|Junior & The Fat Man|
|The feds couldn't get Sammy Bull to
testify against the son of John Gotti so they've secured the services
of a turncoat Gambino mobster who once tipped the scales at 400 pounds and
who danced and ate and ate at Junior Gotti's wedding.
Prosecutors have to go with Dominic
(Fat Dom) Borghese because Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano's cooperation
agreement has expired, and they can't persuade their onetime superstar
witness to do an encore performance.
Borghese will be a key government
witness against John A. (Junior) Gotti, the son of the imprisoned Dapper
Don. He is set to testify about the inner workings of the family Junior
supposedly inherited from his dad.
Junior, (left) who faces 20 years, goes to
trial in January in White Plains Federal Court on charges of extorting the
owners and employees of the Scores nightclub; armed robbery of a drug
dealer; telephone calling card fraud; loansharking and gambling. John
(Jackie Nose) D'Amico, whom the feds say is Junior's aide de camp,
will be tried along with him on gambling and loansharking
Borghese, 49, a Staten Island
native, was one of 250 guests who attended Junior's
opulent wedding extravaganza at the Helmsley Palace Hotel on April 22,
1990. Borghese attended with D'Amico, (right) and is listed as a member of
D'Amico's crew on Junior's wedding gift list.
Borghese, who has slimmed down to a
mere 250 pounds, served 42 months in federal prison for disposing of a
Gambino family murder victim, turned witness against the mob, testified in
a state murder case - and has gone underground in the federal witness
He won't be able to testify to the
crimes alleged in the 86-count indictment against Gotti, but will be able
to provide useful details about family operations.
"Dom was not as highly placed as Sammy,
(right) but his information is more current," said one law enforcement
official. "Dom was involved with the two lead defendants, and he'll be
able to paint a good picture of the Gambino family structure through the
Ironically, it was underboss
Gravano who conducted the January 1990 ceremony at which Borghese was
inducted into the Gambino family. It took place in a building near the
family's Little Italy headquarters, according to court papers. The elder
Gotti - in the middle of an assault trial at the time - was huddled with
his lawyers and did not attend, sources said.
Borghese was assigned to D'Amico's crew,
according to his testimony last year at the murder trial of long-time
Gambino associate Joseph Watts (left).
Borghese admitted taking part in numerous family crimes with the family,
including two hits. He claimed he never shot anyone, just helped dispose
of bodies. "I couldn't dig," he said. "I was about 400 pounds
After his induction, Borghese became a
Friday night regular at the Ravenite Social Club (right) in Little Italy
and began showing up on FBI videotapes. He was among the mobsters
celebrating the Dapper Don's acquittal on assault charges in February,
"Later on, I was assigned to a new
captain, John Gotti, Junior," Borghese said at Watts' trial, recalling
that Gravano "formally" introduced him to Junior.
Junior was his partner in several
lucrative Staten Island bookmaking operations and played cards in
Borghese's clubs once a week, Borghese told the FBI in 1995, when he began
"My clubs earned money. They always
earned money," Borghese said at the Watts trial.
Despite his testimony that Watts told him he
killed a deranged man in Staten Island in 1987 on orders from the elder
Gotti, (right) Watts beat the case. Junior's trial will be Borghese's
first appearance in a federal case.
Borghese is nothing more than "an innuendo
and aura man called to create a so-called Mafia atmosphere, with
ceremonies and all that stuff," said Gotti's lawyer, Bruce Cutler. (left)
"We'll be ready for it. Borghese has been on the stand before, and from
what I understand, he hasn't fared too well. John is not charged with
having an illegal wedding."
(Fat Dom) Borghese began cooperating, he
gave his wife all the money he had in the world, $16,000, to tide her over
when he went to prison in late 1994 - or so he told the
When he took the witness stand
against Joseph Watts, Borghese was hard pressed to explain how three years
later, his wife had $140,000 hidden away in a safe deposit box discovered
by the Watts defense team.
Grilled by attorney James LaRossa,
Borghese hemmed and hawed. Finally, after LaRossa made mince meat of
all Borghese's explanations, Borghese gave it
"You hid all the money, didn't
you?" demanded LaRossa.
"Not too good," Borghese replied.
"You found it the other day."
This week, Andy, seen posing with one
of his all time favorite books, "Mob Star," helps settle a friendly bet
between reader Ron Stanchfield and his brother with this account about
the supposed friendship between actor Al Lewis and John Gotti.
