A Drive-By Historical Tour of Tampa’s Notorious Wise Guys
Most immigrants to the Tampa Bay area have no idea of Tampa’s colorful gangland tapestry. So here’s a guide, for residents new and old, of wise guys’ hangouts and to venues where many made men were unmade.
The story begins with Charlie Dean of the Underworld Wall, the dashing son of a prominent doctor and socialite. For the first part of the 20th century, Wall ran everything from illegal gambling to narcotics. He employed Anglos, Cubans, Italians and Spaniards in his organization. Wall held court in Ybor City and dispensed justice to those who crossed him, along with gold coins to neighborhood children.
By the mid 1940s, however, Wall was forced to concede his territory to the Mafia, run by a Sicilian immigrant by the name of Santo Trafficante Sr. Although the media and many law enforcement officials look to Salvatore Red Italiano and James Lumia as the early bosses of the crime family, Santo Sr. actually ran things from behind the scenes, sheltering himself from scrutiny.
Not that law enforcement was much of a problem with political fixers like Jimmy Velasco and Joe Baby Joe Diez on the job. They bought, bribed and partnered up with everyone from beat cops to the sheriff, city councilmen to the mayor. Tampa’s infamous history of corruption is rooted in mob payoffs and political patronage for gangsters.
Tampa also saw its share of hits. From 1928 to 1959, more than 25 gangland figures and a few innocent bystanders were gunned down in what would come to be called the Era of Blood. This was initially a war for control of bolita, a popular and profitable numbers game that was incredibly widespread throughout the state. After Charlie Wall gave in to the mob in 1945, the killings took on the form of house cleaning and elimination of competition.
On Aug. 10, 1954, Santo Trafficante Sr. died and passed the mantle of leadership on to his son Santo Jr. For the next four years, Santo Jr. (who was himself shot and wounded in 1953) consolidated independent Cuban and Spanish gangsters under his organization. By the 1960s, the Mafia was the top criminal group in town. Although not as large as organizations in Chicago or New York, the Tampa mob ran gambling, loansharking, narcotics trafficking, stolen property rings, union corruption, fraud and political corruption for decades. They also owned an inordinate number of local bars, nightclubs and liquor distributors.
Santo Trafficante Jr. set up shop in pre-Castro Cuba where he ran the Sans Souci and other casinos. After being expelled from Cuba when Castro ascended to power, Santo was hired by the CIA to formulate a plan to assassinate the new leader, due to his extensive contacts with Cuban exiles and gangsters from the island. Trafficante Jr.’s name is also tossed around as a conspirator in the assassination of President Kennedy.
Miami became Trafficante’s base of operations in the 1960s, although he still visited Tampa. Santo Jr. regularly met with top mob bosses from across the country, along with Cuban, Corsican and Spanish crime lords, and he became one of the more powerful Mafia leaders in America.
Trafficante Jr.’s health, however, was a constant source of problems. On March 17, 1987, he died in a Houston hospital. The role of boss was allegedly passed to his former driver and prot’g’, Vincent Salvatore LoScalzo.
The new family was much smaller because many of the older mobsters were retired or dead, and LoScalzo allegedly initiated a new group of members that included developer Joseph DiGerlando, James J. Valenti and Salvatore Carollo. The new organization set its sights on white-collar fraud and found itself in the middle of a major fiasco in 1992, when investigators revealed a laundry list of charges alleging fraudulent activity at Key Bank. The investigation alleged that the bank was used as a front for money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud and a host of other financial crimes. Among those named were reputed mobsters Vincent LoScalzo, Frank Albano, Santo Jose Trafficante (nephew of the late boss) and old-time loanshark James Donofrio.
The Key Bank case fell apart after wiretaps were thrown out of court, and the next year, LoScalzo was arrested and charged with fraud in an unrelated case. He pled no contest and received three years probation. By the late 1990s some suspected the family was dormant, some said the family was absorbed by the New York-based Gambino family, while others maintained the family was still around, but not as active.
In October 2000, federal authorities arrested 19 suspected members of the Trafficante family’s South Florida faction led by Steve Uncle Steve Raffa. The case showed the crime group was still active and raking in millions of dollars each year. The case has yet to go to trial, but Steve Raffa still chose to exit before he could be brought before a judge. He committed suicide in his Pembrooke Pines home on Nov. 16, 2000.
