|Full Name||John Joseph Gotti, Jr.|
|Base of Operations||New York City, New York, United States|
DeCavalcante crime family
The Chicago Outfit
Philadelphia crime family
John Joseph Gotti, Jr. (October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002) aka "The Teflon Don" and "The Dapper Don" was an Italian-American mobster who was boss of the Gambino Crime Family from 1986 to 1992.
Gotti took over the Gambino family after arranging the assassination of previous boss Paul Castellano in 1985. Subsequently, Gotti became a public figure, recognizable for his expensive, tailored overcoats, fancy scarfs, and his charismatic personality in front of news cameras.
He was the target of numerous law enforcement investigations in the 1980s, and earned the nickname the "Teflon Don" after being acquitted in three high-profile trials. His downfall finally came in 1992 when he was found guilty of racketeering and five counts of murder, aided by his underboss Sammy Gravano agreeing to become an FBI informant, and sentenced to life without parole.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Associate of the Gambino family
- 3 Making His Bones
- 4 Made Member and Capo
- 5 Rise to Power
- 6 Boss of the Gambino family
- 7 Reorganization of the Gambino family
- 8 1989 Assault acquittal
- 9 Conviction and Downfall
- 10 Incarceration and Death
- 11 Popular Culture
- 12 Quotes
- 13 People Murdered by John Gotti
- 14 External Links
Gotti was born in the Bronx, New York. He was the fifth of the thirteen children of John Joseph Gotti, Sr. and his wife Philomena. John was one of five brothers who would become made men in the Gambino crime family; Gene Gotti was initiated before John due to the latter's incarceration. Peter Gotti was initiated under John's leadership in 1988 and Richard Gotti was identified as a Capo in 2002. The fifth, Vincent Gotti, was not initiated until 2002.
Gotti grew up in poverty. His father worked irregularly as a day laborer and indulged in gambling, and as an adult Gotti came to resent him for being unable to provide for his family. In school Gotti had a history of truancy and bullying other students and ultimately dropped out, while attending Franklin K. Lane High School, at the age of 16. Gotti was involved in street gangs associated with New York mafiosi from the age of 12. When he was 14, 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 Johnson.
Gotti met his future wife, Victoria DiGiorgio, in 1958. The couple had their first child, a daughter named Angel, in 1961, and were married in 1962. They had four more children, Victoria and three sons John A. "Junior" Gotti, Frank 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.
Associate of the Gambino family
Gotti's criminal career began when he became an associate of Carmine Fatico, a capo in the Anastasia/Gambino crime family. Together with his brother Gene and Angelo Ruggiero, Gotti carried out truck hijackings at Idlewild Airport. During this time, Gotti befriended fellow mob hijacker and future Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino and was given the nicknames "Black John" and "Crazy Horse." It was also around this time that Gotti met Gambino underboss Aniello Dellacroce.
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. Two months later, while out on bail, Gotti was arrested a third time for hijacking—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 capo Carmine 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. Although Gotti was not yet a made man in the Mafia due to the membership books having been closed since 1957, Fatico named Gotti the acting capo of the Bergin Crew soon after Gotti was paroled. In his new role, he 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.
Making His Bones
In 1973, after Carlo Gambino's nephew Emmanuel Gambino was kidnapped and murdered, Gotti was assigned to a large, heavily-armed hit squad to track down and kill everyone involved in Emmanuel Gambino's kidnapping and death, the Gambino family hit squad involved Angelo Ruggiero, John Carneglia, Charles Carneglia, Joseph Testa, Anthony Senter, Roy DeMeo, Thomas Agro, Wilfred Johnson and Ralph Galione. They murdered the main suspect, Irish-American gangster James McBratney, and they also tortured and murdered four of McBratney's partners who was involved in the kidnapping. Carlo Gambino reportedly ordered their family's to be murdered as well for collateral damage.
On May 23, 1973, at 11pm, Gotti, Galione and Ruggiero walked into Snoops Bar and Grill in Staten Island to abduct McBratney, the hit team impersonated police detectives the original plan was to take McBratney to the parking lot and kill him outside the sight of witnesses. Despite the fact that Galione aimed a gun at him and Ruggiero was holding a pair of handcuffs, McBratney realized they weren't real cops and asked "Lets see a badge". After their cover was blown Galione fired a round into the ceiling. Bar patrons, who hadn't already run outside or into the cellar, were ordered to stand against the wall. It was now just them in the bar, and although McBratney was stronger, he was up against two men, Gotti and Ruggiero. McBratney dragged the two thugs down past the end of the bar before Ralph Galione shot McBratney dead when his accomplices managed to restrain him.
