Carmen Joseph Milano was a lawyer who eventually became a member of the American Mafia, serving as underboss of the Los Angeles crime family. The criminal organization he served was headed by his older brother Peter Milano. His nickname was “Flipper”, after the TV dolphin.
Carmen Milano was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1929 to Anthony and Josephine Milano (née DiSanto). His family was of Calabrian origin and he had three brothers, John, Frank, and Peter. His father was Mafioso Anthony Milano, who was underboss of the Cleveland crime family from 1930 until his retirement in 1976. His uncle Frank Milano was boss of the Cleveland family and sat on the original Commission from 1930 until 1935, when he fled the country to avoid charges for tax evasion. Carmen moved with his mother and siblings to Beverly Hills, California when he was a teenager after his mother developed cancer. His father, who had rackets and business interests in both Ohio and California, split time between the two states. When the brothers graduated high school, Peter decided to stay in Los Angeles and work with Jewish gangster Mickey Cohen.
Carmen decided to attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and after graduating was accepted to Loyola Law School. During his attendance he was a member of the Phi Delta Phi fraternity. While in law school he became engaged to Geraldine Giesler, the daughter of prominent criminal defense lawyer Jerry Giesler. On January 5, 1955 Milano was admitted to the State Bar of California. Afterwards Milano moved back to Cleveland to pursue a career as an attorney. Mafia associate and burglar Phil Christopher described parties Milano would host at the Italian American Brotherhood Club in Little Italy, Cleveland in the late 1970s. The club was owned by Carmen’s father and were attended by mobsters, businessman and politicians alike. During the 1970s Milano was paid a retainer for few, if any, legal services to Teamsters Local 410 and 436, which are labor unions that were allegedly controlled by Milano’s father. Milano eventually was disbarred from practicing law in an incident involving fraudulent workers’ compensation claims.