The Chicago Syndicate: Gambinos
Showing posts with label Gambinos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gambinos. Show all posts

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Biggest New York Mafia Take Down in 20 Years Hits the Gambino Family

The FBI struck a decapitating blow today to the Gambino crime family, taking out its leaders and the last vestiges of late boss John Gotti, the Daily News has learned.

Up to 60 mobsters are expected to be charged on racketeering, murder and extortion charges, including acting boss John (Jackie Nose) D'Amico who was Dapper Don's longtime sidekick, underboss Dominic Cefalu and consigliere Joseph (JoJo) Corozzo, sources said.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News in 2005, D'Amico denied running the Gambino family. "I'm the boss of my house and my bathroom," he said.

Gotti's brother Vincent and his nephew Richard, will be charged today with the 2003 attempted murder of Howard Beach bagel shop owner Angelo Mugnolo.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell, FBI officials and representatives from the Italian National Police are scheduled to discuss the largest Mafia takedown in more than two decades, at a press conference later this morning.

Another Gotti crony, Charles Carneglia is facing charges for the murders of an armored car driver during a robbery, the 1976 murder of a court officer and the 1990 rubout of gangster Louis DiBono.

Nicholas (Little Nick) Corozzo, a reputed capo believed to be the heir apparent to run the family, will be charged with a 1996 double murder in Brooklyn in which one of the victims was a bystander.

Officials are also expected to discuss the arrests of dozens of Mafioso members in Sicily in coordination with today's raids. The Sicilian wiseguys have ties to the Gambino crime family through reputed New York soldier Franki Cali, sources said.

During the lengthy investigation, the FBI learned that disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy was betting on basketball games with bookies. Donaghy pleaded guilty last summer and is cooperating with authorities.

Thanks to John Marzulli

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Film Rights to Mobster's Memoir "Unlocked: A Journey From Prison to Proust" Optioned by The Sopranos Dr. Melfi

Like so many wiseguys before him, Lou Ferrante finally got pinched. After years of hijackings, beatings and other violent crimes, he was busted for armed robbery and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison. Life behind bars was a shock to the smart-aleck kid from Queens who had joined the Gambino crime family. But even more shocking was how he spent his time.

While other prisoners slept, Ferrante would rise early to daven, reciting prayers of his newfound Jewish faith. He wore a yarmulke in the exercise yard and followed kosher dietary laws. He spent months in an upstate prison writing a Torah commentary but shoved it under his mattress when the Sabbath began on Friday night.

Desperate to pass the days, Ferrante began reading books for the first time in his life. He took up writing and cranked out a 1,200-page novel that he now admits is terrible. As his sentence ended, he told anyone who would listen that he was a changed man and that Judaism was his rock.

"I figured that with Judaism, you don't go through a middleman, you go right to the top guy and talk to him," Ferrante said, sounding like a cross between Joe Pesci and Paulie Walnuts. "That's how I used to handle business on the streets. It made a lot of sense."

Released from prison two years ago, the 38-year-old Ferrante began writing a book about his experiences. That memoir, "Unlocked: A Journey From Prison to Proust," will be published in March by HarperCollins. When he sent a copy of it to "Sopranos" star Lorraine Bracco -- contacting her through friends of a friend -- he hoped simply to get a blurb. But she called him immediately after reading it and made a pitch for the film rights.

"This story has shades of 'Goodfellas' and 'Shawshank Redemption,' " said Bracco, who played Dr. Jennifer Melfi, the shrink to gangster Tony Soprano on the HBO show. "And for whatever reason, these mob stories always seem to find me. This is the first book I've ever optioned for a film, and I'm very excited about it."

Bracco, who also played the wife of gangster Henry Hill in "Goodfellas," can't help but see the irony: Here she is, helping a real-life mobster redeem himself after playing a similar role on television. To fully explore Ferrante's tale, she said she'll be seeking creative advice from David Chase, who created "The Sopranos," and Nick Pileggi, the author of "Wiseguy" and "Casino."

"Imagine all the things he [Ferrante] has been through, the changes he underwent in prison," the actress said. "And then think about the fact that it's not just a great movie story, it's true."

Some may be tempted to dismiss Ferrante's book, because the image of a tough guy reading the Talmud invites obvious jokes. (Alternate titles might include "From Meatballs to Matzo Balls" or "The Mobster Who Became a Mensch"). But to hear Ferrante speak seriously about his life is to hear the story of a man who once brutalized others -- and vows to change. He's just moved into a new home in upstate New York and hopes to make a living as a writer.

Unlike most mob memoirs, "Unlocked" doesn't dwell unduly on criminal exploits, nor does it name many names. Although the author spent time with both John and Peter Gotti, they are rarely mentioned. Instead, he tries to provide some insight into his own behavior, something rarely found in Mafia tell-alls, according to Pileggi, who wrote a blurb for the book. Indeed, Ferrante makes no excuses for his violent behavior and begins his memoir with the story of a truck hijacking in which he and his crew terrorized an innocent driver who begged for his life.

Let the therapy begin: "He wasn't just robbing money, he was robbing the souls of other people," said Bracco, describing Ferrante's past. "When you stand with a gun and tell someone what to do, you're putting fear into their lives. You're destroying something. It's almost like a molester stealing the soul of a child."

It took nearly a decade in prison for Ferrante to realize that his career in organized crime was a physical and spiritual dead end.

He saw other prisoners slowly losing their minds behind bars and said he turned to reading, writing and religion as an escape from daily life. But what he found was the cornerstone of a new identity.

"I thought about my life," he wrote. "Why did I end up here, living with animals? I beat men up. I shoved guns in their mouths. I even bit people. I lived like an animal on the street. I didn't realize it until I was placed in this zoo. I hated myself for being one of them."

The path back to self-respect included religion, and Ferrante explored several. Shedding Catholicism for Judaism took guts, because fellow Italians viewed him as a traitor and wondered if he was snitching on them to the feds. Others saw him lose the protection of a larger group and decided he was ripe for attack.

"In jail, most American Jews are not considered dangerous," he observed. "The dozen or so I did time with were all there for nonviolent crime. I don't think anybody ever checked into protective custody saying, 'I'm scared for my life; the Jews are after me.' "

When he was finally released, Ferrante's friends were impressed with his new interest in writing. A few, including screenwriter David Black ("Law & Order"), introduced him to other authors and agents, but none was interested in his novel. They all urged him to tell his own story. Reluctant at first to revisit the past, he finally relented.

Ferrante sent a few early chapters to literary agent Lisa Queen, whom he had met through a mutual friend. She was impressed with the fluid, poetic quality of his writing and signed him up on the spot. "I sold the book about two weeks later, and it all happened very quickly," Queen said. "The book was obviously true to life. But he is also quite funny. Humor helps him tell his stories."

Like the time, shortly after his release, he ran into a Mafia big shot who was slurping matzo ball soup in a kosher diner. Ferrante realized the guy was high on the list of mobsters with whom he couldn't associate, according to his probation guidelines.

"The guy gives me a big hug, but my first question is whether he thinks he's being watched by the feds," Ferrante recalled. "He said he probably was. So I tell him: 'I'm going to have to report this whole thing to my probation officer.' That much I understood. But why he was there in a kosher restaurant, I couldn't begin to tell you."

Thanks to Josh Getlin

Saturday, January 05, 2008

AMW Fugitive Attending Mobster Funerals?

AMW Fugitive Attending Mobster Funderals?Joseph Quartieri: In the 1990's, AMW profiled elusive fugitive Joseph Quartieri a number of times. He was wanted for trying to kill a police officer in 1979, and then escaping from jail. AMW received a number of tips, but nothing led to Quartieri. Now, investigators believe he may have been sighted -- at mobsters' funerals.

Investigators in New York and New Jersey keep an eye on the mob -- a close eye. And whenever there is a funeral of a well-known mob member, you can bet cops are watching. When John Gotti was buried in 2002, police were quick to identify nearly everyone who was there to lay the infamous Gambino crime boss to rest. But when investigators looked over the surveillance photos, there was one man they couldn't identify. They had a hunch it could be someone they had been hunting for years, but they weren't able to positively identify the guy.

Then, in 2006, police shot a photo of the same man at a different mob-related funeral. This was the funeral for the mother of a known mob member in New York City who police don't want to identify. Again, investigators say they spotted the same guy and again they have a hunch they know who it is. But, without someone positively identifying the guy, police can't make a move.

Police think the guy showing up at the funerals could be Joseph Quartieri. In 1979, Quartieri is accused of breaking into a jewelry store on Long Island and shooting at a police officer who responded to the call. Quartieri was charged with the attempted murder of the cop, and with robbery. Police knew Quartieri to be a low level associate of the Gambino crime family and a man with an extensive criminal record. In fact, the then- 32-year-old man had already been arrested 24 times and served eight years in prison. But, shortly after he was locked up for this robbery, police say he broke out of the Nassau County jail and hasn't been seen since.

AMW first profiled Quartieri in 1993, and has re-run his profile several times since. But nothing has led directly to this guy. It's as if he disappeared.

Police believe one of the following three scenarios to be true. Number one, the guy in the photos is their fugitive, Joseph Quartieri. Number two, mobsters had Quartieri killed because he had become a "liability" because he was a wanted man. Or, scenario number three, Quartieri is on the run and possibly out of the country. Regardless, investigators need the public's help to identify whoever the man in the surveillance photos is.