On a lazy afternoon, you can stroll (or ride) by some of the more notable sites that mark local mob history. These are the places the historical tours won’t tell you about. Just don’t ask too many questions.
Columbia Restaurant (2117 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City)The well-known Ybor City landmark used to be a hangout of both Santo Trafficante Sr. (who died on Aug. 10, 1954) and Santo Trafficante Jr. (who died on March 17, 1987). James Costa Jimmy Longo (who died on June 15, 1992) was a former maitre d’ at the restaurant. Longo was a solider in the crime family and one-time bodyguard for Santo Jr. Police observed numerous meetings at the Columbia between Trafficante, Longo and other mob figures, including Louis Cottichia, a New York mobster who disappeared in August 1963 after lunching with Trafficante in Miami.
La Tropicana Restaurant(1822 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City)La Tropicana may be best known for its Cuban sandwiches and caf’ con leche, but in the 1960s and 1970s, it was also the headquarters for a sizable bookmaking operation run by Henry Trafficante and Frank Cowboy Ippolito. Ippolito owned the original La Tropicana located across the street. He sold it to Angel Menendez in 1966. The FBI named both Henry and Frank as soldiers in the Tampa Mafia. The two crime family members split their time between La Tropicana and the Italian Club.
The Italian Club(1729 E. Seventh Avenue, Ybor City)Henry Trafficante and Frank Ippolito had a Western Union ticker placed inside the club during baseball season so they could get up-to-the minute baseball scores for their gambling operations. The club initially served as a mutual-aid society for Italian immigrants at the beginning of the 1900s. Many men associated with the Tampa mob have held posts in the club, including reputed current boss Vincent LoScalzo and Ignacio Antinori (murdered on Oct. 23, 1940). The FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, New Jersey state police, and the Broward County and Hillsborough County sheriffs allege that LoScalzo has been the boss of the Trafficante crime family since the death of Santo Trafficante Jr.
1510 20th St., Ybor City (between Fourth and Fifth avenues, along the brick wall)On the evening of Dec. 12, 1948, Jimmy Velasco was shot five times with a .38 revolver and killed by an unknown assailant in front of this wall. He was whacked as he was getting into his Buick with his wife and daughter. The gunman hit him in the heart, left shoulder, left side, left arm, and the left side of his head. Jimmy was the main political liaison for the mob as well as a gambling figure. He made regular payoffs to Sheriff Hugh Culbreath and then-Mayor Curtis Hixon. Underworld figure Joe Provenzano was tried for Velasco’s murder but acquitted on April 1, 1949. The murder remains unsolved.
Silver Meteor Bar (612 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa)On the night of June 6, 1953, two shotgun blasts tore through the front window of the bar and blew off the face of Henry Hicks, a janitor who was mopping the floor. The shots were intended for Paul Ferraro, who had just walked out the front door. Ferraro was the bartender at the Silver Meteor, as well as a gambling figure with a long record of arrests. At that time, the Silver Meteor was owned by gambling figure Ciro Spoto Bellucia. Ferraro, now deceased, subsequently went into hiding and Hicks became the 20th victim of gangland violence in Tampa. The murder remains unsolved.
Metro Stevedore(2009 Eastport Drive, Tampa)Ciro Bedami is listed in corporate records as the registered agent for Metro Stevedore since 1965. Bedami was named as a soldier in the Tampa Mafia at congressional hearings in 1963 and 1978. He has a conviction for bookmaking in 1959. Ciro is the son of mobster Angelo Bedami Sr. (who died on Nov. 29, 1980), brother of mobster Joe Bedami (who went missing in August 1968), and the uncle of Angelo Bedami Jr. and Joseph Charles Bedami (both convicted of drug charges, Angelo in 1984, Joe in 1990). Sources say that Ciro has not been involved in any criminal activity for years and is considered retired from the crime family.
