A mafia boss shot six times in front of his New York home, the first since 1985

15-03-2019 09:03

The murder of Frank Cali, boss of the Gambino clan, on Thursday in New York City is taking place at a time when the city is experiencing a resurgence of henchmen settling scores.

So it is with the New York mafia godparents: their faces are discovered during their trials or when they are murdered. Frank Cali fell into the second category, shot six times in the chest, on Wednesday, March 13 at around 9:20 p. m. He was murdered outside his home on Staten Island, one of five districts in New York. A blue pickup truck rolled over his body before he fled. Police arrived at the scene and found Francesco Cali’s body ashore: he was pronounced dead at Staten Island Hospital.

Francesco Cali, 53, was the boss of the Gambino clan, one of New York’s most powerful crime syndicates in the 1990s. At the time, it was run by the famous John Gotti, known for his attendance at nightclubs and the most chic restaurants in Big Apple, escorted by his bodyguards. This Brooklyn native took power in December 1985, organizing the assassination of his predecessor, Paul Castellano, in front of a Manhattan steak house. He had witnessed the crime from his car, as shown in the film Gotti, released in 2018, where he is played by John Travolta. Finally, John Gotti was convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992 and ended his life in prison before dying of cancer in 2002 at the age of 61.

Cali’s murder was the first of a New York godfather since Castellano’s. The settling of scores in front of his house where his wife and young children were present clearly violates the usual “codes”. “Even Gotti had more respect. He did this outside in Manhattan,” one police officer told the New York Post tabloid.

Only one conviction
Nicknamed “Franky Boy”, Frank Cali had strong ties to Sicily, where his father was born: he sold electrical equipment in Palermo before settling in Brooklyn and opening a video store. So it was in New York that his son Frank was born in 1965.

A survey by the daily La Repubblica published in 2008 described him as “the invisible godfather who wants to take Palermo back”. Since the early 2000s, Frank Cali had been commuting between Sicily and New York, where he had been dubbed by the Gambino clan. He took the lead in 2015.

Also read “Cosa Nostra, from Palermo to New York”: the Mafia, a common Italian-American “thing
According to the New York Post, he was looking to expand his mafia activities on the trafficking of heroin and OxyContin, a highly addictive opioid that is wreaking havoc in the United States. However, Frank Cali was never prosecuted for being a gang boss: he was particularly discreet, not using a mobile phone and forbidding other mafia members to call him. Behaviour opposed to John Gotti’s exuberance. Since a federal trial in 1986, sponsors have avoided the ostentatious behaviour of their elders.