Reprinted from Detroit Scope
“Detroit is controlled 100% by the Mafia,” says a man close to Mafia kingpins. Many Detroit police officers admit there is a great deal of truth in that statement because of the extent to which the Mafia influences police department activities.
These officers say the department has been so infiltrated by men in the power of the Mafia that Detroit police cannot be effective against organized crime. The Central Intelligence Bureau (CIB) has been denied authority to investigate killings and other activities associated with the Mafia even though it was originally created for the purpose of combating organized crime. Some officers say the orders to “lay off’ the Mafia come from the highest levels.
In the case of Judith Ruggirello, the missing Southfield woman, the CIB and the Homicide Bureau have not been allowed to take part in the investigation even though Detroit police often help suburban police departments with other investigations—and even though Mrs. Ruggirello’s husband, Antonino, is an employee of Snow Pest Control Inc., whose officers include Mafia kingpins Anthony and Vito Giacalone.
Mrs. Ruggirello allegedly planned to divorce her husband and had placed information on Mafia activities in a post office deposit box for release if her husband interfered with her leaving. The post office box has been found to be empty.
Mrs. Ruggirello disappeared about 11 a.m. Aug. 18 Friends say she was going to meet a friend, Harvey Disner, an employee of Ideal Toy Co., but apparently never kept the appointment. Disner is reported to be in hiding. He is said to have been Mrs. Ruggirello’s confidant and thought to have important information concerning her disappearance.
Mrs. Susan Curbelo, Mrs. Ruggirello’s sister, offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Mrs. Ruggirello alive and uninjured. A man later identified as George E. Smith, 22, a convicted felon, contacted Mrs. Curbelo and told her to leave the money in the lobby of a Detroit apartment house.
Smith never had an opportunity to reveal whether he knew anything about Mrs. Ruggirello’s whereabouts. He was shot dead by Detroit Police Sgt. Kenneth Hady, who had been called off leave by a high-ranking Detroit police official to enter the case and report to the apartment house named by Smith. The Central Intelligence Bureau was not informed about Smith. Two policemen present at Smith’s slaying told members of Mrs. Ruggirello’s family that Smith had not been armed with a knife as stated in the official police report, which said the reason why Sgt. Hady shot Smith was that Smith came at him with a knife.
Sgt. Hady is the brother of Albert Hady, who is frequently seen with the Giacalones and other Mafia figures. Sgt. Hady is now in charge of Mayor Jerome P. Cavanagh’s security squad, an assignment given him after he was forced out of the CIB by other officers of the CIB.
On the Sunday following Mrs. Ruggirello’s disappearance, the Royal Mounted Canadian Police stopped the Giacalone yacht, the “Nina Mia,” and found aboard the Giacalones, Albert Hady, Sanford Hoffman and an ex-Detroit police sergeant named Henry Pacioni. Hoffman was the nephew of Caesar Adler, 55, whose body was found at an Oak Park shopping center in a car owned by Ben Faeder, president of J & Z Buyers Services Inc. and a close friend of the Giacalones.
In another case, Morton M. Kasoff, who allegedly was trying to get into the loan shark business and was assessed a $10,000 “fine” by Anthony Giacalone for this effrontery, went to a high-ranking Detroit police officer about threats on his life and his “debt” to Giacalone and was told by the officer, “You’d better pay up, pal.”
State organized crime fighters are also concerned about the difficulty of getting to speak to Detroit Police Commissioner Johannes Spreen. They feel that the Mafia has men in such key positions at police headquarters that information can be kept from the commissioner as well as people who might alert him to the situation in the police department. Most police officers would like the department cleaned up (without publicity, if possible) but have so far not had sufficient power to bring this about.
State and federal crime fighters say the Mafia should be given as much publicity as possible so that the public will know about its operations and power and become sufficiently aroused to force action by public officials. Vincent J. Piersante, head of Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley’s Organized Crime Division (and who also originally organized the CIB but later left the Detroit Police Department because his work was hampered by superiors), says: “We could make a lot more progress against the Mafia if we had the cooperation of the newspapers.”
Several Detroit newsmen, however, are friendly with Mafia figures and frequently attend their parties. Some were present at the March 4 raid on the Carleton House, the biggest gambling raid in Michigan’s history—although their names did not appear in the court records of those charged with loitering in a place of illegal occupation. The Giacalones, Ruggirello, several other Mafia figures, Albert Hady, Hoffman and Adler were among those arrested in the raid.
Cop Drive Fails (sidebar)
Despite a $15,000 grant from the Justice Department and a lot of fancy publicity featuring Bill Cosby, the comedian, a plan to recruit blacks in the police forces of Michigan has failed.
Apparently, the feelings were mutual. On the one hand, there were only 1,700 requests for information, 375 actual applications, and only “several dozen” hired. On the other hand, “there was less than real enthusiasm from law enforcement officials throughout the state,” according to Edward N. Hodges III, the man who ran the recruitment project. It looks like the pigs don’t dig the blacks, and not too many blacks want to be pigs.