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

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Junior Gotti pal on law's side

John A. "Junior" Gotti is ready to embrace the law - or at least one former federal prosecutor.
The ex-Gambino boss' team said Thursday it wants to call Joon Kim, ex-assistant U.S. attorney, to testify about a death threat made by the mob against Gotti in April 2006.
The hit apparently was prompted by Gotti's insistence at an earlier trial that he had quit the Mafia in 1999. The defense says it shows that Junior's former colleagues believed the retirement claim enough to want him dead.
Defense lawyer Charles Carnesi once said the death threat was bogus - but he has changed his opinion for his client's fourth racketeering trial.
The threat came between Gotti's second and third trials.
Manhattan Federal Judge Kevin Castel said he wanted to review wiretapped conversations detailing the death threat before clearing Kim to become an unlikely defense witness.
Castel also is considering whether the defense can call Junior's former probation officer, who oversaw the second-generation gangster's supervised release from 2005 to 2007.

Fresh from his arrest on honeymoon, alleged Bonanno wiseguy Vito Pipitone and wife go to court

She's got a big rock on her finger, and he's wearing an ankle bracelet.
Reputed wiseguy Vito Pipitone and his new wife, Paula, made their first appearance Thursday in Brooklyn Federal Court since he was arrested on their Hawaiian honeymoon.
And they didn't look happy.
"I feel terrible for them," defense lawyer Joseph Mure said.
"They never had a honeymoon. It was a nightmare."
Pipitone, a reputed Bonanno associate, is expecting to get the boot from laborers union Local 79 because of the criminal case against him.
An indictment charges him with participating in the stabbing of two men who broke the windows of the Napa & Sonoma restaurant in Whitestone, Queens, which authorities say was under the protection of the Bonannos.
In the courtroom, Pipitone and his wife sat holding hands on one side.
On the other side, observing the proceedings, was former FBI supervisor Bruce Mouw, who is rooting out mob influence in the union local.
Vito Pipitone was already airborne, on his way to wedded bliss in paradise, when the FBI rounded up 13 Bonanno gangsters, including his brother, reputed capo Anthony Pipitone, on Oct. 7.
Family members contacted Vito and his wife when they reached Honolulu and told them the feds were looking for him, too.
Pipitone was initially held without bail in Honolulu, but after a video-hookup hearing, a Brooklyn judge let him return to New York with his bride on a commercial jet - instead of the U.S. Marshals Service's Con Air.
He is free on a $400,000 bond signed by his parents and his in-laws, who put up their home in Astoria.
Anthony Pipitone has resigned from Local 79.
If Vito is forced out, he has some experience as a deejay to fall back on, and he has studied accounting.
"He's actually a bright kid," said a law enforcement source.
"Until he got involved with this group."

Basciano Trial Update

The matter of Dominick Cicale again crops up in the Basciano case. The government submitted a letter to Judge Nicholas Garaufis asking that certain Bureau of Prison documents dealing with the Cicale false murder plot investigation be redacted to take out the names of individuals held in a witness security unit and also information about the unit.  The government is being real sensitive about the witnesses and the WITSEC unit, asking that any filings of the Bureau of Prisons with the Court of Appeals, where Basciano's case was recently argued, also be kept under seal and that only initials be used todenote inmates.  The false murder plot is referred to Cat page 310 of the trade paperback version of "King of The Godfathers" and deals with allegations that Cicale asked another inmate in a federal jail to tell guards that Basciano wanted Cicale killed in the jail. 


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Witness: Brother-in-law got Gotti's OK for hit

A former drug dealer called as a defense witness by John "Junior" Gotti distanced the Gambino family mob heir from one murder but, unexpectedly, tied him more closely to a different murder conspiracy in testimony Thursday in federal court in Manhattan.
The witness, Stephen Newell, a former associate in the Queens drug-peddling ring of star prosecution informant John Alite, provided helpful testimony to Gotti on the murder of Bruce John Gotterup, a Queens man killed in 1991 after making trouble at a mob-connected bar.
Alite, a former Gotti pal and crime lieutenant, testified that Gotterup's killing was approved by Gotti. But Newell said he saw no evidence that Gotti was part of the drug-dealing ring that Alite helped run, and said Alite promised to "take care" of Gotterup after he had a run-in with a relative of another powerful mobster, Ronald Trucchio.
Newell, however, also said that in a later drug-related dispute with Alite in 1994 or 1995, when Newell sought permission from Gotti's brother-in-law Carmine Agnello to kill Alite, Agnello got an OK from Gotti before approving the hit.
During a discussion at Agnello's junkyard, Newell said, Agnello left to speak with Gotti, who was across the street. When he returned from the conversation, Newell testified, Agnello said, "I just spoke to my brother-in-law. He says if we're going to do it, get it done."
Newell - who was charged with the killing of Gotterup before the charges were dropped - said the murder plot against Alite was never carried out because the FBI got wind of it and tipped off Alite.
Gotti, 45, of Oyster Bay, is facing racketeering charges and two counts of murder involving the killings of Gotterup and Queens cocaine dealer George Grosso.
Gotti, the son of the late Gambino family boss John J. Gotti, says he withdrew from the mob in 1999. Three racketeering cases against him ended with hung juries in 2005 and 2006.
In other testimony Thursday, Joseph Fusaro, a former mob associate from Connecticut, reprised testimony from two previous trials, describing how Gotti encouraged him to cooperate with a grand jury and said he was sick of the mob while the two were in jail together in Westchester County in 1998.
Gotti's lawyers are trying to discredit a half-dozen turncoats who have testified against him by arguing that the government's cooperating-witness program gives them an incentive to lie, and Fusaro also gave them helpful testimony in that regard.
After he agreed to cooperate with Gotti's encouragement, he said, he told the FBI that he had no intention of leaving his home in Connecticut and rejected offers of relocation under the government's witness protection program.
He nonetheless was given $55,000 in cash - apparently for relocation - without even asking, he said.
"They knew right from the beginning that I was going to stay in my house," he said. "I don't know what it was for."


Bald truth at Junior Gotti trial: Judge, witness trade hair loss gripes

There were no hair-raising tales Thursday at the Junior Gotti trial - although the judge and a mob witness both could have used one.
The unlikely pair commiserated in court over their balding domes, providing a light moment in the mob heavyweight's trial.
Joseph Fusaro, called by the defense for John A. "Junior" Gotti, testified that he met the second-generation gangster in a prison barber shop 11 years ago.
Judge Kevin Castel, listening from the bench, eyed the 66-year-old witness' shiny skull and posed a question.
"You use a barber shop frequently?" Castel asked.
"No, not me," replied Fusaro, who turned to take a look at the judge's pate.
"Don't think you do, either," the witness continued.
"Quite right, sir," said Castel.
"I know the feeling," said Fusaro.
The back-and-forth came before Fusaro testified that he wanted to approach Gotti inside the prison at Valhalla about collecting $180,000 in loan-sharking money.
Fusaro testified that when he did meet with the ex-Gambino boss, Gotti quickly turned him down.
"He was done with that," Fusaro testified. "He said, 'If you have any brains, and I think you do ... do your sentence because this is over."