Camping World

Friday, July 27, 2007

Goodfella, Henry Hill, Says NBA Ref Donaghy Just the Tip of Scandal

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Lucchese Crime Family, Jimmy "The Gent" Burke, Paul Vario
Friends of mine: Henry Hill

Tim Donaghy was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He was an All-American kid who played baseball and basketball in high school and then attended Villanova University. Following college Donaghy eventually would reach the pinnacle of his chosen profession -- a referee in the National Basketball Association.

Henry Hill grew up in the hardscrabble streets of East New York in Brooklyn. He was hardly a student, spending most of his days hanging out with the gangsters who held court across the street from his parents' home. Hill and his colleagues would would go on to commit some of the most notable crimes of the past 30 years.
Tim Donaghy

Once you cross the line like Tim Donaghy, you're just another criminal.

You can't avoid the name Tim Donaghy these days.

If you don't know who Henry Hill is, then stop what you're doing and go and rent "Goodfellas." It's the 1990 Martin Scorsese film based on Hill's life as a soldier in the Lucchese crime family in New York City.

If you've seen the movie, you know about the Lufthansa heist (where Hill's crew stole $5.8 million from a vault at JFK Airport), the cocaine dealing (this was the genesis of Hill's downfall, courtesy of the Nassau County narcotics task force), the violence, the murders … all of it. Sure, that all led to Hill's ending up in the FBI's witness protection program, but there's one story "Goodfellas" didn't tell you and it's this story that brings Hill together with Donaghy more than David Stern would ever like to think about.

Henry Hill was the mastermind behind the the Boston College point shaving scandal in the 1978-79 season. And Hill believes this latest scandal could be a lot bigger than just Donaghy.

"There's still a million ways to do it today," says Hill. "That's why [Donaghy] didn't get caught for so long." Plus, Hill adds, "the government works in strange ways. They'll let you go and go and go until they have a huge case against you, right when you think you won't get caught the feds reel you in and you're hanging from their fishing poles. Now, with this whole NBA thing? Forget it. Now that everyone is talking they have computer records, they have everything. It's going to get a whole lot bigger than this … you wait for the trial. This is going to be the tip of the iceberg. This guy Donaghy is in a lot of freakin' trouble."

Hill always was looking to make his next score. He was a good earner for Jimmy "The Gent" Burke (Jimmy Conway in the movie, played by Robert De Niro) and Paul Vario (Paul Cicero in the movie, played by Paul Sorvino) and when he had an idea about a scam or a robbery, it usually worked out. So when Hill approached them with his latest idea, everyone jumped at the chance to make a few bucks. The idea: Get a couple guys on the Boston College basketball team to shave points off the spread so Hill and his friends could lay bets all over town and clean up.

Why Boston College? For one reason -- Hill had an "in."

Back in 1978 one of Hill's associates was Paul Mazzei, a former inmate with Hill from Pittsburgh who helped set up a lucrative cocaine business after the two got out of prison. With this new powerful connection to one of the major organized crime families, Mazzei always was bragging to his friends back home.

"Paul would talk a big game to his friends about his organized crime connections, and how they could make the [B.C.] thing happen," says Ed McDonald, who at the time was the attorney in charge of the Organized Crime Strike Force in NYC. "One of Mazzei's friends from Pittsburgh was a guy named Tony Perla, who was a librarian at a junior high school. I know, you can't make this stuff up. His brother, Rocco, grew up with a guy named Rick Kuhn who at the time was on the B.C. basketball team."

One summer when Kuhn was back in Pittsburgh, Rocco asked his friend if he was interested, it went up the chain to Mazzei and then to Hill and his crew in New York and the fix was on.

Kuhn wasn't some 18-year-old babe in the woods who just got caught up with the wrong people. He had been a pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization before he blew his arm out, so he arrived on the B.C. campus as a 23-year-old with a few years of pro ball under his belt.

"I'll tell you, because Kuhn was older, he knew what was going on, he was definitely calling the shots," says Hill. "He brought in the captain of the team and the leading scorer because he had to -- he tried to shave points and he messed up a couple games. We are all losing money until those other guys came on board."

Today Henry Hill has turned in his titles of point shaver, witness and gangster for more benevolent ones. Hill sells his art on eBay, he's opening a restaurant in New Haven, Ct., called Henry Hill's Goodfellas and his tomato sauce, Henry Hill's Sunday Gravy, will be for sale at stores and on the Internet in August. "I'm surviving. I'm doing better than surviving, I'm existing," says Hill. "I have a bunch of irons in the fire and I shouldn't even be here."

Out of the nine games they attempted to fix, Hill and his associates won bets on only six. "That's right," adds McDonald. "I used to call them 'The Gang That Could Shoot Straight.' If it were left to Kuhn, they wouldn't have made a dime."

Kuhn, the team's starting center, soon recruited two other starters. Payment to the players was set at $2,500 to $3,500 per player, per game. At times, cocaine was used as payment for Kuhn, and he wasn't even good at that. "We found out that one time, when B.C. was on their way to a tournament in Hawaii, Kuhn lost a whole thing of coke in the airplane bathroom," says McDonald. All three players were on board and everyone was "winning." Hill adds, "It was great, there was a lot of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll … and missed shots."

Goodfella, Henry Hill, doesn't think NBA Ref Tim Donaghy is the only one out there, just the only one to get caught.The questions swirling around Donaghy now include whether he made certain calls that affected games or point spreads and whether anyone should have noticed. "It's harder than you think if you're not looking for it," says Hill. "At B.C. we had three guys cooperating with us and even the coach didn't notice. Well, there was a little suspicion, but we made it through the season OK. We didn't think anything of it. I know I didn't."

As far as money, even though it's 2007, the Gambino crime family isn't making Donaghy fill out a W-2 -- organized crime is still a cash business.

"Here's how he probably did it," says Hill. "You get a nephew or a cousin or someone you trust. You meet them in a restaurant somewhere and you have them hand you the envelope. And it's cash. Always cash. Nothing on the Internet or with a bank. That stuff is too traceable. If it's more than that we get word to you to leave your keys on your tire, when you come back there's a bag of money in your trunk. Like I said, there's a million ways to do it."

But how did Henry Hill get caught? He didn't. He gave himself up.

After the Lufthansa heist in 1978, Jimmy Burke started eliminating everyone involved to avoid any possibility that someone would turn an informant -- and send him to jail for the rest of his life.

"Everyone in town knew who did it, they just couldn't prove it," says Hill. "First the feds would come to my house with B.S. warrants, then they started coming with pictures of the bodies. Everyone got whacked here. Eleven guys including two guys' wives got it. I started to see the writing on the wall, but wasn't sure until I heard the tape."

It was the tape that would end Hill's career in the mafia and begin a series of trials as a government witness. A record Hill is proud of: "Hey, we went 11 for 11. All convictions."

On that tape Hill heard Jimmy Burke talking to Paul Vario. "I hear Jimmy talking about me," says Hill. "Jimmy says 'we gotta whack him.' I couldn't believe it. That floored me. I thought I was immune to all that because of how tight I was with those two guys. In the end it didn't matter."

Almost immediately, Hill entered the witness protection program.

Hill explains that one part of the program includes signing a contract that basically states "you get caught in one lie, the whole deal was off. But I could confess to anything. I didn't commit any murders, but I was present many times when murder was committed. So when you sign that, you have to change your whole way of thinking. My life was on the line, my family's life was on the line.… They had everything I had done, even my terrible record as a kid. So, you have one choice: Be absolutely truthful."

During his debriefing, the FBI would ask Hill all sorts of questions based on the information they had -- phone records, surveillance, airplane receipts.

"They start coming at me with all these records. 'Henry, why were you talking to Jimmy right here? Why did you keep flying to Boston?' Compared to the other stuff I was doing, I didn't even think it was a crime. What was I doing in Boston? I was shaving points!"

Listening to this was McDonald, Hill's sponsor in the witness protection program.

"Man, when I told him about B.C., Ed McDonald went postal, he went ballistic," says Hill. "He couldn't believe what I was telling him."

McDonald admits they had no clue about the point shaving. "No, we wouldn't have even known about it," says McDonald. "That was totally out of the blue." Adding to McDonald's reaction was that he was a graduate of Boston College and even played on the freshman basketball team. Hill's testimony regarding the B.C. point shaving scandal resulted in multiple convictions, including Kuhn, Mazzei and Perla.

That closed the book on one of the biggest scandals sports has ever known. But what about Tim Donaghy and his partners?

Hearing reports that it wasn't until after a few days that Donaghy's name was made public that he requested police protection, Hills says, "That's a joke he doesn't have protection. He's probably under wraps with the feds. I bet he's going into the witness protection program."

Hill thinks Donaghy will "probably get 10 years and they'll make him go to Gamblers Anonymous. Then they'll suspend the sentence probably. Hey, the guy has a disease, he's a degenerate gambler and he's a fool for what he did. Still, he'll try to cut the right deal and get immunity if he can for everything." But there's still the question of how Donaghy and his partners got caught.

Hill thinks it's because everyone got greedy. It would make sense not to go overboard and fix too many games … and of course never talk. You don't know who's listening.

"Sense isn't part of it, once [organized crime] got their hands on him, they were never going to let him go," says Hill. "They owned him and they were calling the shots, no question. They're too greedy because they're betting money everywhere now: the Internet, Vegas, every bookie they can find, and everyone wanted a piece. It can get out of hand real fast."

