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Old 01-01-2014, 11:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MeBella View Post
Did you know or heard of the Cerra Brothers? My great uncle was Tony Cerra. Had a hit put out on him in New Orleans in the 50's.Of course they were successful
It's possible some of the Cerras worked for some of those interests as underlings, but they were not kingpins in that activity. That family is mostly know as hard working tradesmen and construction folks. They are involved with the building trades and with trades unions for the most part.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MeBella View Post
To the original post: I have facts.I was there for many meetings between Paul Hankish and Ted Tsoras. I was followed many times by the Feds because I was just a son's girlfriend. However,I am also a great niece to the Bill Blias Crew. My late great uncles worked for "Big Bill in East Wheeling."
Gambling was a major industry in that area in those days, and it would not be surprising that many peoples' ancestors worked in that field in one capacity or another. Are you part of the Bella family from Bellaire? If so, I am familiar with your family. They were mostly tied in with the Zambitos, but everyone in gambling worked with Lias in one way or another. Hankish was also affiliated there, but he was also tied in with the Lebanese stolen property group and a group that dealt with stolen cars. In general, in comparison with the others Hankish was a ruthless dirtbag. The others tended to find ways to deal with problems that did not involve violence. Hankish did not hesitate to use it, and Jimmy Griffin was an absolutely cold blooded killer.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:00 PM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,086,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeBella View Post
To the original post: I have facts.I was there for many meetings between Paul Hankish and Ted Tsoras. I was followed many times by the Feds because I was just a son's girlfriend. However,I am also a great niece to the Bill Blias Crew. My late great uncles worked for "Big Bill in East Wheeling."
I'm assuming you mean you were Phil's girlfriend? You were probably followed for more reasons than just being Paul's son's girlfriend. This had to be later than the 50s era, and the whole game changed later on. There were other things involved besides gambling by that time. In Lias's own words, this is what went on. You have to bear in mind that you are only getting what he wants you to know here. If you read this account, you will see that, if Lias told the truth, one of the kingpins in gambling in Wheeling was actually a member of a prominent new money family, but that wasn't really generally known by the public. He later became a prominent politician. His son, much later, became a federal judge.

http://www.wvgenweb.org/ohio/liasbill.htm

Last edited by CTMountaineer; 01-01-2014 at 02:09 PM..
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:06 PM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,086,337 times
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Originally Posted by CTMountaineer View Post
I'm assuming you mean you were Phil's girlfriend? You were probably followed for more reasons than just being Paul's son's girlfriend. This had to be later than the 50s era, and the whole game changed later on. There were other things involved besides gambling by that time. In Lias's own words, this is what went on. You have to bear in mind that you are only getting what he wants you to know here. If you read this account, you will see that, if Lias told the truth, one of the kingpins in gambling in Wheeling was actually a member of a prominent new money family, but that wasn't really generally known by the public. He later became a prominent politician. His son, much later, became a federal judge. There were other prominent families involved as well.

Rumor had it that is was Lias who had Paul Hankish's car bombed and resulted in the loss of both his legs. Nobody knows the truth about that rumor, but Lias himself mentions that there was an attempt on his life. There is speculation that Hankish was responsible for that, and the bombing was retaliation.

Bill Lias - Wheeling Area Genealogical Society
Prostitution was a whole different matter. There was little direct connection between Lias and prostitution activities, except that Lias' "bag man"... the one who ferried his money around for him, was also one of those from Marion County who was involved on the operational end of the prostitution activities. It was clear that Lias' casino generally had the first choice of hookers, and those who practiced their arts there were the most expensive in town, but that could simply have been by design of all involved. There were 3 classifications of "houses"... $3 houses, $5 houses, and Lias' casino which had $10 hookers. I am uncertain as to the arrangement Lias had between the prostitution operators and himself to supply those who worked his casino. Those who actually operated the houses seldom became known to the public, because they had "madams" who acted as formen, and insulated them from public knowledge.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA traveling distance.
43 posts, read 156,979 times
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Thumbs up Mafiosi/"Our Thing" 2014.

