In The Street Robbing, Pillaging, Plundering: Anthony Ruggiano Jr. Interview, Part Three

"I’d like find out what he says about John Alite. I just don't know what to think as there's so many contradictory opinions on him; it'd be nice hear his thoughts and input."

This story focuses on Anthony Ruggiano Jr., John Alite, and John Junior....The next installment will address multiple comments....

Anthony Junior, back to us in middle, Junior, left.
Anthony Junior, back to us in middle, Junior, left, Skinny Dom, right.

When John Alite played Little League, his coach was Albert Ruggiano, the younger brother of Anthony Junior, though the Ruggiano-Alite relationship went back another generation, Anthony Junior recently told us.

Anthony Junior, 66, didn't pop up out of nowhere, actually. A longtime Gambino associate (he came close, so damn close to being made!), he defected in 2006 and testified in several trials against mobsters including Gambino capo Dominick (Skinny Dom) Pizzonia and powerful Gambino boss Bartolomeo (Bobby Glasses) Vernace, and Gambino wiseguy Charles Carneglia. He also gave testimony against Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro. Anthony Ruggiano Junior's charges included murder and a number of murder conspiracies.

We refer to him as Anthony Junior here to distinguish him from his father, Gambino soldier Anthony (Fat Andy) Ruggiano who ran a crew out of the Café Liberty social club in Ozone Park, Queens. Fat Andy died in 1999.

Fat Andy knew John Alite’s father, Matthew, from when they (and nearly every single wiseguy in the tri-state area who wasn’t locked up) idled away their days betting their hard-earned dollars at the racetrack.

"John Alite’s father was at the racetrack every day and he knew all the wiseguys, and they all knew him," Anthony Junior said. (John Alite talks about the Ruggianos in George Anastasia's Gotti Rules, too.)

In the early 1980s, Alite started hanging around John Junior Gotti.

"When my father was in jail with Zeke (former Gambino acting boss Arnold Squiteri) and Funzi (soldier Alphonse Sisca), John Alite’s name kept coming up. People would visit and he’d hear about Alite, who he was with and what he was doing. That's how my father heard about John Alite."

"Then I remember later on, I told my father John Alite was making a lot of money and he said, he is? Then what the fck is he doing around John Junior?"

"My brother also told him to stay away from Junior," Anthony Jr. said. "At the Finish Line bar, I think, my brother told him to stay the fuck away from Junior."

Why the caution about hanging around Junior?

"Even even though I am Andy's son, I was still a criminal. John Alite was a criminal. We were on the street. My father made me go to work in crap games. I took numbers, I sold swag, I got arrested and went to jail all the way back in the 1970s. I was out in the trenches because I was Andy’s son and I wanted my own respect," he said.

John Alite with an Italian celebrity named Fabrizio.
John Alite with an Italian celebrity named Fabrizio.

"John Junior was no criminal. While guys like me and John Alite were in the street robbing and pillaging and plundering, Junior was in military school. We were street guys. I stole credit cards and had chop shops.

"Junior never did any of that. Maybe he had people around him that did that, but he didn't do it himself. People were up Junior’s ass because he was John’s son. I spent 14 years in prison -- I was running around in the street.

"I am not saying Junior was a bad kid but he wasn't who he made himself out to be.

"Yeah, Junior killed people. Those jurors (in Junior's various mistrials) should be ashamed of themselves.

"Junior really killed that kid in the bar. There were people there who saw him do it. But then when they were talking to the FBI later, they were too scared to say anything, so they said that they didn’t see anything. 

"One person came to me right after it happened. He told me what he saw (at the Silver Fox) that night. I told him not to tell anyone anything about anything that happened or he’d get killed. They were ready to kill the witnesses, they did kill a witness.

"John Alite was a criminal. He gave Junior a ton of money and he did all the work.

"Junior, well, Junior gave me a lot of Yankee tickets. We all loved the Yankees."

Testimony touched on the incident Ruggiano is referring to, but it wasn't enough to sway all the jurors, who in the end consolidated into distinct factions.

In 2009, at Gotti's fourth racketeering trial in five years, one witness testified that Gotti had done an exultant “Porky Pig imitation” over the body of the man who Junior allegedly had just stabbed in the Silver Fox Bar in Ozone Park in 1983. Witness Kenneth Seidel said that while he hadn't seen Gotti actually stab Danny Silva during a melee that prosecutors alleged happened prior to the murder, he remembered the hush that had fallen over all the bar's patrons when Gotti re-entered the bar a few minutes later while Silva lay bleeding to death on the floor.

“‘Th-th-th-th! That’s all folks!’ “ Gotti allegedly said, waving his hand over his head in a circle before whirling out again and into a waiting car. “It was like from a cartoon,” the man said. “Porky Pig or Elmer Fudd used to say that at the end of the show."

Another witness, Kevin Bonner, testified that he was once a member of Gotti’s crew in Ozone Park, dealing drugs and giving the former Gambino crime family boss $500 a week in payments. Bonner said Gotti stabbed and killed Silva, 24, during a fight in the bar.

Bonner testified that Silva was pestering Gotti on the night of March 12, 1983.

“I knew what was coming,” Bonner told the jury.

He said Gotti “went to work on” Silva.

“He beat him up,” said Bonner.

That’s when Bonner said he “could see the kid get stabbed.”

Bonner said Gotti cleaned up at a friend’s house and then went into hiding. He said another member of Gotti’s crew, Johnny Gebbert, told him that Gotti’s father, Gambino boss John Gotti, had paid a detective $10,000 to end the investigation.

During trial, prosecutors described the son of John Gotti as a career thug who made a fortune off drug dealing, murder, and rackets, while the defense argued that Gotti withdrew from the mob in the late 1990s. In 2009 Gotti faced a wide-ranging racketeering conspiracy that included two narcotics-related Queens slayings, in 1988 and 1991. He used the same withdrawal defense that he'd previously used in three earlier racketeering trials that ended in hung juries in 2005 and 2006, arguing again that his mob activities stopped before the five-year statute of limitations on racketeering.

Gotti walked free in December 2009 after a deeply divided jury failed to reach a verdict at his fourth racketeering trial, and the Feds threw in the towel

Gotti's Rules: The Story of John Alite, Junior Gotti, and the Demise of the American Mafia quotes and includes a five-page 302 that resulted from John Junior's "proffer session" with federal authorities. The meeting occurred at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in lower Manhattan on January 18, 2005

The Charley Wagons Days: Anthony Ruggiano Interview, Part One

Getting Made By Anastasia In 1953: Anthony Ruggiano Jr. Interview, Part Two

Who Fat Andy Loved; John Gotti's Other Side: Anthony Ruggiano Junior, Part FOUR

Read "Destinies," a novel by Nick Christophers