5 most infamous South Florida mob hits

AP file photo of Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello and James Fiorillo at the murder trial of Miami Subs founder Gus Boulis

From a murder at a speakeasy in the (now haunted) Biltmore hotel to a bullet-riddled body stuffed in the trunk of a car at the airport, here are South Florida’s most infamous mob hits.

Fatty Walsh and the Biltmore

Miami Herald file of Fatty Walsh and the Biltmore

1. Murder at the Biltmore speakeasy

Fatty Walsh, bodyguard to a New York mobster, was murdered March 7, 1929, by rival underworld figure Edward Wilson in a 13th floor two-bedroom suite at the Biltmore Hotel that was being run on the sly as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Walsh’s ghost supposedly haunts the hotel to this day. The No. 1 elevator, the main access to the 13th floor, has been known to automatically rise to that level and stay put. “They say Fatty Walsh wants company,” storyteller Linda Spitzer told the Miami Herald in a 2000 article.

Aronow (l) and Kramer

Miami Herald file of Don Aronow (left) and Benjamin Kramer

2. Dead-end street hit

Don Aronow, 59, was rich, handsome, a standout boat racer and an international businessman. U.S. Customs agents were so impressed with his speedy Cigarette boats that they commissioned him to build an intercept vessel. Problem: he came to the attention of the wrong people. He died Feb. 3, 1987, on a dead-end street in what is now Aventura. Prosecutors argued that Benjamin Kramer, a rival who owned a casino and raced powerboats, wanted Aronow dead over a business dispute. Kramer was jailed for ordering the hit carried out by triggerman Bobby Young for $60,000.


Miami Herald file of Gus Boulis

3. Slain Miami Subs king

Gus Boulis was a Greek immigrant who came to the U.S. as a 16-year-old stowaway. The Miami Subs founder, 51, was driving his green BMW in Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 6, 2001, when he was blocked by a Mazda Miata. A black Mustang pulled up alongside Boulis’ car and a hit man opened fire. The murder-for-hire was linked to a floating casino empire he founded and lost. Some of the investors were linked to the Gambino crime family. Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari, Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello and James “Pudgy” Fiorillo were convicted.


Miami Herald file of Anthony “Big Tony” Esperti

4. Head shots at The Place for Steak

A member of the Gambino family, Thomas “The Enforcer” Altamura, a Mafia hitman, turned up for dinner on a 1967 Halloween night at the popular A Place for Steak restaurant in North Bay Village. As he waited for his table, rival Anthony “Big Tony” Esperti, 37, a former boxer, burst into the restaurant’s foyer and pumped five slugs into Altamura. “What a beautiful hole that is,” the medical examiner was overheard saying when he arrived on the scene and saw the victim’s head wound.


Callahan (l) and Bulger

Miami Herald file of John Callahan (left) and James “Whitey” Bulger

5. Stuffed into a trunk at the airport

South Florida president of Jai-Alai John Callahan, 45, was found with two bullets in his head and a dime on his chest in the trunk of a silver Cadillac at Miami International Airport on August 2, 1982. The hit was linked to Boston’s Winter Hill gang, led by James “Whitey” Bulger.

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This story was first published here.