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One Colgan story illustrates the symbiotic relationship between mobster and fed. In '81 Colgan led a team of 40 agents who planted a microphone in the ceiling at J&S. "It lasted maybe 12, 24 hours, then it went quiet," the ex-agent recalls. "Joey repeatedly swept the place. We knew we were compromised." Colgan's boss wanted the pricey piece of equipment back. So when Colgan spotted a wiseguy entering the social club, he coattailed himself inside. The wiseguy took a swing at him, and several other men rushed him. "The next thing, I hear, I don't see, 'Relax, everybody. It's only Pat.' And it's Joey. He says, 'I figured you'd be back.' He walked into the back and brought out our equipment, throws it on the bar. Then he says to me, 'I understand you've been promoted.' I'd become a supervisor. I knew that Joey had just been made a captain, so I said, 'Yeah, Joey. I understand you've been promoted too.' He just chuckled." If this sounds like the sporadic humane contact between a German soldier and an English soldier on the Somme battlefield, it is. "It was a war," Colgan says. "And there was a professional respect for your adversary. But if it was his life or my life, hah, goodbye. We'd both be shooting. And only one of us would've walked away."
Colgan acknowledges Massino's stolid charisma, his use of power as an instrument of fear. "If Joey said something, people jumped. They wanted to be endeared to Joey," he says. "If they didn't do what he said, he'd whack them. And if he even thought you were an informant, he'd have you killed." Colgan managed to persuade Ray Wean--a Bonanno man so huge that when Colgan once arrested him, he couldn't get the cuffs around Wean's thick wrists--to be an undercover informant and later testify for the prosecution at Massino's '87 trial. "Wean was a psychopath. He would've killed you and not batted an eye. But he was terrified of Joey."
In '81, when the Brasco mole surfaced and indictments fluttered like ticker tape around the Bonanno family, Massino lammed it to the Pocono Mountains. He lived out of a suitcase, using the alias Joseph Russo, and spent weekends with a mistress at lakeside resorts, court records say. After several years, he turned himself in and twice stood trial, in '86 and '87. At the first one, he was found guilty of labor racketeering, along with then boss Rastelli and Teamsters from Local 814, and spent five years in prison. It was while he was there, when Rastelli died of natural causes in '91, that he was promoted to boss of the Bonannos.
The convictions of so many family members made the FBI complacent. While the feds snoozed, Massino got out of prison in '92 and with Gotti's O.K., quickly rebuilt the family, set up rackets, installed new captains and established his power. And he was careful. According to the government, he closed down the social clubs (they were like flypaper to electronic bugs), stopped going to Mob funerals and weddings (enterprise evidence in a RICO case) and traveled as far as Mexico, France and Italy to meet with family captains and avoid surveillance. But Massino made one mistake. He believed that his men, including his brother-in-law, would honor omerta as scrupulously as he did. Massino was arrested on Jan. 9, 2003, the day before his 60th birthday.