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mobster: I never paid Gotti for drug sales

A convicted mobster testified today that he never paid John "Junior" Gotti any money for selling cocaine in Queens.
Joseph O'Kane, 42, who has been serving a lifetime prison term for racketeering since 1996, contradicted testimony from mob turncoat John Alite, saying he never knew that Gotti was getting a cut from the drug sales.
O'Kane, who was testifying for the defense even said that the feds approached him about reducing his sentence if he testified against Gotti.
He said he told the agent, "Excuse me. I told him to go F himself."
O'Kane admitted to being Alite's drug-dealing partner in Queens, a crew that Gotti ran before climbing the hierarchy of the Gambino crime family headed by his father, John "Dapper Don" Gotti.
"I probably would be home with my family and son" had he taken the deal, O'Kane said.
Gotti is on trial for a fourth time in Manhattan federal court. The previous three cases ended in either mistrials or a hung jury.
The feds have accused Gotti of racketeering and his involvement in three mob murders.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mobster Anthony Anastasio convicted of extortion and ordering the torching of Dunkin Donuts

An 80-year-old Gambino gangster's long crime career came to an end Tuesday with his conviction on racketeering and extortion charges in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Anthony "Todo" Anastasia was found guilty of shaking down a trucking company on the Staten Island waterfront, the owners of an Italian bakery in Brooklyn and ordering a Dunkin Donuts torched for the insurance money.
Anastasio, a longtime mob soldier, is the nephew of legendary Mafioso Albert Anastasia, who was gunned down while getting a shave in a barber shop at the Park Sheraton Hotel in 1957.
In a twist of fate for the wiseguy, the FBI secretly recorded incriminating conversations between Anastasio and the captain of his mob crew in the Guys & Dolls beauty salon - where he got his hair cut.
Anastasio faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced in January.
The jury also convicted reputed mob associate David Benedict of extortion, and Benedetto DiCostanzo of loansharking.

Nightmare Gotti juror's foul disruptions

A foul-mouthed juror is sowing discord at John "Junior" Gotti’s racketeering trial with diva-like behavior and a plan to push deliberations past Christmas, a fellow panelist snitched to the judge.
Read The Letter To The Judge
Juror No. 7 — a female postal worker — announced last week that she "intends to take her time and is not going to allow any f---ing body to rush her to a decision," according to an anonymous letter received in the mail today.
"Apparently she is looking forward to being put up in a hotel. She has made numerous remarks about how much she loves being on jury duty because it keeps her away from her job," the letter says.
"She loves being escorted for her cigarette breaks, feels like a movie star and loves the attention. In my opinion, she is on jury duty for all the wrong reasons."
The young woman is also allegedly enamored of Gotti defense lawyer Charles Carnesi, calling him "her ‘Man,’" and commenting on how he "looked very handsome one particular day."
"You should see her in the jury box, how she gives her undivided attention to the defense team, as if there wasn’t anyone else in the court room," the letter says.
But if the revelations gave the mob scion a boost, the writer’s mistaken reference to Carnesi as "Charles Carneglia" — a vicious Gambino hit man who has figured prominently in trial testimony — caused equal concern.
"A juror thinks the guy representing me is a five-time murderer — what shot do I have?" Gotti remarked after reading the note in Manhattan federal court.
The type-written, two-page letter was dated Sunday and signed "A Concerned Juror," with a P.S. noting: "The reason this letter is being mailed and not hand-delivered is to avoid a worst (sic) situation then (sic) already exists."
It says the woman, who previously studied at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, "refers to us jurors as ‘these people’ and she constantly uses the ‘F’ word."
In addition, after the jury had lunch last week at a restaurant near the courthouse, "she requested an order of fried calamari (to go) on the Court’s tab."
"As she took this home this just goes to she you she got some nerve," the letter says.
The letter prompted Judge Kevin Castel to delay testimony while he individually asked each juror if they had witnessed any "misconduct" by Juror 7, with only one juror answering "maybe" and saying she might be getting information about the case from someone outside the jury.
The judge then re-assembled the panel and delivered a stern warning — punctuated by several slaps on his bench — for them "to be respectful of one another" and not discuss the case with anyone.


Junior Gotti's defense calls Gambino family turncoat Kevin McMahon to refute another mob rat's story

The defense in John A. "Junior" Gotti's racketeering trial launched its case Tuesday with a witness who quickly contradicted testimony from a key mob turncoat.
Gambino family associate Kevin McMahon testified that mob killers messed up when they left the bloody body of gangster Louie DiBono in a World Trade Center basement.
And he insisted an incident where Junior shot him was just an accident, not an angry outburst.
McMahon's version of both events different from the testimony of John Alite, a one-time best friend of Junior who spent more than a week testifying against Gotti.
McMahon provided an in-depth account of DiBono's 1990 slaying, recalling how Gambino hit man Charles Carneglia hid behind a column in the trade center basement waiting for the victim to arrive.
As DiBono exited his car, "Charles jumped on him and shot him in the head," McMahon testified. "After Charles shot Louie DiBono, I pushed his feet. I helped Charles close the door."
The killers ignored an order from Gambino associate Bartholomew "Bobby" Borriello to move the body and drove off, McMahon testified.
Alite said the plan was to leave DiBono there as a message to the rest of the Gambino family.
A federal wiretap caught John "Dapper Don" Gotti saying DiBono was whacked because "he refused to come in when I called."
McMahon also put a less menacing spin on an story about Junior Gotti shooting him in the hip. Alite claimed that Gotti fired in anger after McMahon mocked the mobster's .25 caliber weapon as a "baby gun."
McMahon said Gotti had loaded his shotgun and pointed it at him, but the weapon discharged by mistake. Defense lawyer Charles Carnesi asked if it was an accident.
"That's what I believed, yeah," McMahon said.
During a break in the trial, Gotti's sister Angel reiterated McMahon's testimony for the media.
"An accident," she said. "Get that in the front page."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Former Bonanno Captain will testify against Junior Gotti

Expect Dominick Cicale, the turncoat in the case of Vincent Basciano, to make an appearance in the case against John Gotti Jr., perhaps as early as this coming week. Cicale is expected to testify about a purported conversation Basciano had with Gotti about the withdrawal defense, which is a key part of Gotti's defense strategy. Cicale didn't hear the conversation, but would just report about what he claims Basciano told him. Basciano and Cicale were confined in the same federal lockup for a time in around 2004. Cicale figures in Chapter 28 of "King Of The Godfathers."
    Also the sentencing for Yvonne Rossetti, the Howard Beach housewife involved in the 2008 Bonanno case as a witness, is expected to take place possibly on December 2, so we hear. She plead guilty earlier this year in Brooklyn federal court to cheating some investors. See below posting on the case of her husband Vincent.


Former Colombo Mobsters are now Ministers

New York Police Department mugshot of William ...Former Colombo Underboss Wild Bill Cutolo
In previous incarnations, mob rats Joe Campanella and William Cutolo Jr. were entrenched in the Colombo crime family.
Now they want deliverance from evil - as "ministers" in a flock of mob misfits known as Goodfellas4God.
"There are people who want to get out of that life and they talk to me," said ministry founder Glenn Hovater, a former pest control inspector who runs the operation from donated offices in Painesville, Ohio.
Hovater started the group two years ago; most members are ex-wiseguys from Cleveland and Pennsylvania.
A retired NYPD detective introduced him to Campanella; he and Cutolo Jr. are the only New Yorkers.
Hovater will send Campanella, a former made man, and Cutolo Jr., son of underboss Wild Bill Cutolo, on speaking tours to rail against "the life."
Neither Mafia rat is in the witness protection program, so special security arrangements will be made to ensure their safety.
Campanella helped convict Colombo boss Alphonse Persico and underboss John DeRoss of ordering Wild Bill's murder in 2001.
Cutolo Jr., 37, is a marked man for wearing a wire to gather damning evidence against DeRoss after his father vanished. The senior Cutolo, whose remains were found last year in an industrial park on Long Island, came home from prison in 1995 a devout Catholic, his son said.
"It took 10 years to find him and I must say I lost my faith at times," Cutolo Jr. wrote on the Goodfellas4God Web site. "When they confirmed indeed it was my dad, I found my faith again. Still asking why, but I now realize it is not our job to ask WHY. It's the Lord's work. He brought my father home to me.
"When my friend Joe "Campy" Campanella told me about this ministry and minister Glenn, right away I thought of my dad. How proud he would be of me for joining this ministry. I would rather preach goodness than to teach someone how to do something bad."
Campanella, 50, seems to be having some misgivings about the God thing.
In a message to the Daily News, he said: "As far as the Goodfellas4God and being part of the ministry and all that other B.S., right now, there's nothing written in stone."
Still, Campanella is listed as head of the "Out of the Life Ministries" on Hovater's Web site.
The site asks visitors: "Have you committed adultery, fornicated, lied, stole, lusted etc.? Click here to 'Get Connected' and wash away all the sins you have ever committed."
The New Yorkers easily qualify.
Campanella did a three-year prison stint for racketeering. As a Colombo soldier, he took part in shootings, beatdowns, extortion and an affair with a woman whose father-in-law was a made man in the Gambino family.
Cutolo Jr. was sentenced in 2006 to four years' probation for extortion, which got him kicked out of witness protection.
DeRoss' lawyer claimed Cutolo's newfound faith is a scam. "Cutolo's son has chosen the ministry for one reason only, to scam unsuspecting members of his new flock as he victimized innocent people when he was a member of organized crime," lawyer Robert LaRusso said.
Hovater - who grew up around wiseguys in Cleveland - is convinced his newest evangelists aren't acting.
"I believe in my heart they're really sincere," he said. "Maybe other people don't, but I do."
"Joey has no money and Cutolo ain't got no money either," he said. "I told them there's no money in this."


Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Marine vet entwined in the Gotti drama: Brother told him a friend needs a favor

For a dozen years, ex-Marine Kevin McLaughlin remained an extremely silent partner to ex-Gambino boss John A. "Junior" Gotti.
When McLaughlin finally spoke last week at Gotti's racketeering trial, his testimony was perhaps more crucial for prosecutors than the tales of murder and mayhem spun by a parade of turncoat gangsters.
McLaughlin appeared terrified at times while detailing a scam where a Gotti-owned building in Queens was held under his name from 1995 to 2007.
"Reluctantly, I did [it] ... because I was afraid my brother would beat me up or do something," McLaughlin, a 40-year-old Desert Storm veteran, testified in Manhattan Federal Court. "I didn't think I would get out of it."
His brother, Michael, was a Gotti running buddy who used Kevin's Social Security number to buy the building at 98-21 101st Ave. - home to Junior's social club.
"A friend needs a favor," McLaughlin recalled Michael telling him. McLaughlin became "owner" of the $60,000 building on April 25, 1995, when he signed paperwork for the sale.
Initially, Kevin was supposed to hold the building for six months.
But it wasn't sold until 2007, after he had a face-to-face meeting with its real owner: Gotti.
McLaughlin - who has no criminal record - recalled walking into a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn two years ago for his first meeting with the mob boss/landlord.
"Junior was sitting at a table by himself," McLaughlin recounted. "Junior told me the building was his."
Gotti was temporarily free on bail at the time of the sitdown, but was soon back behind bars before his fourth trial in five years.
Prosecutors called McLaughlin to demonstrate that Gotti still exercised control over mob property long after his supposed 1999 Mafia retirement.
The testimony is key to undercutting Gotti's defense, since the racketeering charge becomes invalid if Junior did not commit any crimes after 2003.
McLaughlin was subpoenaed by prosecutors, who promised not to charge him if he testified truthfully about the transactions.
In the end, McLaughlin said, the building was sold for $300,000.
The lion's share apparently went to Gotti, who made sure that McLaughlin collected a $30,000 payoff for his services.

No peace of the pie in Ray's pizza war

The co-owner of the oldest Ray's Pizza in the city is threatening to shut down the Little Italy landmark if she doesn't get a bigger slice of the pie.
Cheryl Sorrentino, the daughter of Luchese mobster Charles "Charlie Brody" DiPalermo, is suing the family of the restaurant's founder, Ralph Cuomo, who was also a Luchese wiseguy, for cutting her out of a 36 percent piece of the pizzeria.
Sorrentino appears to be violating a cardinal mob rule by going against her family in the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
"It's a shame," said Josephine Teristi, 70, who has lived above the pizzeria since the 1940s. "They're all going against each other. It's a big mess. It's a very big mess."
Sorrentino claims that Cuomo's girlfriend Lorraine Marini and his cousin Helen Mistretta, who now run the restaurant, have stiffed her out of more than $250,000 in back rent since Cuomo died in April 2008.
She's also suing her mentally-incapacitated 85-year-old aunt, Nancy Salvatore, who lives rent-free above the restaurant at 27 Prince Street.
Sorrentino, whose mother was Cuomo's sister, inherited a stake in the property when DiPalermo died in July.
She claims that after Cuomo's death last year, Mistretta started pocketing rent money from the tenants who live above the pizzeria, according to the lawsuit.
Even if Sorrentino does get her $250,000 settlement, it's possible that the nearly 50-year-old joint could close for good.
"Cheryl is looking to sell the whole thing," said Teristi. "There's a whole lot of trouble going on."
Richard Gravante, the lawyer for Marini and Mistretta, said it was Sorrentino who was trying to grab the dough.
"This complaint is a meritless effort by Sorrentino to launch a pre-emptive strike," Gravante said. "My clients were about to file a lawsuit for misappropriation of funds."
The lawyer says Sorrentino took $90,000 from the pizzeria.
Although there are many pizza places named Ray's -- or Original Ray's, or Ray's Original, or Famous Ray's, or Original Famous Ray's -- it is generally conceded that Cuomo's was the first.
He opened the restaurant 1959, a few years after he was caught robbing a Park Avenue restaurant at gunpoint, according to the Gangland News Web site.
Cuomo was convicted of heroin trafficking in 1969 after he was caught with 50 pounds of smack.
He always claimed to keep the drug business separate from the pizza business, but in 1998, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison for running a multimillion-dollar heroin business out of the pizzeria.
DiPalermo, who married Cuomo's sister, was busted by then-US Attorney Rudy Giuliani in 1986 for running a billion-dollar heroin ring. The two-year investigation netted 38 mobsters who allegedly controlled the sale of one-sixth of the heroin sold in the country.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

No sympathy for sick mobster Domenico Cutaia suffering from MS - judge throws the book at him

A once powerful Lucchese crime capo now suffering from an advanced stage of multiple sclerosis was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison for bank fraud.
Domenico "Danny" Cutaia, 72, hobbled into Brooklyn Federal Court with a walker hoping to get off with a sentence of home confinement.
Federal Judge Brian Cogan noted that the gangster is a "pretty hardened criminal," but acknowledged that he was looking at a man who was seriously ill and clinically depressed.
"What kind of message are we sending if we allow someone to commit crimes for 40 years, and when they get caught, they say, 'I'm too old and in poor health' to go to jail," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg argued. "He should not be able to use health and age as a sword and a shield."
Cutaia reportedly had held a position on the Luchese crime family's ruling panel in the past.
The judge reluctantly agreed.
"He's a tough guy. ... That's who he is and who I have to sentence," Cogan said.

A poster. A t-shirt. John Gotti Jr.'s buddies illustrate his name to promote his innocence

Accused killer John A. "Junior" Gotti is a great guy - just read his flyers.
Pals of the mob scion eager to defend his honor are planning to hand out posters featuring a picture of Gotti kissing a small child.
"Free John Gotti A great father. A great uncle. A great man. Just leave him alone. Goddamn it," the handouts read.
Gotti supporters plan to circulate the flyers in his old stomping grounds - Howard Beach, Queens - and in college bars along Long Island's Hempstead Turnpike, sources said.
Hats and T-shirts that read "Free John" also have been made.
Gotti is on trial for the fourth time in five years, accused of ordering three mob hits. He's also charged with racketeering, extortion and drug dealing to finance the Gambino crime empire.
A stream of Mafia turncoats have portrayed Gotti as a blood-soaked monster, but family and friends say that is not the 45-year-old dad they know.
Gotti's lawyers argue he quit the mob in 1999 after he saw the toll it took on his father, Dapper Don John Gotti, and his own young family.
Some court watchers still have "Free John" baseball caps that family passed out when Gotti's father, also known as the Teflon Don, was on trial for the final time in Brooklyn. He was convicted in that case and died in prison.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reputed Capo in Bonanno crime family names social club after Staten Island youth league

