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

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Daughter of the Oddfather says she helped him sell his act to the feds

It was the most cunning and comical farce in mob history: crime boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante shuffling dazed through the West Village in powder-blue pajamas, mumbling to himself.
Turns out the daughter of the “Oddfather” was in on the act.
Rita Gigante says her gangster dad used her to sell his ploy and keep him out of jail, making her take his arm as he crept along Sullivan Street while FBI agents watched.
“My father,” she writes in a new autobiography, “was a brilliant actor . . . and I was soon swept into his dramatic world.”
She recounts a scene in September 1983 when her dad, head of the Genovese crime family, summoned her from the living-room couch in an apartment so dark that she called it “the dungeon.”
RITA GIGANTE  Dad’s “walker” in crazy street act.
RITA GIGANTE Dad’s “walker” in crazy street act.
“Rita,” he whispered, “walk with me.”
“I knew he wasn’t asking me to go for a leisurely stroll with him through the park. When my father ordered me to walk with him, it meant he had to go to the cafe to do some business . . . and he needed to put on a good show.”
Before heading out, he would change out of his casual slacks and shirt, donning sleepwear that included a black velour bathrobe he got from the Golden Nugget casino in Vegas, she recalls. He’d muss his hair and pull the robe over the newsboy cap on his head.
“Dad’s head would drop so low that half his face was covered by the hood.
“He’d stoop his body over and let his arms fall heavy and limp to his sides, and then he’d start shuffling his feet. Before my eyes, my powerful, in-charge dad had become a fragile, senile old man.”
He would whisper to her, “Hold me closer to you,” or “Walk slower.” She never spoke.
“Sometimes as we walked, he’d teeter as if he couldn’t hold himself up and was about to tip over. That’s when I’d take his cue and pretend to catch him.
“Other times, he’d abruptly stop and point and start mumbling gibberish. If he thought for sure he was being taped or filmed by the feds, he’d really lay it on thick.”
She once nearly cracked up when he stopped at a parking meter and said, “We’re going for a walk. Parking meter. Wanna come?”
“It took all my restraint not to start laughing,” she writes in “The Godfather’s Daughter: An Unlikely Story of Love, Healing and Redemption.”
But the gangster’s charade was no joke to the feds, who charged Gigante with racketeering in 1990, only to watch justice slow to a crawl as witnesses claimed The Chin was nuts.
He eventually was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to 12 years. While serving his time, Gigante pleaded guilty to a second charge, obstruction of justice, for faking his mental illness, admitting to the ruse and getting three more years. He died in jail in 2005.
Rita Gigante, however, suffered from being in the mob mix, tormented by experiences that included witnessing at age 5 her dad beat a rival senseless as she hid under the dining-room table.
She eventually became a massage therapist and “healer” who started a family with her lesbian partner.
“I grew up in the dark and escaped the dungeon to find my way to the light,” she wrote.


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