Danny Greene – The Celtic Warrior
Gary and Cam interview Rick Porrello, the author of Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia, The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia, Superthief, Bombs, Bullets, and Bribes.
Danny Greene and the Cleveland Mafia
Danny Greene was an up and coming young hoodlum who started working the docks as a stevedore. He used his popularity and machismo to become the President of the local International Longshoremen Association (ILA) until he was convicted of embezzlement. The FBI recruited him as a Top Echelon Informant during this case and he remained in the capacity until death. it was during this time that he was introduced to Jimmy Hoffa and the Cleveland mafia family started to notice him.
Danny Greene Goes Rogue
A well-known Mafia associate, Jewish gangster Alex “Shondor” Birns, hired Greene as an enforcer for the mob’s “numbers” racket. He is involved in organizing the local trash truck businesses into a mob dominated association. Cleveland mob underboss, Frank Brancato, started employing Danny Greene as muscle to enforce garbage-hauling contracts and to stop independent operators from cutting prices. He will botch a couple of assassination attempts and the mob loses confidence in him. Greene and Shonder Birns have a falling out over a drug deal that went bad and a loan that /Greene wanted to start another business. He joins forces with a jealous Italian mobster named John Nardi and attacks other young Irish criminals and breaks from the mafia in a public manner. The Cleveland mob declare an all-out war against Danny Greene and anybody associated with him. Cleveland will experience a number of bombing attmepts until a large explosive ends Danny Greene and his climb to the top of Cleveland’s rackets.
Rick grew up in Cleveland and he became interested in the mafia when he learned that his grandfather and three uncles were murdered in mob disputes during prohibition. In the small world category, we discuss the fact he had an extended relative named Angelo Porrello who was a Kansas City crime family member. Rick’s most well-known work came after he released his book, Kill the Irishman. He was a police officer and eventually the Chief of Police in a Cleveland suburb when the famous mob war between Danny Greene and the ruling mafia faction broke out in the 1970s. Kill the Irishman recounts that story in vivid detail from law enforcement, family members, and gangsters who participated. The book was made into a popular documentary film and finally, a narrative style true crime movie, Kill the Irishman, starring Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Tony Darrow, and Robert Davi.
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