John A. Gotti: 22 Need-to-Know Facts about the Mob Boss’ Son

John Angelo Gotti was born into one of the most infamous crime families in American history, and he has the name to prove it! Gotti is nicknamed “Junior” because he shares his famous father’s first name. So we’ve uncovered 22 interesting facts about the life of John A. Gotti, the man who turned his back on the mob to lead a “normal” life.

The only Gotti member to follow his father John J. Gotti into the mob, Junior quickly rose in the ranks of the powerful Gambino crime family in New York City. He acted as the boss when his father, the Dapper Don, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 1992. Being the head of a crime family comes with its own headaches, to say the least. So in the months before his father died of throat cancer, John “Junior” Gotti asked for his father’s blessing to quit one of the last major mafia dynasties.

John A. Gotti

John A. Gotti; Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images

1. John A. Gotti Was Born into an Unconventional Family

John Angelo Gotti was born on February 14, 1964, in Queens, New York, two years after his parents, John Joseph Gotti Jr. and Victoria DiGiorgio, married.

You may remember Junior’s older sister Victoria, as she was the star of the A&E reality show, Growing up Gotti.

His parents had three other children: Frank “Frankie,” Peter, and Angel.

In 1964, the year John “Junior” Gotti was born, his father worked as a presser in a coat factory and as a truck driver. After years of making a living as a criminal, he was trying to make ends meet legitimately.

Unfortunately, working as a trucker at Barnes Express Company taught the elder Gotti how to value goods, and how warehouses and shippers operated. All of this practical knowledge helped Gotti move up the ranks in the Gambino family.

But it was a long haul, and not without its hurdles, which negatively impacted John “Junior” Gotti’s childhood. In 1963, John J. Gotti spent 20 days in jail for being caught in a stolen car. In January 1965, he was arrested for unlawful entry and possession of bookmaking records; in March, he was caught breaking into a tavern; and in October, he was accused of attempted petty larceny.

Needless to say, John Gotti was still learning the ropes on how to commit crimes without getting get caught.

In 1966, John J. Gotti became associated with a gang that reported to Carlo Gambino, boss of the Gambino crime family.

John J. Gotti Mugshot

John J. Gotti Mugshot; Photo: FBI

2. Junior Went to New York Military Academy, But Never Graduated

Junior didn’t follow his father into the family business right away. He attended the New York Military Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.

“My father used to love to walk the grounds when he’d come to visit me,” Junior said. “He’d smoke a cigar and was never followed by any FBI agents up there. I always knew my father was different, but it wasn’t until 1979 that I understood exactly how.”

John A. Gotti remembers watching TV with other cadets at the academy when a special news report aired on the Gambino crime family. It was then that he saw surveillance photos of his father in front of the Ravenite Social Club, a mafia nerve center in the core of New York City’s Little Italy. The journalist on the show identified John Gotti as an enforcer for the Gambino crime family.

“It gave me a bit of a celebrity status on campus, but the news wasn’t a total shock. I was raised around guys like this in Howard Beach. I never used words like ‘captain’ or ‘crime family’—those terms were unfamiliar to me at the time—but yeah, it was kind of normal.”

3. Frankie Gotti Died at Age 12 after Being Hit by a Car

In March 1980, while John A. Gotti was still at the New York Military Academy, he learned that his youngest brother Frankie had been fatally struck by a car while he was riding a minibike. He was just 12 years old.

He was hit by their neighbor, John Favara. Four months later, in July, Favara vanished; he was never seen or heard from again. No arrests were made in his disappearance.

To this day, Junior claims he has no idea what happened to the man; though he believes his father was involved in Favara’s disappearance.

“Probably. Knowing John, and how he was, and how he felt about a lot of things, especially regarding his own children, he probably was. Do I know with certainty? No. He’d never discuss that with me.”

4. His Father Helped Him Start a Trucking Business after High School

Despite his new-found celebrity status at school in upstate New York, John A. Gotti was not destined for a life in academia. Junior never finished at the academy, and subsequently, did not graduate with the class of 1983.

Instead, he returned to Howard Beach and began installing coin-operated Joker Poker gambling machines, and running a football tickets scam.

Later, his father helped him start a trucking business, Samson Trucking Company. Junior picked up and dropped off construction materials and debris. In 1983, he had a salary of $250 per week. He did this from 1984 through to the 1990s.

After the trucking business went under, his father helped him get a job with the Carpenters Union.

Also see: 9 Assassinations That Rocked the World

5. December 24, 1988: Gotti Was a Made Member of the Gambino Crime Family

Christmas Eve 1988 was an important day for Junior. On that day, Junior Gotti was, in his words, “officially brought into this world” and became a made member of the Gambino crime family.

“When my father wasn’t in prison, he’d be at the Bergin Hunt & Fish Club. That’s where we’d bond,” Gotti recalled. “Everybody there was an uncle to me. But when I became a made member, I was treated with more respect.”

Adding, “Now, my father is not just my father anymore, he’s my superior, but I still reported directly to another person. I couldn’t just go around the chain of command because I was the boss’s son.”

John A Gotti Mugshot

John A Gotti Mugshot, 1983; Photo: New York City Police Department

6. Gotti Was Publicly Reprimanded by His Father

Being the son of the head of one of the most powerful mob families doesn’t mean you get any passes when you make mistakes.

John A. Gotti described his father’s management style fondly; it did not include yelling at captains and crewmembers in front of others. If John J. Gotti had a problem with you, he would reprimand you in private, unless that is, it had to do for a violation of one of the Sr.’s cardinal rules.

“When someone was locked up and you had to visit their wife at home for whatever reason, you never, ever went alone. You always had to have somebody with you. Some things with my father you could argue your way out of, but not this,” John Gotti Jr. said.

“One time somebody broke that rule and he screamed at him in front of everybody. If you went a step further and actually messed around with someone’s wife while their husband was in jail, you wouldn’t see the next day.”

Junior only ever saw his father dress-down a crew member publicly twice. The second time, Junior himself was on the receiving end.

“Sometimes we put someone ‘on the shelf’ meaning that they did something wrong and we’re no longer associating with them. One time we had a guy on the shelf, but he had cancer. I felt bad and went to go visit him and gave him some money. My father found out and was furious.”

7. 1990: John A. Gotti Was Named the Youngest Cap in Gambino History

John Gotti Jr. didn’t exactly excel in high school, but he climbed the ranks of the Gambino crime family with lightning speed. In 1990, he was named a caporegime (captain). It is thought that he was the youngest cap in the history of the Gambino family.

Junior becoming a captain likely didn’t face any opposition. According to a cooperating witness with the FBI, he and Frank Locasio met with mob boss John Gotti at the Ravenite Social Club, who strongly recommended that his son be promoted.

Later that night, the two men met with John A. Gotti to inform him that his “representante