According to Hill, everyone from himself to Donaghy is subject to the failings of the human condition -- that's why you'll never see him bet on sports again.

"Maybe I'll make a pinky bet for 10 bucks with a guy if we're watching a game, but that's it," says Hill. "All these people are humans -- they're greedy, they use steroids, maybe they have a coke habit. Who knows? Look at the bike guys in the Tour. It's everywhere. There's too much money involved. And the guys that are helping them? Players, officials, whatever -- they know they're only in the game for a few years and that's if they stay healthy. They all want to put something in the cookie jar. They buy all sorts of stuff with cash only. Cars and art, all that B.S. Hey, art goes up in value. I know. That's my main source of income, my art. You can find it on eBay, by the way."

Hill doesn't think Donaghy is the only one out there, just the only one to get caught. "I'm pretty sure there are guys all over on the take," says Hill. "They're going to get these guys good, because like always, they're after the Gambinos. And I'll tell you, I wouldn't be surprised to see some players involved."

Of course, like Hill said, this is nothing new. "Back in the '70s I had a joint on Queens Boulevard right between Aquaduct and Belmont. Every jockey in town came in and bet there." Other athletes had places as well. "There were athletes and bookies everywhere back then."

Hill would run into a few of them -- they were hard to miss. "Joe Namath used to fool around with my girlfriend's roommate back then," says Hill. "I used to see Joe over at the apartment every couple days. Before he left for Super Bowl III though, he told me to 'bet the f------ farm' on the Jets. I went down there and took the money line. Man, did I clean up."

Hill didn't just run into athletes in his line of work. "I used to have a guy that reffed games in the Garden in the '70s," says Hill. "I don't want to use his name, but he was a degenerate gambler. He'd come to Belmont or Saratoga and tell one of us 'I want $4,000 on the seven horse' or whatever. And we'd send someone in front of him to make his bet. That guy would leave the tickets on the table and the ref comes up and bets a couple bucks on something else, then, when he walks away, he palms the ticket for the $4K bet. I mean, what the hell is a ref doing betting $4,000 on a race?"

As Hill learned, it all comes to an end. Money, friends, easy living … it all disappears.

"My father was strict as they come," says Hill. "He realized who I was involved with when I was a kid and he would say 'stay away from those bums across the street.' Well, I didn't listen. As my mom used to say, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I got blinded by that life. I thought it was the good life. Good living, Cadillacs and diamond rings. In reality, it's just jails, institutions or death."

Welcome to the rest of your life, Mr. Donaghy.

Thanks to Mike Philbrick

Monday, July 23, 2007

Gambino Wire Tap Led to Crooked NBA Ref, Threats Now from Mobsters?

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family

The allegedly dirty NBA referee who's set to sing in a mob point-shaving scandal sought police protection yesterday -- after receiving threats that he could be whacked, cops said.

Gambino Wire Tap Led to Crooked NBA Ref, Threats Now from Mobsters?Three Manatee County Sheriff's squad cars screeched up to the Bradenton, Fla., home of terrified former NBA official Tim Donaghy to investigate menacing telephone calls against him. "Our concern is for his safety and his family's safety," said Sheriff's Lt. Robert Mealy. "We are definitely going to share any information we get with the FBI."

The rogue ref's family is even urging him to enter the federal witness-protection program, one friend said. "They think he will be killed if he goes to prison, or even if he doesn't, just because he's probably talking, cooperating, and that's ratting on the mob," the pal said. "I don't think [the Mafia] would take that very well.

"[Relatives] are very concerned for his safety," the friend added. "I think they knew something serious was going on, but not like this, not this big, whole life-or-death issue with the Mafia. I mean, it's the Gambinos."

Mealy declined to reveal more details of the threats against Donaghy, who is being investigated by federal authorities for allegedly working with mobsters tied to the Gambino crime family to fix the scores of NBA games to pay off his gambling debts.

The disgraced ref is said to be set to spill all - threatening to bring down anyone and everyone with him, sources said. He'll be naming names of other refs, coaches, players and game "validators," who sit unobtrusively in the stands to review calls on the court, the source said.

"There are other allegations of gambling that the FBI will run down," based on Donaghy's talk so far, one source said. "Everybody's pointing a finger at everyone else."

Donaghy's name came to the attention of feds during wiretap probes of Gambino mobsters. Yesterday, "he received some threatening phone calls, and he wanted them documented," Mealy said. "I know Mr. Donaghy was concerned."

Donaghy, 40, resigned from the NBA shortly after this past season amid then-undisclosed allegations that he bet on games he officiated. Feds have not yet revealed which games they are probing.

Several friends in Cape May, N.J., where his parents summer, said Donaghy's co-workers grew suspicious of his behavior about three years ago, when he would offer to trade free tickets to certain games with some refs in exchange for others - and then suddenly renege.

"He just started screwing them," one friend said. "Tickets started going missing, misplaced . . . It was no longer, 'Hey, Tim's kind of an a- - hole.' It became, 'Tim is f- - - ing with the NBA.' And that's when they stopped trusting him completely."

Retired dentist John Minutella of West Chester, Pa., where Donaghy grew up and worked at a golf course, recounted a horrific prank Donaghy pulled on him 10 years ago, when the embattled ref put a dead bird in his golf bag. Minutella found the maggot-infested carcass 24 hours later. "Nobody wanted to play golf with him," said Minutella, 64. " I can't say one nice thing about him. I believe this guy was almost soulless."

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Thanks to James Fanelli

Friday, May 04, 2007

Little Italy's Bonnie and Clyde were Gambino's Trophy

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family Bonanno Crime Family, Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia, Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, John "Junior" Gotti, Joseph Massino

Thomas and Rosemarie Uva were not exactly criminal geniuses.

The couple liked to rob Mafia-run social clubs in Little Italy and elsewhere around the city, which, as just about everyone knows, is a really good way to get killed.

They even had the audacity to force mobsters to drop their pants as they swiped their cash and jewelry and cleaned out their card games.

The holdups proved predictably hazardous: The Uvas got whacked on Christmas Eve 1992.

Fifteen years later, the story of the bandits who made the stupid mistake of stealing from the mob is playing out at the trial of the man accused of murdering them, a reputed Gambino crime family captain named Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia.

"There's virtually no greater insult than robbing the Gambino family where they socialized and hung out," federal prosecutor Joey Lipton said last month in opening statements in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors claim that John A. "Junior" Gotti, while acting boss of the Gambino family once led by his father, sanctioned the killings -- a charge he has denied.

Pizzonia's attorney, Joseph R. Corozzo Jr., told the jurors they would hear testimony that members of the Bonanno crime family were the real culprits.
Mafia 'turncoats'

Corozzo noted that the government was relying on an unsavory cast of Mafia turncoats to make their case, including former Gambino capo Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, who got his nickname as a child after a dog bit him in the face.

The case reflects a new willingness among several old-school gangsters -- some admitted killers like DiLeonardo -- to break the mob's vow of omerta, or silence, and help prosecute graying reputed gangsters like Pizzonia, 65, for crimes dating back decades.

In 2005, Bonanno boss Joseph "Big Joey" Massino stunned the underworld by becoming the first boss of one of New York's five Mafia families to flip.

Exactly why the Uvas gambled with their lives by robbing mobsters remains a mystery. But their former boss at a New York collection agency, Michael Schussel, offered some possible clues for resorting to making collections of a criminal kind.

Schussel testified that Thomas was a Mafia aficionado who asked for days off to attend the trial of the elder John Gotti, the Gambino don who died behind bars in 2002. The couple lived in Gotti's neighborhood in Ozone Park, Queens. "He was obsessed with the mob," the witness said.

Authorities say the Uvas began their robbery spree in 1991, apparently believing that social clubs -- home to high-stakes card games -- would provide an easy mark.

Rosemarie, 31, took the wheel of the getaway car and Thomas, 28, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, stripped patrons of their money and jewelry and made the men drop their pants. The couple became known on the street as Bonnie and Clyde.

The moonlighting was stressful: The day after one of the holdups made headlines, Rosemarie showed up for work looking pale and fainted to the floor, her ex-employer said.

By the time the Uvas had hit his Cafe Liberty in Queens a second time, Pizzonia had tired of their act, DiLeonardo testified.

Pizzonia "was very angry, as everybody else was, that these guys had the nerve to go around robbing clubs, like committing suicide," DiLeonardo said. A plan was hatched to track down the couple by getting their license plate number, he said.

On the morning of December 24, they were sitting in their Mercury Topaz at an intersection in Queens when they were each shot three times in the back of the head. The car rolled through the intersection and collided with another vehicle before it stopped; police officers found a stash of jewelry with the bloody corpses.

The killers vanished as mob bosses argued behind the scenes over who should get credit, DiLeonardo said. During a sitdown with his Bonanno counterpart Massino, the younger Gotti set the record straight.

The Bonnie-and-Clyde hit, Gotti said, was "our trophy."

Thanks to CNN

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

John Gotti: How the FBI Made the Charges Stick

Friends of ours: John "Teflon Don" Gotti, Gambino Crime Family, Paul Castellano, Aniello Dellacroce, Thomas Bilotti, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano

He was slippery, yes, but even the “Teflon Don” couldn’t escape justice forever.

John Gotti Mug ShotDespite the future nickname, John Gotti—a violent, ruthless mobster who’d grown up on the streets of New York—had been in and out of prison several times in his early career. In 1968, for example, we arrested him for his role in a plot to steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. Gotti was sent to prison, but was released in 1972.

