Fortune's 50: From 'Fat Tony' to 'The Horse'RICK HAMPSON , Associated Press
Oct. 22, 1986 10:41 PM ET
NEW YORK (AP) _ Fortune magazine, known for ranking the 500 largest corporations, has come out with a new list: the ''50 Biggest Mafia Bosses,'' topped by Anthony ''Fat Tony'' Salerno of New York and ending with Frank ''The Horse'' Buccieri of Chicago.
Salerno was followed at the top of the mob list by two more Anthonys: ''Big Tuna'' Accardo of Chicago and ''Tony Ducks'' Corallo of New York, according to the rankings published in the Nov. 10 issue. The list is based on law enforcers' assessments of each mobsters' wealth, power and influence, Fortune said.
''Organized crime is, among other things, a potent economic force,'' managing editor Marshall Loeb explained in his biweekly note to readers. ''Yet rarely, if ever, has the press examined the mob as a business, one that has its own management style and culture...''
Try telling that to John Gotti, reputed boss of the Gambino family - the nation's largest single crime network - who ranked only 13th in the Fortune 50, just ahead of the long-retired and now imprisoned Joseph Bonanno.
Gotti's custom suits, Mercedes 450-SL and impeccable hairstyle - not to mention his alleged responsibility for the murder of his predecessor, Paul Castellano - have gained him more publicity than any mobster since Al Capone.
But ''his superstar status is more image than substance,'' sniffed Fortune. ''He does not seem qualified to run the Gambino family's complex businesses, which range from meat and poultry sales to a garment industry trade association.''
According to Fortune, ''the organization chart of a crime family or syndicate mirrors the management structure of a corporation,'' and mobsters act accordingly:
- Like many a chief executive, Accardo was called back from retirement in Palm Springs, Calif., when other leaders of Chicago's Outfit were imprisoned.
- Salerno and his fellow New York Mafia bosses fixed cement prices, charging a 2 percent fee for all superstructures costing more than $2 million.
- Carl DeLuna, reputed underboss of the Kansas City, Mo., Mafia family, submitted detailed expense accounts for trips to Las Vegas, Nev., where he supervised skimming of cash from the city's casinos.
The mob, Fortune notes, even has a yuppie: Michael Franzeze, 35, a racketeer's son who strayed from traditional scams to branch out into film production and gasoline tax evasion.
But only 24 of Fortune's 50 are currently free or not under indictment, and only 15 of those are under 70. Salerno, who owns an estate in upstate New York, resides in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, which he leaves each day to commute to his federal racketeering trial a few blocks away.
Accardo was the only non-New Yorker in the top 10, which was rounded out by Jerry Catena, reputedly a semi-retired leader of the Genovese family; Gennaro Langella, underboss of the Colombo family; Carmine Persico, Colombo boss; Christopher Funari, consigliere of the Lucchese family; Salvatore Santoro, Lucchese underboss; Philip Rastelli, the ailing Bonanno family boss; and Vincent DiNapoli, a Genovose family capo.
For all its attention to business, however, Fortune was unable to give any annual income or net worth figures for anyone in the Mafia, a network which the FBI estimates to have about 1,700 initiated members in about two dozen cities.
Peter Reuter, a Rand Corp. economist who has studied organized crime, said the rankings probably meant very little.
''I couldn't make an accurate list, and neither can anybody else,'' he said.
But he said most estimates of mob wealth are overstated. ''The old Meyer Lansky line - 'We're bigger than U.S. Steel' - is ridiculous,'' he said.
Comparing Mafia bosses to corporate executives, Reuter argued, ''is only mildly helpful. These are individuals who may respond to their superiors' bidding, but it doesn't mean they work on behalf of their organization very much.'' Most mob assets, he added, apparently are held by individuals, not their crime families.
The Fortune 50, he concluded, ''is entertainment, like most organized crime reporting.''