John Joseph Gotti Jr. (October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002) was an
Italian-American gangster who became boss of the powerful Gambino
crime family in New York City. Gotti and his brothers grew up in
poverty and turned to a life of crime at an early age. Gotti quickly
rose to prominence, becoming one of the crime family's biggest earners
and a protégé of Gambino family underboss Aniello Dellacroce,
operating out of the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens.
FBI indicted members of Gotti's crew for selling narcotics, and
Gotti took advantage of growing dissent over the leadership of the
crime family. Gotti feared that he would be killed along with his
brother and best friend by Gambino boss
Paul Castellano for selling
drugs, so he organized the murder of Castellano in December 1985 and
took over the family shortly thereafter. This left Gotti as the boss
of the most powerful, richest, and largest crime syndicate in the
world, one that made hundreds of millions of dollars a year from
racketeering, hijacking[disambiguation needed], loan sharking, drug
trafficking, bookmaking, prostitution, extortion, pornography, illegal
gambling, and other criminal activities.
At his peak, Gotti was one of the most powerful and dangerous crime
bosses in the country. During his era he became widely known for his
outspoken personality and flamboyant style, which gained him favor
with some of the general public. His peers avoided attracting
attention, especially from the media, but Gotti became known as "The
Dapper Don" for his expensive clothes and personality in front of news
cameras. He was later given the nickname "The
Teflon Don" after three
high-profile trials in the 1980s resulted in his acquittal, though it
was later revealed that the trials had been tainted by jury tampering,
juror misconduct, and witness intimidation. Law enforcement
authorities continued gathering evidence against Gotti that helped
lead to his downfall.
Gotti's underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is credited with
the FBI's success in finally convicting Gotti. In 1991, Gravano agreed
to turn state's evidence and testify for the prosecution against Gotti
after hearing the boss making several disparaging remarks about
Gravano on a wiretap that implicated them both in several murders. In
1992, Gotti was convicted of five murders, conspiracy to commit
murder, racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion, illegal
gambling, extortion, and loansharking. He was sentenced to life in
prison without parole and was transferred to United States
Penitentiary, Marion. Gotti died of throat cancer on June 10, 2002, at
United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners
United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield,
According to former
Lucchese crime family
Lucchese crime family boss Anthony "Gaspipe"
John Gotti did was the beginning of the end of Cosa
1 Early life
2 Gambino crime family
2.3 Taking over the Gambino family
3 Crime boss
4 1992 conviction
5 Incarceration and death
6 Portrayal in popular media
9 External links
John Gotti was born in the Bronx, New York on October 27, 1940. While
his parents were both born in the United States, his ancestors came
from San Giuseppe Vesuviano, in the province of Naples in Italy. He
was the fifth of the thirteen children of John Joseph Gotti Sr. and
John Sr.'s wife Philomena (referred to as Fannie), and one of
five brothers who became made men in the Gambino crime family:
Eugene "Gene" Gotti was initiated before John due to John's
Peter Gotti was initiated under John's leadership in
Richard V. Gotti was identified as a caporegime by
2002. The fifth, Vincent, was initiated in 2002.
Gotti grew up in poverty. His father worked irregularly as a day
laborer and indulged in gambling. As an adult, Gotti came to resent
his father for being unable to provide for his family. In school,
he had a history of truancy and bullying other students, and
ultimately dropped out of
Franklin K. Lane High School
Franklin K. Lane High School at the age of
Gotti was involved in street gangs associated with New York City
mafiosi from the age of twelve. When he was fourteen, he was
attempting to steal a cement mixer from a construction site when it
fell, crushing his toes; this injury left him with a permanent
limp. After leaving school, he devoted himself to working with the
Mafia-associated Fulton-Rockaway Boys gang, where he met and
befriended fellow future Gambino mobsters
Angelo Ruggiero and Wilfred
"Willie Boy" Johnson.
Gotti met his future wife, Victoria DiGiorgio, who is half Italian and
Russian-Jewish through her mother, in 1958. The couple were
married on March 6, 1962. They had five children; Victoria, John
Jr., Frank (b. October 18, 1967 k. March 18, 1980), Angela, and Peter.
Gotti attempted to work legitimately in 1962 as a presser in a coat
factory and as an assistant truck driver. However, he could not stay
crime-free and, by 1966, had been jailed twice.
Gambino crime family
As early as his teens, Gotti was running errands for Carmine Fatico, a
capo in the Gambino family, then known as the Anastasia family under
the leadership of boss Albert Anastasia. Gotti carried out truck
hijackings at Idlewild Airport (subsequently renamed John F. Kennedy
International Airport) together with his brother Gene and friend
Ruggiero. During this time, Gotti befriended fellow mob hijacker
and future Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino, and he was given the
nicknames "Black John" and "Crazy Horse". It was around this
time that Gotti met his mentor and Gambino underboss Aniello "Neil"
Dellacroce. Dellacroce regaled Gotti with tales of past Mafia
glories under Anastasia, leading Gotti to adopt Anastasia as his role
In February 1968,
United Airlines employees identified Gotti as the
man who had signed for stolen merchandise; the
FBI arrested him for
the United hijacking soon after. Gotti was arrested a third time for
hijacking while out on bail two months later, this time for stealing a
load of cigarettes worth $50,000 on the
New Jersey Turnpike. Later
that year, Gotti pleaded guilty to the
Northwest Airlines hijacking
and was sentenced to three years at Lewisburg Federal
Penitentiary. Prosecutors dropped the charges for the cigarette
hijacking. Gotti also pleaded guilty to the United hijacking and spent
less than three years at Lewisburg.