And quickly made more trouble. Within two years, we’d arrested him again for murder. Same story: he went to prison and was out in a few years. Soon after, he became a “made man” for the Gambino family, one of the five most powerful syndicates in the Big Apple. Gambling, loansharking, and narcotics trafficking were his stocks in trade.

The heat was on. By the early 80s, using Title III wiretaps, mob informants, and undercover agents, we were beginning to get clear insights into the Gambino family’s hierarchy and activities (and into the other families as well) and were building strong cases against them as criminal enterprises. A break against Gotti came in late 1985, when mob violence spilled out on to the streets of Manhattan.

The scene of the crime? Sparks’ Steak House, a popular hangout for major criminals. On the evening of December 16, 1985, 70-year-old-mafioso Paul Castellano—the apparent successor of recently deceased Gambino boss Aniello Dellacroce—was gunned down along with his number two in command, Thomas Bilotti, in front of the restaurant. Gotti, who’d been watching from a car at a safe distance, had one of his men drive him by the scene to make sure his deadly orders had been carried out. [Thanks to several readers who pointed out that Dellacroce was actually not the boss. It was best put by pointing out that Dellacroce was the underboss, & had been under Carlo Gambino. Castellano had been the boss since 1976 (when Gambino died). In 1976, there was fear Dellacroce, as underboss, would resist Gambino's choice of Castellano as boss, since Dellacroce was above Castellano in the family. However, after being given almost complete autonomy over several crews, Dellacroce acquiesced to Castellano's appointment as boss. Murder Machine (Capeci & Mustain) has more details of all this.]

Top hood. Having eliminated the competition, Gotti took over as head of the Gambino family. With his expensive suits, lavish parties, and illegal dealings, he quickly became something of a media celebrity, and the press dubbed him “The Dapper Don.” Following a string of highly-publicized acquittals—helped in large part by witness intimidation and jury tampering—Gotti also earned the “Teflon Don” nickname.

Our New York agents and their colleagues in the New York Police Department, though, refused to give up. With extensive court-authorized electronic surveillance, diligent detective work, and the eventual cooperation of Gotti’s henchman—“Sammy the Bull” Gravano—the Bureau and the NYPD built a strong case against him.

The end was near. In December 1990, our agents and NYPD detectives arrested Gotti, and he was charged with multiple counts of racketeering, extortion, jury tampering, and other crimes. This time, the judge ordered that the jurors remain anonymous, identified only by number, so no one could pressure them. And the case was airtight.

The combination worked. On April 2, 1992, 15 years ago Monday, Gotti was convicted on 13 counts, including for ordering the murders of Castellano and Bilotti. The head of our New York office famously remarked, “The don is covered with Velcro, and every charge stuck.”

Indeed. Gotti had evaded the law for the last time. He died in prison in June 2002.

Thanks to the FBI

Monday, April 02, 2007

Strip Club Used to Train Mobsters

Bunny Shop Free Shipping
Two of New York's most high profiled mobsters Salvatore Scala and Thomas Sassano are accused of using a strip club to train new recruits into the mafia. According to U.S.Attorney Elie Honig "Scala and Sassano used that club as a junior varsity to groom future mobsters".

Scala and Sassano both face extortion charges in Manhattan federal court. If convicted on all counts, Scala will sit behind bars for 60 years, while Sassano does 40 years.

Frank Marcello who owned the club at one time got in touch with the Gambino's to help him protect himself and his club from other organized crime members. Sums of money in the amounts of thousands of dollars were paid on a bi-weekly basis. The bathroom being the place where business has been conducted. Marcello died of unknown causes in 2002.Defense attorneys for Scala and Sassano are arguing that the clubs financial status had nothing to do with the mafia instead large amounts of gambling debt that had been run up into the thousands.

Scala has been arrested prior to the extortion case, in 1983 he was arrested for heroin trafficking, the same time that Gene Gotti of the Gotti family was sentenced to 50 years in prison. As with most mafia trials, Scala's case was weak and all charges against him were thrown out and dropped.

Thanks to Jeanne-Marie Kerns

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hughes Brothers to Direct The Ice Man

Friends of ours: Richard "Ice Man" Kuklinski, Gambino Crime Family

Allen and Albert Hughes last brought the graphic novel From Hell to the screen. Now they’ve turned to the nonfiction shelves. Daily Variety reports the filmmakers are set to direct The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, based on the Phillip Carlo book about Richard ‘Ice Man’ Kuklinski. Kuklinski was a contract killer for the Gambino family, who kept his job a secret from his wife and three children in New Jersey. The extent of his murderous career came to light only after he was convicted and given two life sentences, and gave extensive interviews to Carlo.

Kuklinski was described as “one of the darkest, most brutal and complicated killers in contemporary organized crime," according to producer Jason Blum who is working with Lorenzo DiBonaventura on the project. "He was a serial killer who found the perfect calling, carrying out hits for the Mafia." Kuklinski bragged about carrying out over 200 killings in his career. The Hughes brothers will move to The Ice Man after their next project, a big-screen version of the 1970’s television classic Kung Fu.

Thanks to Dennis Michael

Friday, February 02, 2007

Toni Marie Ricci Can't Resist Gambinos

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Frank "Frankie Fap" Fappiano, Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, Frank DeCicco, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Junior Gotti
Friends of mine: Toni Marie Ricci, Kurt Ricci

Toni Marie Ricci was blessed with good looks, but she can't catch a break with men.

Toni Marie RicciHer husband was arrested this week, along with her cousin, in a federal roundup of alleged Gambino crime family members and associates. And the rest of the guys in this doll's life aren't exactly prizes.

Her ex-husband is a former Gambino gangster who turned out be more canary than lovebird, her brother is a Mafia rat, and one of her cousins died in a rubout.

"The men in her life have brought her some unhappiness," said Jean Marie Graziano, the lawyer for her current husband, Kurt Ricci. "But they have also brought her good things," Graziano said, referring to Toni Marie's 19-year-son from her first marriage. "Even with all that's gone on with her life, she's stronger and better for it."

Toni Marie's ex is former Gambino crime family capo Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo, an infamous turncoat.

Her brother Frank (Frankie Fap) Fappiano was a Gambino soldier before he started singing for the feds. And one of her cousins was Frank DeCicco, underboss to the late John Gotti. DeCicco was blown up in his car in 1986.

Toni Marie has only been married to her current husband for 11 months, but she's already had to bail him out.

Kurt Ricci, a reputed associate of the Gambino crime family, was charged with bank fraud. The indictment also charges Ricci's second cousin, reputed capo George DeCicco, 77, with racketeering.

The brunette looker lit up arraignment court as she signed a $300,000 bond secured by the couple's house in Staten Island to spring her hubby. Graziano denied that Kurt Ricci is mobbed up, and she staunchly defended the reputation of his 41-year-old bride.

For her part, Toni Marie has been candid about some of the tumult in her personal life.

In an interview last year with New York magazine, she recalled what happened when she learned Mikey Scars was having a love child with his mistress. "He handed me the phone, and I said to her, 'Where do you come off having this child? I'm married to this guy for 17 years.'

"She didn't answer. I said, 'What's the matter? You're not woman enough to answer?' He took the phone and hung it up. So I took the phone and hit him over the head with it."

But when Toni Marie testified last year at former Gambino boss John A. (Junior) Gotti's retrial, she played a little more coy. Peppered with questions about all her family ties to organized crime, she demurred. "I'm just a housewife and a mother," she said.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Failed Bribery Scheme Leads to Mafia Indictments

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Lucchese Crime Family, GEORGE DECICCO, JOSEPH ORLANDO, STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, ROBERT DECICCO, RICHARD JULIANO, RICHARD J. JULIANO, JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO, KURT RICCI, MICHAEL FICHERA, VITO RAPPA, FRANCESCO NANIA, JAMES AVALONE and JERRY DEGEROLAMO

The Justice Department has made the following announcement: Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, announced that an indictment and complaint were unsealed this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York charging eleven members and associates of the Gambino and Luchese organized crime family and two associates of the Sicilian mafia with multiple charges, including racketeering, loansharking, extortion, bribery of a federal official, money laundering, attempted bank fraud, check forgery, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, and smuggling conspiracy.

The two cases represent the culmination of an eleven-month investigation that generated hundreds of hours of recorded conversations with Gambino family captain GEORGE DECICCO, soldiers and associates of DECICCO’s Gambino family crew, and other organized crime members and associates as they planned and engaged in criminal activity, including a plot to bribe a federal immigration officer to release a member of the Sicilian mafia from federal detention.

The charges contained in the indictment and complaint are merely allegations, and thedefendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The defendants arrested this morning are: GEORGE DECICCO, JOSEPH ORLANDO, STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, ROBERT DECICCO, RICHARD JULIANO, RICHARD J. JULIANO, JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO, KURT RICCI, MICHAEL FICHERA, VITO RAPPA, FRANCESCO NANIA, JAMES AVALONE and JERRY DEGEROLAMO. The defendants are scheduled to appear this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The indicted case has been assigned to United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie.

