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Is this thing on? Bonnie, who used to be a former sex worker and now hosts the podcast dumb blonde. Most little girls grow up wanting to be doctors and lawyers and shit. And I was like, I want to be super hot, make a lot of fucking money, and be a rock star's wife. That was my goal as a child. And here we are. What's up, you sexy motherfuckers? Welcome to another episode of Dumb Blonde on the pod. Today we have a woman who was born into a lifestyle that so many people glamorize. And still to this day, it's now a trending topic on TikTok. Today we get to hear the real pain that this lifestyle brings from a woman who's lived it and survived. Miss Karen Gravano.


Hi, beautiful. Thank you for having me. Dude, start off with that. I'm excited to be here.


I'm so happy that you're here. I was just telling you, I don't watch a lot of reality TV shows, but mob wives. I was religiously watching that shit every week. And the reason why was because that shit just felt so real.




And it was a time when TV was great.


Yes. We were at the height of reality TV, and I think what made Mob wives so authentic was that we really knew each other. We really all had history together. We weren't just a cast put in a house, and we didn't like each other because somebody said something in a situation. We had a lot of history, and it kind of got crazy at times, but it came through where, for me, especially doing the show, I wanted it to be where I could tell my story and maybe somebody can take something away from it. Sometimes I felt like it got blurred with the fighting and the arguing. It got petty at times, but the reality was we all kind of went through different struggles, and we were able to put that on TV. And people now come up to me and say, thank you for sharing that I had a similar situation, or I went through this and I could relate because you guys were so real. And hence, all the years later and the fighting is done and over with. It's good to hear that it was.


All of you guys'vulnerability. And I think that's what made people be able to relate to you guys, especially women. We all go through silent battles and battles and family trauma and bullshit, and I think a lot of women were able to kind of, I don't want to say latch on, but maybe admire each one of you for different reasons. So you guys are fucking icons, which is why we're doing these podcasts this month, because mob wives started trending on TikTok.




And as soon as I saw that, I was like, oh, we got to know, Karen, Renee. We got to get everybody on because, you guys, I feel like this generation missed out on you.


Now it's back on Paramount, plus they're putting it out, and I'm getting some younger kids now say, I watch your show, but it was a crazy time in TV. It's unfortunate that we're not back on the air, but it kind of gets into a lot of political stuff with the producers and the network. I don't know if a lot of people know, but we kind of fell in that whole Harvey Weinstein saga where Harvey was the producer for mobwives. So when everything happened with him, his intellectual properties had to go get sold to another production company. And when everything finally panned out, some of the producers, one in particular, hung on, and they didn't want to sell it. So they were kind of getting greedy with the money. And we were never canceled. The network wanted to have us back, but it was just the negotiations between the producers and the network just didn't pan out.


I had no idea that Harvey Weinstein was involved until we had that phone call and I was mind blown. And then it was right there in the credits when I was watching catching up on some of the mob wives episodes, just to get familiar again. You would see him, and I think, like his brother in the credits, Bob and Harve.


So it was. Well, I don't know if you know, but when they sell shows, they don't usually bring the cast with them. And prior to mob wives, they actually brought us all on the pitch meetings because I guess they thought we were so authentic and the way we interacted with each other. And Harvey would come on the meetings and it was funny.


And he would ever hit on you or anything like that?


No. Everyone always says that. They're like, did you ever? I said, no. We kind of got fucked in our contracts from them in a way, but never physically. He didn't fuck me physically, he didn't.


Fucked me financially in a way.


Yeah. But in reality TV, you sign your life away. Yeah. Which is. I get it now.


Now that it's resurfacing. Are you guys getting residuals from that?


No, we don't. Wow. And I don't know, especially back then, if people were privy to all the residuals and doing all that, we didn't. Wasn't offered to us.




I'll tell you how, my boy. Because at first, I was like, I'm not going to be on a TV show, a reality show. Like, I have too much baggage. So Jennifer graziano, which is Renee'sister and I, we were actually talking about doing a scripted show. We were just in talks. We've been childhood friends. She was there when I went through all this stuff with my father. We kind of stopped talking for a while, but then we reconnected. And one day she says, hey, listen, this guy is pitching an idea to me about women whose husbands went to prison. And what do you think about it? And I said, it would be good. She goes, I'm thinking of cast and Drita, what do you think? I said, she's definitely good for TV. She's a character, so she would be good for that. And as her negotiations got further along, she was like, what about Renee? I said, renee is definitely made for Luna. You can make drama out of like, a crumb, right? So it's like, renee is good for that. And then she was like, well, I have Renee's friend Carla. So anyway, Carla was beautiful.


Yes. And Carla was. She's just real, right? She came with a lot of mob history stuff, too. And she set her boundaries. Like, this is what I'm not going to talk about. And she always stuck to her guns. And one thing I do, because in the beginning, her and Rita were friends at the time of our war, and she was not having it. They would try to sit us down and be like, can you explain to Carl? And like, I don't give a fuck. I'm friends with Drita. I don't want to hear it. And I always like that about her because she's loyal. Even if I felt she was loyal to the wrong person. And then kind of as the series went on, I guess she seen for herself and the tides changed and her and know were no longer friends. But she has always stuck to what she believed to. She was the hard one, they always said, because she doesn't feed into drama and be like, you're on a reality show. You guys need to talk about it.


I feel like somebody had to be the calm to you guys'fucking storm, though, because you all were fucking wild.




Plates flying, fists flying, hair flying, everything flying. That had to have been so hard for you. And we're going to get into it. All the stuff that happened as a little girl and forward, but just kind of reflecting back, that had to have been so hard for you to have to go face these people after everything that you had already been through prior.


To the show, even starting when Jennifer, the producer, had asked me if I wanted to be on it, I was like, hell, no. I have too much baggage. I left New York. There was real stuff because of that lifestyle that has happened to me and my family, and it's still ongoing. I still, till today, deal with it. So I just didn't think reality TV was a platform for me, although I was in negotiations for writing a book and actually a movie at the time. Whatever. I come back and they're filming the sizzle reel. Know, I can't help it, but sit down at the table with them. And the sizzle reel is where history was really made because it was iconic, and that's what sold the. And so Jen comes back to me, and she's like, you gotta be on the show. And I was like, okay, so the show comes back, they want to buy it. And I'm like, what's the name? They're like, mob wise. I'm like, are you fucking kidding? Like, I'm not coming back. And being like, mob this, mob that, I stepped away from that. And in my mind, when we sat down and talked about it, it was for women who went through struggles and overcame them.


And they're like, karen, you're such a good person because you went through, your entire community turned on you. You know what I mean? And there was so many things. There was a hit put on my brother, like, he was five minutes away from getting his head blown off. Then I moved to Arizona with my family, and my whole family gets arrested for selling drugs. We become a drug cartel in Arizona. Everything was taken. When I'm telling you everything, like, from credit cards to jewelry to houses to restaurants to cars, we had nothing. I just had a little baby. I had to come home and start over, and I did, and I made it. So they were like, that's the story that we want to tell. And I'm like, you know what? That's what I want to tell, too, because if people can relate to me or I could help someone because I know the dark places that I've been in and how I've overcame it. This is something important to me. And then next thing I know, we come back, and we're, like, fighting each other.


But I feel like they kind of set you guys up for that, too, because you and Drita already had beef. That was off camera, right? Because you used to date Lee, so.


I dated him for six.




Oh, okay.


I didn't know it was six years.


We were together for six years. He moved to Arizona with me. We came back, and she was my friend. She was a friend that no boyfriend wanted. Like, you're not allowed to bring that girl into the house. It was like, that type of situation. And me, nobody could tell me who I could hang out with, right? So I always stuck up for Drita. I always, like, fuck with her. We had a weed service at a time where me and my friends ran.


A weed service called aromatherapy.


Right? Yes.


I love that name. We'll talk more about that.


You know, we all had money. We came from a background. Our parents, we were hustlers, and Rita had nothing. So I'm like, come on, girl. Here. Let's go hustle. Here's an opportunity for you to make money. And she never wanted to do it, but I was the type, like, all right, I'll go up. I'll make the sale. Here, give her some money. I wanted her to be an equal with us, because that's just how I am. I never want someone to be around us and feel like their need us to pay this or to pay that.


