Looking At The Birth Of Paul Castellano

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Paul Castellano was born June 26, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York. He was born into the Mangano crime family, forerunner of the Gambino family. Pauls father, Giuseppe Castellano was a butcher by trade and Paul quit school in the eighth grade to work in the family butcher shop. Paul was exposed to the thug way of life at an early age.

By the age of fourteen, Paul was already running errands for Carlo Gambino, successor to Vito Genovese, who was the godfather to the Genovese crime family. In December 1933, members of the Ardino crime family were bootlegging whiskey and using Christmas trees as a cover. With each tree that was sold, a case of whiskey was given. This made Paul and Carlo furious; it was well known that the streets belonged to the Genovese family.

Paul and Carlo wanted to make an example out of the bootleggers. They gathered some friends and beat the bootleggers with baseball bats in broad daylight for all to see. Paul beat one of the men to death, claiming his first kill at age eighteen. They stole the men's truck and whiskey. Paul did not want the trees to go to waste and had the idea to give the Christmas trees to the poor residents of the neighborhood.

They went from house to house, delivering Christmas trees and giving money to the poor. Godfather Vito Genovese heard of Pauls' good deed and was so impressed that he awarded Paul with a big stack of cash and vowed to remember Pauls' name. Paul knew at that moment he had a future with the mafia and would not want it any other way.In 1934, at the age of nineteen, Paul was arrested for armed robbery. He refused to cooperate with the authorities and name his accomplices in the crime so he was sentenced to one year at Hartford County Jail where he served three months in prison.

His unwillingness to work with the police earned Paul street credibility and respect among the members of the Genovese crime family.Vito Genovese was a ruthless killer and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, but prison could not tame Genovese, he continued to lead the Genovese family from behind bars with his brother's help and ordered the death of several witnesses in his case. A few years into his sentence, Genovese died of cancer. In 1969, Carlo Gambino took over acting boss for the Genovese crime family. Gambino is often referred to as one of the greatest and most beloved godfathers of the Italian Mafia. He came to the United States from Sicily and never became a legal US citizen.

He joined forces with the powerful Lucky Luciano to build the Gambino legacy; as a result, he increased the family revenue greatly while under his control. He was an extremely powerful and well respected man whose connections were unlimited. He was a beloved friend to Frank Sinatra, who did not mind being associated with a crime family.

The FBI was having Gambino deported back to Sicily. He bought off two powerful US senates; agreeing to pay them 25,000 dollars each for life if the deportation order stopped; it did. The crime family still carries the Gambino name to this day.Paul married Carlo Gambino's' sister-in-law, Nina Manno. Nina did not approve of the lifestyle that Paul chose to live; she refused to have children with him unless he agreed that the children would never have any ties with the mafia.

Paul agreed and began to develop several legit businesses, including "Blue Ribbon Meats", a successful poultry distribution business that supplied meat to more than 300 butchers in the city and Scara-mix concrete, based in Staten Island, which still dominates the borough's concrete pouring industry to this day. Both businesses made Paul a very wealthy man. Paul and Carlo also developed the "white rackets", which involved construction bid rigging, union infiltration, and political corruption. When Paul and Nina's three sons were grown, their interest in the mafia peaked.

Paul insisted that his sons go to college and be legitimate members of society. His sons did not agree, they argued that the only way that they could make comfortable life styles for themselves is to become mafia members also. Paul gave his sons possession of "Blue ribbon meats" and Scara-mix concrete, which made them instant millionaires and ensured that his sons would never need the mafia lifestyle to provide for their families.In 1975, just before his death, Carlo Gambino named Paul Castellano as his successor. Gambino believed that Castellano had the correct vision of what the Gambino family should be, and although Gambino considered it a curse to be godfather, he wanted Paul to succeed his work. This made Gambino soldier John Gotti furious.

Gotti, and a few other men, believed that Aniello Dellacroce should have been named godfather of the Gambino family since Dellacroce had been Gambino's underboss for several years. Gotti also disliked Castellano because his goal was to lead the family into legitimate business; Gotti wanted free reign to deal drugs and steal from the New York City airports. Although disappointed, Dellacroce respected Gambino's decision and supported Castellano's rise in power. Castellano named Dellacroce as his underboss. Gotti was so furious by Carlo Gambino's decision that he wanted to put a hit out on Castellano, but Dellacroce would not allow a hit to be carried out on a "made man" and demanded that nobody harm Castellano.Paul knew that if he wanted the families respect as godfather, he would have to demand it.

He hired Roy DeMeo to carry out his killings. DeMeo was a ruthless man who had killing and body disposal down to an art; his resume included over two-hundred murders. Together, they formed a murder assembly line. The victim was first shot in the head; another man would immediately wrap his head in a towel to prevent blood from messing up the floor. The victim was then stabbed several times and hung in a bathtub for forty-five minutes to drain the blood from his body.

The body was then beheaded and hacked into several small, manageable pieces and wrapped into plastic trash bags for disposal. This murder assembly line was done in a clubhouse they called "Horror Hotel", often while ordering pizza. The ruthless killings sent shock waves of fear throughout the city. Soon, it was well known that anybody who disrespected Paul would be whacked. Paul ordered the death of his daughter's boyfriend, Vito Borelli, after hearing that Borelli had stated that Paul reminded him of the owner of a poultry company, Frank Perdue.