As alleged in the indictment and a detention letter filed by the government, in 2006, Gambino family soldier Joseph ORLANDO believed that a Gambino family associate had connections to corrupt immigration and other government officials. ORLANDO approached the individual and sought his assistance in obtaining legal residence status for his girlfriend through those corrupt contacts. Although the individual did not in fact have any such contacts, he accepted $9,000 from ORLANDO as potential bribe money. When the individual was unable to procure the resident status sought by ORLANDO for his girlfriend, ORLANDO threatened to kill him. Fearing for his life, the individual contacted the FBI and agreed to cooperate in an undercover investigation. Subsequently, the FBI arranged for ORLANDO to meet an undercover agent, posing as a corrupt immigration official. These and later meetings would be recorded by the FBI.

ORLANDO told other members and associates of the Gambino family of the cooperating witness’s purported contact with corrupt government officials; this in turn led other defendants to contact the cooperating witness in attempts to further other criminal schemes.

For example, the indictment alleges that ORLANDO, Gambino family associates JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO and STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, and Sicilian mafia associates FRANCESCO NANIA and his brother-in-law VITO RAPPA offered bribes to the cooperating witness’s purported corrupt contact at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") to arrange for the release of NANIA from federal detention, where he was being detained in connection with his immigration status. NANIA has since been charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of NewJersey with making false statements in immigration applications.

NANIA and RAPPA paid approximately $70,000 to ORLANDO and the cooperating witness in order to secure NANIA’s release. According to the government’s detention letter, NANIA was previously convicted in Italy for mafia-related aggravated attempted extortion, and Italian law enforcement authorities are seeking his extradition to Italy.

In another scheme alleged in the indictment, ORLANDO, FAMIGLIETTA, and Luchese family associate JERRY DEGEROLAMO are charged with illegally conspiring to smuggle gold bars worth millions of dollars from the Philippines into the United States.

The defendants planned to use the cooperating witness to bribe his purported corrupt ICE contact to ensure the success of the scheme.

The criminal complaint filed today also charges that ORLANDO and Gambino family associate JAMES AVALONE plotted to bribe the purported corrupt ICE contact to protect from investigation by immigration officials a New Jersey spa owned by AVALONE, and paid ORLANDO more than $100,000 in an effort to gain access to the supposed ICE contact in order to obtain legal immigration status for the women who worked in the space.

As set forth in the documents filed in connection with today’s arrests, during the course of the investigation, several defendants discussed their willingness to commit violent acts in furtherance of their criminal activity. In one recorded conversation concerning the cooperating witness’s outstanding loansharking debt to Gambino family captain GEORGE DECICCO, DECICCO stated, "I’ll burn your eyes, did you ever screw me? Do you want me to burn your eyes out?" In another conversation, Gambino family soldier ORLANDO admits committing eight murders: "I got eight under my belt already, so I don’t give a f--- who nine’s gonna be. . . . " In a conversation recorded during a trip to Las Vegas to collect a $250,000 debt, ORLANDO stated that he was "going to shoot him [the debtor] in his f------ knee for starters."

"We are committed to eradicating the violence and corrupting influence of organized crime in our communities," stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. "The investigation and prosecution of organized crime continues to be a priority of this office." Ms. Mauskopf thanked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for their outstanding cooperation and assistance in the investigation.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, "George DeCicco has operated continuously for so long that his arrest today is like the end of Cal Ripken’s consecutive-game streak. The difference is that Ripken’s streak ended when he voluntarily took himself out of the lineup. Today’s arrests also show that New York-based mobsters and the Sicilian mafia are willing to work together, which is why the FBI and Italian law enforcement authorities have solidified an already-strong partnership. We will continue to maintain vigilance against the threat posed by organized crime."

If convicted of racketeering or racketeering conspiracy, defendants GEORGE DECICCO, JOSEPH ORLANDO, JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO, STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, ROBERT DECICCO, RICHARD JULIANO, and RICHARD J. JULIANO face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment. If convicted of attempted bank fraud, defendants KURT RICCI and MICHAEL FICHERA face a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment. If convicted of bribery, VITO RAPPA and FRANCESCO NANIA face a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment, and if convicted of conspiracy, defendants JAMES AVALONE and JERRY DEGEROLAMO face a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Joe Pistone Confesses to Crimes as Mob Mole

Legendary FBI agent Joe Pistone is confessing for the first time that he broke the law during the years he spent undercover as mob wanna-be Donnie Brasco.

Warehouse burglaries. Beatings. Truck hijackings. And even a conspiracy to murder a Bonanno crime family capo.

In his new memoir, Pistone details the crimes he committed to prove his loyalty to the gang he eventually took down. "Sometimes you have to do stuff you don't normally do, you wouldn't do," Pistone told the Daily News, which got an exclusive peek at "Donnie Brasco: Unfinished Business."

For instance, there was the phone call that came in 1981 when Pistone and his mob buddies were playing cards in Brooklyn's Motion Lounge.

It was a tip that Bonanno big Anthony (Bruno) Indelicato, who took part in the infamous 1979 rubout of Gambino boss Carmine Galante, was camped out on Staten Island.

On the orders of his own capo, Dominick (Sonny Black) Napolitano, Pistone headed out to find Indelicato - with a .25-caliber automatic.

It turned out the caller had bum information, but the former lawman admits he would have pulled the trigger on Indelicato before jeopardizing his life or the operation. "If Bruno's there, he's gone," Pistone writes.

"If I have to put a bullet in his head, I will, and I'll deal with the federal government and the Staten Island DA later. ... There's no doubt they both would charge me for murder. The Bureau would brand me a rogue agent and hang me out."

During his six years infiltrating Sonny Black's vicious crew, Pistone dug up enough evidence to put away nearly 200 mobsters, all while making life-or-death decisions on how far to take his role-playing.

Now 65, the New Jersey native lives with his wife in an unidentified location, but will come out of hiding for a book tour in the coming weeks.

Over the years, Pistone - portrayed by Johnny Depp in the 1997 movie "Donnie Brasco" - has been cagey when discussing how he gained the trust of an insular gang of suspicious men because revealing more could have damaged prosecutions. But his most revealing book to date details the incredible lengths he went to.

Take the beating he delivered on two druggies dumb enough to stick up Pistone and his mob pal Benjamin (Lefty Guns) Ruggiero in the stairwell of a Little Italy walkup. "You just saw two dead punks run down the stairs," Ruggiero told him.

At Ruggiero's urging, Pistone caught up with them a few days later near Little Italy and meted out the punishment. "He hit the pavement as if I'd had a roll of dimes in my right fist," Pistone writes.

"I looked down at the kid on the ground and realized he was out cold and so I sprung suddenly and hauled off an overhand right on the other one and he went down ... "From the kidney blows they bled piss for weeks. And until the breaks healed they had no use of their fingers for such things as shooting a gun."

It was savage, but Pistone says the beating saved their lives. "Otherwise they would have got killed," Pistone said. "Either I go take care of it or they [the mob] will. You don't stick up a wiseguy and live to tell about it." He's quick to point out that the assaults he carried out always involved thieves or other wiseguys. "No citizens got hurt," he said.

Pistone also admits getting cuts of between $2,500 and $5,000 from warehouse burglaries he took part in but says he turned over the money to the FBI.

He doesn't offer details on the hijackings he carried out. But he admits that "my participation in Mafia hijacking has always been an open sore for me, something that I have hesitated to talk about."

Even after 30 years, Pistone is still angry that the FBI didn't let him stay undercover longer so that he could become a made man. "Imagine if I had been made," Pistone writes. "It would have been the biggest humiliation the Mafia had ever suffered. And it was the one chance the FBI would ever have to pull it off.

"Imagine the embarrassment for the Mafia from coast to coast and all the way to Sicily when the news got out that the exalted Bonanno crime family had made an agent."

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gambino Extradited from Brazil to U.S.

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, John Edward Alite

A suspected top leader of the Gambino crime family who lived in Brazil for nearly three years was extradited Friday to the United States to face charges, including kidnapping and murder.

Gambino, John Edward Alite, Extradited from Brazil to U.S.Brazilian police handed John Edward Alite, 44, over to five U.S. FBI agents who escorted him back to the United States, federal police spokesman Carlos Mello said by telephone.

U.S. authorities accuse Alite, also known as John Alletto, of controlling illegal businesses, illegal gambling, extortion, drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping and murder as a top lieutenant in the New York-based Gambino family.

Mello said Alite flew in January 2004 to Rio de Janeiro, where he settled in the famous Copacabana beach neighborhood and taught boxing at a local school. He was arrested 10 months later at an Internet cafe "where he would go to contact his family and accomplices in the United States," Mello said. Police said the FBI tracked Alite through the e-mails he sent from the cafe.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas Bin Laden!

Only in New York would a Mafia associate nicknamed The Irishman allegedly provide a bomb used to destroy a Pakistani immigrant's deli that was competing with a bagel store protected by the mob.

The feds yesterday charged reputed Gambino crime associate Edward Fisher with orchestrating the December 2001 arson attack on My Deli and Grocery in Staten Island.

Police had originally suspected the attack might be connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks because the firebomber had yelled, "Merry Christmas, Bin Laden."

The feds now say the attack was an old-fashioned mob attempt to eliminate competition. "Cowards threw a firebomb into an occupied grocery store and then ran away," said William McMahon of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Deli owner Hamim Syed was warned by an acquaintance that his plan to open a second convenience store would not sit well with "two strong Italian partners" with ties to a nearby bagel store.

In what may have been a staged extortion scheme, Syed was paid a visit by "Sonny" and "Vinny" - later identified as Luchese crime members - who warned him "things could get ugly," according to court papers.