Say it ain't so, Bo!
A reputed capo in the Bonanno crime family is using the name of a Staten Island little league for his social club where he allegedly supervises illegal gambling, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Anthony Sclafani, 63, who is charged with racketeering and extortion, played a bad hand in Brooklyn Federal Court  where he was trying to convince a judge to let him out on bail.
Sclafani's claim that he's in poor health opened the door to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri arguing that the wiseguy was out playing cards well past 4 a.m. on Oct. 7 when FBI agents came to arrest him.
His gambling spot is a house on Victory Blvd. that doubles as a social club.
A sign posted outside identifies it as home of the "Staten Island Padres Youth Organization."
"They pretend it's a softball league, but it actually is a gambling location," Argentieri said.
Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis appeared puzzled.
"Is there really a league with uniforms. ... Do they go out for pizza after games?" he asked.
Argentieri said there was no baseball or softball at the site.
There is a legit Staten Island Padres Athletic Association on Getz Ave. which doesn't appear to be connected to the illicit operation.
Defense lawyer Michael Washor insisted Sclafani was out late because he sleeps all day due to the medication for a painful back condition.
Garaufis ordered the reputed capo held without bail.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Witness did not believe Gotti's claim to have quit mob

Mob informant Dominick Cicale testified at John "Junior" Gotti's racketeering trial Thursday that when he first heard in 2004 of Gotti's plan to claim that he had quit the mob, he thought it was a smart legal strategy - but not something that could actually be true.
"There is no quitting the mob," the former Bonanno family capo told jurors in federal court in Manhattan. "We're not Microsoft."
Cicale was the second witness in two days to testify that Gambino family heir Gotti and Cicale's boss, Bonanno family head Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, consulted while they were jailed in 2005 and devised plans to admit they had been part of the mob but deny recent criminal activity.
In four racketeering trials since 2005, Gotti, 45, of Oyster Bay, has claimed that he withdrew from the mob in 1999. The statute of limitations on racketeering is five years, and in the three previous trials the defense has helped produce hung juries.
Cicale, 42, a gangster from the Bronx who admitted to three murders, was dressed in a conservative suit but regaled jurors with detailed descriptions of his tattoos - including a panther on his chest, a "devil with an ax" on one arm, an executioner saying "Who's Next?" on the other, a grim reaper and a machine gun with a silencer.
After hearing from Basciano that Gotti was going to claim he had "quit the life," Cicale said, he consulted leaders of the Gambino, Genovese and Colombo families who were jailed with him in the Brooklyn federal lockup to see what they thought.
None vetoed the plan, Cicale said, but six years after Gotti now claims he had quit, no one else in organized crime seemed to know about it.
"They weren't aware of it," he testified. "I was making them aware."
In addition to racketeering, Gotti is charged with murdering two Queens men involved in the drug trade in the 1990s. If convicted, he could spend life in prison.


Gotti trial delayed as Junior whines of stomach pains

Being on trial can sometimes be a real pain in the ... stomach?
That's what John "Junior" Gotti complained of this morning for a second straight day -- forcing a federal judge to temporarily halt the former Gambino boss' racketerering trial and giving a food-weary jury an extended lunch.
Gotti's lawyer Charles Carnesi said Junior was "not well" and suffering from "significant pain."
"His stomach is still bothering him," Carnesi told reporters following a morning of testtimony in Manhattan federal court.
Asked if it was another bout of kidney stones, which Junior had to deal with earlier this year, Carnesi said he did not know.
Judge Kevin Castel did not tell the jury the reason for the delay, telling them, "Sometimes in the course of a trial ... schedules need to be adjusted. Plans need to be adjusted."
"My son is sick," mob matriarch Victoria Gotti fumed to a Post reporter outside court.
While Gotti's stomach hurt, that of the jurors was empty. In fact, the jury will be allowed this afternoon to go out to lunch after they complained of the take-out they'd been munching on the past few weeks.
The judge did not disclose the name of the restaurant inside the courtroom, telling jurors they could either meet at the eatery or walk there as a group accompanied by a US marshall.
Gotti is on trial for a fourth time in Manhattan after the feds' previous three attempts to put him behind bars ended in either a hung jury or mistrial.
The son of former boss John "Dapper Don" Gotti is on trial, accused of racketeering and his involvement in three mob murders.

Informant Testifies Against Junior Gotti

Former Gambino soldier Joseph "Little Joey" D'Angelo testified "that Gotti approached him in jail in late 2004 and urged breaking the traditional taboo on admitting the mob's existence in order to fight a racketeering indictment the two men faced" as reported by John Riley for Newsday:
Joseph D'Angelo"John said the usual way of us fighting cases is over," D'Angelo told jurors in federal court in Manhattan. Instead, Gotti proposed one of them taking the stand "to say, 'I'm a member of a family, but I've been in jail for years, what have I done?'" Gotti assured him that Gambino family elders and Vincent Basciano, the head of the Bonanno family, among others, had blessed the new approach, and said he could just lie about any criminal activity he was asked about, D'Angelo testified. But D'Angelo, who became an informant in 2005, concluded that the tactic might be tolerated for a bigwig like Gotti, but not for him. * * * Basciano, who prosecutors say was in the federal lockup in Manhattan at the same time as Gotti in 2004, has also advanced a withdrawal defense in court. Gotti, D'Angelo testified, said Basciano told him in 2004, "I'm following your lead."
Federal prosecutors today "also introduced new audio evidence to try to prove that Gotti was still trying to collect a loan-sharking debt years after his alleged withdrawal from the mob, and within five years of his 2008 indictment":
In an August 2003 recorded conversation with his sister Angel at Raybrook federal prison, Gotti tells her that his cousin Peter Gotti owes him $20,000. Then, in a 2007 conversation an informant recorded with the cousin, Peter complains about Gotti's refusal to forgive the loan, and about pressure from Gotti's brother, also named Peter. "He didn't do nothing for me," the cousin complains on the recording. "So then he starts sending Peter. . . . Peter says he's gonna, he's gonna beat up my friends if I don't do the right thing."

Mob-linked Gambling Ring Busted in Queens

Thirty people allegedly involved with an offshore sports betting operation linked to the Gambino and Genovese crime families have been indicted in Queens, NY as reported by the Associated Press:
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the betting ring was handling a "staggering amount of money." It collected more than $567 million in a 28-month period and accepted wagers on many sports, including football, basketball and hockey, the authorities said. Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said in a statement that the investigation uncovered evidence the betting operation had links to the Gambino and Genovese crime families. He said the gambling operation generated an average of more than $20 million a month. The ring used a wire room in Panama to maintain gambling accounts, according to the indictment. * * * The defendants were charged with enterprise corruption, money laundering, conspiracy and promoting gambling.
The press release from the Queens County District Attorney states:
One of the ring's alleged bookmakers – Joseph J. Fafone – was arrested yesterday at the airport in Rochester New York, where he was waiting to board a flight to Panama. He was carrying nearly $24,000 in cash on his person. Of the other ring members, seventeen were arrested locally today and are awaiting arraignment in Queens Supreme Court. Nine other individuals were arrested in upstate New York, Florida, Nevada and Illinois. Three others – including two in Panama – are presently being sought and search warrants are being executed across the country to track down assets connected to the ring. Presently, more than $3 million in cash has been seized. The arrests stem from a 38-month investigation known as "Operation Betting It All."
The other alleged bookmaker for the ring is Eric Davis Harp, and
nine other defendants – Joseph Fafone, Sr., Thomas Farley, Gail Harris, Edward P. Kenny, Lester Klein, Louis P. Lippa, Amanda Mercer, Robert Rasmussen and David Valerio – worked as "money collectors" and "distributors" and were responsible for exchanging, distributing, delivering and transferring gambling proceeds between members of the organization, including to and from agents/runners. * * * Four other defendants – Jerry Dicresce, Edward LaRocco, David Strickland and Robert Wehnert – are alleged to have been "master agents" with several subordinate agents/runners reporting directly to them. The indictment additionally charges that thirteen of the defendants worked as "agents/runners" – Robert Aglialoro, Andrew Berg, John Bowling, Louis Cassero, Joseph Catalanotto, Philip Cesario, David Goldman, Jonathan Piansky, Joseph Pontarelli, Matthew Schmalacker, Louis Todisco, Michael Rizzi and Robert Stampf – and were responsible for soliciting new bettors to the organization, maintaining existing bettor relationships and meeting with bettors to collect gambling losses and payout winnings. While bookmakers Fafone and Harp allegedly visited the Panama wire room on occasion, it is alleged that two other defendants in the ring – Andre Lepiz and Mike Sheridan – were in charge of the day-to-day running of the room and allegedly acted as intermediaries with others involved in the operation.
NY1 News reports that "some of the suspects allegedly belonged to the Gambino crime family, including Joseph Fafone," and further provides video of the news conference announcing the bust:  "'The principal in this case, Gambino associate Joseph J. Fafone, personally delivered $553,000 in winnings to one of the gamblers,' said [Police Commissioner Ray] Kelly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Excerpts of Junior Gotti Wiretaps

