Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gotti:The day our boy was stolen away

Released from prison in 1977, John Gotti was quickly rising through the ranks of the Gambino crime family on his way to becoming "boss of all bosses." Even in his home life, the underworld big shot knew how to throw his weight around. When his second son, Frankie, didn't make the cut of his school football team, Gotti visited the coach, and later that day, the decision was reversed. But on March 18, 1980, as Frankie anticipated joining the team, Gotti family members' lives would be changed forever. Here, in the second of four installments from Victoria Gotti's new memoir, "This Family of Mine," is the story of their tragic loss. Click here to see the Gotti family photo album.

The day before his first foot ball practice, March 18, 1980, my little brother Frankie, 12, was so excited he couldn't eat or sleep. He took a shower and came running into my room and asked if he could borrow my hair dryer.

I, too, was in a rush. He was so impatient that he left the house with wet hair.

Later that afternoon, after school, he met a few neighborhood friends and went out to play. He couldn't wait to tell them the news. He'd finally made the team.

Coming out of a McDonald's near our house, I saw them on their bicycles.

I stopped and said something to him like, "It's late and you know you have to be home for dinner at 5 or Mommy will be pissed."

He nodded and took off down the avenue.

Mom was in the kitchen, preparing dinner and feeding my baby brother, Peter, then 4 years old. I ran upstairs to quickly change and head back to the kitchen to do my usual chores. I also relieved Mom and finished feeding Peter.

The phone rang four times before I was able to pick up the receiver. "Vicki, this is Marie Lucisano -- your brother's had an accident. Don't worry."

She went on to add, "He's OK -- I think he just broke his leg."

Just as I was frantically tying my shoes, my mother came flying down the stairs sensing something was wrong.

"What's going on?" she screamed.

"Frankie's been hit by a car. Marie Lucisano called. It happened in front of her house," I said.

Before I could even stand up, Mom was running the four or so blocks to the Lucisanos' house on 87th Street. The ambulance was already on the scene and things were far worse than just a broken leg.

My brother had borrowed another kid's minibike and was riding in a construction site near the side of the road. But that dreadful day, a drunken driver was speeding down the avenue and struck my brother.

The driver dragged him some 200 feet before angry neighbors stopped the car, pounced on his hood, and stopped him from crossing the avenue.

"Don't you even realize you have a kid under the wheels of your f- - -in' car?" one neighbor, Ted Friedman, recalled yelling out.

According to the neighbor, the driver, John Favara, then stopped the car. Another neighbor reached in and grabbed his keys, shutting the ignition off and pointed to my brother's near-lifeless body under the front wheels.

My brother's blood seemed to leave a trail down the entire block, leading up to the now-parked car.

Favara jumped from the car and started yelling, "What the f- - - was he doing in the street?"

According to the neighbor, "The driver of the car was angry, not remorseful." Ted Friedman later told me the guy was belligerent -- a real a- -hole until he realized the kid trapped under his wheels was John Gotti's son. Favara then appeared to be "dazed and confused," according to eyewitnesses.

My mother ran to Frankie, knelt and was cradling his head, screaming his name over and over, "Frankie, it's Mommy -- can you hear me? Frankie, Mommy's here."

Of all the things she could remember, it was "the look of abject fear in his eyes."

Frankie was rushed inside to the trauma unit. The hospital officials waited until my father arrived. They believed it was wise to tell him first that my brother had died.

My father nearly collapsed when he was first told that Frankie was hit by a car. He got the call in the middle of a meeting at the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens.

He said the hardest thing he ever had to do was tell my mother that their son was dead. He'd told me that just seeing her sitting in the waiting room made him afraid for "the first time in my whole life."

He said he "felt no emotion that day" and that "it was as if he was on automatic pilot," especially when he had to identify his own son's body in the morgue.

Uncle Pete drove Mom home. I remember watching her pass Frankie's room, and she broke down.

She was deeply medicated -- though not enough to sleep. We all heard the crash, and then blood-curdling screams.

My mother had smashed the mirrored vanity in the master bathroom and then attempted to cut herself with the jagged edges.

