Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just a little bit of crime here and there

George Anastasia. Gotti’s Rules: the Story of John Alite, Junior Gotti, and the Demise of the American Mafia. New York: HarperCollins, 2015.

John Alite spent 25 years following order of John J. Gotti and then his son John A. Gotti, two generations of Gambino crime family bosses. He enforced their order by shooting around 30 or 40 men, beating about a hundred with a pipe or a baseball bat, stabbings, and killing six and possibly more. John A. Gotti denies Alite’s allegations. Both (as of 2015) are free men. Gotti faced trial which resulted in a hung jury. Alite was imprisoned and is now free.

John A. Gotti unsuccessfully attempted to make a deal with prosecutors. In a proffer session, where nothing stated can be used in court until a deal is made, and none was reached with Gotti, Gotti spoke of murders, political corruption, police corruption, and of organized crime’s influence with the Queens District Attorney’s office.

John A. Gotti, in following his father’s career, was one “whose sense of entitlement was his undoing. He was all about status and power. He liked the idea of being a mobster, but never really understood how it worked. The Cosa Nostra organizationally is declining. Omerta, the code of silence, has been discarded. The brightest offspring of its members become professionals. “The mob is scraping the bottom of the gene pool. That’s where the Gottis were located.”

Alite fled to Brazil and was imprisoned there on an Interpol warrant. Brazil prisons are known for their violence, abuse, and murderous prisons overrun by rats and bug infested food.

The Gottis were involved in heroin trade and sports betting. Previous mob generations stayed away from being involved in drugs. Altie explained “they told me one of the rules was you couldn’t deal drugs. What they meant was if you got caught, you were on your own. But they wanted their end.” Gotti received $100,000 monthly from a heroin dealer.

Paul Castellano, the Gambino crime family boss, was murdered in 1985. This was against mob rules as only a commission of the five New York crime family leaders could approve such a killing. John J. Gotti took control of the Gambino operations anyway, escaped retaliation, and became involved in selling drugs.

Drugs were a huge risk crime that old time mob leaders avoided. Drug dealers were more apt to sell out others to law enforcement. Plus, the police tended to combat drug sellers more than they did the types of crimes which traditionally involved the mob.

Anthony Caponigo, who dealt heroin, arranged for the murder of Angelo Bruno, Philadelphia’s mob leader. He did this both because he disapproved of Bruno’s ban against Bruno’s ban on dealing in drugs and for Bruno’s hypocrisy as Bruno was taking money from the meth trade.

Alite was t pay half what he made t Gotti. He admits he lied about his share but that everyone did that. As long as Gotti got enough, he was happy.

Alite observed about the mob was that “it wasn’t about honor and loyalty. Those were just words. It was about absolute power. That’s what the mob wanted.”

Bookmaking has long been a major source of mob earnings. State lotteries hurt the mob’s numbers racket. Yet sports betting remained lucrative for the mob.

John J. Gotti was arrested for a number of murders. Informants told of Gotti’s illegal activities. Among the informants was Philip Leonetti, the former underboss of the Philadelphia mob. Leonetti explained “I never did nothing ruthless besides, well, I would kill people. But that’s our life. That’s what we do.”

Mobsters wre “serial philanderers” yet their wives were expected to be faithful.

Alite and the mob unionized bouncers. A head bouncer would get $85 a might while Alito and Gotti got $15. A second bouncer would get $65 a night while Alito and Gotti got $10. There were hundreds of bouncers working each night at places Alite unionized.

Alite shot three bouncers at a club that refused to unionize. After that, all the clubs unionized.

John J. Gotti dislisked announcer Curtis Sliwa, was also headed the Guardian Angels volunteer citizens protection organization. Associates warned Gotti that a member of the press should never be attacked. Gotti ordered Sliwa beaten. A mobster shot him in the thigh and groin.

When bars and restaurants opened along the Philadelphia riverfront in the mid-1970s, Alite gained control of the valet services. Competitors were threatened and, if needed, beaten.

Alite testified against John A. Gotti’s trial that ended in a hung jury. Some jurors declared that “Alite was the least credible of the government witnesses.” It was decided not to retry Gotti.


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