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Gay mobsters cower in the closet

by Nick Langewis

Homosexuality and organized crime are incompatible, an Italian prosecutor told Telegraph.

"Being gay is still a taboo for Italian society in general," said Antonio Ingroia, "let alone the Mafia, which is an archaic organization."

Palermo-based Ingroia (pictured) made the comments as part of an urging to Pope Benedict XVI to follow his predecessor, John Paul II, in publicly condemning the Mob.

"Only 30 percent of the [Catholic] Church takes an active and leading role in the fight against the Mafia," Italy Magazine quotes him.

"These bosses have to cover their homosexuality," added Ingroia; "they're afraid because they risk being ridiculed and killed."

One such mob boss is the late John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato, acting boss of the DeCavalcante crime family, who was gunned down in January 1992 as rumors spread of his homosexuality and he prepared to take over the Gambino crime family after being recruited by leader John Gotti.

"Nobody's going to respect us if we have a gay homosexual boss sitting down discussing business with other families," testified DeCavalcante member Anthony Capo in 2003. Capo, according to the Associated Press, admitted to shooting D'Amato four times.

Stefano Vitabile, or "Steve the Truck Driver," was a co-conspirator in the hit. At the time, he was the DeCavalcante crime family's Consigliere, or adviser, and had conspired to murder other members as well. Vitabile was convicted on murder charges stemming from D'Amato's killing and the 1991 disappearance of Underboss Louis "Fat Lou" LaRasso. He is serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

Vito Spatafore, subordinate to Tony Soprano as part of the DiMeo crime family in HBO's The Sopranos, was based on D'Amato. Towards the end of the series, the closeted Spatafore leaves his wife and kids and starts a new life in New Hampshire after being discovered in a gay bar. After returning to his old life in New Jersey, Spatafore would ultimately be beaten to death by homophobic mob boss Phil Leotardo.

Gays in the Mafia should not be confused with the "Gay Mafia," or "Velvet Mafia," often used to describe "the amalgamation of gay lobby and rights groups in politics and the media." Author Stephen Gaines is said to have pioneered the designation as the influential social clique who congregated at Studio 54 during its heyday in the 1970s. Such powerful figures as Calvin Klein, Truman Capote, and Andy Warhol were called the "Velvet Mafia," but in a tongue-in-cheek manner rather than as "some truly devious alliance ruling either an industry or our politics," as could be said in the present day.


Originally published on Tuesday July 15, 2008.

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