Gotti and Ruggiero were paroled in 1972 and returned to their old crew
at the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club, still working under Fatico. Gotti
was transferred to management of the Bergin crew's illegal gambling,
where he proved himself to be an effective enforcer. Fatico was
indicted on loansharking charges in 1972. As a condition of his
release, he could not associate with known felons. Gotti was not yet a
made man in the Mafia due to the membership books' having been closed
since 1957, but Fatico named him the acting capo of the Bergin crew
soon after he was paroled. In this new role, Gotti frequently
traveled to Dellacroce's headquarters at the
Ravenite Social Club to
brief the underboss on the crew's activities. Dellacroce had already
taken a liking to Gotti, and the two became even closer during this
time. The two were very similar—both had strong violent streaks,
cursed a lot, and were heavy gamblers.
After Emanuel Gambino, nephew to boss Carlo Gambino, was kidnapped and
murdered in 1973, Gotti was assigned to the hit team alongside
Ruggiero and Ralph Galione in search for the main suspect, gangster
James McBratney. The team botched their attempt to abduct
McBratney at a
Staten Island bar, and Galione shot McBratney dead when
his accomplices managed to restrain him. Gotti was identified by
eyewitnesses as a police Bergin insider[clarification needed] and was
arrested for the killing in June 1974. He was able to strike a
plea bargain, however, with the help of attorney Roy Cohn, and
received a four-year sentence for attempted manslaughter for his part
in the hit.
After Gotti's death, he was also identified by Massino as the killer
of Vito Borelli, a Gambino associate killed in 1975 for insulting
then-acting boss Paul Castellano.
Gotti was released in July 1977 after two years imprisonment. He was
subsequently initiated into the Gambino family, now under the command
of Castellano, and immediately promoted to replace Fatico as capo of
the Bergin crew. He and his crew reported directly to Dellacroce as
part of the concessions given by Castellano to keep Dellacroce as
underboss, and Gotti was regarded as Dellacroce's protégé.
Under Gotti, the crew were Dellacroce's biggest earners. Besides
his cut of his subordinates' earnings, Gotti ran his own loan sharking
operation and held a no-show job as a plumbing supply salesman.
Unconfirmed allegations by
FBI informants in the Bergin Hunt and Fish
Club claimed that Gotti also financed drug deals.
Gotti tried to keep most of his family uninvolved with his life of
crime, with the exception of his son John Angelo Gotti, commonly known
John Gotti Jr., who was a mob associate by 1982.
In December 1978, Gotti assisted in the largest unrecovered cash
robbery in history, the infamous
Lufthansa Heist at Kennedy
Airport. Gotti had made arrangements for the getaway van to be
crushed and baled at a scrap metal yard in Brooklyn. The driver of the
van failed to follow orders; rather than driving the vehicle to the
scrap yard, he parked it near a fire hydrant and went to sleep at his
girlfriend's apartment. The
NYPD recovered the van and lifted the
fingerprints of several perpetrators of the robbery, helping to
unravel the heist.
On March 18, 1980, Gotti's youngest son, 12-year-old Frank Gotti, was
run over and killed on a family friend's minibike by a neighbor named
John Favara. Frank's death was ruled an accident, but Favara
subsequently received death threats and was attacked by Victoria with
a baseball bat when he visited the Gottis to apologize. On
July 28, 1980, he was abducted and disappeared, presumed murdered.
The Gottis were on vacation in
Florida at the time, but Gotti is still
presumed to have ordered the killing, an allegation dismissed by
Gotti was indicted on two occasions in his last two years as the
Bergin capo, with both cases coming to trial after his ascension to
boss of the Gambinos. In September 1984, Gotti had an altercation with
refrigerator mechanic Romual Piecyk, and was subsequently charged with
assault and robbery. In 1985, he was indicted alongside
Dellacroce and several Bergin crew members in a racketeering case by
Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Giacalone. The indictment also
revealed that Gotti's friend "Willie Boy" Johnson, one of his
co-defendants, had been an
Taking over the Gambino family
Gotti rapidly became dissatisfied with Castellano's leadership,
regarding the new boss as being too isolated and greedy. Like
other members of the family, Gotti also personally disliked
Castellano. The boss lacked street credibility, and those who had paid
their dues running street level jobs did not respect him. Gotti also
had an economic interest: he had a running beef with Castellano on the
split Gotti took from hijackings at Kennedy Airport. Gotti was also
rumored to be expanding into drug dealing, a lucrative trade
Castellano had banned.
In August 1983, Ruggiero and
Gene Gotti were arrested for dealing
heroin, based primarily on recordings from a bug in Ruggiero's
house. Castellano, who had banned made men from his family
from dealing drugs under threat of death, demanded transcripts of the
tapes, and, when Ruggiero refused, threatened to demote
In 1984, Castellano was arrested and indicted in a RICO case for the
crimes of Gambino hitman Roy DeMeo's crew. The following year,
he received a second indictment for his role in the Mafia's
Commission. Facing life imprisonment for either case, Castellano
arranged for Gotti to serve as an acting boss alongside Thomas
Bilotti, Castellano's favorite capo, and
Thomas Gambino in his
absence. Gotti, meanwhile, began conspiring with fellow
Frank DeCicco and Joseph "Joe Piney" Armone and
Sammy Gravano and Robert "DiB" DiBernardo (collectively
dubbed "the Fist" by themselves) to overthrow Castellano, insisting
despite the boss' inaction that Castellano would eventually try to
kill him. Armone's support was critical; as a respected old-timer
who dated back to the family's founder, Vincent Mangano, he would lend
needed credibility to the conspirators' cause.
