Joseph Vincent "Joseph Butch" Corrao (1936–2001) was a New York City mobster, and member in the Gambino crime family. Joe Butch grew up in the life, with his father and uncle both being made members of the Gambinos, and all operating in Manhattan's Little Italy. His father, Vincent "Vinny the Shrimp" Corrao born April 28, 1909 in New York City was a first generation immigrant from Trapani, Sicily. He was a capo, and in the 1970s Joe Butch came to inherit his father's crew, and become a close confidant of family boss Paul Castellano.
In the 1980s, Joseph Butch's own son, Vincent Corrao ( "Vinny Butch"), named after his grandfather, became associated with the Gambinos and placed in the crew of John A. "Junior" Gotti and soldier Bartholomew Boriello ("Bobby"); Vinny Butch would also later become a made-man in the family, and acting capo for his imprisoned father during the 1990s. He is a maternal cousin of Gambino crime family associate Augustus Sclafani and in-law to Mildred Russo, who was the mother-in-law of Augustus. It is unknown if he is a relative of Reverend Dominick A. Sclafani who administered Carlo Gambino's last rites. Mildred was a deputy clerk in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is the father of Augustus Vincent Corrao, a member of the Gambino crime family.
Little Italy Crew
Joe Butch's crew was involved in loan sharking, extortion, gambling, and other traditional rackets. Joe Butch owned several Manhattan eateries, including Taormina and Cafe Biondo, both on Mulberry Street. John Gotti often frequented Taormina.
Joe Butch also had an interest in Brooklyn-based Bayside Fuel, located on the Gowanus Canal near the corner of Smith Street and Ninth Street, which supplied heating oil to large housing complexes and homes in New York City. Bayside's owner Anthony Allegretti employed Corrao officially as a "salesman", however, when Mayor David Dinkins and his staff learned of Allegretti's connections to Corrao, he ordered the Housing Authority to strip the company of its contracts to heat the City's apartment buildings in 1993, costing the firm millions of dollars. Historically, the home heating oil business was traditionally corrupt, filled with truckers and fuel executives who skim by pumping air instead of fuel and split their profits with mobsters like Corrao.
Paul Castellano's assassination
On December 16, 1985, family boss, Paul Castellano was murdered on orders from capo John Gotti who succeeded him as boss. Corrao had not been involved in planning the murder, and was not originally happy with Gotti's blatant violation of La Cosa Nostra's rules. Corrao was a key figure in the family because he, through associate Augustus Sclafani, had an FBI clerk on his payroll who kept the Gambinos aware of potential indictments.
Eventually, on June 20, 1986, Corrao was indicted on federal racketeering charges along with family powers James Failla, former consigliere Joseph N. Gallo, capos Joseph Armone, Robert DiBernardo, and Joseph Zingaro, soldiers Thomas Agro, John Giordano, Angelo Ruggiero, Anthony Vitta, and close associates George Daly, Louis Giardina, Julie Miron and Salvatore Migliorisi. Out of fear that Sclafani would talk, Joe Butch Corrao ordered his murder. Sclafani was murdered in Joe Butch's social club by family associate Joseph Watts, who shot him five times in the head, and left blood in a truck he borrowed from Dominic Borghese. Gotti was also furious with Sclafani for spreading a rumor that Frank DeCicco had been an informer. Frank DeCicco ordered that as soon as Paul Castellano was killed, Sclafani had to be one of the first to go.
In 1987, Corrao was acquitted of these charges (Robert DiBernardo was shot to death on orders from Gotti, thereby removing another potential turncoat, however, Gotti in fact ordered his murder because Angelo Ruggiero claimed that DiBernardo had talked subversively).
Corraro's Demise and Falling Out With Gotti
Corrao remained one of John Gotti's favorite capos (likely because Corrao was a major earner in the family), until the early 1990s when Corrao, who had diabetes, accepted a plea deal against the rule of family boss John Gotti, who then degraded Joe Butch, whose son Vincent Corrao was then the crew's acting capo. Corrao had been a Castellano loyalist, who objected to John Gotti killing the boss without Commission approval. Corrao, a Little Italy native also disapproved of Gotti requiring all of the family's capos to meet Gotti every Wednesday on Mulberry Street, allowing the FBI to decipher the family's power structure. After being released from prison in 1998, Corrao, then a ill man, did not have much of a role in the family, although he ridiculed family boss Peter Gotti, showing him no respect, eventually dying of kidney failure in 2001.