When you say, be an equal to us, is it because she wasn't italian?


Yeah. And just not even that. It was just like, we were all hustlers. Got you. We had a weed service. We had apartments, cars, and she was the girl that would come around and couldn't go to eat at this restaurant because she didn't have money. So it's like, come on, girl, I'll get you some money. And I never wanted anyone to feel like I'm trying to be your boss or be like, be my equal. Come on, we can get this money. Let's get it together. And when we had the weed service, she just didn't want to do it. So neither here nor there. It was like, I'm the one that actually brought her around. And then all of a sudden, I leave and I go to Arizona, and I find out that her and Leah together, which is like, okay. I think as a. Like, here's where I think everything got confused from mob wives because it wasn't portrayed right in the beginning, as a woman, I think you owe that to your friend to be able to at least say, hey, girl, listen, I hooked up with your man. She never said that.


And you guys were still together when she hooked up with him?






It was after I had moved on. But me and her were still friends. We never had a falling out. So if you and him are together, you could say, hey, it's a phone call. But that's where she said we weren't friends. So we went from being friends. That's where I don't get it. How do you pick and choose when we're friends and when we're not? When it's convenient for you? Now we're not friends. And it's not that. The way they were trying to make it, like, I need you to explain this to me. Not just common courtesy, as a friend.


Yeah, let's have a conversation.


You never gave that to me. And whatever, it bothered me. And then she kept saying, well, you guys weren't really together. I lived with him. We were together for seven years. So it just started becoming like I was this obsessed ex girlfriend. But really it was about respect, because I always respected you. I always brought you to the table with us as an equal. The reason why you're even on mob wives is you weren't friends with Jennifer. I made you guys become friends. No one really even liked Rita in the beginning. She was, like, my friend. And now it's like, oh, and let me backtrack. And I'll probably, like. People probably won't like me for saying this, but before mob wives ever aired, we were all together. Me and Dreda sat down at tables and been like, girl, we're going to show that no guy could ever come between a girl.


Oh, wow.


So nobody knows that we pitched mob wives. We went into every network with Harvey Weinstein, with the producers. We all sat down together. So then when the show aired and it came out, me and Rita had this thing. Like we were, you know, we kind of fell apart because I went to Arizona, I moved away. You got with Lee. But we're back. And you know what? Fuck him. Our friendship matters more than all that. And we're going know, rekindle our friendship. But then it became, oh, Drita don't want you at her house. You can't film in her. Like, so the producers are telling me things, and I'm more like, what's up? Is there an issue? I don't want you to talk about Lee. I don't want this to be said. Well, you can't tell me what to say or what to do. And even in my book, this is where it all, like, I was writing a book before Mob wives. I have a real history in that world. Lee is, like, not even a factor. So when she was like, you can't put him in your book, I'm like, who are you to tell me what I could write in my book about?


So that's why I wrote the little.


Paragraph about, I'm going through that now with my book. I have an ex coming out of the woodwork saying, don't put me in your book. And I'm like, it's your life. I'm like, you abused me. Why would I not show people that what I did after, it's not about you. It's about what I overcame. Exactly. No, that's wild.


And that's where it all started stemming from. And it was a lot of what. I mean, all the producers will even say, there was so much behind the scenes that was happening before mob wise even came back. And I think the opening line was, I came back and said, fuck Sammy the bull. Fuck John Gotti. I'm gangster. Which was like, why'd you say that? And it had nothing to do with the girls. It had to do with people saying, don't put her on the show street. People, don't bring her back. Don't do this. And it was like, that couldn't happen because the whole show was based off of mob wives, and my name was the name that was going, know, your.


Dad is pretty fucking notorious. So for everybody who's listening, your dad.


Is Sammy the bull Gravano. He was the underboss of the, you know, the whole John Gotti Sammy the bull saga that has followed me for my whole know. And that's what really sold mob wives. So for everyone to be on that show and then start telling me what I could do, what I can't do, like, no motherfuckers, no motherfuckers, no motherfuckers.


They didn't have none.




So let's circle back to your childhood, because I did a bunch of research, because I wanted to make sure that I got everything right. And there's a lot of layers when it comes to the mob and stuff like that. And I just want to say that, and I was telling this to them earlier, I actually have a new found respect for your father and your family, because you hear about Sammy the bull, and you hear like, oh, he's a rat. He's this, he's that. But if people ever took the time to really listen to the story, your dad, and we'll get into it, pretty much warned John Gotti and was like, hey, man, stop trying to fucking put this all on. Like, it's not going to happen. And then he even tried to have their trial separated, right? And Gotti refused it. And so your dad was like, you know what? It's fucking showtime, right? And I'm sorry, but if I was in that situation, not that know am that type of personality either. And I don't think your father is, but when you have the world coming against you like that and people are trying to pin you for shit that you've already done your shit, you're going to admit to doing your shit, but people are trying to pin you on more shit, I would have probably done the same thing your dad did.


I agree with you. Because at this point in my life, I can say I understand and I'm happy that he did that because he did have another route that he considered taking and that was killing John in prison because John double crossed him, right? And I think my father's famous line was, John's a double crosser. I'm a master double crosser. And that's what that life is.


Yeah, your dad's pretty fucking gangster, dude. Yeah, it is wild when the shit I was learning about him. We all know there are things in life you have to compromise on, like going out instead of staying in or eating fast food instead of cooking at home. But when it comes to your health, there is no compromise. So don't go back to that one doctor who uses your appointment to catch up on the latest headlines, their family group chat, their crossword puzzles just because they're available right now. Or they take your slightly sketchy insurance. Zocdoc is a free app and website where you can search and compare highly rated in network doctors near you and instantly book appointments with them online. Once you find the doc you want, you can book them immediately. No more waiting awkwardly on hold with a receptionist. And these docs all have verified reviews from actual real patients. I know. The next time I need a doctor, I'm definitely logging on to zocdoc. Go to Bunny Bunnie and download the Zocdoc app for free. Then find and book a top rated doctor today. That's Bunny Bunnie, Zocdoc combunny.


So yes, first of all, prior to them getting arrested, let's go all the way back.


Let's go back to you just being born into this.


So you were raised where in Brooklyn and Staten Island? I lived in Brooklyn till I was eight years old. Then we moved to Staten island.


Yeah. I'm looking at my notes, so if you see me looking down, I literally have a shit ton of notes for you. So you were raised in Brooklyn and Staten island.




And take me on that. Know. Your dad was a hustler. He wasn't always a gangster, correct?


No, he pretty much started in the mob at a very young. So I want to say, like, Brooklyn and Staten island is kind of like the breeding ground for the mafia. And my father grew know intrigued with that lifestyle. My grandfather came over from Sicily, and he was on the opposite side of the street. My grandfather was a legitimate guy, and the men on the other side of the street, there was always respect. And the way my grandfather respected know. My father was always intrigued. And my father know, how do you know this one particular guy that my grandfather knew back from Sicily, and he said, he's a bad guy, but he's one of our bad. Know, he's good to us. So that always stuck in my father's head because he's know, what did he mean by that? But the mafia took care of their communities, they took care of their own. And that's really what Kozanosha. I mean, I can get deep with you, but let's get deep, because I.


Got tons of shit in here.


Cozanosha is this thing of ours. And what it is is the mafia actually protected and policed their own communities. Like, back in the day, if someone couldn't come in a community and hurt a little kid or rape a girl, you're going to get killed. The mafia protected their own, which I.


Feel like they should do to this day, because people who hurt children need to fucking be not on the streets.


