Peter Vitale

Administrator/Waste Disposal


From Cinisi to the Grecian Gardens

The younger yet most prominent of the Vitale brohters. Peter also known as Sam Polizzi, Sam Bozzi and Peter Vitali was most commonly refered to as plain ole Bozzi. Born in Cinisi provence of Palermo, Sicily on June 24, 1908, Vitale was the architect of the Partners move into the waste hauling business in the early '60s. Bozzi's wife Edith later changed to Agatha was the daughter of Salvatore "Sam" Zerilli. Vitale counted some of the most influential members of the partnership as his associates including international heroin trafficker Frank Coppola, council members Angelo Meli and Papa John Priziola, as well as the Corrado family. Vitale served as the night manager of the Grecian Gardens Restaurant at 562 Monroe St., in Detroit. The Grecian Gardens was an establishment owned by the Corrado family. The location was known as a hangout and meeting spot for local gamblers and mafia members. Vitale was envolved in the early years in the gambling rackets run by Pete "The Enforcer" Corrado in connection with Pete Licavoli. Vitale controled gambling in the area known as Greektown after Corrado's death in 1957 but relinquished this role when he and his family began concentrating on the waste hauling industry.

The Trash Industry

Peter Vitale welcomed Joseph Barbara Jr., into his family on March 3, 1963. Young Barbara married Josephine Vitale "Bozzi's youngest daughter" after moving to Detroit after the death of his father Joe Barbara Sr., a high ranking member of the Buffalino family operating in upstate New York. The March 1962 Vitale/Barbara wedding was the biggest underworld social event in Detroit since the marriage of Licavoli/Abate union two years prior. Young Barbara would prove to be a valuable addition to the partners leading the charge into the waste hauling business in 1962.

Tri-County Sanitation

The creation of Tri-County Sanitation Company Inc., in February of 1962 marked the partners big push into the trash carting business. Tri-County Sanitation and Tri-County Leasing Co., "both operating from the address of a vacant Detroit locate at 3425 Russell St.," were organized in the names of Peter and Paul Vitale in conjunction with Joseph Barbara Jr. The trio invested in twenty brand new state of the art compacting trucks and painted them an eye catching combination of red and white. The firm quickly became a player in the carting industry offering cheaper rates and around the clock pickup service. Competitors found it impossible to compete with the new upstart in the industry who's fleet consisted of the latest large scale model of trash hauler capable of carrying twice the capacity of the common truck then in use. Tri-County also had the added advantage of paying it's drivers $40 less a week than the going rate without the fear of Jimmy Hoffa's interference. Within a year of the companies debut, they benefitted from a grand jury probe which ended with the indictment of 29 public works employees and 5 trash haulers for cheating the city of dumping fees by understating the actual weight and volume of their trucks. All of those indicted ended up being banned from the carting industry opening up a gap which was quickly filled by Tri-County. With the elimination of their major competition legally, Tri-County began using questionable tactics to drive several smaller companies out of business. Once these haulers were backed into a corner, Tri-County would approach the owners of the firm with a bale out plan which allowed them to escape with a small profit while allowing their routes and assets to be absorbed into Tri-County. As Tri-County grew in size and importance, Peter and Paul Vitale moved the companies head quarters to a legitimate address which was listed in 1964 as 11449 Mound Road. Vitale enjoying his successful move into the waste hauling industry in addition to pulling in a nice income from gambling operations flourishing in Greektown. With Tri-County operating smoothly in Detroit, young Barbara received permission from the Licavoli/Rubino faction to expand his companies involvement into the Toledo area where they directed the takeover of the King Road Dump in Sylvania Township Ohio with the help of legendary Licavoli gangster Chalky Red Yaranowsky.

