#26: Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara Sr. (Part Two)


In this episode, we again discuss Joseph Barbara Sr., the mobster who famously hosted the ill-fated Apalachin Mob Meeting in Apalachin, New York.

In this second of a three-part series, we discuss:

  • Barbara's move towards legitimate business and establishment of several bottling companies including the Endicott Beverage Company, the Mission Beverage Company, and the Canada Dry Bottling Company
  • Barbara's ascension within the Northeaster Pennsylvania and Southern New York mob
  • The changes in leadership of what would become the Bufalino Crime Family
  • Barbara's relationship to top Pittston mob leaders Santo Volpe, Russell Bufalino, Anthony F. Guarnieri, Emanuel Zicari, as well Pat and Sam Monachino
  • Barbara's issues with the State Liquor Authority (SLA) that nearly drove him out of business in the early 1950's
  • The 1956 meeting between Barbara, Joe Bonanno, Frank Garofolo, John Bonventre, and Carmine Galante in Binghamton, New York

Episode Transcript


“Barbara is known among the Italian people to be the ringleader in such illegal rackets as operator of houses of prostitution, alcohol stills, and alcohol transportation. He is feared among people of his own kind and is known to have any undesirable persons removed.”

“He is known to be temperate in his habits. He will drink one or two glasses of beer with customers and occasionally wine at some party. He is not known to have ever become intoxicated.”


Hello everybody and welcome back to another episode of The Gangland History Podcast! (Again, I'll just say formerly The Members Only Podcast)

We've got another great show today! We're going to be covering Part Two of the Joseph Barbara episode. We started with Part One, now we're into Part Two, in which we get into his business dealings, and of course the lead up to Apalachin.

I just want to say thank you! We went over 9,000 subscribers. We're on our way, I think we're already at 9,100. We're working on our way to 10,000. That's kind of my "gold" number for the early part of the year, and of course growing it beyond.

We're still working on standing up the Patreon channel, but that's going to be available very soon. We're still working on migrating the old website to the new site. That's still a work in progress, but I thank everybody so far for the support. I think the reaction to the new branding and the rename is better than I could have anticipated.

Now, you'll probably see my hair's a little longer (I did manage to put on the same shirt). I'll give you a look behind the scenes. When I recorded the Barbara biography, I recorded it front-to-back, end-to-end. And when I was originally doing all the recording, I didn't know how long it was going to go. And very, very quickly as I got into the editing process I said "Oh my gosh! This is going to be over 2 hours," and again with my committment to try to move faster, I was like, "You know what? I think I've got to move this into two (or more) parts." So I'm recording an intro for the second part after I have already recorded everything.

So, for those of you that have not watched Part One, I highly, highly recommend that you go over and watch Part One. I'll put it in the link of the description of this video on YouTube as well as on the audio version of the podcast (although that's a little bit more challenging to get to), but for those of you that haven't watched Part One, let me just catch you up.

If you don't know anything about who Joseph Barbara was, of course, if you know a little bit about Mafia history, you'll knowthat his house was the house that was chosen to host the 1957 Apalachin conference, which of course as you know turns into a fiasco. And that's what we're going to be covering today----where all of the bosses from around the country meeting, and where they all (for the most part) get picked up by law enforcement. And the Mafia which had been existing somewhat below the radar by that point becomes front-page news.

Now Barbara himself before Apalachin was an incredibly, incredibly respected member of the Mafia going all the way back to the 20's and 30's. If you don't know who Barbara was:

(He was) born in 1905 in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily

Emigrates to the United States at the age of 16 in 1921

starts off here in this country, immigrates through New York but eventually moves into Northeastern Pennsylvania and at times resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New York - kind of right on that border

(He) starts his journey in the United States working in a shoe factory, ultimately quits

(He) somehow attracts the notice of the local Mafia don in the area...the don being the head of the family that would become the Bufalino Crime Family in later years...and that man's name is Santo Volpe...We'll talk a little bit more about him in today's episode

We'll talk about the hierarchy of bosses, the succession, etc. (we alluded to that in the first part)

At some point, Barbara becomes the driver and bodyguard for Volpe

And of course, in the 1920's and early 1930's you still are in full throes of Prohibition...so you're right in the middle of all of the bootlegging, big money coming in even in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and a lot of infighting, and that is where Barbara really makes his mark as a hitman. He was involved in at least four murders, and we covered that pretty extensively in Part One. At least he was accused and charged in some cases with suspicion, other times he was brought in on suspicion and no charges were actually filed. So he was able to get off without any legal ramifications in all four of those cases, but I think it's pretty well known that historically he kind of made his bones in about the early part of the 1930's as a hitman for the Volpe organization which as I just said becomes the Bufalino organization in later years.

