Though he may have been assassinated in the late 1970s, Danny Greene remains a local Cleveland legend. “The Celtic Warrior” as he was known, rose to power by single handedly taking on the Mayfield Rd. Mob. His role as an FBI informant protected him from prosecution and he took over the Cleveland neighborhood of Collinwood.
As both a union leader and founder of the Cleveland Irish Mob, The Celtic Club, Greene had friends in both high and low places. In his legitimate business endeavors, as well as his more nefarious practices, it was Greene’s way or the highway. It was only a matter of time before Greene’s cut throat way of taking care of business would force rival gangs to try to take down the Irishman.
One of the most legendary attempts on Greene’s life was on May 12, 1975. Greene was in his Collinwood office conducting business as usual when the building exploded. Rubble and burning shrapnel covered the streets of Collinwood and fire officials, as well as the ATF, were called in order to get the situation under control. From a pile of debris, none other than Danny Greene himself emerges completely unscathed, with only very minor injuries.
The Collinwood office bombing was neither the first nor the last brush with death for Danny Greene. Like a cat with nine lives, Greene had survived other car bomb attempts, shootings, stabbings, and a bungled bombing incident in where a bomb he constructed detonated inside his vehicle. It would seem that not even death, itself, stood a chance against the Celtic Warrior.
In spite of Greene’s reputation for being a ruthless killer and businessman, many people saw him as a kind and generous man. Though he made millions extorting local downtown builders through his strongholds in the Iron Workers Union, he often poured much of his money back into the community. Most of the Collinwood neighborhood knew that if ever there was a time a family was down on their luck, Danny Greene would be there to lend a hand, and because of that reputation the community often protected him and turned a blind eye to his shady practices.
After the death of Cleveland mafia don, John T. Scalish, Cleveland’s Italian mafia family was in shambles. In fighting amongst the organization and Greene’s lust for power forged an unlikely partnership between Greene and the Italian mob run teamster union treasurer, John Nardi. Together the pair set out to take over the local mob, but fatally underestimated the ties the group had between other mob families across the nation.
Greene and Nardi’s first order of business was to take out the Mayfield Village second in command, Leo Moceri. Morceri was found in a pool of his own blood, sparking the mob to declare all out war against Greene. To compound the matter, word began to spread that Greene was a rat and had been working as an informant with the FBI.
Several unsuccessful attempts were made on Greene’s life at the hands of the mob, but he continued on with business as usual. Nardi wasn’t as lucky and eventually he would meet his end with a car bomb. Nardi’s death didn’t phase Greene in the least and agreed to a news interview where he challenged the mob to come and get him.
The mob was listening and took him up on his challenge. Unbeknownst to Greene his phone had been tapped and a phone call to a local dentist told the Mayfield Rd. crew everything they needed to know about when and where they would finally take down the Robin Hood of Collinwood. While at his appointment on October 6, 1977, men hired by the mob planted a bomb car next to Greene’s. As Greene left his dentist’s office he walked to his car and fumbled with his keys a moment when the car bomb detonated. Danny Greene, The Celtic Warrior, had finally run out of lives.
The downfall of Danny Greene may have been his own ego, but his death was not in vein. His death resulted in a citywide crackdown on crime. The investigation into Greene’s death lead to the fall of Cleveland’s most powerful mob family, and set off a domino effect for mob families around the nation. And while it may not have been the way Greene imagined it, his ultimate goal to take down the Italian mob families in Cleveland had been fulfilled.