Michael DiLeonardo

Michael DiLeonardo

Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo (born June 18, 1955) is an Italian-American New York mobster who formerly belonged to the Gambino crime family and is now a government informant.



Born in New York City, DiLeonardo grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He lived there until 1998, when he moved to Eltingville, Staten Island. At age 10, DiLeonardo was scarred on the face by a dog attack, resulting in the nickname "Mikey Scars". His parents were second-generation immigrants, his father's parents immigrants from Bisacquino, Sicily. His mother was a seamstress and his father was a professional gambler. DiLeonardo had two brothers; Colombo crime family mobster Robert DiLeonardo and James (Giovanni) DiLeonardi. Leonardo's grandfather, Vincenzo DiLeonardo, was a soldier in the Brooklyn gang run by Salvatore D'Aquila. As a young boy, DiLeonardo met Gambino boss Carlo Gambino several times at his grandfather's house.[1] DiLeonardo started running with violent street gangs as a teenager.

In 1973, DiLeonardo graduated from New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn. He attended college for eighteen months, but did not graduate. At age 29, DiLeonardo married Antoinette "Toni" Marie Fappiano, a cousin of Gambino underboss Frank DeCicco. DiLeonardo had one son with Fappiano, Michael DiLeonardo, Jr. After twelve years of marriage, DiLeonardo started an affair with Madeline Fischetti. He kept Madeline in an rented apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn while malntaining a home with his wife and son on Long Island. DiLeonardo eventually divorced Antoinette and married Madelaine; they have a son Anthony.[1]

Mob Life

By age 21, DiLeonardo had started working for the Gambino family. Since the 1960s, he had been running errands for tips from several Gambino associates. They would give him their spare change for running errands for them. DiLeonardo frequently visited the Veterans and Friends social club in Brooklyn run by future boss Paul Castellano. However, DiLeonardo considered capo Paul Zaccaria to be his true mentor in the family.[1]

In 1980, DiLeonardo opened a social club a block away from the Veterans' Club. In early 1981, he moved the club to a different location in Brooklyn. A successful venture, the club's customers included Gambino soldiers Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano and Frank DeCicco. DiLeonardo also used his club as a headquarters for his bookmaking and loansharking operations. He was successful with the business venture and became a partner in a produce market with Peter Castellano, cousin to Paul and mobster Sorbroni. During the early 1980s, DiLeonardo became a close friend of John "Junior" Gotti, the son of John Gotti Sr. Gotti Jr. eventually nominated DiLeonardo as godfather for his second son. On July 16, 1981, DiLeonardo's brother Robert was killed in a mob-related shooting. DiLeonardo want to kill the shooter, but Castellano ordered him to stay out because it was an internal Colombo business.[1] In the 1980s, DiLeonardo maintained so-called legitimate jobs as a shop foreman for a trucking company and a driver for a concrete construction company. DiLeonardo soon opened his own construction company, Metropolitan Stone, with Edward Garofalo, a powerful capo.

The Gotti Era

On December 16, 1985, Castellano was killed on orders from John Gotti Sr., who became the family boss. With Frank DeCicco now becoming underboss, DiLeonardo now had Garafola as his capo. Soon after, DiLeonardo was reporting to Gotti's Ravenite Social Club in Little Italy, Manhattan three to four times per week. After John Gotti Jr. rose to power, DiLeonardo worked for capo Jackie D'Amico.In 1987, DiLeonardo became affiliated with New York Teamsters Union Local 282, which was controlled by the Gambinos. DiLeonardo became a Teamsters foreman and was soon overseeing the Grecco Brothers Concrete Company in Brooklyn.

On December 24, 1988, DiLeonardo and John Gotti, Jr. were inducted into the Gambino family in a Manhattan ceremony conducted by Gravano, now consigliere.[2] In 1989, DiLeonardo helped arrange the murder of publisher and sanitation business owner Fred Weiss. John Gotti Sr. had ordered Weiss' death because he believe Weiss was planning to testify against Gambino soldier Angelo Paccione. Gunmen from the DeCavalcante crime family in New Jersey shot and killed Weiss outside his apartment building in Staten Island, New York.

During the mid-1990s, DiLeonardo supervised loan sharking and other illegal activities from the Royal Crown Bakery in Grasmere, Staten Island. DiLeonardo also received protection money from the owners of Royal Crown, who owned several bakeries and cafes in Brooklyn. In addition, DiLeonardo claimed Staten Island mobster turned Miami club owner Chris Paciello as a Gambino mob associate. However, Colombo crime family capo William "Wild Bill" Cutolo) claimed Paciello as a Colombo associate. In 1996, DiLeonardo met with Colombo acting boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico to settle the dispute. As a result, Paciello was allowed to chose which family to be associated with, and he chose the Colombos.

DiLeonardo's rise and fall

In late 1992, John Gotti Sr. was convicted of murder and racketeering based on Gravano's testimony. In the shakeup that followed, DiLeonardo was promoted to captain. DiLeonardo's crew was given control of the family's construction and trucking rackets. This included receiving monthly payments from Scara-Mix Concrete Company on Staten Island, which was owned by brothers Peter and Philip Castellano. DiLeonardo also moved his crew into Wall Street, using pump-and-dump stock scams to earn the Gambinos money. DiLeonardo became a close associate of John Gotti Jr. and assisted him when he was promoted to acting boss. On one occasion, a member of DiLeonardo's crew, Tommy Cherubino, hid some submachine guns for Gotti Jr.

In 1996, DiLeonardo and Garafola sold Metropolitan Stone because the City of New York had revoked Metropolitan's operating permit due to organized crime affiliations.

Defection and government informant

In September 2000, DiLeonardo was indicted in Atlanta, Georgia on racketeering, extortion, and money laundering charges, but on August 30, 2001, was acquitted.[1]

In 2002, the new family boss, Peter Gotti, reduced DiLeonardo's power for allegedly hiding money from the family. Later in 2002, DiLeonardo was indicted on labor racketeering, extortion, loan sharking, witness tampering, and the murders of Gambino associate Frank Hydell and Fred Weiss. Finally, DiLeonardo decided to cooperate with the federal government. DiLeonardo later said that the thought of having to testify against his friend John Gotti Jr led him to an unsuccessful suicide attempt.[2]

He provided damaging testimony against Peter Gotti, Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, Louis "Big Lou" Vallario, Frank Fappiano, Richard V. Gotti, Richard G. Gotti, Michael Yanotti and testified at the three mistrials in which John Gotti, Jr. was charged with ordering the abduction and assault of radio commentator Curtis Sliwa.[2] Finally, in October 2006, DiLeonardo testified against former Colombo crime family acting boss Alphonse Persico and underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss, who were charged with the murder of former underboss William Cutolo. That trial ended in a mistrial.

DiLeonardo and his new family are not participating in the federal Witness Protection Program.[1]


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