And that's kind of where this story picks up, the transition from Barbara becoming a hitman, moving himself in the mid 30's into legitimate business enterprises, and that's where we'll pick up the story today.

But before we get into the story, again as I just said I am working on moving towards 10,000 subscribers and working on standing up a Patreon channel. So please, if you like this video, please subscribe, hit Like, do all the things that you need to do. Turn on that bell to get notifications. We're trying to build, we're trying to grow!

And just know that I'm always going to do my best to deliver quality information, and while some of the stories you'll hear are well-known, a lot of what I dig up and a lot of what viewers of my channel are really, really passionate about is my ability to go back and give you a lens into material that is often just forgotten. It's lost to the ages, and I try to bring it back into the forefront and provide information that people don't necessarily know. So that's kind of my value proposition.

If you like this video please help my channel grow. Help the algorithm show the video to more people, and just know that I appreciate it.

But without further adieu, let's get into Part Two of the Joseph Barbara biography.

The Bottling Business

In January of 1937, Joseph Barbara along with Charles Barbara and a man named Guiseppe “Joe” or “Joseph” Genovese would file for a certificate of Incorporation in Endicott, New York, for the Endicott Beverage Company, Inc. for the purposes of selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic malt beverages. It’s worth noting that papers 20 years later would claim that this business was founded around 1934 and not 1937.

Then in February of 1937, Barbara would get approval and permits to build a bottling plant for an estimated cost of around $9,000 in total (the equivalent of $190k in today’s money). 

That year, the Endicott Beverage Company would report doing $500,000 a year in revenue (approximately $10.6M in today’s money), which is an incredible amount for a company that quite literally just started. 

An FBI report in later years would identify the reason for the success. Barbara and his partner, Joseph Genovese, weren’t your average businessman. They were using “strong-arm methods” to ensure people did business with their company, and the fear that their respective reputations instilled compelled most area businesses to comply. 

Competitors were pushed aside, and retail establishments were forced to carry his products, which allowed Barbara and his partner to quickly become fairly wealthy men over the subsequent years, though in the early years they were investing heavily into the business.

This rapid expansion would quickly get them on law enforcement’s radar, and several reports would detail their tactics:


“Report dated March 3, 1937:

This report indicates subject was operating the Endicott Beverage Company, 4-6 Garfield Avenue, Endicott, New York. This address is listed for his in-laws. The report indicates that at this time the subject and JOE GENOVESE were constructing a new building at 7 Badger Avenue and were doing an annual business of $500,000.00. This report indicates his worth as $10,000.00 in real estate and personal effects and $7,000.00 invested in the business. The report further indicated the subject is well regarded in the community and there was no personal criticism of him. The following is verbatim from the report:

‘The corporation is now under investigation by the State Board because of their rapid expansion and unfair business method. It is stated that they sold a good deal of beer by strong-arm methods. If the proprietor of the store or restaurant is not in, when the driver calls, he will roll in three or four barrels and get the bartender to sign for them and then later collect for the delivery.’

The report further indicates they have nine trucks and six pleasure cars.

Report dated February 23, 1938:

Endicott Beverage Company was organized four years ago. The business has expanded rapidly since its organization and within the past six months moved into a building which was constructed at a cost of $40,000.00. Subject’s net worth is listed as $20,000.00 and consists of savings, real estate, and investment in business. The following information appears in this report: Informants state that he has been investing all his money in business and has had little ready cash on hand, but the summer season is only a short distance away and it is predicted he will do a big business this year. The report indicated the following information in regard to now: Resides 405 Loder Avenue, Endicott, New York. Prior to coming to this city five years ago, he lived at Scranton, Pennsylvania and it is rumored that he was connected with the white slave racket there. His reputation here now is good. His habits were listed as a moderate drinker.”