Yeah, they didn't go to the police. They went to the mafia. And when it came, you know, kind of migrated to New York. And Sicilians, they were immigrants, they were trying to make money. So the mafia started rackets, like where they got into the garment industries, the construction industry. And it really was about their own communities and benefiting themselves. And when you become part of that lifestyle, you understand if you betray that lifestyle, death is the. That's the answer. That's what happens if you betray that lifestyle. So that's what Kozanosha is. It's a community of men that came together to be able to provide for their families through crimes or whatever, but you're supposed to always be loyal to that lifestyle. And if you're not, it's death is the penalty. So my father was intrigued with it from a young age. He was in a young group called the Rampers, which eventually it was like a farm team for the mob. And then he graduated and became a male member. Yeah, he committed a murder when he was from. It was a hit from a gangster. And that's how my father made his bones in the mob, literally.


And was then created to be a made man. And he was made, I think, the year that I was born, which was 1972 or right around there.


Yeah, I think I have it in my notes. Yeah, let me put my bifocals on. Hold on. Yeah, keep going, though.


So once you're a made man, it's like 19, 76, 76. He got made. Or maybe that murder was around the time I was born.


That's where it says Castellano inducted Sammy into the mob.


Yeah. So it was right around when I was born. He loved. He felt like he was part of a brotherhood. It was a community they took care of. Everything that he believed in was.




And he lived it. It didn't matter. If your family becomes second to OSHA, that's your first family. And my father was a very loyal soldier. He was very respected. He was a very powerful person within that lifestyle. He had a huge hit team. And at the same time, Gotti was kind of growing in Hindus ranks, but he was more from. And I know it's all New York, but back then, it's like worlds apart. My father was from Brooklyn, and he was from Queens. So I guess when they kind of met each other, they both had respect and how the whole Gotti administration. So my father was from Brooklyn with this guy, Frankie Dicico, who was another very powerful person within the mob, and they were very much into construction. So Paul Castellano was a construction guy.


And is that what you believed, that your dad was like you didn't know that your dad was in the mob?


I didn't know what the mob was. I kind of felt like we were different, but I just didn't know because so many people around me were the same, like my cousins. And you're going to interview Ramona later. Her family. It's like we all grew up in that lifestyle. We would go to school with other people and realize that we're different. But I never felt like I was an outsider because I had a whole community that was the same as us.




And they were very close knit. So my father was very big into construction. He could have probably been a huge construction person and owns a big construction if he didn't do the mob stuff. But, yeah, that's his thing, was construction. He made a lot of money.


So growing up in that, of course, you as his daughter, get the perks. When did you finally start thinking to yourself, like, something's not right here? I don't even know if saying not right is the thing. Or, like, hey. Or kind of like learning that your dad was in the mob?


I was a daddy's girl, right? So I was always intrigued with him. And I remember one night, I wanted to sleep at my friend's house, and my mother was like, no, you're sleeping home. Whatever. And I remember my father had come home, and he was doing something in the room. He was, like, very running around, and he had left. And that night, I had said to my mother, can I sleep out? And she was like, no, I want you home. And then the next morning, I see on the paper that the nightclub that my father owned, the person was killed in the club.


Frank Fiala.


Yes. And then I remember.


Did I say it right?


Yeah. So I'm reading it, and I remember hearing prior that my father was having issues with the guy through a dinner conversation. He was saying something to my uncle. And then I looked at the paper, and he's dead. And I'm like, wait, my father have anything to do with that? And then here comes dad in the kitchen cooking. Hey, girl, you need anything? It's like, no, he couldn't have. And I was so young. You don't ever look at your parent like they could be a bad person, right? Especially someone that truly takes care of you and loves you and protects you.


That's a mind fuck, almost, in some sort of way, because you get to see the loving human that he is, and that's dad. And then in the papers and on the streets, it's like he's this, right?




He's forced to be reckoned with.


So for a minute, I thought about it, but I was so young, I never thought of it again. And then I had gone to a school. It was like the school on the hill in Staten island called Staten Island Academy. And I remember going over my friend's house, which she lived, like, diagonal from Paul Castellano. And I was to Paul Castellano's house with my father just in the car a couple of times. And the girl said. I said, I think my father's friend lives over here somewhere. And she goes, oh, not that house. A big gangster lives there. And I'm like, a gangster? What's that? And in my head, and she's like, I don't know. My father says that we shouldn't go buy that house. A gangster lives there. And I'm like, well, maybe if that guy's a gangster, then my father could be a gangster, and we could live in a big house. Like, I'm a child, and this is what I'm thinking. I didn't think of it as a bad thing, but when Paul Castellano was killed, I knew. I knew my father was involved in that.


So let's get into that. So after the whole thing with Frank Fiala, I guess what had happened was Frank disrespected Sammy over a business deal, and that's when Sammy took him out. And after that, him and Gotti kind of teamed up to take out Paul Castellano. Correct.


So after that hit, Paul Castellano was going through some stuff. What happened was, Gotti's crew was being investigated for drugs. So it's a whole thing that's like a code in the mafia. You cannot sell drugs because that now triggers DEA. It's a whole different.


Because, like, movies glamorize mobsters as being drug dealers, pretty much. It's.


It's a very big no no in the mob. Like, you're not supposed to be involved in that. So John Gotti's brother and someone else in his crew got arrested for heroin trafficking. But the problem was, when they got the bugs and the search warrants on Gotti's crew, one of the bugs picked up Angelo Rogerio, who was John Gotti's right hand man, talking about the mob. And he basically broke down the whole entire Cozanosha. He explained it. He said who the boss was. He explained that there's five families. So the FBI had this on tape, and Paul Castellano was so infuriated that these tapes came out that he wanted them, and Gotti kept refusing to turn them over. So by Gotti not turning them over, Paul's either going to kill him or he's going to shelf him, which means dismantle his whole crew. He's not going to have any power in the mob. He would be shunned. So John had an incentive to want to kill Paul Castellano. But he knew he couldn't do it without my father and Frankie Dicho, because they were the true powerhouse hit teams in the mob. So my father and Frankie at the time were going through their own separate thing with John because they felt that he was not trickling down the money.


I mean, with Paul at the time, Frankie Dicho, my father, were having their own issues with Paul because they felt he wasn't trickling the money down to his own family. Him and Chin, which was another boss of the genovese family, were kind of getting rich up top, and Paul wanted to be a businessman, so they were going through their own things. And Angela Rogerio had reached out to my father and said, listen, we want to take out Paul. And my father's like, who's we? And he's like, me and John Gotti. And my father's like, well, why isn't John here talking to me? He's sending you. So it kind of, like, started then, but Frankie Dicho was like, sammy, listen, John has an ego. He's out there. He wants to be somebody, and he's.


Always in the limelight.


He's in the. Yes.




So he said, let's take out Paul because it'll be beneficial for us and let John be the boss. He has an ego. We don't want to go to war with him. We're going to go to war with all the old timers, and we're doing an unsanctioned hit in the mafia. You have to get it sanctioned, which means you have to get the approvals of other families. So they just did the hit. And he was like, we're going to always have to watch our back. So let John do what he does, and we'll be in the background six months from now, if we can't control him, we'll take him out. And six months from the time that they did the Castellano hit, Frankie DiCicco, who was like a brother to my father, he got blown up in a car outside a cafe in Brooklyn. So while all this was going on, this is like, I'm seeing this. This is like, now it's really playing out. Like, I get it. My father's in the mob, and this isn't just construction or how are you feeling, though?


That's got to be, like, such a heavy feeling of taking on the father's responsibilities, I guess, because, you know, as daughters, we kind of like.




It's like, we want to praise our dads, but at the same time, it's like, was it cool to you that what he was doing? Or were you kind of like, oh, my God, how did you feel?


So when I was home and I rested my head on my pillow at night, I was nervous. I thought about him possibly getting killed at that particular time. I mean, I hate to say it like, this. But there were bodies dropping all over, so that was on my mind. But in the neighborhood that I grew up in, everybody loved it. I was looked at as the mafia princess. Oh, this is Sammy's daughter. Oh, don't worry. You don't have to pay a tab. Oh, you want to get rims on your car. Don't worry.


So it was like a catch 22.


It was a catch 22. And I always say this, in Brooklyn and Staten island, in the that whole era, it was like being Sammy the bull and John Gotti was bigger than being Brad Pitt in Hollywood. Like, the respect.


