John Francis

John Francis

Matt
Matt

December 8th, 2008, 11:04 pm #1

Been reading "I Heard You Paint Houses" Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran's bio which mainly deals with issues surrounding the Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa's downfall and disappearance. Great book which I highly reccommend. Although Sheeran was Irish
it becomes clear through reading this book that he certainly exerted more influence and commanded more respect than many made men. Pure stand up, 100%. Funniest bit for me was when a cop tried the old trick of trying to get a wiseguy to roll by saying Sheeran had already given him up. The guy says "Anyone else, I'd have believed you, but that guy, no way".
I was surprised though by how much of an influence many Irish had within the Italian families and perhaps still do to a certain extent in places such as Chicago. As well as assorted Union figures who were high up it seems there were more than a few Irish who commanded deep respect.John Francis was an ex-IRA hit man well connected to the Westies. Another stand up guy he was also Russell Bufalino's driver. Along with his friendship with Sheeran it seems Bufalino had
alot of respect for the Irish and these two imparticular. Sheeran also commented on how drugs destroyed the Westies. Even in Irishmen whose loyalties lied with men like Bufalino though it seems the Irish always make an effort to lok out for their own. Haven't finished the book yet so not sure how much more John Francis gets a mention but as I know little about the fella I would be interested if anyone knows or has even heard of him before.John's nickname was the Redhead.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

December 9th, 2008, 4:33 am #2

Francis was close to Bufalino and Sheeran and acted as a driver and enforcer to them. He was into a lot of the Bufalino family business around PA and New York, and was considered a top guy. Big red afro. I think he died of cancer in the early or mid 90's and implicated some people because he didn't want to die in jail, don't take my word on that, but i think i remember. Don't know much else about him and not too much is written other then probably Sheeran's book and also i think he was mentioned in a Ganglandnews.com article.
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Matt
Matt

December 9th, 2008, 2:13 pm #3

Thanks for the info. I've looked into it and from what I gather John Francis implicated himself in the killing of Sally 'Bugs' Brigulio and 'Cray Joe' Gallo whilst dying in jail. In doing so he put Sheeran in a precarious position but Sheeran bore him no malice because of this. Nor did he lose any respect for the man because of this. Anyway, I found an article and apparently a rat said this to Coffey about the Redhead:

"He wasn't merely a driver. He was very big in his own right. He had a commercial real estate license. He was independently wealthy from it. He was very close to Bufalino and to Sheeran".

http://hoffasolved.com/Epilogue.pdf -Here's the link to the rest of the article if you wanna know more. Sheeran also goes into much more detail in the book which I am yet to finish.
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Joined: May 24th, 2008, 12:29 pm

December 9th, 2008, 9:35 pm #4

I read the book, Sheeran go's on to say how he was ask by the mob to do the hit for them because Hoffa had a lot trust in him. He excepted and a house was setup for the hit.. blood was found at this house years later but it was never confirmed that the blood was his... Good read BTW!
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stuart
stuart

February 13th, 2011, 1:31 pm #5

john francis is quite an interesting character. He was involved with The Krays in England in the 60's and reputedly had them over for thousands concerning diamonds from Belgium. Gangster Norm 'Scouse' Johnson mentions him in his book 'Black Eyes and Blue Blood'. Also dealt with Howard Marks in the 70's.
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Matt
Matt

February 24th, 2011, 12:30 pm #6

That's very interesting, but not too surprising. Even the most legendary London gangsters were

generally playing second fiddle to the Irish. They certainly never fucked around with them.

Even in the midst of South London's gangland heartland during the 90's/early00's a

well known family were targeted for moving onto an Irish family's 'patch' which happened to belong

in their own back yard more or less. These two families have been at war for years and the

drafting of an Irish hitman into the equation who attempted to kill the major South London boss

certainly never let the situation simmer down. Paul Moody, who escaped with an IRA prisoner Gerard

Tuite in the early 80's fell victim during this dispute but there's no doubt John Francis was a

fearsome character in his own right. Definitely an interesting character. that's for sure.
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michael o rourke
michael o rourke

October 3rd, 2012, 11:22 pm #7

My account of scouse norman johnson, mentions john francis numerous times, in " black eyes and blue blood,". norman knows more about francis than anybody else on the planet, having worked with him for 35 years on both sides of the atlantic. he also knows unknown facts about russell bufalino from his time in philly and new york. with a new movie about to be filmed next year, " i heard you paint houses, " starring robert de niro, we feel we can fill any gaps missing about the redhead.if this is of any interest to crime mags or sites or even the film studio, please contact us on redblackblue55@yahoo.com many thanks
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