*End Quote*

After an accident involving a truck of the Endicott Beverage Company, the business was taken over by The Mission Beverage Company (with Barbara still in control) in around 1939. 

The Mission Beverage Company would shortly thereafter become J.B. Industries Inc. though Barbara would get involved in the Canada Dry Bottling Company in October of 1940 and would become an exclusive Canada Dry bottler in either 1948 or 1953 based on which report you read, which would be the legitimate businesses Barbara would be associated with in the latter part of his life. 

So next time you’re drinking a Canada Dry, know that in part the mob used to control at least one manufacturing facility.

According to some notes I came across, the predecessor company of Joseph Barbara’s Canada Dry Bottling Company in Endicott, New York as the Mission Beverage Company, also of Endicott. The Mission Beverage Company was said to be closely associated with a company called the Darling Ice Cream Company out of Syracuse, New York, which was owned by a man named, Sam Scro (who was also eventually listed as a director of the Canada Dry Bottling company). Why is that significant you might ask? Because there are some connections here that show the connectivity of relationships in the underworld, and ultimately ladder back to our subject, Joe Barbara.

Sam Scro, the owner of the Darling Ice Cream Company, had two sons: Anthony and Vincent. In turn, the sons had some very important connections through marriage. You see, Anthony was married to the daughter of a man named Saverio (Sam) Monachino, a top hoodlum out of Auburn, New York, while Vincent Scro was married to the daughter of none other than Stefano Magaddino, the boss of Buffalo, New York. Now that’s quite a bit of detail and maybe playing 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but it’s a hop skip and a jump between Joe Barbara and key Mafia men in both Auburn and Buffalo. 

Additionally, Barbara’s Mission Beverage Company would also show up in reports as employing none other than Russell Bufalino himself. The reports would go on to note that the men were close friends and say that the Mission Beverage Company employed Bufalino from 1944 to 1945, employing his skills as a trained mechanic to fix machinery at Barbara’s plant.

This of course was ostensibly to allow Bufalino to have a legitimate source of income, and had the double benefit that Bufalino was excellent at fixing things. So a win, win for both.

In February of 1940, Barbara would show up in the Binghamton Press as having successfully mediated a trucking strike, indicating that he by that time was a power within local unions. In this case, 80 drivers employed across 15 beer distributors out of Local 693 of the Chauffeurs’ Union went on strike looking for better wages, and Barbara, serving as spokesperson for the Broome County Beer Distributors’ Association, negotiated an end to the strike, actually raising wages for the drivers - who went from $26 per week (and were seeking $30), landing at $28-29 per week across a three-year deal. For me personally, it was not surprising to see a Mafia figure serving as a prominent person with respect to dealing with unions, but it was surprising to see the raise happen without any heads getting busted (which was Barbara’s MO by that point).

Reports would also indicate that Barbara had become a very heavy contributor in local politics as well, specifically to the Broome County Republican Committee, though any funds contributed were never attributed to him, often being credited as donations coming from other people.

So, by this point Barbara’s is into legal and illegal operations, is dealing with unions, and asserted some level of influence over local politics, which makes him a very powerful man.

By the early 1940’s, Barbara’s reputation had expanded and he was considered a leader in the underworld with his hands not just in his legitimate business, but in a wide array of criminal activities. An FBI report dated to 1941 would say the following:


“Barbara is known among the Italian people to be the ringleader in such illegal rackets as operator of houses of prostitution, alcohol stills, and alcohol transportation. He is feared among people of his own kind and is known to have any undesirable persons removed.”

“He is known to be temperate in his habits. He will drink one or two glasses of beer with customers and occasionally wine at some party. He is not known to have ever become intoxicated.”

*End Quote*

In January of 1944, the Mission Beverage Corp. plant in Endicott, New York burned down in a very serious fire in which one fireman was hurt and 100,000 pounds of sugar was damaged, with reports showing that Barbara himself aiding the fireman in taking inventory (with the contents being insured for $20,000). Could it have been a real fire or just a ploy to make a quick insurance claim? Who knows. But the fire itself was said to have been the worst blaze Endicott had seen in the previous year.