They're notorious.


Yes. And it's not just coming from old women. And that's the thing about the mob. It's so family oriented, and it brings it back to Kozanosha. Right. It's this thing of ours and how they protect the families in the communities. Like, old ladies would be like, sammy, how are you? I bought you this. So I'm like, how could he be such a bad guy and get so much respect?




And it's not just fear, because I've seen times where people fear him, but it was truly genuine love and respect.


I feel like your dad only acted out when he had to, when it was like survival of the fittest.




I don't feel like he just went around capping people for no reason. No, he wasn't. Do a drive by.


Absolutely not. That is something that the mob don't do. It's rules and regulations, and if you violate those rules and regulations, you die. And that's an oath that all those men take and they understand. And my father will even say it till today, so be it. If that's my faith, then that's what I signed up for.




I mean, he was actually a very good hitman. It's crazy to say, but he was actually. So he knows that. I mean, there was a hit that came to Arizona for us.




And they were seconds away. And then simultaneously, we were being followed by the Phoenix PD, and we were under an investigation for being a drug cartel.


Yeah, we're going to get to that. We're going to get to that.


There was a hit put on us, and they did come to Arizona.


Yeah. There's so much. There's so many layers. Okay, so tell me about the time that your dad pulled a gun on you for sneaking out.


So as kids, we always would sneak out and go hang out at the schoolyard, because all the other everybody had. They could be out to whatever hours, but us, we had to be home and my father built me a beautiful house there. He made my bedroom upstairs. I had my own bathroom, a sitting area, just because he wanted my friends to come over, be comfortable. But you're not going to be in the schoolyard. But he didn't stop us. We were out every night, and one night, Ramona and her sister, we went to the schoolyard. We were coming home, and we would climb up the roof and go into my bedroom, would enter into the bathroom of my bedroom and then go into the room. And as soon as we all climbed through the bathroom window, and I opened the door, and my father was standing right there with a gun. And I was like, I don't know why, but I remember it so clearly. I'm like, dad, hi. And I have my hands up, and he's still holding the gun. And I'm like, I just went to Miggy's. Do you want a sandwich? Miggy's is, like a deli down the block from my house.


I'm like, do you want a sandwich? And he looked at me, and he said, do you see this? And I'm like, mm hmm. He's like, do you know how close you just came to getting killed? I'm like, mm hmm. And he just slammed the door in my face.


He was probably so furious because he accidentally pulled the gun on his daughter. Could you imagine the trauma? Your trauma also, but the trauma that your dad has from all the shit he's been through.


So, in retrospect now, going back, it's like they were dropping bodies left and right, so he doesn't know, and he hears people running up on the roof. He could have accidentally killed me. And some of my mother said, just from sneaking out. Yeah. My mother was like, your father's so upset, he almost killed you. But thank God he didn't.


I'm totally glad that you're still here.


Me too.


So, moving on from the Castellano hit, I'm just trying to paint a picture here of all the shit that you've had to go through with your family so that people can really wrap their head around it. And my listeners know Gotti started bringing too much attention, and your dad started disagreeing with it. The FBI built a case, and then your dad had to go on the lamb for a little bit.




Can we dive into, like, how does that make you feel as a daughter, knowing that your dad has to go into hiding?


So I remember it too. My cousin had a confirmation party. We were all there, and I was having a good time. And my father said, when we go home, Morgan. I have to talk to you guys. And I remember driving home in the car. He said, go upstairs, get dressed, get changed out of your clothes, and come back down. And I came downstairs, and he's like, I'm going to go away. And I'm like, you're going to jail. He's like, no, I'm going to go away. He's like, I want you to know that I'm going to be okay, but I can't have any communication with you guys for a while. And if you need know, ask big Louie, your uncle Eddie. Like, you can pass messages, but I can't talk to know. And I'm like, okay. He's like, you may hear things. I might be dead. Just know if you need to hear anything or you want to pass a message to know, go through your uncle. And it was just so weird because there was probably so many things racing through my head, but I didn't ask. Nobody never told me. Everyone asked me. Like, you didn't ask questions your mother didn't ask?


No. We were just very calm. It was like we were going through the motions.


And this is what, it was normal for you? It was normal chaos. That's traumatic, Karen.


So he left because they got a tip that the Gotti indictment was coming down and my father was going to be pulled in. And John felt that if my father left, they wouldn't be able to indict them. It would screw up the case. But I think he also maybe subconsciously knew. Maybe he talked too much and that those tapes were a lot of him talking about my father. I don't know. He's not here to speak on it, but he just felt that my father, being gone, would be able to screw up the indictment. So my father went on the lamb for a couple of months or whatever. I don't remember exactly how long it was, and he just said it was just too much. Like he couldn't communicate. They were following us. Like, literally, I was going to school.


Who's they?


The FBI. So I was going to school and I'd turn and there'd be the FBI. It was like, to the point where I'd be like, oh, hey, you guys want coffee or anything?


So you ever become friendly with any of the FBI agents because they were just following you so much? Or cordial? Not friendly, but cordial.


No. I would see them. No. And actually, there was a time where they kidnapped me and brought me to Quantico, which was FBI headquarters, when my father did cooperate. And I was like, I hope we all die in this plane. My mother's like, just shut up. I was a typical teenager, but I thought it got to the point where I almost thought, if I died, my father wouldn't cooperate. That's how bad I didn't want him to do. Like, that's how much I didn't understand. And I literally would be like, if something just happens to us, especially me, he won't go through with it. And I found out later through George Gabriel actually was an FBI agent who did an interview, and I was watching it on TV, and he said Sammy almost stopped his whole deal because of Karen. And I didn't know that because I was so against it. I really couldn't fathom that even happening. It's still something that I struggle with today. It took me a long time to be able to get to understand.


And for those at home that are listening, why was it so hard for you to understand and why? I understand why, but maybe people who haven't ever really known about the mafia.


Lifestyle, ratting is the ultimate betrayal, right? You should die before you rat. And that's what even my brother and me would have fights in the house, and we'd get in trouble for telling on each. Like, that's how serious it was. So my father to do that, I couldn't understand, because that's so not who he know. He faced murder trials know, and he later told me, and if you ever sat down with him, he'll tell you the same thing. He struggles with it. Maybe he should have killed John in jail. And I believed that for a long time.


Would he still be in prison had he not, he would have got life.


And it wasn't even about life. I think my father, at that point was the betrayal. He couldn't just take it.


He was hurt, and he felt disrespected. So let's circle back to that. How did you find out that your dad was going to? Because we spoke about this earlier on in the podcast, was that Gotti was pretty much turning on your dad, and your dad kept warning him and was like, hey, man, this is not how it happened. Trying to separate the trials and then heard the tapes, and then that's when your dad decided to do what he did. How did you learn about that?


So, originally, my father was in jail for a year. He was going to fight the was, but it became the lawyers reached out to my father through my uncle and said, john's controlling the defense. The lawyer told him that John doesn't want the lawyer to be able to have a lawyer client meeting without John being present. He wants to know everything that goes on. The lawyer also felt that if he didn't obey John's rules, John would kill him. And then the lawyer felt if he double crossed my father, my father would kill him. So he was in a kind of like a catch, too. But he did tell my father. And at the know, John was like, well, these tapes. If you ever listen to the Gotti tapes, it's pretty much John saying, well, I lost control of Sammy the bull. He killed this guy and took over this business. He killed this guy and took over that business. But my father is very loyal to OSHA, and he didn't kill anyone unless it came orders from the boss.


So he was just trying to pass it off on, take full responsibility.


He was in a conversation at the ravenite social club in the apartment upstairs with Frankie Lacasio, who passed away. He was the third person that was arrested in that whole Gotti thing, and he was ranting and raving about my father. And if you listen to the full tape, Frankie says, sammy's downstairs. John, he's not like that. If you have a problem with him, talk to him, tell him to take it in. But he's right downstairs. I'm telling you, you're know, but John just kept over talking him, and he's like, he's got construction. He killed DB. He killed this. So do you think he was building.


The case with the feds because he knew that the room was.


