Joe Bruno on the Mob – Sammy “Sammy the Bull” Gravano

 

If there has been a more despicable mob informer than Sammy “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, I can’t think of his name.

http://www.amazon.com/Mobsters-Gangs-Crooks-Creeps-ebook/dp/B0058J44QO/ref=zg_bs_11010_1

Sammy the Bull was the underboss to Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. Gotti, known as the “Teflon Don,” had already beaten three cases that went to trial, and it seemed that the government could never convict Gotti of any serious crime.

In 1991, Both Gravano and Gotti were arrested. Who knows what kind of a case the government had this time, and whether they could make their cases against Gotti and Gravano stick. Gravano removed all doubt, when he became a “Rat” against Gotti. Gotti was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died of cancer in prison in 2002.

Gravano, after doing a short stint in prison, was put on the Witness Protection Program (even though he admitted participating in 19 murders). Any smart man, after beating odds like that, would stay on the straight-and-narrow. But not Sammy “The Rat.”

Gravano was relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, and posed ostensibly as the owner of a construction company. But in fact, Gravano, along with his son, were selling Ecstasy pills to the youth in the area. Gravano and his son were arrested and convicted, and now Sammy “The Rat” is back in the slammer where he belongs

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

The article below appeared on Bloggernews.net

http://www.bloggernews.net/127030

Target: Sammy “the Bull” Gravano
Posted on August 23rd, 2011
by Denny Griffin in crime

Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano was a criminal for most of his life. He was a tough guy who used violence and intimidation to impose his will on others. In 1976 he became a member of the Gambino crime family, eventually becoming underboss to John Gotti. In the world of organized crime, Gravano was a very dangerous and powerful man. Although law enforcement and his colleagues and associates knew about him, he was able to ply his trade for many years and remain virtually unknown to the general public.

All that changed in 1991 when Gravano burst on the national scene by doing the unthinkable. He flipped and became a government witness against Gotti. Prior to that, federal prosecutors had suffered a series of courtroom losses at the hands of Gotti’s attorneys, earning the flamboyant boss the nickname “Teflon Don.” But in 1992, Gravano’s testimony was instrumental in Gotti’s racketeering conviction, which resulted in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Thanks in large part to Sammy Gravano, Gotti’s Teflon had turned to Velcro. As part of his deal with the government Gravano admitted to myriad criminal activities, including taking part in 19 murders. However, his value to prosecutors as a witness against Gotti was such that he received a token sentence of five years in prison and admittance into the federal Witness Protection Program. Gravano’s defection was viewed in different ways by the public.

To those to whom Gotti had become a kind of cult hero over the years, Gravano was the ultimate rat; a traitorous cur to be held in total contempt. Others thought he was as bad as Gotti and that the government had erred in giving the admitted killer the deal of the century. And some considered him a hero for having the guts to help rid society of the likes of John Gotti. Gravano’s organized crime associates also had mixed opinions. Some disliked Gotti because he disregarded Mafia protocol when he orchestrated the 1985 murder of then Gambino boss Paul Castellano, without getting permission from the Commission. Others became disenchanted with Gotti and his apparent infatuation with the media. The Mafia was, after all, a secret society. Being in the public eye was not good for secrecy or for business. They shed no tears upon Gotti’s departure.

However, most felt that overall, the Gravano situation was an embarrassment to organized crime in general and to the Gambinos in particular. In addition to that prevalent feeling on the part of the rank and file, there were other Gottis still in positions of power within the family. Gotti’s son, John Gotti Jr., his brother Peter, and other relatives undoubtedly harbored ill will toward Gravano. It seemed a no-brainer that at some point there would be an attempt at retribution. The question was when it would happen.

Gravano received an early release from prison and went back into the community as a member of the Witness Protection Program, making him a difficult target for his adversaries. But in 1995 he voluntarily left the Program. During a TV interview following his release Gravano made this bold announcement:

“They send a hit team down, I’ll kill them. They better not miss, because even if they get me, there will still be a lot of body bags going back to New York. I’m not afraid. I don’t have it in me. I’m too detached maybe. If it happens, fuck it. A bullet in the head is pretty quick. You go like that! It’s better than cancer. I’m not meeting you in Montana on some fuckin’ farm. I’m not sitting here like some jerk-off with a phony beard. I’ll tell you something else: I’m a fuckin’ pro. If someone comes to my house, I got a few little surprises for them. Even if they win, there might be surprises.”

