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

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.


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