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Underboss: The Untold Story of Carl DeLuna in the Mob

Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins brings you the best in mob history with his unique perception of the mafia. Today, we delve into the intriguing saga of Carl “Tuffy” DeLuna, a notable figure in the Kansas City organized crime milieu. Known as a formidable Underboss with ties to the Civella family, Carl DeLuna commanded respect and fear for his powerful and ruthless demeanor. Though born in Brooklyn, he made his mark in Kansas City, engaging in various criminal activities ranging from armed robberies to overseeing a highly profitable skim operation that yielded substantial profits for the mob. DeLuna’s ascent to prominence involved close ties to influential mobsters such as Nick Civella, and he played a key role in crucial decisions affecting the mob’s operations. Tuffy’s presence was integral to the mob’s functioning, from enforcing discipline to managing sportsbook operations and ensuring the smooth running of illegal enterprises. His counsel was sought in pivotal discussions and actions, underscoring his role as a trusted advisor and enforcer. The dynamic between Tuffy DeLuna and Nick Civella sheds light on their relationship and how Tuffy’s advice influenced critical decisions. His involvement in maintaining discipline and resolving internal conflicts within the mob highlighted his importance as Nick Civella’s right-hand man. Tuffy’s ability to manage various aspects of organized crime made him a valuable asset to the underworld. Tuffy’s narrative also explores his clash with the Spero brothers and the ensuing violent confrontations that shook the Kansas City mob scene. The complex web of alliances, betrayals, and power struggles exemplified the volatile nature of organized crime and the deadly consequences those involved face. Tuffy’s role in orchestrating and executing violent acts to retain control over the criminal empire showcased his unwavering commitment to the Civella Family’s interests. When the Government finally arrested and convicted DeLuna, it marked the end of an era for the Kansas City mob. His enduring legacy as a powerful and influential figure in organized crime speaks to the intricate world of mob operations and the individuals who navigated its perilous waters. The compelling narrative of Carl “Tuffy” DeLuna’s life provides insight into the complex workings of organized crime, highlighting the power struggles, alliances, and betrayals that shaped the criminal underworld in Kansas City. Tuffy’s legacy as a formidable figure in the mob world and his lasting impact on the Kansas City crime scene solidify his place in the annals of organized crime history.
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[0:00]Hey guys, welcome to the studio of Gangland Wire back here in cold old Kansas
City. But I’ve got a story for you today.
I’ve been kind of remiss in a way, not really paying that much attention to
Kansas City. I need to start doing these.
I had somebody on YouTube, I think, he said, why don’t you do some short bios
of all your Kansas City, your main guys.
[0:22]And so I’m starting to do that. This is going to be the first one,
I don’t know if it’ll be the first one up.
But anyhow carl angelo tuffy de luna he
was such an interesting guy and he figured so big he
was the arty pescano character in the movie and
scorsese movie casino he was famous for
keeping the notes and the whole nine yards so and
he has a great name tuffy he’s born in 1927 give you an a idea of how old he
was and he was an organized crime figure who was really once a really really
powerful underboss here in Kansas City and recognized really nationwide because
of his connection to Nick Civella.
And he was also the brother-in-law to Kansas City crime boss Anthony Tony Ripe Civella.
His sister Molly had married Tony Ripe. And Tony Ripe Civella was the nephew,
Nick Civella, and the son of Carl Cork Civella.
So he had those blood ties, you know, Nick Civella and the Civellas, they kept things close.
If you weren’t in this inner group that
they took in and knew a lot about you were
you know you were not going to get anything going with
them and and so time tuffy he had
a native intelligence he was a bright guy he could he could be personable he
had a you know could do things with a velvet glove but he had a mailed or an
iron fist on the inside of that velvet glove the only thing was amount to this
wild ground breaks down on Lefty.
[1:51]Lesley and Bob Brown both got a criminal suit for rap.
If Bob Brown got any time to lay with the commission and all the authorities,
Super Bowl Bets
[1:59]they’re taking the attitude who we didn’t pull no fucking roll for our eyes.
Bob Brown was Lefty’s industry. We can’t prove it, but he was.
[2:10]Tuffy was born in Brooklyn. He wasn’t born in Kansas City. Most of these Civellas,
except for Nick, I think, might have been born in Chicago.
They were born in Kansas City. But Tuffy was born in Brooklyn and moved to Kansas City as a young man.
I don’t know much about his life before that. But his parents must have brought
him here because he had extended family.
He had a brother, Frank Deluna, who was a Kansas City guy, moved to New Orleans
or moved to Shreveport, actually, and spent a lot of his adult life there.
I never knew much about him. He’s moved back and he’s here in Kansas City now.
But Tuffy’s who we’re talking about.
