Joe Bruno on the Mob – Families of Sammy Gravano’s Murder Victims Seek Profits From Karen Gravano’s New Book.
It might be a losing battle for the families of the murder victims of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, but it might be a fight worth fighting, just on principles.
The families of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano’s murder victims, although they were unsuccessful in suing Sammy Gravano in New York State court, did received a settlement in Arizona, under the “Son of Sam” law, of $420,000 split eight ways, or $52,500 for each of the eight families involved in the lawsuit. This money was taken from Sammy Gravano’s share of the profits from his 1997 book “Underboss.” Now the families of his victims want the same deal on the basis of the profits from Karen Gravano’s new book, “Mob Princess, Sammy the Bull and Me.” Their argument is that Karen Gravano is also profiting from the death of their relatives.
So far the family’s legal attempts at monetary compensation have been unsuccessful.
Karen Gravano, one of the stars of VH1’s “Mob Wives,” said in a recent television interview promoting her book, “I did not commit these crimes. I’m just writing a book about my life.”
However, the families of Sammy Gravano’s victims (he admitted to being involved with 19 murders) feel differently.
“My brother was killed once in real life; my brother was killed in Sammy’s book. My brother was killed in her book. Enough is enough,” said Rosanne Massa, concerning her brother, Michael Debatt. “Having our family members killed over and over again is not a way to hold to our hearts the memories that we have.”
Although Massa described DeBatt as a “good kid” and talented football player, the truth is DeBatt willingly got himself involved in “the life,” and paid for it with his life. However, this did not make a difference in the Arizona lawsuit against Sammy Gravano, nor should it be relative now.
Lynda Milito was the wife of mobster Louie Milito, who was also offed by Sammy Gravano. She said recently, “I’ve had it; I’ve really had it.”
However, this claims sounds a little hollow since Lynda Milito wrote her own Mafia book in 2003 entitled “Mafia Wife: My Story of Love, Murder and Madness.” Lynda Milito claims her case is different than Karen Gravano’s because she supported herself and her children by working as a real estate agent. That claim is hard to prove and hard to disprove, but the fact remains that her dead husband was a mobster too, and once you enter into “the life,” you know your neck is on the chopping block 24 hours of every day.
Laura Garofalo, whose mobster father Edward was killed by Sammy Gravano in 1990, also chipped in with her feelings about Karen Gravano and her new book. She said, “It’s harrowing to hear Karen Gravano boast week after week on her reality show Mob Wives that violence is ‘in my bloodline.’ She continues to utilize her and her father’s criminal enterprises to lure viewers and generate revenue for herself and VH1.”
True Laura, but your father was up to his neck in the mob too, and he paid for it with his own neck.
In fact, most, if not all, of Sammy Gravano’s murder victims were deeply involved in organized crime. They chose this life to live, but that didn’t mean Sammy Gravano had the right to kill them; nobody has the right to take another person’s life.
However, I find it hard to generate the same amount of sympathy for the families of mobsters who were murdered as I can for the families of innocent civilians who were murdered, either by the mob or otherwise. However, the character of the murder victims should have no bearing on any upcoming family lawsuits concerning the profits from Karen Gravano book.
The bottom line is this: whereas what Karen Gravano’s is doing by appearing on “Mob Wives,” and writing her book about her “Life With Father,” may stink to high heaven, I still don’t see how the families of her father’s victims have a legitimate case under the “Son of Sam Law,” which basically says you can’t profit from crimes you have committed by either writing a book, or having a movie made based on your life (tee shirts and coolie cups are out too). The law says nothing about members of your family being banned from doing the same thing.
Can the law be changed? It’s doubtful, but that doesn’t stop the victim’s families from trying to do something. Laura Garofalo admitted as much when she said in a letter to the Arizona AG., “We hope at least to get the law changed so it has more teeth.”
Good luck trying. But I think this lawsuit will reach the inevitable “dead end.”
“Dead End” was a mob movie too.
You can read the articles below at:
by Joe Teutonico on Feb 22nd, 2012
A new book by the daughter of snitching sociopath Sammy the Bull Gravano has the families of her father’s victims – including one woman who lives in Bensonhurst – up in arms.
Karen Gravano is also one of the four main cast members of trashy VH1 reality show Mob Wives.
Between the TV show and book, nine families of Gravano’s victims are hoping to get the existing laws changed so that people like his daughter Karen will no longer be able to profit from their relatives’ misdeeds.
The same group of victims’ families, through legal action under the so-called ‘Son of Sam’ law, saw more than $400,000 from Salvatore Gravano’s own 1997 memoir, Underboss, writes SILive. Karen Gravano’s new book Mob Daughter has many of them wishing they could do the same to her.
“I’ve had it, I’ve really had it,” said Lynda Milito of Florida, the widow of Gambino capo Louie Milito, who authored her own 2003 tell-all “Mafia Wife: My Story of Love, Murder and Madness.” Ms. Milito insists she never profited her husband’s underworld activities, because she supported herself and her children as a real estate agent.
