Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia. Peter Maas Peter Maas is the author of the international bestseller The Valachi Papers, which . 1. PDF Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia; 2. DESCRIPTION Sammy the Bull Gravano is the highest-ranking. Underboss, Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. book mob.
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Instead of hiding in the shadows, the new mobsters wear the latest fashions, eat at the popular restaurants, and throw lavish public parties. Sammy sees the old Mafia leaders as being aligned with "our thing", but the new leaders as being concerned only with "me, me, me".
If you're not looking out for the best interests of the family, then you're only thinking of yourself. You can never trust a person like that. I think I'm a gangster. I think I'm somebody with a very, very limited education, and I fought and kicked and punched and did the best I could to get ahead. I dealt with the reality that someday I will probably be killed or go to fucking jail, and I lived with that reality all my life.
That's the life I chose. What an amazing man who just wound up going down the wrong path. It was a joke, what was going on. The New York Times. In detail all of the mafia hits are described.
Sammy starts his rise through the administration. Not the nicest guy on the block. As that Beatles song played, I became a killer. One person found this helpful. That guy sounded like a real piece of shit. I tell you, Im plenty fazed, but he isnt. So one of them says theyll be back on Monday, and this better be settled. After they leave, my father must have sensed my emotion, but I dont think he understood the depth of my rage or the violence I was capable of.
Instead, he tried to calm me down. I said, Dad, whats the story? Who were they? And he said, Ah, nobodies. Big mouths. Dont worry about it. Its nothing. Ill talk to Zuvito about it.
I think. Old man Zuvito? What goods he? Hes a frail little old guy, half the size of my dad. A strong wind would knock him right off his feet. I dont know Cosa Nostra. I dont know Zuvitos power. Im a kid. Im with a gang. My thing is to fight with my fists. I figure these goons would cripple my father and Im definitely not letting them hurt him. By then, Sammy had hooked up with the Rampers, the dominant youth gang in his part of Bensonhurst.
There were Ramper seniors and Ramper juniors. I was a Ramper midget. I tell some of the Rampers what happened. I was thinking that maybe two or three of my pals would come in with me and bang it out with those bastards when they came back. Im thinking in terms of a fistfight. Instead, one of them tells me, Sammy, these guys hit your father, blow the fucking bums away. So, without really thinking about it, I got a gun from one of them.
Im totally geared, nervous as a bastard, but I was ready to whack the two of them out if they got into my father. I got the gun stuck in my belt. I have a jacket on to cover it when they come in. I cant believe it. They are totally different.
Hey, Gerry, one of them says, why didnt you tell us Zuvito is your compare?
Were sorry. We apologize. You ever have any union trouble, call us up, well resolve the problem. Dont forget, Gerry. Please tell Zuvito we were here, that we apologized. And they grabbed my fathers hand and shook it and kissed him on the cheek. Im watching this in total amazement. After they walk out, I said, Dad, what was that? What happened? And he said, Its nothing. I told you.
They talk too much, those people. There was no problem. Like they said, Zuvito is my compare from Italy. Zuvito spoke with them. Remember I told you about our bad guys. Well, Zuvito is one of our bad guys. I said, And if they didnt listen, hed shoot them, no?
I dont know what he would do, but he didnt have to do any more than talk. No shooting, no nothing. If those guys would have done anything, I was ready, I said and opened up my jacket and showed him the gun. His eyes just glared at me, like ice. My dad never laid a hand on me, but that was a time he came pretty close.
What are you doing? He took the gun. This is not our life. We dont live by these things. Thats not what we do. Were legitimate, honest people. We work hard and if we have a problem, we go to Zuvito, people like him. They understand hardworking people. Were not bothering nobody. Theyll help us. That really opened my appetite to know more about Zuvito, what the hell he was, what made him so feared.
Boy, I thought, wasnt it something to be that physically unimposing and still have that kind of power and strength? I really didnt understand it then. Eventually, I found out that he was a made guy in Cosa Nostra who was very respected. I met him a few times. Once, when I got into trouble, he caught me on the corner and gave me a kick in the ass. I couldnt believe what a kick he gave me. Go home, you son of a bitch! Your fathers such a beautiful man.
