to the crime family or who aspired to be part of that life. Now go Riley is tagging Along with that, there’s a little bit of background on on Joe, right. What else would you like? You’re

now though the FBI if I remember this story, right, the FBI is looking at his dad, the White Collar Crime Squad has been hip to his dad. And so they’re looking at his dad and the White Collar Crime Squad not the one squad or the Organized Crime Squad starts looking at his dad and they opened up an investigation or they bring one in from another city. I’m not sure which, but they start looking at his dad. And I guess that is that how they got onto this kid and hanging out or I don’t really you know, say I don’t remember him his name ever being mentioned. And we didn’t really watch those young guys down at the Titan gardens that was not really exactly a mafia hangout. Like some of the other a couple other joints were so heavy they get onto them. They start investigating his dad if I remember right, and then noticed him and looked at the weak link is that if I read Yes,

Your memory is pretty good there. That’s exactly what happened. The Organized, excuse me, the White Collar Crime Squad in Kansas City investigated Travis Riley for about six years, or they’re finally able to indict him. And they put together a very strong case, a very sprawling complex case. All very interesting. It’s all documented in the book. You know, and Travis Riley and his his wife, Joe’s stepmother, were convicted and sent to prison. But while they were awaiting there was about an 11 month period between the time they were convicted and when they were sentenced. And during that time, they continued your insurance racket. And so the FBI opened up another investigation and at that point, they decided that Joe Riley was kind of the gateway to try to determine what Riley family was still up to. Joe had had had to step up and take sort of a leadership position in the Riley crime family. And so the FBI started investigating him that led to sort of overlapping investigations with the Organized Crime Squad so you’ve got the White Collar Crime Squad investigating the Riley’s Organized Crime Squad is this what at this time was led by a pencil who a lot of people they you know, a lot of wiretap errs will recognize his name he was heavily involved in the Donnie Brasco case and work with you know, Sonny black and, and lefty two guns Ruggerio those guys so you know, after it’s after eight, yeah, that fence was a good friend of yours, Gary, and I know he’d been on the show before he left New York and came to Kansas City and ran the Organized Crime Squad in Kansas City. He was investigating the Young Italians, including Michael Albanese and Nick LanFranca. These are other key names and you know, guys that became close to Joe Riley and got wrapped up in this whole story. Names that are prominently featured in this book. You had kind of a murder, you had big time white collar crime, sort of colliding with the gritty underworld of a mafia town. That is really the theme of the book here. And then a the whole thing kind of interesting turn when Joe Riley got involved with someone who I know you’re very familiar with. That would be Jimmy Duardi. The way that played out was it in at Italian Guardians. You know, Jimmy Duardi already was a regular at Italian Gardens. And Joe Riley eventually was in so much time there that he met Jimmy Duarte and Joe Riley ended up actually working at Italian Gardens. John David DiCapo got him a job there. And so he got even closer to Jimmy Duardi already at that time. And pretty soon they were sitting down at the sub entity table, which is kind of this well known table where the regulars sat at the Italian Gardens.

and they developed a relationship.


me say one thing about Jimmy Duardi guys, I’ve got an old show on Jimmy Duardi. Jimmy Duardi was my first target. And Jimmy Duardi was a old school mobster out of the 30s and 40s. He was the nephew of Joe Joe Filardo, I mean Tanno LaCoco who was involved in his, got caught in a hit in the 30s with Charlie Gargotta who is you know, these were like the, the mafioso of the 30s and 40s. And so Jimmy Duardi, he is that a kind of guy that also. He was a fixer and a connector and would you know, like find somebody like Joe Riley and say well what can I use this guy for it? Can I get anything out of this guy? So that was Jimmy Duardi, old school mobster that used to go there a lot because he was related somehow to some of the Bondons or something that I got a whole story about him, selling them some ribs that fell off a truck down at the gate to get around the Italian Gardens, go ahead I just wanted to let everybody know.

