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Sly: Yo, Gambino

New York City- When movie star Sylvester Stallone had problems with a relative a few years back, Rambo himself reached out to the Gambino crime family for a “favor.” When ex-Knicks star forward Anthony Mason – also a tough guy – was being shaken down by a Harlem gang, he, too, contacted the family that John Gotti built.

So says Mikey Scars, 49, aka Michael DiLeonardo, veteran capo in the late Dapper Don’s crime family who has transformed himself into one of the most devastating informers the FBI has ever turned.

In his debut performance, DiLeonardo testified against the Dapper Don’s brother Peter, helping prosecutors secure a conviction.

He is expected to testify in several more trials, including John A. (Junior) Gotti’s racketeering case. And his cooperation is key in ongoing investigations of Gambino leaders Nicky and Jo Jo Corozzo and Colombo family acting boss Alfonse (Allie Boy) Persico.

The wit and wisdom of Mikey Scars emerges in hundreds of pages of FBI reports obtained by the Daily News that recount the history of the Gambino family before, during and after Gotti’s volatile reign.

In hours of FBI debriefing sessions at secret locations, DiLeonardo said that even with Gotti’s power on the wane, the family continued to cast its shadow in some remarkable corners of New York.

Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano may have given up running the family’s construction rackets to turn informer, but DiLeonardo says the Gambino family kept on making millions through numerous contractors around New York.

DiLeonardo says he himself thought up a better way to milk the industry, persuading all five New York families to form a coalition to track who got which contractor. When he was imprisoned in June 2002, he says, that coalition was up and running.

He says the Gambino family had its tentacles everywhere.

One gangster had a secret law enforcement source, another had a contact at the city Buildings Department. One Gambino soldier “had an interest in taxi companies in Queens.”

And Mikey Scars was there to see it all. In the Scars Papers, DiLeonardo looks back on his 17 years as a made man in the New York mob.

Born in 1950s Bensonhurst, Scars grew up admiring his grandfather, an old-timer he was told helped found La Cosa Nostra in America.

He finished New Utrecht High and did two years at Kingsborough Community College, then chucked a post office gig to embrace his grandfather’s life.

He was inducted into the mob in the same ceremony with Gotti’s son, known as Junior Gotti, in a Mulberry St. social club on Christmas Eve 1988. Because Junior was present, his father was not.

Through the years, Junior and Scars became close friends – a relationship that allowed the FBI to learn for the first time of a jury-tampering plot in the Dapper Don’s final trial.

DiLeonardo told the FBI that during the elder Gotti’s 1992 trial, Junior Gotti thought the jury was staying at the Vista Hotel, and sent an associate, Noel Modica, to check it out. Nothing came of the matter, and in April 1992, Gotti’s father was convicted on all counts.

Jeffrey Lichtman, Junior Gotti’s lawyer, said: “It would appear that DiLeonardo will do anything or say anything to reduce his sentence, and the government is a happy partner to such an arrangement.”

DiLeonardo hopes his cooperation will help him avoid the life sentence he would face if convicted at trial.

“Is putting John A. Gotti away for life – a man who clearly is done with organized crime – worth putting a mentally imbalanced maniac back on the street?” Lichtman asked.

DiLeonardo’s adventures run from the mundane – the usual gangster whining about who owes whom – to the bizarre. Take his allegation that he met with movie star Stallone around 1997 to discuss a “problem with stepfather.”

At the time, Stallone and his ex-stepfather had sued each other in a money fight. Both suits were ultimately settled.

“Maybe someone you know can go talk to this guy,” Stallone allegedly asked DiLeonardo during a meeting in Florida.

DiLeonardo described meeting with several other gangsters about the Stallone matter, but nothing apparently came of it.

“He has no knowledge of Michael DiLeonardo,” said a spokeswoman for Stallone, declining to further comment.

Then there was Mickey Rourke. During Peter Gotti’s racketeering and murder trial last year, DiLeonardo described John Gotti asking the tough-guy actor to bow out of a movie on the Westies gang that portrayed a pal unfavorably.

