On 27th day of October year nineteen hundred forty, John Joseph Gotti Jr. was born in Bronx, New York. His parents are Philomena and John Joseph Gotti. He was the fifth among eleven siblings, composed of seven boys and four girls. Some of his siblings had died at earlier age because of poor medical care. On his fourth grade, his family suddenly moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He grew up on a tough street where he and his brothers fought with hoodlums in the area.
He had been a smart student in Public School 209 where he graduated until his sixth grade.
He attended Public School 178 at the age of twelve when his family decided to relocate at Brownsville-East, New York. The place was a thriving area of Mafia activities. The area was a ground of a mob hit squad. One of which is the well-known Murder Inc. Benjamin Siegel and Reles, popular gangster thrive in the same place. He had been a member of Fulton-Rockaway Boys.
The gang had been recognized as bright and tough group. It was distinct from other gangs because their higher level criminality acts. They stole automobiles and valuable goods.
On June 7, 1954, he was suspended from school during his eighth grade in which he never returned back to study again. Gotti had a short temper, shown even at his early age. He always had a fist fight.. Because he grew up in street, he had set his goal of becoming a powerful and well-known wise guy of the streets.
Together with his brothers Peter and Richard, they render illegal works with underground organizations. He never pursued a formal education but instead learned from the streets of New York. Even at school, his teachers knew him as a great bully and distraction in the class.
Gotti had been involved in a construction site robbery during the summer of 1954 Because of this; he spent most of his summer in the hospital due to accidental tipping of cement mixer over his feet. As a member of Fulton Rockaway boys, his criminal record grew five times from 1957 to 1961 but charges against him were either dismissed or reduced to probationary sentence. Because of his confidence and self-assured characters, older gangster in his community made known of him. His first adult criminal record was during his age of eighteen because of frequent visit on gambling locations.
He had been a favorite student of Mafia heads namely Carmine and Danny Fatico. Before he was twenty, he had done the work on the mob’s Gabino family where he got good impressions. Gotti’s first rose up the mob ladder when he did jobs on legal woes of Carmine Fatico. It was followed by his works on law problems of Dellacroce. Gotti’s finally found a mentor in person of Aniello Dellacroce. They were more alike in many ways. Aniello was clever, fierceful, violent but reliable. Moreso, Dellacroce and Gotti both had big engagement in gambling.
Also by the time Castellano reign as new leader, both Gotti and Dellacroce questioned Castellano’s skills. They believed that Castellano, cannot understand Gotti and his crew because he never been a street guy. To avoid rumors, Castellano retreated at his home in Todt Hill, Staten Island. He was where he prefers to deal with a few chosen family members. Relationship between Dellacroce and Castellano deteriorates in 1980s. He married Victoria DiGiorgio in 1960. Victoria’s parents were an Italian contractor and a half Russian- half Jewish woman. They resided in Howard Beach-Ozone Park, Queens.
The place was known to be a blue-collar Italian-American neighborhood. They had five children namely Angel, Victoria, John Jr. , Frank and Peter. During the early years of his marriage, Gotti tried to have a legitimate work. He became a coat factory presser. Also, he became a truck driver assistant. But his wife disparaged his career. She was never satisfied or happy with the way of their lives. Gotti along with Salvatore Ruggiero, again was arrested in 1963 for stealing an automobile which they took from a rental car agency. He was detained for twenty days in jail. In January, 1965 he was arrested for bookmaking.
He accepts and pay-off bets. He struggled as young petty criminal. After two months, he was then arrested for attempted burglary by which he imprisoned for one year. In 1966, Gotti moved up the ladder and became a Mafia crew associate which by that time brothers Carmine and Daniel lead the group. They are selling drugs at the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens. His career as a hijacker took off when he became the newest member of the notorious Bergin crew. Gotti and his crew had planned to steal trucks loaded with good stuff. But their operation failed. FBI and state police managed to monitor their activities.
In December 1976, he was arrested at the Kennedy Airport in New York for the act of hijacking. After a month, he was arrested again for the same criminal act. He served three years in prison. After his released, he replaced the Fatico brothers, a former neighborhood’s mob leaders. Aniello being a powerful underboss of the Mob’s Gambino family, Gotti reported and served him directly. On November 27, 1967 Gotti and some of the crew did hijacking of cargoes from planes. Gene, his brother, successfully forged the forwarding company agent’s name. They drove off merchandise worth of $30,000.
Most of which are women’s clothes. Few days later, they did same job at the Northwest Airlines cargo terminal where FBI had arrested them for hijacking in February, 1968. By same year, while he’s on bail, he was again arrested for hijacking a truck loaded with cigarettes worth about $500,000 at New Jersey Turnpike. In 1972, Gotti was freed from imprisonment. He found a legitimate job at his wife’s stepfather’s company. He worked on the payroll. But then he returned to work with the Bergin club. By the time he had came back with the group, the members were old and had cases that freeze the groups activities.
