Monday, April 11, 2011

Mob Wives: Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano

Karen Gravano is one of the “Mob Wives” in VH-1’s new series, but she is not real a mob “wife,” she is more of a mob princess. Her father, Sammy Gravano, is her connection to the mob. Sammy has a long and notorious past, not just because of his involvement in the Mafia, but also because he became an informant for the FBI. It was his testimony in 1991 that convicted John Gotti, the “Teflon Don” and Gambino crime family boss, which resulted in a life sentence for Gotti. Sammy has written a book detailing his extensive activities in the Mob, called Underboss.

Sammy admitted to being involved in 19 murders during his time in the mob. He was born in 1945 and his illustrious career began in 1968 with the Columbo family. Sammy went from committing a long laundry list of various crimes to allegedly committing his first murder, Joseph Colucci, in 1970. Sammy was on the fast track in the Columbo family, which caused some hard feelings in the ranks. In 1970 he was allowed to leave to join the Gambino family. His loyalty to the Gambino family was tested when, for several reasons, it was decided that his brother-in law had to be murdered. At first Sammy was against it, but saw it was no use trying to get the murder called off. No one knows what part Sammy had in this murder, if any.

The most scandalous murder that he was involved in was that of Gambino mob boss, Paul Castellano. In June, 1985 Gravano was approached by John Gotti and another associate, asking for his assistance in Castellano’s murder. After some discussion and planning, the day and location for the execution of the murder was decided. The murder would take place at Sparks Steak House, located in Manhattan on December 16, 1985. When Castellano arrived at the restaurant and got out of his car, six gunmen shot him to death. After his death, the heads of the family agreed to make John Gotti their new boss.

Many “capos” of the family were not happy with Gotti’s leadership. One day the FBI arrested Gravano, Gotti and another man. The FBI played various tapes for Gravano in which Gotti made some very damaging and incriminating statements about Gravano. In 1991 Gravano agreed to testify against Gotti for a lesser sentence of 5 years for acknowledging his participation in 19 murders and Gotti received a life sentence. Sammy got out of jail early and entered the witness protection program which he left a year later, in 1995, to go to Arizona. In 1998, Gravano returned to crime by joining a gang called the “Devil Dogs” that specialized in selling ecstasy to the tune of 25,000 pills a week for millions of dollars. In October 2000 the Arizona justice system convicted Gravano of drug trafficking and he was sentenced to 19 years in prison. His son received a nine year sentence for his involvement. It has been alleged that his own cohorts ratted him out. Gravano is currently serving time in prison.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Karen pleaded guilty to criminal involvement in her father’s drug ring and was sentenced to probation along with her mother. According to the New York Post, Karen is now writing a tell all book. She is currently a make-up artist. Rumor has it that Sammy is going to make a special phone call from prison, to his daughter Karen, during one of her appearances on the Mob Wives. It just makes me want to tear up.

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1 comment:

aleciamelissa said...

this is soooo sad but i am sooo proud of her for standing up!