Francesco "Frank" Cali (March 26, 1965 - March 13, 2019), known as "Frank" or "Franky Boy", is the reputed acting boss in the of the Gambino crime family. Law enforcement considers Cali to be the Gambino "ambassador to Sicilian mobsters" and have linked him to the Inzerillo Mafia family from Palermo. "Cali is seen as a man of influence and power by organized crime members in Italy," according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Lipton.
Frank Cali was born in New York City in 1965 to Augusto and Agata Cesare, both natives of Palermo, Sicily. His father ran a household goods store in Palermo and a video store in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He had a clean police record in the United States, even though he was mentioned in the Pizza Connection investigation, when police discovered that he was a partner of Domenico Adamita, allied to Sicilian Mafia boss Gaetano Badalamenti.
Frank Cali is a nephew of Sicilian mafiosi John Gambino, Joseph Gambino and Rosario Gambino, and has close ties to the once powerful Sicilian Mafia family led by Salvatore Inzerillo. Cali is also a great-nephew of Bonanno crime family mobsters Giovanni Bonventre and Vito Bonventre. Cali was also related to Gambino boss Paul Castellano.
As a little boy, Cali bonded with Gambino mobster John D'Amico, a lieutenant of Gambino boss John Gotti who operated a crew on 18th avenue in Brooklyn. As Cali entered adolescence, he began to work for D’Amico and had reputation as a top earner. In January 1997, the FBI reported to Italian authorities that Cali had been "combined" into the Gambino family. In 2005 Cali was promoted to acting capo when D'Amico became acting boss. Cali ran several import-export companies in Brooklyn, including Circus Fruits Wholesale in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn recycling of millions of dollars through food distribution. Contrary to mobster stereotypes, Cali is not known to resort to violence and is known to be a negotiator when involved in mafia disputes.
Sicilian Mafia tiesEdit
Cali also maintained ties with the Sicilian Mafia. He married Rosaria Inzerrilo, a sister of Pietro Inzerillo and a relative of Gambino associate Frank Inzerillo, a member of the Palermitan Inzerillo family. In the early 1980s, after losing the Second Mafia War against the Corleonesi of Totò Riina, the Inzerillo family was forced to flee Sicily. Cali and old Palermo boss Filippo Casamento supported the return of the Inzerillos to Palermo, according to Italian authorities.
According to the Italian Polizia di Stato (State Police), Cali is also a member of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. He was the contact for Sicilian Mafiosi who traveled to New York to meet him, do business, and update him on Sicilian affairs. "He's our friend and he is everything over there," confided Sicilian mobster Gianni Nicchi to his boss Antonio Rotolo, after a trip in 2003. Nicchi is one of the Sicilian 'men of honour' who went back and forth between Palermo and the US for drug trafficking.
In early 2003, Cali and fellow captain Leonard DiMaria began extorting 'mob taxes' from Joseph Vollero, the owner of a trucking and contracting company that was helping build a NASCAR speedway on Staten Island. Vollero was eventually forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars as tribute to John D'Amico and Gambino acting boss Nicholas Corozzo. In 2004, to avoid prison time for a cocaine conviction, Vollero began working with federal authorities as an informant. Vollero's undercover work lead to a massive indictment four years later.
On February 8, 2008, Cali and 61 other New York Cosa Nostra associates were arrested and charged with federal racketeering charges as part of Operation Old Bridge. Old Bridge terminated the drug trafficking between the Sicilian Mafia and the Gambino family. Prosecutors claimed that Cali acted as the Gambino "ambassador to the Sicilian mobsters" and as a liaison between John D'Amico and the Sicilian connections to the Inzerillo family. Cali was charged with racketeering, extortion, and conspiracy along with D'Amica and Leonard DiMaria.
On June 4, 2008, Cali pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort money from Vollaro. Cali was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. On April 6, 2009, he was released from prison.
Around 2009, Cali's uncle John Gambino was elevated to the family's ruling panel, according to court papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court. The U.S. Justice Department demanded that Cali avoid all contact with Gambino crime family, except for weddings or holiday celebrations approved in advance by Cali's probation officer.
In October 2012, Cali was identified by New York crime reporter Jerry Capeci as the new underboss of the Gambino crime family. Capeci has previously identified Domenico Cefalu, a member of the same Sicilian faction as Cali, as the current boss of the group. Though his status remains unclear, the promotion of both men follows a period in which John Gambino was a street boss within the Family, showing that the Sicilian group has remained dominant in recent years with leaders from multiple generations filling top positions in the organization.
According to law enforcement and various mob sources including Gangland Reporter Jerry Capeci, Cali was named the new acting boss of the Gambino Family replacing former acting boss Domenico Cefalu. Peter Gotti remains official boss in name only in prison at least as far as feds are concerned but it's clear who is running things.