How New York Winters Helped Put Gotti in Prison

No one could touch John Gotti. Prosecutors went after the Gambino crime family boss repeatedly, only to see him acquitted.

Rather than give up, they went after Gotti in his inner sanctum: the Ravenite Social Club.

As the Gambinos eventually learned, an FBI surveillance team, over Thanksgiving weekend 1989, had secreted bugs throughout the apartment two floors above the Ravenite Social Club at 247 Mulberry Street. The Gambinos had been using the apartment, which was owned by Nettie Cirelli, the widow of Gambino wiseguy Michael Cirelli (Nettie was away on vacation that Thanksgiving holiday), for years. In fact, Gambino underboss Aniello (Neil) Dellacroce also had used that apartment for secret meetings.

Gravano also is asked whether the Gambino bosses ever considered going outside to discuss topics like murder in order to avoid possible bugs.

“We had most of (those discussions) outdoors,” but it was “impossible to have them all outdoors.” This was because, as he said, sometimes the weather didn’t permit it and sometimes they were too tired.

I was struck by how something as simple as a cold night foiled this wily mafia boss.

It shows me how when we lose our discipline and lower our standards, we open ourselves up to catastrophe. This is a valuable lesson for those of us on the right side of the law, even if it comes from a notorious gangster.

This story comes from the excellent Cosa Nostra News blog. I’ve been speaking with the author lately, and he has some outstanding content on organized crime.

If you’re interested in the mafia, I strongly recommend checking out his site. Another great post: a fictional account of a mysterious mob hit.

It begins with a body floating in the Hackensack River.


More on the mafia:

The Mafia’s Hoboken Fortress

Paul Castellano’s Last Day

A Notorious Mob Informant’s Hoboken Headquarters

Photo: John Gotti

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