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Thomas Lucchese

Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins brings you the best in mob history with his unique perception of the mafia. The Lucchese family, sometimes referred to as the “Brogada,” was involved in a wide array of criminal activities such as extortion, loan sharking, and gambling. As a cunning and violent leader, Lucchese aligned himself with Vito Genovese during Genovese’s bid to become the boss of bosses. However, Lucchese later allied with Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, and Carlo Gambino. He played a pivotal role in orchestrating a narcotics conviction against Genovese, which ultimately led to Genovese’s downfall and marked the beginning of the Mafia’s decline.

Interestingly, connections between families exist even within the criminal underworld. An example of this is seen in the feudal world where Thomas Gambino, Carlos Gambino’s son, married Frances Lucchesi, the daughter of Three Fingers Brown. It is these intricate webs of relationships that add further complexity to the fabric of organized crime.

Despite his involvement in nefarious activities, Lucchese garnered a level of respect within the community due to his charitable donations to local organizations. He passed away in New York City in 1969, leaving behind a notorious and influential legacy as one of the most dominant mobsters of the 20th century. While not as widely recognized as figures like Lucky Luciano or Frank Costello, Lucchese operated behind the scenes, exerting significant influence.

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Transcript
[0:00] Well, hey guys, Gary Jenkins here, retired Kansas City Police Intelligence Unit detective.
Back here with one of my little short bios. I, you know, I did Vito Genovese recently.
This is gonna be about Thomas Lucchese, better known as Tommy Brown or Three Fingers Brown.
He was a prominent American mobster and the founding member of the Lucchese crime family.
He was born June 10th, 1889 in Palermo, Italy and immigrated to the United States with his family at a young age. So he’s like a real Sicilian.

[0:28] Tommy Brown or Tom Lucchese earned his nickname Three Fingers after losing parts of two fingers
Rise in organized crime during prohibition

[0:34] on his right hand in an industrial accident when he was working at a cement plant when he was a kid.
That didn’t hold him back. Little Tommy Lucchese became involved in organized crime at an early age, quickly rose through the ranks of the underworld because of prohibition primarily.
You can see the photo up here of him holding up his right hand with only three fingers.
In his early years, Tommy Lucchese was a close associate of the mobster Gaetano Reina, who was a real old school Sicilian mobster and an old Mustached Pete Blackhanders.
He worked as a hitman and an enforcer for the Reina crime family, and he was known for his first endeavor.
Lucchese’s early criminal activities and rise in power

[1:11] Tommy Lucchese hired guys to wash store windows in East Harlem and set up a little business when he was young.
When a store owner refused to pay the Casey’s guys to wash the windows, mysteriously, vandals broke out those same windows. And then, of course, they came back around and, you know, hey, we can probably stop those windows from being broken. You just got to hire us to wash them. Probably by the end, they didn’t even wash them.

[1:35] After Gaetano Reina was assassinated in nineteen thirty brown and a group of other in a loyalist form their own crime family which would become known as the crazy crime family now he came up with lucky luciano course and during the castle maria’s a war he tipped off lucky luciano that salvatore marzano was plotting to kill Lucky Luciano then acted quickly and he sent some Jewish gangsters who were dressed up in suits and ties and had briefcases and they claimed to be IRS agents and they went into Maranzano’s office and Maranzano just welcomed them in and they murdered him right there. And this act would really set up Luciano as the boss. Tommy Gagliano took over the Riena family and they would name Tommy Lucchese as underboss. Now during these years, Luciano formed the commission and he kept peace so everybody was was making money and Tommy Gagliano was a quiet boss and Bill Bonanno and Stefano Maggadino and Vino Genovese and Carlo Gambino kind of took the center stage.
Lucchese becomes the boss of the Lucchese crime family

