Victoria Gotti's new book, "This Family of Mine," sets the record straight on the many tabloid stories and speculations surrounding the Gotti family. The book details stories of her father's rise to power, her brother "Junior" Gotti and his trial, and an array of stories depicting the life of the mobster.
After reading the chapter below, head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
Although less imposing in stature than my father, and certainly lacking my dad's inherent toughness, Uncle Angelo became a formidable mobster, largely due to his partnership with Dad. Over time the pair recruited a powerful crew, including such loyal members as my father's two brothers, Pete and Gene, and "Willie Boy" Johnson. Friends since their early teens when they ruled the Fulton-Rockaway Boys, this group boasted an uncommon closeness, and over time wielded considerable clout. They made their bones with petty crimes: stealing cars, running numbers, and hijacking trucks filled with cigarettes, liquor, and ladies' garments. This enabled my father and his crew to become what the elders in the Gambino Family called "good and impressionable earners," resulting in progressively favorable recognition. After Dad's arrest for hijacking the truck full of dresses, he was sentenced to only a few months in the county jail.
It was during this period that my father met a powerful mobster who would have a profound impact on his life: Aniello Dellacroce. Everyone—from underlings to close associates and friends— referred to him as "Neil" or "Mr. O'Neill." He was a brash, foul-mouthed, and brazen man who had his own headquarters at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street in Manhattan's Little Italy. It was a two-story brick building, nearly windowless on the ground floor. Privacy, in Dellacroce's world, was paramount, as my father would come to learn.
For years Dellacroce had heard about John Gotti's exploits; he knew of the young man's reputation for being a good earner. Years later Dellacroce would acknowledge "keeping a close eye on Johnny Boy" as a means of recruiting him into Dellacroce's crew. He saw something special in my father, "an innate leadership quality." He also recognized a dark side to John Gotti—a wild and unbridled temper that couldn't be tamed and would later serve as an asset to the up-and-coming mobster. He figured Dad would rise quickly in the ranks and urged other elders to keep tabs on the kid from Fulton and Rockaway.
Now, with Dellacroce's help my dad was bringing in enough dough to rent a better, two-bedroom apartment. The task of finding a suitable place was assigned to my mother. Mom looked through the classified ads and found something she deemed appropriate, something in the right neighborhood geographically and economically.
"It was ideal when I read about it in the newspaper," Mom later explained with a chuckle. "So I took it—sight unseen. But I should have known something was amiss when the man on the phone agreed to personally move us in! That's right—after I spoke with him, he offered to send a truck to pick up our furniture the very next day. When I walked into that apartment, having arrived with everything we owned . . . well, I don't know what I expected—but the dungeon behind that old wooden door was definitely not it!