Sammy The Bull Rewrites Mafia History?

The New York Daily News recently interviewed former Gambino underboss Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, who talks about social media and New York mob history.... And broth(?)

Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano
Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano

Gravano, who is 75 and has spent 22 years of his life in prison, told the Daily News that he has returned to ... social media.... (We honestly didn't know he had left.) Gravano is now posting on Instagram and Facebook, but he also finds time to quaff broth brought to him by a neighbor in the sleepy Arizona town where the Bull now resides. 

“I got a neighbor, and she comes over and she knocks. I open the door, and she’s giving me broth. I said, ‘What’s this?’ She says, ‘I know you’re living alone, and I don’t know if you’re eating right.’ So she gives me the broth.”

Back in 1976, Carlo Gambino give him the gun, the knife—and more importantly, a button in the Gambino crime family—and Gravano was off to the races... He embraced mob life with a deep and abiding passion for decades: robbing, stealing, killing (19 times, he confessed) until he and the hierarchy were finally all pinched inside the Ravenite in Little Italy in December 1990. And later, while they were in prison, Gravano heard recordings (via audio surveillance) of Gambino boss John Gotti tearing him apart behind his back. As Gravano recalled in a podcast last year (see clip below)  Gotti expected him to take the big fall by submerging his own interests in a common defense. “John (Gotti) told me to my face, he said, ‘Sammy, the [wiretap] tapes are horrible. ...You’re gonna take the weight, the lawyers are gonna bring it out in court that you’re a monster. You killed all these people, took over the unions, took over businesses.’ Which I never did.”  

Gravano flipped and helped the Feds convict Gotti by confirming the Dapper Don’s wiretapped admissions and providing devastatingly effective testimony.  John Gotti died behind bars in 2002. 

“Everybody has regrets,” Gravano tells Larry McShane in the Daily News story. “No matter what life you’re in, everybody who goes forward has some sort of regrets,” only Gravano’s regrets include an unusually large number of murders....

In the interview Gravano notes, “I think he single-handedly destroyed the Mafia.” (Whoa, who destroyed?), adding, “I think he made every mistake you could make. What John did, he hurt the entire Mafia. You could take 15 guys who cooperated, put them together, and they didn’t do as much damage as he did by putting the whole Mafia on front street.” 

Carlo Gambino
Carlo Gambino

But if we're to be absolutely honest, there is truth in Gravano’s words...Though if you don't agree, then at least recall that John Gotti also had a proclivity to rewrite history, like when on December 12, 1989, he told Frank Locascio that Sammy himself had been the true power behind the killings of Robert (Deebee) DiBernardo, Louis Milito, and Louis DiBono. In actuality, Deebee was murdered over Sammy’s objections after Angelo Ruggiero told Gotti (who was in jail awaiting trial) that Deebee had made “subversive” comments behind his back. (Angelo also owed Deebee money, but that certainly had nothing to do with anything, right?) 

Salvatore Gravano today
Salvatore Gravano in recent pic.

“Deebee,” Gotti said to LoCascio. “Did he ever talk subversive to you?” “Never.” “Never talked it to Angelo, and he never talked it to [Joseph Armone] either. I took Sammy’s word that he talked about me behind my back … I was in jail when I whacked him. I knew why it was being done. I done it anyway. I allowed it to be done anyway.”

On the same excerpt, Gotti turned the focus onto Milito and DiBono, the former had been killed because he questioned Gotti’s judgment and the latter failed to answer a Gotti summons. But on tape Gotti said they were killed because Sammy asked permission to get rid of some business partners. “Every time we got a partner that don’t agree with us, we kill him. … [the] boss kills him. He kills him. He okays it. Says it’s all right, good.”

Then for good measure, Gotti accused Sammy of having “green eyes”—hoarding money and opportunity for himself. “That’s Sammy … every fucking time I turn around there’s a new company poppin’ up. Building. Consulting. Concrete … where the hell did all these new companies come from? Where did five new companies come from?”

Gravano first moved to Arizona in the 1990s after he finished testifying in New York. He quit the Federal Witness Protection Program and sold lots of Ecstasy (when he wasn’t pushing autographed copies of his memoir Underboss). He was arrested again in 2000 and sentenced to 20 years.

Gravano departed prison in 2017 and returned to Arizona, though says he still loves New York and “the attitude of people in New York.” He says he still knows lots of people in New York, including people in the New York Mafia. 

Colombos: Gravano discusses doing robberies with Allie Boy, etc.

“There’s a lotta guys who flipped, they’re in touch with me every three minutes. But I don’t fit in there no more.”

And each night before bed, Gravano spends two hours replying to questions on Facebook, so if you have any questions for him...