Colombo's usually runs Northwest WV w/ Marasco's. Southwest WV are usually run by Oliverio's w/ Amato's. Amato's usually have ties w/ Marasco's who is allied with mainly Bonanno Crime family, Colombo Crime family, and sometimes Lucchese Crime family. Meetings are usually held at Eastern PA, Northeast/Newark and Atlantic City NJ, and NYC where very few meetings are held. The Italian Mafia in West Virginia is far and few; but there still is if you know where to look. The Italian Mafia of 2014 is alive and kicking. All they need is a call and they're on the highway ready for a meeting; sit-down/murders;hits/payoffs;drops/ etc.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:31 PM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,086,337 times
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Originally Posted by Cosa Nostra CO1821 View Post
Colombo's usually runs Northwest WV w/ Marasco's. Southwest WV are usually run by Oliverio's w/ Amato's. Amato's usually have ties w/ Marasco's who is allied with mainly Bonanno Crime family, Colombo Crime family, and sometimes Lucchese Crime family. Meetings are usually held at Eastern PA, Northeast/Newark and Atlantic City NJ, and NYC where very few meetings are held. The Italian Mafia in West Virginia is far and few; but there still is if you know where to look. The Italian Mafia of 2014 is alive and kicking. All they need is a call and they're on the highway ready for a meeting; sit-down/murders;hits/payoffs;drops/ etc.
I have no idea what the situation is today. I do know that the Mafia had no involvement with dealings in the Wheeling-Moundsville area during any time period up to and including the early 1980s. That area was totally dominated by Lias and his many affiliates. Lias was Greek, not Italian, and not Sicilian (which is half Greek and half Italian). Lias and his minions absolutely controlled everything including the local governments, but as a result of that there was essentially no violence at all in that wide open area. They refused to tolerate street thugs... it wasn't good or business. On any given weekend night, 1/4 of Pittsburgh was in Wheeling spending money and they made sure to keep it that way. As long as somebody didn't "get out of line" and bother other people, he could do as he pleased.

That said, Lias did have his affiliations/alliances with some of the Pittsburgh Mafia (and I believe that was with the Columbos) as far as I know, but he ran his own show. The dividing lines were the Brooke-Ohio County line in WV and the Belmont-Jefferson line in Ohio. Anything above that line was Mafia. Anything below it and down to the Wetzel County line was Lias. Working with, and to a degree under Lias, were Germans, Italians, Irish, Lebonese, and Greek ethnics with different groups handling different parts of the operations. Prostitution was run by German and Irish folks, who worked together and ran a seamless operation that stretched (totally in WV) from Wheeling to Fairmont.

The only exception was prostitutes who tended to be brought in from the Marion County area by a native of that area who also worked for Lias, but he ran the operational part of prostitution himself, and had a silent partner who was a prominent local business man who provided the physical locations for the "houses", and who arranged for local government cooperation by means of long standing associations that went back to the time the participants were children. How do I know these things? My grandfather was a major participant right up until he died in the early 1960s, and the Marion County fellow who was also Lias' bagman was his brother in law. I'm an old guy. I remember them well. My best friend from the high school days used to ferry hookers between Fairmont and Wheeling to keep things interesting for the visitors/patrons/johns. He had another side job working for Hankish, but that ended when the rift between Hankish and Lias took place. Lias came out on top in that disagreement, and Hankish lost his legs, but when he survived the explosion (which shattered windows for a 4 block area in Warwood) he asked Lias to spare his life and he did so, with stipulations. Hankish was married to the sister of a now deceased good friend of mine. Lias liked Hankish, but that ended with the attempt on Lias' life of course.

A side note... Eddie "Catfish" Joseph was almost the one in the car that was blown up. He was going to borrow Hankish's car that day, but changed his mind and stayed home just before the car was blown up with numerous sticks of dynamite. Joseph told me that himself.

Last edited by CTMountaineer; 04-08-2014 at 10:44 PM..
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:47 PM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,086,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosa Nostra CO1821 View Post
Colombo's usually runs Northwest WV w/ Marasco's. Southwest WV are usually run by Oliverio's w/ Amato's. Amato's usually have ties w/ Marasco's who is allied with mainly Bonanno Crime family, Colombo Crime family, and sometimes Lucchese Crime family. Meetings are usually held at Eastern PA, Northeast/Newark and Atlantic City NJ, and NYC where very few meetings are held. The Italian Mafia in West Virginia is far and few; but there still is if you know where to look. The Italian Mafia of 2014 is alive and kicking. All they need is a call and they're on the highway ready for a meeting; sit-down/murders;hits/payoffs;drops/ etc.
I have no idea what the situation is today. I do know that the Mafia had no involvement with dealings in the Wheeling-Moundsville area during any time period up to and including the early 1980s. That area was totally dominated by Lias and his many affiliates. Lias was Greek, not Italian, and not Sicilian (which is half Greek and half Italian). Lias and his minions absolutely controlled everything including the local governments, but as a result of that there was essentially no violence at all in that wide open area. They refused to tolerate street thugs... it wasn't good or business. On any given weekend night, 1/4 of Pittsburgh was in Wheeling spending money and they made sure to keep it that way. As long as somebody didn't "get out of line" and bother other people, he could do as he pleased.

That said, Lias did have his affiliations/alliances with some of the Pittsburgh Mafia (and I believe that was with the Columbos) as far as I know, but he ran his own show. The affiliation was arranged by a Jewish fellow from Wheeling who was on good terms with the Pittsburgh Mafia. The dividing lines were the Brooke-Ohio County line in WV and the Belmont-Jefferson line in Ohio. Anything above that line was Mafia. Anything below it and down to the Wetzel County line was Lias. Working with, and to a degree under Lias, were Germans, Italians, Irish, Lebonese, and Greek ethnics with different groups handling different parts of the operations. Prostitution was run by German and Irish folks, who worked together and ran a seamless operation that stretched (totally in WV) from Wheeling to Fairmont.