And as he came up, he was an armed robber. He was a traveling armed robber.
It was back in the 50s, 60s when he was a young man come of age and needed to make money.
[2:55]A lot of these guys had robbery crews and they were traveling around the country
robbing grocery stores.
One time the FBI in the early 60s followed him and were on him and they started
going west and he went to Denver. And he met with a guy who was connected to
the Small Dome family, who was one of those kind of armed robbers.
And then they followed them up to Seattle and they lost them up there,
I believe, but they didn’t go any further than that, but that’s what they were doing.
They’re traveling around to different grocery stores.
I know for a fact, because I know this from a guy, the word was,
you don’t eat where you should.
You do not do these robberies in Kansas City.
And so they were going to other parts of the country.
[3:42]And if you think about it, those robberies of supermarkets, if you’re of a certain
age, at my age, they were your ATM.
They had the cash money. When you got paid on Friday or Saturday,
many times you would just take your paycheck to the supermarket and cash it.
Or if you put it in the bank, then you would write a check for groceries and
then you’d get $20, $30 cash back.
Or you just go in and write a check for cash.
That was the ATM of those times. He was just, you know, a guy that was thoughtful
and was part of one of these crews.
And we know a little about one of these crews because his buddy,
his cousin, Sam Palma, got caught.
And he was a contemporary. He just toughy, may have gone along in this and just didn’t get caught.
I don’t know for sure, but I got a feeling he was just in the background on this one.
But what happened, they went to Houston. Houston, and another guy named Beans Inzarella.
We know for sure a fact he did because he caught a case out of it.
And Sam Palma, Tuffy’s cousin, he’ll catch a case out of it.
They go to Houston, they rob a supermarket down there, and they’ve got guns,
and somebody’s gun goes off and shoots one of the employees in the foot.
I couldn’t tell whether it was because they weren’t doing what they wanted to
do. I think it was an accidental discharge. There’s a gang that couldn’t shoot shoot straight here.
Anyhow, they shoot somebody in the foot and they, you know, the deal is don’t
shoot anybody. You know, that’s bad.
[5:11]You know, it just brings down heat, but they did. And so part of their scheme
was they would mail the guns and the money back to Kansas City.
They didn’t carry it back and then they would fly back or rent a car and drive
back or get somebody to come and get them, whatever. They would get back different ways.
They wanted to be really secretive on how they got in and out of these cities
and they didn’t want to be traced back to Kansas City. Thank you.
Then you could maybe figure out kind of who they might be and get pictures or,
you know, maybe fingerprints.
[5:40]And so they were doing this for quite a while.
Several guys in Kansas City were doing this. I knew one.
It ended up being a heroin act when in recovery. And he told me about doing
this. And he was kind of loosely connected to the mafia.
He was too much of a wild card. They couldn’t really do business with Bill.
But anyhow, that is in May. When they packaged it up, they sent it back to the
name of a guy they knew who was a taxi driver in Kansas City.
And on the path back, the package broke open.
The defense was that the cops found out about it and tore it open.
I talked to one of them, an FBI agent who was around during this time.
He was a real young agent.
And he said, to the best of his knowledge, nobody tore that open. It truly did break open.
Broke open. But when they got to Kansas City, they, you know,
they had the address and the name and who it was supposed to go to.
Murder of Sam Palma
[6:33]But I think it was like a will call. The person was going to come to the post office and pick it up.
The FBI and the postal inspectors put a surveillance on the postal post station there.
[6:47]And so they’re watching and they see this Beans Ziarella show up.
They see Sam Palmer show up. They see this guy in a taxi come in.
And so that’s whose name it’s in. So he starts to go in, they’re talking,
and he’s scared. It’s obvious he’s scared, and they’re talking.
And he, like, goes up, and he turns around and comes back.
And you could tell, the officers could tell they were really getting frustrated with him.
And finally, I think this Beans Ziarella the one. He went up and got the
package, and then the Bureau swooped in.
They got Palma and Beans Ziarella and the taxi driver.
And he admitted pretty quick that, you know, they just asked me to go get this package.
I don’t know what’s in it. And they got them with the package and then,
you know, basically the evidence out of this robbery and they make them on it months later.
[7:34]Sam Palma, he’s like nervous and worried about going to jail.
He’s not really spent any time in jail.
He’s ran a joint down on Broadway. I think maybe his was the Pancake Patio.
I’m not sure. Anyhow, he’s not really spent much time in the penitentiary, if any at all.
[7:52]And he’s talking to his cousin, Taffy DeLuna, and word’s getting around.
He’s made some phone calls to other relatives, and he does not want to do this jail. jail.
