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James was born to first generation immigrants from Lombardy, Italy. Growing up in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, Ida was inducted into the Genovese crime family in the late 1970s. Ida was placed in the Little Italy based crew of captain Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, frequently serving as Ianniello's bodyguard and chauffeur. Ida's younger brother Joseph also servied in Ianniello's crew.
In 1988, after Ianniello was convicted on federal racketeering charges, Ida took over the Ianniello crew. In 1991, after consigliere Louis Manna was convicted of federal racketeering charges, Ida became the official consigliere of the Genovese family. When boss Vincent Gigante and underboss Venero Mangano went to prison, Ida handled the day-to-day functions of the Genovese family with acting boss Liborio Bellomo. Ida also oversaw rackets involving the Mason Tenders Union and the San Gennaro Feast in Little Italy.
Each vendor working at the Feast had to pay tribute to the Genovese family. Ida helped oversee the collection of rents from some 400 vendors. While the mob typically demanded $4,000 a booth, the society running the festival would report to city officials that booth vendors had paid only $1,000 or so each. The city would then assess each vendor a 25 percent permit fee based on this rent. The end result was that the city and charities received very little money.
Ida also owned a social club in Little Italy that he used for family business. However, in 1990, capo James Messera was sent to prison based partly on conversations recorded by law enforcement at the club. Ida soon switched to conducting business on walks through the neighborhood and meetings in diners and parks. To counter Ida's new strategy, Federal investigators in 1994 obtained warrants for use of roving bugs and were able to intercept six Ida's conversations with family members and union associates
In 1994, Ida was involved in the extortion of money from singer La Toya Jackson. According to the FBI, Jackson's husband Gordon was paying the Genovese family $1,000 per month for the use of Genovese soldier John Schenone as a "bodyguard" whenever the singer visited New York. Schenone would then present the checks to Ida. On one occasion, the FBI recorded Ida angrily complaining to Schenone about receiving a bad check from the Jacksons.
In June 1996, Ida and 19 other Genovese members and associates were charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The government offered Ida a 15-year plea deal in exchange for cooperation, but Ida refused it. However, fellow mobster Bellomo accepted a plea agreement, reportedly enraging Ida. The FBI was sufficiently concerned about the threat to notify Bellomo's lawyer and to place Bellomo in solitary confinement in jail during the trial.
On April 24, 1997, after an eight-week trial, Ida was convicted of the 1988 DiLorenzo murder, the conspiracies to murder Ralph DeSimone in 1991 and Dominic Tucci in 1995, and racketeering charges involving the San Gennaro Feast. Ida received a life prison sentence. After Ida's imprisonment, former capo Ianniello retook control of Ida's Little Italy crew.
Louis "Bobby" Manna
|Genovese crime family|