It’s around this same year in August of 1944 that the wealthy Barbara is alleged to have purchased the large 58-acre estate that he’d become most famous for in Owego, which is near Apalachin, New York, thus moving across state lines from his previous residence in Old Forge, Pennsylvania.

On the property, he’d build his house which would cost him roughly $250,000 (the equivalent of $4.3M in today’s money). And one thing I’ll say is that in the pictures you often see of his house does not look that large even though I’m seeing the purchase price and even though you hear the stories about how this place was a mansion on a hill. 

But after some research, I came to find out that there were actually several smaller homes on the property, so I’m guessing that the house most commonly shown is actually one of the smaller homes. And in doing even more digging, descriptions of the estate have the property as 58 acres, with an 11-room main house, a living room with dimensions of 32 x 52 feet which I guess is big, but doesn’t sound like a mansion to me.

Otherwise, I’m not impressed.

The 1958 report would continue to cover even more misdeeds by Barbara, though they’d get slightly less violent as he legitimized himself and moved further away from the day-to-day handling of the more thuggish aspects of the life.

In 1946, Barbara would run into some legal issues, although they were nothing that he couldn’t overcome, representing little more than a slap on the wrist.

To provide a little more color, on May 14, 1946, a Federal Grand Jury handed down indictments charging the Binghamton branch of Empire Foods, as well as the Mission Beverage Company with violating rationing regulations in alleged deals involving 300,000 pounds of sugar. 

The indictment, which contained 41 counts named Barbara as the president of the Mission Beverage Company and alleged that Mission Beverage Company had acquired the 300,000 pounds sugar in 1944 and 1945 without providing valid ration evidence. A lot of mobsters, most notably Carlo Gambino, were making money off of ration stamps and a black market of sorts that had sprung up during World War II due to the widespread rationing of common goods. So it doesn’t surprise me that Barbara’s company tried this, but it does surprise me that he got caught.

Barbara would plead guilty to the 34-count federal indictment and pay a fine of $5,000 (roughly $77k in today’s money), but other than that both he and his company would get off without too much more hassle save for some requirements related with producing additional rationing currency. The company would pretty much go on operating for many more years under Barbara’s stewardship.

By 1950, a 44-year-old Barbara would show up in census records listing his occupation as President of a Bottling company and living along Route 17 Old Road Going West from the Country Line, in Owego, New York (which is in the county of Tioga) Near McFall Road which is just South of Apalachin, New York.

Reports dated to the early 1950’s would indicate that as Barbara aged, he slowly moved away from the strong-arm tactics that had made his business a success in the 1930s. One such report would say the following:


“When he first started out, he rode roughshod over competitors and forced his products on retail users, but gradually gave up these tactics. His business operations for some years have been ordinary and normal. He is regarded as a person who pays his obligations and lives within his means.”

*End Quote*

Who’s The Boss

Now, on to another line of thought. 

When you read about the Bufalino Crime Family, there are often conflicting reports concerning the lines of succession after Santo Volpe stepped down in the early part of the 1930’s, though he would retain significant influence in the area for roughly 30 more years.

Some reports suggest that Russell Bufalino took over as “Boss” in the late 1940’s, while other reports suggest that the man in charge of the family was actually Joe Barbara, who has at time’s been speculated to be a part of the Magaddino organization out of Buffalo, which would make sense with Stefano Magaddino also originating from Castellammare del Golfo.

However, I was able to locate a report from 1969 that discussed Barbara’s role and potential ascension to Boss.


“In regarding to Joe Barbara, informant was questioned concerning his official role in LCN. Informant advised that Barbara was the head of his own ‘family’ and was the boss. The ‘family’ which Barbara had is now known as the Buffalino ‘family.’

“It is to be noted informant previously stated that Barbara was a capodecina in LCN and this was discussed with informant. Informant advised if he had so identified Barbara in the past as a capodecina, this information is incorrect and he has actually the boss of his own ‘family.’”