And the night before he’s going down to be sentenced, a guy,
two guys from our intelligence unit, Kansas City intelligence unit,
and I knew one of them, Ray Kinney and his partner, Jimmy Doolin,
were just driving around.
You just drive around, troll different spots. And they happened to look into
a cat’s drugstore at the time. We had the big drugstores that were called cats.
And they have every drugstore had a soda fountain in it.
And they look in and there’s Tuffy DeLuna and his cousin, Sam Palmer,
says they’re having coffee.
Well, everything looks copacetic. There’s no reason to do anything. And they just go on.
It’s late at night. They just go on home after the shift ends.
And the next day, somebody calls the dispatcher, and they find a body on the
grave of Sam Palme’s father. And it was Sam Palma. And he’s been shot in the head.
He’s been shot a couple of times and there’s a there’s a note out there that
indicates this was a suicide,
and during this time somebody else finds his
car he had a 58 chevrolet i never forget that because
my mom we had one of my first cars i ever drove was a 58 chevrolet a 58 chevrolet
and it was parked more closer quite a ways away one walking distance to the
cemetery they find blood in it and they find a witness that then later at some
other place said that they saw two men trying to stuff something inside that
car that could have been a body.
Tuffy’s Rise to Underboss
[9:21]So the supposition is somebody killed
Sam Palma stuffed his body in his car took
him out dumped him off for his graveside left the suicide
note left the gun there and then drove the car back
and left it this other place the family today
would swear that it it was a suicide everybody
in that world would swear it’s a suicide i really don’t
think it was there was like a couple other mob guys
were bragging around how they were helped move the
body at night but nobody could ever really prove anything
those were just informant word the informants
were saying that that these guys were saying that they helped move that
body that night so somebody moved that body that
night that’s for sure nick savella will
promote tuffy to the underboss sometime he might have made his bones that night
he may have already made him i’m not sure but he definitely gets promoted to
underboss sometime after this around this time after tom almost highway simone
dies in 68 i I believe, or 69.
He died not too long after that.
And he was the old underboss and went all the way back to the,
really to the 50s and 40s with Nick Civella.
[10:30]Tuffy really was Nick Civella’s Swiss Army knife for everything.
He was his counselor, his consigliere, if you will. He didn’t really have anybody
else that was in that advisory capacity.
He had his brother, Cork Civella, but Cork Civella was, He was crude and rude
and loud and flamboyant and not thoughtful at all.
He would try to kill a fly with a sledgehammer.
And Nick Savella used a scalpel on everything he did. And Tuffy was his Swiss
Army knife. He was his scalpel.
He appointed him to be the in-between guy for most all the action that was going on.
And like the sports book, had a guy named Frank Tusa who worked out of the social
club, the Northview Social Club, what we called The Trap.
And Frank Tusa only talked to Tuffy, and then Tuffy would carry information
back to Nick if there was anything Nick needed to know about the book and what
was going on. That’s where Nick made a mistake.
One of the few mistakes he made cost him, 1970.
[11:32]He was worried about the Super Bowl bets. The books were not in balance.
You know, a bookie doesn’t gamble.
He takes an equal amount of bets on both sides. Well, here in Kansas City,
the Chiefs are playing the Vikings, Vikings and there was just a ton of action
going down on the Chiefs.
Frank Tusa is worried about it and that gets back to Nick and Nick calls him on the phone.
Well, they got a bug on that phone and he’s worried to Nick and Nick said,
well, you have to lay off. What do you think?
And so Nick was really, he was taking like a managerial interest and that’s,
they convicted him of taking this managerial interest in this bookmaking scheme.
Just a few hours before the Kansas City Chiefs would face the Minnesota Vikings
in the Super Bowl, Nick Civella placed a call to the tapped payphone inside the trap.
He spoke with gambler Frank Tusa, who was accepting bets called in by bookies.
The Chiefs were a 12-point underdog heading into the game, and yet the betting
heavily favored the Chiefs.
The action on Kansas City was so lopsided, so many people were betting on Kansas
City to win, that Frank Tousa became concerned.
Hey, we’re going to really take a bath if Kansas City wins here.
Nick wanted to know just how bad, so he called Frank Tusa up at the trap.
[12:52]Hello? Hello, how are you? Fine, how are you? Okay, how’d you finish for today? How’d you set?
43. What do you mean? That’s how we stand.
You mean? 4-7-3-6-0 Oh, God.
You mean you’re… 4-7-3-6-0, hi.
[13:15]Oh, shit. Where’s all this from? Right here.
I guess there ain’t much you can do about it. Okay, I’ll let you go. All right. All right.
And because of that conversation, we were able to tie Nick as the overall manager
of the Kansas City gambling operations, and he was ultimately convicted of that.