The plot thickened when Syed sought help from a Pakistani businessman with ties to the Genovese crime family who arranged a sitdown with two other gangsters at the Hooters restaurant in Staten Island in the summer of 2001. Syed thought the matter was resolved and went ahead with his expansion plans.

According to court papers and sources, the owner of the bagel store - also a Pakistani immigrant and allegedly paying protection to the Gambino crime family - sought to get rid of Syed's rival store.

Fisher, a retired city Sanitation worker known as The Irishman, was allegedly tasked to give a bomb to another Gambino associate, Salvatore Palmieri. On Dec. 22, 2001, at 4:50 a.m., truck driver Anthony Maniscalco held My Deli's door open while Palmieri tossed in a bowling bag containing the device.

The deli was destroyed, but Syed, a founding member of the borough's Pak-American Civic Association, later reopened. The bombers pleaded guilty and are serving jail sentences.

Fisher, 54, facing at least 35 years in prison, was ordered held without bail. His lawyer denied the charges.

Thanks to Ernie Naspretto and John Marzulli

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Four Gambinos Convicted in Tampa

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Ronald "Ronnie One-Arm" Trucchio, Steven Catalano, Kevin McMahon, Terry Scaglione

A federal jury in Tampa has found four men guilty of various crimes related to the Gambino Mafia family.

Ronald J. Trucchio (Ronnie One-Arm), Steven Catalano, Kevin M. McMahon, and Terry L. Scaglione were found guilty of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ("RICO") statute.

The jury also found Scaglione guilty of one count of extortion. Trucchio and Catalano each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. McMahon and Scaglione each face a maximum sentence of twenty years' imprisonment.

Trucchio, Catalano, and McMahon are now in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Scaglione remains free on bond pending his sentencing hearing.

Sentencing hearings for all four defendants have been set for March 2, 2007.

The US Attorney's Office says during the last 20 years, Catalano, McMahon, Scaglione, Trucchio were under the control of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra in Tampa. The Gambino Crime Family is one "family" in a nationwide criminal organization commonly referred to as "La Cosa Nostra," or the "Mafia."

Federal officials say Trucchio was a captain in Family and he supervised the wide-ranging criminal activities of the crew. The crew's principal purpose was to generate money for its members and associates through the commission of various criminal acts.

The jury felt Trucchio supervised the crew that engaged in multiple acts and threats involving murder, robbery, extortion, dealing in controlled substances, interference with commerce by threats and violence, interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprises, making extortionate extensions of credit, collection of extensions of credit by extortionate means, and interstate transportation of stolen property.

The Pinellas Resident Agency of the Tampa Field Office of the FBI, the Miami and Brooklyn-Queens Metropolitan FBI offices, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the Tampa Police Department, the New York City Police Department, the Queens County District Attorney's Office, the FBI Legal Attache to Brazil, the Brazilian federal police, and Interpol coordinated this investigation.

Thanks to WTSP

Friday, November 17, 2006

Al Qaeda and The Mob

Friends of ours: "Big Paul" Castellano, Gambino Crime Family, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Colombo Crime Family, Greg Scarpa Jr., Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, Joseph LaForte

After whacking "Big Paul" Castellano and taking control of the Gambino Family in 1985 John Gotti set up headquarters at The Ravenite Social Club - located on the ground floor of a five story brick building at 227 Mulberry St. in Little Italy. Over the next seven years, the FBI's New York Office (NYO) conducted an around the clock surveillance of the site: taking pictures of The Dapper Don in the street outside the club from a plant or "perch" across the street, bugging his phones and planting dozens of surveillance devices in the building owned by Gambino wiseguy Joseph "Joe The Cat" LaForte.

By 1997 "getting Gotti" became the "top investigative priority" of the NYO and the personal obsession of Special Agent Bruce Mouw who called the Gambino boss as "a stone cold killer." The investigation cost the Feds millions, but during three separate prosecutions in Federal Court "The Teflon Don" eluded conviction. It wasn't until Mouw and the FBI's Special Operations Group (SOG) were able to install mikes in the apartment of Netti Cirelli, who lived upstairs from the club, that they caught Gotti in the incriminating conversations with Sammy "The Bull" Gravano that finally brought him down in 1992. It was a victory that cemented the reputation of the FBI as the law enforcement agency that "always gets its man."

This story is very well known. What's not known -- and will be revealed in detail with the publication next week of my new book Triple Cross -- is that the same New York Office of the FBI - also known as the bin Laden "office of origin," blew an opportunity in the summer of 2001 - to stop the 9/11 "planes as missiles" plot dead in its tracks. How? by merely applying the same dogged surveillance techniques across the Hudson in Jersey City to an al Qaeda hot spot that one former FBI informant had called "a nest of vipers."

The address was 2828 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City; the location of Sphinx Trading, a check cashing and mailbox store that does millions of dollars in wire transfers each year between New Jersey and the Middle East. Sphinx was incorporated on December 15th, 1987 by Waleed al Noor and Mohammed El-Attris, an Egyptian. The store was located only four doors down from the al-Salam mosque, presided over by blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (OAR). Rahman runs like a hot circuit cable through the epic story of FBI failures on the road to 9/11.

Convicted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 1995 along with 9 other members of a "jihad army" for seditious conspiracy, OAR was the leader of the hyper-violent al Gamma'a Islamyah (Islamic Group) responsible for the Luxor Massacre in 1997. He was also spiritual head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) the terror group headed by Osama bin Laden's number two: Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri. Not only was the Sheikh's cell responsible for the first attack on the WTC in 1993, but the 1998 African Embassy bombings and the October, 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole were committed in his name. OAR was so important to the al Qaeda leadership that the infamous Crawford Texas, Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6th, 2001 referenced a 1998 intelligence report of a plot by bin Laden to hijack planes to free him. A similar report was contained in a PDB to Bill Clinton in 1998. So the NYO "office of origin" had good reason to focus on the dingy gray three-story building at 2824 Kennedy Boulevard that also housed what the Feds called "The Jersey Jihad Office."

Paul Fredrick MenStyleOne of the most astonishing revelations in my five year investigation into the FBI's handling of the war on terror was that Bureau agents knew as early as 1991 that Sphinx Trading was the location of a mailbox used by El Sayyid Nosair. A Prozac popping Egyptian-born janitor, it was Nosair who spilled the first al Qaeda blood on U.S. soil on the night of November 5th, 1990 when he gunned down Rabbi Meier Kahane, founder of The Jewish Defense League. Nosair had been trained by the principal subject of Triple Cross: Ali A. Mohamed, an ex Egyptian Army Major who had by then succeeded in penetrating the CIA in Hamburg Germany in 1984. Then after slipping past a Watch List and entering the U.S. a year later, Mohamed enlisted in the U.S. Army where he reached the rank of E-5 and got himself assigned to the highly secure JFK Special Warfare Center (SWC) at Fort Bragg, N.C. -- the advanced training school for officers of The Green Berets and Delta Force. It was members of Mohamed's radical Egyptian Army unit who had gunned down Anwar Sadat in 1981 and his C.O. at Bragg likened the chances of an ex-Egyptian Army officer with that kind of pedigree ending up at the JFK SWC with winning the Powerball Lottery.

On weekends Mohamed would travel up to New York and stay with Nosair -bringing along TOP SECRET memos he'd stolen from the SWC including the location of all Special Operations units worldwide - a treasure trove of intel that made its way to the al Qaeda leadership. On four successive weekends in July, 1989, during the tenure of Bush 41, Ali's trainees drove out from the al Farooq Mosque on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn (another OAR venue) to a shooting range in Calverton township on Long Island. There they spent hours firing AK-47's, handguns and other semi-automatic weapons. How do we know this? Because every weekend these "M.E.'s" or "Middle Eastern" men as they were known in Bureau speak were photographed by the Special Operations Group, the same unit that "Got Gotti" at the Ravenite Social Club.

Of the Ali Mohamed trainees photographed by the FBI half an hour above the Hamptons that hot July of '89, three were later convicted in the WTC bombing, Nosair, was convicted in the Kahane assassination and a third U.S. Black Muslim was convicted with the Blind Sheikh and Nosair in the plot to blow up the bridges and tunnels into Manhattan in 1995. Billed as the Day of Terror case, it was presided over by U.S. Attorneys Andrew McCarthy and Patrick Fitzgerald. As proof of their awareness that OAR's "jihad army" was an effective al Qaeda cell, Fitzie, as he was known, named 173 unindicted co-conspirators including Osama bin Laden, his brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, and Ali Mohamed - who by now was operating a sleeper cell in Silicon Valley. Also named on that list was Waleed al-Noor the co-incorporator of Sphinx Trading - proof that the Feds still had the Jersey City mailbox store on its radar.

What isn't known and will be revealed for the first time in Triple Cross was that Ali Mohamed had been acting as an FBI informant on the West Coast since 1992 - a year before the WTC bombing carried out by the same cell members he'd trained. More amazing, the revelation that in 1993 Ali had confessed to his hapless West Coast "control" agent John Zent that he was working for bin Laden and had helped set up al Qaeda training camps for jihadis in Khartoum. He'd also admitted that he'd provided al Qaeda members with anti-hijacking and intelligence training in Afghanistan.

If anyone in the bin Laden "office of origin" had been inclined to connect the dots, that single statement to a Special Agent in the San Francisco office should have set off alarm bells at 26 Federal Plaza - home of the FBI's NYO. But it didn't. Worse, when Mohamed was captured by alert Royal Canadian Mounted Police operatives in 1993 while attempting to smuggle al Qaeda terrorist into the U.S. from Vancouver, it was Special Agent Zent who vouched for Ali - effectively springing him from the custody of the Mounties.

