Remember the Brady Bunch episode where they had to sit Bobby down and say, "Bob, Jesus, enough with this Jesse James crap, okay?" Someone needs to tell the New York Post's Steve Dunleavy that. And then encourage him to retire and go back to Australia.
Dunleavy, The New York Post's self-appointed defender of mobsters (John Gotti), rogue cops (Chuck Schwarz), and idiotic firemen, has taken up the cause of Terry Sweeney, an FDNYer who got dismissed for NOT ratting out fellow firefighter Mike Silvestri for assaulting his fellow firefighter, Bobby Walsh, with a chair on New Year's Eve.
Instead of tattling, Sweeney took Walsh, whose nose was almost torn off, from the firehouse to the emergency room. Sweeney should be commended for getting the guy to the hospital (though reports say the whole firehouse dawdled), but I find it irresponsible that the whole crew (Sweeney & Walsh included) clammed up when it came to narking on Silvestri, so as to not upset the "brotherhood" of the fire department. A chair to the face? Some brotherhood.
(By the way, how do you hit a guy who is 6’8” in the face with a chair? My guess is that it is possible Walsh was sitting down, though that is just speculation.)
Anyway, Dunleavy, when not writing about how his paycheck is basically direct deposited to Langan's pub, fancies himself the last of a dying breed. He's a grizzled Aussie lieutenant in Rupert Murdoch's "moralist" army, eager to joust windmills in defense of any uniformed or mobbed up sociopath in the Big Apple. And that's the JUMBO mistake.
For all his prattle about being a common drunk, and speaking for and protecting the rights of common blue collar New Yorkers, Dunleavy, a veteran of TV's "A Current Affair" lives to prolong the tired frat-house-meets-“Mean Streets” mythology that we should turn a blind eye to corruption as long as it involves keeping your word. Hey Dunleavy, if you hadn’t noticed, honest New Yorkers get fucked when mobsters and wayward cops and firemen keep their word.
I'm no fan of the mob, but I'm all for the NYPD (except the parking ticket-writing jerks) and the FDNY. I think that 95% of both departments bust their asses for very little in the way of respect, honor and moolah. And I am all for coworkers banding together in tough times, but what about when it’s your coworker who actually causes the tough times? It’s just common sense, no? How productive is a fire department that doesn't have the balls to cleanse itself by getting rid of the riff-raff who think your precious brotherhood means beating each other with steel chairs. That's inexcusable at any workplace whether you're slinging Jo-Jos at the K-Mart cafeteria or working at the Pentagon.
I wonder what another Post columnist, Phil Mushnick, who day in and day out busts the chops of the rising tide of assholes and fools in the sporting world, would have to say about colleague Dunleavy—the hard-boiled nitwit whose columns are fueled only on gin, cigarettes and a certainty that New Yorkers just adore the crooked assholes who supposedly a) spend their time defending and protecting us or b) figuring out new ways to rip us off? Maybe the Post’s unspoken brotherhood won’t let Mushnick talk.
The sad part of all of this is Dunleavy’s eagerness to identify with men who keep their word. It’s as if column after column, he wants his readers to know that if the situation were different, and he weren’t just a bloody scribb-lah, occasionally getting mugged while passed out (scroll down, daily news via Gawker) on New York city streets, he’d be right there with them, and they’d have his back, and we’d all see what a tough guy he really is. How touching. I felt the same way when I was 12. Just like Bobby Brady.
Volpe, Louima & Schwarz
Gotti & Dunleavy
REMEMBER DAPPER DON, LAST OF THE STAND-UP GUYS
By Steve Dunleavy
HARRY BATCHELDER, with all his genius, is a mob lawyer - and a great defender of the late John Gotti.
"He's the last of the stand-up guys. I don't know who's left," Harry lamented. "If you had John locked in a steel coffin after 25 years and someone lifted up the lid and said, 'If you give up some of the wiseguys, we will let you go,' John would have said: 'Please shut the lid. The light is hurting my eyes.' "
Harry and I were discussing today's first anniversary of Gotti's death, a death in a bed, in a body voraciously ridden by cancer. He would have much rather have died on the street with his boots on.
So here am I, a pathological supporter of the cops, firefighters and sanitation workers, celebrating a mobster? Please, no. Gotti made his bed. But he laid in that bed without breaking his rules. He lived by his own code and never cheated his fellow goombahs.