Nobody testified, but it was strictly from the telephone. phone.
Actually, there was an attempted murder and a murder of people who could have
testified about Nick Savelle in that.
One of the key witnesses in the case was Saul Landy, who made book as a sideline.
In November 1970, several men invaded Landy’s home on pretense of robbery.
They killed Landy. They were quickly apprehended and connected to John Johnny Frank’s Francovelia.
Local prosecutor Joe Teasdale averred that the young black men arrested were
pawns of organized crime, that it was no coincidence Johnny Franks was a career
criminal associate of Nick Civella.
[14:19]Nick, of course, denied any connection. Famous mob lawyer and mayor of Las Vegas,
Oscar Goodman, was one of several lawyers who defended Nick on appeal of the
gambling conviction and helped keep him out of jail for seven years.
Nick kept the KC Mafia family relatively small, and like the mob in Chicago
during the 1970s, it was now being called the Outfit.
Nick Civella’s innermost circle consisted of his family, his brother Cork,
his nephew Tony Ripe, and Carl Tuffy DeLuna.
Tuffy, who grew up on the north side streets of Kansas City,
was very much the muscle for the Civella family.
Tuffy was sort of a mix between Nick Civella and Corky Civella.
He was Nick’s right-hand guy. He was Nick’s principal enforcer.
I would call him probably Nick’s real underboss, even though Corky was believed
to occupy that position.
I think of all of those guys, Tuffy was probably the guy that was being groomed to take Nick’s place.
The Camisano faction of the family, headed by the notorious Willie the Rat Camisano,
oversaw fencing of stolen goods.
[15:26]Notwithstanding the cloud of conviction hovering over Nick Civella,
the 1970s would prove to be the zenith of organized crime in Kansas City.
During this time, the Spiro brothers, Nick, Carl,
Mike, and Joe Spiro, S-P-E-R-O, just like Anthony Spiro in New York,
they were kind of like young Turks near the wells in that world, if you will,
kind of the blue collar guys of associates of the mob.
But Mike Spiro was in In the Teamsters, he had a Teamsters position,
a business agent or something like that, one of the locals.
His older brother, Nick, was well known, as well as Mike, to be able to get
people jobs on the docks and in the truck lines through their Teamster connections.
And the Spirals were wanting more Teamster connections, and Nick Savella really
was not bringing them in to do anything more.
[16:22]And they wanted, like the younger brother, Carl, was really a professional criminal and had a crew.
And he didn’t want to have to pay tribute to the Sabellas. He wanted more action himself.
They may have known about the scam from Las Vegas, which was just starting.
I don’t know. They may have wanted a piece of that.
Nick Sparrow, the oldest brother, gets found dead in his trunk.
Carl Sparrow was in jail at the time on a jewelry robbery, I think.
And it comes out shortly after and gets with these two brothers,
Joe and Mike, and they are going after the Civella’s.
Civellas find out about this through a series of events.
Carl Spero has gotten a guy out of jail.
Assassination Attempts on Tuffy
[17:03]Parole off you know had him kind of a no-show job nick now carl spiro’s cousin scratch koozie,
has a meat market so he claims that
he’s working for koozie’s meat market he’s not working somebody at
a savella run meat market a guy who’s a
bookie named al brandemeyer walks out
one night with a bunch of cows because he’s also doing book
making activities in that meat market it walks out and a guy shows up and puts
two guns on him and puts him in his trunk takes his money and then shoots a
bunch of rounds into the trunk and starts yelling you know hey you tell nick
sabella the arabs in town well this leonard crego was the guy that carl spiro got out of jail,
almost did a no-show job and his
name was leonard crego and they called him the arab so it’s
he goes back to jail pretty quick because he was a loose
cannon he was trying to rob a drug dealer and the police caught him in
the act but you know kind of the words out
they the savellas have picked up another guy and tortured
him when they found his body he’s had marks of cigarette burns
and stuff on him and he probably had spilled all the beans that
carl spiro was wanting to move on the savellas and
and move in on them and and nick’s nick sparrow nick savella is in jail for
that old 1970 gambling conviction finally this is 77 i think finally all he
exhausted all of these peels because he took it all the way as far as he could all the delays he could.
[18:32]He’s about ready to get out of the penitentiary and he sends a
message back to through cork that i
want all unfinished business taken care of when i’ll get back and that means
there’s some murders out there and that means take care of these sparrows there’s
two murders that don’t seem to be related that happened real quick and then
in april that year 1977 or 78 the remaining three three Spiro brothers,
next to the oldest one, he’s been killed.
The remaining three Spiro brothers are in a tavern, their favorite tavern,
their hangout, their meeting place called the Virginia Tavern.
