He was an enforcer for the Gambino crime family for twenty-five years. Now he’s trying bust through the glamorous gangster facade and show America’s youth the ugly truth behind the Mobster life.
John Alite was the grandson of Albanian immigrants born in Queens, New York, on September 30, 1962. He was raised in a rough neighborhood known for violence by a father who was emersed in the gambling rackets. Despite all of this, Alite was once headed for a career as a pro baseball player. Why, then, did he end up on the streets selling drugs?
Alite attended the University of Tampa on a baseball scholarship and played for the university team. It seemed like he might escape the violence of his hometown of Woodhaven, New York. Alite suffered an injury early in his college career and found it a natural move to transition back to the street life.
Alite had known Gotti, Jr. since childhood, and by 1983 he had successfully aligned himself with the would-be infamous crime family. Before this, Alite had a small drug business but quickly found his place alongside the Gotti’s as an enforcer. He was a fighter from childhood, and with a quick fuse, Alite was the right man for the job. If someone needed roughed up, or taken out, the Gotti’s knew who could take care of the situation.
In his tenure, it is believed that Alite beat at least 100 people with a baseball bat and shot 37 people. All of this violence he justified as mob business. These men had it coming, according to Alite. They were street guys who had broken the rules. In reality, these people were just caught up in the same mess as their attacker.
Alite believed in the facade of loyalty and honor behind the mafia, but quickly realized it was a lie. The mob was all about money. Loyalty and honor were only in vogue if it was convenient for the boss. If cheating and backstabbing made more money, then the facade was quickly dropped.
Alite witnessed many incidences of treachery during his tenure with the mob, but still believed deep down that his crime family had his back. He was wrong. By 2003, Alite was facing indictment and fled the country. He had plenty of money, so he thought he could run forever.
Alite had one major problem. The very people he had killed for were now turning on him and becoming informants. Alite would eventually be caught in Rio de Janeiro in 2004. Stuck in one of the worst prisons in the world, John Alite discovers his childhood running buddy, Jr., had talked with the Feds.
Alite finally reached his breaking point. There in that Brazillian cage, Alite decided to change roads. He spoke with the authorities and eventually was extradited to the U.S. Alite was finally released from prison in 2012, but he refused to enter the witness protection program. Instead, he became a motivational speaker.
Today, he has three books written about his life and tours the country speaking to America’s youth. His predominant message is about the facade of the mafia and the dangers of choosing the street life.
Darkest Hour: John Alite: Former Mafia Enforcer for John Gotti & The Gambino Crime Family
Gotti’s Rules: The Story of John Alite, Junior Gotti, and the Demise of the American Mafia
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