December 30, 2013 3:01 pm
Updated: December 30, 2013 8:59 pm

Timeline: Life of reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto


Video: Hundreds of people gathered in a Montreal church to say goodbye to the man known as the city’s ‘Teflon Don.’Mike Armstrong reports.

MONTREAL – The death of reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, who died at the age of 67 of natural causes in December, could mark the end of an era for the Rizzuto family, who allegedly controlled organized crime in Montreal for several decades.

Global News takes a look at the life of Vito Rizzuto.

February 21, 1946
Vittorio Rizzuto was born in Cattolica Eraclea, a municipality of approximately 5,000 people located about 80 km south of Palermo on the island of Sicily in Italy.

A glimpse of Cattolica Eraclea in Sicily, Italy, where reputed Mafia boss, Vito Rizzuto, was born. Credit: Toni Pecoraro

Toni Pecoraro

February 1, 1954
Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. arrived in Canada after travelling by ship aboard the ocean liner MS Vulcania from Sicily with his wife Libertina, their daughter Maria and their son Vito, who celebrated his eighth birthday as the ship pulled into the harbour in Halifax.

The MS Vulcania was the Italian ocean liner that the Rizzuto family travelled on from Sicily to Canada in 1954.

January 20, 1978
The head of the Calabrian Mafia in Canada, Paola Violi was shot and killed at close range at a Montreal cafe. His death, and the murder two years later of Rocco Violi, allegedly marked the beginning of the Rizzuto organization’s hold over Montreal.

Paolo Violi was charged with contempt and sentenced to one year in prison, December 2, 1975.

Doug Ball/The Canadian Press

May 5, 1981
Three high-ranking members of the Bonanno crime family in New York, Philip Giaccone, Alphonse Indelicato and Dominick Trinchera, were murdered in a nightclub in Brooklyn.

While Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. was in prison for five years after being convicted of cocaine trafficking in Venezuela, his son Vito allegedly took over the role as boss of the Rizzuto family.

Convicted Montreal crime boss Nicolo Rizzuto Sr leaves a Montreal prison Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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Bonanno crime family underboss turned government informant Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale told the FBI that Vito Rizzuto was one of the shooters in the 1981 murders. The former boss of the Bonanno crime family, Joesph Massino testified against Rizzuto.

Montreal-born Sal “the Ironworker” Montagna started his climb to the top of the Bonanno crime family in New York.

Although Rizzuto had earned the monicker “Teflon Don” because he faced and beat drug charges two times, things changed when a Brooklyn federal grand jury indicted him for allegedly being one of four gunmen hired by Joe Massino to kill Philip Giaccone, Alphonse Indelicato and Dominick Trinchera.

Vito Rizzuto, right, reputed head of the Montreal Mafia, speaks with his attorney Jean Salois after his hearing in Montreal on Feb. 6, 2004.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

January 20, 2004
Vito Rizzuto was arrested at his Montreal home.

August 17, 2006
Vito Rizzuto was extradited to the United States. He faced a 20-year sentence.

November 11, 2006
Over a period of several years, investigators bugged and videotaped meetings inside the Consenza Social Club, a cafe in Montreal believed to be the Rizzuto headquarters.

A photo taken in Montreal, Wednesday, September 26, 2012, from an RCMP surveillance video presented as evidence at the Charbonneau commission, an inquiry looking into corruption and collusion in Quebec’s construction industry, allegedly shows Nick Rizzuto Sr., right, exchanging tens of thousands of dollars with Nicolo Milioto, left, former head of Mivela Construction Inc. Also at the table is alleged mafiosa Rocco Sollecito.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

November 22, 2006
As part of a four-year investigation into organized crime by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit’s Project Colisee, police arrested 91 suspected Mafia leaders, including Nicolo Rizzuto Sr., Vito Rizzuto’s father.

Sal “the Ironworker” Montagna has become the head of the Bonanno crime family in New York.

May 4, 2007
Vito Rizzuto admitted to being present at the time of the 1981 murders of Philip Giaccone, Alphonse Indelicato and Dominick Trinchera, and as part of a plea bargain agreement, he received a 10-year prison sentence, followed by a three-year supervised release.

