The origins of the Kansas City Crime Family, known better on the street as the “Outfit,” date back to the early part of the 20th Century. A small band of immigrant Italian/Sicilian predators, operating in the Little Italy north end section of the city, coalesced, organized and united during prohibition to become an organized crime entity. During Prohibition the Kansas City mob became part of a nationally structured Italian/Sicilian syndicate that came to be known as La Cosa Nostra. Chosen as the Kansas City boss of the Outfit in 1953, Nick Civella was identified at the famous 1957 meeting of La Cosa Nostra Bosses in Appalachia, Mew York. The Kansas City Outfit was riding high during the 1970s. Two unrelated events would result in the end of the Outfit’s Las Vegas money train and the incarceration of Outfit leaders from Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Kansas City.
The first event was the murder of an Outfit member named Nick Spero in November of 1973. Nick was a Teamster’s union official. Nick was seen as ambitious and seeking to expand his power with the outfit. The Civella dominated Outfit could not allow anything to threaten their influence over the Central States Teamster’s Pension Fund. In true gangland fashion, Nick Spero’s body was found in the trunk of his car in an isolated area of North Kansas City. Nick’s brothers did not let the murder of their brother go unanswered.
The second event began with an entertainment district development known as the River Quay. A businessman named Marion Trozollo parlayed his Teflon-pan success into revitalizing the rundown City Market district. The River Quay quickly became the hippest entertainment area in Kansas City. The Outfit believed they had a proprietary interest in the City Market area. The son of an Outfit soldier, Freddie Bonnadonna opened a successful River Quay bar called Poor Freddie’s. Freddie Bonnadonna had an exclusive contract to lease night-time parking rights in City Market parking lots. Outfit members became jealous of Freddie’s success. This, in addition to Freddie’s resisting the introduction of mob controlled strip clubs into the Quay, set into motion a series of violent and deadly events.
Gangland Wire tells the story of how revenge, greed and jealousy put the F.B.I. on a path leading to the end of Mafia influence over Las Vegas casinos and over the Teamster’s union and their Central States Pension Fund.