Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vincent Louis Gigante - "The Chin"

Vincent Louis Gigante (March 29, 1928 – December 19, 2005), also known as "Chin", was a New York Italian-American mobster in the American Mafia who was boss of the Genovese crime family from 1981 to 2005. Gigante started out as a professional boxer who fought 25 bouts between 1944 and 1947. Gigante won 21 of his 25 fights. He then started working as a Mafia enforcer for what was then the Luciano crime family.

Gigante was one of five brothers: Mario, Pasquale and Ralph all became mobsters in the Genovese family. Only one brother, Louis, stayed out of the crime family, instead becoming a priest.
Gigante was the shooter in the failed assassination of Frank Costello in 1957. After sharing a prison cell with Boss Vito Genovese following his conviction for heroin trafficking, Gigante became a caporegime, overseeing his own crew of Genovese soldiers and associates that operated out of Greenwich Village.

Gigante was one of Genovese's most loyal supporters, siding with him throughout the struggle for power with Costello/Luciano/Anastasia.

Boss Vito Genovese

Gigante quickly rose to power during the 1960s and 1970s. By 1981 he became the family's boss, while Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno served as front boss during the first half of the 1980s. He also ordered the failed murder attempt of Gambino crime family boss John Gotti in 1986.

With the arrest and conviction of Gotti and various Gambino family members in 1992, Gigante was officially recognized as the most powerful crime boss in the United States.
Dubbed "The Enigma in the Bathrobe" or "The Oddfather", Gigante often wandered the streets of Greenwich Village in his bathrobe and slippers, mumbling incoherently to himself.

After he successfully averted prison in the late '60s by employing psychiatrists to testify to his insanity, he continued the act.
In 1990, Gigante was arrested and charged with racketeering and murder; however, it wasn't until 1997 that he was brought to trial. During that time period, Gigante's lawyers produced witness after witness who testified that Gigante was mentally ill and unfit to stand trial.

The delay allowed Gigante's legal team to use the "windows racket" case as a preview of the government's case against Gigante. However, this gambit backfired when four high-ranking members of other families began to cooperate with the government in the early 1990s.

In 1997, Gigante was convicted on racketeering and conspiracy charges and sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison.

Gigante retained control of the crime family and relayed orders through his son, Andrew, who would visit him in prison.

In 2005, Gigante's health started to decline. He suffered labored breathing, oxygen deprivation, swelling in the lower body, and bouts of unconsciousness. On December 19, 2005 he died.
Philip Gigante, the mayor of Airmont, NY, is the grandson of the late Genovese crime-family godfather Vincent “The Chin” Gigante