The Loss of Tri-County and the formation Central Sanitation

At the height of it's success, Peter Vitale watched Tri-County slip away when his son-in-law became entangled in one of the strangest chapters in Detroit underworld history. In 1968 Barbara was forced out of the trash hauling business when Delores Lazaros the wife of Pete Lazaros who had worked as a payoff man for the Vitales, brought fourth charges of rape and extortion against young Joseph. An infuriated (and imprisoned Lazaros) turned states evidence and provided information which ultimately led to Barbara's conviction on charges of extortion (the rape charge was dropped.) Following his conviction, Barbara arranged the sale of Tri-County Nick Micelli an attorney and yet another of Pete's son-in-laws. Bozzi instructed Micelli to sell Tri-County Sanitation to a Boston based trash hauler for $5,000,000 in stock. Micelli then sold $1.5 million of the stock and divied up the proceeds disguised as loans to the Vitale brothers and Joseph Barbara Jr with each receiving 1/4 fo the total. The remaining $4,500,000 in SCA stock was later used to secure a loan which led to the establishing of Central Sanitation Services in Hamtramck, Michigan.

Central Sanitation and the Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa

Tri-County's Detroit facility was rumored to be the favored disposal site for many mob bodies. This rumor took on a life of it's own following the disappearance of former International Brotherhood of Teamsters leader James Hoffa in 1975. Hoffa's remains were believed to have been taken to the Vitale's shredder-compactor facility in Hamtramck where they were then placed in an incinerator and burned. The facility was searched once but investigators found no trace of Hoffa or anyother murder victms on site. A second search was planned but Central Sanitation burned to the ground in 1976 before the search was conducted. Over the years stories have arisen which place the number of bodies burned at the facility around 10. The 3 principle owners of Central Sanitation were Peter and Paul Vitale and another notorious mafia figure by the name of Jimmy Q. Jimmy Q or Rafaelle Quasarano was along time narcotics trafficker who was born in Pennsylvania but became a member of the Detroit family during the partners push into other states in the early '30s. Vitale was one of the parnters called to testify in the grand jury proceedings held on the Hoffa matter in 1976. Bozzi was thrust into the limelight when investigators brought up the fact that he had been seen meeting with Jimmy Q and Vito Giacalone at the Troy Hilton Inn on February 19 and again a few days later at another hotel. Testimony was brought fourth that two thirds of this trio had been spotted days before Jimmy disappeared meeting with Frank Fitzsimmons at a restaurant "Larcos" on the Westside of Detroit. Investigators pointed out the importance of the February 19th meeting by the arrival of a 1973 Lincoln outfitted with license plate number LMG 770. This car was later identified as belonging to Joseph Zerilli who as one investigator testified "The old man is careful, it's not his style to meet Tony (Giacalone) out in the open like that." Vitale arrived to give his testimony in the company of his son-in-law Nick Micelli who was also representing him and Quasarano as council. While Vitale did not invoke his 5th amendment rites, he was observed leaving the grand jury room 31 times to confer with Micelli on how to anserw certain questions. Vitale was never charged with any crime in connection with the disappearance of Hoffa but his ownership of Central Sanitation and the methods used to acquire the facility would be another matter. The land which once housed Central Sanitation was sold shortly after the fire and is currently the site of a wing of the Wayne County jail.

Tax Trouble for Bozzi and the Boys

Following the close of the Hoffa grand jury investigation, Peter and Paul Vitale along with Joseph Barbara Jr were indicted on charges of income tax fraud relating to their acquisition of Central Sanitation Service through the sale of Tri-County in 1972 on November 21, 1979. In a case prosecuted by former U.S. Attorney James Robinson, the Vitale's and Barbara were accused of filing "false, fictious and fraudulent, tax returns which hid the firms ture ownership." Prosecutors zeroed in on income taxes filed by the trio from 1970-74. This indictment came one week after Bozzi and Rafaelle Quasarano had been indicted on charges of extortion in connection with the takeover of a pizza-cheese business in Wisconsin. Vitale had left Detroit shortly before the indictment had been handed down and was living in his home town of Cinisi Italy. Joseph Barbara Jr, was serving a seven year extortion sentence he had received in connection with the Lazaros case. Nick Micelli, the author of the stock deal and the husband of Pete's daughter Frances was named in the indictment but was not charged, had moved out to Los Angeles and was not in good standing with his father-in-laws partners back in Detroit over several outstanding debts related to his gambling habits, would later turn against the indicted trio and force them to plead guilty to the charges in exchange for light sentences. Bozzi settled his case with a guilty plea and accepted a sentence of 4 years in prison in 1981. Vitale completed his sentence and returned to his home in Clinton Township where he died on January 23, 1997 at the age of 82.

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