A Florida medical examiner has declared the death of Domenico Arcuri Sr., a man with past ties to the Rizzuto organization, an accident, but notes “the context is worrisome.”
A report on Arcuri’s death obtained by The Gazette reveals the 79-year-old was on a work site with one of his sons in Florida, on Oct. 8, when the roof of the building they were working on collapsed.
“By report, the decedent was under a roof when the roof collapsed. Although the context of the death is worrisome, the manner of death, at this time, is best classified as accident. Should any probative information pertaining to this case become available, such information may be used to amend this report at that time,” Rebecca MacDougall, Associate Medical Examiner for Broward County, wrote in the report.
Arcuri’s sons, Domenico Jr. and Antonino, have owned construction companies in Montreal for years and a construction firm based in South Florida is registered with the state under their names.
The medical examiner’s report describes how Arcuri Sr. suffered injuries to his head, neck and torso as a result of the collapse and was treated for cardiac arrest before he died. The report does not specify which of Arcuri’s sons was with him when the roof collapsed.
In October, a representative from the medical examiner’s office said it would not comment on Arcuri’s death beyond releasing the report. The “context” referred to as worrisome is an apparent reference to the fact Arcuri’s sons were the targets of serious threats in the weeks leading up to the collapse.
Beginning on Aug. 17, Montreal-area companies owned, or previously owned, by one or both of Arcuri’s sons, were targeted by arsonists. That included three construction companies and, on Sept. 16, a fire was set at the headquarters of Ital Gelati, an Italian ice cream company on Creusot St.
Domenico Arcuri Sr. took control of the ice cream company following the 1978 murder of mob boss Paolo Violi, who owned it previously. At the time, Arcuri Sr. was known to have ties to people loyal to the Rizzuto clan, but he was perceived as having tried to negotiate peace between them and Violi. Violi’s murder has long been considered the key to ushering the Rizzuto organization in as leaders of the Mafia in this city. The elder Arcuri later turned over the company to his sons.
On Oct. 5, reputed mob boss Vito Rizzuto, 66, was released from a penitentiary in Colorado after serving a 10-year prison term for his role in the deaths of three Mafia captains in New York in 1981. He was deported to Canada the same day. His lengthy absence from Montreal, plus the 2006 arrests of other leaders in the organization, apparently weakened its grasp on the Mafia in this city.
Early in 2011, police sources alleged that Domenico Arcuri Jr. was part of a group of five men who tried to generate a consensus over who would fill the void. Being part of that group appears to have been a disastrous choice.
Salvatore Montagna, 40, the more aggressive person in the group, was murdered on Nov. 24, 2011, after he fled from a house in Île Vaudry, just south of the municipality of Charlemagne and next to Repentigny. Raynald Desjardins, 59, another of the men police believed was part of the group, is one of five men currently charged with murdering Montagna.
Desjardin’s brother-in-law, Joseph Di Maulo, 70 — a long-time Mafioso who likely held the most sway among the five in convincing Montreal mobsters to accept a change in leadership — was fatally shot in front of his home in Blainville on Nov. 4.
The fifth man alleged to have been part of the ill-fated group, Antonio (Tony Suzuki) Pietrantonio, 49, was shot, on Dec. 13, 2011, outside a restaurant on Jarry St. E. He suffered injuries that left him in critical condition but survived.