Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The epic saga of the Genovese crime family

The Genovese Family Today

Vincent Gigante had always despised flashy loudmouths within the ranks of the mob, men who flaunted their gangster status. This was one reason why he hated Gambino boss John Gotti who had seized power by killing the boss of his family without proper Commission approval, which was another strike against him in Gigante's estimation. Gigante was so incensed he put a contract on Gotti's head, but the hit was never carried out.

Though Gigante disapproved of ostentatious displays of wealth and power, he did not maintain his disheveled image 24/7. When law-enforcement eyes weren't watching, he found ways to enjoy the perks of power. Besides his wife and five children who lived in a large suburban home, Gigante kept a longtime mistress on the Upper East Side whom he would visit late at night.

Under Gigante the Genovese family maintained the usual organized crime rackets with a few new twists. Every September Manhattan's Little Italy hosts the grand Feast of San Gennaro with scores of food concessions and arcade games. The highlight of the festival is a parade that features a life-sized statue of the saint festooned with thousands of dollars in donations hoisted on the shoulders of the faithful and walked through the streets. But according to Jan Hoffman writing in the New York Times, "hundreds of thousands of dollars…that had been earmarked for charities were diverted to the crime family… including the fluttering dollar bills that the faithful would pin to the saint's statue…."

While the family continued its longtime control over the Fulton Fish Market, it also sunk its hooks into the construction of New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which broke ground in the late 1980s. John Connolly reported in New York magazine that "one Manhattan federal prosecutor called it 'a hiring hall for mobsters and former convicts" and "35 percent of carpenters who worked at the Javits center [were] convicted felons." Through the 1990s, the I.M. Pei-designed convention center was one of the family's biggest cash cows.

In recent years, according to the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation and reported by Jerry Capeci in his online "Gangland" column, the Genovese family has moved into "'more sophisticated crimes such as computer fraud, stock/securities fraud, and healthcare fraud,' often partnering with Russian and Cuban organized crime groups."


In 1990 Gigante was arrested and charged with 41 racketeering and conspiracy counts. He evaded prosecution for seven years with his insanity act, but finally the court deemed him sane enough to stand trial, and he was convicted in July 1997. Gigante was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $1.25 million. After his conviction, U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter said, "The lengths that Vincent Gigante was willing to go to conceal his leadership of the Genovese family speaks volumes about his importance as their leader. His loss will be a devastating blow to the family and to organized crime in general."

Family messagrio Dominic "Quiet Dom" Cirillo was promoted to acting boss, but Cirillo suffered a massive heart attack in 1998, and for years it was uncertain exactly who was running the family, which given the ways of the Genoveses, was exactly how they'd want it. In May 2004, journalist Jerry Capeci reported that Chin Gigante's 80-year-old older brother Mario was poised to take over the top slot in the family.



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