The Rat In Arizona
Salvatore “The Bull” Gravano arrived in Arizona under the pseudonym Jimmy Moran. The former under-boss of New York City's Gambino crime family and a hit man responsible for 19 murders, Gravano became the government's most important witness against the John Gotti & the Mafia. The Witness Protection Program relocated him to suburban Phoenix in 1995. Starting a new life as a businessman, far from his old Brooklyn haunts, he would begin to setup legitimate businesses in the Phoenix metro area. By early 1997, he had left the program. A book he co-authored about his exploits entitled ``Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano’s Story of Life in the Mafia″ was published that December and later became a made for TV movie.
Uncle Sal's Ristorante
First he opened an Italian restaurant in a Scottsdale strip mall, on the southwest corner of Hayden and Osborne roads. It was named "Uncle Sal's Ristorante." The traditional Italian bistro was run by his wife, Debra Gravano. Ironically the restaurant's logo read: "The best kept secret in Scottsdale."
Uncle Sal's Italian Restaurant 3370 N Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Gravano opened a construction company, Marathon Development, building dozens of homes across the Valley. The company was listed as Marathon Development, near 45th Street and University Drive in Phoenix Arizona. Although his name doesn't appear in company records, that of his wife and son are listed among the officers.
Side Note: “Marathon” was the same name he’d used for his construction company in Gravesend, Brooklyn, back in the day.
Employees of Marathon Development had no idea their boss once operated a corrupt New York construction business, rigging bids and running unions. He then launched another company, Creative Pools, although only two swimming pools were constructed in a single year.
In reality these companies were setup as laundering fronts for drug profits. "The Bull" wasn't satisfied living a quiet life as Jimmy Moran, Phoenix Arizona pool digger. He found day-to-day life a drag after the exhilaration of life in New York's La Cosa Nostra. The ex con enjoyed flaunting his infamous celebrity status, delighted when autograph seekers stopped him on the streets to to say hello or snap a quick photo. He frequented the Gold Bar Coffeehouse in Tempe Arizona. You could spot him telling old stories of his former life in New York, or, signing copies of his book.
Gravano resided at the Park Tree Rental Community in Tempe, Arizona. Located in the 1300 block of West University, the complex amenities included a tiny swimming pool. He owned a small dog, a Chihuahua he insisted was a miniature Doberman.
His wife and daughter lived a mile away in a $323,981 home, with eight rooms and four-plus bathrooms. The house was located on E. Secretariat Drive, in an upscale section of Tempe. Debra and Sammy divorced, but they made a pact. Sammy could have his family life, but he also had to keep his own apartment a few miles away. He would have to spend nights at his place. That way if the Gotti's and New York Mafia sent assassins, the hit wouldn’t involve the family.
Sammy "The Bull" Gravano Former Apartment
His dog was barking in the early morning of February 24, 2000, when a small army of Phoenix police and DEA agents swept down on his apartment. As he was arrested, detectives seized a Colt .45, a .357 Magnum and a 12-gauge shotgun, part of Gravano’s alleged arsenal, along with a telephone voice-changer, a bulletproof vest, $87,000 in cash, nine gold watches, a host of jeweled rings and bracelets, and a life-insurance policy stashed in a safe in his wife’s bedroom closet. Sammy, his wife, his son, his daughter, and her boyfriend were arrested on state and federal drug charges. An indictment accused him of being the boss and financier of a $500,000-a-week Ecstasy empire. Authorities also had evidence that Gravano planned at least four murder plots in Arizona, but none were ever carried out.
Held in protective custody, "The Bull" himself fell into the hands of Maricopa County’s famed Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America.” Sheriff Joe dresses his inmates in lipstick-pink boxer shorts, which, he says, curtails their macho tendencies. Sammy the Bull in pink undies.... It was an image that probably warmed John Gotti’s heart.
Sammy's daughter, Karen Gravano, was at one time an aesthetician and at one time ran her own day spa in the Valley. Karen would later go on to star in VH1’s Mob Wives. She does not reside in Arizona. His son, Gerard Gravano, was released from prison in 2010. It's rumored that he's employed as a chef in the Phoenix metro area.
Under his federal conviction, Gravano faces lifetime parole. He also remains under Arizona supervision until March 2019. He Has also been seen recently at Uncle Sal's Restaurant, waiting for a takeout order with his son Gerard.
The Gravano Family
It seems Sammy "The Bull" Gravano has forgotten everything he learned in the Gambino Crime Family of New York. He just did everything wrong. He used his own house for meetings with criminals and to store illegal drugs. He used his own telephone without even trying to use code words. He drove a flashy Lexus that made him stand out, two to be exact. He left records of the transactions around and was careless. He used his wife to monitor the money and his children to run the operation. He prided himself on being a true mobster, sadly he sure forgot what John Gotti taught him. Sadly the United States justice system placed a greater value on putting mob boss John Gotti behind bars than jailing a guy who killed 19 people.