don’t mind, I’ll just I’ll know I I interviewed you for this book. And I thought you had a great quote on Jimmy Duardi, so I’ll just read it straight out of the book. If you don’t mind. You’re just a couple of short paragraphs here. Retired KCPD Detective Gary Jenkins investigated Duardi for crimes including extortion bribery, conspiracy to commit arsons and bombings, attempted murder. Even small time stuff like delivering slabs of frozen ribs to area restaurants in an unrefrigerated truck. Duardi was one of the last real gangsters by the 1990s said Jenkins. He was a big man about six foot two and 250 pounds. He was big in personality as well. And when he came into a joint or a restaurant, everybody knew he was there. He had a license to operate in any manner he chose in the south part of Kansas City. He owned a bar called the Old Fortress where BB Lawnside barbecue is today. And he controlled a crew of professional criminals. He had the perfect personality to run a bar where professional criminals, Cops other blue collar workers gathered to drink and play pool. To Southside burglars, boosters, and bar owners Jimmy Duardi was the mafia. That’s direct from our hosts have gotten

Well good, that’s a good quote. Right? Yeah, it was.

Yeah. There’s some other very, very interesting information about Duardi already in this book, some of which I think it’s gonna be new to

you. Oh, really, really?

Especially. Especially with his his relationship with Joe Riley, which is not well known.

Yeah. See, I didn’t know I didn’t know that at all. I was like the door the expert and I didn’t know it at all. So let’s Yeah.

Well, and that’s when you you know, that’s when some eyebrows started to rise, like Joe Riley up to that point was really thought of as a as a wannabe. He was a wanna be gangster. And it was kind of cute and kind of fun and kind of silly. It was this rich kid with a silver spoon in his mouth. You know who hanging out with with Italians hanging out with a lot of older people. He was always the youngest guy in the room. He wanted to be Italian. He wanted to be a gangster, but nobody really took it seriously. But he started you know, some agent, people in law enforcement started to discover, hey, you know, I’ve actually got a relationship with Jimmy to already what’s gonna what’s is this really a wannabe? Or is, you know, is there something more to this? And that’s one of the questions that you’ll have to read the book to find out. You know, the degree to what whether or not Joe Joe Riley was just a wannabe, or, you know, a genuine gangster. As the events would play out. They would win, but we’ll find out in the book that Joe was not ended up. Turns out he was not afraid to pull the trigger. This story really culminates in a reverse drug staying set up by the FBI. That involves Joe Riley, Michael Albanese, and Nick LanFranca. And in that reverse drugs sting, Joe Riley did pull the trigger. And he did shoot somebody he shot to kill. And he himself then ended up shot by the FBI. And then the story gets even more interesting. From there really, Michael Albanese was charged with the murder of Joe Riley. Even though he was sitting out in the car at the time that the shooting took place inside a motel room. He might say well, wait a minute, who was an FBI agent that shot and killed Joe Riley? How does Michael Albanese get charged with the murder of his friend. And that gets back to the felony murder statute in Missouri, which is one of the hearts just in the nation. And it’s pretty interesting and there’s a chapter on felony murder. In the book. Michael Albanese make long story short he served 25 and a half years in state prison for felony murder of his friend was shot and killed by the

app if I remember that story, right reading even reading the newspapers at the time. Some of the testimony during the trial they the I and I know some guys said I was gone from the intelligence unit by the time that went down but two people in the intelligence unit and the FBI, they they were following Albanese and Nick LanFranca pretty much that whole day before this meet was set and the Bureau knew this meet was set they had they had some guy I don’t even remember who he was. He was an informant. He probably long gone witness protection now made this deal with Joe Riley to sell him. I don’t know several kilos of narcotics, I believe. Right. And so you know, they pull up and the cops have been following them all day long. And, and there’s one thing when I know one of all Albanese’s defenses, and I know you probably get into this one. Albanese’s defense was well, you know, I didn’t know what he was doing. Well, there’s a cop that testified that they saw him get on the phone. And then they got Nick Lanfranca who was in the car to testify. And he testifies it Albanese was on the phone with Joe Riley and they were setting all this up. So you know, it was it was really hard for him to I can see how I got found guilty. But you know, it had seemed like a bitter pill to swallow when the cops kill your friend. And then they charged you with the murder.