It has long been a hard and fast rule in the Mafia that killing a boss
is forbidden without the support of a majority of the Commission.
Indeed, Gotti's planned hit would have been the first off-the-record
hit on a boss since
Frank Costello was nearly killed in 1957. Gotti
knew that it would be too risky to solicit support from the other four
bosses, since they had longstanding ties to Castellano. To get around
this, he got the support of several important figures of his
generation in the Lucchese, Colombo and Bonanno families. He did not
even consider approaching the Genovese family; Castellano had
especially close ties with Genovese boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante, and
approaching any major Genovese figure could have been a tipoff. Gotti
could thus claim he had the support of "off-the-record contacts" from
three out of five families. He could also count on the complicity
of Gambino consigliere Joseph N. Gallo.
After Dellacroce died of cancer on December 2, 1985, Castellano
revised his succession plan: appointing Bilotti as underboss to Thomas
Gambino as the sole acting boss, while making plans to break up
Gotti's crew. Infuriated by this, and Castellano's refusal to
attend Dellacroce's wake, Gotti resolved to kill his boss.
When DeCicco tipped Gotti off that he would be having a meeting with
Castellano and several other Gambino mobsters at
Sparks Steak House
Sparks Steak House on
December 16, 1985, Gotti chose to take the opportunity. The
evening of the meeting, when the boss and underboss arrived, they were
ambushed and shot dead by assassins under Gotti's command. Gotti
watched the hit from his car with Gravano.
Several days after the murder, Gotti was named to a three-man
committee to temporarily run the family pending the election of a new
boss, along with Gallo and DeCicco. It was also announced that an
internal investigation into Castellano's murder was underway. However,
it was an open secret that Gotti was acting boss in all but name, and
nearly all of the family's capos knew he had been the one behind the
hit. He was formally acclaimed as the new boss of the Gambino family
at a meeting of 20 capos held on January 15, 1986. He appointed
DeCicco as the new underboss while retaining Gallo as
Identified as both Castellano's likely murderer and his successor,
Gotti rose to fame throughout 1986. At the time of his
takeover, the Gambino family was regarded as the most powerful
American mafia family, with an annual income of $500 million.
In the book Underboss, Gravano estimated that Gotti himself had an
annual income of not less than $5 million during his years as boss,
and more likely between $10 and $12 million.
To protect himself legally, Gotti banned members of the Gambino family
from accepting plea bargains that acknowledged the existence of the
organization. He maintained a genial public image in an attempt to
play down press releases that depicted him as a ruthless mobster. He
reportedly would offer coffee to
FBI agents assigned to tail him.
Gotti's newfound fame had at least one positive effect; upon the
revelation of his attacker's occupation, and amid reports of
intimidation by the Gambinos, Romual Piecyk decided not to testify
against Gotti thanks to Boško "The Yugo" Radonjić, the head of the
Westies in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan. When the trial commenced in
March 1986, Piecyk testified he was unable to remember who attacked
him. The case was promptly dismissed, with the New York Post
summarizing the proceedings with the headline "I Forgotti!" It
was later revealed that Gambino thugs had severed Piecyk's brake
lines, made threatening phone calls and stalked him before the
On April 13, 1986, DeCicco was killed when his car was bombed
following a visit to Castellano loyalist James Failla. The bombing was
carried out by
Victor Amuso and
Anthony Casso of the Lucchese family,
under orders of Gigante and Lucchese boss Anthony Corallo, to avenge
Castellano and Bilotti by killing their successors; Gotti also planned
to visit Failla that day, but canceled, and the bomb was detonated
after a soldier who rode with DeCicco was mistaken for the boss.
Bombs had long been banned by the Mafia out of concern that it would
put innocent people in harm's way, leading the Gambinos to initially
suspect that "zips" — Sicilian mafiosi working in the U.S. — were
behind it; zips were well known for using bombs.
Following the bombing, Judge Eugene Nickerson, presiding over Gotti's
racketeering trial, rescheduled to avoid a jury tainted by the
resulting publicity, while Giacalone had Gotti's bail revoked due to
evidence of witness intimidation in the Piecyk case. From
jail, Gotti ordered the murder of
Robert DiBernardo by Gravano; both
DiBernardo and Ruggiero had been vying to succeed DeCicco until
Ruggiero accused DiBernardo of challenging Gotti's leadership.
When Ruggiero, also under indictment, had his bail revoked for his
abrasive behavior in preliminary hearings, a frustrated Gotti instead
promoted Armone to underboss.
Jury selection for the racketeering case began again in August
1986, with Gotti standing trial alongside his brother Gene,
"Willie Boy" Johnson (who, despite being exposed as an informant,
refused to turn state's evidence), Leonard DiMaria, Tony Rampino,
Nicholas Corozzo and John Carneglia. At this point, the Gambinos
were able to compromise the case when George Pape hid his friendship
with Radonjić and was empaneled as juror No. 11. Through
Radonjić, Pape contacted Gravano and agreed to sell his vote on the
jury for $60,000.
In the trial's opening statements on September 25, Gotti's defense
Bruce Cutler denied the existence of the Gambino family and
framed the government's entire effort as a personal vendetta. His
main defense strategy during the prosecution was to attack the
credibility of Giacalone's witnesses by discussing their crimes
committed before their turning state's evidence. During Gotti's
defense, Cutler called bank robber Matthew Traynor, a would-be
prosecution witness dropped for unreliability, who testified that
Giacalone offered him drugs and her panties as a masturbation aid in
exchange for his testimony; Traynor's allegations would be dismissed
by Judge Nickerson as "wholly unbelievable" after the trial, and he
was subsequently convicted of perjury.
Despite Cutler's defense and critiques about the prosecution's
performance, according to mob writers
Jerry Capeci and Gene Mustain,
when the jury's deliberations began, a majority were in favor of
convicting Gotti. However, due to Pape's misconduct, Gotti knew from
the beginning of the trial that he could do no worse than a hung jury.
During deliberations, Pape held out for acquittal until the rest of
the jury began to fear their own safety would be compromised. On
March 13, 1987, they acquitted Gotti and his codefendants of all
charges. Five years later, Pape was convicted of obstruction of
justice for his part in the fix and sentenced to three years in
In the face of previous Mafia convictions, particularly the success of
the Commission trial, Gotti's acquittal was a major upset that further
added to his reputation. The American media dubbed Gotti "The
Teflon Don" in reference to the failure of any charges to "stick."
FBI surveillance photograph of Gotti, Gravano, Amuso and Casso
While Gotti himself had escaped conviction, his associates were not so
lucky. The other two men in the Gambino administration, underboss
Armone and consigliere Gallo, had been indicted on racketeering
charges in 1986 and were both convicted in December 1987. The
heroin trial of Gotti's former fellow Bergin crewmembers Ruggiero and
Gene Gotti also commenced in June of that year.
Prior to their convictions, Gotti allowed Gallo to retire and promoted
Gravano in his place while slating
Frank Locascio to serve as acting
underboss in the event of Armone's imprisonment. The Gambinos also
worked to compromise the heroin trial's jury, resulting in two
mistrials. When the terminally ill Ruggiero was severed and
released in 1989, Gotti refused to contact him, blaming him for the
Gambinos' misfortunes. According to Gravano, Gotti also considered
murdering Ruggiero and when he finally died, "I literally had to drag
him to the funeral."
Beginning in January 1988, Gotti, against Gravano's advice,
required his capos to meet with him at the
Ravenite Social Club once a
week. Regarded by Gene as an unnecessary vanity-inspired risk,
FBI Gambino squad leader Bruce Mouw as antithetical to the
"secret society", this move allowed
FBI surveillance to record and
identify much of the Gambino hierarchy. It also provided strong
circumstantial evidence that Gotti was a boss; long-standing protocol
in the Mafia requires public demonstrations of loyalty to the
FBI also bugged the Ravenite, but failed to produce any
high-quality incriminating recordings.
1988 also saw Gotti, Gigante and new Lucchese boss Victor Amuso
attending the first Commission meeting since the Commission trial.
In 1986, future Lucchese underboss
Anthony Casso had been injured in
an unauthorized hit by Gambino capo Mickey Paradiso. The
following year, the
FBI warned Gotti they had recorded Genovese
Louis Manna discussing another hit on Gotti and his
brother. To avoid a war, the leaders of the three families met,
denied knowledge of their violence against one another, and agreed to
"communicate better." The bosses also agreed to allow Colombo
Victor Orena to join the Commission, but Gigante, wary of
giving Gotti a majority by admitting another ally, blocked the reentry
of Massino and the Bonannos.
Gotti was nevertheless able to take control of the New Jersey
DeCavalcante crime family in 1988. According to the DeCavalcante
capo-turned-informant Anthony Rotondo, Gotti attended his father's
wake with numerous other Gambino mobsters in a "show of force" and
forced boss John Riggi to agree to run his family on the Gambinos'
behalf. The DeCavalcantes remained in the Gambinos' sphere of
influence until Gotti's imprisonment.
John Gotti Jr., was initiated into the Gambino family on
Christmas Eve 1988. According to fellow mobster Michael
DiLeonardo, initiated in the same night, Gravano held the ceremony to
keep Gotti from being accused of nepotism. John Jr. was promptly
promoted to capo.
On the evening of January 23, 1989, Gotti was arrested outside the
Ravenite and charged with ordering the 1986 assault of labor union
official John O'Connor. O'Connor, a leader in the United
Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 608 who was
later convicted of racketeering himself, was believed to have
ordered an attack on a Gambino-associated restaurant that had snubbed
the union and was subsequently shot and wounded by the Westies.
To link Gotti to the case, state prosecutors had a recording of Gotti
discussing O'Connor and announcing his intention to "bust him up," and
the testimony of
Westies gangster James McElroy.
Gotti was released on $100,000 bail, and was later acquitted at
trial. It later emerged, however, that
FBI bugs had apparently
caught Gotti discussing plans to fix the jury as he had in the 1986-87
racketeering case. However, to the outrage of
Robert Morgenthau and state organized crime task force chief
Ronald Goldstock, the
FBI and federal prosecutors chose not to reveal
this information to them. Morgenthau later said that had he known
about these bugged conversations, he would have asked for a
On December 11, 1990,
FBI agents and
NYPD detectives raided the
Ravenite, arresting Gotti, Gravano and Frank Locascio. In the back of
the police car, Gotti remarked, "I bet ya three-to-one I beat
this". Federal prosecutors charged Gotti, in this new
racketeering case, with five murders (Castellano, Bilotti, DiBernardo,
Liborio Milito and Louis Dibono), conspiracy to murder Gaetano "Corky"
Vastola, loansharking, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice,
bribery and tax evasion. Based on tapes from
FBI bugs played
at pretrial hearings, the Gambino administration was denied bail. At
the same time, attorneys Cutler and
Gerald Shargel were disqualified
from defending Gotti and Gravano after prosecutors successfully
contended they were "part of the evidence" and thus liable to be
called as witnesses. Prosecutors argued that Cutler and Shargel not
only knew about potential criminal activity, but had worked as
"in-house counsel" for the Gambino family. Gotti
subsequently hired Albert Krieger, a
Miami attorney who had worked
with Joseph Bonanno, to replace Cutler.