Al Lewis, who
played Grandpa on the hit television show, The Munsters, was one of
many celebrities who were rounded up and brought to Gotti's trial in an
effort to show the soft legitimate side of the Teflon Don and maybe
bolster his chances of beating racketeering and murder charges in
1992. Needless to say, it didn't help.
Carlo Vaccarezza, (left) a Gotti pal who owned an
upscale Manhattan eatery on the Upper East Side which Gotti
frequented, escorted Lewis and other luminaries to the defense side of the
courtroom. These well wishers included tough guy actor Mickey Rourke,
gossip columnist Cindy Adams, and Anthony Quinn, who played Gotti's
mentor, Gambino underboss Aniello (Neil) Dellacroce in the HBO movie
GOTTI. Lewis, who is now
a Green Party candidate for Governor of New York, did his part at Brooklyn
Federal Court and wished the Dapper Don good luck.
Jay Black of the 60's singing
group, Jay and the Americans also spent a day in court. The group had a
big hit in 1962 called: "She Cried." Actually, the "Jay" who sang lead in
She Cried was Jay Trayner, who left the group right after that
Trayner was replaced by Dave Black
who sang lead on another big hit, "Only In America."Dave changed his
name to Jay Black so the group wouldn't have to change its name.
Interestingly enough, even though the group had several songs which sold
more records, "Only In America" became a classic and is the group's
Before joining Jay and the
Americans, Jay Trayner had been with the "Mystics," who had a No. 20 song
in 1959, "Hushabye."Now Trayner was not on that song but joined the group
later as its personnel changed. Paul Simon also sang with that group
on one of its minor hits, "All Through The Nite."
I know much of this is perfectly
irrelevant information for Gang Land, but boss man Capeci has recently
accused me of having more useless information than anyone else in the
world, and I'm just trying to prove that he is
(Capeci replies: It's merely
a coincidence that Gang Land allowed Andy to ramble on and on about music
and rock groups this week, the same week that Gang Land became an
affiliate of CDNOW, The Internet's Number One Music
THE TEAMSTERS by STEVEN
Out of print but Amazon.com
will search used book stores for the title and advise as to availability
For many decades, La Cosa Nostra families around the
country have controlled many locals of the International Brotherhood of
Teamsters Union and have used this power to appoint its Presidents and
loot its treasury. It was in this manner that James Riddle Hoffa rode to
the top of the Teamsters Union and ultimately to his death. In THE
TEAMSTERS, author Brill tells this sordid tale and others by profiling
nine key union men of the 1970's. At the time of publication, the Mafia
still had a firm hold on this key labor segment and only the most
optimistic saw the possibility for change.
Brill devotes a chapter to young Ron Carey, who was the great hope of the
reformers. Carey, aided by the federal government's crack down on the mob
and the Teamsters, rode that reform wave to the Presidency a few years
ago. Unfortunately, it all came crashing down when his re-election was
annulled and he was ruled ineligible to run in the new election to be held
in this fall.
At the close of the
chapter on Carey, which was written in the late 1970's, Brill says that
Carey should have been happy but he wasn't. At the time, Carey's
unhappiness was due to the mob's hold over his union. It's ironic but the
same ending could be used on an updated chapter on Carey. He's still
unhappy but this time it's his own fault. Ironically, Carey's self
destruction has made the son of Jimmy Hoffa the best bet to be the new
Another chapter features, Allan Dorfman, the Chicago
Outfit's man in the Teamsters. After Hoffa was jailed in the mid 1960's,
Dorfman became the man in charge of Central States Pension Fund loans that
financed much of that era's Las Vegas. It was a powerful, but extremely
precarious position. Once the whole Teamster mess began to unravel,
Dorfman was seen as a weak link by his mob superiors. Eerily, Brill raises
the possibility of Dorfman's demise five years before it happened. At the
end of the chapter, Brill wonders what would happen when the mobsters no
longer needed him. Dorfman was gunned down in an unsolved killing in
January of 1983.
The rise, fall and disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa is
covered in some detail by Brill and he outlines his thoughts on what
really happened to the charismatic union leader. Brill also includes a
close look at Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, a Genovese mobster and east
coast Teamster power and a key suspect in the Hoffa kidnapping. Rising
star Jackie Presser also gets his own chapter and Brill correctly predicts
that Presser will move to the top. Brill did not know that Presser
would play a dangerous game by becoming an FBI informer to cripple his
rivals and pave his way to the Presidency.
THE TEAMSTERS is an
excellent source book with a wealth of information and gives insight
into how La Cosa Nostra turned The International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Union into its gold mine.
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