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|Born||November 5, 1935|
Bath Beach, Brooklyn
|Died||April 13, 1986 (aged 50)|
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
|Cause of death||Improvised explosive device|
|Resting place||Moravian Cemetery, Staten Island|
Underboss of the Gambino crime family(December 1985–April 1986)
|Spouse(s)||Rosemarie DeCicco died 2007|
|Parent(s)||Vincent "Boozy" DeCicco = Ricky DeCico|
Frank DeCicco also known as Frankie D and Frankie Cheech (November 5, 1935 – April 13, 1986) was the underboss for the Gambino crime family in New York City.
DeCicco was the son of Vincent "Boozy" DeCicco from Benevento, Italy, an alcoholic soldier with the Gambino family. DeCicco grew up in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, but lived as an adult on Staten Island, New York.
Frank DeCicco's brother was Gambino soldier George DeCicco and his sister was Betty DeCicco. Frank's uncle was Gambino capo George DeCicco. Frank had two children, Vincent and Grace, Vincent died of lung cancer in 2008. Frank's nephew was Gambino mobster Robert DeCicco.
Frank was a tall, muscular man with a thick neck that showed exposed thick arteries when he was angry. DeCicco dyed his silver hair black, leaving silver streaks styled in a pompadour quaff. He also had a slightly mashed nose. A low-profile mobster, DeCicco drove a non-descript Buick Electra. Frank was a disorganized man who stuffed dozens of business cards in his suit jacket and kept a messy car. Former underboss and government witness Sammy Gravano described DeCicco as being calculating and observant. Gambino boss Paul Castellano once commented on DeCicco to Gravano; "Frankie? Frank's a gambler. He's a street dog Sammy." A successful gambler who played craps games or roulette, DeCicco frequented many illegal gambling establishments in Brooklyn and Manhattan and owned his own social club in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
In the late 1960s to early 1970s, DeCicco joined the Gambino family and soon became a "soldier". In 1973, DeCicco and future Lucchese crime family underboss Anthony Casso were robbing diamond dealers and hijacking trucks throughout New York State. DeCicco eventually became a protegee of boss Paul Castellano, also a Bath Beach native. DeCicco was also close to Gambino capo James Failla, whom he described as his "rabbi". DeCicco's crew was one of the most powerful in the Gambino family. It included associate Joseph Watts, John Gotti's chauffeur and bodyguard, Joseph Paruta, and Vito Rizzuto Sr.
DeCicco became heavily involved in labor racketeering with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local 282. Through Castellano, he held a no-show International Brotherhood of Teamsters union official position with the Local 282. The members of Local 282 delivered concrete and building materials to construction sites in New York City and Long Island. Although paid overtime, DeCicco was rarely present at any construction sites. DeCicco installed many Gambino members into the Local and was responsible for delivering payoffs from union bosses to the Gambino administration. DeCicco often attended meetings at Castellano's Todt Hill, Staten Island mansion.
In 1978, Castellano allegedly ordered the murder of Gambino associate Nicholas Scibetta. A cocaine and alcohol abuser, Scibetta participated in several public fights and then insulted a female cousin of Frank DeCicco. Since Scibetta was Gravano's brother-in-law, Castellano asked DeCicco to first notify Gravano of the impending hit. When advised of Scibetta's fate, a furious Gravano said he would kill Castellano first. However, DeCicco managed to calm Gravano down and accept Scibetta's death.
In 1983, Castellano ordered DeCicco to arrange the murder of Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo. DeMeo headed a crew that had committed as many as 200 contract killings. By 1983, DeMeo was under heavy law enforcement investigation. Worried that DeMeo might become a government witness, Castellano ordered his killing. Given DeMeo's fearsome reputation, DeCicco found it difficult to find any family members who would take the job. Finally, DeCicco recruited Gambino associates Anthony Senter and Joseph Testa, both members of DeMeo's crew, to murder their capo. The two mobsters murdered DeMeo on January 10, 1983.
In 1985, DeCicco and John Gotti Sr. conspired to murder Castellano and his new underboss, Thomas Bilotti. Castellano had enraged many traditional family members with his fixation on white collar crime and his perceived stinginess. When Castellano appointed his chauffeur Bilotti as underboss to replace the deceased Aniello Dellacroce, Gotti decided to move against Castellano. Even though DeCicco had enjoyed close ties with Castellano, he joined Gotti, Joseph Armone, Gravano, and Frank Locascio in the murder conspiracy. DeCicco's part was to lure Castellano, his previous mentor, to a fake meeting. DeCicco and mobster James Failla appealed to Castellano to meet with the son of Aniello Dellacroce, his recently deceased underboss. Since Castellano had skipped Dellacroce's wake, this was a good way to make amends to the family. The meeting was set at the Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan.
