There's More to Junior's Sinatra Story, Of Course....

Which Gotti really wanted Sinatra dead?
We're not reading the book, but based on our devotion to our beat, we offer here one anecdote to emerge from John Gotti Junior's self-published ebook. The story involves John Gotti threatening Frank Sinatra's life using Joseph "Joe the German" Watts, one of three guys Junior once discussed privately.

The issue we ponder is which Gotti really posed the greater threat and to whom: Senior in the form of Joe Watts or Junior in the form of his threats against mob scribe Jerry Capeci. The old-school newspaperman apparently read Junior's book, which includes the Sinatra incident,  and then gave Junior a pass.

When he read about Sinatra, Jerry Capeci must've recalled the moment when the Feds advised him to be "a little more cautious than usual." The younger Gotti had hired a corrupt ex-NYPD detective to follow the journalist around to "dig up some dirt."

Joe The German Watts
"Hi.... I'll effin kill ya if you so much as look at me..."

Gotti Senior, Sinatra and Jilly Rizzo, described as "Frank's enforcer," have all died. Watts, 72, likely couldn't care less one way or the other. He is immersed in our penal system and will be for about 10 more years, though this may not be as punishing as it sounds to a wealthy gangster who was known to have once "bought" an entire prison tier. Watts goes way back, to the days when legendary boss Carlo Gambino ran the family following the storied 1957 execution of Albert "Don Umberto" Anastasia. 

Just to satisfy myself that there was nothing more to the Sinatra story than what Gotti Junior details in the book, I did a little research and found an earlier incident tangentially involving Frank Sinatra in which renowned mob scribe Jerry Capeci was given a heads up that Junior was.... not very happy with something the reporter had written. 

Anyway, as for what Junior wrote about Sinatra, we turn to the Daily Mail Online noted: John Gotti Senior "didn't like to be insulted or crossed - not matter who it was..."

"Frank Sinatra, due to perform at Carnegie Hall. had sent tickets to Gotti. and the boss was supposed to see the performer backstage and then have dinner together.

"When Sinatra cancelled at the last minute 'due to illness' only to show up at the Savoy Grill, smiling and joking, Gotti sent one of his henchmen, Joe Watts, to Sinatra's table. Sinatra was with his pal Jilly Rizzo.

"Watts proceeded 'to tear Sinatra a new a**hole and Rizzo too.

"'The next time John sends for you,' Joe advised Frank, 'and you make up an excuse', I will be the last face you will see on this earth.'"

Now, seems pretty cut and dried, hell it's easier to swallow this story than the one about John Senior pulling a James Bond to whack his last remaining rat....From the excerpts:

He would be escorted by marshals from the prison to the building in New York City where his dentist was located. Someone would be waiting for his arrival, and then give my father several hundred dollars to give to the guards, while my father enjoyed his furlough. My father would go up to the dentist’s office, open his mouth, and then go out the back of the building where one of the fellows would drive him away. 
When it was time to return to the prison, my father’s man would drive him back to the dentist’s building, and he would emerge from the front entrance back into the custody of the marshals.
I remember once my mother had put out a big spread of food for my father, who was coming home. At the time, I misunderstood, and thought he had been released from prison, but I didn’t know he was only free for a day. 
So in comes my father. He spent some quality time with my mother, spent some time with us kids in the back yard. He comes in with a green jumpsuit from prison and changed his clothes.
At the conclusion of the family visit, he took a shower, put his prison clothes in a bag, and, prior to returning to Green Haven, managed to kill an individual who was a last piece of business left over...
A source called me to tell me he found the story ludicrous.... Gotti would've had to bribe so many people if he went into the dentist's office it's nearly comical to contemplate, he said.

But, hey, we don't have a problem overall with this story. Rather, the story about how he threatened a renowned journalist is much more troubling.

According to a story Capeci wrote five years after the release of Gotti: Rise & Fall (which reports that the FBI's 1990 arrest of Gotti Senior had prevented him from celebrating the 30th birthday of his then-girlfriend Lisa Gastineau at a Frank Sinatra concert): 

"Junior Gotti again voiced angry words toward yours truly. Or at least that's what Kasman told the FBI shortly after he began working as a confidential FBI informer in early 1997. 
"In this case, there is some solid corroborating evidence: Without disclosing their source of information, FBI agents dutifully informed me about Junior's anger back then, advising me to be a little more cautious than usual. They added that the younger Gotti had hired an ex-NYPD detective who had been bounced from the force as corrupt to follow me around and "dig up some dirt." 
"He should've just asked. I could have told him exactly which of my old editors would be glad to help him out."