And three guys appear in the back door.
Two of them spin off to the left where Mike and Joe Spiro are sitting and just
start shooting at them. And they go down.
Carl Spiro is over by the front door, directly across from the back door.
And he’s on the telephone and And he sees what’s happening and he boogies out
the front door down the street and a guy, masked guy with a shotgun,
12 gauge pump action shotgun,
goes busting out the front door and chugging down the street with a shotgun
and finally stops and takes aim and pops Carl Sparrow in the back. He goes down.
He’s going to be a paraplegic the rest of his life. He never slowed down being
a criminal, but he did to do it in a wheelchair. chair.
[19:47]Mike is dead. The one who actually was a teamsters and they wanted to get a
better teamsters job for him.
But Nick Sabella chose somebody else.
He’s dead and Joe’s been wounded. So Joe and Carl now start plotting because
they’ve got information that Tuffy DeLuna was a guy with the shotgun that day.
And Tuffy DeLuna is the guy who led this team and he was the underboss.
And the people that went with him, they’ve got the names of them,
Joe Ragusa and Charlie Mortina, because Joe Sparrow Groves eventually going
to leave a letter after he dies on who was in that team.
[20:20]They go after Tuffy because he was the leader of the team. He’s the most important
guy. He’s the biggest threat.
They go after him big time with sniper rifle.
First of all, Joe gets hides over by his house and his Tuffy walks in from parking
on the street. He walks in.
He takes a shot at him with a deer rifle, misses him. I think he was drunk that
night. Anyhow, misses him. And we sent a couple of detectives over.
They had an informant that was close to Joe Spiro at the time,
and he told them about it. They sent two detectives over, and he denied that it happened.
And they said, well, what about that hole out there in your siding there?
And he said, I don’t know. That must have been there a long time.
[21:00]Continue on this plan to kill Tuffy DeLuna. It’s kill Tuffy DeLuna with Joe Spero.
Carl Sparrow gets dynamite from one guy. He gets a remote-controlled detonating
device from another guy.
And Carl Sparrow, Joe Spero, then gets it from Carl, and he puts it together,
and he has a couple of peckerwoods working for him, and one of them’s a police informant.
He was informing about this bomb thing that they’re building, and
and and he didn’t inform it in time because one
night joe sparrow catches toughy out in
front of this the famous villa capri where toughy will will be found talking
about you know the skim and everything catches his car out front on the street
slip the bomb underneath it and then stand back about a half a block and when
toughy goes out and gets in the
car to drive off he hits the button and it doesn’t go and just drive off.
And Joe sent one of his guys, Conrad Metz. He made him walk up and get that
sack with the bomb in it. He brings it back.
[22:03]Okay, Tuffy gets away. They’re still after Tuffy big time.
But we’ve got that informant inside that little crew.
And so we arrest Joe and this Conrad Metz. And the informant was the third one.
Final Retribution on Spiro Brothers
[22:15]And they can’t make Carl. So Carl’s still out there.
He’s still a threat. he’s uh he’s done by this
he’s starting to start a used car lot and joe
will get convicted mets will get convicted mets
will go to jail joe will be out on the peel and he’ll
walk into a storage facility where he has more dynamite stored and guns and
things like that as he goes in the storage facility it blows up some savella
guys will swear that they blew it up other people just say it was It was an
accidental detonation of the dynamite he already had. Anyhow,
Joe’s dead, so it only leaves Carl.
And eventually they’ll get him. They’ll make an effort and put a big,
like 29 sticks of dynamite underneath his car with a mercury switch out at his house.
And his nephew finds that before he gets in the car.
Then they put one at this used car shack where he was supposedly selling used
cars. He never sold any cars.
He was just fencing and selling drugs and guns and things like that.
But that explosion in that used car lot will blow him and his wheelchair clear
up through the roof and dump him out in the parking lot.
Tuffy DeLuna would have been behind all that. He would have been the guy that
hired whoever did that. He probably was even there close by to make sure it happened.
[23:30]He was just that kind of guy. And, of course, as I mentioned about this Villa
Capri from the famous casino movie where they pan up and they show that microphone in a corner store.
Well, it wasn’t in a corner store. or was in this bill at the free and Tuffy
is sitting there talking to court, Nick’s brother about different things in
Las Vegas, about the team shares about $25 million.
They say something about a win on that with them and Tuffy’s,
you know, finally Tuffy says, we’ve got to find the phone.
And then we started following Tuffy and he’s a hard one to follow, man. He is tough.
He would stop and look out, see if there’s an airplane out there.
And the Bureau had brought in about 10 more guys, About six guys from the intelligence
unit gave us radios with them, and we all had select cars, and they had two airplanes,
so one could be up at all times if one started running out of gas.