[2:38] Gagliano preferred to have Tommy Lucchese carry it all the public actions for him during this time.
So he kind of became known more as the boss and Gagliano was such a recluse.
He even failed to attend Luciano’s Havana conference and sent Lucchese in his place, pretty well cementing Lucchese as the heir apparent, shall we say, and Tommy Gagliano died in 1951, just a couple, three years after the Cuba meeting, Thomas Three-Fingered Lucchese, aka Three-Fingered Brown, became the boss.
Now, something a little different about this family is many people referred to them as the Broga, or the Brogada, and people in the life might call them Lukes, for Lucchese’s Luke’s interest, and I never heard that before, I haven’t found that online.
So now as the boss of the renamed Lucchese family, he was involved of course in the normal wide range of criminal activity, extortion, loan sharking, gambling.
Tommy Lucchese was well known for his guy he took a page out of Gagliano’s book and he stayed back he wasn’t you know a guy that was really out there like Vito Genovese you want to be the boss of bosses and all that kind of thing and he took on the name of Thomas Brown during these years enable them to really move about in regular business circles we had a guy in Kansas city who took on the name of Willie Cummings.
Lucchese’s alias and involvement in various criminal activities

[3:58] Or William Cammisano, but he took on the name of William Cummings because he had businesses. He had like a meat business. He didn’t want to be known as Cammisano because Cammisano was named by the 50s, especially after the war, where it really was linked with the mafia as much as Civella was in Kansas City. Tommy Lucchese was known for his intelligence, his cunning, but a willingness to use violence to get what he wanted. He sided with Vito Genovese during his attempt to take over as the boss of bosses, if you remember. But the Appalachian Convention happened, and they tried to kill Frank Costello. They used Vincente Chin Gigante to do that, and it didn’t work so much. Well, pretty soon Genovese is out. It embarrassed him so much that Lucchese then formed an alliance with Luciano, who was in Sicily at the time, and Frank Costello and Mayer Lansky and Carlo Gambino. And he was actually really instrumental in setting up Genovese for a narcotics conviction, which he went to, you know, Atlanta down there. They paid some Puerto Rican guy to testify that Genovese had invested money into a big narcotics deal, and they had a case on this guy anyhow. And so, you know, the rest is history. And what’s interesting about that is when Genovese goes to Atlanta, one of his really low-level guys, Joseph Valachi was down there and Valachi was paranoid and Genovese was not very friendly and.
Lucchese’s alliance and involvement in Genovese’s downfall

[5:27] In Valachi’s mind, he interpreted Genovese’s lack of recognition and friendliness to him as Genovese was going to have him killed. Now, that’s how bad Genovese was.
A guy came to Valachi one day who was close to Genovese, just walked up to him or was close to him in the yard or something.
I don’t know the exact details, but Valachi picked up a piece of pipe and killed the guy.
Valachi now catches a murder case, and he’s looking at maybe a death sentence. And of course, the rest is history. Joseph Valachi, they set up the Valachi suite in one of the penitentiaries, and he testifies, and he really changed the course of FBI investigation and local police department’s investigation. He really brought it home that there was a real deal mafia. They were organized. This is how they were organized and exposed everything. So Genovese, out of all his shenanigans, was kind of the instrument that really started the downfall of the Mafia.
Valachi’s testimony and the downfall of the Mafia

[6:30] Now, interesting things in this world, kind of like this feudal world, to cement relations with another family. Carlos Gambino’s son, Thomas Gambino, married Frances Lucchesi, Three Fingers’ daughter. He grows old and does his thing the rest of the years, but despite all his criminal activities, Lucchese Brown, Three-Fingered Brown, was a real respected figure in the community, in the regular community, because he was known for his charitable donations to local organizations in New York and in the area. He’ll die of natural causes August 15, 1969, in New York City. But today, you know, he’s really remembered as one of the most notorious and influential mobsters of the 20th century. You know, he didn’t have the name recognition of Lucky Luciano or Frank Costello. He’s more of a guy behind the scenes, but he was really influential. So thanks a lot, guys. Don’t forget, I like to ride motorcycles, so watch out for motorcycles when you’re out there. If you have a problem with PTSD, go to the VA website and get get that hotline number.
If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, go see Anthony Ruggiano down in Florida.
His website has a hotline number.
And most of all, like and subscribe and keep coming back. Thanks guys.

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