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July 20, 1998
Junior & The Fat Man
By Jerry Capeci
Fat Dom BorgheseThe 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 GottiJunior, (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 charges.

Borghese, 49, a Staten Island native, Jackie D'Amicowas 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 protection program.

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.

Sammy Bull Gravano"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 mid 1990's."

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.

Joe WattsBorghese 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 then.''

RaveniteAfter 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, 1990.

"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 cooperating.

"My clubs earned money. They always earned money," Borghese said at the Watts trial.

John Gotti at MarionDespite 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.

Bruce CutlerBorghese 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."

When Dominic (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 feds.

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 up.

"You hid all the money, didn't you?" demanded LaRossa.

"Not too good," Borghese replied. "You found it the other day."

AndyASK ANDY
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 VaccarezzaCarlo 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 song.

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 signature song.

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 right!

(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 Store.)    

THE TEAMSTERS by STEVEN BRILL

Out of print but Amazon.com will search used book stores for the title and advise as to availability and price.

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.

Interestingly enough, 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 President.

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.

Gang Land is an authorized affiliate of Amazon.com.  If  you decide to purchase Andy's recommended books online - or for that matter, any other books, videos, software or other products - please use a Gang Land link to Amazon.com, the Godfather of online booksellers.

Email Jerry Capeci: editor@ganglandnews.com

Copyright, Jerry Capeci, 1998
All Rights Reserved

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