In prison tapes recorded in 2003 and played for jurors at each of his four racketeering trials, John A. "Junior" Gotti strategizes, fulminates about enemies, and rages at perceived slights by mob associates.
Some excerpts:
On Curtis Sliwa, whose kidnapping Gotti allegedly orchestrated: "He's just a -- . . . . The guy was one of the most hated guys in the city, the police department hated him, everybody hated him and yet he's a millionaire today."
On life after Raybrookprison: "If they let me leave here, let me into Canada, I'd leave tomorrow morning. I'd leave. There's no longer anything here for me. Nothing. I have a bad taste in my mouth."
On a winning legal strategy: "That's how you win cases, PR. I need my mother, I need my mother, who knows what happened to my father, to go on Larry King and tell them what the government does. I need my sister, who's in the media business, to rally behind her brother."
On the mob: "I stay here, I gotta start killing people. I just wanna move on with my life. . . . Nothing good there, no good memories there. Nothing but treachery and deceit, that's all that's here, treachery and deceit."
On revenge: "If any of them ever come here . . . I swear it to you on my dead brother and my dead father, I swear to you I will meet them by that . . . door, with two padlocks in my hands, and I will crack their skulls. I promise you that. This I take as my solemn oath as a man."


Colombo Family Boss Carmine Persico Prison Pals with Bernie Madoff

Newly filed court papers paint a bleak picture of Bernard Madoff's present life -- and a strippers- and drug-filled portrait of his past.
The filing, supporting a suit by the Ponzi scammer's victims, is based on information provided by lawyers who interviewed the super-swindler in a North Carolina federal prison and some of his former employees.
"Rather than spending time on private planes or his yachts," Madoff "now shares a cell with a 21-year-old inmate convicted of drug crimes," the papers say.
"Madoff sleeps in the lower bunk and he eats pizza cooked by an inmate convicted of child molestation.
"His recreation consists of walking around the prison track at night."
As for his pals in prison, the filing says, "he now spends time with former Colombo crime family boss Carmine Persico and Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel."
It adds, "Most of his fellow inmates are in prison for drug crimes or sex crimes, and Madoff will spend the rest of his life in prison with them."
The filing amends a proposed class-action lawsuit against Madoff-related entities by one of his victims.
It says its claims are based on lawyer Joseph Cotchett's July interview with Madoff in prison, as well as on other attorneys' discussions with employees. It also cites Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and published reports.
"Starting in 1975, Madoff began sending a longtime employee and office messenger to obtain drugs for himself and the company," it charges.
"Drug use in the office was described as rampant and likened the office to the 'North Pole' in reference to the cocaine use.
"Eventually, the main employee supplier was fired for his drug abuse when cocaine and other undisclosed drugs were found in his desk in 2003. Madoff worried that it might bring in drug prosecutors who might uncover the big scam."
There allegedly were also "wild office parties sans spouses," with "topless entertainers wearing only G-string underwear serving as waitresses."
The employees allegedly had late-night affairs in exciting places -- such as their boss' sofa "with whomever they could find."
The papers also name financial powerhouses, including JPMorganChase and the Bank of New York, accusing them of being "primary players necessary to accomplish [Madoff's] fraud."

Prosecutors Wont Call Lewis Kasman to Testify against Junior Gotti

Lewis Kasman, the former John Gotti confidant who joined Team America to bring down the Gambino family, will not be testifying against his "adopted brother" Junior as reported by Alison Gendar and Larry Mcshane for the Daily News:
Instead, prosecutors played a 2007 conversation between Kasman and Junior's cousin Peter. The chat - which Kasman taped - purportedly shows Junior was still collecting mob money. Prosecutors must demonstrate Junior was involved in illegal Mafia activity since 2003 in order to win a conviction.
Bruce Golding reports for the New York Post that "the FBI recruited Kasman 13 years ago when the elder Gotti was still boss of the Gambino crime family":
During a hearing last year in Florida, Kasman, who is not expected to testify in the Gotti trial, testified as a star witness against reputed Gambino gangster Vincent Artuso. During that hearing, federal prosecutors played recorded tapes of Kasman and Gambino consigliere Joseph "JoJo" Corozzo discussing the dysfunctional Gotti family. "He [John Sr.] died hating that kid [John Jr.], you know that," Kasman told Corozzo. Kasman told the feds he'd paid hundreds of thousands in cash to Gotti lawyers, including Gerald Shargel and Joseph Corozzo, who represented Gotti brothers Peter and Richard in 2002. In a jaw-dropping move, Kasman even wore a wire inside Manhattan federal court in 2005 during the first of three trials for "Junior" Gotti in a failed attempt to snare defense lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman. He asked Lichtman to accompany him to a "nearby establishment" and offered him $11,500 in off-the-books cash for attorney fees. But Lichtman didn't bite, taking only $9,500, which is under the legal limit.

Informants: Junior Gotti Colluded Legal Defense with Vinny Gorgeous

U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Castel ruled yesterday that prosecutors "will be allowed to present testimony Wednesday that Gotti and Bonanno family boss Vincent Basciano colluded in 2004 to construct legal defenses that they had withdrawn from the mob" as reported by John Riley for Newsday:
 [The judge] will allow two informants - Gambino family soldier Joseph D'Angelo and Bonanno family capo Dominick Cicale - to testify that Gotti and Basciano told them they had consulted on the plan. "We need to come up with a new way of defending," prosecutor Elie Honig quoted Gotti as telling D'Angelo in a jailhouse conversation after he and Gotti were indicted in a racketeering conspiracy in 2004. Both informants, Honig said, will testify that they were assured that admitting the mob's existence had been cleared, and that by denying they had engaged in crime for five years they would fall outside the statute of limitations on racketeering. "Don't worry about it," Honig said Basciano told Cicale. "I've discussed it with John Gotti Junior, and Junior's going to have Joey D'Angelo do the same type of thing."  * * * Castel's ruling, not unexpected, came after a day in which prosecutors played a series of 2003 prison tapes in which Gotti rants about his disgust with the treachery of gang life as a lawyer describes the need to "plant the seeds" for the legal claim that he has withdrawn from organized crime.
Junior's former driver and a one-time Bonanno family capo will testify beginning today that Gotti's claim of Mafia retirement is a ruse designed to beat his racketeering case. Joseph (Little Joey) D'Angelo will appear first, saying Gotti told him in July 2004 that the way to beat any mob rap was through the "withdrawal defense." Dominick Cicale will follow, testifying that he heard the same thing about Junior that year during a conversation with now-jailed Bonanno boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano. The timing is crucial to the government case. The feds must prove that Gotti's criminal activities with the Gambino family continued through 2003 - or Junior can beat the case through the statute of limitations. Gotti, 45, facing his fourth trial in five years, says he quit the mob a decade ago.
Further reporting:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Turncoat Gambino Captain Testifies Against Junior Gotti

