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

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Victoria Gotti tells all about Dapper Dad

Victoria Gotti has spent a lifetime not discussing her father's career as a Mafia boss -- but with the release of a sensational new memoir, she breaks her silence about the late John Gotti's life as the most famous mob kingpin.

Victoria's book, "This Family of Mine: What It Was Like Growing Up Gotti," tells the story of her parents' abusive childhoods; her "Dapper Don" father's notorious career in the Mafia; her traumatizing marriage to a mobster her father warned her not to marry; and her father's decline in prison and death behind bars.

An exclusive, four-part excerpt will be published in The Post beginning Sunday.

"I loved the man . . . but I loathed the life, his lifestyle," she said in an interview for CBS's "48 Hours Mystery," to be telecast Saturday at 10 p.m.

"How can anybody worship that life? How could anybody think there was any glory in that life . . . I would lie awake nights and cry . . . Is my dad gonna come home? Is he gonna go to jail again . . . Is he going to get hurt? Is he gonna get killed?"

She said she had her father's blessing on the book project. "He had just one request. He said, 'Don't you ever look to make me out to be an altar boy. Because I wasn't,' " she said in the TV interview.

Victoria concedes her father was head of the Gambino crime family, the nation's most powerful mob syndicate, but when she was asked if he ordered the assassination of his predecessor, Paul Castellano, she said: "Absolutely not."

She denies the Dapper Don sanctioned any kind of hit of a Queens neighbor who in 1980 accidentally killed her 12-year-old brother, Frank.

John Favara was driving near the Gottis' home in Howard Beach when Frank, on a motorized bicycle, darted into the street and was struck by Favara's car.

Victoria recalled pleading with her dad to exact revenge.

"You're supposed to be a tough guy. How can you let somebody kill my brother?" Victoria recalled asking her father. "And he just looked at me and he said, 'It was an accident.' "

Gotti said her father added, "I’m telling you it was an accident. And you have to understand that."

Gotti said her decision to release a memoir now is prompted by brother John "Junior" Gotti's current trial in Manhattan federal court on racketeering and murder-conspiracy charges.

"I think, first and foremost, my brother John's life is on the line," she said.

She said her brother went against his father's wishes by pleading guilty in 1999 to racketeering charges as a way to say he wanted out of the mob. Junior was released from prison in 2005, and she believes he never went back into "the life."

"Father was dead set against it . . . and he said, 'Tell your brother, I will never tell him how to live his life. Tell him I will support whatever he does," Victoria said.

She added, "[Mom] had such a distaste for the fact that Dad was involved [in the Mafia] and now her son . . . She goes to see Dad and threatens [him], 'Either you release him or I'll never speak to you again.' "

When asked how she accepts that her father directly or indirectly killed people, she replied, "When you chose that life, I think you know what you're signing up for . . . I think he knew going in what was expected of him . . . I believe he knew that there was no living happily ever after. And I don't think he cared."



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