You don't like my take? Then don't watch the millionth rerun of "The Godfather" and turn off "The Sopranos." There are so many rats in the mob it looks like Iraq on a bad day.
Batchelder has represented the Gottis in the past. We have mutual friends who are wiseguys.
Victoria Gotti, John Gotti's daughter, once said to me: "I never knew what he did. Women were in the kitchen. But I see these names, royalty, involved in scandal. My father was never involved in scandal."
A shooting outside of Spark's Steakhouse, perhaps, but not a scandal.
Her mother, Victoria, told me at a Heart and Lung Foundation charity affair at Tavern on the Green, organized by her daughter, "I have loved him for 39 years, and I hope I will love him for 39 years more."
What ticked off the feds about Gotti is that he made fools of them - three trials, three acquittals.
So on the anniversary of his death, I will tell you never to go down the road of John Gotti. But you should learn one lesson from him - never rat out your friends.
Nothing beats honor, no matter who you are.
MANY TOOK SAINTLY VIEW OF THIS SINNER
By Steve Dunleavy
IF today is Father's Day you better believe yesterday was Godfather's Day.
"They took his body but they will never take his spirit," said son Peter Gotti.
"A sad day of course, a sad day but in many ways a beautiful day. You saw the crowds," said brother Richie.
It was impossible to put a figure on just how many people turned out for the final farewell . . . at Papavero Funeral Home, the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club, Howard Beach, all along Woodhaven Boulevard, outside the Class Act hairdressers.
I was in the Renaissance Mausoleum where Gotti was interred. I placed a pink carnation in a vase and touched the bronze coffin out of respect and saw Gotti's lawyer and longtime friend Bruce Cutler.
Cutler broke down in uncontrollable tears.
I asked Bruce whether John Gotti was a saint or a sinner.
"He was a man. A remarkable human being.
"They never could destroy him and the most amazing thing about John Gotti was that he showed the world no matter what adversity, how to go through life's fears."
If on St. Patrick's Day everyone wants to be Irish, well, yesterday everyone wanted to be Italian.
A gentleman named Pavlo, who wouldn't give his last name, said: "Tell the family that Pavlo and the Greeks came down from Norwalk, Conn., to give their respects."
Mary Stephan, of Hungarian heritage, said: "I'm here to give my respects to a man I never knew but knew he was a son, a father, a grandfather, and loyal to his principles."
Oh, I know some people will accuse me of glorifying a wiseguy.
Well, many thousands who turned out yesterday in the neighborhoods might tend to disagree.
Joyce Wadler of The New York Times got a little close to the edge yesterday when she asked Bruce Cutler why he was glorifying a mobster.
If she had been a 6-foot-4 linebacker, Bruce Cutler would have rendered her unconscious.
"At this particular time that statement is wrong, inappropriate and off-color," Cutler snapped as if he were breaking a frozen carrot in half.
From the moment the Cadillac hearse cruised from the funeral home, it was as if the only word in Queens was G-O-T-T-I.
From Howard Beach to Woodhaven, giant posters bearing his picture proclaimed: "John Gotti lives forever."
I'm not going to make a comment on that but, then again, you had to be in Queens yesterday, on Godfather's day to believe me.
Daughter Victoria said earlier: "He was a man of incredible strength. He was also the person who gave life to me, and a wonderful human being."
A brief gathering was held in a chapel named Gallery of the Martyrs before Gotti was laid to rest on the third floor of the St. John's Cloisters next to his son, Frank.
Inscribed in simple but beautiful oak on the lefthand side was "Frank Gotti - 1967-1980," and next to that was "John Gotti - 1940-2002."
Critics might say Gotti filled a few crypts before he made his exit.
I have witnessed how the feds tried to rip out his rib cage and got progressively more angry as they failed to bring him to his knees.
No, I say, a million times no. I'm not running a p.r. company for the mob, I just know that when I see people crying in the streets, lighting candles, erecting little monuments, that he was someone who was not you or me.
I'll probably never cover a mob funeral again. There just won't be any like this ever again.
Gangster, gambler, mob statesman, I don't know. But as Bruce Cutler said: "He was a man."
The last word is ciao, ciao to Gambino's bambino.