Gotti was assigned to oversee everyday activities. Dellacroce blessed Grotti to be promoted as acting capo of the Bergin crew in the same year. In May 22nd, 1973, Angelo Ruggiero, Ralphie “the Wig” Galione, and John Gotti killed a man named James McBratney. James was a good theft. He was said being killed because he was involved in the murder of Manny Gambino, a Mafia boss’ nephew. Witnesses of the crime Gotti pleaded guilty of the crime in June 2, 1975. He was sentenced for four years imprisonment but he was given a parole and released on June 28th, 1977. The McBratney’s murder made Gotti’s way up within the Mafia.
He was initiated formally as member of Mafia. When Carlo Gambino was replaced by his brother in-law, Castellano, Gotti showed dissatisfaction from Castellano’s chain of command. His four brothers had also been members of Mafia. The Gambino family also welcomed Peter, Gene and Richard in their roster. Their brother, Vincent, had been a member of Mafia but of lesser degree. Frank Gotti, twelve-year old son was killed in an accident, while riding his mini-bike around their neighborhood, on March, 1980 at 157th Avenue by a fifty-one year old factory worker, John Favara. Favara did not attend Frank’s funeral as advised by a priest.
He neither offered sympathy to the parents. He then received threats but ignored it. He was said been murdered on May, 1980 but his body was never been found which nobody was charged by his death. Because of the murder of Favara, Gotti was under surveillance by FBI agents. They noticed that Gotti had begun to receive a Mafia custom respect for a leader from other mobster. Gotti becomes a media celebrity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He had a public image of ultra-confidence macho. He was known to wear two thousand dollar worth hand tailored Brioni silk suits and so was called “Dapper Don”.
Many of his admirers associated him as figure American rebel. His supporters’ crowd gathered outside the court in his every trial. John Gotti was very popular in Queens neighborhood. He often organized and held free enormous street parties and festivals. On the fourth of July, he organized a firework display for an annual party at the Ozone Park. Suddenly, Gotti’s mentor,Dellacroce, died naturally on December, 1985.. Gotti’s presently growing group was caught red-handed with illegal drugs. Gambino family rules are against drug pushing. This has been the reason to disband his group.
After two weeks of the incident, Castellano was killed together with his underboss Thomas Billoti. Castellano had six gun shots in his body. Like, Favara, nobody was charged in Castellano’s murder. Gotti replaced him and became Mafia’s most powerful head. He was one of the youngest bosses in Mafia history. Gotti earned money from heroin and pornography. Most of his money came from the family’s violent influences. They had forceful influences on certain labor unions from the construction, garment, meat and waste disposal industry; also with the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfront.
In 1980, the Federal government included Gotti’s name in their most wanted list of criminals.. He was brought to trial for racketeering, where the sentence is an extended jail term. This charge would end his reign inevitably. But the case filed against him was dismissed on March 1987. Gotti eventually became known as the “Teflon Don” because he cannot be accused of criminal charges by the government prosecutors. In 1992, seventy five million dollars was spent by the Justice Department to monitor the Gotti’s private conversations.
Evidences were taped which proved his involvement in racketeering and mob-related murder. Even Bruce Cutler, Gotti’s attorney has distinct participations; therefore he was not allowed to defend him in the court. Also, the jury of his case was safely protected under seclusion. Gotti’s right hand, Salvatore Gravano, turned against him in this case. Gravano make deal with the government to testify against Gotti in exchange of receiving twenty-year imprisonment instead of life sentence without parole. Gravano was hidden in an unknown safe house in Virginia so Mafia hitmen will not be able to assassinate him.
Gravano was penalized with only five-year imprisonment despite that he confessed to be responsible of nineteen murders. In December 11, 1990, a raid at the Ravenite Social Club leads to the arrest of Gotti and his associates which included Frank Locascio, Thomas Gabino and Gravano. Among the charges filed against him were racketeering, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice and conspiracy of murder of Castellano and Thomas Billoti. Moreso, loan laundering and tax evasion were added with his charges. The trial ended of Gotti’s conviction. He was penalized with life imprisonment without any parole to be granted.
He was held at the maximum security federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois where he was kept in a solitary confinement of twenty hours a day. Gotti’s prison cell was placed underground. His cell prison measured of eight feet wide by seven feet long. He was only permitted to go out an hour a day for a solitary exercise within a concrete enclosure. Only two showers per week were allowed for him. One radio and a small television were set in his cell. A tiny opening with his cell door served as passage way of his food. While in his cell, Gotti was paying security fee of fifty-thousand dollars a year to the Aryan Brotherhood.