Soon after Castellano's death, Gotti declared himself the new family boss and designated DeCicco as his underboss. DeCicco took control of all of the "white collar" rackets that once belonged to the Castellano faction. Prior to the two murders, Gravano told DeCicco that he, not Gotti, should become the new boss with Gotti as underboss. DeCicco replied to Gravano,
John's fucking ego is too big. I could be his underboss, but he couldn't be mine. Look, he's got balls, he's got brains, he's got charisma. If we can control him to stop the gambling and all of his flamboyant bullshit, he could be a good boss. Sammy, I'll tell you what. We'll give him a shot. Let him be the boss. If it don't work within a year, me and you, we'll kill him. I'll become the boss, and you'll be my underboss, and we'll run the family right.
Gravano would later say in his autobiography, "Louie (Milito) had got pinched for something and was away for a short time when we made our move (the murders) of Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti. Frankie was steaming. Louie could have betrayed us if he wasn't in jail. He was playing both sides. As soon as Louie got out of jail, Frankie said he had to be killed. A guy like that was too devious. "I argued for Louie's life. I asked Frankie, who was now our underboss, to let Louie come under me (Gravano's supervision). After all, we had spared people before. I would tell Louie what we discovered. I would put him on the shelf. I tried to convince Frankie that we didn't have to kill him. But Frankie was adamant. Louie had to die."
The Castellano assassination infuriated Genovese crime family boss Vincent Gigante. Only the Mafia Commission, which was controlled by Gigante, had the authority to assassinate a boss. More importantly, Castellano had been Gigante's ally. In retribution, Gigante asked Lucchese crime family boss Victor Amuso and underboss Anthony Casso to plan Gotti's murder.
In November 1997, author Jerry Capeci reported that Casso, now a government witness, revealed that the plotters selected Genovese associate Herbert Pate to kill Gotti with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Casso told investigators that the plotters decided to kill Gotti and DeCicco with a bomb in order to make the Gambinos think that Zips, or Sicilian mafiosi, were involved. Although Sicilian gangsters are notorious for using bombs, they have long been forbidden in the American Mafia since they put innocent people at risk. Casso also told authorities that Pate was selected because he had no links to the Gambino family and thus would not be recognized while staking out DeCicco.
On April 13, 1986, Pate drove up to the Veterans & Friends Social Club in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, where Gotti and DeCicco were supposed to be attending a meeting. Pate walked toward DeCicco's car carrying two grocery bags. Near the car, he dropped one of the bags. As he was picking up groceries, Pate secretly attached a bomb to the car underside. In a short while, DeCicco exited the club and entered the car. Pate saw Lucchese soldier Frank "Frankie Hearts" Bellino standing next to DeCicco's car. Mistaking Bellino for Gotti, Pate detonated the bomb.
The bomb exploded, killing DeCicco instantly. Bellino lost several toes, but survived the attack. Gotti had opted to skip the meeting at the last minute—a move that may have saved his life. Gravano later described the bombing scene;
I saw Frankie DeCicco laying on the ground beside the car. With the fire, it could blow up again. I tried to pull him away. I grabbed a leg, but he ain't coming with it. The leg is off. One of his arms is off. I got my hand under him and my hand went right through his body to his stomach. There's no ass. His ass, his balls, everything, is blown completely off.[...] I was wearing a white shirt. I looked at my shirt, amazed. There wasn't a drop of blood on it. The force of the blast, the concussion, blew most of the fluids out of Frankie's body. He had no blood left in him, nothing, not an ounce.
Supervising agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Edward Magnuson testified that a confidential informant had told him that Gotti was, "very angry relative to the murder of Frank DeCicco, and when he was out on bail, or when the trial was over, there was going to be a war, and John would take his revenge." Gotti instructed all the Gambino made men and associates to attend DeCicco's wake, held over two days at a funeral home near the bombing site. To replace DeCicco, Gotti ultimately appointed capo Joseph Armone as underboss.
| Gambino crime family