Frank "the Bomp" Bompensiero was born in Milwaukee in 1905 and eventually made his way west to California. In 1937, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, representing the national syndicate let it be known that West Coast gamblers would have to split their profits down the middle with him. One gambler who held out was Lew Brunemann, who had aspirations of controlling all the gambling in southern California.
In July 1937, Bompensiero and one of his men found Brunemann strolling along Redondo Beach. The mobsters walked up behind him and put three slugs in his back, Brunemann lived. A while later, on October 25, Brunemann was having his dinners at the Roost Café, in Redondo Beach restaurant, with one of his nurses. Bompensiero and his gunman Leo "Lips" Moceri, a former member of Detroit’s Purple Gang.
Moceri said later "I’ve got a forty-five automatic and the place’s packed with people. I walk right up to his table and start pumping lead. Believe me, that sonovabitch’s going to be dead for sure this time.
"Bomp’s supposed to be by the door, watching my back to make sure nobody jumps me. I turn around and I see this football player … coming at me. Bomp’s nowhere in sight. Now I’m either going to clip this (guy) or he’s going to knock me on my ass. So I blast him and run out, and there’s Bomp already in the fucking car … waiting for me. That guy showed me his color. If you ever work with Bomp, get him out in front of you instead of behind you.”
The police arrested the wrong man for the Brunemann murder.
On February 28, 1938, Moceri and Bompensiero kidnapped Phil Galuzo off a Los Angeles street. Bompensiero gave Galuzo a vicious beating and then shot him six times. After that, Bompensiero left the west coast and hid out in Tampa under the protection by the Trafficante Family. When he returned to Los Angeles in June 1941, the murder charges against him were dropped due to lack of evidence.
After Bugsy Siegel’s murder in June of 1947, Los Angeles Mafia boss Jack Dragna attempted to take over the local gambling operations. Almost everyone fell into place except Mickey Cohen, one of Siegel’s top men who were heavily into narcotics.
On Aug. 18, 1948, Jimmy Fratianno and his family visited Cohen’s haberdashery shop to pick up tickets to the musical “Annie Get Your Gun”. Outside a Mafia hit squad was waiting. Inside, Fratianno shook Cohen’s hand and left. As soon as Fratianno was gone, Cohen, who had a clean fetish, retreated to a bathroom to wash his hands. Once outside, Fratianno signaled Frank DeSimone, Bompensiero, and three other men pulled up. Bompensiero, carry a shotgun, shot Cohen’s bodyguard Hooky Rothman in the face.
Two other Cohen associates inside the store, Al Snyder and Jimmy Rist, were slightly wounded. Cohen escaped. Moceri later said, "It was Bomp’s contract, and he blew it. Listen, (the others) didn’t know Mickey from a lamppost, but Bomp did. They go in there and blast away at Al Snyder thinking he’s Mickey. Then they shoot him in the arm, for Christ’s sake. While this going on, Mickey’s in the shitcan, standing on top of the sink. They didn’t pump one slug through that door. Like a bunch of cowboys, they panicked and ran out instead of finishing the job."
In the very early 1950s, Jack Dragna appointed Bompensiero boss of the San Diego territory. Bompensiero kept office at nightclub they owned together, the Gold Rail. In the early 1950s, Fratianno met with Bompensiero to discuss plans to murder Frank Borgia, an ex-bootlegger still tied to Dragna. Gaspare Matranga was trying to extort money from Borgia who lodged a complaint with Dragna. Of course, Dragna was in on the shakedown, otherwise it never would have happened in the first place. When Borgia wouldn’t pay, Dragna ordered Bompensiero to murder Borgia. Anthony Mirabile brought Borgia to Joe Adamo’s house. Once inside Mirabile grabbed Borgia while Bompensiero and Fratianno pulled a rope around Borgia’s throat and pulled from opposite ends, choking him to death.
In 1955, Bompensiero was convicted on three counts of bribery and was sentenced to three-to-14 years in San Quentin. He served five. Fratianno was transferred San Quentin as well and Bompensiero made the mistake of telling him that he killed "Red" Sagunda, an ex-Cleveland thug who was operating in San Diego. In the meantime, Jack Dragna died in 1957 and was succeeded by lawyer-turned-mobster Frank DeSimone who drove the LA family into the ground. When he died in 1968, the group was taken over by Nick Licata, would prove to be even a weaker boss then DeSimone.
Bompensiero despised Johnny Roselli, the west coast representative of the Chicago mob in Los Angeles and Las Vegas,
"These two guys (from Detroit) were having a feud and they went to see Joe Zerilli, each wanting the other guy clipped. So Mike Polizzi came to see me and this was strictly between us, nothing to do with the L. A. family. They tell me who they want clipped but I’ve got to do the job alone. As it happens I know the guy. So one night I see him at a party and I pull him aside. I says, ‘Look here, you’ve been having this problem and the old man’s given me the contract. I’m going to clip this guy but I’m going to need your help.’ Now this guy’s all happy, see, and I tell him I’ve got a bad back and I need him to dig the hole. We go out to this fucking place I’ve picked out ahead of time and this guy starts digging the fucking hole. Works like a sonovabitch, this guy, sweating bullets. So finally he says, ‘How’s that? Deep enough.’ I’m sitting down, resting, so I get up and I says, ‘It’s perfect.’ He starts climbing out of the hole and I shoot the cocksucker in the back of the fucking head. Back down he goes in the hole and I fill it in."
According to Bompensiero, he was supposed to receive a percentage of the profits from the Frontier Casino in Las Vegas as compensation for the hit. When Detroit reneged, Bompensiero went to see Johnny Roselli to make things right. Roselli ended up with a percentage of the casinos gift shop. Bompensiero never forgot the slight or forgave Roselli.
In 1967, Bompensiero became an informant for the FBI. In December of 1967 Johnny Roselli was charged with fleecing members of the Beverly Hills Friars Club out of $400,000 in rigged gin-rummy games. Seach, a member of the gang, who was granted immunity as a government witness if he testified against Roselli. Roselli learned about the deal and asked Fratianno to find Seach and kill him. He never did because Bompensiero notified the FBI and Seach was moved out to Hawaii.
In the early 1970s, Bompensiero did business with Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro, the Chicago mob’s new overseer in Las Vegas but otherwise continued to be a malcontent in the LA operation. When Nick Licata died in 1974, Dominic Brooklier took over the Los Angeles Mob and a year later, put out a contract on Bompensiero but Mob gunmen couldn’t track him down. When Brooklier went to prison, Louis Tom Dragna, the nephew of Jack and the acting family boss announced that he was making Bompensiero Consigliere of the Los Angeles Mafia. It was little more than a trick to drag Bompensiero out into the open. They would wait to kill him.
The FBI learned that Fratianno was getting into the pornography business so the agency set up a dummy company called Forex and had Bompensiero tell Fratianno about the company. Several days later, Fratianno learned that Forex was an FBI sting operation.
Fratianno called Bompensiero and demanded to know where he had learned about Forex and why he wanted the outfit to get involved. Bompensiero lied and said that the information from a local pornography storeowner. When Fratianno told Bompensiero to bring the store owner to him, Bompensiero said that the owner had been killed several days before.
They knew he was lying.
On February 10, 1977, the 71-year old Bompensiero he was shot and killed by Thomas Ricciardi. Jimmy Fratianno eventually became an FBI informant and would later be forced into the Witness Protection Program. Suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, died in his sleep at the age of 79 in June of 1993.