John Gotti, Sr. a.k.a. "The Teflon/Dapper Don"
Years as Boss: 1985-1996


John Gotti is included in this otherwise "historic" who's who of mobsters simply because he was probably the last remaining Mafia Don to possess the "mystique", of a Lucky Luciano, or Al Capone.  Like Luciano, Gotti's methods were businesslike, and like Capone, he made a career of manipulating, and sometimes charming the press.  But make no mistake, Gotti's rise to the top was as littered with shady deals, and dead bodies, as any of the aforementioned crime lords, and his downfall is symbolic of the slow erosion of organized crime.  Gotti was intrigued by the works of Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, whom he'd been introduced to during his many visits to aging family patriarch Don Carlo Gambino;  he learned to recite Machiavelli's writings as if they were the holy scripture, probably in the hopes of better understanding, or gaining favor with Don Carlo.  Alas, things did not turn out as planned, when Gotti was incarcerated, and Don Carlo named Big Paulie Castellano as his successor.  Gotti later made his move, orchestrating Big Paulie's demise, and taking over as Don.
  Throughout the 80s, Gotti earned the nickname, the "Teflon Don"; for none of the charges brought against him would stick... At least until the early 90s, when he was indicted and tried on a RICO (Racketeer Influenced, and Corrupt Organizations) case; this time facing a prosecution armed with mobster turned informant Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, who had been Gotti's own underboss, and who provided damning testimony against his former boss,  particularly about about the Castellano murder.  Gotti was sentenced to life imprisonment, and later made several attempts at a second trial, all of which were denied.  John Gotti died of cancer in the Springfield, Missouri federal prison hospital, on June 10th, 2002.

For  more information on the rise and fall of John Gotti, Sr., see: The Gotti Tapes: Including the Testimony of Salvatore (Sammy the Bull Gravano) -- John Gotti, et al; Mass Market Paperback.

 

 

Family TiesFamily Tree  | Mafioso Lingo 
Vincent Mangano
| Albert Anastasia | Carlo Gambino | Paul Castellano, 
Roy DeMeo | John Gotti, Sr. | John Gotti, Jr.  | Sammy Gravano

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Last modified: August 26, 2002