As for Watts, he has been tied to 11 murders and was said to have been a backup shooter at the 1985 high-profile hit on then-Gambino boss Paul Castellano, Watts was supposedly given Thomas Bilotti's loanshark book as compensation for assisting "The Fist" (the Gotti Fist, not the Genovese "Fist" of the 1970s, for all you amateurs).

As for Watts, in 2011 he was sentenced to the 13-year max for a murder plot. At sentencing, the judge noted that Watts seemed to return to his life of crime “almost immediately” after departing prison following a previous sentence.

The 2011 sentence was for a 1989 murder plot (the target, a Staten Island newspaper editor who Gotti thought was an informant, was actually murdered by a DeCavalcante crew then looking to kiss Gotti's backside), as well as an assault of someone who didn't provide Watts with the proper investment advice.

Manhattan federal Judge Colleen McMahon told the gangster that he appeared “healthy" and that he also looked like he was quite “accustomed to prison life.”

“I’m betting you may walk out of jail,” she said, adding that Watts a “cold-blooded killer” who committed “heinous” and “hideous” acts in service to the mob.

“He does not appear to know how to live his life without violence and killing,” she said.

Frederick Weiss was whacked on Gotti’s orders after the former Gambino boss suspected Weiss had become in informant. According to prosecutor Steve Kwok, an armed Watts was waiting for Weiss to be lured to a Staten Island garage that had been lined with plastic to catch the blood and potential brain matter splatter.

Weiss never showed up and was killed by a hit team led by the New Jersey crime family the next day.

Watts also admitted assaulting ex-con Abe Berger, whom he met while serving six years for a 1998 money-laundering conviction. Defense lawyer Gerald Shargel said Berger “essentially defrauded” Watts of $400,000 by claiming to be a “wizard” at picking stocks.

“If Mr. Watts was the person they claim him to be, I doubt that Mr. Berger would be walking the streets,” Shargel said.

As previously reported, Watts so terrified turncoat Brian Greenwald that he begged the judge to stay in the slammer rather than risk retribution from a feared gangland gunslinger.

"'I testified against a certain individual who is life-threatening for me,' Greenwald pleaded in court in March 2011, referring to "The German."

"'I've had to watch my back for organized-crime retaliation. I've learned recently they are trying to find out where I am. I've been in four separate jails and spent the last seven months in segregation,' he told Manhattan federal court Judge Harold Baer.

Prison may not be so bad for Watts, however, according to Mafia Guys on the blog Gorilla Convict. The blogger, who spent serious time in prison, wrote that he "was transferred to FCI Beckly in 1996. 

"It was a brand new prison that opened in West Virginia. And when I got there the talk of the compound was this mobster, Joe “The German” Watts, who was supposedly a loyal henchman and friend of John Gotti... Although he wasn't made because of his German blood this New Yorker supposedly had big money. And on the compound he was known to throw that money around. I didn’t know him personally but he lived in Poplar B-lower the unit below mine. I remember seeing him go to the commissary and have a couple of guys with him to carry his bags. He always shopped big too. He’d be coming out with cases and boxes full of commissary stuff.
 They said on the block that he cooked everyday and never went to the c how hall. A lot of mobsters have a reputation for this. Living large in the feds, you know. I guess it stems from the scenes in Goodfellas where Ray Liota and them are having mini banquets. The real incarcerated mobster tried to emulate this. I had also heard that Joe Watts supposedly bought all the cells next to his on the first tier and moved all his people in around him. He had his cook, his cleaning person, and his muscle guys in all the cells surrounding him and they would all eat together Goodfellas style.
Like I said I never personally met the guy but there was a lot of gossip about him on the pound. He was looked up to by all the street hustlers as a kind of mystical figure. A real live gangster, they called him. I would see him on the compound with the less famous mobsters from Pittsburgh and all the wanna-be’s who would be all up under him trying to ride his coattails. Catering to him or just trying to be associated with him I guess."


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