Yeah, you know, and then Nick LanFranca, you know, turn state witness and testified against Albanese. Albanese never did that. He He honored the old code of America and and never never spoke out against anybody, which is one reason why he pulled the serve the entire 25 and a half years that he was sentenced to but But Nick LanFranca did turn state’s witness. He became a rat in the parlance of the streets, much to the chagrin of of Young Italians.

alderney’s and the rest of him. Yeah, yeah. You know, during this time, well, I don’t want to give up to much about that. That’s a really exciting part of the book. There’s something else going on in the city, the Basta Movement, a lot of people don’t know about the Basta movement. So tell us about what you’ve learned about the Basta movement.

Yeah that’s important part of this book. So in the early 90s, right about the time Joe Riley and his family landed in Kansas City, this Boston movement sprung up. And I really got Joe Riley interested, you know, in what was going on, potentially within the Italian community that so badly wanted to be a part of. The Basta was really started by prominent defense attorney and Sam Mirabile. And Mirabile had a lot of clients, you know, who were alleged to be associates of organized crime. And there was a couple of gambling cases at the time. One, one in particular targeted it Simone, who was alleged to be the underboss of that is still to this day alleged to be the underboss of the LCN crime family. And so, you know, in the grand jury process, you know, you the grand jury will subpoena various witnesses to come testify before the grand jury to gather information to try to decide if they’re going to indict that subject or not. And so they subpoenaed a lot of local gamblers, and a lot of the sons and nephews of men who, who were under investigation. And law, those were the young Italians, and they refused to testify for the grand jury. And so they got sent to prison or offered immunity. It said, I’m still not testifying. And so they sent 20 guys away to federal prison because they wouldn’t testify against their friends and their family members. And by the time this movement started, there, were still 11 of those guys in prison. So they became known as the bosta alone. Sam Mirabile started this organization, it grew to over 1000 people. He flew banners over chiefs games, they flooded the Courthouse with letters. They got a lot of publicity, in other cities, even over in Italy, you know, and the whole premise was that the federal government, the FBI, in particular, were persecuting Italian Americans. It was unfair and unjust to expect young man for example, to testify against his father or his uncle. When he himself was charged with no crimes, you know, things like that. And so it gets pretty interesting. And it was a big movement in Kansas City back then during this time. And some of the young Italians who went to prison are refusing to testify in the Boston movement, which was Bay Basically an illegal gambling case. Also got wrapped up in that drug case, talked about earlier that really gave the young Italians their name. So there was some overlap there. But all this was going on. And Sam Mirabile, he graciously participated in the book, he was very generous with his time. And I appreciate that, you know, I interviewed a lot of people for this book, several of them very, you introduced me to people on the law enforcement side, people who are convicts, people who defense attorneys, so really, you know, tried to remain neutral and get perspectives from both sides, because there is a lot of controversy in this book. A lot of controversy about who did what, and who’s guilty of what and who’s not guilty of what, and our sentencing, the felony murder rule, some of the investigative techniques and the reverse drug sting itself, and very controversial. And then there’s, and there’s the, and then there’s Oscar Goodman

saying the best for last year, we teased him a little bit,

Yeah. And I’ll just drop a little teaser here, you know, everybody by now is, you know, at least our listeners here are wiretap or is probably pretty familiar with who Oscar Goodman was and his relationship to the guys in Kansas City. You know, he, he represented this avila’s For many years going back to its 60s, early 70s. When with Nick Civella’s and the Super Bowl, gambling charges. And he represented Kansas City guys during the straw man case, he was the most well known well, mob attorney in the country. And then he later became the mayor of Las Vegas, very colorful guy. I’ve read his biography. He’s a fascinating individual. And, but I really, in this case, Oscar Goodman didn’t only defend Nick Civella and Carl Civella, or Carl DeLuna. And these guys, he had another very big case of Kansas City that very few people are aware of. And that was a case of James Whining. It was a very close associate of Travis Riley. And James wining was involved in maybe one of the biggest insurance fraud cases in history is $136 million fraud against Mutual of Omaha. And this was back in the 80s. So whatever $236 million is worth today, I’m not sure. But it was a staggering amount. At the time anyway, Jim whining was a huge insurance fraud. He was very closely associated with Travis Riley. And then later he turned Well, I’m gonna I’m gonna save this. I don’t want to spoil it. Okay. Oscar Goodman represented Jim whining in Kansas City. As a very interesting element to that case. I think some people will be very surprised to hear. And Oscar Goodman.