If you remember, the famous FBI plane ran out of gas, had to land in the Las
Vegas Country Club golf course.
We don’t want that, so we got two planes ready to go.
[24:32]One gets low and they’re still moving. They bring the other one up and finally
find him at a bank of pay phones in a kind of a hotel, an obscure kind of industrial
area that would be right next to I-435.
Secret Phone Conversations
[24:46]And so they find a bank of pay phones and follow him there and get on them.
And he’s talking to Joe Gosco all the time about what’s going on in Las Vegas,
talking about sending money back.
They call them sandwiches from the trop, the tropicana, Canada,
talking about what’s going on with Lefty and over at the Stardust.
And they were talking about the Kansas City mob wanted to get a package together.
[25:12]Get some investors that they would then back and help set up with a Teamsters
loan and buy out Alan Glick. See, Tuffy had been the guy.
Like I said, it wasn’t Chicago.
It wasn’t Milwaukee. It wasn’t Cleveland.
It was Kansas City that told Alan Glick he had to sell the Stardust and those
other three casinos that he had, the Stardust, the Haas Inn and the Fremont,
and get out of the business because he wasn’t getting on with Lefty.
And they’d already told him, you know, you got to do what Lefty tells you to do.
They had brought Glick back earlier and talked to Nick and Nick told him,
you got to do what Lefty wants you to do.
And that’s when Nick or Alan Glegg told Lefty, I mean, told Nick Civella and
Tuffy Luna sitting there that, you know, hey, no, Frank Balistrieri said this
and Frank Balistrieri said that.
And he testified to this.
And Nick Civella turned to Tuffy Luna and said, you know, well,
Fancy Pants thinks he can do something here.
He said, you need to get on up there. And Tuffy said, yeah, I’ll do that.
But see, Tuffy was the guy. Tuffy had been to Chicago and met with Iupa.
And he was the guy that went around and did all these kinds of things for Nick
because Nick stayed in the background.
It was kind of like Tony Accardo with his upfront bosses.
[26:36]And so Tuffy then was sent out to see Alan Glick and say, you know,
you’ve got to sell the Stardust.
You’re not doing what we want you to do.
And he’s in Oscar Goodman’s office sitting behind the desk the way Alan Glick described it.
He left. He tells him, you know, go to go to Oscar Goodman’s office.
Somebody needs to see it. So he goes over there, goes in Oscar’s office.
There’s Tuffy Luna sitting there.
Tuffy’s got his feet up on the desk, supposedly. Tuffy says,
hey, you know, you got to do whatever, make a public announcement,
do whatever you got to do and sell this casino.
[27:12]And Alan Glick kind of like, well, you know, I’m not quite ready to do that. I don’t want to do that.
And Tuffy said, I’ll tell you what, he said, you may find your life expendable,
but you won’t find the lives of your children expendable.
And then named off his wife and kids off a piece of paper he had there.
And that was enough for Alan Glick. Glick, he did make a public announcement
and started trying to sell the
casino pretty quick, Stardust and all of them. And he did try to sell it.
They sold it to another mob-controlled guy named Al Saxon and something,
Tabman, Michael or something, Tabman.
I don’t remember exactly, but sold it to another mob-connected guy.
It would be Kansas City’s job to go out and tell Glick he was done.
Not Milwaukee, not Chicago, not Cleveland, Kansas City.
On one occasion, Frank Rosenthal approached Glick and he said, I want you to meet a guy.
[28:12]And so they went over to Oscar Goodman’s office, and Oscar was not there.
Oscar, of course, was the attorney. And when they walked into the office,
Tuffy DeLuna was sitting behind Oscar’s desk with his feet up on the desk.
Mr. DeLuna’s demeanor is very vulgar. course and he used many profanities.
He said that he and his partners are sick and having to deal with me.
He informed me that it was their desire to have me sell the Argent Corporation
immediately and to announce the sale as soon as possible.
He said that in the event I didn’t take his threat seriously that I might find
my life expendable and he went on to.
[28:51]And gave me the names and ages of each of my kids.
[29:09]Within the next few weeks, Alan Glick would make a public announcement that
he was selling the Argent Corporation. operation?
Lefty, I mean, Nick was talking to Tuffy at this time.
Besides that little operation of telling him he had to sell to put together
a package to buy the Stardust for Kansas City.
And he even set up a meeting with Joy Iupa to discuss that. Now, Iupa never did go for it.
Iupa was the big duck. You see, the thing about Nick Civella,
this is more about Nick than Tuffy, but Nick Civella, he always,
he got this skim 40 grand a month from the Tropicana.
He would send a piece of that to Joey Aiuppa. He didn’t have to because Chicago
did not help Nick infiltrate the Tropicana.
