By David Amoruso
Posted in 2003
Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo was born in 1955 in Bensonhurst, New York. He was brought up in a working class family. As a young boy Mikey was bitten in the face by a dog. The attack left a semi-circular scar on his cheek. At school his scarred face attracted the taunts of the bullies who also gave him the nickname: Scars. Early on DiLeonardo took the wrong path in life, as a teenager he joined a street-gang that hung around 15th Avenue and frequented a Gambino social club. As the years rolled on DiLeonardo became a fixture around the Gambino crew and was soon climbing the ladder to mob stardom. By the 1980s Mickey Scars had become close with Gambino mobsters Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano and Junior Gotti and had got himself a job with the mob tainted Teamsters Local 282 a powerful construction union.
In 1990 DiLeonardo got his button, he became a made guy in the Gambino Crime Family, this is what every associate dreams of, becoming a made guy is a huge moment in any aspiring wiseguy's life. However it wasn't all good news for DiLeonardo, his mob connection got him kicked out of the Teamsters Local 282. Mikey Scars DiLeonardo was a frequent visitor at Gotti's Ravenite Social club, visiting him more than sixty times in the early 90s. As a friend of the Gottis things moved fast for him. In 1992 he was promoted to capo. In the 1990s DiLeonardo was a partner in Junior Gotti's topless clubs extortion scams. Together they extorted the owners of topless bars in New York, Atlanta and all the way down to Florida. In 1994 DiLeonardo began accepting large pay offs around the 100k mark from the Atlanta Gold Club owner Steve Kaplan. The Gold Club had been extorted ever since Gotti's heyday back in 1988. Kaplan`s club was a high class topless bar where many celebrities and athletes sipped $500 dollar bottles of champagne and ran up $1000 dollar tabs, all in all a great cow to milk. In one meeting at LaGuardia Airport in 1997 Kaplan and a cohort gave DiLeonardo a bag of cash made up of $20 bills in bundles of $2000 each in return for the capo's protection from rival mobsters. In 1995 DiLeonardo also accepted pay offs worth $100.000 dollars from Manhattan topless club Scores. Money was pouring in and things looked great for Mikey Scars, so far he had never spent a night in prison, was living in a beautiful $1.5 million dollar home, and as a capo was making serious money, and was in a position of power.
Then in May 2001 things hit a downward spiral. DiLeonardo was indicted and charged with shaking down topless clubs in New York and Atlanta. DiLeonardo plead innocent and in October 2001 a jury acquitted him of all charges. His lawyer Eric Franz said this about DiLeonardo after the trial: "He handled the Gold Club case like a statesman", "He didn't even break a sweat."
On June 10, 2002 John Gotti died age 61. A few days later DiLeonardo attended the wake in Maspeth, Queens. Four days after the burial DiLeonardo and three other mobsters were indicted in the 1989 murder of Staten Island businessman Fred Weiss. DiLeonardo was charged with conspiracy to have Weiss killed. The actual killing of Weiss was carried out by DeCavalcante Family mobsters. Two DeCavalcante mobsters and a Gambino guy flipped (turned government witness) and testified against DiLeonardo and the others. DiLeonardo was held without bail at a federal lock up in Manhattan he was refused bail and seen by the judge as a danger to the community. Now tasting prison life for the first time DiLeonardo found out he couldnt stomach it. After several months prison wasn't the only thing he couldn't stomach. Things on the outside were changing fast with DiLeonardo out of the picture. DiLeonardo heard that his cut from the money his crew made wasn't being kicked up to him but channeled elsewhere, and visits from his crew and associates were becoming less frequent. DiLeonardo was becoming angry and disallusioned with each passing second. when he got the word that guys like DeCavalcante boss Vincent Palermo and fellow mobster Dominic Borghese were to testify against him, he started to think self-preservation rather than omerta.
In November 2002 Mikey Scars DiLeonardo called Atlanta based lawyer Craig Gillen, a former federal prosecutor he had met during the Gold Club trial. With Gillen acting as his advisor DiLeonardo began talking with the feds about making a deal. Now a cooperating witness DiLeonardo was granted a special furlough deal. He was released on bail to visit his sick mother and contact family members. After visiting his mother DiLeonardo, who is divorced, contacted his girlfriend and son and asked them both to join him in the witness protection program, both declined which sent DiLeonardo into a heavy depression. Mikey Scars became so depressed that he attempted suicide by over-dosing on prescription medication. He was placed on suicide watch and given psychiatric counseling. DiLeonardo's future doesn't look great, labeled a rat by his own son and former associates and working with the government not sure that his testimony at any future trial will stand. He will be painted as being a totally unreliable witness due to his current medical condition and his past life as a high-rolling member of the Gambino crime family, it'll be interesting to see how things work out for Mikey Scars.
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