Go to school. Make something of yourself! But that was not to be, at least as far as Sammys formal education was concerned. Still with no inkling as to the root cause of his learning disability, and with no professional help, Sammy began on his own to improvise. If a teacher wrote what looked to him like an 8 on the blackboard, he automatically assumedcorrectlythat it was a 3. He tried to concentrate on his reading, realizing that if he went over a sentence five or six times, he could finally make some sense of it.
But it was slow going, and at Shallow junior High he was held back another year. Thats when I decided school wasnt for me. You had to go to school, but I was cutting classes most of the time and being with the Rampers. We were pretty tough and when I was there I was getting into fights all the time. Then one day one of my friends told me that a teacher had touched the ass or something of this girl I was going out with, and me like a hambone went in and I just punched the shit out of him.
I got suspended for a while for that, but the straw that broke the camels back was when I was playing hockey and got a little drunk with some other kids. They caught us and they brought us back to the school. We went up to the principals office and he started yelling and blasting me out, and then he finally said to another teacher in the office, Its their upbringing. Their mothers and fathers are irresponsible.
In other words, he was blaming everything on my mother and father. About halfway through listening to this, I hit him a shot in the mouth and I guess I broke his jaw. I was thrown out of school. I went in front of the Board of Education, and they reinstated me in school, but not at Shillow.
I was officially switched to McKinley junior High School. McKinleys on Fort Hamilton Parkway. I had to take buses there. It was out of the neighborhood and there werent any Rampers around. There are different gangs, different guys. Like there were Irish gangs, and I got to make my bones all over again in that neighborhood, which I did.
I was in a lot of fights! But the one thing I remember from McKinley was a teacher, a math teacher, who also was my home-study teacher. I still remember his name. He looked like a football player, strong-looking, about five eleven.
He wore glasses. Really wanted to take you out of this problem situation you were in and move you into the mainstream. And it wasnt just with me. He gave everybody a chance to shine. Whether it was in class, in gym, whatever, he figured out what you could do well and he gave you the chance to do it.
I got to like him, trust him, and for a while everything seemed to improve: my attendance, my marks. When you had a problem, he wouldnt just look at you like you were an idiot. Hed say, OK, everyone has a problem with that. I never heard of the word dyslexia then and I dont think he did either, but he would sit with you and work out different ways of how to solve the problem, which maybe wasnt the systems way, but it made it easier for me. One time, he told me, Sammy, Ive gotten to know you.
Youre far from being stupid. You just dont want to try anymore. Try for me. If somethings a problem, if you feel frustrated in class, let me know.
Ill give you a pass. You want to go into the yard? You want to play handball or something? You want to walk out of class? Dont do it on your own. Dont defy me. Just tell me. Ill let you do it. It became easy to live with the guy After a while, you dont even want to walk out on him.
Because heres a guy whos put such an effort, an honest effort, into you, and you wanted to make him look good. In two or three months, it was the same thing all over again. I couldnt keep up. For all the teachers, I was a dummy. That was it.
So OK, Im stupid. The other thing I thought is that when I was in the neighborhood hanging out with the Rampers, it was those other kids who went to school and really tried who were nerds. They were nothing. They were taking the easy track. We were the guys who did it the hard way, helping our families by robbing and getting money, which a lot of them didnt have too much of.
I felt that we were doing the right thing. You have to understand that the people I was looking up to by now, almost like they were my big brothers, were people in the mob. These guys knew me and I knew them. Even as a kid, before the bike thing, they knew me because they knew my father. After the bike, I was Sammy to them. Plus, I had two older sisters and they were attractive.
Its not like I was trying to impress these guys or anything like that, but when I fought and I got a pat on the head from them, it was a compliment. You did right defending yourself, taking back what was yours, like with the bike and the wiseguys on the corner. You didnt let nobody bully you. They helped teach me all that. But this thing that the mob does to you when youre young is that they compliment you if you rob, if you kill. The ultimate compliment is when you kill.
