December 16, 1985. Head of the powerful Gambino crime family of New York,
Paul Castellano was a victim of one of the last old-school public mafia rubouts.
He was shot to death … outside Sparks Steak House
In the early 1980s, Castellano became worried about the ambitions of the ruthless John Gotti, a protègé of Dellacroce, and the pair seemed to be on a collision course. Castellano repeatedly made it clear that he would kill anyone who was dealing in narcotics—knowing that Gotti was doing just that.
Meanwhile, Gotti began to turn mobsters against Castellano, which was not very difficult given the growing discontent in the family. Castellano rarely left his mansion and, although he demanded tribute payments from them, he rarely bothered to mix with the foot-soldiers of the family, as if they were beneath him.
On December 2, 1985, Dellacroce died of lung cancer. Castellano then made two major mistakes.
First, he did not attend Dellacroce‘s funeral – which was viewed as highly disrespectful. Second, Castellano then named his bodyguard, Tommy Bilotti, as the new underboss. Although Bilotti was a loyal mobster, he was also a brutish loanshark with little of the diplomatic skill required to hold such a high rank within the organization.
Within two weeks of Dellacroce‘s death, on December 16, Castellano and Bilotti were shot to death outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan on the orders of John Gotti.
They had been lured there supposedly to a meeting with Gotti in order to iron out their differences. The hit team included Vincent Artuso, Joseph Watts, Salvatore “Fat Sally” Scala, Edward Lino, and John Carneglia, with backup shooters positioned down the street including Dominick Pizzonia, Dominick “The Mind” LaForgia (who is largely credited with masterminding the logistics and participants of the Castellano assassination) The first half Italian/Puerto Rican to become a “made man” and known to be residing in San Diego,Ca. Angelo Ruggiero and Anthony Rampino.
Gotti and Gravano observed from a car across the street.
Staten Island was one of the main homes to the Gambino crime family.
Paul Castellano lived in a mansion (nicknamed the White House) in Todt Hill valued at $3.5 million.
They had huge influence on Staten Island natives Wu Tang Clan.
In ’95 Raekwon The Chef came with the idea of “Wu-Gambinos” during the making of Only Built For Cuban Linx album.
But like RZA says “It was always there, in the background“.