Boston corruption has always had tangled roots among organized crime, politics and crooked cops.
And today is the 58th anniversary of a little-remembered event that symbolizes just how depraved the situation was – and still to some degree is – in Boston, in Massachusetts and more generally the entire nation.
I was going over my files on Cadillac Frank Salemme, the Mafia boss who died in a federal prison hospital in Missouri at age 89 earlier this month. That was when I noticed his mention in Congressional testimony of a murder that took place exactly 58 years ago today.
Stevie Flemmi, Salemme’s partner, had an older brother, Jimmy the Bear, who was like his sibling a serial killer, even more bloodthirsty than the Rifleman.
Despite being serial killers, both Flemmis were paid informants of the FBI because… FBI. Nothing has changed, except the G-men getting ever more corrupt as the years go by.
Anyway, on Dec. 28, 1964, the Bear was sitting in a Ford Falcon on Harrison Avenue, on the Roxbury-South End line, with a small-time jailbird named George Ashe. High on something or another, Flemmi suddenly pulled out a gun and shot Ashe in the head.
Then the Bear stumbled out of the car and wandered off in search of another drink, or fix, or something. The problem was, as he murdered Ashe, across the street two uniformed Boston cops from what was then District 2 were watching him.
The cops had witnessed a murder, by a well-known local hoodlum and killer. The cops pondered the situation, and quickly made their decision. The compact car was on the corner of Mass Ave. If they pushed it across the street, it would be in District 4, in other words not their problem.
“It would be in another division and they wouldn’t have to investigate it, so they wouldn’t have to explain what they did,” said Salemme in his Congressional testimony.
And then Stevie Flemmi, who had a little convenience store on Dudley Street called Jay’s Spa, would return the favor. He’d do the right thing, with cash. Hey, it was Christmas, and as Whitey Bulger used to say, “Christmas is for cops and kids.”
As Flemmi himself explained a few years later in his official DEA-6 confession:
“Officers reported the incident directly to FLEMMI. FLEMMI promptly paid (redacted names) $1,000. FLEMMI then chastised his brother Jimmy and reminded him how lucky he was that he ran into two police officers who were friends.”
How lucky the Flemmis were! Not to mention the Bulgers! And in so many cases, they shared the same… friends.
As always, no arrests were made. Of course, not only the BPD but the FBI did know who’d clipped Ashe – Jimmy the Bear, informant BS-919-PC. The feds mentioned it matter-of-factly in a report a few months later, in which they also mentioned that the Bear had murdered Teddy Deegan.
(The G-men framed four guys for that Deegan hit, to protect BS-919-PC, among others.)
“That’s the era it was,” Frank Salemme explained to Congress, “anything for money, even murder. But the end justified the means. Like I think I said to you before, it wasn’t considered illegal to do that kind of thing, as crazy as that may sound today.”
Doesn’t sound crazy at all, Frank. Maybe today less than ever.
Look at what the FBI and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) did to shut down any attempts to tell the truth about Hunter Biden’s laptop, or the Russian collusion hoax, or about the overblown COVID conspiracy to destroy Donald Trump.
The Deep State, which was then mostly the FBI but since the Patriot Act is so much more, allowed the Flemmis and the Bulgers to carve out their criminal empires, in return for assorted favors.
Has anything really changed? The local FBI agents used to get jobs working at, say, utilities regulated by politicians whose brothers were serial killers. Now retiring agents get jobs at… Twitter. And at all the other Big Tech companies.
Only now the FBI isn’t just conducting unconstitutional wiretaps of gangsters. They’ve upped their game to trying to railroad presidents of the United States, not to mention anyone else who dares engage in WrongThink.
Providing explosives to hoods to blow up an investigative reporter, or de-platforming Alex Berenson for daring to tell the truth about Anthony Fauci – the difference is only in degrees.
Frank Salemme connected some of the dots, but obviously not nearly enough, or he wouldn’t have died in prison. That’s why his 2003 Congressional interview remains so fascinating.
He told how, after 17 years in prison for a bombing with Flemmi that the FBI snitch didn’t do a day for, he ran into John “Zip” Connolly, another infamous local hitman/FBI agent who’d been involved the generations of corruption in the local FBI office.
After his retirement, Zip had been hired by Boston Edison – think of it as the Twitter of its day. Another nationwide search!
Zip invited Cadillac Frank up to his swank offices in the Prudential Center for a chat, and was soon parading Cadillac Frank around like an exotic wild animal captured on safari.
“John could not wait to introduce me as Frank Salemme. He couldn’t wait!” Salemme told Congress.
Again, what exactly has changed? All these G-men – they’re “briefers.” They don’t solve crimes anymore, if they ever did. They just walk around with their chests puffed out, proud of rigging elections for the Democrats.
Fake tough guys, 95% of them
They brought down Donald Trump for Dementia Joe Biden, and as a reward they all got big jobs from Big Tech. Boston Edison may be gone, but today’s gigs are even sweeter.
I just wonder, though, who exactly they parade around their campuses in Silicon Valley now the way Zip used to show off Frank Salemme.
“I have a reputation up there. I’m in the paper like seven days a week, you know. Front page. Like I used to tell my son, I’m riding in a train and everybody stares at me. And he says, Pa, look, that’s the front page of the Herald, you’re on it.”
By the way, the intersection of Harrison and Mass Ave., where the Roxbury cops pushed the death car into District 4 – it’s not that far from Mass & Cass, is it?
The more things change….
Jimmy ‘The Bear’ Flemmi (File photo)
Francis P. “Cadillac Frank” Salemme