The tapes also created a rift between Gotti and Gravano, showing the
Gambino boss describing his newly appointed underboss as too greedy
and attempting to frame Gravano as the main force behind the murders
of DiBernardo, Milito and Dibono. Gotti's attempt at
reconciliation failed, leaving Gravano disillusioned with the mob
and doubtful on his chances of winning his case without Shargel, his
former attorney. Gravano ultimately opted to turn state's
evidence, formally agreeing to testify on November 13, 1991.
Gotti and Locascio were tried in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of New York before District Judge I. Leo Glasser.
Jury selection began in January 1992 with an anonymous jury and, for
the first time in a
Brooklyn federal case, fully sequestered during
the trial due to Gotti's reputation for jury tampering. The
trial commenced with the prosecution's opening statements on February
Andrew Maloney and John Gleeson began their
case by playing tapes showing Gotti discussing Gambino family
business, including murders he approved, and confirming the animosity
between Gotti and Castellano to establish the former's motive to kill
his boss. After calling an eyewitness of the Sparks hit who
identified Carneglia as one of the men who shot Bilotti, they then
brought Gravano to testify on March 2.
On the stand, Gravano confirmed Gotti's place in the structure of the
Gambino family and described in detail the conspiracy to assassinate
Castellano, giving a full description of the hit and its
aftermath. Krieger, and Locasio's attorney, Anthony Cardinale,
proved unable to shake Gravano during cross-examination.
After additional testimony and tapes, the government rested its case
on March 24.
Five of Krieger and Cardinale's intended six witnesses were ruled
irrelevant or extraneous, leaving only Gotti's tax attorney Murray
Appleman to testify on his behalf. The defense also
attempted unsuccessfully to have a mistrial declared based on
Maloney's closing remarks. Gotti himself became increasingly
hostile during the trial, and at one point, Glasser threatened to
remove him from the courtroom. Among other outbursts, Gotti
called Gravano a junkie while his attorneys sought to discuss his past
steroid use, and equated the dismissal of a juror to the
fixing of the 1919 World Series.
On April 2, 1992, after only fourteen hours of deliberation, the jury
found Gotti guilty on all charges of the indictment (Locasio was found
guilty on all but one). James Fox, director of the
New York City
New York City FBI,
announced at a press conference, "The
Teflon is gone. The don is
covered with Velcro, and all the charges stuck." On June 23,
1992, Glasser sentenced both defendants to life imprisonment without
the possibility of parole and a $250,000 fine. Gotti surrendered to
federal authorities to serve his prison time on December 14,
Incarceration and death
Last photo of John Gotti, taken by the
Bureau of Prisons
Bureau of Prisons on October
Gotti was incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary at Marion,
Illinois. He spent the majority of his sentence in effective solitary
confinement, only allowed out of his cell for one hour a day.
His final appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994.
On July 18, 1996, a fellow inmate named Walter Johnson punched Gotti
in the prison recreation room, leaving him bruised and bleeding,
because according to New York's Daily News, Gotti had disrespected him
with a racial slur. According to the article, Gotti, desiring revenge,
Aryan Brotherhood chieftains David Sahakian and Michael
McElhiney somewhere between $40,000 and $400,000
USD to have Johnson
killed. In August, McElhiney told two Brotherhood underlings to kill
Johnson "if given the opportunity," according to a federal indictment
charging him and thirty-nine other gang members with murder, attempted
murder and racketeering. Johnson, however, was transferred to Supermax
prison in Florence, Colorado. Despite this, it was said that the
Brotherhood never intended to do the hit for Gotti. Gotti is also
believed to have hired the Brotherhood for another aborted hit on
Locascio after learning the disgruntled acting consigliere sought to
John Gotti after he was beaten by a fellow inmate in July
Despite his imprisonment, and pressure from the Commission to stand
down, Gotti asserted his prerogative to retain his title as boss
until his death or retirement, with his brother Peter and his son John
Jr. relaying orders on his behalf. By 1998, when he was indicted
on racketeering, John Jr. was believed to be the acting boss of the
family. Against his father's wishes, John Jr. pled guilty and was
sentenced to six years and five months imprisonment in 1999.
He maintains he has since left the Gambino family. Peter Gotti
subsequently became acting boss and is believed to have formally
succeeded his brother shortly before Gotti's death.
John Jr.'s indictment brought further stress to Gotti's marriage.
Victoria DiGiorgio Gotti, up to that point unaware of her son's
involvement in the Mafia, blamed her husband for ruining her son's
life and threatened to leave him unless he allowed John Jr. to leave
In 1998, Gotti was diagnosed with throat cancer and sent to the United
States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri,
for surgery. While the tumor was removed, the cancer was
discovered to have returned two years later and Gotti was transferred
back to Springfield, where he spent the rest of his life.
Gotti's condition rapidly declined and he died on June 10, 2002, at
the age of 61. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
announced that Gotti's family would not be permitted to have a Requiem
Mass, but allowed a memorial Mass after the burial.