Gravano’s bravado aside, now that he was on the loose and out from under the government’s veil of protection, if his enemies could locate him he’d be vulnerable. For Sammy Gravano, the clock was ticking.

Getting Started In 1999, the Gambinos were ready to make their move. Peter Gotti had a coded conversation with his incarcerated brother John at the federal prison in Marion, Illinois. That discussion concerned an article in a Phoenix, Arizona newspaper that stated Gravano was living in the Phoenix area and was running a construction company. It was known that Gravano’s wife Debbie, who claimed she had left him, and children were in the Phoenix area. But was Sammy really there too? After the prison meeting, Peter Gotti ordered former Gravano crew member Thomas “Huck” Carbonaro to head a two-man reconnaissance team to Phoenix.

To accompany him, Carbonaro selected Gambino associate, electronics expert and bank robber, Sal “Fat Sal” Mangiavillano, who at times tipped the scales at around 400 pounds. Huck Carbonaro was never much of an earner for the family. He’d taken over Gravano’s loansharking book, estimated to be worth more than $2 million, after Gravano flipped. But after a while most of the customers refused to pay back a “rat’s money” and the cash flow dried up. However, according to federal prosecutors, what Carbonaro was good at was killing. In addition, he’d been part of Gravano’s crew and knew the man and his habits well. And as a bonus, his wife continued to have telephone contact with Gravano’s wife, providing the potential to gather valuable intelligence.

For those reasons Carbonaro was a logical choice for such an important assignment. In what would later prove to be an ironic twist, the feds alleged that while travelling cross-country, Carbonaro confided to Mangiavillano that of the many people he’d killed, the only murder he regretted was that of his good friend Nicholas “Nicky Cowboy” Mormando, who was slain on Gravano’s orders for violating the family’s policy of not dealing drugs. But later on, Gravano changed his position on the issue of distributing drugs and became a drug trafficker himself.

Fat Sal’s reputation was the opposite of Carbonaro’s. He wasn’t known as a killer. His reputation in the criminal underworld was as a highly skilled thief, who led a crew of Mob associates that specialized in bank burglaries, bank robberies, and auto theft. He was a master of electronic gadgetry and a valuable earner for the family.

Sal was also known for his resourcefulness. He’d committed more than 30 bank burglaries from Brooklyn to South Carolina, usually by angling a homemade gaff and three-pronged spears into night deposit boxes to pluck out the loot. During one Queens, New York, heist he rigged a remote controlled drill to cut through concrete and steel. His organized crime pals dubbed his capers “Fat Sallie Productions.”

After an 18-month prison stretch in the mid-1990s for bank burglary, during which his weight dropped to a svelte 225 pounds, Sal was deported to Argentina, where his parents were living when he was born. From Argentina he traveled to his parents’ birthplace in Sicily. After that he went on to visit friends in Montreal, Canada, and then to Toronto. However, he longed to get back into the United States, and slipped into the country by riding a Jet Ski across the Niagara River.

Once again in Brooklyn in late 1999, the 35-year-old Mangiavillano reunited with his wife and three young children. He also put the word out to his criminal associates that he was back and available for work. It was important for guys like Sal to let their presence be known quickly. If they didn’t, upon discovery their friends might think they’d kept silent because they were cooperating with the law or had become weak, making them untrustworthy or unreliable. Such impressions could affect their ability to earn, and even be hazardous to their health.

Huck Carbonaro was among those who heard of Sal’s return. Carbonaro had gone on scores with Sal in the past. His nephew, Tommy Dono, was a member of Sal’s bank burglary crew. And several years earlier when Sal heard that a family associate from another crew was making Carbonaro’s excessive weight the butt of his jokes, Sal and three of his friends went to the bar where the offender hung out. The joint was full of the guy’s friends. Sal and one of his buddies dragged the man outside and beat him mercilessly. One of Sal’s other two friends stationed himself at the bar’s door to block the victim’s pals from intervening. The other sat in their car with gun in hand, prepared to shoot if the bar patrons got out the door and tried to interfere with Sal’s administration of justice. Later, when Carbonaro asked Sal the motive for the beating, he said it was because the victim had been making fun of Carbonaro. Sal’s action placed him in high esteem in Carbonaro’s eyes.