After that, on the orders of Mohamed Atef, al Qaeda's military commander, Ali went to Nairobi where he took the pictures of the U.S. Embassy that bin Laden personally used to locate the suicide truck bomb that exploded five years later in August 1998. Along with simultaneous truck bombing in Tanzania 224 people died and 4,000 more were injured.

Using evidence from the SDNY court cases, interviews with current and retired Special Agents and documents from the FBI's own files, I prove in Triple Cross that Patrick Fitzgerald and Squad I-49 in the NYO could have prevented those bombings - not just by getting the truth from FBI informant Ali Mohamed, but by connecting him to Wadih El-Hage, one of the Kenya cell leaders. How would the Feds have done that? Easily.

They'd had wiretaps on El-Hage's Kenyan home since 1996. In August 1997, a year before the bombings, Special Agent Dan Coleman (of I-49) had searched El-Hage's house where he'd found Ali Mohamed's U.S. address and phone number. In fact, Fitzgerald himself had a face to face meeting with Mohamed in Sacramento, California in October 1997.

At that meeting Mohamed boldly told Fitzie that he "loved" bin Laden and didn't need a fatwa to attack the U.S. This "stone-cold" killer who had moved bin Laden and his entire al Qaeda entourage from Afghanistan to Khartoum in 1991 and trained the Saudi Billionaire's personal bodyguards in 1994 - then told Fitzgerald and other I-49 FBI agents including Jack Cloonan that he had dozens of al Qaeda sleepers that he could make operational on a moment's notice and that he himself could disappear at any time.

Then, After Mohamed walked out on him, Fitzgerald turned to Cloonan and declared that Ali was "the most dangerous man" he'd ever met and insisted, "We cannot let this man out on the street." But he did and ten months later in August, 1998 the bombs went off in Africa - delivered by another cell that Ali had helped train. It took Fitzgerald another month before he arrested Mohamed on September 10th bringing his 14 year terror spree to an end.

The immediate threat to the American people from Ali may have ended, but not his threat to the FBI and the Justice Department. You see, Ali, aka "Amiriki" or "Ali the American," was a one-man 9/11 Commission capable of ratting out the Feds on how he had eaten their lunch for years - how the two bin Laden "offices of origin" in the NYO and the SDNY where Fitzgerald was head of Organized Crime and terrorism - had been outgunned by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri dating back to that Calverton, L.I. surveillance in 1989. Fearful of what he would say if put on the stand and subjected to cross examination by defense lawyers in the upcoming Embassy bombing, Fitzgerald made sure that Ali was hidden away under a John Doe warrant. Finally, by October, 2000 Fitzie had cut a deal allowing the master spy to cop a plea and escape the death penalty.

In the end, Fitzgerald made his bones as the Justice Department's top al Qaeda buster by convicting El Hage and several other relatively minor bomb cell members. in U.S. vs. bin Laden in 2001. But the real "mastermind" of the Embassy bombings skated. Mohamed was allowed to slip into the security of custodial witness protection where he remains today - the greatest enigma of the war on terror.

All of this brings us full circle back to the big question: why should we care. What does it matter if an al Qaeda spy turned CIA asset, U.S. citizen, active duty Army sergeant and FBI informant was able to operate with virtual impunity for years, right under the noses of the best and the brightest in the FBI and DOJ?

Because Ali Mohamed was a metaphor for the dozens and dozens of counterterrorism failures by the NYO and SDNY on the road to 9/11 - while agents in the New York office like Bruce Mouw remained so obsessed with bringing down "The Dapper Don." Worse, at some point - I fix the date in 1996 - the evidence in Triple Cross shows that officials like Fitzgerald began suppressing evidence that might have proven embarrassing to the Bureau.

Much of it was contained in dozens of FBI 302 memos that can be examined by going to my website, www.peterlance.com. This treasure trove of intelligence was passed to the FBI, ironically, by a wiseguy name Greg Scarpa Jr. locked up in the cell next to WTC bomber and 9/11 plot mastermind Ramzi Yousef in the MCC - federal jail in Lower Manhattan. It was Yousef's uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohamed (KSM) who merely executed his nephew's "planes as missiles" plot after Ramzi's capture in 1995.

Among those 302's, a warning in December, 1996 of a plot by bin Laden (aka Bojinga) to hijack planes to free the blind Sheikh - the identical threat warning that was to appear in PDB's to Clinton in '98 and Bush 43 '01. Also, evidence of an active al Qaeda cell operating in New York City in 1996. But all of that intel got flushed by Patrick Fitzgerald and other DOJ officials in order to suppress a scandal in the NYO involved former Supervisory Special Agent R. Lindley DeVecchio. Lin or "the girlfriend" as he was called by Scarpa's father - a notorious Colombo Family killer - had been the target of a 1994 FBI internal affairs (OPR) investigation that threatened to derail the 60 remaining Colombo War cases in the (EDNY) Brooklyn. So, as I reported first in my last book COVER UP, Fitzgerald and other DOJ officials -- including current FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni - entered into an ends/means decision to discredit the younger Scarpa, bury the Yousef intel (falsely calling it a "hoax" and a "scam') and allowing DeVecchio to retire with a full pension.

They did this after he'd taken "the Fifth" and answered "I don't recall" more than 40 times after a grand of immunity - something that would have landed any other U.s. citizen in jail for contempt.

I'd told that tangled story of "The G-Man and The Hit Man" for the first time in Cover Up published in 2004. A year later, the deputy head of the Rackets Bureau in the Brooklyn D.A's office met with me. Later, armed with evidence supplied by forensic investigator Angela Clemente they empanelled a grand jury. On March 30th 2006 DeVecchio was indicted on four counts of second degree homicide stemming from his alleged "unholy alliance" with Scarpa Sr. But it was the desire by Federal officials in 1996 to bury the DeVecchio scandal and preserve those Colombo War cases that led to their ends/means decision to ignore all of that evidence from Ramzi Yousef to Greg Scarpa Jr. The belief that somehow the Mafia was more of a threat to New York than al Qaeda -- that caused the FBI to let their guard down on the bin Laden threat.

That's the only explanation I've been able to come up with to understand their stunning inability to keep an eye on Sphinx Trading.

There is now little doubt that if the Feds had devoted as much energy to a surveillance of Sphinx as they had to the Ravenite Social Club, they would have been in the middle of the 9/11 plot months before Black Tuesday. Because in July of 2001, Khalid al-Midhar and Salem al-Hazmi got their fake I.D.'s delivered to them in a mailbox at the identical location the FBI had been onto in the decade since El Sayyid Nosair had killed Meier Kahane. The man who supplied those fake ID's that allowed al-Midhar and al-Hazmi to board A.A. Flight #77 that hit the Pentagon, was none other than Mohammed El-Attriss the co-incorporator of Sphinx with Waleed al-Noor - whom Patrick Fitzgerald had put on the unindicted co-conspirators list along with bin Laden and Ali Mohamed in 1995.

How was it that Fitzgerald, the man Vanity Fair described as the bin Laden "brain," possessing "scary smart" intelligence, had not connected the dots and ordered the same kind of "perch" or "plant" to watch Sphinx that the Bureau had used against Gotti? Which "stone cold" killer was more a threat to the security of New York City? The Teflon Don or bin Laden's master spy who cut his deal without giving up those "sleepers" he'd told Fitzgerald about in October of 1997.

Here's an irony in a story pregnant with them:

Patrick Fitzgerald made his bones as a terror fighter by prosecuting U.S. vs. bin Laden, the trial of the African Embassy bombers that he and squad I-49 failed to stop. As a reward he was appointed U.S. Attorney in Chicago and got tapped as Special Prosecutor in the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation. We now know that even after learning the identify of the Plame leak source -- Bush retainer Richard Armitage - in the early weeks of the investigation, Fitzgerald still subjected the New York Times and Time magazine to a barrage of subpoenas unseen since the McCarthy era - going so far as to force the jailing of ex-Times reporter Judith Miller for 85 days. Until now, Patrick Fitzgerald has been famous for two things: prosecuting al Qaeda members and chilling the press. With the publication of Triple Cross his failure to contain bin Laden's master spy will now be on the record. The book hits the stores on Tuesday, November 21st.

Thanks to Peter Lance

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gambino Wiseguy Gets 20 Years in Prison

Friends of ours: Michael Yannotti, John "Junior" Gotti, Gambino Crime Family

Curtis Sliwa brushed away tears yesterday as a judge sentenced a Gambino thug he long wanted to see behind bars to 20 years in prison.

Jurors may have cleared Michael Yannotti in the 1992 point-blank shooting of the radio host - but Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin refused to show the Mafia muscle any mercy as she sent him up the river on an unrelated racketeering count.

Sliwa was shot twice as he tried to dive out the window of a stolen yellow cab whose doors had been rigged shut.

Scheindlin made clear she still believes Yannotti was the triggerman. "How Mr. Sliwa survived the attack at all is simply a miracle," Scheindlin said. She said Sliwa, the founder of the city's famed Guardian Angels, "demonstrated superhuman strength and ingenuity to get out of that death car."

