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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Partner of Vinny Gorgeous found floating with bullet to the brain in family pool

Ex-con Robert Van Zandt Jr. (left) was partner and 'moneyman' of Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano (right) in a Bronx construction company.
Ex-con Robert Van Zandt Jr. (left) was partner and 'moneyman' of Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano (right) in a Bronx construction company.

A buddy of ex-Bonanno family boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano was found floating in his family pool with a bullet to the brain - and his wife says it wasn't self-inflicted.
Ex-con Robert Van Zandt Jr., 44, was Basciano's partner and "moneyman" in a Bronx construction company. His body was discovered by his wife on Sept. 6 at his Scarsdale home.
"I strongly believe it was not suicide," widow Kimmarie Van Zandt said Wednesday.
"I loved my husband 110% with all my heart, and there's no way he would have done this to himself without reaching out to me one last time to say goodbye," she said. There was no suicide note, she added. Asked if her husband had enemies, she responded, "No comment."
Detective Lt. Patrick McCormack of the Yonkers Police Department said the death remains an "open investigation."
"It's possibly a suicide, but we're not ruling out anything," said McCormack, whose department is heading the probe.
Several experienced homicide investigators queried by the Daily News said they had never heard of someone committing suicide with a handgun in a swimming pool.
Kimmarie Van Zandt said she has "no idea" about the origin of the gun recovered from the inground pool.
Basciano's recent trial for the murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo was peppered with references to Robert Van Zandt.
There was testimony that Robert Van Zandt had complained to the gangster that Pizzolo was ripping him off on a construction job.
Basciano was convicted of ordering Pizzolo's murder, in part because he botched the work on the job.
Robert Van Zandt served time for mail fraud and reached out to the Bonannos for help when he had a beef in prison.
"He owed some people money for gambling in jail ... He told me he was around Vinny so I straightened it out for him," testified Generoso Barbieri, a former Bonanno soldier in Basciano's crew.
Robert Van Zandt, married and the father of two children, had filed for bankruptcy in 2005, claiming he was $3 million in debt.


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