Gotti's funeral was held in a non-church facility. After the funeral,
an estimated 300 onlookers followed the procession, which passed
Gotti's Bergin Hunt and Fish Club, to the gravesite. Gotti's body was
interred in a crypt next to his son, Frank. Gotti's brother, Peter,
was unable to attend owing to his incarceration. In an apparent
repudiation of Gotti's leadership and legacy, the other New York City
families sent no representatives to the funeral. By the turn of the
century, due in large part to numerous prosecutions brought on as a
result of Gotti's tactics, half of the family's active soldiers were
Portrayal in popular media
As early as 1990, Gotti was already such a prominent mobster as to be
the inspiration for the character Joey Zasa, portrayed by Joe
Mantegna, in The Godfather Part III.
Following his conviction, Gotti himself has been portrayed in four TV
movies and two theatrical films:
Getting Gotti – 1994 CBS TV movie, portrayed by Anthony John
Gotti – 1996 HBO TV movie adapted from Gotti: Rise and Fall,
portrayed by Armand Assante.
Witness to the Mob
Witness to the Mob – 1998 NBC miniseries, portrayed by Tom
Boss of Bosses
Boss of Bosses – 2001 TNT TV movie adapted from the book of the same
name, portrayed by Sonny Marinelli.
Sinatra Club – 2010 theatrical film, portrayed by Danny Nucci.
Gotti – 2018 theatrical film, portrayed by John Travolta.
Gotti also features in the fourth episode of UK history TV channel
Yesterday's documentary series Mafia's Greatest Hits.
The crime documentary series Mugshots aired an episode, "John Gotti:
End of the Sicilians", filmed in
Sicily and Brooklyn, featuring court
wiretaps and undercover footage of Gotti's mob.
Growing up Gotti, a reality show on the A&E Network featuring John
Gotti's daughter Victoria and her three sons, aired in 2004-2005.
Gotti has also been mentioned in various rap songs by artists such as
21 Savage, House of Pain, The Notorious B.I.G, Lil' Wayne, Dr. Dre,
Jay-Z, The Game, 50 Cent, Insane Clown Posse, Nas, Big L, Spice 1,
Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Kollegah, Kool G Rap, Kevin Gates, Ace Hood, MC
Chris and rappers such as Irv Gotti,
Yo Gotti and Stefflon Don
derived their stage names after Gotti. The
Fun Lovin' Criminals
Fun Lovin' Criminals song
"King of New York" from their album
Come Find Yourself
Come Find Yourself references
^ "10 Unbelievable Facts About John Gotti". The List Love. 25 March
^ Philip Carlo, Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss, 2008. Page 134.
^ a b c d
Selwyn Raab (June 11, 2002). "
John Gotti Dies in Prison at
61; Mafia Boss Relished the Spotlight". The New York Times. Retrieved
February 14, 2011.
^ a b Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 25–26
^ a b Rashbaum, William (June 5, 2002). "U.S. Indicts Gottis, Saying
They Operated Dock Rackets". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4,
^ a b c d Davis, p. 185
^ "Gotti's Family". Newsday. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
^ Hinckley, David (March 23, 2008). "Banned thug Vincent Gotti finally
made it to crime time, then feds nabbed him". New York Daily News.
Retrieved October 4, 2011.
^ a b c d Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 27–29
^ a b
Selwyn Raab (April 2, 1989). "JOHN GOTTI RUNNING THE MOB". The
New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
^ Davis, p. 69
^ a b c "Gotti: Our Father, the Godfather". 48 Hours. CBS News.
September 26, 2009. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
^ a b Hampson, Rick (June 11, 2002). "
John Gotti dies with his legacy
in ruins". USA Today. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
^ Mustain, Gene; Capeci, Jerry. Mob Star: The Story of John Gotti.
Alpha Books and Penguin Group.
^ Raab, p. 352
^ a b c Raab, p. 354
^ Raab, p. 606
^ Raab, p. 354.
^ Davis, pp. 155–157
^ Davis, p. 158
^ Raab, p. 356.
^ Davis, pp. 159–160
^ Mitchel Maddux; Jeremy Olshan (April 13, 2011). "Nomerta! Mafia boss
a squealer". New York Post. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
^ Raab, p. 608
^ Davis, pp. 176–177
^ a b Davis, pp. 188–189
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 62
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 69–70
^ a b c d "Gotti Jr. on Living and Leaving a Life of Crime". 60
Minutes. CBS News. April 11, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
^ Sanderson, Bill (July 12, 2015). "
John Gotti killed mobster played
by Joe Pesci in 'Goodfellas'". New York Post.
^ ‘The Lufthansa Heist’ goes inside the daring $6M caper
^ a b "
John Gotti Neighbor Was Dissolved in Acid, Court Papers
Reveal". Fox News. Associated Press. January 9, 2009. Retrieved
February 25, 2011.
^ Davis, pp. 190–191
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 66–67
^ Davis, p 192
^ Davis, p. 286
^ a b "Trial and Terror: A victim's memory is mugged". Time. Time Inc.
127 (14). 1986. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
^ a b Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 88–89
^ Davis, p. 187
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 61
^ a b Davis, p. 216
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 77
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 79–80
^ a b Davis, p 238
^ Davis, p 204
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 82–83
^ Davis, pp. 254–255
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 91
^ a b Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 92–96
^ a b Raab, p. 375.
^ Maas, p. 315
^ a b Davis, pp. 263–266
^ a b Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 97
^ Maas, pp. 321–322
^ Davis, pp. 272–273
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 102–104
^ Raab, p. 377-378.
^ Davis, p. 282
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 115
^ "Hitting The Mafia". Time. Time Inc. 128 (13). 1986. Retrieved
February 26, 2011.