Rosanna Massa, the sister of one of Gravano’s victims and a Bensonhurst resident, told SILive that the book release has reopened old wounds.
“My brother was killed once in real life; my brother was killed in Sammy’s book. My brother was killed in her book. Enough is enough,” said Rosanne Massa, of Bensonhurst, about her brother, Michael Debatt — a good kid, she said who went to Catholic High School, and played football on scholarship and then sadly got wrapped up in that world and murdered by Gravano in 1987. “The ‘Son of Sam’ Law should be amended so no family member of that criminal should be able to profit.”
As with most reality TV personalities, many who claim to find Karen Gravano abhorrent still manage to catch her in action on Mob Wives every Sunday night.
The allure of “the lifestyle”, as it’s called by Karen on the show, seems to even have some of the potential plaintiffs tuning in.
Massa told reporters that despite the bitter history, she still watches Mob Wives religiously.
Kin of Sammy The Bull Gravano’s victims boiling mad over new book
Friday, February 10, 2012
The outraged families of murderous mob underboss Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano’s gangland victims want a whack at the profits from his daughter’s upcoming memoir.
The Daily News has learned they are enlisting the Arizona state attorney general to go after Karen Gravano’s earnings from “Mob Daughter” — due out on Valentine’s Day.
“It’s harrowing to hear Karen Gravano boast week after week on her reality show ‘Mob Wives’ that violence is ‘in my bloodline,’ c wrote in a letter to the Arizona AG.
She was 17 when her dad, Edward, was slain by Gravano in 1990.
“She continues to utilize her and her father’s criminal enterprises to lure viewers and generate revenue for herself and VH1,” Garofalo said.
The Arizona prosecutor’s office helped the families split $420,000 from The Bull’s own bestselling literary effort “Underboss,” written by noted author Peter Maas.
Sammy Bull did just five years in jail for 19 mob murders as a reward for testifying against late Gambino boss John Gotti.
The rat went right back to his life of crime dealing drugs after he was released and is back in prison for 20 years.
Karen Gravano and her brother, Gerard, were convicted in 2001 of participating in his Ecstasy drug ring in Arizona.
Karen Gravano did not return a call for comment Thursday.
“My brother was killed by Sammy, then he was killed again when he wrote his book and now he’s being killed a third time in her book,” said Roseanne Massa, whose brother Michael DeBatt was shot dead in 1987 on Salvatore Gravano’s orders.
“Having our family members killed over and over again is not a way to hold to our hearts the memories that we have.”
Massa and several families had sued Salvatore Gravano unsuccessfully under the New York state Son of Sam law because he was convicted of federal, not state crimes.
But they prevailed in Arizona, which has a similar statute. Eight families received checks for $52,500 from Gravano’s assets seized by authorities investigating the drug ring.
Garofalo has also written to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a former federal prosecutor who now works for Gov. Cuomo.
Garofalo and Massa have been seething since Karen Gravano began appearing in the VH1 reality show “Mob Wives” two years ago with the daughters of a Bonanno capo and wives of several mob wanna-bes.
In an interview with The News for her upcoming book, Karen Gravano said the public’s fascination with the Gambino crime family in its heyday hasn’t abated.
“There’s never been another John Gotti and there’s never been another Sammy (The Bull) Gravano,” she said.
Garofalo acknowledges collecting a dime from Karen Gravano is an uphill battle.
“We hope at least to get the law changed so it has more teeth,” she said.
Mob Murder Victims’ Relatives Seek Profits From Killer’s Daughter’s Memoir
By Mark Hansen
Feb 10, 2012, 02:15 pm CST
Relatives of some of murderous Mob underboss Salvatore “Sammy the Bull’ Gravano’s victims are seeking a share of the profits from his daughter’s upcoming memoir, Mob Daughter.
The victims’ kin are enlisting the Arizona attorney general’s help in going after Karen Gravano’s earnings from the sale of the book under the state’s so-called Son of Sam law, which prevents criminals from profiting from their crimes, the New York Daily News reports.
The relatives include Laura Garofalo, whose father, Edward, was killed by Gravano in 1990; and Roseanne Massa, whose brother Michael DeBatt, was murdered on orders from Gravano in 1997.
“It’s harrowing to hear Karen Gravano boast week after week on her reality show Mob Wives that violence is ‘in my bloodline,'” Garofalo wrote in a letter to the Arizona AG. “She continues to utilize her and her father’s criminal enterprises to lure viewers and generate revenue for herself and VH1.”
“My brother was killed by Sammy, then he was killed again when (Sammy) wrote his book and now he’s being killed a third time in (Karen Gravano’s) book,” Massa reportedly told the newspaper.
Gravano served only five years in prison for 19 mob murders in exchange for his testimony against the late Gambino crime boss John Gotti. He is now serving a 20-year sentence for running an Ecstasy drug ring in Arizona.
The Arizona attorney general previously helped relatives of Sammy Gravano’s victims recover $420,000 from the sales of his memoir, Underboss.