So I was getting these compliments from them, and because I looked up to them, it felt good. At school, except for Mr. Mandracchia, I never got compliments. It would take me a long time to realize who was taking the easy way out, who the nerds really were.
Anyway, with all the fights and my attitude, I was thrown out of New Utrecht and thrown back into the Board of Education, which sent me to a 600 school for incorrigibles.
I think everyone in the one I went to was nuts. The second day, there was a kid in front of me reading the Bible, mumbling to himself, and the teacher asked me something that I gave a smartass answer to that got the other kids laughing, and this other kid all at once started quoting from the Bible and calling me the devil. So I banged him out right then and there and Im back before the board with my parents, and they were told I was out of the school system, period.
Either they would sign me out on my sixteenth birthday, which was coming up, or the board would take other steps against me. I stopped going to school, and when I was sixteen, my family did sign me out. My mom and dad were disappointed. Sad, I guess. But they never ranted and raved that I was no good. They knew that I was having education problems. They were used to hearing that from the schools and about the truancy and all the trouble I was getting into.
That was the reality. There wasnt anybody they could turn to for help. Believe me, there werent a lot of psychiatrists in Bensonhurst, even if they would have thought that way. They knew I had this reputation on the street that I was a tough, tough kid. They heard it from people they knew, but they never saw it themselves.
They loved me and looked at the good in me. I mean, I never did drugs or acted up at home. I respected my parents. As the only son in the family, I did what was expected of me, like when my mother told me to take out the garbage, wash down the walk, shovel the snow, lug home groceries. Maybe Id piss and moan a little, but I did it. I got along great with everybody who lived on our block.
I liked them and I think they liked me.
The old lady who lived a couple of houses down and had a sick husband would say, Sammy, could you get this prescription filled at the pharmacy? Sure, why not? No big deal. My father didnt give up on me. He was still trying to get me to do the right thing. You can learn a trade, he said. Use your hands, your back. A little honest sweat never hurt nobody.
He tried to bring me into the dress factory, which I did do from time to time. Some of his friends would say they could get me a job in construction, a machine shop, car repair. But it was too late. I was into another life now, running with the Rampers. When we were young and in the Rampers, we took an oath. We were gonna be together forever.
Fuck the world. Fuck everybody, even the mob. Later on, that changed, but that was our attitude then. We became so tough, with such a dangerous reputation, that the other Italian gangs, the Irish gangs, the black gangs, the Puerto Rican gangs, from different neighborhoods, from Coney Island, downtown Brooklyn, guys from Avenue U, used to come to us in the summer and say, Listen, we dont want no trouble with you. In the sixties, there was nothing but gangs all over the place, and none of them would fuck with us.
There was a mob war going on in the Profaci family. The Gallo brothers from President Street, downtown Brooklyn, were in that familyLarry Gallo and his brother Joey and their crewand they didnt think they were getting a big enough piece of the action. And there were some Gallos there. Actually it turned out they werent the Gallos themselves, but people with them. Anyway, they were a lot older than us and there was some kind of beef with Jimmy Emma.
So now theyre gonna fuck us around, but not with their hands. They got guns. So we left and loaded up and went back into the bar. It was a long bar. They were at one end and we were at the other end. It seemed like one of them went for a gun. We went for guns. There was a ton of shots thrown back and forth. It was like a cowboy movie. Totally unbelievable. Glass breaking, women screaming, things falling on the floor. One of the Gallo guys got hit, like eleven times.
He staggers out of the bar and falls in the street. And lived, believe it or not. Another guy in the bar, an innocent bystander, got hit in the foot. He went on his own to a doctor and never said nothing. The Gallo guy at the hospital dont say nothing, either. But now the Gallos let it be known they are coming after us. Everybody in the neighborhood is talking about it and the neighborhood wiseguys on the corner get involved. There are huge sit-downs.
The Profaci family is involved.
