Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Cleveland's Killer Celebrities, Part 1

Danny Greene, Champion of Labor

Like Shondor Birns, Daniel Patrick Greene was an orphan. He was born Nov. 9, 1933, five days after his 20-year-old parents were married. His mother died of complications from the birth.

Left with a baby to care for, his father turned him over to Parmadale, a Catholic orphanage. Later he wound up with his grandfather, who sent him to Catholic schools until he was expelled from St. Ignatius High School. At Collinwood High School, he starred in baseball and basketball.

Young Danny Greene in his baseball outfit
Young Danny Greene in his baseball outfit

In 1951, he left school and joined the Marines. There he stood out as a boxer and a marksman talents that would serve him well in the years ahead.

Greene's military ID photo
Greene's military ID photo

He worked at first as a railroad brakeman. In off hours, he read Irish history and novels about Ireland. He fancied himself as one of the "Celtic warriors" of old.

He switched to the docks, unloading ships as a longshoreman. Greene was bright and popular with his fellow "dockwallopers." In 1961, when the president of the local was removed by the national office of the International Longshoremen's Association, the national officers picked Greene as interim president. He easily won election on his own.

To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia, by Rick Porrello
To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia, by Rick Porrello

He had the union office painted green with thick green carpeting. In "To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia," Porrello writes: "He even had the union by-laws reprinted in green ink and used green paper to post announcements on the union bulletin board."

In addition, he quickly raised dues 25 percent and pressured members to work "volunteer" hours to provide a "building fund." Those who refused found themselves passed over for work at the morning shapeup.

His contacts with leaders of other unions under investigation brought a visit from Marty McCann, an agent in the FBI Organized Crime Division. Greene became a confidential informant, quietly passing along information that suited his purposes. The FBI called him "Mr. Patrick." The FBI connection would serve him well in the future.

Next: On the Waterfront

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