*End Quote*

I was able to cross-reference this with another report from 1969 (after Barbara’s death) that corroborated the assumption that Barbara became boss of the Bufalino family prior to the family being taken over by Russell. It would also notate Russell potentially stepping in for a time to help the Lucchese family after Tommy Lucchese’s death from cancer:


“With respect to the existence of the ‘Bufalino’ Family of LCN, it is pointed out that the existence of this Family was not established through the use of electronic surveillance. [Redacted] has advised that to his knowledge Russell Bufalino is a Capodecina in the Family formerly headed by Thomas Luchese; however [redacted] has advised that Joe Barbara, when living, was the head of his own ‘Family’ and was the Boss. The ‘Family’ which Barbara headed is now known as the ‘Bufalino Family.’”

“New York has advised that [redacted] is considered by them to be a highly valuable and knowledgeable informant. Despite this, the Bureau may not wish to go on record saying there is such a thing as the ‘Bufalino Family’ until such time as additional corroborating intelligence is available.”

“It is pointed out for the Bureau Joseph Barbara, SR., was from Castellammare del Golfo, Province of Trapani, Sicily, Italy, whereas Russell Bufalino is from Montedoro, Province of Caltanissetta. Both Joseph Bonanno and Stefano Magaddino are from Castellammare del Golfo and Angelo Bruno is from the Province of Caltanissetta. If there is any merit to the possibility that the LCN families which exist in the United States are extensions of original Families which existed in Sicily, Italy, it would appear that Barbara’s successor, if he was a Boss, should have come from the area of Castellammare del Golfo.”

*End Quote*

So another report corroborated that Barbara was the boss of what became the Bufalino Family. Additionally, I think we know now that Bufalino was not part of the Lucchese family, though he had a history of stepping in and helping to run New York families in times of trouble and did so for a time within the Genovese Crime Family.

I think the thing that really vexed me in all of this was the origins. The Bufalino family had traditionally been led by men from Montedoro, so to have someone from Castellammare del Golfo running the family for a time didn’t necessarily align to the clannish nature of some of these families, and I honestly would have expected Barbara to be more a part of the Magaddino family, but alas, this is now multiple reports from different informants saying the same thing.

And because in journalism, though I’m not a journalist per say, you have the rule of three sources, here’s another report discussing that Barbara was the head of his own family, and not a part of John Montana’s family, which was in fact the Magaddino family:


“[Redacted] did not use the word ‘Don’ in describing the heads of the Mafia, but he did say that Joseph Barbara (Sr.) was the leader of a geographic section which extended into New York as far as Auburn and south into Pennsylvania as far as and including Hazelton. He said Montana was not a leader and said that Montana belonged to another group other than that over which Barbara was the leader.”

*End Quote* 

Now, let me put a bow on this and provide the clincher along with a little early history of what became known as the Bufalino Crime Family from a fantastic 1965 report discussing LCN Activities in Upstate Pennsylvania Area:


“PH T-8 advised on March 10, 1955, that Steve LaTorre came to the United States and settled in Pittston, Pa., in 1904. The Mafia was then in existence. After Steve LaTorre had saved a few dollars he sent this money to Santo Volpe who lived in the same village in Sicily as did Steve LaTorre, namely, Montedorro.Volpe when he came to the United States also settled in Pittston, Pa. Later Charles Bufalino came to the United States and also settled in Pittston, Pa. LaTorre, Volpe and Bufalino were all members of the Mafia and eventually Santo Volpe became head of the Mafia in the Pittston, Pa., area.”

“During the early years Volpe reigned as Mafia boss in Pittston, Pa., Steve LaTorre was his very close friend. LaTorre was a successful coal operator in the Pittston, Pa., area and looked after Volpe financially, making Volpe a partner in his coal operation.  From this time on Volpe prospered using his position as head of the Mafia to great advantage. When Volpe’s Mafia superior realized his personal business affairs were put ahead of his Mafia business he was eased out as Mafia boss and John Sciandra was put in charge. In about 1942 Volpe continued his Mafia membership but was more or less in a retired capacity. At about this time Volpe demanded great respect from other Mafia members.”