There’s no teamsters loan involved, nothing. Chicago had nothing to do with it.
But Tuffy Luna was this guy through all this.
He was, you know, when we served the search warrant, finally, and it was St.
Valentine’s Day, 80, I think, and served these search warrants.
And I I was at Tuffy’s house, a really nice guy to talk to. You wouldn’t want him after you.
I know I was, he like, we almost caught him and a couple other guys fighting.
[30:22]Hitting Carl Spiro just accidentally, almost caught him. And we drove in and
we saw him driving around, driving around this bar.
We got in closer. Now I looked in my rearview mirror and they were behind me
and they just kind of started following along behind me. I think they were suspicious who I was.
And I got to a stoplight a few blocks away and I’m sitting there in the straight
go ahead lane and they’re in the left turn lane.
And when the light turned, I just kind of glanced over and there’s Tuffy look
just staring at me. And he kind of gives me half a grin and they take a left and they’re gone.
They’re gone. And he had not really seen me before.
But, you know, I’m like a 35, 38 something white guy, you know,
dressed with, you know, decently and half, you know, just kind of a middle of
the road salesman kind of car.
But in that neighborhood, I did not fit.
Me, Tuffy, personally then in search warranties house. And he was very personal.
He even joked with this one agent. He had caught him trying to put a beeper
up underneath his car because they found the beeper.
So they were joking about Tuffy said, yeah, he said, I almost caught you, didn’t I?
He said, yeah, you did. I guess he chased him down the street.
But Tuffy had an alarm on his car that would send a signal to a beeper that
would just buzz if somebody jostled his car.
So he ran out there in the middle of the night and almost caught this agent with the car.
That was the second time. He didn’t know about the other time.
He almost caught somebody up underneath his car. or some other agent saw it
and warned the guy off, and they got out of there.
[31:48]Finally, I’ll never forget, we had this FBI agent who was in charge of Tuffy’s house.
[31:53]And by this time, it’s getting late at night. It’s like 2 o’clock in the morning.
We’ve been there since 8.
And his kid had gotten all mad. His kid, he had a teenage, upper-teen boy who
had come home in the middle of this, and he was mad.
And, as a matter of fact, I remember Tuffy told his wife, said,
Sandy, he said, call somebody.
He even gave him a name and had him come and get Rick. So pretty soon a young
guy shows up and takes Rick off.
And he’s telling Sandy’s wife, said, you know, just make some coffee with these officers.
You know home gonna be cool finally tells shay area
this old-time fbi agent been working a mob since
the 50s he said shay said you might as well
go down to the basement here that’s where all the good stuff is and that’s
where they found the notes and he did keep notes he
kept you know like he was worried about the money he was spending going out
there so he had a note about 160 airfare for him 160 airfare for his wife so
much for the hotel room how much he spent for the hotel room But he also had
like the breakdown of the skim on in Kansas City,
had these guys names that were mob guys like Tiger and Dude and Tommy and who else?
[33:00]Felix and these different guys. And we knew were the old school made guys.
And they all had a percentage of the skim that was coming back from the trop.
Now, I don’t know if the skim that was coming down from Chicago that came out
of the Stardust. I don’t know who got what, but this was about the Tropicana
and the skim coming out of that.
And a lot of other notes in there about meetings they had, talking about meeting 22 and talking to 22.
And somehow they figured out 22 was Iupa in Chicago.
[33:30]And I think 23 was Jackie Cerrone.
But anyhow, they put all that together and made the cases. And Tuffy goes to jail in, I think, 1988.
He gets about 20 years. And when he comes out, he’s really pretty old.
Tuffy’s Death in 2008
[33:47]Things have moved on quite a little bit. He comes out in 1998.
He died in Kansas City in 2008.
One last little personal story about Tuffy the Loon. I saw a little article
in the paper after he’d been back a short period of time. I didn’t know he was out. I’m off.
I’m out of the intelligence unit. I’m off doing other things.
And said that he was banned from local casinos after they caught him in there.
So I guess somebody recognized he was in there playing blackjack or poker,
probably, because he wouldn’t be playing the slot machines.
He’s a big card player. A friend of mine back home once went to a big gin rummy
tournament, and he ended up playing across the table from Tuffy DeLuna.
He remembered it because Tuffy, when it came his turn to deal,
he’d always, like, try to pass on the deal.
And finally, this guy, he didn’t know Tuffy from baloney, you know.
I’m not going to do it. You need to deal. your turn. He said, Oh, okay, so he did.
Then he founds out later some guy gets him aside and says, you know who that
was you confronted about that dealing thing?