Shortly after Sal announced his return, Carbonaro received his marching orders regarding Gravano. Although Sal had never committed murder for the family before, Carbonaro knew he was willing to commit violence. And he liked the way Sal handled himself, his abilities with electronics and gadgets, and his talent for overcoming obstacles. Equally important, he trusted him. Confident that Sal had what it took to be a valuable partner in the assassination plot, he invited him along. He then explained the potential rewards. If they were successful, Carbonaro would be promoted to captain. Fat Sal would have made his bones and become a made man—a full member of the Gambino family.

To many up and coming mobsters, getting made was a giant step up the career ladder. But not to Sal. Over the years he’d done quite well for himself as an associate. To him, being a made man would subject him to much tighter control by the family. He’d have to live by another standard of Mafia rules. That would change his lifestyle in a way he wasn’t excited about. But Sal felt that once asked, he couldn’t say no. In the Mob, refusing Carbonaro’s request for help might have cost him his own life. So in late December, the pair headed for Phoenix. Their assignment: Locate and assassinate Sammy Gravano, the super-rat.

http://www.josephbrunowriter.com/index.html

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Joe Bruno on the Mob – Sammy “Sammy the Bull” Gravano”

  1. LISA CHINNICI Says:

    GROWING UP IN BENSONHURST I KNEW SAMMY, HUCK, AND ANYOTHER MOB ASSOCIATES.
    THERE’S ALOT MORE TO THE STORY OF JUST ONE DAY SAMMY DECIDING TO TURN RAT. THAT TUNE WOULD BE THE $5 MILLION DOLLARS THE FEDS HAD OF HIS MONEY THAT THEY USED TO BRIBE HIM INTO BEING A TURNCOAT. IM SURE THAT WAS NEVER DOCUMENTED.YESD, HIS PROBLEM WAS THAT HE STILL NEEDED THE POWER, HENCE THE DRUG RING IN ARIZONA.
    AS FOR HUCK…HE WAS SAMMY’S FRIEND AND HAD NO INTENTIO0N OF KILLING SAMMY. JUST ANOTHER POWER-PLAY BY THE FEDS. AT THE TIME THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD KNEW WHERE SAMMY WAS.THERE WAS NO VENDETA TO HAVE HIM WHACKED. IF THAT WERE THE CASE, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A THOUSAND OF OTHERS IN-LINE TO DO THAT HIT. THE GOVERNMENT NEEDED A SCAPEGOAT SO THEY WENT AFTER THE NEXT PERSON THAT WOULD BE PLACED IN POWER.
    IN NO WAY AM I SAYING THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE PILARS OF SOCIETY BUT IN ACTUALITYTHE FBI IS THE NEW COSTRA NOSTRA. THEY ALLOW INFORMATS TO GO ON KILLING PEOPLE UNDER THEIR WATCH. THEY PERMIT PEOPLE TO RISE UP THE RANKS SO THEY’LL HAVE MORE CASES IN DUE TIME. AND WHEN THEY CANNOT GET YOU TO WORK WITH THEM THEY WILL LOCK YOU UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY. I’VE HAD MANY A FRIEND WHO NEVER MADE IT OU UNTIL THEY WERE CARRIED OUT IN COFFINS
    MY EX-HUSBAND WAS PICKED UP SAYING SOMETHING RIDICULOUS ON AN ILLEGAL WIRE-TAP AND WAS SENT AWAY FOR 6 MONTHS. THE FBI REMAINED AT MY HOUSE FOR 5 HOURS TERRORIZING ME AND MY CHILDREN. OFCOURSE THERE WAS NOTHING FOUND IN MY HOUSE. THEY PROCEEDED TO NOTHING BUT CAUSE DAMAGE TO MY HOME.THAT EXCUSE MY FRENCH, BUT WE THGEN RENAMED THE AGENCY THE Fucking Bumbling Idiots.
    on another note, i must add that i enjoy your column amazingly.
    sincerely,
    lisa

  2. Lisa, You’re a 1000 percent right. The FBI is sometimes worse than the criminals. I’ve document several instances where the FBI overstepped their bounds. And I know of more instances that I haven’t written yet because I don’t have definitive proof.

    I grew up and lived in Manhattan’s Little Italy for 48 years. I know the players and I know all about what the FBI does. Some of it is not kosher.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: