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Constantino Paul "Big Paul" Castellano also known as "The Howard Hughes of the Mob" and "Big Paulie", succeeded Carlo Gambino as head of the Gambino crime family, then the nation's largest Cosa Nostra family.

Castellano was born in Brooklyn in 1915, to Giuseppe Castellano and Concetta. Giuseppe was a butcher and an early member of the Mangano crime family, the forerunner of the Gambino family. Paul Castellano dropped out of school in the eighth grade to learn butchering and collecting numbers game receipts, both from his father.

In 1975, Castellano became acting boss for the aging Gambino.

As Castellano became more powerful in the Gambino family, he started to make large amounts of money from construction concrete. Castellano's son Philip was the president of Scara-Mix Concrete Corporation, which exercised a near monopoly on construction concrete on Staten Island. Castellano also handled the Gambino interests in the "Concrete Club," a consortium of mob families that divided revenue from New York developers. No one could pour concrete for a project worth more than $2 million without the approval from the Concrete Club. Finally, Castellano supervised Gambino control of Teamsters Union Local Chapter 282, which provided workers to pour concrete at all major building projects in New York and Long Island.

The December 2, 1985, death of Dellacroce from lung cancer started a chain of events that 14 days later led to Castellano's murder. Several factors contributed to the conspiracy to kill Castellano. Castellano failed to attend Dellacroce's wake, an insult to the Dellacroce family and his followers.
However, the most immediate concern was a set of government surveillance tapes that featured mobster Angelo Ruggiero discussing heroin trafficking. When the government released a set of these tapes to Ruggiero's attorney, Castellano demanded that Ruggiero provide him with copies. With the tapes providing proof of Gotti's involvement in narcotics trafficking, Castellano would have enough proof to murder Gotti.

Gotti had his views on Castellano and his eye set on the position of Boss. He assembled a group of high level conspirators with a plan to kill Castellano.

On December 16, 1985, both Castellano and Bilotti were murdered. That evening, Bilotti drove Castellano to the prearranged meeting at the Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan. Gotti and Gravano observed the scene from a car across the street.


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