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 111
^ Susan Heller Anderson; David W. Dunlap (December 30, 1985). "NEW
YORK DAY BY DAY; Seeking Castellano's Killers". The New York Times.
Retrieved March 4, 2012.
^ a b Raab, p. 467
^ Maas, p. 452
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 134–135
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 122–124
^ Raab, p. 386.
^ a b Raab, pp. 473–476
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 139–140
^ Raab, p. 385
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 142–143
^ Raab, p. 390
^ Maas, p. 351
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 159
^ Raab, p. 392
^ a b Buder, Leonard (March 14, 1987). "GOTTI IS AQUITTED [sic] IN
CONSPIRACY CASE INVOLVING THE MOB". The New York Times. Retrieved
September 3, 2011.
John Gotti was acquitted of Federal racketeering
and conspiracy charges yesterday
^ a b Lubasch, Arnold (November 7, 1992). "Juror Is Convicted of
Selling Vote to Gotti". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9,
^ a b Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 173–175
^ Davis, 306–307
^ a b Raab, p. 394
^ Buder, Leonard (March 18, 1987). "JUDGE FINDS GOTTI PROSECUTORS DID
NOT ASK A WITNESS TO LIE". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9,
^ Feuer, Alan (May 5, 2000). "Jury-Fixing Case Dropped After Arrest of
Gravano". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
^ Raab, p. 397
^ Raab, p. 399
^ Buder, Leonard (December 23, 1987). "4 Convicted at Mob Trial in
Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
^ Buder, Leonard (June 2, 1987). "THREE DEFIED DRUG-DEALING BAN BY
GAMBINO FAMILY, JURY IS TOLD". The New York Times. Retrieved October
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 195–196
^ Raab, p. 405
^ Maas, pp. 415–416
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 230
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 225
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 232
^ a b c Raab, pp. 417–418
^ a b c Raab, pp. 407–409
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 198
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 199–200
^ Zambito, Thomas (November 17, 2004). "Don's Long Shadow Creeping
into Trial of Brother". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 7,
^ Zambito, Thomas (November 22, 2004). "Gentler Gotti Is Undapper
Don". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
^ a b Gearty, Robert (August 24, 2005). "Rat Squeals & Jr.
Whimpers". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
^ a b Raab, Selwyn (January 24, 1989). "Gotti Is Seized In '86
Shooting of Union Chief". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14,
^ Raab, Selwyn (July 6, 1990). "Ex-Union Official Convicted of
Racketeering". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
^ Raab, pp. 410–412
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 262
^ Raab, pp. 443-445
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 374–376
^ Davis, pp. 370–371
^ a b "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee, v. FRANK LOCASCIO, and JOHN
GOTTI, Defendants-Appellants". ispn.org. United States Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit. October 8, 1993. Retrieved March 9,
^ Davis, pp. 372, 375–376
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 391, 397
^ Davis, p. 384
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 400–401
^ Davis, pp. 426–427
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 384–388
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 389–390
^ Davis, p. 399
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 393
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 413
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 417
^ a b Arnold H. Lubasch (April 1, 1992). "Deliberations Set to Start
in Gotti's Rackets Trial". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30,
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 422
^ Arnold H. Lubasch (February 13, 1992). "Prosecution in Gotti Trial
To Stress Secret Tapes". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30,
^ Davis, pp. 412–421
^ Davis, pp. 421–422, 428
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 425–426
^ Arnold H. Lubasch (February 27, 1992). "Witness Describes Scene at
Murder of Castellano". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30,
^ Davis, pp. 428–444
^ Davis, pp. 444–454
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 427–431
^ a b c Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 432–433.
^ Davis, pp. 461–462
^ a b Davis, pp. 468–470
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 434–435
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 421–423
^ Davis, pp. 457–458
^ Davis, p. 453
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 431
^ Davis, p. 475
^ a b Capeci, Mustain (1996), pp. 435–437
^ Davis, pp. 486–487
^ Capeci, Mustain (1996), p. 439
^ Raab, p. 455
^ Kates, Brian (November 3, 2002). "Gotti Used Brotherhood For Revenge
on Attacker". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
^ Jerry Capeci; Greg B. Smith (September 9, 1998). "Gotti Under Fire
Feds Say He Wanted Pal Slain in Prison". New York Daily News.
Retrieved February 16, 2012.
Selwyn Raab (October 26, 1996). "Mafia Seeks To Oust Gotti,
Officials Say". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
^ Arnold H. Lubasch (September 16, 1992). "Gotti Is Still Crime Boss,
U.S. Asserts". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
^ Benjamin Weiser (January 22, 1998). "U.S. Charges
John Gotti Jr.
With Extortion". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
^ David W. Chen (September 4, 1999). "Younger Gotti Is Sentenced To
Six Years". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
^ Alison Gendar (January 16, 2010). "John 'Junior' Gotti finds new
calling – writing true crime stories". New York Daily News.
Retrieved March 5, 2011.
^ Lombardi, John (May 21, 2005). "The Dumbest Don". New York Magazine.
Retrieved January 8, 2012.
^ Marzulli, John (June 5, 2002). "Nab Newest Gambino Crime Boss". New
York Daily News. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
^ Greg B. Smith and
Jerry Capeci (September 24, 1998). "THROAT CANCER
SURGERY FOR GOTTI". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 28,
^ Mike Claffey and Greg B. Smith (September 29, 2000). "THROAT CANCER
HITS GOTTI AGAIN TUMOR DISCOVERED IN PRISON CHECKUP". New York Daily
News. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
^ "'Dapper Don'
John Gotti dead". CNN. June 11, 2002. Retrieved March
^ Corky Siemaszko (June 11, 2002). "JOHN GOTTI DIES OF CANCER AT 61
Mob boss last of the colorful old gangsters". New York Daily News.