It is a notorious prison gang known as “The Brand. ” In July, 1996, Gotti decided to stop paying protection money to the gang. While doing his exercise in the prison yard, he was attacked by inmate. The incident left him in distress. It was also around this time that they discovered he had throat and neck cancer. John Gotti Sr. was attended by medical doctors at the United States Medical Center of Federal Prisoners located at Springfield, Missouri. His cancer was diagnosed and confirmed by this time. He had a tumor near his tonsils. Also, several lymph nodes were found at the back of his throat.
The cancer during his time was seriously considered life threatening. Gotti Sr. had an operation on done, on September 1998, to remove the tumor. Everyone expect a 100% recovery. But unfortunately, his cancer recurred in year 2000. Gotti Sr. had remained in Marion. Gotti was said to continue controlling the Gambino family through his youngest son, John Jr. But unlike his father, his power and influence easily defeated. The younger Gotti had pleaded guilty of cases of bribery, extortion; gambling and fraud. He was sentenced to about six years imprisonment.
Gravano continued to testify for the government in every mob trial of Grotti. But he was dropped out of the federal witness program because he was indicted of Ecstasy drug operation in Arizona. When the New York Daily news announced Gotti Sr. was already suffering form the advance stages of cancer and told by the doctors that he had less than two months to live, Gotti Sr. was still very insistent to move around with minimal assistance, but eventually he would be forced in a wheelchair. The chemotherapy treatments made him weaker everyday and his appetite began to wane.
Gotti was fed through tubes by prison doctors. This was the only time the judge allowed him to be visited but only by close family members. Physical contact was now permitted to his wife and children, but after every visit he would immediately be brought back to his solitary confinement. On June 13, 2001, Gotti Sr. had lost too much weight that the doctors decided to stop his chemotherapy, but on the very next day it appeared that he was suffering from pneumonia and he was taking a turn for the worse. Even the pain medication he was taking established infections.
But as a tough guy from the streets of New York he did not give up and held on for at least another year. John Gotti Sr. finally passed away June 10, 2002 and was allowed to return to his home in New York. Upon returning home, he was still met with controversy after the church denied him of a catholic burial. His funeral service was held at Queens Church and his remain was buried beside his son at St Johns Cemetery. During Gotti’s stay in prison for not more than a year, the FBI had started to investigate about his son, John. He was said to have position in the Gamino’s hierarchy.
March 1993, the younger Gotti had met with his crew on a Wednesday night at the Our Friends Social Club in South Ozone Park, Queens, where twelve of the crew was reported to have subpoena. John Gotti make his son John A (junior) Gotti a capo, despite of the objections from other capos. His son surprised them with his willingness to stay with the family business. While John Gotti was under trail for murder and racketeering, his son stayed behind the scenes and served the Gambinos family as acting boss. Sooner or later the young Gotti was accused with a litany of Crimes.
The young Gotti surrendered to the authorities. His lawyers said in the closing arguments in the racketeering case that the young Gotti was the head of the Gambino family until 1999. Junior was arrested with 39 others in January 1998. It was a massive federal indictment. He was charged with a plethora of crimes. He was charged with simple mob basic activities, loansharking and extortion, and some telecommunications scam. He was also associated with a robbery of a drug dealer on November 1996. He was said had stole two kilos of cocaine, four guns and $4,000 cash.
With the death of John Gotti at prison at the age of 61 due to cancer, the authorities were thinking on who will be the successor and how the leadership in the family be shaped up. Since many of the senior members of the Gambino family were either in prison or dead, it was anticipated that the family would regroup in order to restore order. The remaining senior members of Mafia family did not like the pressure by which the authorities were giving them. So it was Gotti’s elder brother, Peter, which by the time was sixty two years old, who had ascended into power during the next few months.
The Federal officials had him face with racketeering charges immediately which lead him to jail of life sentence without bail. Now that Peter Gotti was off the streets, the federal government was now diverting there attention on who would be the possible prospects for the leadership of the Gambino family. The Gambino family was quickly loosing its top officials and underbosses. Among the top prospects identified by the federal authorities were Gottis old friends, Danny Marino, Jack D’Amico and Arnold Squitieri.
In the other hand John Gotti’s other brother Richard, was also apprehended with his involvement in the waterfront case, and was believed by authorities to steer away from incriminating questions thrown to him by federal officials with the fear of loosing his chance for freedom. One unidentified investigator said that the son of the late Carlo Gambino, Thomas Gambino, if approached by other members of the family could assume the post for leadership. But until this very day, Thomas Gambino, after his release in 2002 for racketeering charges and had faced four years imprisonment would not want to handle anymore legal problems.
Until now, funerals, birthday parties or any special occasions of mob families are being watched by authorities to find clues on who would turn out to be the successor for leadership in the family.