Castaways Lounge(4601 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa)This bar opened in 1966 and changed names to the Sahara in 1982. It was owned by Joseph D. Lazzara (who died on Dec. 1, 1999), the brother of mobster Augustine Primo Lazzara (who died on April 8, 1968). Joseph, along with his son John, used the Sahara for a money laundering operation, to which he pled guilty in 1990. The bar was also a major mob hangout in the 1970s, and served as headquarters for a crew of drug dealers, arsonists and assorted mob figures led by Frank Daddy Frank Diecidue, underboss of the Trafficante crime family from the 1960s until his death on Oct. 18, 1994. The Sahara is still under the ownership of the Lazzara family but free of illegal activity.
3523 W. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa Rene Nunez, successor to the political corruption throne of Jimmy Velasco, and Angelo Giglio, a mob bagman and gambling figure, came to this building on the evening of Sept. 22, 1952, while it was still under construction. They were there to discuss their gambling business. Although a night watchman was present, no one saw the gunman who shot Nunez in the head and Giglio in the back and arm with a 12-gauge shotgun. It was the first and only double gangland homicide in Tampa. The murder remains unsolved.
1700 block of 16th Street, Ybor City On Feb. 18, 1953, numbers kingpin Charlie Williams was gunned down while coming out of a barbershop on this street. Williams controlled bolita and illegal gambling in St. Petersburg and was reportedly an associate and partner of Santo Trafficante Jr. Charlie lived at 1242 First Ave S. in St. Petersburg, near what is now Tropicana Field. The murder remains unsolved.
Corner of Eighth Avenue and 14th Street, Ybor City George Saturday Zarate was shot and wounded as he sat in his car on the evening of Nov. 5, 1936. The adjoining building was the former site of the El Dorado, one of the most infamous gambling houses in Ybor City. Zarate was a well-known narcotics trafficker and gambling kingpin. He left Tampa in the early 1940s and moved to New York, where he worked with Charlie Lucky Luciano. Zarate subsequently moved to pre-Castro Havana where he died on Aug. 23, 1955.
Tahitian Inn(601 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa) The Tahitian Inn is situated on a parcel of land once owned by Santo Trafficante Jr. According to the Key Bank affidavit, Sam Pupello Sr., brother of bank president Frank Pupello, also held an interest in the motel. Law enforcement officers also reported monitoring crime figures holding meetings at the Polynesian-theme inn.
Donatello’s (232 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa)This upscale Italian restaurant, one of the best in Tampa, is managed by Valentino Mordini, who also helped finance its construction. Mordini was investigated in the early 1980s by the FDLE and charged with eight counts of bookmaking in Broward County in 1985. The FDLE also stated that he was formerly involved with members of the Luchesse, Gambino and Trafficante crime families, along with members of the Sicilian Mafia.
7007 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa This was the former site of O’Ryans, an Irish pub that was actually an undercover operation spearheaded by the FDLE to infiltrate large-scale bookmaking operations. The case Operation Super Bowl netted 69 suspects on charges from gambling to receiving stolen property. Mobster Nick Scaglione and reputed associate Lou Caggiano were both convicted of bookmaking charges. Santo Trafficante III, nephew of Tampa’s late Godfather, was charged with bookmaking but the charges were later dropped.
Seabreeze Restaurant (3409 Causeway Blvd., Tampa)This Tampa landmark was once the place of employment for Jimmy Longo, who also reportedly held court at the restaurant. Owner George Licata (who also employed Longo at his vending company) was called before a 1968 grand jury investigating organized crime in Tampa. He was questioned about Longo’s employment, not for any criminal activity on his part. The restaurant has since been sold.
1219 17th Ave., Tampa From the 1920s to 1955, this house was the home of the Dean of the Underworld, Charlie Wall. Wall, a scion of the powerful Lykes family, ran gambling, extortion and narcotics before he was pushed aside by the Mafia in the mid 1940s. On April 19, 1955, Wall’s wife came home from a vacation and found Charlie lying dead on the floor of their bedroom, his throat slashed, his skull fractured and his face a mess of bruises. Charlie had survived three previous assassination attempts on June 8, 1930; June 3, 193; and April 14, 1944. The murder remains unsolved.
2200 block of 15th St., Ybor City Fernando Serrano, who ran a bolita operation, was sitting in his car with his wife, talking to his brother on the evening of Jan. 10, 1932. A Ford pulled up next to the Serrano’s car and opened fire with a shotgun. Mrs. Serrano took a load of buckshot in her face and died upon arrival at the hospital. Fernando was only slightly injured. Police rounded up a number of suspects including Julio Cortez, believed to be the triggerman. No hard evidence linked any of the suspects to the homicide. The murder remains unsolved.
