Thomas Bilotti

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Thomas "Tommy" Bilotti (born March 23, 1940 in New York City , New York , † December 16, 1985 in Manhattan , New York City, New York) was an American mobster and underboss (deputy) of Paul Castellano , the Head of the " Gambino family ." Bilotti was internally due to his bald head, which he tried to cover up with a toupee, also "The Wig" (American for ' wig ') and because of his work as a bodyguard "The Doberman" (English for ' Doberman ') called.


Early years

Bilotti's parents were Italian emigrants . The father came from Rome , the mother, née Gheraldi, from Lombardy near Milan . Thomas was the middle of three brothers: James Bilotti and Joseph V. Bilotti.

The Bilotti brothers soon belonged to the "street crew" of the Gambino family on Staten Island , which was led by Capo Michael D'Alessio . Bilotti also served as driver and bodyguard for Alexander DeBrizzi and worked for Michael D'Alessio's brother: John "Johnny Dee" D'Alessio and Matthew Cuomo , the father of Ralph "Raffie" Cuomo and Joseph Armone .

In 1970 Thomas Bilotti and his brother Joseph were given the task of murdering Tommy Ernst, the friend of John D'Alessio's daughter. The murder assignment failed, however, as the armed daughter returned fire from the assassins. However, Ernst was murdered a few months later when he was about to leave the D'Alessios home in Staten Island.

Bilotti's reputation as a “tough guy” had not only grown due to the murder, and he led a group of thieves who worked on both sides of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge . While doing business, Tommy accidentally knocked out Robert Pate , whose brother John Pate was a soldier in the Colombo family .

Paul Castellano

Bilotti became the chauffeur and bodyguard of Paul Castellano, who promoted him as a mentor . A friendship developed between them. When Castellano became head of the Gambino family in 1976, Bilotti's reputation within the family also rose, but he remained an outsider among the elegant associates and hired financial advisors that Castellano gathered around him. His external appearance, which was reminiscent of a pittbull, also contributed to this: Bilotti weighed about 110 kilograms, rested on short, fat legs and had a fat bald head. He wore a tattoo on his right upper arm and his fingernails were so curved that they looked like claws .

Castellano had Bilotti in his company "Scara-Mix Inc." at 2537 Richmond Terrace on Staten Island , which was run by his sons Paul Jr. and Phillip. It was a so-called "no-show job"; that is, Bilotti only appeared on the pay slips, he was neither to be found in the company nor did he do any work.

Bilotti's field of work was “labor racketeering” , blackmail and usury . His coarse appearance was in stark contrast to his high-pitched voice, which is said to have been similar to a misplayed clarinet . In particular, his fur-colored toupee reinforced his grotesque demeanor. But Bilotti was anything but a joke; FBI agent Joseph O'Brien, in retrospect, described Bilotti as a watchful, hard-working, fearless, and loyal subordinate of Castellano.

His reputation with his boss was so great that he had designated him as his successor and, after the death of the previous Gambino underboss Aniello Dellacroce , appointed him as his deputy.

The end

A conflict had arisen within the Gambino family; John Gotti's people, especially his brother Gene Gotti , were all known as drug traffickers, which led to conflicts with boss Paul Castellano on several occasions. He had banned drug trafficking on pain of death. Aniello Dellacroce, Castellano's second husband, supported Gotti and prevented his execution. In December 1985, however, Dellacroce died of cancer.

With the impending danger that Castellano would now proceed against the remnants of the Dellacroce Gotti crew, Gotti decided to take the initiative himself and planned to get rid of his boss. Castellano and Bilotti were shot in front of the Sparks Steak House in Manhattan on December 16, 1985.

When the attack on Castellano / Bilotti, the actual team probably consisted of eleven attackers. While Gotti and Gravano watched the assassination attempt from a car on the opposite side, the actual four-man hit team presumably consisted of Vincent Artuso, Salvatore "Fat Sally" Scala, Edward Lino and John Carneglia. Dominick Pizzonia, Angelo Ruggiero, Joseph Watts, Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski and Anthony “Tony Roach” Rampino were probably ready to support any problems . Police sources suspect that the fatal Castellano shots were fired by Carneglia while Rampino murdered Thomas Bilotti. The murder went down in criminal history as the “steakhouse massacre”. Bilotti was buried in New Dorp, New York in the same cemetery as Castellano.


James and Joseph V. Bilotti had followed Thomas Bilotti into the Gambino family. His brother James worked as a bodyguard for Frank Sinatra in the 1970s and 1980s . Thomas Bilotti had nine children, his brother James too and was the godfather of 27 children. His youngest child was just six weeks old when he was murdered along with his boss. Due to the common name of the mother and the Italian actress Cesarina Gheraldi , a family connection was often suspected, but it does not exist.



  • John H. Davis: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family . Harper Collins, New York 1993, ISBN 0-06-109184-7
  • Peter Maas : Underboss. Sammy the Bull Gravano's story of life in the Mafia . HarperCollins Publishing Company, New York 1997, ISBN 978-0-06-109664-8
(German translation by Harald Riemann: Underboss. I was the second man. The life story of Mafia boss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano . Bern / Scherz, Munich / Vienna 1998, ISBN 3-502-18430-5 )
  • Joseph F. O'Brien: Boss of Bosses. The Fall of the Godfather. The FBI and Paul Castellano

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Thomas Bilotti (1940–1985) - Find A Grave Memorial. Find A Grave, Inc., accessed October 27, 2012 .