Retrieved March 5, 2011.
^ Dobnik, Verena (October 11, 2001). "Hundreds at
John Gotti Wake".
CBS News. Associated Press. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
^ Dakss, Brian (June 15, 2002). "Final Farewell To Gotti". CBS News.
Retrieved February 14, 2011.
^ Gleiberman, Owen (January 11, 1991). "The Godfather III (1990)".
Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
^ Hiltbrand, David (May 9, 1994). "Picks and Pans Review: Getting
Gotti". People. 41 (17). Retrieved January 6, 2012.
^ Slewinski, Christy (August 11, 1996). "Understanding 'Gotti'". New
York Daily News. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
^ Mustain, Gene (May 10, 1998). "
Teflon Don Gored by the Bull". New
York Daily News. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
^ Gallo, Phil (May 31, 2001). "Boss of Bosses". Variety. Retrieved
January 6, 2012.
^ IMDb: Sinatra Club (2010)
^ Szalai, Georg (April 12, 2011). "John Travolta: 'Gotti' Movie Is
America's 'Most Interesting Untold Story'". The Hollywood Reporter.
Retrieved January 6, 2012.
^ "Watch "Mugshots Ep 10 John Gotti" Full Episode Free Snagfilms".
SnagFilms. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
John Gotti – End of the Sicilians". FilmRise.
Retrieved 20 April 2017.
^ Bartee, Richardine (December 16, 2016). "Hear "Real Ting": A new
mixtape by Stefflon Don". GrungeCake. Retrieved February 23,
Blum, Howard. Gangland : How The
FBI Broke the Mob. New York:
Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN 0-671-68758-1
Capeci, Jerry and Gene Mustain. Mob Star: The Story of John Gotti. New
York: Penguin, 1988. ISBN 0-02-864416-6
Capeci, Jerry and Gene Mustain. Gotti: Rise and Fall. New York: Onyx,
1996. ISBN 0-451-40681-8
Davis, John H. Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime
Family. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. ISBN 0-06-109184-7
Maas, Peter. Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the
Mafia. New York, N.Y.: HarperPaperbacks, 1997.
Raab, Selwyn. Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of
America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. London: Robson Books, 2006.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Gotti.
John Gotti – Biography.com
John Gotti: How We Made the Charges Stick – Federal Bureau of
"John Gotti". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
John Gotti Death
Gambino crime family
Peter "Petey Boy" Gotti
Capo di tutti capi
Boss of bosses
Gambino crime family
Richard G. Gotti
Richard V. Gotti
Joseph N. Gallo
John A. Gotti
Frank Abbandando Jr.
Frank James Burke
Factions and crews
Ozone Park Boys
Operation Jack Falcone (2002-2005)
Operation Old Bridge (2008)
Kefauver Committee (1950–1951)
Valachi hearings (1963)
Bergin Hunt and Fish Club
Ravenite Social Club
The Plaza Suite
Pizza Connection Trial (1985-1986)
Mafia Commission Trial
Mafia Commission Trial (1985-1986)
Window Case (1991)
Castellammarese War (1929–1931)
Relation to other groups
Italian American Mafia
List of Mafia crime families
Five Families of
New York City
Motion Lounge crew
Gallo crew (defunct)
Ozone Park Boys
116th Street Crew
Greenwich Village Crew
New Jersey faction
The Jersey Crew
The Vario Crew
DeCavalcante (Northern New Jersey)
Patriarca (New England)
Bufalino (Northeastern Pennsylvania)
Morello (Italian Harlem)
Chain of command
Members (made men)
Italian-American mobsters by organization
Black Hand in Chicago
Capo dei capi
Capo dei capi (boss of bosses)
One way ride
Atlantic City Conference (1929)
Havana Conference (1946)
Apalachin Meeting (1957)
Palermo Mafia summit (1957)
Kefauver Committee (1950–1951)
Valachi hearings (1963)
Mafia–Camorra War (1914–1917)
Castellammarese War (1929–1931)
Pizza Connection Trial (1985–1987)
Mafia Commission Trial
Mafia Commission Trial (1985–1986)
Cotroni crime family
The Corporation or Cuban Mafia
Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan
Inzerillo Mafia clan
Luppino crime family
Musitano crime family
Papalia crime family
Philadelphia Greek Mob
Rizzuto crime family
Sacra Corona Unita
Velentzas crime family
Winter Hill Gang
Broadway Mob (Originally Jewish and Italian; absorbed by Genovese
The Bugs and Meyer Mob (Jewish, absorbed by Murder Inc.)
Bumpy Johnson gang
New York Camorra
Cohen crime family
Cohen crime family (Both an
American Mafia and
Jewish Mafia family)
Dutch Schultz Mob
East Harlem Purple Gang (Semi-independent, most closely affiliated
with Genovese family)
Five Points Gang
Italian-American National Union
Marat Balagula gang (Russian Mafia, affiliated with Lucchese)
Murder, Inc. (Italian and Jewish, closely affiliated with or part of
the American Mafia)
National Crime Syndicate (Mostly Italian and Jewish)
Rudaj Organization (Albanian mafia)
Tanglewood Boys (Semi-independent
affiliated with Lucchese family)
Westies (largely defunct)
Collaborations between the United States government and Italian Mafia
Operation Family Secrets
Operation Old Bridge
Hired Truck Program
Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
Buster from Chicago
ISNI: 0000 0000 1350 6060