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Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia

Posted By: furio_from_naples

Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/23/18 09:33 AM

It’s difficult to say which event might have marked a bigger turning point in Dante Gill’s life: the first time he told someone to call him a man, or the night George E. Lee was murdered.

Dante, or “Tex,” as he came to be known — who Scarlett Johansson announced last week she intends to play in an upcoming film — was a hard-drinking, fast-living trans man before American society had words to properly describe such an identity. Like many figures in queer history, his run-ins with the law were not infrequent; born in 1930 to parents Walter and Agnes, Gill, Gill racked up his first arrest at the tender age of 18, and in 1963 began moonlighting as a sex worker while still employed as a riding instructor at the Schenley Park stables in Pittsburgh. The following year marked his first arrest for prostitution.

According to one early profile in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by 1968, Gill had abandoned his deadname and openly identified as Dante (though it was certainly not the last time he’d be called by his “real” name by the cisgender public). Around the same time, Gill became involved with George Lee, an affluent and powerful mobster whose grasp on Pittsburgh’s vice rackets, from pornogrpahy to prostitution, was unyielding and unquestioned. Backed up with muscle from Anthony “Ninny the Torch” Lagatutta, a cabal of interstate mafiosi that distributed his porn, and numerous corrupt magistrates and police officers, the bespectacled and mustachioed Lee commanded respect and fear wherever he went — influence which Gill, marginalized and struggling to find his place in pre-Stonewall America, may well have coveted.

In time, Gill became the manager of Spartacus, one of Lee’s many massage parlors (or “rub parlors”), businesses which acted as thinly-veiled fronts for the lucrative sex work brokered within. From Lee, it seems, Gill learned the ins and outs of pimping: how to vet johns and ward off raids from undercover vice cops, how to set up legitimate-looking cover businesses. But when Lee was murdered in February 1977 (a hit put out by his porn distribution partners, according to some speculation at the time), Gill was left alone to carve his own path through the bloody gang war to come.

“Tex was a very fascinating individual, and I thought just an amazing human being in many ways,” said Shelly Friedman, a former judge in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania who represented Gill in numerous cases throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, when I spoke with her by phone earlier this week. “Tex cared about the people who worked for him. I remember a young woman once wanted to get into the business [of sex work], and Tex said ‘You’re not coming into the business under my watch...You’re gonna make a life for yourself. You don’t need to be doing this.’” Gill was an outlier in his concern for the wellbeing of the women who found themselves doing survival sex work, instituting compulsory STI exams decades before such practices were common in the industry.


That paternal concern for his workers may have been uneven, and he undeniably had a cruel streak — later court filings claimed he forced girls to take lie detector tests if he suspected theft, and would dock entire shifts’ pay for so much as a misplaced washcloth — but became ever more valuable as girls who knew too much about the rub parlor rackets ended up dead. Over the next two years, at least four women with ties to Lee’s rub parlors were murdered or died under mysterious circumstances. DeLucia and his associates were even charged with an alleged plot to assassinate Gill (although due to a key witness’ attempt to extort money from the defense, nothing was ever proven in court).

Dante “Tex” Gill led a fascinating and idiosyncratic life, one that could challenge modern viewers to reevaluate their views on sex work and better understand the ways in which queer lives are marginalized and criminalized. Sadly, Johansson and her business partners have already demonstrated their contempt for Gill and and historical truth.

Though Gill’s pitched battle with DeLucia occupied much of his attention for the next several years, he made time for the people he loved — not just his wife Cynthia, whom he married in Las Vegas several months after Lee’s murder, but to some extent his nascent queer community as well. (Gill’s name appears as “husband” on the certificate, with no further gender marker asked nor given.) After club owner Frank Cocchiara’s gay bar El Goya burned down in November 1977, Gill arranged for Cocchiara to move from Tampa to Pittsburgh and gave him a job managing the Taurean rub parlor downtown. Known to some as “Miss Frank,” Cocchiara was a regular at Pittsburgh’s annual drag balls, palled around with recently-deceased gay activist Herb Beatty — and, according to Friedman, was one of the first men to contract HIV in America.

After tax evasion charges sent DeLucia to jail in 1981, Gill jumped at the opportunity to reunite Lee’s old rub parlor monopoly, sending out enforcers like longtime associate Tom Clipp to chase the competition out of town. For years, Gill lived the high life, but his downfall would prove as dramatic as his rise: though he avoided attempts on his life and businesses for the better part of a decade, a grand jury would convict Tex of tax evasion in 1984. After his parole in 1987, a string of lawsuits from the IRS would force the former millionaire into poverty. “They’re not going to get that money from me. I’m broke,” Gill told the Press and Post-Gazette after the U.S. attorney’s office filed a $12.5 million suit against him in 1991. He was right. Already in poor health before spending three years in jail, Gill died on January 8th, 2003 while on dialysis in the hospital.
Posted By: furio_from_naples

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/26/18 12:39 PM

Come on,there are no Pittsburgh mafia expert that have something to say?
Posted By: Friend_of_Henry

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/26/18 03:20 PM

Originally Posted by furio_from_naples
Come on,there are no Pittsburgh mafia expert that have something to say?

What do i know? You're obviously the Pittsburgh Maven!
Posted By: furio_from_naples

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/26/18 03:29 PM

Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by furio_from_naples
Come on,there are no Pittsburgh expert that have something to say?