But DiLeonardo also told the FBI that Rourke requested a favor himself: “To beat up [Richard] Johnson.” This is an apparent reference to New York Post gossip columnist who had a feud with Rourke in 1992.

Though Rourke bowed out of the Westies movie, no member of the Gambino family laid a finger on Johnson.

Rourke didn’t return phone calls.

DiLeonardo also refers to ex-Knicks forward Mason. The FBI notes state Mason “needs favor – gang in Harlem trying to shake him down.”

What came of this is not known. Mason didn’t return phone calls.

The consequences of another revelation were deadly.

For years, DiLeonardo said, a Gambino soldier named Sonny Juliano had access to a “reliable law enforcement contact.”

In early 1998, that contact became important. Rumors began circulating that a low-level mob associate, Frank Hydell, who had witnessed the fatal beating by a Gambino gangster of a man inside a bar, might turn informer.

DiLeonardo said he consulted with Juliano, who told him that he had “heard from his law enforcement contact that Hydell was, in fact, cooperating with the government.”

The night of April 27, 1998, Hydell called his FBI handler to tell him he was meeting another mob associate. A few hours later cops were called to Scarlet’s strip club on Staten Island.

There, in the glare of a streetlight, they found Hydell shot in the head and chest, dead between two cars at the club entrance.

To date, the FBI doesn’t know who Juliano’s informer was, though they have launched a full-court-press investigation. Juliano’s attorney didn’t return calls.

DiLeonardo described for the FBI numerous instances where the Gambino family had influence in legitimate institutions.

Besides the Building Department contact, DiLeonardo claimed the Gambino family even held sway at Staten Island University Hospital.

There, he said, a doctor described as a Gambino associate allegedly helped the mob get contracting work.

He said that in the 1990s, Junior Gotti went into the unlikely business of selling pretzels in Penn Station. The business was called – of all things – Huckleberry’s.

Sometimes, the mob’s plans were a disaster.

In the mid-1990s, for instance, DiLeonardo said the Gambino family decided to use computers to bring down underboss-turned-informer Gravano.

Gambino gangsters Danny Marino and Joe Watts – themselves indicted, thanks to Gravano – came up with what they believed was a clever cyberscheme.

Every Gambino capo, soldier and associate was brought into a lawyer’s office to be “debriefed” on every crime he had committed with Gravano. All of this was recorded in a computer.

DiLeonardo warned them to stop, fearing the information could end up in the wrong hands. He may have been right.

The database was stolen, reinforcing DiLeonardo’s suspicions that the information was deliberately assembled for the FBI. The actual whereabouts of the database could not be determined.

As an informer, DiLeonardo has mined his friendship with Junior Gotti.

He described Junior’s explosive temper and implicated him in numerous murder plots, including the shooting of Guardian Angels founder and radio host Curtis Sliwa.

He recalled Junior threatening to put a pal “in the hospital” for failing to offer his home as collateral for Junior’s bail.

Junior once slapped a subordinate he felt wasn’t making extortion payments and screamed at a Genovese family member for not killing an associate suspected of shooting one of his father’s friends, DiLeonardo said.

DiLeonardo said he recalled walking with Junior in the mid-1990s near the Jamaica Ave., Queens, salvage yard of his brother-in-law Carmine Agnello.

“Gotti Jr. mentioned … that Agnello buried a body in one of his salvage yards,” DiLeonardo told the FBI.

At the time, Agnello was married to Gotti’s sister Victoria. Since then, she’s turned into a reality TV star with her show, “Growing Up Gotti.”

For DiLeonardo, no detail was too small, and he positioned himself as practical and levelheaded.

In 1992, for example, three top gangsters were trying to persuade Junior Gotti to expel a thug known as Handsome Jack from the family because he “was not well-liked … and was difficult to deal with.”

DiLeonardo reminded Junior: “Cosa Nostra was not a popularity contest.”

Handsome Jack stayed.



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