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ALO, Vincent "Jimmy Blue Eyes


" (? — 2001 ): Syndicate
gangster
Vincent Alo, nicknamed Jimmy Blue Eyes, was a
giant among mafiosi, a sort of Paul Bunyan in organ-
ized crime. The Mafia is a society of myth builders
and above all myth believers. One of the more aston-
ishing myths held among low-level mafiosi (the
higher-ups have always known better) is that Alo
was the boss over Meyer Lansky, the Jewish criminal
mastermind who together with Lucky Luciano set up
organized crime in America as we know it today.
Alo was a close, lifelong friend of Lansky's, but his
mythical elevation over Lansky is attributable solely
to the psyche of the Mafia's lower levels, where it is
important to believe that Italians are superior in all
matters and always in control. After all, it was the
exclusive privilege of Italians to be mafiosi. (These
lowly soldiers were convinced accordingly that Lan-
sky could not vote at mob confabs because he was
Jewish. In fact Lansky voted from a position of
power; his word often carried the force of law. When
Luciano in exile in Italy once thought of allowing a
motion picture of his life to be made, Mafia couriers
brought word to forget the project. Their clincher:
"The Little Man [Lansky] says so.")
Some of the most famous informers to come out
of the Mafia also perpetrated the Alo myth, thereby
confirming that their disclosures were from a low-
level view in organized crime. In My Life in the
Mafia Vinnie Teresa says of Alo: "He's got one job
in life. He's the mob's watchdog. He watches Lan-
sky to make sure he doesn't short shrift the crime
bosses." Significantly, Teresa has to add: "He pro-
tects Lansky from any mob guy who thinks he can
shake Lansky down. Anyone in the mob who had
any ideas about muscling Lansky would have
Jimmy Blue Eyes on his back in a second." In The
Last Mafioso Jimmy "the Weasel" Fratianno quotes
and believes the word from higher-ups that "Meyer
makes no move without clearing it with Jimmy Blue
Eyes."
The fact is that Alo always functioned as a liaison
between Lansky and the various crime families.
Everyone knew that because of Lansky's friendship
and trust in Alo, he could be relied on and that he
always bore the true word and orders of Lansky.
Because of his warm feelings for Alo, Lansky took
care of him, allowed him part ownership in various
gambling enterprises in Florida and Las Vegas. After
all, they had been youthful allies in crime. In 1930
Meyer's wife Anna gave birth to a son who was born
a cripple. Anna Lansky suffered a breakdown over
this and blamed her husband for calling down the
wrath of God on the child to punish him for his
wicked way of life.
It was too much for Lansky and he fled New York
for a hideout in Boston where he drank himself into
oblivion. Only his buddy Jimmy Blue Eyes was with
him, consoling him and helping through his week-
long crisis. Finally, Lansky came out of it, and he and
Alo drove back to the New York gang wars.
Since that time Alo prospered under Lansky or, as
an investigation by Robert M. Morgenthau when he
was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New
York demonstrated, Lansky closely guarded the inter-
ests of Jimmy Blue Eyes. Morgenthau never did nail
Lansky but, in 1970, he had the satisfaction of seeing
Alo go to prison for obstructing justice. U.S. attorney
Gary Naftalis informed the court: "Alo is one of the
most significant organized crime figures in the United
States. He is closely associated with Meyer Lansky of
Miami, who is at the apex of organized crime."
In the final analysis, the true pecking order in the
Lansky-Alo alliance can be seen in the ultimate rat-
ing system used by the mob — money. When Lansky
died in 1983, his personal net worth was placed at
between $300 and $400 million. Alo could barely
qualify as a mere millionaire.