What do i know? You're obviously the Pittsburgh Maven!


lol lol lol I would never take this title away from you,Friend_of_Henry.I only want to know is if Dante "Tex" Gill was really a threat or a simply nuisance for the Pittsburgh mob.
Posted By: Friend_of_Henry

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/26/18 05:47 PM

Originally Posted by furio_from_naples
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by furio_from_naples
Come on,there are no Pittsburgh expert that have something to say?

What do i know? You're obviously the Pittsburgh Maven!


lol lol lol I would never take this title away from you,Friend_of_Henry.I only want to know is if Dante "Tex" Gill was really a threat or a simply nuisance for the Pittsburgh mob.

I don't know about any titles, I only know what I know from personal experience. Never heard any conversations about Dante nor did I ever meet him. Sorry i couldn't help.
Posted By: Giacomo_Vacari

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/27/18 07:51 PM

Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?
Posted By: Friend_of_Henry

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/27/18 08:42 PM

Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?
Posted By: Giacomo_Vacari

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/28/18 12:17 PM

Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?


Here is a partial list.
Only 3 known soldiers.
Nick DeLucia Sr
Anthony Urso (Father was leader of Fairmont West Virginia Black Hand before the 1930)
Henry Zottola
Associates
Paul Hankish
Chris Hankish
James Griffin
Joe Griffen
Tommy Cavallaro
Charles Joseph
Charles Jacovetty
Charles Teemer
Dominic Caputo
Louis Caputo
Teddy Tsorus
Frank Unis Sr.
Frank Unis Jr.
Raymond Chafin
Nick Delucia Jr.
Bobby Pugh
Posted By: Friend_of_Henry

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/28/18 12:39 PM

Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?


Here is a partial list.
Only 3 known soldiers.
Nick DeLucia Sr
Anthony Urso (Father was leader of Fairmont West Virginia Black Hand before the 1930)
Henry Zottola
Associates
Paul Hankish
Chris Hankish
James Griffin
Joe Griffen
Tommy Cavallaro
Charles Joseph
Charles Jacovetty
Charles Teemer
Dominic Caputo
Louis Caputo
Teddy Tsorus
Frank Unis Sr.
Frank Unis Jr.
Raymond Chafin
Nick Delucia Jr.
Bobby Pugh

Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
[quote=Giacomo_Vacari]Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?

Very interesting. You're saying that there were more than 20 members in Joe's crew?
Obviously you knew Joe otherwise where did that information come from?
Posted By: Giacomo_Vacari

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/28/18 02:24 PM

Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
[quote=Giacomo_Vacari]Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?


Here is a partial list.
Only 3 known soldiers.
Nick DeLucia Sr
Anthony Urso (Father was leader of Fairmont West Virginia Black Hand before the 1930)
Henry Zottola
Associates
Paul Hankish
Chris Hankish
James Griffin
Joe Griffen
Tommy Cavallaro
Charles Joseph
Charles Jacovetty
Charles Teemer
Dominic Caputo
Louis Caputo
Teddy Tsorus
Frank Unis Sr.
Frank Unis Jr.
Raymond Chafin
Nick Delucia Jr.
Bobby Pugh

Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?

Very interesting. You're saying that there were more than 20 members in Joe's crew?
Obviously you knew Joe otherwise where did that information come from?


I knew Vito Adragna, his father Frank and brother George knew Pecora and his crew.
Posted By: Friend_of_Henry

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/28/18 02:57 PM

So you're saying that the Adragna's gave you the names of Jo Jo's crew?
Posted By: Giacomo_Vacari

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/28/18 03:10 PM

Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
So you're saying that the Adragna's gave you the names of Jo Jo's crew?


If you got something to say, then say it. Not all of them, it came up when when talking about Danny Green and Youngstown.
Posted By: furio_from_naples

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/28/18 06:14 PM

Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
[quote=Giacomo_Vacari]Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?


Here is a partial list.
Only 3 known soldiers.
Nick DeLucia Sr
Anthony Urso (Father was leader of Fairmont West Virginia Black Hand before the 1930)
Henry Zottola
Associates
Paul Hankish
Chris Hankish
James Griffin
Joe Griffen
Tommy Cavallaro
Charles Joseph
Charles Jacovetty
Charles Teemer
Dominic Caputo
Louis Caputo
Teddy Tsorus
Frank Unis Sr.
Frank Unis Jr.
Raymond Chafin
Nick Delucia Jr.
Bobby Pugh

Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Wasn't Nick DeLucia under Joseph Pecora? Hankel was with the Pecora crew. Didn't Chucky Porter stated that Nick DeLucia was an associate but his father Senior was a made member?

The Pecora crew: Who were the members?

Very interesting. You're saying that there were more than 20 members in Joe's crew?
Obviously you knew Joe otherwise where did that information come from?


I knew Vito Adragna, his father Frank and brother George knew Pecora and his crew.


If what you say is true why Dante "Tex" Gill with his brothels doesn't made the end of Greene?
Posted By: Friend_of_Henry

Re: Dante "Tex" Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia - 07/28/18 07:16 PM

Originally Posted by Giacomo_Vacari
Originally Posted by Friend_of_Henry
So you're saying that the Adragna's gave you the names of Jo Jo's crew?


If you got something to say, then say it. Not all of them, it came up when when talking about Danny Green and Youngstown.


That would depend on if you were told that Jo Jo's employees at Club 30, the Jockey Club and finally the Red Dog were members of his "Crew".
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