IN THIS ISSUE|
· All in the Family - Again
· Family Challenge
· Nine for Carmine
· This Week in Mob History
All in the Family - Again
Remember in Sammy Gravano’s "Underboss" book in which he describes the Commission meeting where John Gotti proudly tells Vincent "Chin" Gigante that his son, "Junior" Gotti, has been made. Gravano says that Gigante, head of the Genovese Family, responds, "Jeez, I’m sorry to hear that." Gravano explains that Gigante had kept his sons out of the "life" and Sammy goes on to berate Gotti for getting his son involved.
Gravano expounds about the importance of family claiming he exited the Witness Protection Program in order to be closer to his wife and kids. Sammy then ends up with the proverbial "egg on his face" after the whole Gravano family is dragged down in an ecstasy indictment. In addition to his son Gerard, the two-faced Gravano allowed his wife Deborah, daughter Karen and her boyfriend David Seabrook to get involved and eventually arrested.
In an August 12 New York Daily News article by Greg Smith, the reporter reveals that Gigante’s son Andrew has been passing messages from the imprisoned mob boss to subordinates. Smith writes:
As recently as March 30 at the Bronx home of soldier Pasquale (Patty) Falcetti, [Michael] Durso and FBI surveillance listened as Falcetti made clear that Gigante’s son, Andrew, was now speaking for the boss, according to investigators and court documents.
Falcetti claimed Andrew Gigante had ‘put a beef in’ to the family hierarchy regarding a dispute with a Genovese associate named George Barrone.
‘Whatever the kid [Andrew] says, it comes from him [Vincent Gigante]," Falcetti said, touching his chin. ‘Who’s going to challenge that?’"
Seems like old "Chin" had a change of mind. Father and son combinations within the mob are hardly a new phenomenon. Below, with the help of Charlie Molino, is a listing of some of the more prominent father and son mob combinations:
In the same Daily News article, Greg Smith claims that evidence collected from a three-year government probe indicates that there is "a new world order in New York’s five crime families." According to Assistant U. S. Attorney Paul Weinstein, the two most powerful clans are now the Genovese and the Bonanno Families, with the Gambinos slipping down to the third slot. Weinstein found that after the fourth place Lucchese Family that "the Colombo Family is no longer recognized by the other families because of internal strife."
Three days after this article appeared in the Daily News the New York Post reported that John "Jackie the Nose" D’Amico, one of John Gotti’s most trusted and loyal capos, was scheduled for release from a federal prison in Fort Dix, New Jersey in three weeks. Shortly after Gotti was sent to prison in June 1992, government authorities claimed that leadership of the family fell to a triumvirate of John A. "Junior" Gotti, Nicholas Corozzo and D’Amico. With "Junior" and "Little Nicky" still serving time, mob sources say, "Jackie will absolutely take on a bigger role."
Does anyone besides AM.com feel that this last comment seems to serve as a gauntlet being laid down as a challenge to the Gambino Family to retake its role as the most powerful of the New York families. Under the regime of acting boss Peter Gotti there seems to have been less strife and bloodshed during these past few years. Here’s to hoping it continues.
By the way, the Daily News article never explained the reasons behind the Gambino Family’s fall into third place. Meanwhile, here are the most current figures on family strength. Unfortunately, made members are not broken out from the total which includes associates:
* This second set of numbers appeared in a New York Daily News article which appeared last fall.
In an article released earlier this year, the Chicago Crime Commission stated that as of 1997 Chicago had "perhaps" 50 inducted members and between 700 and 1,200 active Outfit associates.
Last week AM.com stated that Carmine Agnello would continue to look for a plea deal before his September trial date. The plea went down several days before the column was posted. (Editor’s note: May’s column is normally turned in on Wednesday afternoon for a Monday morning presentation on the site.)
The original deal reported in the New York newspapers was nine years and an $11 million fine. Nothing seems to have changed between what was offered and declined two weeks ago and what Agnello eventually accepted. The only difference AM.com sees is that Agnello’s worth grew from $40 to $70 million in just 14 short days. That should make Victoria's lawyers happy.
Apparently the last man standing in the whole ordeal is Carmine’s bookkeeping flame Debbie DiCarlo. Her deal to plead guilty on a tax violation fell through. If she goes to trial and is convicted she faces up to five years in prison.
August 27, 1944 – Vito Genovese was arrested while sitting in his chauffeur-driven limousine in Nola, Italy by Orange C. Dickey, an agent for the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army. Genovese had been indicted earlier in the year for the murder of Ferdinand "the Shadow" Boccia in 1934.
August 28, 1923 – Nathan "Kid Dropper" Kaplan, a New York City labor racketeer who fought legendary battles against Johnny Spanish and Jacob "Little Augie" Orgen. Desperately trying to knock him off Orgen gang member Jack "Legs" Diamond came up with a plan to kill him when he left a court hearing. In a brazen display Louis Cohen pushed his way through a crowd of police and shot Kaplan to death as he sat between two detectives in the back seat of a cab.
August 28, 1973 – Natale Evola was a loyal member of the Bonanno Family who had served as an usher in Joseph Bonanno’s wedding in 1931. In the turmoil that prevailed in that family in the 1960s and early 1970s Evola, according to some sources, emerged as the family boss. His reign was short lived as he died of natural causes after just three years. He was replaced by Carmine Galante.
August 29, 1958 – Biaggio Latriano was killed by thirteen bullets fired point blank into his head. A union official and one-time associate of Joey Gallo, it had been reported that Latriano and Crazy Joe had a recent falling out.
August 29, 1988 – Wilfred "Willie Boy" Johnson, a boyhood friend of John Gotti, was blasted to death by members of the Bonanno Family. Johnson had been a confidential FBI informant for years before being exposed by Assistant US Attorney Diane Giacalone before Gotti’s first RICO trial in 1986. Despite being given Gotti’s word that he wouldn’t be harmed if he didn’t testify, pressure from the underworld forced Gotti to later sanction the murder.
August 31, 1993 – Philadelphia boss John Stanfa was the target of an assassination attempt. As Stanfa was on his way to work during the morning hours, a van pulled alongside his 1993 Cadillac Seville on an expressway. A gunman cut loose with a rifle hitting Stanfa’s son in the face and critically wounding him as he rode in the back seat.
September 2, 1994 – Michael P. Romano, Jr. was 20 years old when he was gunned down as he changed the tire of a friend’s car. The tire had been flattened to set up Romano and two others in a mob war that was being waged in Boston. Romano was the war’s tenth victim. Joseph Souza, who was believed to have participated in the killing, was gunned down the following month allegedly by Romano’s father.
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