In July, Ruggiero and Galione were identified from police mugshots by a barmaid and a customer from Snoops, and the men were then apprehended. However, Gotti had not been identified so he kept a low profile. On October 17, Gotti was indicted by a grand jury for murder. Gotti was annoyed that Galione had killed McBratney as he wanted to kill him and become a made man and he felt Galione had robbed him of his chance to become a made man, he wanted revenge. On December 20, 1973, John Gotti murdered Ralph Galione.
Identified by eyewitnesses and a police informant in the Bergin Crew (Wilfred Johnson), Gotti was arrested for the killing in June 1974. With the help of famous attorney Roy Cohn, he was able to strike a plea bargain and received a four-year suspended sentence for attempted manslaughter for his part in the hit.
Years later, after his death, Gotti was also identified by Joseph Massino as the killer of Vito Borelli, the boyfriend of Paul Castellano's daughter who was killed in 1975 for insulting Castellano, saying Castellano resembled Frank Perdue, the famous owner and commercial spokesman for Perdue Farms. Castellano took offense to that comment, due to Perdue's balding, elderly appearance and his comically embarrassing mannerisms. Shortly after the murder Gotti breached his suspended sentence so he spent the remaining 2 years of his sentence in jail.
Made Member and Capo
Gotti was released from jail in July, 1977, after two years imprisonment. He was subsequently initiated into the Gambino crime family, now under the command of Paul Castellano, and immediately promoted to replace Carmine Fatico as Capo of the Bergin crew. He and his crew reported directly to Aniello Dellacroce as part of the concessions given by Castellano to keep Dellacroce as underboss.
Under Gotti, the Bergin Crew was the biggest earner of the crews Dellacroce supervised. 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 with a salary of $45,000 per year. Unconfirmed allegations by FBI informants in the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club claimed 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 A. "Junior" Gotti, who by 1982 was a mob associate.
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 John Favara, a neighbor. While Frank's death was ruled an accident, Favara subsequently received death threats and, when he visited the Gotti's to apologize, was attacked by Victoria Gotti with a baseball bat. On July 28, 1980, he was abducted and disappeared, presumed murdered. While the Gottis were on vacation in Florida at the time, John Gotti is still presumed to have ordered the killing.
In his last two years as the Bergin Capo, Gotti was indicted on two occasions, with both cases coming to trial after his ascension to boss of the Gambino crime family. In September 1984, Gotti was in 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 Wilfred Johnson, one of his co-defendants, had been an FBI informant for nearly 20 years.
Rise to Power
Gotti rapidly became dissatisfied with Paul Castellano's leadership, considering the new boss too isolated and greedy. Gotti and others also considered Castellano to be more of a businessman than a 'real' gangster like them. In August 1983, Angelo 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 he threatened to demote Gotti.
In 1984, Castellano was arrested and indicted in a RICO case in relation to a Auto Theft ring and murders committed by Gambino hitman Roy DeMeo's and his crew. The following year Castellano received a second indictment in the denominated "Commission Case". 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 disgruntled Gambino family members Sammy Gravano, Frank DeCicco, Robert DiBernardo and Joseph Armone (collectively dubbed "the Fist" by themselves) to overthrow Castellano, insisting despite the boss' inaction that Castellano would eventually try to kill him. The conspirators had the support of the bosses-in-waiting of the other families in the Commission case as well as the complicity of Gambino consigliere Joseph N. Gallo.
After Dellacroce died of cancer on December 2, 1985, Castellano revised his succession plan: appointing Thomas Bilotti as underboss, Thomas Gambino as the sole acting boss if Castellano is sent to prison, 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 him.
DeCicco tipped Gotti off that he would be having a meeting with Castellano and several other Gambino mobsters at Sparks Steak House on December 16, 1985, and 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 Salvatore Gravano.