He said, I don’t know. He said, Tuffy DeLuna. He said, well,
who’s Tuffy DeLuna? This guy didn’t know.
[34:54]But Tuffy could not gamble at the casino after they caught him in there.
I think I said to him, he ends up dying in 2008.
So that’s kind of an overview of Carl Tuffy DeLuna because of Nick Pelleggi
and his book Casino and the Movie.
[35:13]Artie Piscano, you know, he’s like one of the more famous mobsters and supposedly
a bumbling mobster, but he really wasn’t.
He wasn’t a bumbler at all.
He was a very dangerous guy. He’s a very smooth guy.
[35:24]He took care of business. He
Tuffy as Consigliere
[35:26]never talked out of school except on these phones and maybe in Nixabella.
Now, actually, the house that Nixabella chose, it was a cool location,
but because they were already on these other phones, they bugged
that meeting that really really laid the skim out and and
he wasn’t really talking out of school over at the Villa Capri it
was really like in general but when we found
those secret phones we were able to follow him and find those
secret phones that pay phones in a hotel with a
bank up they’d use a different one every time and even
then they’d change out to different phones but you were so
on time by then his patterns it was easy to
get onto those next phones why uh you
know it all came down and but next sabella
and erica caught him talking to tuffy a lot
and probably could have convicted him off that conversation because
he talked in the lawyer’s office and we got bugs in the lawyer’s office and
that’s when i found out that tuffy listened to those conversations tuffy was
a real counselor and consigliere to nick savella nick would bounce things off
him what do you think about this what do you think about that remember for example
one time he said something could i If I call,
Nick wanted to know, do you think I could call Lefty Rosenthal directly?
Because we’ve got to get him to cool down. He’s got to cool down.
[36:44]Well, if Lefty was to get a fucking phone call from somebody,
it might tone him down, even if he has a press conference. Fine.
I tried to rationalize my own position by calling him.
I’m sure that I’ve been told more than once right now, anytime you want to,
sure, of course you can call us, you know, the day you want,
you know, you’ve got a right to, you know, and I said, well, gee,
you couldn’t have given us a call, you know, courtesy of a call.
[37:23]If you wanted to call it, Nick, I don’t see a fucking thing going on with it.
And they did tell you that.
They told you that before. I thought I was already probably.
Tuffy said, well, I think you can. He said, we had a meeting about that.
And I remember that. And he referred to some meeting in Chicago.
And in the end, he did call Lefty Direct and told Lefty he needs to cool it.
And so he’s telling, again, running this by Tuffy. And, you know, what do you think?
And he said, you know, he said, he might lie to you.
So it was just a real interesting, real deal mafia underboss that,
Tuffy’s Role as Underboss
[38:02]again, he was Nick Sabella’s Swiss Army knife.
He took care of everything on the streets, whether it be killing somebody,
enforcing somebody, you know, making sure that the sports book was running good,
all that, all those kinds of things.
He never took care of swag. Swag, every of the people did the swag business.
And that was Willie Calasano. That’s a whole other story there.
Willie Calasano, Willie the Rat.
So thanks a lot, guys. I really appreciate y’all listening. Don’t forget,
I like to ride motorcycles.
So if you’re out on the street in your car, watch out for motorcycles.
If you have a problem with PTSD and you’ve been in the service,
go to the VA website and get that hotline number.
Hand in hand with PTSD and is drug and alcohol addiction with depression.
[38:44]Drug and alcohol addiction.
You know go to angelo rugiano
he has his own youtube and website and
everything he has a hotline number on there he’s a drug and alcohol counselor
former gambino soldier down in florida drug
and alcohol counselor go see him let me
know about it if you do it’d be interesting good story if you
have a desire to get
on facebook if you’re on facebook i want you to
come to the gangland wire podcast group well
we’ve got 50 000 people there’s tons of good pictures and
like interesting comments from people who grew
up in the neighborhood or or new people and
not really some of them are mobsters i’m promising that they don’t ever say
they are but you can just tell by the way they talk and i know i’ve got one
guy who’s actually came over from sicily and was involved with joe massino and
Connect with Gangland Wire Podcast Group
[39:35]sal batali in that section of the banana family and i’ve interviewed him.
If I haven’t put it out by now, I will eventually. He’s on there a lot and can
answer questions about that.
[39:47]And so it’s just a lot of fun. So don’t forget to like and subscribe.
If you’re on Facebook, give me a review.
If you’re on the audio podcast app, and don’t forget, I’ve got the movies out
there, Gangland Wire about the skim, Brothers Against Brothers about the Sabella-Spiral
War on YouTube for only about 99. I got my book, Leaving Vegas.
I think the The audio on that, you can click on the audio on the links to the
transcripts and hear the actual wiretap audios on that.

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