After watching crime boss John Gotti Jr. score three mistrials for his alleged role in the shooting, Sliwa said it was the first time he'd felt a measure of justice for the attack he says wrecked his second marriage and left him with intestinal injuries that cause him suffering every day. "This is not Sicily, this is not Baghdad, this is not Gaza," Sliwa said. "When he shot those bullets into me he attempted to stifle my free speech. ... It's a nightmare ... mentally and physically."

Yannotti, 43, shook his head in disbelief each time Scheindlin linked him to the shooting. Prosecutors say Gotti sent Yannotti and another wiseguy to abduct Sliwa on June 19, 1992, following Sliwa's relentless on-air attacks on the Gotti clan.

Yannotti, the feds insist, jumped up from the passenger seat of the cab and, shouting, "Take this, you son of a b----," fired two shots from a .38-caliber gun that hit Sliwa in his leg and abdomen.

The 20-year sentence stunned Yannotti's supporters. "Jesus," one whispered as Yannotti's sobbing sister ran from court.

Jurors at Yannotti's 2005 trial acquitted him of the Sliwa shooting on a vote of seven to five favoring conviction. But prosecutor Victor Hou argued that the judge could factor the shooting into Yannotti's sentence on racketeering charges that included extortion and loansharking counts because of the "ample evidence" of his involvement.

Scheindlin agreed and ignore Yannotti's handwritten plea for mercy. "My parents are older and I don't have much time," Yannotti, 43, wrote. "I would like them to know their only son turned out all right." He asked that she allow him to restart his life with a wife he married in 1999 and two young daughters he called "the little treasures."

Sliwa vows to press ahead with a lawsuit accusing Junior Gotti of his role in his shooting. "The guy I still hold responsible for this is John Gotti Jr.," Sliwa said.

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Feds Give Up on Junior

Friends of ours: John Gotti, Junior Gotti, Gambino Crime Family

For John A. (Junior) Gotti, the third mistrial was the charm.

Federal prosecutors announced yesterday they will not retry Gotti for racketeering and will abandon efforts to nail him for trying to kill radio host Curtis Sliwa. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said in a statement that a fourth trial was "not in the interests of justice in light of the three prior hung juries."

That means for the first time in eight years, Gotti, 42, is a free man with no criminal charges hanging over him. That didn't sit well with Sliwa, who vowed to bring a lawsuit against Gotti seeking damages for the 1992 shooting, which allegedly was in retaliation for his on-air attacks on the late Gambino crime boss John Gotti.

"I feel as disappointed as a Mets fan today," Sliwa told the Daily News. "I would have hoped they would have prosecuted him four or five times. But I understand they have to deal with legal technicalities."

Late yesterday afternoon, Gotti - whose father's ability to beat the rap earned him the moniker the Teflon Don - returned to his gated mansion in Oyster Bay Cove, L.I., with one of his sons in a chauffeured sedan, declining to speak to a reporter.

The mob scion has expressed interest in moving out West, returning to school to study child psychology and writing a book, but he needs permission from the feds because he's still on supervised release for his 1998 federal conviction. "He's been talking about plans for the future and now John has the freedom to go on with his life," sister Victoria Gotti said. "His only option, I think, is to get off the [government's] radar and go off and live somewhere else, like the Midwest or down South."

She said the entire Gotti clan is "beat up and tired" after three trials that have taken a heavy emotional toll on her brother. Gotti already had heard the good news on the radio by the time defense lawyer Charles Carnesi reached him. "He was thrilled," Carnesi said. "As much as it was expected, it's still different when you finally have confirmation.

"He wants to leave New York as soon as it can be arranged," Carnesi added.

Sliwa said he's owed monetary damages - "I can't tell you the pain I suffer as a result of the rearrangement of my internal plumbing" - and promised to donate any proceeds to charity. But his lawsuit is probably dead on arrival, legal experts say, for the very same reason the feds failed to convict Gotti - the statute of limitations has passed.

Although the jury in the last mistrial agreed to convict Gotti in the Sliwa attack - which might have created an exception to the one-year statute of limitations for filing a civil suit - there was no verdict because they were hung on the racketeering charge.

Gotti's mother, Victoria, didn't think much of Sliwa's threatened suit. "I think the victims of all his hoaxes should sue him," she said, referring to Sliwa's admissions that he had staged publicity stunts to get media coverage of the Guardian Angels, including a fabricated claim that he had been kidnapped by a city transit cop.

Though Gotti insists he left the Mafia behind in 1999, one law enforcement source said it's "pretty impossible" to believe he's going to move away and go straight. "He sitting on a ton of money which is all ill-gotten gains," the source said. "He knows one life and it's called organized crime. Plus he has to look over his shoulder with the Gambino family because he really upset a lot of people." But mob expert Jerry Capeci said he doesn't think anyone is gunning for Gotti for speaking to prosecutors, which at one point was a serious Mafia no-no. "He never hurt anyone, never became a cooperating witness," Capeci said. "Even though three juries could never agree on whether he quit the mob, his Gambino crime family days are gone, if not forgotten."

Thanks to John Marzulli

After 3 Strikes, Gotti's Prosecutors are Out

Friends of ours: Junior Gotti, John Gotti, Gambino Crime Family

John A. Gotti, who three times in just over a year has escaped conviction on federal racketeering charges, will finally be able to pursue what he claims he has long desired: an ordinary life.

After three trials in Manhattan, each ending in a hung jury, federal prosecutors have announced that they will not seek a fourth trial on those charges for Mr. Gotti, a decision federal officials had indicated was likely. It enshrines him as a defendant even trickier to convict than his father, the Gambino family don, John J. Gotti, who beat the rap three times himself before being found guilty in 1992 and dying in a federal prison hospital 10 years later. (The younger Mr. Gotti is not invulnerable: He was convicted in a previous case and served prison time.)

In a terse statement issued yesterday, Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said this particular case was over. “The government has concluded that a retrial of defendant John A. Gotti on the pending indictment is not in the interests of justice in light of the three prior hung juries in the case,” it read. “Accordingly, we submitted a proposed order which the court has signed and which ends this prosecution.”

That left Mr. Gotti, who has acknowledged through his lawyers that he ran the Gambino family during stretches of the 1990’s, to return to a life as normal as his name will allow — for now. This decision does not preclude the F.B.I. or other authorities from developing new evidence for a different case some day.

At the end of his third trial in September, Mr. Gotti told reporters he wanted to “move on” and expressed a desire to work with children.

His lawyer, Charles F. Carnesi, said Mr. Gotti may turn to academe. “He’s interested in pursuing a degree,” he said. “In social work or counseling or maybe something with the schools.” With the indictment dismissed, he is free to go as he pleases, and the liens on his property securing his bail will soon be lifted, Mr. Carnesi said.

Mr. Gotti’s triumph was a stinging defeat for Curtis Sliwa, the radio talk show host whom prosecutors said was a victim in the case. While the jury agreed that Mr. Gotti ordered the abduction and attack of Mr. Sliwa in 1992 after he called the elder Mr. Gotti a drug dealer on the air, they could not agree on the overall charge that this was part of a racketeering conspiracy.

In a statement from the newsroom of WABC radio, Mr. Sliwa called Mr. Gotti a criminal and a drain on society. He also called Mr. Gotti’s father a serial killer and a disgrace to the human race. He said he intended to sue Mr. Gotti “for not only the bullets that he ordered put into my body, but for the fear and abuse he has heaped on our law-abiding society over the past 20 years.”

He ridiculed Mr. Gotti’s plan to “turn over a new leaf” as a charade. “He claims that he has moved on with his life and just wants to live in peace,” Mr. Sliwa wrote. “He wants to write books for children and raise money for charity, he claims. But part of moving on in life is acknowledging the innocent people hurt in the past. The people he extorted, stole from, had beaten and shot.”

Thanks to Alan Feuer

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dapper Don Instigated Bloody Mob War

Friends of ours: John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Gambino Crime Family, Colombo Crime Family, Carmine "The Snake" Persico, Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, Vic Orena, John "Junior" Gotti, William "Wild Bill" Cutolo

The late Gambino boss John Gotti instigated the bloody civil war within the Colombo crime family in a diabolical scheme to consolidate his power on the Mafia Commission, a turncoat witness testified yesterday. Gotti falsely branded jailed Colombo boss Carmine (The Snake) Persico "a rat" in an attempt to get him replaced by another Colombo gangster who was close to Gotti, according to former Gambino capo Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo.

DiLeonardo, testifying at the racketeering trial of Persico's son and acting boss Alphonse (Allie Boy) Persico, surprised Brooklyn Federal Judge Sterling Johnson when he matter-of-factly said that Gotti was behind the conflict that left a dozen gangsters dead and an innocent bystander slain outside a Brooklyn bagel shop in the early 1990s.

"John Sr. instigated it?" the judge asked the witness.

"Oh, yeah," DiLeonardo replied.

DiLeonardo explained Gotti's strategy this way: "John was close to Vic Orena and figured if he could get him in, and Allie out, he [Gotti] would have a majority vote on The Commission," DiLeonardo said. "He [Gotti] owned Vic Orena."

During the war, DiLeonardo said he accompanied John A. [Junior] Gotti to Rockaway Beach for secret late-night meetings with members of the Orena faction to try to iron out a settlement.

DiLeonardo said he thought that it was wrong that the Dapper Don had slurred the elder Persico's name. "Allie found out about it and wasn't happy," he recalled. "I told him it wasn't right and I set out to try and make things right."

Alphonse Persico is charged with ordering the 1999 murder of Colombo underboss - and Orena loyalist - William (Wild Bill) Cutolo.

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