The Chicago Syndicate: Romance and Rubout of Mafia Kingpin's Moll Doll

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Romance and Rubout of Mafia Kingpin's Moll Doll

Friends of ours: Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, Colombo Crime Family, Greg Scarpa Sr.

Mary Bari loved living in the "Goodfellas" fast lane of New York's 1970s mob underworld. She loved the diamonds and furs. She loved the weekend trips to Vegas. She loved listening to Frank Sinatra. Most of all, though, she loved Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico - a dashing wiseguy nearly 25 years her senior, who fed the bubbly brunette's fantasies of danger and romance with his white Rolls-Royce and his pistol-packing bodyguard.

It was a love that would lead Bari to the heart of gangland high life - and to her murder at the Wimpy Boy Social Club in Brooklyn on the morning of Sept. 24, 1984, when she was held down by a group of her former boyfriend's pals and three bullets were pumped into her head.

Now authorities are looking into the circumstances behind the sexy mob moll's death, trying to find out if the Brooklyn woman was whacked because a renegade FBI agent ignored his pledge to protect and serve and instead outed her as a mob informant.

The only thing that is known for sure about the case now is that Bari's bloody end started with burning love for a married made man. "In the beginning, he was a real gentleman," said a relative of Bari's. "And she had a real crush on him."

The ebullient, popular teenager first met the handsome Persico on a street corner in 1969, while she was a student at New Utrecht HS. She was just about to turn sweet 16, her family said. He was pushing 40. Persico wasn't just any wiseguy wannabe trying to look tough on the Brooklyn street. He was the real deal, one of the Colombo crime family's best and baddest, brother of the gang's boss. He eventually rose to underboss and, some say, acting boss.

Despite their age difference, she was immediately smitten - and he was more than happy to make her his goumada, or paramour. Once she hooked up with Persico, the other young men in the neighborhood stopped asking her for dates. They all knew better. "Once they started dating, he started showering her with gifts. He took her to Vegas, to Hawaii, to Florida," the relative said. "He gave her a fox fur coat. He gave her diamond rings."

She loved the mob life - parties with crowds that looked like the cast of "The Sopranos," and money flowing as freely as a scene from "Casino." Her now-deceased mother, Louise, tried to warn her that being a Mafia gal pal may have seemed glamorous, but it was also dangerous. "[She said] they're bad people," the family member recalled. "But [Mary] wouldn't listen."

Bari knew that Persico would never leave his wife for her, but she still tried to treat him like a normal boyfriend. She had him meet her family, and even took him to her brother's wedding in 1979. She eventually got a peach tattoo on her butt as a gift to him.

By 1980, however, trouble began Persico jumped $250,000 bail while facing 20 years for extortion. While he was on the lam, he dumped Bari. It didn't go easy. "When they broke up, one of his men came over to her house and took back all of the gifts, the diamonds and jewelry," the relative said.

Without Persico in her life, Bari was stuck for money. She didn't work for more than a year afterward. Eventually, some of her old boyfriend's pals made her an offer she couldn't refuse - a job at the Colombo gang hangout in Bay Ridge.

For her interview, she dressed in her mob-moll best - high heels, snakeskin belt and a tank top. But she went to the Wimpy Boy with some trepidation, after a strange supernatural encounter a few days earlier. "She went to a fortune teller in Staten Island and she wouldn't tell her future," the relative said. "She seemed like she was getting really nervous."

According to a published report last week, Bari was killed by Colombo capo Greg Scarpa Sr. and some of his cohorts as soon as she showed up. They allegedly put a gun to her head while she was held to the floor, and blasted her three times.

At the time, Scarpa reportedly told his gang that he wanted Bari dead because she knew where Persico was hiding. But last week, reported a new development. It said grand jurors in Brooklyn are investigating whether former FBI Agent Lindley DeVecchio told Scarpa that Bari was a federal informant, leading to her death.

The Brooklyn probe is also looking into whether the former G-man leaked other information to the mob, endangering lives. The panel has reportedly heard another allegation that DeVecchio once told Scarpa that his son's 17-year-old friend was an informant, leading to the young man's murder.

He also has been accused of pulling police protection off of a mob target, who was then assassinated, according to sources familiar with the probe.

DeVecchio's lawyers have adamantly denied his guilt, and complained the leaks of so-far-unproven allegations made to the jury are hurting their client's reputation. As yet, he has been charged with nothing, including any role in Bari's death.

Bari's body was found a few days after the slaying, rolled in a blanket and dumped on a Brooklyn street. She was identified only because her sister recognized her peach tattoo.

After the murder, her younger brother became obsessed with finding the real killer. He wound up killing himself with a drug overdose in 1987, unable to deal with the loss. Persico was eventually captured in 1987, hiding in a Connecticut apartment. He died in 1989 of cancer.

Bari's parents never got over her death. And her surviving family members still grieve every day. News that a government agent may have played a role is only making their pain worse. "They should hang him if this is his fault," said one family member.

Thanks to Jennifer Fermino and Todd Venezia

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