My. When this first happened, I thought maybe, and I like to tell myself that because I was like, oh, he set my father up. I don't just. I just believe that what? Prior to that happening, the feds came to John Gotti, and they told him, there's a hit out. Chin and Gaspipe, which are other very powerful mobsters, put a hit out because of the Castellano hit. So the feds told John. They tipped him off, but the chin and Gaspipe actually came to my father, and they said, john's too flashy. He's bringing attention to this lifestyle. We're going to take him out, and we want you to be the boss. My father shook hands with Gaspipe, who's a very notorious, powerful person.


How does he get that nickname?


I don't know. I would love to know that.


Who came up with that nickname?


I know they have all these weird nicknames, wild. And he told gas, we're on opposite ends in the war now. And he went directly to John and said, listen, there's a hit on you. The feds had just told him. So he's like, how do you know that? And he's like, they came to me, they want me to take you out and whatever, but let's strap up and let's just go to war with them. John didn't look at that as this man is so loyal to me. He looked at it as jealousy and that my father could possibly have more power. So it kind of caused the riff. So what I believe in my heart was because of that John was threatened by my father and his ego. So he was setting my father up to get killed because my father could have been his rival. You know what I mean? It could have been the person that could have took over. He was the only other powerful one that could have taken him down. So I believe that he was setting him up in that conversation, and he was trying to get Frankie in that apartment that night while the FBI was recording it, to agree with him that my father's greedy, we should kill him.


But Frankie wasn't biting. And he's saying, sammy's not like that. I'm telling you, he's loyal to you. Just bring him up here. So once they had that tape, that was the crumble of the Sammy the bull John Gotti relationship, because, and the government was very strategic. They played the tapes in court, and then they locked them in the same cell. They had to go. So of know, my father's fuming. John's like, oh, I was just blowing off steam. And my father's like, oh, blowing off steam. But now I'm facing a life sentence, and now you're telling me I can't defend myself because I'm indicted on murders because of you. And this is known fact. You can go back and do all the research. They have thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of surveillance and bugs that were put on my father. And not one person was ever indicted. Nobody ever got in trouble, nor has he ever badmouthed. Think, you know, John knew at that point, my father and my father said, I did plan on killing him. I was going to wait until we got out. I love your know, I was just.


Going to take him out.


So initially, he thought of doing it in jail. And I think I asked him, I'm like, why didn't you just stay true to who you were? Why didn't you just kill him? And he just said, I just broke. Honestly, I just felt betrayed by a brother. I started thinking of the life. Like, my mother's brother was killed because of that lifestyle. Everything that has happened and just seeing everything. He was like, I was just done. I just threw in the towel, and that was my way out.


So how did you feel when your dad sat you down and told you? You talked about being on the plane and saying that you hope the plane went down and stuff like that. But did you ever tell your dad how you felt?


So originally, before they even took me on the plane, it was about a week before the news came out that he was going to flip. Mind you, I'm 19 years old at this time, and you don't like all the details. I have no idea. I'm just finding this out. The things that I believed in my head, I'm starting to read in the newspaper. But me and my father never had a conversation, even him being in jail. It was more like, hey, how are you doing? We never talked about criminal stuff or anything. His case, we were just there to visit him. So he calls me up to the MCC for a visit, and he comes out, and his whole demeanor was just different. My father's like, the world can be crumbling down. He's like, we got this. We're going to stand tall. We're going to be together. And he came out, and he just looked me in the eyes and he said, I'm going to do something that goes against everything that I believe in and everything that I've ever taught you to believe in. And when he said that, I just knew. I was like, there's no way he's going to tell me this right now.


He said, I'm going to cooperate with the government. And I said, you're going to rat at. And my uncle was there. And my uncle was actually the one that told my father that he should do this. Brought the messages from the lawyer. And my father had a lot of money out on the streets, and he was the one that was going to go collect all the money. And my uncle, I have all cousins there, we were all going to leave together as a family. And I remember saying, you're going to rat? And my father, I think, was, like, taken back. He just looked at me and my uncle goes, watch your mouth. And my father's like, no, let her talk. And I said, this is what you're going to do. You're going to leave me and mommy and whatever. And he's like, you're not going to understand. Maybe someday you will, but you don't understand this life. And I'm like, no, I don't understand this, and I never will. And I got up, and when I got up, I started walking to the door, and I came, sat back down. It was short lived, the visit.


We left, and we were driving back to Staten island, and picture, like, I'm this mob princess. I go visit my father in jail, whatever, and in my head, I'm like, the only thing I could think of. Everyone's going to turn on me. What's going to happen? Are we going to get killed? Ramona, who I'm with every single day till today, her family is in that lifestyle. Who do I trust? And my uncle. I get to the house, it's maybe a 45 minutes drive, and my mother gets out of the car, and my uncle goes, come here, let me tell you something. I said, why? He goes, you can never say, whatever happened in that room, they'll kill you, they'll kill your mother, they'll kill your brother. I'm like, I don't even care. And he said, no, you should care, even if you don't care about yourself. I'm 19, remember? This is like, yeah. He's like, care about your brother. Care about your mother. You can't say that. You don't understand this life. So, of course I don't want anything to happen to anyone. I go in the house, and as soon as we walked in, my mother said, listen.


I said, I'll never go in the witness protection program. I will never go with you guys. And she said, I will never go. I will stand here with you. We're together. It's me, you and your brother. So as that happened, I know you're going to cry, but as that happened, I was like, that whole week, I'm like, I'm not going. There's no way. And she's like, you don't have to. We're here. That's it. That's all you had to say? And she told my father, we're not going with you. That's it. It's done. I was never part of your mob decisions when you did stuff in the street. And I'm not going to be part of this now. I'm going to raise my kids, and I'm going to stand on my own. My father's like, you have a ton of whatever. I guess my father called it off. Like, he told the government, like, I don't care. I'm not doing it. They're like, you can't go back into MCC now. They're going to kill you. He's like, I don't care. So the government now says, we have to get Karen here. I'm a 19 year old.


I didn't know I was this instrumental in this. And if I would have known, trust me, I would have probably stopped it. But I didn't know what was happening at the time. So I guess my mother agreed to. He said, I want to see her one time. So she agreed, and I went to the Woodbridge heart. Yeah, I went to the Woodbridge mall, and all of a sudden I go to get out of the car, and here come these agents. They're like, hi, Karen. I'm like, I thought it was. It. I thought I was getting kidnapped. I was.


Like, you don't have post traumatic stress disorder. Do you have ptsd?


So, no, I really don't. My brother deals with some stuff. Like, he know he has more stuff about what happened in Arizona because he holds a lot of guilt about the whole ecstasy thing and the whole family getting arrested. And that's really where we lost everything.


We're going to get to that, too. Yeah, the agents came.


So the agents came. They took us on a plane.


No, the agents came to the mall because your dad wanted to see you one last time. Oh, and that's when they took you on the plane. Okay.


I agreed to get in the car. I was like, just one time.


So they just take you and leave your ship where it's at?


Well, they took us. We pulled up and we got in the car, and we went into, like, a private jet. And they took us to Quantico, which is, like FBI headquarters. It's kind of, like, cliche, because when we got there, they had, like, canolies and italian bread and mozzarella, and I'm like, what is this italian feast? I think my father's like, yeah, they overdid it. They were, like, trying to make you happy. Like, whatever, I guess. So they have this whole italian feast out, and he's like, what do you want? And I. I want to know the truth. Like, why are you doing this? And we sat there for hours, and he explained it. Still, I didn't really comprehend it. And he's like, but you don't have to come. And he's like, bias. I'm always going to love you, and I'm always going to be here. And I'm like, I'll always love you, too, but I'm not going. In the witness protection program, we agreed to love each other, but I wasn't. And I was like, okay. So he's like, I'm just going to let you know that some things are going to come out.


