Frank LoCascio, the Dapper Don’s former underboss and acting consigliere, passed away Friday after serving 31 years of a life sentence
A Gambino crime family underboss who stayed loyal to John Gotti even as the pair were hit with life sentences during a 1992 murder and racketeering trial has died in prison at age 89.
Frank LoCascio, the Dapper Don’s former underboss and acting consigliere, passed away Friday at the Federal Medical Center, Devens – a facility that houses federal prisoners with health issues – in Massachusetts.
His daughter, Lisa LoCascio, was by his side as he took his last breaths.
LoCascio had been incarcerated for 31 years before his death last week after famously refusing to snitch on notorious mob boss Gotti during their infamous and highly publicized trial.
What’s more, the high-ranking mafioso managed to cheat death during his three decades in the pen even with Gotti as his enemy, after the Teflon Don turned on him and put a ‘contract’ on his former right-hand’s life after a jailhouse quarrel, prison officials revealed.
‘I am guilty of being a good friend of John Gotti,’ the defiant underboss famously said in court after refusing to turn on his boss in lieu of a more lenient sentence, and being found guilty of racketeering and ordered to spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
‘If there was more men like John Gotti, we would have a better country,’ the mobster proudly professed at the time.
Gotti learned that LoCascio (not pictured) was plotting to kill him along with former Gambino underboss Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano after reading a passage from Gravano’s 1997 tell-all book, Underboss
LoCascio and Gotti were cuffed by police in 1991 and charged in a sprawling racketeering case in which they were caught on tape discussing various mob matters – including murder – in the apartment of an old woman who lived above Gotti’s Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street in Manhattan.
Gotti and LoCascio’s fates were then sealed by Gambino turncoat Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano, who was initially indicted with the pestilent pair, but succumbed to lawmen’s pressure and turned on his associates in the weeks leading up to the trial.
Gotti was found guilty of five counts of murder as well as racketeering, while LoCascio was convicted on charges of racketeering, without the possibility of parole.
Gotti eventually died of cancer while incarcerated in 2002 – but not before forming a life-or-death feud with his former comrade.
In his tell-all book released in 1997, Gravano – who briefly did time with Gotti and Locascio after agreeing to testify against the two in a deal which he confessed to involvement in 19 murders, before being released in 1994 – described a 1991 incident in which LoCascio gave Gravano an orange stolen from the prison cafeteria, before offering one to Gotti as well.
Infuriated, the hotheaded mob boss began to belittle LoCascio in front of the other inmates.
Later, Gravano says, a humiliated Locascio tearfully vowed to murder Gotti, stating, ‘The minute I get out, I’m killing this [expletive].’
Gravano says that he and Locascio then formed a pact to kill Gotti at a prospective victory party, assuming they were all somehow acquitted.
Gravano detailed his conversation in ‘Underboss’: ‘Frankie [Locascio] said, ‘Sammy, two things. I’ll bring him to the party myself, and I got to be the shooter.’
According to law enforcement sources and court papers, Gotti, angered after learning of his onetime follower’s supposed insurgence through Gravano’s book, then reached out to an Aryan Brotherhood prison gang to murder Locascio.
However, at some point, federal prison guards at the prison allegedly caught Gotti complaining about the Locascio passage on security cameras stationed at the facility, a source said.
LoCascio passed away Friday at the Federal Medical Center, Devens, a facility that houses federal prisoners with health issues, in Massachusetts
Without identifying Gotti, prison officials said in court papers that ‘a possible ‘contract’ has been put on LoCascio’s life by his former Mafia associates.’
But, in 1998, the hardheaded don was diagnosed with cancer, and died three years later – and the hit never materialized.
Now, more than thirty years later, LoCascio, one of the last remnants of Gotti’s infamous crime administration, is dead.
LoCascio’s daughter, Lisa LoCascio, told the Daily News that her father never complained during his 31 years in prison – and that he never once considered snitching.
Gambino turncoat Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano sealed LoCascio’s and Gotti’s fates after succumbing to lawmen’s pressure in the buildup to the pair’s highly publicized 1992 trial, and turned on his associates – but he later revealed that Gotti eventually turned on LoCascio as well, ordering a hit on him in prison
‘That means something,’ she said of her late father’s loyalty to a family that allegedly cast him and wanted him dead. ‘I won’t explain it to you.’
She said her dad was a favorite among the staff at Devens and that he called her last Monday to say his goodbyes to the family.
‘He said the things you say to your daughter when you choose your daughter to be the last phone call you’re going to make,’ LoCascio said.
After hearing from her father, Lisa rushed to the Massachusetts facility and held him in her arms as he slowly passed, singing him Frank Sinatra.
A career criminal, LoCascio was Gotti’s underboss from 1987 to his arrest in 1991, and was a made man in the mafia for 35 years.
LoCascio helped Gotti carry out the murder of Gambino family member Louis ‘Jelly Belly’ DiBono in 1990, according to Gravano’s testimony that put the pair away.
DiBono was found with a .25 caliber bullet in the head, with three more in his Cadillac in the parking garage of the World Trade Center.
Gotti had wanted DiBono dead for the frivolous reason that the Gambino soldier merely refused to meet with him when summoned on one particular occassion.
‘He didn’t do nothing else wrong,’ Gotti said on the wiretap with LoCascio in the room.
‘He’s gonna get killed because he- he disobeyed coming.’
LoCascio also once bribed an NYPD detective for confidential information that benefited the Gambino crime syndicate, and even hatched an ultimately unsuccessful plan to kill a supposed snitch plotting against the Gambino family.
The late mafioso also obstructed the investigation into the 1985 murder of then-Gambino boss Paul Castellano – a hit that propelled Gotti to the top spot in the family in 1985, after the Teflon Don engineered the assassination of his Gambino predecessor.
While LoCascio did not utter a word on the tapes surrounding the DiBono killing, prosecutors argued that his mere presence in the room when Gotti hatched the scheme insinuated that he was guilty, since his job as underboss was to advise Gotti and, when necessary, correct him.
Twenty-seven years later, however, in 2018, a statemnet from Gambino turncoat Gravano shed new light on the DiBono murder, arguing that LoCascio had not wanted to have him killed.
Gotti never got his wish to see LoCascio dead, as the Teflon Don perished in prison himself two decades prior
The La Cosa Nostra snitch said, in an official court statement, that LoCascio ‘had no role in the planning of, nor did he participate in any way in the murder.’
In fact, the mob rat claims, LoCascio tried to save DiBono’s life.
In a recorded conversation from 1989, LoCascio can be heard trying to calm Gotti down, assuring the Gambino boss that DiBono would hand over $50,000 to make up for missing the meeting in question, the court papers state.
‘Shortly after this conversation, Gotti told me that he strongly resented LoCascio’s suggestion that he take the money and forget about killing DiBono,’ Gravano’s statement reads.
Gravano said that Locascio’s failed attempt to spare DiBono’s life cost him his number-two spot in the Gambino crime family.
Gravano was then bumped up to the position of underboss, while Locascio was demoted to acting consigliere.
LoCascio son, Sal, followed in his father’s footsteps,becoming a made man and a big-time captain like his dad in the 90s, but was busted for a pornography fraud scam in the mid-2000s.
He is now retired from mob life and living in Florida, after finishing a four-year federal prison stint in 2008.