“John Sciandra remained in charge of the Mafia in the Pittston area until his death when Russell Bufalino was made the head of the organization. This change took place in about 1947 or 1948. According to PH T-8’s statements in 1955, Bufalino was in charge of Mafia affairs in the anthracite area and his immediate superior was Joseph Barbara of Binghamton, N.Y. It was PH T-8’s opinion at this time Barbara was in charge of activities in northern New York and portions of Pennsylvania with another man on the level of Barbara operating out of either Philadelphia or Wilmington, Del. Informant said Lucky Luciano was and continued to be the head of the Mafia organization as of 1955. PH T-8 said in 1955 Bufalino was the immediate supervisor of John Parrino and that Parrino had the following persons directly under him:

  • John Salvo
  • Sam Cometa
  • Rosario Montanto
  • Angelo Polizzi
  • William Medico
  • Angelo Medico
  • Louis Cansagra
  • Joseph Contessa
  • Joseph Scalieat
  • Possibly Angelo Sciandra

*End Quote*

Another report laying out the line of succession would discuss the transfer of power between Volpe, then John Sciandra, and finally to Russell Bufalino in the 1940’s, only mentioning Barbara as Bufalino’s employer.

A later note from 1968 would indicate that by 1957, whether Barbara was his overseer or not, Bufalino was in control of the family in Pittston at least.


“In regard to RUSSELL BUFALINO, informant related that he has his own Cosa Nostra family in the Pittston, Pennsylvania area and there are about fifty members. The members of this family reside in the smaller towns around Pittston and are engaged in the garment business. BUFALINO is a frequent visitor to the New York City area and when he is in town he is usually with JIMMY PLUMERI, a soldier in the LUCHESE family. Informant advised BUFALINO is in no way connected with the LUCEHSE group but they have common interest in the garment business. Informant could not recall at this time the name of the Underboss in this family but he had been introduced to him at the RED SAUCE, a restaurant in New York City. Informant described BUFALINO’s Underboss as an ‘old time greaseball.’ Informant advised that he is personally acquainted with BUFALINO and has had lunch with him in the New York City area several times. Informant was introduced to BUFALINO at Appalachia and at that time BUFALINO was introduced as the head of the family in Pittston, Pennsylvania.

*End Quote*

And finally, even a note stemming from the 1989 Pennsylvania Crime Commission more or less corroborates the line of succession I just discussed. So, I think there is some validity to the idea that Barbara was the boss of the area, and that Bufalino was at one point subordinate to some degree to him.

One note would actually call Barbara the “real Mr. Big of Mafia” if that tells you anything. 

Are you confused yet? I know I was when trying to sort out who was boss and who exactly was over whom. After taking in all of this information and attempting to synthesize it, my guess is that Barbara and Bufalino being good friends helped to some degree with their power-sharing setup, and while The Commission may have technically put Barbara over Bufalino or even Bufalino in charge with Barbara having a power role, it’s clear that the two men coexisted harmoniously so in the end it really doesn’t matter who is boss, and Russell went on as the leader in the area for a long time after Barbara was gone.

And by the way, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the person feeding the FBI this information, who was an attendee at Apalachin, was probably Carmine Lombardozzi who had fallen out of favor by that point with the Gambino family, but was in a high enough position to be privy to this information.

Now, skipping back to the timeline and Joseph Barbara. If you remember, we’re in the early 1950’s just a few years away from Apalachin, and Barbara is still running his business, the Canada Dry Bottling Company.

In June of 1953, his business would again hit a rough patch when New York State Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. Molinari ordered the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to attempt to cancel the company’s license, which would essentially put it out of business.

Among the reasons behind the decision, the SLA charged that a man named Sam Galante, a director and stockholder of the company, had not notified the SLA of certain old arrests and a 22-year-old conviction on a charge of possessing a revolver.

The SLA also maintained that the company “maintained its books and records in such a fashion as to conceal the true nature of the financing of the licensed business, and the manipulation of the records in that respect indicates an intention on the part of this licensee to conceal the true facts thereof from the Authority.”

Now, according to my research, Sam Galante was part of the Galante clan who came over from Castellammare del Golfo, of which Barbara’s mother also belonged (she was a Galante as well). And although his relation to people like Carmine Galante (who we’ll discuss in a moment) is unknown, they did share the same surname and birthplace.

According to the article, Galante said he came to Endicott in 1938 or 1939 and became associated as an employee and partial investor with the Mission Beverage Company, the forerunner to the Canada Dry Bottling Company.

