A Mob Primer To Better Enjoy KCUR's Story On The Chiefs' Super Bowl Ties To The Mafia | KCUR

A Mob Primer To Better Enjoy KCUR's Story On The Chiefs' Super Bowl Ties To The Mafia

Jan 29, 2020

After reading the KCUR story on how local betting on the 1970 Super Bowl marked the beginning of the end for the local mob family, you might have some general Mafia questions. Here's some help.

There seems to be a lot of different names for organized crime.

That's true. The original name for Italian organized crime was the Black Hand, a name imported from Italy. That morphed into the Mafia. But you'll also see the Mafia referred to as the Mob, the Outfit (popular in Chicago, but also used occasionally in Kansas City) and La Cosa Nostra or, in FBI shorthand, LCN. Translated that means "this thing of ours."

So what's the structure of 'this thing of ours?'

At the top of the organizational chart is The Boss. In the 1970 Super Bowl case, that was Nick Civella. The No. 2 in Mafia families is the underboss. At various times, the underboss in Kansas City was Nick's brother Carl "Cork" Civella or Carl "Tuffy" Deluna. Also in leadership there's someone called the consigliere, or counselor to the Boss (see "wartime consigliere" from The Godfather). Under the consiglieres are the caporegime, or crew captains, who supervise a group of soldiers ("made" members of the mob) and associates.

Nick didn't have a nickname?

No.

Why was Nick's brother called Cork?

Because he tended to blow his top. Like a cork.

There are some unusual Mafia terms. Can you help with those?

In the Super Bowl gambling story you read about the vigorish, or vig, collected by bookies. It's essentially interest collected on the wagers. Bookies make their profit by collecting a 10% vig on losing bets. You bet $100 and lose, you owe the mob $110. 

Is there still a mob in Kansas City?

The last federal case with connections to the Kansas City mob was in August 2010, when half a dozen or so people were indicted for what the FBI said was an internet gambling ring that generated $3.5 million in bets. Many of those indicted were related to mobsters in the Mafia's heyday in Kansas City.

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samzeff