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

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gambino Capo Greg DePalma's Son Craig Dies At 44 After Eight Years In Coma

Gambino mobster Craig DePalma died last month in a nursing home where he spent eight years in a coma after a failed jailhouse suicide - ending one of the strangest tales in Mafia history.
Even though DePalma, 44, had tried to hang himself after it was revealed that he sang to a grand jury, his father, Gambino capo Greg DePalma, did not forsake the son and never gave up hope he would recover.
And in yet another bizarre twist, the elder DePalma, 77, turned the Westchester County nursing home into a kind of satellite clubhouse, holding court with gangsters who met covertly among the sick and elderly.
Law enforcement officials watched in disbelief as the elder DePalma meticulously tended to his son during the sitdowns - a new low for the mafiosi, who routinely held secret meetings at funeral home wakes.
The senior DePalma, who died in prison in 2009, was in denial about his son's work as a rat - and his irreversible, vegetative condition.
Wiseguys brought armloads of Italian food and desserts to the nursing home.
They would lift Craig onto a gurney and wheel him to the outdoor garden or a library balcony - where they talked mob business.
"We took over the place," retired FBI undercover Jack Garcia, who infiltrated the DePalma crew, told the Daily News.
"A nursing home is supposed to be a place for peace and quiet and they turned it into a mob hangout."
Garcia, author of "Making Jack Falcone," helped jail 32 mobsters during his years undercover.
Craig's room was a shrine to his youth, plastered with family photos and football jerseys from his days with the Eastchester Devils.
Desperate to penetrate Craig's fog, his parents constantly played his favorite heavy metal music on a stereo: Metallica and AC/DC.
A private nurse kept Craig groomed and fed him intravenously. Greg's crew was asked to kick in money for Botox injections in hope of straightening Craig's clawlike hands.
A Santeria witch doctor was even summoned for a miracle cure, Garcia said.
"Greg talked to him as if [Craig] could hear," Garcia said.
Loudmouthed Greg would bark at patients who made too much noise. "He screamed at a woman with dementia because he said she kept Craig up at night," Garcia said.
Lawyer Robert Ellis, who represented Greg for many years, said neither father nor son was cut out for mob life. Greg was too loud and flamboyant; Craig was strong but not silent.
"It was devastating to Craig's image to be perceived as a rat," Ellis said. "But I don't think you can blame it all on the father. Craig chose his own course."
Greg was a proud pop when Craig was proposed for induction into the Gambino family by the late John Gotti. The son then served in the crew of another second-generation gangster: John A. (Junior) Gotti.
"I spent a lot of time in that nursing home and I know Greg loved his son," Garcia said.
"He was proud of him being a member of that life even when he was in the coma."
After Greg was convicted of racketeering in 2006 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, Craig's only visitor was his elderly mother, Terry - who was still bitter that her husband had brought their son into the mob, said a source close to the DePalma family.
"Craig wanted to follow the life that his father led," Garcia said. "He wanted all the trappings of that life and the respect a made guy would get."

1 comment:

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