UPDATED, SEE JUMP: Roy DeMeo was a ruthless killer — I want it known that I fully agree with that sentiment, upfront. Whatever humanity his son Albert tried to show us in his own book, it does not even begin to offset the evil wrought upon the earth by DeMeo and his crew. “Gemini Lounge,” that very term, reminds me of all the blistering fires of hell. To me, it is the name of a horror film; only it’s worse because they were not trapped in celluloid but rather roamed free through the streets of Brooklyn and other places in New York and Long Island.
I say this to you because I am writing another post about DeMeo — and I don’t want you all to confuse my interest in him with affection for him. So I say again: Roy was not a nice guy, not a guy worthy of admiration in any way — but in the context of La Cosa Nostra he is an endlessly fascinating portrait of a mobster who had a great business sense (Paulie Castallano didn’t want to make Roy, but he decided eventually that he had to — because Roy was bringing in too much cash to not notice), combined with a blood lust that enabled him to commit torture murders unbelievable to the common citizen.
What’s more, Roy was not alone — he had a crew, a rather large one, of mostly younger wannabes, many of whom would pass over from wannabe to “have become,” such as the Gemini Twins, Anthony Senter and Joey Testa, for example, who hooked up with the Lucchese’s after leaving Roy’s orbit.
Now, a friend of mine had a discussion with me about a few interesting developments that occurred around Roy.
For instance, consider what that FBI bug in the home of Gambino family soldier Angelo Ruggiero picked up during a conversation between Angelo and Gene Gotti, a brother of John Gotti.
In the conversation, it is revealed Paul Castellano had put out a hit on DeMeo, but was having difficulty finding someone willing to do the job. Gene Gotti said his brother John was wary of taking the contract because Roy had an “army of killers” around him. It is also mentioned in this same secretly recorded conversation that, at that time, John had killed fewer than 10 people, while DeMeo had killed at least 38.
This transcript of the conversation was found by Jerry Capeci, who says that it was the idea of Gotti fearing this crew, whom many outside law enforcement had never even heard of, that ignited the writing of the book “Murder Machine,” basically a popular biography of the DeMeo crew and its crimes.
My friend, mentioned earlier, wondered why the FBI hadn’t warned Roy DeMeo of the murder threat. The FBI is compelled to notify any person — criminal or not — if they gain information that said person’s life was in danger. Now the FBI may have notified Roy, but there is nothing in the literature, in Capeci’s book or even Al DeMeo’s book, that reveals the FBI warned Roy. Was he so despised the Feds wanted the hit? I don’t know — and again, for all I know the FBI did warn Roy — but if they did it has not been publicly revealed.
My friend took action — he began contacting law enforcement officials whose names he got from “Murder Machine.”
Eventually he made contact with one such official — who I won’t name because he didn’t know what he said would be written about. So my friend texted this guy to ask whether Roy had been duly warned by the law about Big Paul’s contract.
Rather than give a direct reply, the official texted back: (as you can see to the left; excuse my sloppy but successful effort to hide the identities of the two):
“Roy was offered a deal. When Roy was killed he was dumped in the trunk of his Cadillac. There was a microphone leading from the backseat to the trunk of his car. The tape recorder [and the tape] was gone when we got there; what does that tell you? The word on the street was Joey Testa whacked him because Joey took over Roy’s loan shark operation.”
What the former detective is saying is that Roy was informed of Castellano’s contract and had agreed to turn informant.
If this is true, a lot of mob history books will have to be rewritten.
Jerry Capeci, for one, wrote in “Murder Machine” that Roy had grown exceedingly paranoid and had taken to tape recording his own conversations — Capeci never wrote that Roy had flipped or that Roy was making tapes for anyone but himself.
DeMeo’s son Albert also wrote that in his final days, DeMeo was paranoid — one of the few points on which the two books do agree.
Capeci does reveal that the tapes were taken out of the recording device — as was revealed when Roy’s body was found in the trunk. These tapes have never been found.
Now let’s assume the Feds did flip Roy — why would they hide it? They usually love to demoralize the mob by trumpeting all the turncoats they have under their protection. They also like to screw with mobsters’ heads by putting out false information. For example, Time magazine, for one, ran an obit for Neil Dellacroce, Gotti’s mentor, revealing that Dellacroce had been a federal informant. You have to be a subscriber to read the full article but here is a summary:
John Gotti with Gambino underboss
Seize the Night: A curious story in Time magazine, datelined on the day of Castellano’s murder but printed earlier, declared that Dellacroce had been an informer for the FBI for some two decades. Among other things, it claimed Dellacroce had tipped off the FBI when Carmine Galante, a would-be boss of bosses, was marked for death. He also was said to have given the FBI leads on the long-unsolved murder of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa and that he helped to break some major narcotics cases. Perhaps the most stunning, or the most unbelievable, part of the story was that Dellacroce never asked for some kind of a payoff – most Mafia informers want legal clearance for themselves or money or both.
Not unsurprisingly the New York media seemed underwhelmed by Time‘s disclosures, ignoring the story pending some additional proof. It can be speculated whether the story would have appeared if Castellano’s murder had become known first. Some observers looked on the story as a form of FBI disinformation. It was possible that the FBI – clearly the source of Time’s account – was seeking to rattle the boys in general or quite possibly was intent on using the story as a ply to cover up its real informers. There had been for many weeks some feeling in the underworld that Castellano might break or indeed might have already broken, that he was not tough enough to take a long prison term at the twilight of his life. Maybe the FBI was carrying out a “dirty trick” operation to plant suspicions on all the elderly dons it was bringing to trial? That could make them hit candidates and perhaps more interested in accepting a deal with the government.
Generally, little attention has been paid to these rumors — although I must say that today, when we know the government has had killers like Greg Scarpa and Whitey Bulger on its payroll, it is not as difficult to believe. I am not saying Dellacroce was a rat; from everything I know, he was a much admired mobster, a “man’s man” to whom everyone showed great respect.
But how can anyone know for certain? Only the Feds would…
Now, back to DeMeo: I think the Feds have a very good reason to hide a relationship with Roy. Read the first two graphs of this story again… Roy was, basically, a mass murderer, widely reviled… The Feds would’ve taken great heat, most likely, for forming a relationship with Roy DeMeo. But if Roy gave them evidence and was then whisked off to a WitSec program, they could possibly never have to reveal Roy was even alive… (But how would they get the tapes admitted if there was a trial?) I am speculating here, and this is a complicated issue. It could be that I am “over-thinking” this.
When I tried to contact the law enforcement official on my own to follow up on the information my friend received and then shared with me, the official would not return my phone calls or an email I sent him.
If anyone in law enforcement out there reads this, please comment below if you know anything — or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This information is historical; Roy has been gone for decades, so I would think any revelations would strictly have their greatest impact among the academics of American La Cosa Nostra.