Once again, my father had the doctor visit, this time increasing her medicine. She was still wild with grief, so much that she tried to take her life again, swallowing a fistful of pills.

I remember Dad running from my parents' bedroom, carrying her in his arms to a local doctor's private home, just around the corner.

My mother needed her stomach pumped and different medications to stabilize her before Dad brought her back home.

A few nights after Frankie's funeral, I heard a commotion coming from John Favara's house across the way. There was loud music and even louder laughter coming from the back yard.

I heard my mother's bedroom door open. She barely made the 11 or so stairs down to the first level of the house.

She walked into the kitchen and found me loading the dishwasher, making as much noise as I could in an attempt to drown out the noise coming from the back yard.

But my mother was immediately drawn to the yard like a moth to a flame. I stood right in front of her, saying, "Mom, you need your rest, you need to go back to bed!"

She didn't hear me. My mother looked as if she'd seen the devil himself. I ran and got my father.

In the minute or so it took, Mom had already made her way outside. She was standing against the fence, dressed in a flannel nightgown, her eyes filled with hate, disbelief and grief.

Favara took notice of her. Instead of getting up and going inside, which would have been the smart thing to do, he shot her a smug smile. Then he grinned.

But Favara never expected my father to push through the trees and retrieve my mother. Thankfully, Dad didn't see the smug smile and grin.

My father didn't say a word; he just guided Mom back inside the house. When Mom was sure that my father was sound asleep beside her, she crawled out of bed.

Carrying a baseball bat, she headed out the front door and made her way around the corner to Favara's house.

I grabbed my robe and chased after her. In his driveway was "the murder weapon" -- a late-model, brown Oldsmobile, with a dented right fender and badly damaged quarter panel.

My mother saw blood -- her son's blood now dried and caked on the car -- and went crazy.

She began banging the bat against the car, and within minutes, Favara came out, looking dazed. She was just inches from Favara. He was pointing a finger at my mother and staring at me -- screaming things like, "Get this crazy woman off my property!"

Then he looked at me and yelled, "What the hell was her son doing in the f- - -in' street?"

She lunged at him. Once, twice, three times. Each time, she only narrowly missed him.

"She's f- - -in' crazy!" Favara yelled.

The scene was getting louder, and I imagined one of the neighbors would call the police. While we walked home, my right arm wrapped around my mother and my left carrying the bat, Favara continued to rant and rave about his car and who was going to pay for the damages.

My mother was getting worse by the day, and Dad grew despondent. He believed that a few weeks away from home, being surrounded by what little family Mom had left, would do her some good. So, he arranged a trip to Florida -- Dad, Mom and my youngest brother Peter left early in the morning.

While they were gone, Favara went missing. According to the FBI, he was last seen being beaten and stuffed into a van.

I remember the FBI coming to the door only days after Mom and Dad returned. They came to see Dad, but because Mom was in the kitchen, they started asking her questions. Simple ones like, "How was your trip?" and "How are you feeling?"

The two men seemed nervous -- even anxious. It was obvious that they were affected by my brother's death. One of the agents said he had a 10-year-old boy.

Mom only nodded and left the room.

When Dad came downstairs, he ushered the two men outside. Dad and the two men spoke only for a few minutes. I heard one of the officers tell my father that Favara was missing.

I heard my father say, "Really?"

There was another minute of conversation, and then Dad said, "I wish I could help you gentlemen, but I'm sorry. I know nothing about this."

From "This Family of Mine" by Victoria Gotti. Copyright © 2009 by Victoria Gotti. Printed by permis sion of Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Mystery of the missing driver

No one has ever been charged in the murder of John Favara. But in 2001, while arguing for a stiffer sentence in Gambino hit man Charles Carneglia's extortion case, prosecutors for the first time publicly accused John Gotti of ordering the hit.

In 2004, FBI agents believed they were close to finding Favara's body when they dug up a mob burial ground.

Witnesses at Carneglia's most recent trial testified that he disposed of Favara's corpse in a vat of acid and, to prove he had done the job, threw one of the victim's fingers into a bowl of chicken soup that Angelo Ruggiero was eating.



Post a Comment