Yesterday defense lawyer Charles Carnesi announced that he may call Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano -- the former Gambino underboss who brought down Junior's dad -- as a defense witness in an attempt to refute allegations that Junior Gotti had a role in the 1990 murder of Louis DiBono in a World Trade Center garage depending, of course, upon what Carnesi first learns from interviewing the mob informant as reported by John Riley for Newsday:
Gotti lawyer Charles Carnesi said he thinks Gravano could help clear his client on a murder allegation that he hung on the late Gambino family boss John J. Gotti 17 years ago, and hopes to talk to the legendary turncoat before making a final tactical decision on calling him. "It remains to be seen," Carnesi told reporters. "We'll interview him, and then see what we do." * * * Gravano, after leaving the federal witness protection program, was living under an assumed name and working as a swimming pool installer in Arizona when he was charged in 2001 with running a major drug ring that sold Ecstasy in the Southwest. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in 2002. At the elder Gotti's trial in 1992, Gravano provided testimony linking the boss to the 1990 murder of Louis DiBono, a mob soldier, in a garage at the World Trade Center, and jurors found the elder Gotti guilty of that charge.
Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo testified for a third day for the government, and stated "that another mobster told him Junior Gotti was involved" in the DiBono murder.
Gravano has testified about the DiBono killing in other trials, but never mentioned Junior. Joseph DiBenedetto, who once represented Junior's uncle, Peter Gotti, said putting Gravano on the stand "could be a double-edged sword." "The government can then question him about crimes he committed with [Junior] or any member of the conspiracy," DiBenedetto said. * * * Putting Gravano on the stand has backfired. Six years ago, wiseguy Thomas (Huck) Carbonaro was on trial for trying to rub out the mob turncoat - on Peter Gotti's orders. Carbonaro's lawyers hoped Gravano would testify Carbonaro would not try to kill his friend. Instead, he said Carbonaro would have been killed for disobeying orders.
Further reporting:
Bruce Golding for New York Post:  Sammy Gravano may testify for Junior Gotti

Former Mobster Announces He's Gay

Robert Mormando, a former reputed Gambino hitman, yesterday announced that he's gay and has renounced the mob life at his sentencing hearing in a federal court for his role "in the shooting of Queens bagel store owner Angelo Mugnolo, who was wounded in the driveway of his Howard Beach home in 2003" as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News:
The rubout was ordered by Vincent Gotti, the younger brother of late crime boss John Gotti, who suspected the baker was fooling around with his wife. Mormando became a government informant shortly after the shooting. He did not have have to testify against accomplices Vincent Gotti, his nephew Richard Gotti and Angelo Ruggiero Jr., because they pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy charges last year. Sources said Mormando's cooperation was kept a closely guarded secret until he came out Monday. * * * Defense lawyer Nancy Ennis told the judge Mormando was given the contract a month after he was inducted into the crime family in 2002. "He was summoned to perform an act that he found totally unacceptable afterward," Ennis said. "He did follow through, but he found the incident to be so disagreeable shortly after that he started having strong thoughts about leaving the mob. * * * Ennis' biggest bombshell was announcing that Mormando is out of the closet. "He has been openly gay since he left the mob," Ennis said. Mormando's partner has refused to enter the witness protection program, but they have relocated and together they "live a peaceful working life," she said.
For decades the Mafia -- particularly the Gambino and Genovese crime families -- have been behind many gay bars and sex clubs in New York City.  Of course, Mormando is not the first wise guy to like the guys, and Marzulli further writes:
Former DeCavalcante crime boss John D'Amato was whacked in 1992 for being gay. A burly gay hit man named Vito Arena was a member of the murderous Roy DeMeo crew. He, too, became a mob informant, but he returned to a life of a crime and was shot dead in a botched armed robbery.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Three busted building inspectors all with apparent ties to Lucchese family had prior raps

Three of the six city building inspectors busted in a recent corruption sweep were hired even though they had rap sheets, a Daily News investigation found.
The issue has become more important in the wake of allegations that corrupt inspectors took cash to overlook violations or speed permits.
All Buildings Department job applicants must disclose any previous arrests and submit to background investigations that include fingerprinting and criminal database searches, spokesman Tony Sclafani said.
At least three inspectors, reputed associates of the Lucchese crime family, were hired and promoted despite arrest records dating from the late 1980s and '90s.
The city either failed to uncover the prior arrests or chose to ignore them. Sclafani refused to say which.
"Red flags should have gone up," said City Councilman James Oddo (R-S.I.), head of of the Task Force on Operations and Improvement of the Buildings Department. "This agency was a cesspool for many decades. There has to be more accountability."
The three were among 29 defendants - including three other former building inspectors, several contractors and developers and a handful of reputed gangsters - arrested Oct. 1.
Authorities said a city Department of Investigation probe uncovered a bribery scheme controlled by two high-ranking Lucchese mobsters, Joseph DiNapoli and Matthew Madonna.
The most recently hired of the indicted inspectors, Frank Francomano, joined the agency in 2007, despite a 1993 arrest in Yonkers for possession of gambling instruments.
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's sweeping 92-page indictment puts Francomano, 45, at the heart of the scheme. He was charged with loansharking, gambling, drug dealing and taking at least $20,000 in payoffs.
Francomano's boss in the Bronx division, Earl Prentice, 44, also was on the take, the indictment said. In 1985 he pleaded guilty in Brooklyn to trespassing, a violation. He was hired the next year by the Buildings Department. Prentice's lawyer did not return calls.
Francomano's building inspector brother, Carmine Jr., 43, and dad, Carmine "Snappy" Francomano Sr., 71, also were indicted.
The indictment says Carmine Jr. used his position as supervising inspector of the Scaffold Safety Unit like "an ATM machine" to take more than $82,000 in bribes.
The younger Francomano had no prior record, but prosecutors said he teamed up to take bribes with another indicted inspector who did, Angel Luis Aviles.
A 1989 arrest for assault and weapons possession in the Bronx did not stop the Buildings Department from hiring Aviles, 56, in 2004 or from promoting him to supervising inspector.
Aviles pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
Sclafani said the department is reviewing its hiring practices. He would not discuss specifics, but said "a prior criminal record cannot be the sole basis for denying employment."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Genovese Crime Family Remains Mafia Powerhouse