As you might expect, Barbara and his lawyers would fight the charges, and a legal battle would ensue. An affidavit by assistant auditor Julius Fein, who had conducted an examination of the company’s books, claimed some irregularities:


“‘The general journal and general ledger contained an entry under the date of July 31, 1945, charging Joseph Barbara for $65,000 and setting up liabilities under ‘payable’ for Angelo Polizzi, $15,000; Santo Volpe, $10,000; Charles Bufalino, $25,000; Louis Consagra, $5,000, and Louis Pagnotti, $10,000, and that said general journal gave the explanation for the above-enumerated monies as follows: ‘To record notes given for working capital-loans during 1944-1945 which were credited in error to Joseph Barbara.’”

“On this subject, Mr. Chernin said:

“‘They (SLA) say other people (other than those listed as stockholders) have $65,000 invested in this company…’”

“‘If that were so, that would be a serious offense.’”

“‘Mr. Barbara has had to borrow money at different times, particularly during the OPA days when (the company) had troubles.’”

“‘Joseph Barbara personally borrowed the ($65,000) and then he brought it to the corporation as a loan from him.’

“‘These four or five men (who loaned the money) said (to Mr. Barbara), ‘We don’t want to get involved with your corporation. We know you. We’ll loan the money to you.’”

“‘Mr. Chernin added that Mr. Barbara then decided ‘he wanted something on the record to show he had gotten the ($65,000) from these men,’ so that the loans would be repaid by the corporation in the event of his death.’”

*End Quote*

Now, I’m not an accountant, but I think it’s pretty clearly an attempt not to hide the source of money, but to ensure that Barbara himself wouldn’t be on the hook to pay that loan back, ensuring that it would go to the corporation after he was gone. The part I don’t understand and I’m not certain why he didn’t get in serious hot water with his mob compatriots was with respect to putting these men’s names down on paper, but I can only assume based on the fact that he didn’t get himself killed was that there must have been some behind-the-scenes agreement to do so.

Ultimately, Barbara’s Canada Dry Bottling Company would be granted a renewal of its license in August of 1953, and although the SLA would appeal even deep into 1954 (and would reignite in 1955), and Judge Molinari would call them “arbitrary and capricious” in their decision, the company would go on operating prosperously. Essentially, it was a crisis averted, but they were for certain trying to put Barbara out of business.

Speaking of that prosperity, a note in the late 1950’s would suggest that Barbara’s Canada Dry Bottling plant was grossing at that point in time over half a million dollars (which equates to about $5-6M in today’s money). So Barbara by that point was a millionaire several times over.

Continuing Barbara’s Mafia affairs, there are notes in FBI reports showing that a year before Apalachin (1956), Barbara was noted as having meetings in Binghamton, New York with Bonanno Crime Family heavyweights Frank Garofolo, John Bonventre, Boss Joseph Bonnano, as well as a man named “Louis Volpe” in Binghamton, New York. 

“Louis Volpe” in this case was actually one of the aliases of the infamous Carmine Galante.

Now, there are often reports that cite Carmine Galante as receiving a speeding ticket in October of 1956 in Windsor, New York, which is not far from Binghamton, New York. This is it. This is the meeting being referenced. 

According to the report, on October 18, 1956, a New York state trooper stopped a car for speeding in Windsor. In the automobile were John Bonventre, Frank Garofolo, and Carmine Galante. Galante would actually give a false name at first, and presented a driver’s license issued in the name of one Joseph Di Palermo of 246 Elizabeth, New York. Joseph “Joe Beck” Di Palermo, was actually a high-ranking figure within the Lucchese Crime Family, who was under indictment at the time for narcotics violations. Now, why Galante had his license is unknown.

But, as you can see, Barbara, who was in his early 50’s at the time, had big-time connections, and based on that meeting and the players involved, my guess was that he was either about to or was already into narcotics trafficking which the Bonnano’s by that point were the Mafia’s leaders in. There are also reports indicating that he liked to “put on a big spread,” so it sounds like he might have been an ideal host…. until he wasn’t.

By this point, one informant would describe Barbara’s high rank and the level of respect he was being afforded, and this one is a doozy for sure:


“The informant said that from his observations in the Binghamton-Endicott, New York area Joseph Barbara, Sr. does not have any one individual who would be known as his ‘righthand man.’ He said Barbara is looked upon in the area by the Sicilians there as a ‘king’ and may be the head of the Sicilian group there.”

