Sunday, September 17, 2017

Venero 'Benny Eggs' Mangano dead at 95

Legendary mobster Venero 'Benny Eggs' Mangano, underboss of the Genovese crime family under Vincent 'The Chin' Gigante, died Friday. He was 95.

The old-school gangster died in Greenwich Village, the neighborhood where he spent most of his life and ran his operations out of a Thompson Street social club. Mangano was highly respected, rising through the ranks to serve as Gigante’s right-hand man.

Vincent 'The Chin' Gigante
The longtime Gigante loyalist infamously refused to testify at "the chin's" 1997 federal trial when called by prosecutors. “What do you want to do, shoot me?” snapped tough guy Mangano. “Shoot me, but I'm not going to answer any questions." The mob veteran invoked the Fifth Amendment, his dignity and oath of omerta remaining intact. The resolutely old-school Mangano made his exit without ever giving an inch — or a useful answer — to the feds.

He was convicted in the 1991 “Windows Case” where the mob made tens of millions of dollars installing new windows in city housing projects. Mangano held the line against the city’s other crime families when they pressed for a bigger piece of the $151 million in business generated by the scam. “It’s all ours” Mangano declared when the Lucheses and the Gambinos complained.

Mugshot of Gigante in 1960.
Mangano grew up in the Village, joining the Chin’s crew before his ascension to boss in 1981. The pair was even indicted together nine years later as co-defendants in the Windows case. Mangano was busted four times for bookmaking, and once served eight months in jail for refusing to testify.

Mangano’s nickname stemmed from an egg store once run by his mother.