Antonino Passananti

Antonio Passananti
Antonio Passananti



Nation­al­i­ty: Sicilian

Died: March 6 1969

Where: Par­tini­co

Cause: Shot in head

Killer: n/a

Antoni­no Pas­sanan­ti was a mem­ber of the Morel­lo gang, arriv­ing in New York around 1902. His early crimes include extor­tion and bomb throw­ing, typ­i­cal of a ‘Black Hand’ criminal.

Pas­sanan­ti was arrest­ed under sus­pi­cion of set­ting a bomb in Brook­lyn, after he had tried to extort money from man who failed to pay. He was caught in pos­ses­sion of a unique type of paper and envelopes that matched those sent to the victim.

He owned a whole­sale liquor busi­ness at 593 Flush­ing Avenue, Brook­lyn, which he ran into the ground in Decem­ber 1908, the same time that Ignazio Lupo also bank­rupt­ed his own busi­ness. The receivers called in the police after dis­cov­er­ing Pas­sanan­ti had been com­mit­ting wil­ful fraud. They also noted he had been pay­ing large amounts of money to Lupo before the pair went into hid­ing. Dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tions it was dis­cov­ered that Pas­sanan­ti was not a US cit­i­zen, although he had man­aged to obtain a license to sell liquor through his business.

Pas­sanan­ti and Carlo Costan­ti­no sailed to Sici­ly around the same time as Lieu­tenant Pet­rosi­no in 1909. Upon their arrival Costan­ti­no sent a telegram to Giuseppe Morel­lo, in New York: ‘I LoBai­do work Fontana’.

Bal­das­sare Ceola, the police com­mis­sion­er of Paler­mo, drew a list of sus­pects con­nect­ed with the killing. He even­tu­al­ly nar­rowed this list down to his prime sus­pects: Vito Cas­cio­fer­ro, Gio­van­ni Pec­o­raro, and Carlo Costantino.

In a later report Bal­das­sare Ceola spoke of the ques­tion­ing of Carlo Costan­ti­no and Antoni­no Pas­sanan­ti. The report referred to the cable mes­sage, sent upon their return to Sici­ly, to Giuseppe Morel­lo in New York: “I LoBai­do work Fontana”. Ceola claimed that LoBai­do was a fic­ti­tious name used by Pas­sanan­ti. Costan­ti­no had been found with pho­tographs of a New York shop under the name “PECORARO-LOBAIDO”. The report con­clud­ed that Carlo Costan­ti­no and Antoni­no Pas­sanan­ti were the like­ly per­pe­tra­tors of the crime, with Vito Cas­cio­fer­ro the mastermind.

Accord­ing to the book, “The Ori­gin of Orga­nized Crime in Amer­i­ca” by David Critchely, which stud­ied the Sicil­ian doc­u­men­ta­tion on this case, Costan­ti­no and Pas­sanan­ti were seen togeth­er in the vicin­i­ty of the killing. They both gave con­tra­dic­to­ry accounts to the police, and Pas­sanan­ti dis­ap­peared soon after the killing.

His crim­i­nal record in Sici­ly shows many fur­ther crimes and arrests until he killed him­self on March 61969.