John GottiJohn Gotti was the last great leader of the Gambino crime family, the dominant Sicilian mafia family of New York. Gotti's boys had their fingers in everything from gambling houses, to drug trafficking, prostitution, to weapons dealing. Gotti originally came to lead the organization in 1985, but had been an enforcer for the mob since the early 70's.
Originally, Gotti made a name for himself by helping avenge the death of Manny Gambino, nephew of the ubiquitous leader of the family, Carlo Gambino. Gotti and two accomplices gunned down one of Manny's killers in a bar on Staten Island. Gotti did a long stint in Prison for this crime. When he was released, the Gambinos rewarded his loyalty by giving Gotti a position of power within the family.
In 1980, Frank Gotti, John's youngest son, was killed when a neighbor backed over the child while he was riding his bicycle. Soon after the event, the neighbor was attacked by Gotti's wife with a baseball bat. After weeks of harassment and threats, the man was sucked into a van filled with Gotti goons and never seen again. Gotti and his wife were in Florida at the time, and were never charged.
In 1985, Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti, Gotti's only remaining superiors, were hosed down with machine guns as they left the a steak house. Castellano, as the boss of the Gambino family, had been angered by Gotti's drug operations, a racket strictly forbidden by Gambino himself. After Neil Dellacroce died earlier in the year, it was only a matter of time before Castellano and Gotti had guns to each other's heads. Of course, Gotti, being the twisted evil fuck that he was, got to Castellano first. Not surprisingly, Gotti rose to the level of top dog a few weeks later.
As leader of the Gambino family, Gotti was a top flight dick head. Any arguments from his underlings would usually result in harsh reprisals. If an order was disobeyed, the disobeyer went to sleep with the radioactive Hudson River fishes.
One of his first actions was to set up headquarters in the Ravenite Social Club. Once there, he sent out word that all members of the family had to come by and pay respect to him. Anyone who didn't show was whacked. Even some of those that did show got whacked. Gotti whacked more than an adolescent boy in a boarding school. The hits just kept on coming. After ten years of the calm Castellano meat mafia, Gotti's drug trading, goon killing, shopkeeper beating tactics were a breath of fresh air for the New York mafia.
In 1986, John O'Conner, leader of the powerful New York Carpenters Union, discovered that the mafia owned Bankers and Brokers restaurant in lower Manhattan was being built by non-union workers. He sent some union thugs around to smash up the joint. in retaliation, Gotti put a hit out on O'Conner, and used some lower rung Irish mobsters to ventilate him. They failed, putting bullets in O'Conner's leg and ass, but leaving him alive. This would come back to haunt Gotti as the state later brought charges against him in court over the attack. Gotti beat the rap, however, earning himself the nickname of "The Teflon Don."
But Gotti's 8th grade education, while earning him the mark of an educated man in the underworld, wasn't enough to keep him off the hook forever. Despite his ferocious temper, snappy clothes, and absolute lack of morals, Gotti was at heart, just as much of a moron as the goons he was commanding. The FBI had so many bugs and taps on the Ravenite Social Club that when they indicted him in 1992, Gotti was completely fucked.
The feds indicted Gotti and a number of his henchmen, including Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. While in jail, FBI agents played some of the taped phone conversations for Gravano. Sammy became furious when he heard Gotti badmouthing him on the tapes.
Salvatore Gravano turned state's witness in exchange for a skimpy 5 year prison stint for the 19 murders they convicted him of. Gravano testified against Gotti and was placed in the witness protection program. In 2001, Gravano and his son were arrested in Arizona for selling and trafficking ecstasy. Gravano should be whacked any day now.
Gotti, however, is already dead. On June 10, 2002, after 10 years in 23 hour-a-day supermax solitary confinement, John Gotti died of throat cancer. He was buried in the same cemetery as Lucky Luciano. Today, his brother, Peter, remains in control of the Gambino family. Everyone hates him.