Paul considered this an insult because Frank Perdue was a balding older gentleman and had awkward mannerisms. According to FBI records, Roy DeMeo carried out the hit on Vito Borelli; he cut up the body and disposed of it in the Hudson River. Borelli's body has never been recovered.Paul thought of himself as more of a business man than a gangster, in fact, he began to prefer the company of legit businessmen and other important individuals rather than his mafia soldiers.

He refused to be seen in the presence of gangsters, and rarely interacted with his soldiers except to give orders. This was extremely insulting to the men; many of them became resentful of Paul. Paul's ultimate goal was legitimacy. He believed that the way to success was through building an empire of legitimate businesses rather than dealing drugs and robbery like the family was known for.

He began to expand the Gambino families influence on the building industry and before long the Gambino family controlled most of New York. Paul's connections expanded to places as far as Kuwait. Paul was often confronting John Gotti and his crew for dealing drugs and conducting business without prior consultation.

Although Paul preferred to use violence against his men as a last resort, he vowed to kill any member of the Gambino family who was caught dealing drugs or engaging in behavior that he considered embarrassing to the family. This upset many members of the family since drugs had been such a large source of income for many years. Some family members thought that Castellano had lost touch with the essence of the family.Paul and Nina built a mansion on Staten Island that resembled the white house.

Soon after moving in, the couple's marriage began to fall apart. Castellano suffered from diabetes which rendered him impotent. Paul and Nina's passion began to dwindle and they began to sleep in separate rooms. The couple hired a young Cuban maid, named Gloria Olarte. Gloria was impressed with Castellano's wealth and power.

Paul immediately took an interest in Gloria. He showered the new maid with luxurious presents, including fur coats and expensive sport cars. Nina began to notice her husband's affection toward the hired help and soon began to grow tired of fighting for her husband's attention. Within a few months, Nina moved out of the mansion and Paul's infatuation with the maid grew into a full love affair.Roy DeMeo's murderous ways were getting out of hand and drawing unwanted attention to Castellano. DeMeo was killing anybody who looked at him wrong and he was becoming very careless.

He was butchering bodies and leaving them in the open to be discovered. DeMeo killed a Cuban drug cartel's girlfriend and stole the package of cocaine she was delivering to him. The Cuban mafia was coming after Paul, and that was the last thing he needed, not to mention that his men were also forbidden to deal drugs. The FBI linked DeMeo to several various crimes and he would have to go before a grand jury; he could not be trusted. Paul wanted DeMeo dead.

He ordered John Gotti to murder DeMeo and dispose of the body. Gotti refused; he and DeMeo grew up together and were very close. Instead, Paul ordered DeMeo's best friend Nino Gaggi to carry out his murder. DeMeo was found shoved in the trunk of his car; his body was riddled with bullet holes. Once again, this enraged Gotti and his men; DeMeo was considered the most trusted and loyal hit man in the family.

Gotti's hatred for Paul boiled and he wanted him dead.The FBI thought of Paul as "The Big Fish in the Sea", they sought him with a vengeance. In 1983, they enlisted the help of his lover, Gloria Olarte to bring him to justice. Olarte informed the authorities that Castellano often discussed Gambino family business at the dining room table in the mansion.

She helped the FBI plant recording devices in the home which recorded six-hundred hours of conversations detailing the crime family dealings. On February 25, 1985, Paul Castellano was arrested, along with several other crime families in what became known as "The Mafia Commission Trail". During this trial, several members from five mafia crime families were charged with crimes which included, labor racketeering, extortion, robbery and murder.

Most of the evidence came from the bugs that Gloria Orlante helped plant in Castellano's home. Time Magazine called this Case "possibly the most significant assault on organized crime since the Chicago Mafia was swept away in 1943," and quoted Giuliani's stated intention: "Our approach is to wipe out the five families" (Magnuson, 2001). Paul Castellano was convicted with sanctioning the murder of twenty-four people. His bond was set at three-million dollars.

The case was a high profile victory for Giuliani, establishing his strong reputation and providing a platform for his first run for Mayor of New York in 1989 (Magnuson, 2001).John Gotti and several other Gambino family members feared that Castellano would snitch and turn in his criminal associates under the pressure of the trial in order to avoid prison. The men were also furious that Paul would be so careless as to allow his maid and lover to bug his home without his knowledge; they felt that Paul was careless and a threat to them all. Gotti wanted to whack Paul, but Aniello Dellacroce was a loyal underboss and understood that it was mafia code that a "made man" was never to be touched, so he refused to approve a hit on his life. Dellacroce tried to keep the peace, although it was difficult due to the growing discontent in the family.While free on bail, Paul continued his affair with his maid, despite her disloyalty.

His love for Gloria grew deeply. The two rarely left the mansion, except for frequent trips to Paul's favorite restaurant "Sparks Steak House". He rarely bothered to associate with the foot soldiers of the family; with the exception of a four-man panel consisting of Danny Marino, Tommy Gambino, Tommy Bilotti and John "Uncle Johnny" Perrillo. Castellano felt that the other men were below him. He wanted to be viewed as a respectable business man and thought that the family members would embarrass him or bring shame upon him.

The other men were not even allowed to come to his home; they felt that this was very degrading behavior and resented him.On December 2, 1985, Aniello Dellacroce passed away from brain cancer. Castellano did not attend the funeral service, which was viewed as highly disrespectful. Castellano also named Tommy Bilotti as his new underboss. These two events quickly proved to be huge mistakes.

John Gotti had rights to be named the new underboss since he had been Dellacroce's underboss for several years. Gotti was fed up with Paul, and with Dellacroce no longer alive to keep the peace, Gotti thought it was time to plan Paul an early retirement.

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