And I'm like, okay, like what? He's like, you're like, murder, okay? He's like, yeah, I was involved in murder. And I'm like, that man when I was a kid and you left the house at the nightclub, he's like, and Paul Castellano, he's like, and, like, 17 other ones. I'm like, 17. I didn't really. I mean, I'm not laughing because people did laugh. I didn't think it was going to be that much. And there was a murder that was involved. My mother's brother. So we, as a family, have to accept that and understand, and it made me have to really dig deep inside. I couldn't be angry at just one murder when there was all these others. And, like, what is this lifestyle?




So from the time I left that visit, and then I get home, right? So we leave that visit, and the news broke that he was going to cooperate. We're driving, and it wasn't supposed to break yet, and it's literally on 1010 news and all. I'm like, every station is like, the underboss, the most powerful organized crime family cooperated. I'm like, no, change the station. I'm like, we get to the house, and the whole house is surrounded by news media. And I'm like, we go inside, and of course my father's people come over, and my uncle, who was in that conversation, is, like, there with them, and he's playing this whole role, like, he wasn't involved. And none of us knew that that conversation, he's acting, like, never took place. And they're like, we're going to give you cyanide, and you're going to go take this to your father, and you're going to tell him to take himself out. They don't know that I just came from visiting him. So I'm like, they're telling you this? Yeah.


That is so hurtful and traumatic to say that to somebody's daughter.


Yeah. And that's the fact. My father had called. I just started crying. I'm like, you have to take yourself out. You can't do. Can't. And he said that he knew where it was coming from because he's like, who's there? I'm like, john Gotti, Jr. Uncle Eddie, this one, that one. He said, I hung the phone up, and I just said, what did, like, here's my family in a house with people that are just. She trusted them, like, a day. Like, these were people that would die for her, and now they're telling her to go kill her. Just. He said, what did I fucking do. And he said, I hung the phone up. He said, I looked at myself in the mirror. He goes, it was my weakest moment. But I said, sammy, you have to go all the way know. And that's when he did know. The feds came. And the rest is history. The trial, the whole nine. But it was crazy during all this.


How is Karen feeling? Are you angry? Are you sad?


So angry.




And everybody is what I thought. So here's all my nobody was. They were told, you're not allowed to go to her house. She's not allowed here. I'm 19, so I was shunned. So what do I want to do? I want to act out, and I want to be bad.


That's how I.


Because if I'm bad, maybe these people will accept me again and they won't think what my father did. So what did I do? Sold drugs, dated bad boys, home invasions. It was a bunch of stuff that was out of my character, but I just acted so like, you were traumatized.


And you had a voice, but you.


Didn'T really have a choice.


So it was like you just went balls to the wall, acted out, out of rebellion. I mean, rightfully so. Because you didn't ask for all this.


No. And it was even people. I didn't trust anybody italian to be around them.


Were you scared to death to go anywhere? Or did you ever feel like somebody was going to take you out because of everything that had happened?


Yeah, I did. Especially when the hit came and the government came and told my father there was a hit. My brother was 15 or 16 years old, but my outlet was. Well, first of all, I went to a whole other. Then I started hanging out with gangs in Coney Island. I stayed away from Italians. I really positioned myself. I was like, no more mob. Now I'm into drug dealing and stuff.


But you're like, no more mobsters. I'm just going to go to drug lords.


Yes, it's kind of how it happened. Yeah. I mean, I always thought about it, but it's just I couldn't. I lived my life, took some ecstasy, went to clubs. Just got to have kind of a.


Childhood and just learned from your mistakes. So when did you decide to go back out to Arizona to reunite with your dad? Is that what happened?






So my father had. I was here and I had a weed service, and things started getting crazy. That was a whole other thing. People were getting robbed, shootings. This.


I was like, this is before weed was legal, too, right?




How did you have a fucking weed service? Marijuana everywhere now, too. You were, like, before your time.


Yeah, I can sit here and ramble off every person we delivered to, but I'm talking, like, not even rappers, actresses, models. There was lawyers and judges. It was just so. But it started escalating. And I remember one time I went to the source magazine, and my dealer name was Gina. I would go in and act, and this was before my father was in the newspaper, mind you, all the time. But I would just go by a whole other name. So I was talking to the guy.


What was your other name?


That you would go, Gina.


Gina. Okay, gotcha.


So I'm talking to this guy who believed my name was Gina. I used to sell him weed for, like, months, and he worked at the source magazine, and he used to give us tickets to events. So he says, hey, what are you going to do tonight? And I go, I don't know. Probably nothing. He's like, well, here, Karen, here's some tickets. So I go, oh, thank you. And I caught it. But I was like, wait, did he say. But I was like, did he say Karen? Did he not say Karen? Whatever. So I get up, and I go to leave, and he's like, all right, miss Gravano. I'll see you later. So I stop, and I look, and he goes, everyone knows who you are. He's like, your father's in the newspaper every day. He's like, and I heard a situation happen at a club where you guys were involved, and there was, like, some mess happened. He goes, listen, if some shit goes down, you're going to be the full guy or the full girl. It's going to be a problem. He's like, you seem so different, like, intelligent and stuff. Why don't you just do something legitimate?


And I'm like, why don't I? Because I could, right? I don't know. I'm like, why am I doing this?


Isn't that crazy how you could be, like, living a certain lifestyle, and one person can say something to you, and you're just like. It's like an epiphany. Like a light bulb goes off, and you're like, you know what, motherfucker? You're right.


Yeah. So I'm like, let me go to Arizona. I want to go to skin school. I'm going to start something totally different. And my father had just gotten out of prison.


Had you talked to your dad in between here? Did he know?


Yeah, he didn't know all the stuff that was happening, that I was doing, but he would get bits. And actually, while I was with Lee. We were living in the house. He said the FBI came one day, and they're like, listen, your daughter's going to have a big problem. They're about to raid her house. And he's like, for what? And he's like, bank robbery. And he's like, at least she graduated from petty larceny. My father's a jokester, but it was starting to es. He kind of knew I was rebelling and doing stuff. So when it came out, we just had a coming to the life moment, and we had a whole conversation. He described everything and really got into detail. And he's like, I just want a different life for you guys. I just want you to have kids and never have to look over your shoulder. And we had that whole conversation. And I agreed to come to Arizona, and I was pregnant when I came. When I came back. Yeah.


How old were you?


26 when I got pregnant. It was, like, around there.


And Lee is not the father?


No. Okay.




He is not the father.


He is not the father?




Okay. Do you want to talk about your baby daddy?


Yeah. Okay. I met Karina's father, so that was a whole other thing because my daughter's biracial, so her dad is black, Cuban, and Puerto Rican. And that was for me. After everything that happened, I just wasn't attracted to italian men anymore. I just didn't know who to trust rightfully. So. Yeah, it just was like, you've been through some shit. So when I had met her dad, it was like, he's it. Her dad's a great guy. We're like the best of friends now, still. And, yeah, I didn't know how that was going to be. My father. In the lifestyle that I grew up in, it's usually like, you date your family, meets the person, and here I am. I'm pregnant.


Where'd you meet him up?


I met him at the China club in New York City. He was actually with Jam Master J, which is from, like, run DMC. And I was doing OGs know? Yeah. And I was doing my weed thing, and I see them all come in, and my Jennifer's like, they look like they smoke weed. So I walk over and, like, give them some weed. I'm like, hey, if you want more of that, hit me up. He's like, it's Gina. My number's on the card. So for, like, the first two weeks.


I'm only calling you Gina.


The first two weeks that we kind of dated, he thought I was Gina.


He had no idea who you were?


No, because back then, even with Sammy.


The bull, the name was more notorious in the face.


The face. It wasn't especially, like, in Staten island. Everyone knew who I was. But here I'm going all the way to Queens, and it's, like, a world away. So I had gone, and it was. My father was on the front page of the newspaper, and I'm like, in the deli? And he's, like, picking it up, and he's reading it and stuff. And we get in the car, he has the newspaper sitting right there. And I'm like, I have something to tell you. And he's like, my name's not Gina. And he's like, who are you then? And then he's like. And he's laughing. I'm like, no, it's really not, Gina. And he's like, well, what's your name, then? I'm like, Karen. And he's like, so why would you tell me, Gina? I'm like, I pulled the paper over. I'm like, that's my dad. He's like, okay, it was funny.


