Whitey Bulger’s rotten life and times
For once in his life, Whitey Bulger was considerate enough to do everybody a big favor – getting himself murdered just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
Since his gruesome end, book sales have been way up. There’s even renewed interest in Hollywood for Boston organized-crime projects, a moribund genre since the so-so box office of Black Mass a few years back.
The one thing we’ll never get now, though, is the Whitey tell-all, a hit-by-hit description of his half-century as a homicidal maniac and all-around thug.
I was considering this loss to the true-crime oeuvre this week as I’ve been going over the hundreds of FBI reports filed over the years when he as BS 1544-TE, his top rank as a rat for the G-men, most of whom he was paying off while dictating his daily diet of deceptions.
I’ve been trying to refresh my Whitey recollections one final time, to be ready for… well, any opportunities that might present themselves.
Rotten bloodthirsty bastard that he was, Whitey (or his amanuensis, Zip Connolly) had a certain way with words. His putdowns of his underworld rivals are, well, humorous. A small-timer passing counterfeit bills is “half a nitwit.” An ex-con just out of stir is dismissed as a “penitentiary punk.” A Quincy wannabe “thinks he’s Dutch Schultz.” Anyone with a contract out of him is either “on the Hit Parade” or “ticketed to go.”
One hood is “too cute” to get set up. The Sullivan brothers are “operating wide open” in Roxbury.
Hoods don’t get stiffed or ripped off – they get “mushed.” One gangster’s son gets hooked on “beans,” and a Southie rival of Whitey’s has the temerity to move into a “monstrous house.” (Different, presumably, from wherever Whitey lived, which was a monster’s house.)
His old boss Howie Winter is a “leftfielder,” which is better than what Whitey was, which was a switch hitter.
The Mafia drops a body in the trunk of a stolen car and everybody is puzzled why it hasn’t been found yet “due to smell.” The boys move out of Chelsea because “too many people demand to be paid off.” Whitey suspects the Charlestown crew is being tailed by feds, because the agents on the job are “too clean-cut looking to be Boston cops.”
Another mobster doesn’t just have a contract out on him, they’re “going to make hamburg out of him.”
The hundreds of pages of Whitey’s FBI files detail all the lowlifes of the underworld – guys named Fifi and Macka and Eddie Pickup and Gonzo Ronzo.
A prosecutor crosses Whitey – so Whitey claims he has a “coke habit.” The politician who fired him from his no-show hack job at the courthouse – a “rogue.” An ex-con governor’s councilor attends a Mafia party and “was yelling at the people who were towing the cars.”
Check out the documents below. They’re the closest thing we’re ever going to get to Whitey’s autobiography. In 1987, they’re trying to find out who murdered a young female in Southie because “they want to know who would be capable of killing a woman.”
This is after Whitey and Stevie Flemmi had themselves strangled two 26-year-old women, one of them just two years earlier.
Whitey murdered Brian Halloran in 1982. Before he did so, he dictated at least seven FBI reports blaming others – the Mafia, the Charlestown crew, the State Police. He reports that Louie Litif was killed “gangland fashion,” as if he wasn’t the gangland killer who did it. Ditto young Stevie Hughes in Charlestown.
Maybe the sickest thing in the whole 900 pages is a report from Nov. 11, 1975. He murders a Southie rival named Tommy King and buries his body on the banks of the Neponset River. Then, that same night, he murders another hood he doesn’t like, Buddy Leonard, and leaves his body in the late King’s vehicle.
Then Whitey tells his G-man hirelings that King murdered Leonard and has been ordered “to remain out of the Boston area… it would be best if he never came back.”
No problem! Tommy King never did come back. But the Southie crew takes care of its own, Whitey tells the FBI.
“They plan to support KING while he is away.”
Yes, Whitey’s plan to support him was, every time he drove across the Neponset River bridge with any of the boys, he would chuckle and say, “Tip your hat to Tommy.”
Lesson: reality TV and movies are tough to make when the reality is almost too horrible to be believed.
In all these pages, Whitey comes across as being in total control, maybe because he’s dictating to FBI stenographers on his underworld payroll. But in October 1980, he made one very bad prediction to two of his crooked feds, Zip Connolly and John “Vino” Morris.
“Informant reiterated,” the two FBI agents/gangsters reported, “that in his opinion, if he is ever murdered, it will be as a result of gangland warfare rather than him being identified as an informant.”
Wrong, Whitey. And it was your final mistake.