Several days after the murder, Gotti was named head of a three-man committee to temporarily run the family pending the election of a new boss, along with Consigliere Joseph N. Gallo and Capo Frank DeCicco. It was also announced that an internal investigation into Castellano's murder was well 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'd been the one behind the hit. He was formally acclaimed as the new boss of the Gambino family at a meeting of 21 capos held on January 15, 1986. He appointed his co-conspirator DeCicco as the new underboss while retaining Gallo
Boss of the Gambino family
Identified as both Paul Castellano's likely murderer and his successor, John Gotti rose to power and fame throughout 1986, he became the most infamous crime figure in the world, he had millions of admirers all over the country, and even around the world. For years, Gotti was on the news and on television everyday, he was very well-liked by people all over New York, and around the country, and even around the world. He was considered a "celebrity mob boss", like a famous celebrity, Gotti had countless fans and admirers all over the world, he gained so much notoriety, he was put on 'Time Magazine', 'New York Times' and 'Forbes' Magazines. He was all over newspapers everyday from 1986-1992. Gotti was loved by the public and considered a robin-hood to New York for donating food, clothes, supplies, and immense amounts of money to the homeless, children's hospitals, and children's charities. He walked all over New York on a daily basis while being filmed and getting pictures of him by paparazzi's, news broadcasters and journalists, he walked around everyday wearing $10,000 suits, tailored overcoats, fancy scarfs, and would walk with a swagger, and would talk to the media, journalists, paparazzi's, and news broadcasters,telling them jokes, charming them, or having friendly conversations, he was known for his powerful, magnetic, charming, dashing, and charismatic personality that most people loved and thought was "incredibly charming." His massive media presence and high-profile status enraged most mob bosses and the Commission whom warned him and ordered him to "calm down" and to be more secretive and keep a low-profile. Gotti was even more famous during his era, than Al Capone was during the prohibition era. His celebrity status, caused him to be hated by most mob bosses around the country, and would ultimately be his downfall.
Former Lucchese boss Anthony Casso stated that "what Gotti did almost destroyed the Gambino crime family, and truly impacted La Cosa Nostra nationwide, he just exposed everything and everyone within La Cosa Nostra, he gave all of the business out like it was a movie, a mob boss isn't supposed to be that high-profile, i mean he's supposed to be known, but not being filmed and on the news everyday, getting pictures taking of him everyday by the media and the news, and being on newspapers every single day, and on Forbes and Times magazines, if your a boss i mean yeah ofcourse you gotta be known because your a king, and if your the king then your supposed to be known, and be present, but he walked around like a god, like he was untouchable, and he went too far with it all, and he had a'lot of power, but it all got to his head, he thoght he could walk on water, like he was god or something, but he took himself down for wanting to be a famous celebrity or a superstar, the government didn't take John Gotti down, John Gotti took John Gotti down. When he died no mob boss attended his funeral, nobody cared except for the public and his family."
Though, he brought in far less wealth and power to the organization that Carlo Gambino and Paul Castellano brought in to the organization, he still ruled the Gambino crime family with an iron fist, and the Gambino Crime Family was still the largest and most powerful crime syndicate in the world, with up to 50,000 soldiers and 200,000 associates all over North America, and an annual income of $100 billion. In the book Underboss, Gravano estimated that Gotti himself had an annual income of no less than $500 million during his years as boss, and more likely between $1 and $2 billion.
To protect himself legally, Gotti banned members of the Gambino family from accepting plea bargains that acknowledged the existence of the organization. Gotti 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 Gambino family soldiers , Romual Piecyk decided not to testify against Gotti, and when the trial commenced in March 1986 he testified he was unable to remember who attacked him. The case was promptly dismissed, with the New York Daily News summarizing the proceedings with the headline "I Forgotti!"
On April 13, 1986, underboss Frank DeCicco was killed when his car was bombed following a visit to Castellano loyalist James Failla. The bombing was carried out by Lucchese capos Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso, under orders of bosses Anthony Corallo and Vincent Gigante, 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 been banned by Gambino family Godfather Paul Castellano out of concern that it would put innocent people in harm's way, leading the Gambinos to initially suspect that Zips (Sicilian Mafia soldiers working in the United States) were behind it; the Sicilian Mafia are extremely notorious for using high-tech bombs and powerful explosive devices to kill people.
Following the bombing Judge Eugene Nickerson, presiding over Gotti's racketeering trial, rescheduled to avoid a jury tainted by the resulting publicity while prosecutors had Gotti's bail revoked due to evidence of intimidation in the Piecyk case. From jail, Gotti ordered the murder of Robert DiBernardo, which was carried out by Sammy Gravano and Joseph Paruta on June 5, 1986; both DiBernardo and Ruggiero had been vying to succeed DeCicco as underboss until Ruggiero accused DiBernardo of challenging Gotti's leadership, Ruggiero was also in debt to Dibernardo to the tune of $750,000. When Ruggiero, also under indictment, had his bail revoked for his abrasive behavior in preliminary hearings, a frustrated Gotti instead promoted Joseph Armone to underboss.
