Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano

Being Made

Salvatore Albanese, a capo in the Colombo Family, was the first to tip Gravano off to the fact he was going to become a made member of La Cosa Nostra. Confirmed by Aurello, the man who had proposed him, Gravano was told to show up at a Bensonhurst residence and to dress up.

In mob folklore the mythical membership books were said to have been closed since 1957. Re-opened in 1975, crime families around the country were free to initiate new members. Where once membership was strictly Sicilian, over the years it was extended to anyone who was born of Italian parents. Later it was reduced to just having a father of Italian birth.

Gravano doesnt reveal how many new members were made that day, only that when he arrived, there was a bunch of other guys waiting. The men were taken one at a time down to the basement to be made.

Paul Castellano
Paul Castellano (AP)

Taking a seat next to Paul Castellano, the boss of the Gambino Family, the rules of La Cosa Nostra are explained to Gravano. Then the traditional rite of pricking the index finger, the burning of the saint and the kissing on both cheeks of the other members was performed. Castellano then turned to Gravano and told him, You are a member with us. Youre now a friend of ours.

The Gambino Family boss then outlined some of the rules:

He [Castellano] told us that the man we answered to was our captain. He was our direct father. You do everything with him. You check with him, you put everything on record with him. You cant kill unless you get permission. You cant do anything, basically, until you get permission from the family. You dont run to the boss. You go to your captain. That was the protocol. Your captain will go to the administration of the family, which is the boss, the underboss and the consigliere.

Gravano claimed, I bought this all one hundred thousand percent. I really felt that I belonged to a brotherhood that had honor and respect. However, later that day while celebrating at Aurellos club, Gravano states people who werent supposed to know he had been made congratulated him. He claims, Were supposed to be a secret society, and then you get made and everybody and his mother in the neighborhood seems to know

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