All right, cool. Well, Frank Hayde. The Mafia Dreams, guys. I’ll have links to it down below. And it’s, it’s a fascinating story. I know a lot more little side stories. Yeah, one of those side stories. My friend Steve St. John was up at Leavenworth. And Travis Riley was up there. And he’s, he told me the story that he happened to walk into someplace and there’s this guy crying. And Steve’s a guy that he wants to help. So he walked into the cell with a guy and and he said, you know, man, what’s wrong. He said, I just found out my son was killed. And when he found out later, you know, what the whole deal was? That was Travis Riley. So, you know, it’s just a lot of Kansas City connections, but then a lot of connections outside of Kansas City to and with the mob, and it’s just amazing story.

Yeah, there’s some really interesting information here about Claire McCaskill, who prosecuted Mike Albanese and a case prior, the one that’s mainly feet, tAlbanese was involved in a couple of big cases prior to do the fatal reverse drugs thing

I got. I got a story out of that. I don’t know if I told you this. So I’m working Dogwatch that time that one night, we have this entertainment district called Westport and people are late at night when the bars close down they would just cruise real slow around and around and around honking their horns and having fun. And so all the Dogwatch guys, I was Sergeant Dogwatch were set down there to kind of keep things rolling, and there’d be fight so there’d always be a lot of calls. We got to call on a stabbing. So we go over and there’s a Black Cadillac sitting there with like a gangster car or pickup truck right behind it all kind of crappy pickup truck and there’s a dude from Oklahoma laying on the ground bleeding like a stuck hog. We call the ambulance and the guy dies. So we run the license of course on the Cadillac because we’ve got enough from witnesses that said, you know, there were some young kind of dark complected black haired guy, you know, got out and got no argument with this guy. There’s some horn honking going on some yelling and all of a sudden he ran off and left his car there. So it was Michael Albanese’s car and he got an argument this guy and and stabbed him and killed him. And then he got off with the self defense, please. So he must I don’t know if he had John O’Conner the time that he had on the last case, but but somebody got him off maybe had Sam Mirabile on that.

Sam definitely represented Mike on on that case and one or two others. Uh, yeah, that’s a that’s at the summary. And there’s more detail on that case in the book, but Claire McCaskill who later became US senator from Missouri, she she’d prosecuted Albanese’s case. And there’s an interesting side story involving Claire McCaskill is interesting side story involving Nick LanFranca’s cousin and a bombing of a place down in Texas. Now there’s there’s a lot of interesting material in the book. I like to think of this in a way the book stands on its own. But in a way, it’s a sequel to the mafia in the machine, and the sense that mafia in the machine and the other treatments of the KC mob all pretty much ended it with straw man in the 80s. So this kind of pushes things forward, gives people a glimpse of what was going on in the underworld, and the city in the 1990s. And yeah, Gary, if I could just mention one last final thing I’d appreciate. And that’s just that the books available on at the book, baby store, baby store, and just go to the Book Baby store, and then enter either my name or Mafia Dreams and the book come up. Super easy to purchase thing prices, Amazon, but independent writers. Yeah, able to keep a little bit more about Yeah, or royalties. Right. It’s so true.

I gotcha. Yeah, guys, and there’ll be a link in the show notes. So just hit that link and go right to it. And you gotta get that book, man. It’s a good one.

Well, Gary, I’m gonna get your copy in the mail today. And thanks again for your help with the book. You gave me that great quote on Jimmy Duardi. And you also introduced me to, to a couple of the people that I interviewed for the book. Right.

Right, Frank, thanks a lot for coming on the show. I really appreciate you being here and anxious to get this put out there. Thank you, Gary. Well, guys, don’t forget, like ride motorcycles or watch out for motorcycles when you’re out there. And if you have a problem with PTSD, go to the VA website. If you’ve been in the service and get that hotline that will help you out quite a bit. And if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, our friend Anthony ruggiano has a hotline. Just go to YouTube and find him on I shouldn’t promote the competition, but I don’t care. Find him and get that hotline number. If you go down in Florida, take treatment where at his treatment center where he works while you might have him as a counselor. So thanks a lot guys. I appreciate y’all tuning in. Be sure to like and subscribe or maybe give me a review once in a while. Thanks, guys.

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