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Crazy Konigsberg

Crazy Konigsberg



By
John William Tuohy


Konigsberg Harold. Gangster AKA Kayo AKA Heshy: Born 1927. Lived at 506 Avenue A in Bayonne New Jersey. A sadistic collector and enforcer for the New Jersey mob.
    In 1950, he was convicted in an armed robbery in Jersey City and served seven years in prison.  In 1958, less than a year after he was paroled, Konigsberg was suspected of murdering Joe Barbito, a longshoreman, of 742 Avenue A in Bayonne. Barbito and Konigsberg was alleged to be partners in a burglary ring and had a dispute of the cut of the profits. Konigsberg was captured because he had stolen a commuter ticket from the stolen car where Barbito’s body was dumped.
  When Konigsberg tried to cross the Lincoln Tunnel the next day, the card signal was activated and he was arrested. Konigsberg’s brother in law, IRS agent Lou Herscovitz was also arrested after police found burglary tools and over $14,000 in cash in his home on Avenue A in Bayonne. Eventually Konigsberg was sentenced to ten years for receiving stolen goods. 
     Sometime between 1959 and 1962, the FBI claimed that Konigsberg was one of the biggest handbook makers in the United States, a charge that still does not seem plausible. In November of 1963, Konigsberg was arrested again, this time in connection with a massive loan sharking operation that charged 100% interest to troubled lenders who were high risk even for the Mafia. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy personally watched over the case that involved future Philadelphia and Jersey bosses Phil Testa and Angelo Bruno. 
   Konigsberg duty in the operation was a simple one, he was to beat up the borrowers when they late. In one case, he beat a man named Joe Canistraci, a broker, with a lead pipe. Canistraci was later found shot dead on the Long Island Expressway.
    Jailed at the Hudson County prison, on January 12, Konigsberg was accused of having a 24-year-old blonde prostitute named Marilyn Jane Fraser brought into his cell to service him. The man charged with allegedly bringing the women into the prison, a sports fixer named Israel Schwartzberg, later had a bomb placed under the hood of his car when the Mob suspected he might testify against Konigsberg. The bomb was discovered and removed by police.
     During his extortion trial, in which he faced a  possible 175 years in prison, Konigsberg, calling himself “Lawyer Konigsberg” fired his lawyer and made several attempts to cause a mistrial by screaming at the judge. “Speak up there judge, I’m no lip reader” he yelled, “You’re acting like the jury and the prosecutor and the judge aren’t you? So I’ll tell you what to do judge, you listen to me. You’ll learn something and don’t tell when I’m through with a witness, I’ll tell you. In fact, don’t help me at all. Save it for Christmas. Unfortunately for Konigsberg, who acted out in front of a jury, he offered them some of his orange juice, the judge saw what he was trying to do and remained calm, because as the judge told the gangster “I don’t want to err”
   In his four hour summation, Konigsberg, recited the preamble to the constitution and blessed the jury “and your families, just in case” Former heavyweight champion Joe Louis sat with Konigsberg wife and three children. He won a surprise victory having when he was acquitted of one of the ten counts against him. Then the jury deadlocked and was dismissed. Eventually he was sentenced to two sentences total about forty years.
    In 1976, Konigsberg was indicted with Mafia-Teamsters bigwig Tony Provenzano and Sal Briguglio, (Briguglio and Provenzano were long suspected of murdering Teamster Boss Jimmy Hoffa) for the 1961 kidnap murder of Anthony Castellito, a New Jersey Teamsters official.
  Most of the information in the case came from Sal Sinno, (Born 1927) a close associate of Provenzano’s who turned state’s evidence. Sinno said that he watched Konigsberg strangle Castellito, whose body was never found.   While they were burying the body in the woods back of Catellito’s home, a neighbor named John Madratowski drove down a nearby road and hearing digging sounds from the woods called out to Sinno and Konigsberg, who told Madratowski he and Sinno were looking at property in the area to build a house and were checking the soils.
  Madratowski, a house building contractor then took the two men on a half hour tour of the area showing them potential building sites.
     Provenzano and Konigsberg were eventually found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Briguglio never made it to trial. He was shot and killed on Mulberry Street in Little Italy in New York before he could be tried.
     As for the informant, Sal Sinno on April 24 1988, while standing on the corner of 
12th and First Avenue in the East Village, an area was filled with pedestrians, he shot Louis Santos four times at point blank range and then calmly walked away. It was unclear what caused the killing but it was probably a personnel dispute between the two men. Sinno was arrested minutes after the shooting.


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