Was he bothered by it at all?


No, but I think he was just in whole. But no, he was just like, whatever. It is what it is. I love that. Yeah, you deserve that. Yeah. Then Dave and I moved to Arizona.


Dave? Yeah, Dave, Karina's dad. Okay, awesome.


We moved to Arizona, and we rekindled my know back.


Like, seeing your dad after not seeing him for so long, it was just.


Like we didn't miss a beat. And my father's such, like, a businessman. He's like a hustler. So I always admired that about him, and I think that I took that away as well. Excuse me, but I feel like he had a pool company. He was already doing construction. He was building apartment complexes. So I'm like, okay, I kind of stepped in Arizona. Yeah, he already started all that. So when I had come out, that's what we were all getting into. He had a construction office, and my cousin's boyfriend started dabbling around with ecstasy. And, of course, ecstasy was huge back then.


Yes, it was the drug of.


So, you know, here I go is, I know people in New York where you can get it from, and it kind of just took on. It was like they had an investigation going on prior to the people who we dealt with, they were watching them. But when we kind of stepped in, it was a two month investigation, because they realized who my brother was and who my father was. They were able to make a case real quick. They didn't have anything on my father, really. But they had on my brother.


I feel like your dad is so smart. He never gets shit pinned on him unless it's other people getting him caught up.


That's exactly what happened. So when they arrested all of us, which is kind of crazy, and I learned a lot about the legal system, that's why I'm so into prison reform now and stuff. But they created this case, and they called it a universal case, which means they arrested my mother because they said she was the bankroller, because there was money kept in her house. My father, who they said was the boss, my daughter's father, who was the runner. Me, I was the go between Dave and my brother, and my brother was the muscle out there that really brought it all in. So they had a lot of evidence on my brother, and my father's like, fuck it, I'm going to trial. They don't have nothing. Even me, I had nothing. I'm literally charged with illegal use of an electronic communication and a drug transaction. Wow. I never had a crime before that, so I would have got a slap on the hand. But because my father, Sammy the bull, we were all facing major time. They did all this forfeiture, which is like, if they go in and say it's ill gotten gains, we now have to prove which they knew, which they knew where we got it.


I mean, my father, when he left New York after the whole mob thing or whatever, he had millions of dollars. We had houses, cars, restaurants, but they took it all, and they took my father, and they basically had everyone saying that Sammy was the boss. Meanwhile, he was bringing these kids in, the kid that my brother was dealing with, he came to my father, like, listen, I sold drugs or whatever. I got some money. I want to become legit. So my father brought him into the pool company, but they were still hustling and doing, you know, you're guilty by association. My father had the name, and it makes careers like, Janet Napolitano became the governor of Arizona after that. Then she went on to become the homeland security, the head of homeland security.


She took down Sammy the bull?




It's crazy.


So the whole case in Arizona, pretty much, they were like, listen, Sammy, you're an embarrassment. You got six years for 19 murders, and now you're out here selling ecstasy with your kids. We don't care what your involvement is. You take the fall because we have to redeem ourselves. And that's pretty much what happened in Arizona. A little bit more uncomplicated, but it's pretty much the gist of it. And my brother went to jail for nine and a half years. My daughter's father went to jail for nine and a half years, and me and my mother stayed home and raised the kids.


Dad. How long did dad go away for?


18 years. 18 years for that, they just threw the book at him, which anyone would have never got that, but here we are.


So what do you do after your brother's in jail, your dad's in jail, and you are left at home, and baby, daddy's in jail, and you are left at home with your mom to literally pick up the pieces with nothing left. Like, they wiped you guys out.


Thank God. I went to school to become an esthetician, and then I also, well, at the time, who's going to hire me, right? So my friend is like, she was dancing at the strip club, christie's cabaret. She's like, come into the club. I'm like, girl, I just had a kid. I'm fat, I'm chubby. There's no way I can dance. Or she, beautiful face. Thank you. She goes, no. Well, maybe you can come in and be a house mom. I'm like, she's like, just come in. We'll figure something out. There's money there. So I come in and I meet Warren, who's like, amazing. He's very big in that industry or whatever. He's like, come here, sweetheart. Let's talk. And I go in the room, and I'm like, just like. I came from New York, and the hustle is like, men are hustlers out there, right? And it's more organized crime, drugs, this. I walked into a whole world that.


Was like, women are the hustle.


Women and costumes. And I was like, what's happening here?


So he's like, honey, I'm home.


Yeah, literally. So he takes me in the office and he's like, listen, I know your story. I know everything. I'm like, yeah, I just want to be low key. He goes, well, I could hire you for the house mom. He's like, but I can't fire her right now. It'll be a transition. What do you do? I said, well, I know how to do skincare and stuff. He goes, what about makeup? I'm like, kinda, yeah. It's like, good, you're the new makeup artist. He goes, you're going to come in here and you're going to. I'll never forget this. He was like, you're going to make these women need you. And I looked at him and he goes, they're going to like you. But when they need you. You'll make money. I'm like, what does he mean by that? It took me a long time because I actually did go from the makeup artist to being the house mom, and I learned the whole flow of the club and how from the minute someone walks in that has money to calling the girls and the girls that don'tip stay longer on stage. And I kind of ran all that because I am.


It's in my nature, and I killed it. And I started working in the strip club, and when mob wives came calling, that's where I was working. We were actually going to try to film there and stuff, but everyone was like, no, we don't want cameras. Um, yeah, it's crazy. And it's just, honestly, the whole east coast is so different from the west coast.


Oh, for sure. I grew up on the west coast. Yes.


And you think because you're coming from the east coast, we're so fast and slick and we could talk circles around you guys and nobody.


Yeah. I grew up in that industry, so, I mean, I know nothing but women who get money, and it's just a different mindset. I feel like just west coast women are just trained to, like, from get. Just trained to go.


And some of my best friends are still from there. I remember when I first went into the club, the girl's like, she's one of my best friends. She was like, yeah, girl, don't worry, I got your back. She had just come back from the bunny ranch. And I'm like, she's like, yeah, I caught a case. I had to go out there and make ten racks real quick. And I'm like, that's a different lifestyle.


I never did the bunny ranch. That's a different lifestyle. Those girls out there. Those girls out there are just savages. I have the utmost respect for them because that's a whole different lifestyle. I couldn't. Too many rules. I'm like a renegade.


And I think, for me, the biggest thing that why I wrote my book, that's my baby. Like, mob wise was just. But my book was.


What's the name of your book?


It was called Mob daughter. It was a New York Times bestseller. Yes, baby. I was very proud of it. But for me, I just came to terms with everything in my life, like, who I am. You have to be responsible for your own choices. Like, I think I blamed my father, and then I was mad at this and just the way I acted out. And everybody goes through those emotions, but once you can kind of finally sit down and internalize who you are, that's when I was just like, okay. And I hate people that judge other people.




So my whole life, I've been judged. Oh, Sammy's daughter, she can't come. Don't put her on the show, or she did this or she said this on the show or she worked in a strip club. I when I finally came out on the reality show and I sat back one day, and I'm like, look at all these people on social media, like, sitting here just judging other people.


They must be such all they do.


Really lonely people in their lives, miserable. And it's just every day just made me come back stronger, and that's just. I wound up getting a deal after mob wives. I got a deal with the network. So I produced a show called Families of the Mafia. We did two seasons. They were going to come back for a third season. But my daughter's like, if you fucking associate me as a mob kid one more time, because my daughter is a hustler in her own right. She works in finance.


Crazy how it comes around full circle.


She's like, I don't want to be known as this mob grandkid. What are you going to be like? My kids. Kids are going to be like, the mom. My great great grandfather will be still doing shows. So we decided not to go with the third season, but I actually am working on a scripted show with them.


I'm excited for you. Have you ever gone to therapy?




You have never gone to therapy after all you've been through? Girl, you are a tough cookie, dude. Holy shit. And to be so well rounded, right? And do you suffer from anxiety or anything like that?