The only exception was prostitutes who tended to be brought in from the Marion County area by a native of that area who also worked for Lias, but he ran the operational part of prostitution himself, and had a silent partner who was a prominent local business man who provided the physical locations for the "houses", and who arranged for local government cooperation by means of long standing associations that went back to the time the participants were children. How do I know these things? My grandfather was a major participant right up until he died in the early 1960s.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:48 PM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,086,337 times
Reputation: 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosa Nostra CO1821 View Post
Colombo's usually runs Northwest WV w/ Marasco's. Southwest WV are usually run by Oliverio's w/ Amato's. Amato's usually have ties w/ Marasco's who is allied with mainly Bonanno Crime family, Colombo Crime family, and sometimes Lucchese Crime family. Meetings are usually held at Eastern PA, Northeast/Newark and Atlantic City NJ, and NYC where very few meetings are held. The Italian Mafia in West Virginia is far and few; but there still is if you know where to look. The Italian Mafia of 2014 is alive and kicking. All they need is a call and they're on the highway ready for a meeting; sit-down/murders;hits/payoffs;drops/ etc.
I have no idea what the situation is today. I do know that the Mafia had no involvement with dealings in the Wheeling-Moundsville area during any time period up to and including the early 1980s. That area was totally dominated by Lias and his many affiliates and successors. Lias was Greek, not Italian, and not Sicilian (which is half Greek and half Italian). Lias and his minions absolutely controlled everything including the local governments, but as a result of that there was essentially no violence at all in that wide open area. They refused to tolerate street thugs... it wasn't good or business. On any given weekend night, 1/4 of Pittsburgh was in Wheeling spending money and they made sure to keep it that way. As long as somebody didn't "get out of line" and bother other people, he could do as he pleased.

That said, Lias did have his affiliations/alliances with some of the Pittsburgh Mafia (and I believe that was with the Columbos) as far as I know, but he ran his own show. The affiliation was arranged by a Jewish fellow from Wheeling who was on good terms with the Pittsburgh Mafia. The dividing lines were the Brooke-Ohio County line in WV and the Belmont-Jefferson line in Ohio. Anything above that line was Mafia. Anything below it and down to the Wetzel County line was Lias. Working with, and to a degree under Lias, were Germans, Italians, Irish, Lebonese, and Greek ethnics with different groups handling different parts of the operations. Prostitution was run by German and Irish folks, who worked together and ran a seamless operation that stretched (totally in WV) from Wheeling to Fairmont.

The only exception was prostitutes who tended to be brought in from the Marion County area by a native of that area who also worked for Lias, but he ran the operational part of prostitution himself, and had a silent partner who was a prominent local business man who provided the physical locations for the "houses", and who arranged for local government cooperation by means of long standing associations that went back to the time the participants were children. How do I know these things? My grandfather was a major participant right up until he died in the early 1960s. I also knew most of these people personally (Lias was not one of them... I never knew him although I certainly recognized him). My grandfather tried very hard to keep his family totally removed from the situation, but like all cities in West Virginia, Wheeling was basically a small town (at that time ... population 68,000 with another 200,000 in nearby towns in West Virginia and Ohio).

Another thing... there are misconceptions about the Mafia. They generally didn't go running roughshod trying to control everything. They had specific areas of interest, and tended to leave everything else alone. They also seldom messed with people who weren't Italian. Historically, from their time in Sicily they ran rackets in that area especially, and their victims were almost always Italians or other Sicilians. Except for their gambling operations, and to a degree in the 1930s the illegal liquor trade which they shared with the Irish, that same situation existed in this country. Today, they have largely been supplanted by the far more vicious and less altruistic Russian Mafia, which is actually a group of Russian Jews who immigrated here.

Last edited by CTMountaineer; 04-08-2014 at 10:59 PM..
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:05 AM
 
Location: un peu près de Chicago
773 posts, read 2,252,266 times
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Why would dagos be living in WV? There is no money there.
The mafiosi are in Philly, NY, and ChiTown.
No need to worry in WV, folks.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:51 AM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,086,337 times
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Originally Posted by Zea mays View Post
Why would dagos be living in WV? There is no money there.
The mafiosi are in Philly, NY, and ChiTown.
No need to worry in WV, folks.
I hope you will stop using ethnic slurs like that. There are many Italians living in West Virginia, especially North Central West Virginia. Italian immigrants came here to work in the mines, and their descendants remain. We are happy that the thug element, which mostly victimized Italians but was never good for anybody, mostly stayed away from here. Most folks with Italian ancestors who live here are friends, neighbors, and family members, and their contribution to the local cuisine is legendary.
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