Jury selection for the racketeering case began again in August 1986, with Gotti standing trial alongside Gene Gotti, Wilfred Johnson (who, despite being exposed as an informant, refused to turn state's evidence), Leonard DiMaria, Anthony Rampino, Nicholas Corozzo and John Carneglia. At this point, the Gambino's were able to compromise the case when George Pape, a friend of The Westies boss Bosko Radonjich, was empaneled; through Radonjich Pape contacted Sammy Gravano and agreed to sell his vote on the jury for $60,000. Pape's actions meant that Gotti entered the courtroom knowing that he was at least assured of a hung jury.
In the trial's opening statements on September 25, Gotti's defense attorney Bruce Cutler denied the existence of the Gambino crime 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 the prosecutions witnesses. In Gotti's defense Cutler called bank robber Matthew Traynor, a would-be prosecution witness dropped for unreliability, who testified that one prosecutor 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. Pape, however, 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 co-defendants of all charges. Five years later Pape was convicted of obstruction of justice for his part in the fix.
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." For years, Gotti was literally untouchable, and no charges could ever stick to him.
Reorganization of the Gambino family
While Gotti himself had escaped conviction, his associates were not so lucky. The other two men in the Gambino administration, underboss Joseph Armone and consigliere Joseph N. Gallo, had been indicted on racketeering charges in 1986 and were both convicted in December, 1987. The heroin trial of Gotti's fellow Bergin crewmembers Angelo Ruggiero and Gene Gotti also commenced in June of that year.
Prior to their convictions, Gotti allowed Gallo to retire and promoted Sammy Gravano in his place while slating Frank Locascio to serve as acting underboss in the event of Armone's imprisonment. The Gambino's 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 Gambino's misfortunes. According to Gravano, Gotti also considered murdering Ruggiero but Gravano convinced him that it wasn't worth it 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 Gotti as an unnecessary vanity-inspired risk, and by FBI Gambino squad leader Bruce Mouw as anti thematic to the "secret society", this move allowed FBI surveillance to record and identify much of the Gambino hierarchy. The FBI also bugged the Ravenite, but failed to produce any high-quality incriminating recordings.
In 1988, Gotti, Vincent Gigante and Lucchese boss Vittorio Amuso attended 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 Michael Paradiso. The following year, the FBI warned Gotti they had recorded Genovese crime family consigliere Louis Manna discussing another hit on him and his brother Gene. 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 acting boss Vittorio Orena to join the Commission, but Gigante, wary of giving Gotti a majority by admitting another ally, blocked the reentry of the Bonannos' and Joseph Massino.
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 Gambino's behalf. The DeCavalcante crime family remained in the Gambino's sphere of influence until Gotti's imprisonment.
Gotti's son, John A. "Junior" Gotti, was initiated into the Gambino family on Christmas Eve, 1988. According to fellow mobster Michael DiLeonardo, initiated in the same ceremony, Sammy Gravano held the ceremony to keep Gotti from being accused of nepotism. Gotti Jr. was promptly promoted to capo. Other Gambino members made that night were Dominick Pizzonia and Bartholomew Boriello.
1989 Assault acquittal
On the evening of January 23, 1989, Gotti was arrested outside the Ravenite and charged with ordering the 1986 assault of 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 members of the The Westies Irish mob. 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 $1 million bail.
Conviction and Downfall
On December 11, 1990, FBI agents and New York City detectives raided the Ravenite Social Club, arresting Gotti, Sammy Gravano and Frank Locascio. Gotti was charged, in this new racketeering case, with five murders, those of Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti, Robert DiBernardo, Liborio Milito and Louis DiBono, conspiracy to murder DeCavalcante crime family Capo Gaetano 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 and attorneys Bruce Cutler and Gerald Shargel were both disqualified from defending Gotti after determining they had worked as "in-house counsel" for the Gambino organization. Gotti subsequently hired Albert Krieger, a Miami attorney who had worked with Joseph "Bananas" 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 the newest 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's trial commenced with the prosecution's opening statements on February 12, 1992; prosecutors 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 Castellano hit who identified Gotti soldier John 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 crime family and described in detail the conspiracy to assassinate boss Paul Castellano and gave 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 Gravano's past steroid use, and he equated the dismissal of a juror to the fixing of the 1919 World Series.
