Johnny Guista was a powerful force behind the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) in the years before his death in May 1931. Guistra was from Calabria like Carmelo Liconti, his partner in the undertaking business. Liconti and Guistra attempted to broker a halt to the Castellammarese War following the brutal murder of Giuseppe Joe the Boss Masseria in April 1931. Both gangsters paid with their lives for their efforts to bring about a truce in the gang war. Guistra lived in Brooklyn and was part of a number of rackets there.