Vincent "Chin" "Gigs" Giga...Former Genovese Boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante
Staten Island jeweler Louis Antonelli didn't know he was being watched when he left El Sabor Tropical restaurant in April 2008.
As he placed containers of takeout food in the back of his GMC Yukon, two hooded men pulled up beside him and demanded the precious stones they knew he always carried on him in two stuffed briefcases.
But instead of simply grabbing the bags, one of the flustered thugs, Charles Santiago, a 26-year-old hothead with a rap sheet a mile long, shot Antonelli, 43, twice in the chest, sources said.
As the jeweler collapsed to the ground in the Staten Island parking lot, the thugs sped off, leaving $260,000 in bling and cash in the jeweler's car.
Strangely, the man Antonelli had hired to protect him from exactly this scenario, retired NYPD Sgt. Jason Aiello, was still in the restaurant, seated at a table, unarmed.
Investigators have now revealed to The Post the motive for the killing, which was first believed to be a mob hit.
Antonelli had stopped paying protection money to the Genoveses, and the crime family wasn't pleased. They wanted their money, and robbing the wholesale jeweler was the easiest way to get it.
They didn't mean for Antonelli to die -- which he did, a few days later -- but in the end, he was just another casualty in the crime family's bloody history.
The FBI last week picked up a sixth man allegedly involved in the botched heist. John "Whiz" Delutro, 32, was charged as an accomplice to the shooting for acting as a lookout that day, and more arrests are expected soon, sources said.
The bloodshed did not end with Antonelli's murder. His trusted friend and sometimes-bodyguard, Aiello, 36, was killed a month later in a shootout with cops.
After being questioned by FBI agents about his involvement in the murder, Aiello had a breakdown and began quoting Scripture and behaving erratically. His family checked him into a psych ward, but he escaped hours later and returned to his Rosebank home.
Clutching a Bible and carrying two 9mm guns, Aiello ushered his wife and pajama-clad kids outside, hoping to get them out of the state.
"Follow me, I am the chosen one," he said, according to a neighbor.
But he was soon surrounded by cops.
"Do you believe in God?" he asked an officer before opening fire.
He died in a hail of bullets as his wife crouched next to him in a cousin's SUV, his children huddling in the family's minivan nearby.
Law-enforcement sources said that if he had lived, it's possible he would have been indicted in the jeweler's death.
While New York's four other crime families wallow in disarray -- the super-secretive Genovese family is still the biggest and the baddest of La Cosa Nostra, according to law-enforcement officials.
"They're the most efficient family because they're so secretive. People within the family don't even know who each other are, or who is in charge," said Dave Shafer, head of the FBI's Organized Crime program.
"They are very disciplined in their criminal plots, and they keep their hit teams small. Infiltration by law enforcement is very difficult," he said.
"They continue to use violence to ensure compliance."
The Gambinos took a major hit when they lost their acting boss, underboss and consigliere in a federal sweep in 2008. The Colombos' street boss, Tommy "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, was picked up on murder charges last year. The Bonannos' 38-year-old Sicilian street boss was deported earlier this year, and the small Luchese family, with only about 100 members, has never recovered from its trigger-happy underboss, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, who went on a paranoid killing spree within the family.
In contrast, the Genoveses are likely ruled by a panel of elder statesmen who divide power and keep low profiles. Investigators are never sure who wields power in the family, sources said.
Current wisdom holds that Liborio "Barney" Bellomo, Ernest "Ernie" Muscarella, Dominick "Quiet Dom" Cirillo, Tino Fiumara and Lawrence "Little Larry" Dentico are all in charge to some degree.
And while the other families are plagued by rats, the Genoveses have very few members who turn government witness. Bonanno boss Joe Massino flipped for the feds in a shocking move, as did his underboss Salvatore Vitale. Two of Gambino don John Gotti Sr.'s right-hand men, Sammy "Bull" Gravano and Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, are trotted out to testify at mob trials on a rotating basis.
Each time a "made" man flips, a crime family takes a huge hit. Agents can take down whole crews and can learn how the family operates and where the power resides.
By remaining tight-lipped, the Genovese family -- the largest crime clan, with anywhere from 250 to 400 members, sources said -- are able to consolidate power, grow and rake in huge amounts of ill-gotten gains.
"We haven't had widespread disruption of the Genoveses like we had with the other families," said Shafer.
While John Gotti Sr. flaunted his status and his power and was seen all over town in flashy suits, legendary Genovese godfather Vincent "Chin" Gigante for decades pretended to be mentally ill -- walking around in a bathrobe, urinating in the street, muttering to himself and generally behaving like a mad man.
He was never picked up on a wiretap, and avoided prosecution for far longer than the other family bosses. In more than 30 years as head of the family, he was able to consolidate the family's power over labor unions, the Javits Convention Center, the Fulton Fish Market and the San Gennaro Festival, among other lucrative rackets.
Made guys who even uttered his name had a death warrant placed on their heads. Instead, they could only point to or rub their chins when they wanted to reference him, said Shafer.
"Gigante's secrecy permeated the ranks -- and it still exists," he said. "If someone in the Genovese family slips up, they're dead before you know it."
The Genovese family has its roots in the Italian criminal gangs run by gangster Joseph Masseria in the 1920s. Masseria started the famous "Castellammarese War" in 1928 but was killed by Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who became the first boss of the Genovese family and set up what is known as the "Commission," or ruling body of the five families.
In 1946, Luciano was deported to Italy and mobster Frank Costello led the family until its namesake, Vito Genovese, took control by sending then-soldier Gigante to murder Costello.
Costello survived the attempted hit but ceded control anyway. When Genovese died in his prison cell in 1969, Gigante became the secret boss of the family, a fact that stayed hidden from the other families and law enforcement for years.
In 1997, The Chin was convicted of racketeering and murder conspiracy and sentenced to 12 years, although he continued to run the family from prison. He died there in 2005.
The family known for its history of brutal efficiency still maintains an iron grip on its members.
In April, another longtime Genovese associate, William Romano, 71, was bludgeoned to death, along with his girlfriend, Elviza Aronova, 37, over a drug deal gone awry.
Romano had been running things on the street for his capo, Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardo, who was cooling his heels in prison. Lombardo was a known heroin dealer who was in constant contact with Romano, even while in the can, sources said.
But Romano had recently borrowed $200,000 from the Bonanno crime family to negotiate a heroin deal, The Post has learned, and apparently didn't pay it back.
A few days later, he and his girlfriend became two more mob fatalities.
No arrests have been made in that case. Lombardo died in prison a few months later.
The Genoveses even reputedly had a family capo, Larry Ricci, killed while he was on trial for extortion in Brooklyn federal court in 2005.
He'd refused to take a plea, and the family was reportedly not happy that he was going to take the stand in his defense, opening up the clan to scrutiny from federal prosecutors.
One day, he didn't show up at the courthouse. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest. It wasn't necessary. A month later, he was found in the trunk of a car outside the Huck Finn Diner in Union, NJ.
The case remains unsolved.


Mickey Rourke's Mob Mania

Mickey Rourke, Mafia groupie? In a remarkable coincidence, two new books detail the tough-guy star's infatuation with Gambino-family mobsters, including two generations of the Gottis and legendary thug Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo.

While Victoria Gotti reports in "This Family of Mine" how Rourke spent the night of Jan. 19, 1996, drinking brandy with John "Junior" Gotti as the mob scion waited to be arrested by the FBI, Gerald Posner reveals in "Miami Babylon" that Rourke's mob mania began many years earlier.

"Ever since Rourke made 'The Pope of Greenwich Village' [1984], he had been fascinated with the Mafia," Posner writes.

Rourke created his own crew in a "male-bonding ceremony" in Los Angeles with 13 friends who swore allegiance to one another. Each of Rourke's "brothers" got a tattoo of a shamrock on his left wrist, his initials in Gaelic script and the number of his position in Rourke's hierarchy, Posner writes.

Miami club owner Gary James was No. 6. "Mickey had flown James to New York where they had dinner with Gotti mob captains at an Upper East Side restaurant, Da Noi," according to "Miami Babylon."

"When John Gotti went on trial in the spring of 1992, Rourke sat in the front row with the Gotti family to support him. He told reporters that he and Gotti were friends . . . Rourke waved at Gotti, and hugged and kissed his associates."

The book claims that DiLeonardo later went to James' Miami nightclub, The Spot, and told him, "We want to see your books." Otherwise, he would torch the club.

"That incident caused a rupture in the James-Rourke friendship," Posner writes. But Rourke still had friends in low places.

In 1999, when Chris Paciello was indicted in Brooklyn for multiple counts of murder, robbery and racketeering, the judge set bail at $15 million. To help Paciello make bail, Posner reports, "Mickey Rourke's mother put up the deed to her house."


Friday, October 16, 2009

Feds Play Gotti and Jr. Jailhouse Tapes

Federal prosecutors today played "a tape-recorded 1994 jailhouse conversation" between John Gotti and his boy Junior in which the latter "called an effort he allegedly masterminded to derail a federal jury-tampering investigation an 'ingenious move'" as reported by John Riley for Newsday:
Gotti, according to earlier testimony from former lieutenant John Alite, set up a plan to identify and compromise jurors in the 1989 heroin trafficking trial of his uncle Gene Gotti, and then stymied a federal probe by having brother-in-law Carmine Agnello take responsibility after Agnello got an immunity grant from a grand jury. His father, Gambino boss John J. Gotti, imprisoned in 1994 in Marion, Ill., was skeptical - at least on tape. He told his son he hadn't known about the plan in advance and didn't like the idea of family members talking to a grand jury under any circumstances. "If there was a church I robbed and I had the steeple sticking out of my --, I wouldn't say nothin,' " Gotti told his son on the tape played in federal court in Manhattan. The younger Gotti said it had stopped prosecutors in their tracks. "From what I was told, it was a very ingenious move," he told his father.  ". . . I was told by all the lawyers, all the lawyers involved, it was a very ingenious move." His father praised him: "Well then, whoever done it should get stripes or somethin.'"