On April 2, 1992, after only 14 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 FBI, announced at a press conference, "The Teflon Don 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.
Incarceration and Death
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.
While in prison, Gotti was assaulted by Walter Johnson an African-American gang member inmate who was a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang. Only one day later, Gotti attempted to personally murder Johnson, but Johnson was isolated and put in the "hole" before Gotti could exact revenge. Gotti offered $50,000 to the Aryan Brotherhood to kill Walter Johnson. The Aryan Brotherhood accepted Gotti's offer, and four days later three members of the Aryan Brotherhood stabbed Johnson to death in his cell. Gotti is also believed to have hired the Aryan Brotherhood for another hit on Frank Locascio after learning the disgruntled acting consigliere sought to kill him, but Gotti aborted the hit. Unlike most mob bosses, Gotti did not have a lot of power and influence in prison, he was treated like an ordinary prisoner, three meals a day, 23-hour cell lockdown, and only three showers a week. It is believed that the reason Gotti did not have power in prison was because the Commission exerted their power and reach on the inside by paying off the guards and the warden to make sure Gotti did not receive any special treatment or power, the Commission unofficially excommunicated Gotti from the American Mafia and stripped his power and position as boss of the Gambino crime family, they also stripped him from all power and any kind of influence he had over anything and everything because he broke so many rules, codes and La Cosa Nostra commandments such as killing a boss without permission from the Commission, killing made men without approval from their bosses, killing civilians, killing cops, stealing from other made men, and bringing too much heat on himself and the Five Families by seeking fame and limelight, giving interviews to the media, drawing too much attention to himself, taking too many pictures with people, and they also hated and resented that Gotti enjoyed the fame, and was labeled as a "celebrity mob boss" by the media and was on "Times Magazine" and "New York Times Magazine" wearing $6,000 suits, tailored overcoats, fancy scarfs, and was on the news everyday. Thats the reason why the Commission wanted Gotti to have no special treatment or power inside prison, they wanted him to suffer, and live in misery. The only kind of special treatment Gotti received was pain pills and morphine for his throat cancer.
Despite his imprisonment, and pressure from the Commission to stand down, Gotti is believed to have held on to his position as boss of the Gambino crime family with his brother Peter Gotti and his son John A. "Junior" Gotti relaying orders on his behalf. By 1998, when he was indicted on racketeering, Gotti, Jr. was believed to be the acting boss of the family. against his father's wishes, John Jr. pleaded 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 as boss shortly after John Gotti's death.
John Jr.'s indictment brought further stress to John Gotti's marriage. Victoria DiGiorgio Gotti, up to that point unaware of her son's involvement in the mob, blamed her husband for ruining her son's life and threatened to leave him unless he allowed John A. "Junior" Gotti to leave the mob.
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 would spend the remainder of his life. Gotti's condition rapidly declined, and he died on June 10, 2002, at the age of 61. One source claimed, "If you look on his death certificate he choked on his own vomit and blood. He paid for his sins". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced that Gotti's family would not be permitted to have a Mass of Christian Burial but allowed it 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 grave site. Gotti's body was interred in a crypt next to his son Frank Gotti. 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 families sent no representatives to the funeral.
Following his conviction, Gotti himself has been portrayed in five TV movies and two theatrical films:
- Getting Gotti – 1994 CBS TV movie, portrayed by Anthony John Denison.
- Gotti – 1996 HBO TV movie adapted from Gotti: Rise and Fall, portrayed by Armand Assante.
- Witness to the Mob – 1998 NBC miniseries, portrayed by Tom Sizemore.
- Boss of Bosses – 2001 TNT TV movie adapted from the book of the same name, portrayed by Sonny Marinelli.
- The Big Heist - 2001 Canadian-American TV movie which aired on A&E, portrayed by Steven Randazzo.
- Sinatra Club – 2010 theatrical film, portrayed by Danny Nucci.
- The Wannabe - 2015 film, portrayed by Joseph Siravo.
- 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 various artists and rappers such as Irv Gotti, Yo Gotti and Stefflon Don derived their stage names after Gotti.
“When I think of the American Indians I think their of their courage, strength, pride, their respect and loyalty toward their brothers. I honor the reverence they share for tradition and life. These traits are hungered for in a society that is unfortunately plagued by those whose only values are self-centered and directed at others' expense." John Gotti
“He who is deaf, blind & silent, lives a thousand years in peace." John Gotti
“I never lie to any man because I don't fear anyone. You only lie when your afraid." John Gotti
"If you think your boss is stupid, remember: you wouldn't have a job if he was any smarter." John Gotti.
