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B'klyn Crew 'Respected' Gotti.
By MIKE CLAFFEY
When John Gotti and Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano came to their Brooklyn neighborhood, the pot-dealing wanna-be mobsters known as the Bath Ave. Crew showed their "respect" with a bottle of bubbly.
While Gotti, Gravano and a soldier in the Bonanno crime family discussed a mob hit at a diner, crew member Jimmy Calandra told the jury at the trial of mobster Anthony Spero yesterday, "we sent over a bottle of champagne from the boys on Bay 23rd.
"The turncoat Calandra said he later learned that the soldier, Tommy Pitera, was "loaned" out by the Bonannos to Gotti's Gambino family to help with the murder of a suspected stoolie.Calandra, 31, testified in Brooklyn Federal Court about a series of shootings, assaults, and murders, some of them carried out by the boys from Bath Ave. in Bensonhurst, among them former Miami Beach club king Chris Paciello.
Paciello, Calandra and about a dozen others were originally charged in the murder and racketeering indictment against Spero, the alleged Bonanno consigliere. But all of them except Spero have pleaded guilty, with about half agreeing to testify.
Calandra said yesterday that Paciello hatched the plans for a $360,000 bank heist and for a botched home invasion on Staten Island that ended in the death of housewife and mother Judith Shemtov.
He also described how seven members of the crew, but not Paciello, had the numbers one through seven tattooed on their ankles.
"We all were involved in shooting and murder, so we all wanted to get tattoos," he said.
Calandra also testified about the slaying of Vincent Bickelman, a small-time thief who made the mistake of burglarizing Spero's daughter's house.
According to Calandra, Bonanno soldier Joe Benanti told him, "Anthony Spero wanted him dead to make an example out of him." Calandra said his friend Paul Gulino, the leader of the crew, eagerly accepted the assignment because he saw it as a way to "get straightened out," or become a made member of the Bonanno family.But Gulino never made it. Spero is also charged with ordering his murder two years later, allegedly for challenging his authority.
Original Publication Date: 3/16/01
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