Joe AdonisGuiseppe Antonio Doto was the kind of Italian man you'd see on the streets rubbing his fingers together while making wet sucking sounds at a passing blond. He was remarkably sexist towards women, and his high opinions of his physique and profile made him a righteous ladykiller.
At 13, Guiseppe sneaked onto an ocean liner and entered the United States illegally. By the end of 1915, he was living in Brooklyn off of whatever money he could scrounge together from stealing and picking pockets.
Somewhere in the early 20's, Guiseppe changed his name to Joe Adonis. He was incredibly vain, and the name helped him envision himself as some sort of well endowed Mediteranean love god. Joey Adonis chased bush all over New York, and his first stint in the klink came after he raped some poor broad who refused his advances.
When he returned to the streets, Adonis joined Frankie Yale's gang, through which he briefly met Al Capone. Capone would eventually rule Chicago, but Adonis would eventually have a hand in the ruling of the entire United States. One fateful day in the 20's, Joe Adonis met Lucky Luciano, the future creator of the American Crime Syndicate. When they met, both Adonis and Luciano worked as pimps and leg breakers, but with the rise of organized crime during prohibition, the pair moved up the ranks in established bootlegging channels.
By 1930, Luciano and Adonis were both working for Joe Masseria. Adonis was one of the four gunmen who killed Masseria on Coney Island. On April 15, 1931, Lucky Luciano walked calmly to the bathroom while Joe Adonis, Albert Anastasia, Bugsy Siegel, and Vito Genovese pumped ten rounds into the Sicilian mob boss.
With Masseria dead, and his rival, Salvatore Maranzano soon to be dead, the Mafia began to form anew under Lucky Luciano's control. Adonis was one of a handful of gangsters Luciano instilled with power as he built the Syndicate. Joe controlled Broadway and downtown Manhattan, but he stationed his business in Joe's Italian Kitchen, in Brooklyn. His own homey little restaurant became the focal point of a multi-million dollar empire.
Adonis reinvested everything he earned selling booze and women. He bought car dealerships in New Jersey. When a new customer came in and bought a $10,000 Cadilac, Joey's boys would phone a week later and explain that if these nice people could afford such expensive cars, they could certainly afford to pay another $10,000 for "insurance". Of course, if they didn't pay, they might find their dog stuffed up the tail pipe of that nice new Caddy.
Joe bought cigarette machines by the hundreds. Then, his goons set up camp 10 miles away from cigarette factories so they could hijack every smoke truck that went north. Adonis' cigarette machines in buildings all over New York made a 100% profit.
Joe was very good at distancing himself from the dirty work. As the government started to bring down the hammer on organized crime in 1936, Adonis wasn't even on anyone's list of suspected criminals. Lucky Luciano wasn't so fortunate in this reguard. He was deported to Italy, never to be allowed back on US soil. In his stead, Adonis was left in charge of the Syndicate. For almost ten years, Joe Adonis had final say on every major bit of organized criminal activity in the United States.
But in '46, Luciano came to Havana and retook the reigns of power at the famous Cuban Conference. Adonis stepped aside graciously and returned to New Jersey, where he continued to earn vast sums of money through his legitimate businesses. His casinos, brothels, and Murder Inc. investments didn't hurt profits, either.
By this time, however, Joe was on Uncle Sam's radar screen. Abe "Kid Twist" Reles was talking to the feds, and indictments began to fly. Reles pointed out that Joe Adonis was one of the most powerful gangsters in the US, and the feds marked him as a target. He was brought before the Kefauver Committee and pleaded the 5th amendment on almost every question.
In 1953, federal investigators discovered that Adonis was not a naturalized citizen. They immediately had him deported to Italy. There, he set up a nice retirement villa near Naples. Joe lived quite close to Lucky Luciano, but the two never spoke after Adonis arrived in Italy. Most likely, this was because Luciano was angered by Joe's giving up the New York rackets to Vito Genovese, the slippery little weasel who had Albert Anastasia killed.
In the end, death did not come for Joe Adonis in the shape of his friends, nor of his enemies. It came in the form of the Italian police. A squad of cops from Rome came to Adonis' home in 1972 and dragged him to an abandoned shack. During their lengthy interogation process, Adonis had a heart attack and died. His funeral was quiet and attended only by his immediate family.
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