3608, 3610, 3612 El Centro Blvd., St. Pete Beach Henry Gonzalez, a Tampa lawyer who represented Santo Trafficante Jr., once owned 3608. Reputed mobster and Sam Trafficante’s son-in-law Frank Albano owned 3612, which was sold for $580,000 in 1995. Santo Jr.’s daughters still owns 3610, where Santo spent time when he wasn’t in Tampa or Miami. The beachfront properties were the site of many parties and barbecues. A car registered to former state attorney and current state appellate judge E.J. Salcines was observed at the properties the weekend of June 9, 1967.
2200 block of Seventh Avenue, Ybor City This parcel of property was part of the estate of Santo Trafficante Sr. At the time of his death, the property housed a drug store, fish market and barber shop.
Southport Stevedore/Southport Terminals (3615 Mullen Ave., Tampa)Southport Stevedore was owned by the Imaparto family. The vice president of the company from 1965 until the company folded in 1974 was Harry Fontana. He was a capo in the New York-based Colombo crime family until his death at age 79, in March of 1979. Fontana was involved in the Gallo-Profaci mob war in the early 1960s before he came to Tampa. He sided with the Profaci/Colombo faction that eventually won the interfamily battle.
White Spot Beer Parlor(Southwest corner of Broad Street and Nebraska Avenue) This site used to be the White Spot Beer Parlor in the 1930s. At around 3:30 on the morning of July 11, 1937, owner Joe Vaglicia, one of the early Mafia powers in Tampa, went outside for a quick meal of fried potatoes. He was the Tampa representative at one of the first nationwide gangland conferences, the 1928 Hotel Statler meeting in Cleveland. He went there with produce salesman Ignacio Italiano (died on Aug. 11, 1930). On this July morning, Vaglicia failed to notice the black two-door 1937 Ford coming to a stop across the street and swerving around. He most likely heard the shotgun blasts that sent 10 slugs into his back before he fell to the ground dead. Witnesses gave police a description of the car and the men driving, but no suspects were ever charged with the murder. The murder remains unsolved.
Dixie Amusements(702 W. Columbus Drive, Tampa) This is the former site of the vending company owned by Frank Diecidue. The company was originally incorporated in 1959 with mobster Joe Bedami as president and Diecidue associate Manuel Gispert as vice president. It closed shop in November of 1985.
Cemetery(25th Avenue and 26th Street, Tampa) The final resting place for many of the Tampa mob’s Italian members. Among those buried here are Santo Trafficante Sr. and Jr.; Frank Diecidue; James Longo; Ignacio Italiano; Joe Vaglicia, Salvatore Scaglione (named in congressional hearings as an elder in the Mafia); James Lumia; Angelo Bedami and Mario Perla (who had his head blown apart by a shotgun on Oct. 18, 1938)
2505 Bristol Ave., Tampa This was the home of Santo Trafficante Jr. until his death. It was purchased from Trafficante in 1961 by Vincent Amato (who died on Dec. 15, 1991), a made member of the Gambino crime family. The house was then leased back to Trafficante for $200 a month. Santo’s daughter and son-in-law (now deceased) bought it in 1970. The family still owns the house.
3301 W. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa This is the former site of the Kit Kat Club and Starboard Lounge, owned by the Trafficantes until they were forced to sell their interests in 1969 to satisfy income tax liens against brothers Santo Trafficante Jr., Henry Trafficante and Salvatore Sam Trafficante (also named as a soldier in the crime family).
2801 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa This is the former site of the 20 Grand Bar and The Dream Bar, owned by the Trafficantes until they were forced to sell their interests as part of the 1969 sale.
Boston Bar (2113 Columbus Drive, Tampa) A little after 1 p.m. on Nov. 11, 1953, Joe Antinori walked into the Boston Bar with a sheet of plate glass for the bartop. Joe Antinori was the son of mob kingpin Ignacio Antinori, as well as a convicted drug trafficker. He also owned a jukebox company. The owner of the bar, Johnny Scarface Rivera, asked Joe specifically to come in that day to deliver the glass. A man followed Joe into the bar, walked up to Rivera and ordered a shot of rye. Rivera walked into the backroom to get a bottle while the unidentified man turned to Antinori, pulled out a .38 and pumped four bullets into him. Joe was shot twice in the chest and twice in the head. The murder remains unsolved.