"I didnt choose this life, this life chose me."
“Always be nice to bankers. Always be nice to pension fund managers. Always be nice to the media. In that order.” John Gotti
"Three to One Odds I beat this." John Gotti
"La Cosa Nostra will exist forever, it could be an hour from now, it could be tomorrow, it could be a hundred years or a thousand years from now when I'm dead in my grave, La Cosa Nostra will never die it will only grow stronger, larger and tougher everyday, every week, every month, and every year, La Cosa Nostra will only multiply."
"The Gambino family is the toughest crew in the world, and nobody can fuck with us."
"If you fuck with La Cosa Nostra you die."
"Nobody can defeat or destroy La Cosa Nostra, we are the modern day Roman Empire, we can defeat, destroy and conquer everything, everyone and everything if we tried."
"If you cross me you die, period."
"I never lie because I'm not afraid of anything or anyone, you only lie when your afraid."
"If you try to kill me, then you better kill me and make sure that I'm dead, because ill never stop coming after you, even if it takes me forever."
"I always speak the truth."
La Cosa Nostra is not a gang, its not a cult, its not a business, La Cosa Nostra is an empire, its a brotherhood among men, its a secret society, its the second government of the United States of America, its a superpower, and its the modern day Roman Empire."
People Murdered by John Gotti
John Gotti was convicted for 5 murders in his 1992 trial, but he's responsible for more murders than that.
1.James McBratney/associate/Irish Mob/May 22nd 1973/Personal/ Gotti was the hitman along with Angelo Ruggiero and Ralph Galione. McBratney was murdered because he kidnapped and killed Carlo Gambino's nephew Emmanuel.
2.Ralph Galione/associate/Gambino Crime Family/December 20th 1973/Personal/ Gotti murdered Galione because he killed McBratney and gotti thought galione had robbed him of his chance of becoming a made man so murdered him in revenge.
3.Vito Borielli/none/independent/1975/Personal/ Gotti was the hitman, Borelli was murdered because he disrespected Paul Castellano.
4.Tommy DeSimone/associate/Lucchese Crime Family/January 14th 1979/Personal/ Gotti and Thomas Agro murdered Tommy DeSimone in revenge because he killed two gambino made men.
5.Anthony Plate/soldier/Gambino Crime Family/Summer 1979/Personal/ Gotti was the hitman along with Angelo Ruggiero, Plate was murdered because he was involved in the robbery of Anthony Gaggi which left him injured.
6.John Favarra/none/independent/March 18th 1980/Ordered It/ Gotti had Favarra murdered because he had accidently run over and killed Gotti's youngest son Frank.
7.Paul Castellano/Boss/Gambino Crime Family/December 16th 1985/At the scene/ To become boss of the Gambino crime family.
8.Thomas Bilotti/Underboss/Gambino Crime Family/December 16th 1985/At the scene/ Bilotti was killed because he was Castellano's bodyguard.
9.Robert DiBernardo/Capo/Gambino Crime Family/June 5th 1986/Ordered It/ DiBernardo was murdered because he was plotting against Gotti.
10.Liborio Milito/Soldier/Gambino Crime Family/March 8th 1988/Ordered It/ For disrespecting Capo Louis Vallario as well as since Milito had been a Castellano loyalist.
11. Francesco Oliveri/Associate/Gambino crime family/May 3rd, 1988/Ordered it/ Oliveri was killed for murdering a member of Capo John Gambino’s crew.
12.Wilfred Johnson/associate/Gambino Crime Family/August 28th 1988/Ordered It/ Johnson was killed because he was an informant.
13.Fred Weiss/none/Independent/September 11th 1989/Ordered It/ Weiss was murdered to prevent him becoming an informant
14.Eddie Garofalo/Demolition Contractor/Independent/August 9th 1990/Ordered It/ Gotti gave permission to Gravano to have Garafalo killed because they were involved in a business dispute.
15.Louis DiBono/Soldier/Gambino Crime Family/October 4th 1990/Ordered It/ DiBono was murdered because he was stealing from the Gambino crime family.
16.Thomas Uva/Career thief/Independent/December 24th, 1992/Ordered it/ Uva had robbed several mob owned social clubs, along with his wife, Rosemarie.
17.Rosemarie Uva/Career thief/Independent/December 24th, 1992/Ordered it/ Uva had robbed mob owned social clubs, along with her husband, Thomas.