The Strange Saga Of The Odd Father

Samuel Reason | July 19th, 2019

You may think that a mafia mob boss could show no fear and never show a sign of weakness. And also you would have assumed they had to be very secretive and operate with care, as surely any known mafia mob boss would be stopped by the relevant authorities.

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That was not the case for Vincent “Chin” Gigante who ran New York’s Genovese crime family for nearly a quarter-century. After he assumed power in the early 1980s it is estimated Gigante was raking in over $100 million with an army of at least 300 made men operating on the streets of New York. Nicknamed the Chin after loyal soldiers would never speak Gigante’s name in public, so they would refer to him by rubbing their chins.

Chin was known to be a scary figure, came up through the ranks as a contract killer, so was known to enforce the mafia code by killing anyone who violated. It was even thought Chin put out a contract to kill the infamous John Gotti after Gotti decided to whack the boss of the Gambino family without getting the OK first.

But the real reason Chin became infamous is that he started to be referred to as the Odd Father. This was because he feigned insanity whenever law enforcement officials were closing in. It may be hard to picture but this big scary crime boss would regularly walk around Manhattan in a bathrobe, slippers and a floppy hat. He was also known to urinate in public and hid a second family from his wife.

This strategy allowed him to keep his reign as a mafia crime boss much longer than usual. A full 30 years of psychiatric evaluations finally came to an end, when Chin was declared competent enough to stand trial in 1997. He was sentenced to racketeering, murder conspiracy and sentenced to federal prison where he died in 2005.

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