In the first known slaying of a New York City Mafia boss since 1985, 53-year-old Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali — the alleged Gambino family leader — was gunned down outside his home in the city’s Staten Island borough on Wednesday night, per The New York Times. The self-described “paper of record” apparently never once mentioned Cali in its pages until the mobster was slain on March 13.
The lack of any news about the powerful crime boss, who has allegedly ruled the Gambino family — perhaps the oldest and most storied of New York City’s five “La Cosa Nostra” crime families, as The Inquisitr reported — since 2015, was first noticed by Twitter user @nycsouthpaw. This user wrote, “As best I can tell, Francesco Cali (call him Frank) never appeared in a story in the New York Times until he was assassinated last night, at which point it was revealed to readers that he is the ‘reputed’ boss of the Gambino Mafia family.”
An online search of The New York Times website also failed to uncover any mention of Cali by The New York Times prior to March 13, 2019, when the paper reported in several stories on the Sicilian native’s brazen slaying. The murder was reportedly committed by a gunman in a blue pickup truck in the Todt Hill neighborhood of Staten Island. That same neighborhood was also home to Paul Castellano, the Gambino family boss who was gunned down in December of 1985 in what is believed to be the most recent killing of a New York City Mafia boss prior to Cali’s murder.
Frank Cali, reputed Gambino crime family boss, fatally shot outside Staten Island home: reports https://t.co/vNs61AhlIW— between sins (@lithiummarx) March 14, 2019
“Do reporters only learn who runs Mafia families if they get indicted or happen to die, at which point investigators loosen their tongues?” asked @nycsouthpaw, who identifies themselves on Twitter as being a writer and lawyer. “Or is there some existing body of knowledge about who runs the mob in New York that doesn’t get published?”
Other New York newspapers, on the other hand, appeared quite aware of Cali and his activities prior to his violent death on Wednesday. The New York Daily News, for example, published a 2015 story that marked Cali’s ascension to the top spot in the Gambino crime family.
The New York Daily News story reported that Cali had replaced 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu as boss of the Gambino family, and that Cali had “deep mob ties.” Cali was married to the niece of powerful Gambino “capo” John Gambino, a distant cousin of the Mafia family’s best-known boss, Carlo Gambino, the paper reported. Carlo Gambino ruled the criminal organization from 1957 until his death by natural causes in 1976, according to the National Crime Syndicate site.
Police are now on the hunt for suspects in the slaying of Frank Cali, according to The Staten Island News, and investigators are not ruling out the possibility that the killing was unrelated to Cali’s alleged mob activities.
According to the Staten Island paper, the gunman shot Cali at least six times in the chest and other parts of his body, firing from a blue pickup truck which then sped away from the scene. An eyewitness report said that the truck ran over Cali before driving off, according to a New York Daily News report, but police have not confirmed that Cali was run over in addition to having been shot.