The Junior Gotti Racketeering Trial

Prosecutors are unlikely to charge Junior Gotti in connection with his alleged outburst last week at former pal John Alite as reported by Bruce Golding for the New York Post:
Gotti, 45, shocked observers last Thursday in Manhattan federal court by launching into a furious tirade against ex-pal John Alite, calling the turncoat mobster a "punk" and a "dog" after Alite, on his way out of the courtroom, turned to Gotti and said: "You got something to say to me?" Last week, a prosecutor told the judge that the entire incident -- which took place just after the jury left for lunch -- was prompted by Gotti mouthing the words "I'll kill you" to Alite. That account came from a marshal with the witness-protection program who was stationed near Alite, prosecutor Elie Honig said. But Judge P. Kevin Castel said today that he had discussed the outburst with the US Marshals and determined that they "did not observe" the threat that Alite said Gotti had made towards him. Alite later told the judge that Gotti "lipped" the threat, saying: "We're gonna kill you."
Further reporting:

The Toto Anastasio Trial

Former Royal Crown Bakery co-owner John Galano yesterday "corroborated prosecutors' contention that he, Joseph Generoso and brother Frank Galano were strongarmed into shelling out $2,000 to $3,000 in payouts to the Gambinos once a year at Christmas" as reported by Jeff Harrell for the Staten Island Advance:
John Galano, 40, recalled driving Royal Crown Bakery owner Joseph Generoso to meetings with Anthony Anastasio at his travel agency in Brooklyn, and hosting the longtime Gambino soldier "frequently" at the Hylan Boulevard bakery, including three separate sitdowns between Generoso, Anastasio and the mobster’s friends. Galano said he never saw money exchange hands, but he was working at the bakery when a third and final meeting erupted in front of patrons with a loud argument between Generoso, Anastasio and a third man identified by prosecutors as reputed Gambino muscle man William (Billy) Scotto.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reputed mob killer Tommy Shots Gioeli says prison is hazardous to his health

To hear Tommy Shots tell it, jail is for the birds.
No toenail clippers. Too many potatoes. And those mattresses are so hard.
The reputed mob killer - real name: Thomas Gioeli - came to court Tuesday with an impressive list of complaints about the federal lockup in Brooklyn.
"What he needs most immediately is a toenail clipper," defense lawyer Adam Perlmutter said in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Prosecutors told U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes the request might pose a "security issue" because Gioeli - said to be the acting boss of the Colombo crime family - is in solitary confinement, where sharp instruments are banned.
That raised another issue: the only eating utensil Gioeli has is a spoon.
"He's taken the position that if he's not given an instrument to cut his food, he's not going to eat it because he doesn't want to choke on it," Perlmutter said.
Choking is a danger because Gioeli's dental bridge is broken. Not that he's crazy about the jail's starch-heavy menu anyway.
"They're giving him rice and French fries with his hamburger," Perlmutter said. "It's just not a proper diet for someone with diabetes."
It went on like that for nearly an hour.
"It seems like I'm turning into a social worker," Reyes said.
Gioeli claims he developed a rash in the cell, which has no hot water. When he requested cleaning supplies, he was given a Styrofoam cup with disinfectant and three sheets of paper towels.
His prison problems seemed to magnify after he was moved to solitary for safety, after a death threat was phoned into the prison.
During the transfer, his orthopedic shoes went missing. The special "egg-shell mattress" for his back wasn't sent to the new cell, either, so he's forced to sleep on a paper-thin bed covering.
And the move meant changes in Gioeli's commissary privileges.
"So instead of Bubblicious, he gets Trident?" the judge cracked.
All kidding aside, Reyes said the lack of treatment for Gioeli's heart condition and diabetes are serious. He ordered the feds to come back with a status report in two weeks or said he might consider releasing Gioeli on bail.
Gioeli is charged in the killings of Frank "Chestnut" Marasa in 1991; John Minerva and Michael Imbergamo in 1992; Richard Greaves in 1995, and former Colombo underboss William "Wild Bill" Cutolo, whose corpse was unearthed last year not far from Gioeli's home in Farmingdale, L.I.

Mafia turncoat Michael Finnerty testifies he paid tribute money to John "Junior" Gotti

A Gambino family associate who claimed he paid tribute money to John A. "Junior" Gotti acknowledged Wednesday that he doesn't know if the ex-mob boss ever received a penny from his payoffs.
Prosecution witness Michael Finnerty had testified that he made a $5,000 payoff to Junior on Christmas Eve 2004, five years after Gotti claims that he'd quit the Mafia.
Under cross-examination, the government informant said his payments to Gotti were always delivered through middle men - including one associate known as a degenerate gambler.
"Have you ever given Mr. Gotti any sum of money?" asked defense attorney Charles Carnesi.
"No, I have not," Finnerty replied in his second day of testimony at Gotti's federal racketeering trial. "That's not the way it works."
Carnesi asked if Finnerty even knew that his payments had reached Gotti.
"No, I do not," Finnerty replied.
Finnerty, who once ran with Gotti's crew in Queens, is a pivotal government witness because his testimony undercuts Junior's claim of mob retirement in 1999.
Prosecutors introduced a Dec. 24, 2004, check made out to cash by Finnerty as proof of his payoff to Gotti.
They contend the check shows Gotti was still in a position of power with the Gambinos.
Gotti is facing his fourth trial in five years for racketeering. The previous three cases ended in mistrials.

6 Florida members of Bonanno crime family admit guilt

Six individuals who were among the eleven arrested last May for participating in an alleged "wide-ranging criminal racket run by the Bonanno organized-crime family" in South Florida pleaded guilty today in a federal court in Fort Lauderdale as reported by Scott Hiaasen for the Miami Herald:

The men were accused of taking part in a variety of crimes -- from identity theft to drug trafficking, arson and Medicare fraud -- to benefit the Mafia. All six pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the federal racketeering statute. Among those pleading guilty was Pasquale "Patsy'' Rubbo, 43, of Parkland, described in the indictment as an "enforcer'' for the local mob crew. Prosecutors said he led a scheme to profit from bogus checks, and illegally bought prescription painkillers from area pain-management clinics and then sold the drugs on the black market.

The others who pleaded guilty today were Joseph Rubbo, Lee Klein, Daniel S. Young, Frank D'Amato and Billie Robertson. Sentencing is scheduled for January.

Thomas Fiore, the alleged ring leader of the crew, and the other remaining defendants are set for trial on November 9; however, "a seventh suspect is scheduled to plead guilty next week and prosecutors expect others to follow" as reported by Curt Anderson for the Associated Press.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Juror released from John A. (Junior) Gotti trial amid fears over near-accident wasn't accident

It wasn't a mob hit - or even a mob miss.
But a minor traffic mishap involving a skittish Gotti trial juror led to her dismissal Tuesday.
Federal Judge Kevin Castel booted Juror No. 3 from the racketeering case so that her paranoia wouldn't taint the deliberations.
The 55-year-old secretary for a city agency was crossing 14th St. on Oct. 2 when she was bumped by a passing car.
When she returned to court last week, she expressed fear the close call was somehow tied to the trial of John A. (Junior) Gotti.
After determining the woman couldn't have been followed, Castel calmed her down and the trial continued. But over the weekend, he reread the transcripts of her tale and decided to reconsider.
The defense said ditching her was the "safe" move, and Castel agreed, though he assured lawyers there was no new information suggesting the car bump was anything sinister.
The jumpy juror had sent the judge three notes since the trial began Sept. 14 - the last two related to the traffic incident.
"What I think the right thing to do in this case is to excuse you from continuing on this jury, and so then there is just going to be no question and no doubt about any issue," Castel said, adding the juror had not done anything wrong.
At several points during the trial, she was spotted with her eyes closed in the juror box - prompting Castel to instruct jurors to "get up and stretch."
Tuesday, jurors heard from mob informant Kevin Finnerty, who testified that he made a $5,000 payoff to Gotti in 2004. The timing undercuts Gotti's claim that he quit the mob in 1999.