attorney, Pete Peluso, who was very close to Gigante, had information about Cafaro and could be helpful. Gotti took this advice seriously and told Frank Locascio to "reach out" to Peluso.
Gigante and Mangano were arrested on May 30, 1990. The next day Gigante entered Beekman Downtown Hospital complaining of chest pains, which were relieved with the administration of nitroglycerine. He was discharged on June 29, 1990.
After his arrest, Gigante set up an acting administration of the Genovese Family. Thereafter Barney Bellomo was introduced to Alfonso D'Arco, Acting Boss of the Lucchese Family, as the Acting Boss of the Genovese Family, "acting for Vincent Gigante," and James Ida was introduced by Bellomo as the Acting Consigliere.
When he was discharged from Beekman Downtown Hospital on June 29, 1990, Gigante went back to the Hospital the same day, with the usual symptoms. He remained there until November 27, 1990. Despite this hospitalization, Gigante continued to be the real Boss of the Genovese Family even after he installed the acting administration.
He supervised the substitutes that he had appointed. He ordered Nicky "the Blonde" Frustace to spy on Jimmy Ida, the man Gigante had appointed as Acting Consigliere, and Frustace continued to do so at least as late as September 1991. Gigante also held meetings in 1991 in the early hours of the morning with Ida at the Moondance Diner.
In 1990 Gigante was continuing to make important "business" decisions. For example, he selected, with the concurrence of the Colombo Family, a person to head a new administration for the New England based La Cosa Nostra Family in which the Genovese Family "had people." Bellomo and Ida were to go to Boston and make official the new administration. They asked Alfonso D'Arco, as Acting Boss of the Lucchese Family, to go with them and Acting Boss Victor Orena of the Colombo Family. D'Arco decided not to attend, but the others did and installed the new administration.
Up until September 1991, D'Arco had conversations with Genovese associate Jerry "the Jeweler" Messina, who was close to Gigante and at least through that date took care of the Triangle Social Club. Messina was a diabetic and had undergone heart surgery. Gigante was concerned about Messina and repeatedly cautioned him to take better care of his health, to watch his diet, and to stop smoking, drinking, and eating to excess. Gigante even sent Messina to his own doctor.
The evidence before the court clearly establishes that Gigante was a forceful and active leader of the Genovese Family from at least 1970 on, that he became the Boss of the Family in 1985 and exercised his prerogatives as such at least up to September 1991, that his actions and decisions were wholly inconsistent with the behavior observed by the doctors at the Hospital causing them to find him incompetent for many years, and that his motive for putting on a "crazy act" for all those years was to avoid apprehension by law enforcement.
That motivation was increased when he was indicted in 1990 for various criminal acts of labor payoffs, extortions, and mail fraud, and was further augmented in 1993 when he was charged with more serious crimes of murder. It is thus unsurprising that Gigante's dentist and chiropractor testified in this court to his conduct in the last ten to twelve years almost identical to that observed by his psychiatrists over many years. To the dentist and chiropractor he appeared in pajamas and a bathrobe, disheveled, unshaven, depressed, lethargic, unable to communicate, understand, or make decisions.
The evidence also demonstrates that powerful figures in organized crime did not believe that Gigante was incompetent. As Alphonse D'Arco testified, a leader of a Family who actually developed mental illness would be killed. Indeed, a Genovese Captain named Willie Morretti was killed because of his mental illness, which caused him to speak indiscriminately about criminal enterprises in which he had taken part. When Hickey DiLorenzo began to behave erratically, he met the same fate.
But Gigante's colleagues in organized crime did not try to kill him. Nor did they even try to bar him from Commission meetings. Rather, they treated and spoke of him with respect. In January 1984, Salerno and Sabato were heard on government tapes discussing Gigante's knowledge of the organized crime scene and his power within it. Salerno, referring to another person in organized crime, asked "What the hell move could he make without Chin?." Sabato replied "Chin would [expletive deleted] him right away and he knows it" and then stated "Nobody knows more about this thing than Chin does." In May 1984, Salerno was heard on a government tape to say that he would send a list of proposed Members to Gigante for his approval. In February 1985, Salerno was heard to comment on Gigante's desire to keep track of events in organized crime: "He wants to know what everybody does you know Chin how he is."
Gotti, Gravano, and the other Gambino Members who killed Castellano in 1985 sought in advance the approval of the other Families, but were so wary of Gigante that they concealed their plans from the Genovese Family. Five years later, Gotti thought enough of Gigante's sanity to heed his warning that Fish Cafaro planned to testify against him.
At a Commission meeting before 1989, Lucchese Acting Boss Victor Amuso tried to convince Gigante that Genovese associate Peter Savino was a "rat." Gigante "wouldn't hear of it." He defended Savino and refused to act against him. Gravano and Casso also believed that Savino was cooperating and approached Mangano about having him killed. Mangano replied "I don't like him myself, but Chin loves him. We're not going to be able to do nothing."
Important leaders in the Genovese and other Families all believed that Savino was an informant. Yet none would kill him for fear of angering Gigante. That these leaders refrained from punishing a man they believed to be a "rat" is telling evidence of their perception of Gigante's competency and power.
After Victor Orena became the official Acting Boss of the Colombo Family in late 1988, he complained to D'Arco about Gigante's interference in the internal affairs of the Colombo Family.
All of these words and deeds make clear that Gigante's colleagues in organized crime considered him not an incompetent, but rather an active and potentially dangerous force with extensive knowledge and understanding of their world.
The court will submit the foregoing findings of fact to the psychiatrists who testified at the earlier hearings. The psychiatrists will be required to accept the court's findings as true and will be asked to say to what extent, if any, these findings alter their assessment of Gigante's competency to stand trial.
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
May 15, 1996
Eugene H. Nickerson, U.S.D.J.
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