Ola and 26th streets (adjacent to Woodlawn Cemetery, Tampa)Joe Pelusa Diaz, a convicted bolita operator and associate of numerous underworld figures, was shot to death at this spot as he was walking to his car on the evening of July 2, 1958. Diaz was killed with three blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun, which pumped 26 holes into the 44-year-old gangster. Diaz was a partner of well-known bolita and gambling figure Eddie Blanco. Three weeks before his death, Diaz was arrested in a massive bolita sweep. He told the judge, Gangs don’t shoot anybody anymore. The murder remains unsolved.
The Godfather Lounge (N.E. corner of Hillsborough & Manhattan avenues, Tampa)This was the former site of the Godfather. It was situated on property owned by Santo Trafficante Jr. until his death. Pasquale Matassini (the owner of the 2001 strip club on Dale Mabry in Tampa) operated the bar.
Mahalo Auto Sales (14629 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa)Reputed Tampa mob boss Vincent LoScalzo was the registered agent for the company until August of last year when it was transferred to Nelson Valdes, who also co-owned ValuCar dealerships with Ernie Haire III. In July 2000 federal agents raided a ValuCar dealership in Bradenton. They carted away files and took down VIN numbers from cars. ValuCar has since declared bankruptcy.
Mike’s Lounge and Package (3607 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa)VincentLoScalzo bought Mike’s Lounge in 1976 under the company SAL Inc., which also had reputed mob soldier Frank Albano as vice president. Salvatore Silent Sam Lorenzo (who died on May 6, 1995), a longtime crime family soldier, was an employee of Mike’s. The bar was sold in 1985 to convicted drug trafficker and mob associate Mike R. Napoli, who took out a loan from Key Bank to help finance the purchase. The bar was sold in 1988 after being seized by the FBI as part of a drug trafficking indictment against Napoli. Napoli’s partner in the drug ring, also convicted, was Terry E. Cacciatore, great nephew of Santo Trafficante Jr., and son of the late narcotics kingpin Joe M. Jo-Jo Cacciatore (who died in December 1967). The bar is now known as KC’s Lounge and is no longer mob connected.
4427 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa This is the former site of Chez Louie, a nightclub owned by Lou A. Caggiano. Caggiano is a convicted bookmaker and crime family associate who ran illegal gambling and high stakes poker games. He was arrested numerous times for bookmaking and convicted in a case stemming from Operation Super Bowl. His brother Guido owns the Tapper Pub.
The Tapper Pub (3836 Britton Plaza, Tampa)From 1983 to 1985, the pub was a hangout for gamblers in the Caggiano organization, referred to as the boys during Operation Super Bowl.
305 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa James W. Jimmy Donofrio used to own the Rio Bar, previously located here. Donofrio is a longtime crime family associate with convictions for bookmaking and liquor violations. Donofrio once owned the chain of Rio Liquors as well as the Deep South Lounge. He was also named in the Key Bank investigation. Donofrio was arrested for extortion and loansharking in 1988, but charges were dropped due to his poor health. He is now 90 years old and reportedly suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Anthony Distributors (1704 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa)This liquor distributorship was founded in 1940 by Salvatore Red Italiano, one of the earliest Mafia powers in Tampa. Italiano amassed a series of liquor arrests during Prohibition before forming Anthony Distributors. Salvatore left Tampa in 1950 to avoid a subpoena from the Kefauver Commission. He also missed his prot’g’, James Lumia, getting shotgunned to death. Italiano reportedly visited Charlie Luciano in Italy before retiring to Mexico, where he died in November 1968. He was buried in Tampa.
