The Naked City Jan 8 2009
PROBLEM DISSOLVED
Because sometimes cement overshoes just don’t do the trick.

Thanks to court papers filed this week in Brooklyn, New York, we finally know what happened to John Favara. Mr. Favara was the unlucky soul who accidentally killed John Gotti, Sr.’s twelve-year old son Frankie in an auto accident back in March 1980. Frankie rode in front of Favara’s car on a borrowed motorbike at the exact moment when Favara was briefly blinded by the setting sun. Police quickly cleared Favara of any wrongdoing, but John Gotti, Sr., aka The Dapper Don, wasn’t having it.

Favara knew he was in trouble, and went to the Gotti home to apologize, but was chased away by a baseball bat-brandishing Victoria Gotti. John Gotti suggested that Favara leave town, but he had a wife, two kids and a job in New Hyde Park, which made moving impractical. Parties unknown left Frankie Gotti’s funeral card in Favara’s mailbox, and yet more unknowns spraypainted the word “murderer” on his car, but still he didn’t hightail it. Maybe he thought it would all blow over. It didn’t. Favara finally disappeared that July. Witnesses saw a man assaulting him with a board outside his workplace that day, and several others heard the squealing of tires, but Favara’s body was never found.

This week’s court papers, containing testimony by Charles Carneglia, aka Charlie Canig, reveal that he and several other Gotti associates beat Favara, forced him into a van, and shot him in the legs. Favara was then driven to a secret Brooklyn location where he was killed and stuffed into a 55-gallon drum of acid, which dissolved his body. The moral of the story is twofold: first, when a Gotti “suggests” you leave town, think “Uruguay”; and second, now that we know from an insider how the Mafia operates, I guess we can stop hoping Jimmy Hoffa’s body turns up.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 23
1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
August 22
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
August 21
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
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