*End Quote*

So again, just giving you an idea of how respected Barbara was and how his peers, both legitimate and illegitimate, saw him, which looking down the road is why I think he gets tapped to host the Apalachin Meeting (outside of the fact that his estate was scenic).

There are reports in the mid to late 1950’s that tend to indicate that Barbara was spending the majority of his time at the Canada Dry Bottling company or on his estate, essentially acting like a normal 9-to-5 guy despite some of his legal battles in 1953 and 1954. 

An interview by FBI Special Agent Darwin D. Shatraw of a woman named Mrs. Norinne Eldridge of Endicott, New York who was in fact Babara’s bookkeeper at the Canada Dry Bottling Company, stated the following about Barbara:


“Mrs. Eldridge said that Joseph Barbara, Sr. was a very dictatorial type of individual and a hard worker. She said prior to his heart attack he was going from 6:00 a.m. until late at night. She said that there were many persons who visited at his office prior to the time that he had a heart attack and recognized most of them as local individuals such as Anthony F. Guarnieri, Emanuel Zicari and out of town people such as Russell Bufalino, Patsy and Sam Monachino. Mrs. Eldridge said that Bufalino, while in the plant, was usually repairing machines of the CDBC. Mrs. Elridge said that Bufalino was a very regular visitor.”

“Mrs. Eldridge said that the Monachino’s were in the beer business and in recent years had started a soft drink business and they likewise were regular visitors. She said that when there, they were discussing with Mr. Barbara matters concerning operation of the soft drink business. Bufalino also had deals with Barbara concerning discussions in connection with the business.”

“Mrs. Eldridge said that most of the visitors known to her and others unknown to her conversed in Italian while visiting Barbara’s office. She said that she did not understand Italian and was suspicious of nothing to indicate any illegal activity involving Barbara.”

“Mrs. Eldridge said that on many occasions prior to Barbara’s heart attack he would leave on trips and would not give her any information as to where he was going. She said, however, when he returned he would tell her that he had been either at the Lexington Hotel in New York City or at the Statler Hotel, Buffalo, New York. She said that all expenses of Barbara’s home were paid from his personal checking account, except expenses in connection with promotional and sales meetings, which were taken from the CDBC account. She said that the expenses for the meat purchased at Armour for the November 14, 1957 meeting were taken from Barbara’s personal checking account.”

“Mrs. Eldridge stated that in recent years Joseph Barbara, Sr. drew $497.27 weekly salary and his son, Joseph Barbara, Jr. drew $100.00 a week salary. She advised that there were presently approximately fifty-five employees of the concern and that there was a large turnover of employees due to the fact that Barbara was hard to work for.”

*End Quote*

So, that is a lot to unpack, but let's just focus on the individuals who are noted as visiting Joseph Barbara frequently.

First, Anthony F. Guarnieri. Guarnieri was at the time a lieutenant of Barbara based primarily in Binghamton, New York, who would eventually rise to Capo in the Bufalino family. He was by all intents and purposes reputed to be a very capable and deadly guy.

The next local referred to in the report was a man named Emanuel Zicari. Zicari was also a part of the Bufalino family, operating out of Albany, and would famously be picked up at one of the Apalachin roadblocks in a car with another mafiosi, Dominic Alaimo.

And of course I think we all know Russell Bufalino, who was showing off his patented mechanic skills, visiting Barbra often at his business as well as at his home.

And of course Patsy and Sam Monachino, who I referenced just a moment ago, were the Magaddino family’s guys in control of all the rackets in Auburn, New York. Very capable as well.

So it’s very clear, Barbara is surrounded on all sides by heavy hitters, has major connections in New York City with the five families, Buffalo, and of course most other major cities within the state of New York, along with Northeastern Pennsylvania.

This guy was way more of a player than he really gets credit for.


Watch Part Three

Jacob Stoops, the host of The Gangland History Podcast

Jacob Stoops

Host of the Gangland History Podcast

This podcast sits at the intersection of my life-long love for history, my love of mob movies, my now decades-long fascination with the Mafia, as well as my passion for content creation.