The Gambino family gets into it. People from the neighborhood tell the Gambinos were tough kids, but good kids. So they step in for us. They say, Hey, you aint doing shit to these kids. Theyre good neighborhood kids. They didnt come into your neighborhood and fuck with you. Theyre in their own neighborhood.
You aint doing nothing. We only hear about all this. Were ready for anything, but then were told its over, its been straightened out. But we stayed heeled. You never could be sure. The Rampers had a network in operationfor guns, for fences to handle stolen goods, for bail bondsmen, for lawyerslong before Sammy joined up.
We did mostly burglaries and stealing cars, he said. We did cars for their parts or to be shipped out of the country. We never burglarized homes. That was against what we wanted to do. It was all commercial places. Wed break in at night, robbing clothing stores, hardware stores, stuff like that.
Wed hold up jewelry stores, you know, with ski masks on. They all had insurance. My old enemy was the teachers in school. My new enemy was the law, cops.
I started boxing a lot in local gyms where guys were training to go into the Golden Gloves tournaments. It made me feel like I was somebody. You didnt have to read to learn how to box. I was quick and I had some pretty good moves. I learned how to feint and jab and use my body the right way in a punch. They said I had real potential. Forget it. I wasnt fighting for no cops. Cops would always be hassling you. It got me my first arrest.
We were in front of a luncheonette and this cop car pulls up. The cop driving was Italian. I cant remember his name exactly. Lets say Benocchi. He was a real pain in the ass. He yells at us to get off the street. Everybody scatters.
I go down the block and stand in the doorway of a little bar. So I was off the street. This Benocchi had followed me and he says, I told you to get off the street. I said, You got eyes? Im off the street. With that, hes out of the car and starts towards me. Think youre smart, you punk bastard? I assume hes ready to hit me with his nightstick, whatever, like they normally did.
As soon as he got within range, I set myself and I nailed him with a shot to the jaw. He goes down. I kicked him in the face. Now the other cop in the car is on his way. His gun is out. Im pinched for assault on an officer.
Through some of the Rampers, I get this lawyer. Hes supposed to know his way around the state courts. And he does! And I get a good lesson about real life and how important it is to be connected. A couple of times my case is postponed. I was out on bail. Then, the third time, its on. When I meet this lawyer outside court, he says, Stay downstairs till I come for you.
In court, my name is called. Not here. The judge issues a bench warrant for me, and the cop, Benocchi, leaves.
Next, the lawyer gets me and brings me up into court. First he talks to the prosecutor. Hes been getting delays to get this particular prosecutor. Then he says to the judge, Your Honor, my client just arrived. He was delayed because of a car accident.
I know you have a full calendar and there are extenuating circumstances to this case. Your Honor, what I would like is to plead my client guilty to a misdemeanor. The judge goes for that. He doesnt have to reschedule the cop and start this over again. He grants the motion. All I get is a five-hundred-dollar fine. Benocchi dont know it, but hes been set up.
Right after court, me and my friends go back to the luncheonette where this started. It is right by the precinct house. Were eating hamburgers, and sure enough, Benocchi walks in. He sees me, and real cocky, he says, You didnt show up in court. Theres a bench warrant out for you. Im taking you in. Not me, I said. They got a bench warrant out for your mother, is what. The case is over. I went to court. I copped to a misdemeanor. I got a fine and I got to go back in a couple of days and pay it. My guys are laughing.
Hes all red in the face. I dont believe it, he says. Im checking this out. Hes so confused he sits down on a stool. I say to the guy behind the counter, Hey, Bo, whats Benocchi eating? Put it on my tab. Im celebrating today. He says, You cant pick up my tab.
Yeah, well, that must be a first for you, I said, and we walked out, giggling. Sammys next encounter with the police, however, was not so amusing. There were four of us Rampers, he said. Were looking to score in this lumberyard. We break in. There must have been an alarm we didnt know about because all of a sudden the cops arrive. The other kids get away.
Im the only one who gets collared. They bring me into the precinct and its the old story. Who were my accomplices? What accomplices?