In this courtroom sketch, Vito Rizzuto, right, dubbed as a former godfather of the Montreal Mafia, stands before Judge Nicolas Garaufis with Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres, standing left, and defense attorney John W. Mitchell, center, Friday, May 4, 2007 at federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Elizabeth Williams/AP/The Canadian Press

September 18, 2008
After being arrested in 2006, Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. pleaded guilty to possession of the proceeds of crime in association with a criminal organization.

October 16, 2008
Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. was released from jail, after serving two years of his four-year sentence.

Convicted Montreal crime boss Nicolo Rizzuto leaves a Montreal prison with a member of his legal team Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008.

The Canadian Press

January 1, 2009
Sal “the Ironworker” Montagna was detained by U.S. Customs and eventually deported back to Canada, where he settled in Montreal.

August 21, 2009
In the first of a series of attacks on the Rizzuto family, convicted drug dealer and close family associate Federico del Peschio was shot to death in Montreal.

December 28, 2009
Vito Rizzuto’s son, Nick Jr., was gunned down beside his car in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood.

Montreal police officers survey the scene in Montreal, Monday, Dec., 28, 2009 where a man was shot, believed to be alleged mobster Nic Rizzuto Jr.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

January 2, 2010
Hundreds attended the funeral of Nick Rizzuto Jr., held at the Madonna della Difesa Church in the Montreal neighbourhood of Little Italy.

The funeral cortege of Nicolo Rizzuto Jr., leaves Notre Dame de la Defense church in Little Italy, Montreal, Saturday, Jan., 02, 2010 following his funeral.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

May 20, 2010
Paolo Renda, the Rizzuto family consigliere and Vito Rizzuto’s brother-in-law, went missing. His wife, Maria Rizzuto-Renda was in court in January 2013 to ask that her husband be declared dead because she had seen no sign of him for more than two years. Her request was denied.

June 29, 2010
Widely considered to be the next leader after Vito Rizzuto’s arrest, Agostino Cuntrera was shot dead with his bodyguard in broad daylight. Cuntrera was allegedly involved in the shooting death of Calabrian Mafia head Paolo Violi in 1978.

Agostino Cuntrera, wearing jacket and white shirt, is shown at the 2009 funeral for Domenico Macri.

La Presse/The Canadian Press

November 2, 2010
After being accused of failing to declare interest revenues in 1994 and 1995 on more than $5 million deposited in three Swiss bank accounts, Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

November 10, 2010
Shot through the window at the back of his Cartierville home in Montreal, Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. was killed by a sniper’s bullet while eating supper with his daughter and wife.

A bullet hole is framed by tree branches in the backyard window of Nicolo Rizzuto’s Montreal home on Nov. 11, 2010.

Peter Ray Rakobowchuk/The Canadian Press

November 16, 2010
More than 800 people filled Little Italy’s Madonna della Difesa Church in Montreal for Nicolo Rizzuto Sr.’s funeral.

Hundreds of onlookers gathered in front of Notre-Dame de la Defense church to watch the funeral of slain crime boss Nicolo Rizzuto Sr.

Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press

November 24, 2011
Sal “the Ironworker” Montagna’s body was found. He had been shot multiple times on a small island in the Assomption River in Laval, Quebec.

Sal “the Ironworker” Montagna was assasinated in Montreal in November 2011.


December 21, 2011
Six suspects were arrested in the murder of Salvatore Montagna, including Raynald Desjardins.

September 26, 2012
Police and a former construction boss testified about a kickback scheme involving the Rizzutos, the construction industy and city officials as part of the province’s anti-corruption inquiry. Tapes of construction bosses handing over cash to Nick Rizzuto Sr. and associates were made public for the first time.

October 5, 2012
Vito Rizzuto was released from U.S. federal prison in Colorado. He returned to the Montreal area, allegedly living in the Ste-Dorothee district of Laval.

February 2013
Four months after his return to Montreal, it appeared that Vito Rizzuto was allegedly taking back control of organized crime in the city.

December 23, 2013
Vito Rizzuto died at Montreal’s Sacré-Coeur Hospital. His death was attributed to health complications.

December 29, 2013
Hundreds of people visited a Montreal funeral home to pay their respects to reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.

December 30, 2013
Vito Rizzuto was remembered at a mass at the Church of the Madonna della Difesa, where the funerals for his father and eldest son, both shot and killed in separate incidents, were also held.

A flower decoration dedicated to “Nonno” (grandfather) Vito Rizzuto at his funeral in Montreal on December 30, 2013.

Domenic Fazioli/Global News

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