Char-Pal Lounge (3711 Busch Blvd., Tampa)In the movie Goodfellas, Henry Hill and James Burke fly to Tampa to collect on a gambling debt owed to them by a local bar owner. The incident really happened. Hill and Burke were requested to come to Tampa by two local crime figures, brothers Luis and Raul Charbonier. A customer of their bookmaking operation was refusing to pay up on his debts. After a leisurely dinner at the Columbia Restaurant, Hill, Burke and the Charboniers drove to a bar in Temple Terrace where they picked up Gaspar Ciaccio, who was $13,000 in debt to the men. Gaspar was forced into a car and driven to the Char-Pal Lounge, owned by the Charboniers. Along the way he was pistol-whipped. When they got to the Char-Pal, they whisked Ciaccio inside and beat him some more in the back room. They also threatened Felix LoCicero, a friend of Ciaccio’s who also owed them money. Ciaccio agreed to pay the debt, but unbeknownst to the mobsters, his sister worked for the FBI. She turned them in. The Charboniers, Hill and Burke were arrested and convicted of extortion.
2001 (2309 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa)This Tampa strip club was owned and operated by Pasquale Pat Matassini (who died on May 1, 1999). Matassini was a longtime mob associate whose first arrest and conviction was for a 1950 robbery committed with Joe Bedami Sr. Matassini amassed a series of arrests for counterfeiting and battery, and was investigated in the Key Bank case. He also gave noted Tampa business owner Joe Redner his start in the adult entertainment profession.
Flamingo Lounge (208 W. Lafayette Ave., Tampa)This is the former site of a bar owned by Epifano Fano Trafficante, brother of Santo Jr. Fano was arrested in 1954 on obstruction of justice, in 1963 and 1968 for morals charges (promoting prostitution) and in 1967 for federal liquor law violations, along with his nephew and alleged mobster Frank Albano. Fano died on Dec. 26, 1991.
Red Top Bar(910 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa) One of the more notorious gambling dens in Tampa was the Red Top Bar, which once stood on this site. Mobster Phillip Piazza, who died on Jan. 21, 1977, owned it. Piazza was a mob soldier (named in 1963) with arrests for bookmaking, liquor law violations, and buying and selling stolen property. Piazza sold the Red Top to his nephew, John Piazza, and Joseph DiGerlando, due to his bookmaking arrest. DiGerlando, a native of Sicily, was named by the FDLE in 1992 as an alleged member of the Trafficante crime family. DiGerlando, a successful developer, denies the charge. The Red Top burned down in 1980.
9209 Post Road, Odessa This is the home of Santo Jose Trafficante, nephew of Santo Trafficante Jr. Santo Jose was named by the FDLE in 1992 as a member of the Trafficante crime family. He allegedly served as a courier between the Trafficante family and other crime groups. Santo Jose was arrested in 1984 as part of Operation Super Bowl. He was charged with bookmaking but the count was dismissed. He had business interests in New Orleans with reputed members of the Marcello crime family. Trafficante has adamantly denied allegations that he is involved in organized crime.
Malio’s (301 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa)This restaurant was a favorite dining place for Santo Trafficante Jr. In 1984, it was named as the site of illegal gambling activities.
University Restaurant (1902 Fowler Ave., Tampa)This restaurant was owned by Nick Scaglione from 1959 to 1995. He was a longtime gambling figure with over a dozen arrests for bookmaking from 1948 to 1984. Along with his brother Al, who ran the Italian Castle Restaurant in Lakeland, the Scaglione brothers ran some of the largest gambling operations in Florida. They were both named in 1963 and in 1978 as soldiers in the Trafficante crime family. Nick died on Aug. 27, 1994, and Al passed away on Feb. 5, 1996.
20th Street and Harper Avenue (along refinery fence Tampa)At 9:47 a.m. on June 5, 1950, James Head of the Elks Lumia had his face blown apart by a well-aimed 12-gauge shotgun. Lumia was in his car talking to two employees at his Republic Oil Co., which sold oil and gasoline to customers across the Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa. He also owned Bay Oil Co. (20th Street and Grant Avenue). While Lumia was in conversation, a 1949 blue Ford coupe pulled alongside his 1950 Chrysler. The driver of the car honked his horn. As Lumia turned to face the car, a passenger hiding in the back seat rose up, took aim, and fired the fatal shot. The blast tore off the top part of his face, sending blood and brain matter all over the car’s interior. Lumia’s death was one of the more spectacular gangland hits in Tampa’s history. Among the visitors to the Lumia house after the killing was future mayor Nick Nuccio, there to express his condolences to the grieving widow. Police questioned everyone from the Velasco brothers, Arturo and Roy, to the Trafficantes, but the murder remains unsolved.