Retired from the mafia for more than 20 years, the 56-year-old Gotti is now the focus of an investigation about meetings he had with Massachusetts Latin Kings boss Michael “King Merlin” Cecchetelli.
According to law enforcement, the meetings involved Gotti, Cecchetelli and David “Fat Chicky” Cecchetelli (Michael Cecchetelli’s cousin and an associate of the Genovese family).
Law enforcement found it particularly interesting that two of the Latin Kings meetings that were captured on video were held at a social club in Springfield Mass, long known to be associated with the Genovese family.
King Merlin, the east coast commander for Latin King chapters in Massachusetts to Florida, was arrested in December after a four-year federal investigation. Prosecutors allege he ordered a hit on one of his enemies to be done in exactly the same way as the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.
Boston FBI spokeswoman Kristin Setera said investigators would not comment on whether Gotti was on the federal radar, “because of the ongoing investigation and prosecution of the case.”
Gotti’s ties to the Latin Kings go all the way back to 1999 and his time in federal prison in Ray Brook, NY for racketeering. It is believed Gotti got back in touch with the Kings through Fat Chicky who is an MMA fighting fan. Gotti would go to watch his son, John Gotti III, who is an MMA fighter and Fat Chicky was a regular and a big MMA fan.
Pictures of Gotti with King Merlin, Fat Chicky and a former MMA fighter Damien “The Omen” Trites began showing up online. Gotti Junior’s affinity for the Kings has long been suspected. Unlike the mafia, their membership is not based on ethnicity in any way.
During Gotti’s third (of four) unsuccessful racketeering prosecutions in Manhattan Federal Court, he complained that he was “pushed” into the mafia life against his will and better judgment.
“I’d rather be a Latin King than what I am,” he declared. “I mean it on my father’s grave. I’m so ashamed. I’m so ashamed.”
Attorney Ron Kuby knew Gotti Junior well. He spent time with him during his racketeering case in the 1990s and also testified at a separate racketeering trial in 2009. He said that when they met, Gotti was looking for a ‘different kind of lifestyle’.
According to Kuby, “He was pretty much sick of all criminal life, so it’s hard to imagine he was pining for a lateral transfer.”