Mobster's House Not A Home Only An Opulent Display Bought With Blood Money, Fbi Says

Posted: July 20, 1992

NEW YORK — Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso built his dream house in Brooklyn - but Gaspipe can't go home again.

Casso, reputed underboss of the Luchese crime family, has been on the lam since May 1990, but not even life as a fugitive could stop him from obsessing about building his million-dollar waterfront palace in the Mill Basin area of Brooklyn, according to secret FBI documents obtained by the New York Daily News.

Casso ordered hundreds of thousands of dollars from mob extortion and loansharking activities plowed into the home, the documents show.

And, in a fit of paranoia, he allegedly ordered the architect of the house murdered.

The FBI memos are based on information from Alfonse D'Arco, who last year

quit as acting boss of the Luchese family and became a federal informant, bringing with him a good memory and detailed notes of mob payoffs.

"Casso has an expensive and luxurious home in Mill Basin," D'Arco told the FBI. "The front doors alone are worth $40,000."

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are seeking Casso on charges of racketeering and conspiracy, including at least seven murders. State prosecutors in Manhattan want him for labor extortion.

If caught, Casso may face the same fate as his alleged partner, reputed Luchese boss Vittorio (Little Vic) Amuso, who also fled in 1990 only to be nabbed eight months later. Last month, Amuso was found guilty of racketeering by a Brooklyn federal jury and faces life in prison without parole.

D'Arco said that in 1989, using a contractor as a front, Casso bought a million-dollar property on a corner overlooking a peaceful tidal channel, ripped down the existing structure and replaced it with three floors of mob chic.

The house boasts a 30-foot-wide master bedroom with twin walk-in closets and marble bathroom with bidet; indoor gymnasium; solarium; greenhouse; breakfast nook, dining room and first- and second-floor living rooms.

Casso, 51, topped it off with two roof terraces and a sprawling patio along the water that leads to a private dock.

But Casso can't savor all that glitz.

The home was sold recently, reportedly for $1.2 million, without his ever having lived there. Still unoccupied, it stands amid tall weeds. Vandals have smashed two picture windows. The molded glass on the imported front doors is also broken.

D'Arco said Casso hid his ownership of the house in the name of a mob- connected contractor, George (The Greek) Kalaitsis. Between 1990 and 1991, D'Arco claimed to have given Casso more than $800,000 that was used for Kalaitsis' construction business and "to furnish" Casso's home.

The money, D'Arco said, came through shakedowns of contractors by Luchese family members, loansharking and gambling proceeds.

The home is in an upper-middle-class neighborhood between bustling Kings Plaza shopping center and Jamaica Bay.

Casso's dream house has a modern stucco design that was the work of Anthony Fava, an architect and contractor who had done other work for mobsters.

Fava, 37, did work on the 19th Hole, the Bay Ridge bar-hangout of Casso and Amuso, and La Donna Rosa, an eatery on Cleveland Place owned by D'Arco's son, Joseph.

D'Arco told the FBI that Casso ordered Fava's execution during a phone conversation in 1991. D'Arco said Casso "needed Fava killed" because the architect knew about "illegal deals relative to Casso's home."

On Sept. 20, Fava's body was found in a stolen car in Bensonhurst. He had been stabbed, shot and stripped to his boxer shorts, with his body wrapped in a plastic sheet.

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