My daughter does, because my daughter was actually in the house when they arrested her father. Later on, he got rearrested, and she was also in the house when they arrested us. But she was a baby, and I don't think she could remember it, but I don't know if it trump. She's always had anxiety as a kid, and I'm like, her Xanax. She calls me. I always keep my phone close because when she needs, she'll like, what are you doing? I'm here. Okay, bye. She just has to hear my voice.


Do you ever feel like all of that's going to catch up to you one day, like, mentally and emotionally, or do you just always feel like you've always had to be the rock?


I feel like I always had to be the rock. And I'm not just saying this because you're here. Remember, I had told you so, my brother, I think everything that happened with the whole ecstasy thing, I think he holds a lot of guilt. So he comes out of prison, and he struggles with some mental health issues. And then one day, me and him, we were having a heart to heart. And I'm like, I'm always the rock for that. And then I'm sleeping. It's 03:00 in the morning, and he sends me this song. And I'm like, I told you. And I'm like, I can't see. I don't have my glasses. And I hear somebody save me. And I'm like, the fuck is this? And I'm listening and listening. And in New York, it's three hour difference. And I'm like, calling him. I'm calling. I actually sent the song to my father. My father's like, yeah, I know, jelly roll. What do you mean? He's like, I listen. I like the music.


My husband's going to love that. Sammy the bull knows who he is.


He's like, I love the music. So I'm like, no, but Gerard sent this to me. And I'm like. And I know this is. I'm not just saying it because I'm having this conversation, but I listened to this song, and it's like I kind of internalize with it. And I'm like, so when I finally got a hold of him, are you okay? And he's like, no. He's like, I watched a documentary on this guy. You don't know about him. And I'm like, no. I said, but could you have chose a different song? Like, I'm thinking something is going on with you.


Poor Karen.


And he's like, no, whatever. So I watched a documentary. It was great, by the way. But I think sometimes people find people that they could relate to. And maybe for my brother, whatever he was going through, he was like, no, I was just sending it to you because I liked it. I wanted you to see the documentary. I'm like, you could have put that in the thing.


Next time, send the fucking text with the song.


Yeah. I feel like even me being able to express myself on the show or talk about it, maybe that was my therapy. I think a lot of times being able to get it out where it's not like just your people. You could say it, and other people can hear it. You go through things, and sometimes writing books is a huge therapy for me. You don't understand it, but when someone else is like, thank you. I read your story. It was a struggle. I was going through a hard time. Might not be the same hard time I was going through or different situations. Working in the strip club, I met a lot of girls, and I think for a big thing with me, it was like, I was so angry. But everybody has a story. There's one that stands out in my head. This girl would work in there, and she was beautiful, and she would come in and just be like, a bitch, right? I was like, her. Like me and her. And I had makeup out one day, and she's just touching my stuff, and I'm like, you know, I buy that, right? You have to tip for it.


And she's like, flings it down. I'm like, oh, my God. Me and this girl one day are going to be rolling around the floor. So one day she's in the dressing room, and she's holding her head, and I'm like, what happened? And she's like, you feel this? And it was like a big bump in the head. Anyway, to make a long story short, she told me that her father had raped her and then hit her in the head with a thing, and it was just like. And I got it at that moment. I'm like, that's why you're so angry.


Oh, my God.


So everybody has a story, and everybody goes through their stuff, and sometimes just being able to sit down and talk about know.


Yeah, absolutely. Can we talk about your dad's.




And the only reason why I discovered this is because Ramona told me about.


And I went.


She thinks it's hilarious. I went and looked at it yesterday. He is fucking hilarious. What the hell is dad doing over there?


He's just having a ball.


Sammy the bull is on Instagram.


He's probably jealous. I'm here with you now, too.


Tell dad come on the show. I would love to have him. I just found out that he did a podcast with our homie, Brendan Chaub, and we love Brendan, so, yeah, tell him he's always welcome to come on the show.


Yeah, I'll tell him. Love it.


Yeah, I checked out his fucking Instagram, and I was like, this is fucking hilarious. Like, what a crazy world we live in and different times we live in, that he can have done everything that he did being an underboss and all this shit, to being kind of like a comedian on social media. Is that not crazy, how our parents get older and get weirder?


That's what I'm so cool and so weird now.


I'm just like, why couldn't you have been this guy back then?


My father has always been a jokester. He'll always make light. And I remember when my whole family got arrested, and we're in court, and we're, like, going to take our pleas, and I was just, like, blank. Like, I forgot everything. I'm scared. I get up there, they're like, how old are you? And I'm like, I couldn't even think how old I was. So I look back and my father goes, don't lie now. You're under oath. And I'm like, and the whole courtroom cracks up. And I'm like, he just always. But, yes, he's funny.


That is hilarious.




Well, what can we expect from you? What's Karen got cooking in the kitchen, man?


So I just opened a spa in Haslett, New Jersey. Body depot. We do body contouring facials. And remember, I went to school as an esthetician back in the day. So that has still stuck with me. Literally, like, there. I do the treatments. I love it. I love being there. And I'm also working in negotiations with Showtime right now for a show.


Hustling spirit girl. I love that about you. It's so admirable.


I do want to write a second book. I felt like people have asked me, and I just wasn't at a place where I felt like significant things happen in my life that I felt like I want to really?


You were at a place where you felt like significant things haven't happened in your life?


Well, prior I wrote one book. Now I have a couple more things that happened. Yeah, I'm actually helping someone get out of prison, turn over a life sentence, which is very important to me, like prison reform. So I've been working a lot on that because it's just a lot of stuff has gone on with that and, yeah, just waking up being me, just being calm.


This is your time to just really just shine and just. You went through so much chaos in the beginning of your life that I feel like this is your time to shine and just coast. You deserve that, dude.


Yeah. Thank you.


I appreciate you so much coming on this podcast, and I hope that people getting to hear your story now from your mouth and everybody, when they do the mob wife esthetic, like, it's cute and we all do it for views and stuff like that, but there's a real lifestyle behind that, and you definitely embrace it and embody it. And the fact that you've never had therapy fucking is mind blowing to me.


I get asked that and a lot of even, like, for me, I felt like, obviously, I'm really attached to that life. And when we did mob wives, they were, like I said, there's so much more to the lifestyle. And if you're really going to put me in a category with any woman, even though they don't like me, the Victoria Gotti's and the people that have struggled, trials, tribulations, because no matter whatever happened between our. I mean, we'll always be joined, whether we like each other or not. So I will always have a mutual respect for them in a way, because I understand, like, they lost their father, too.




There are really people out there that lost their parents, that lifestyle, whether it's dead or in prison, and it's not easy. So, for me, even when I got out there and everyone's like, mom, mob wives, they're making a mockery or they're doing this. And it was what it was, and it was definitely not intended for that. And I think when you really watched it, you understood that it was about women and their stories. But for all my other mob wife families out there or mob families out there, it is. And for you to say that, because it is a lifestyle and there's a lot more behind it than just a mob wife esthetic or movies, it's a lot. And it'll be with me forever. But it is who I am, and it's made me who I am, and that's why I will continue to be forever. Everything that is, whether it's the bad things or the good things, are sketched in my life and will make me always want to be able to talk to people or help anyone in a situation, because I understand that.


I love that. You're a strong ass bitch.


Thank you. So are you.


You don't have to compliment me back. You got to take your flowers.


No, because. Thank you. Thank you. But I also. Because I know, because Ramona said, oh, Bunny's doing homework on us. Let me do a little homework on Bunny here. But I admire everything that you've been through, too. And you're real, right? So even when we had that conversation on the phone before this, I was like. I felt like I was talking to one of my good friends. And to be able to sit down with people that understand, maybe it's a different lifestyle, but you went through your trials and tribulations, and we could sit here and have a real conversation. That's why you're doing so good. And I'm proud of you, too. I appreciate you so much.


That means a lot to me. And you're going to have to come back and visit me because I want you on the podcast anytime you have anything cool going on, just come. And this is your platform, and I'll always give it to you.


Thank you. And now that you said that Sammy will be watching, he's been like, dude, I'll shit my pants if Sammy the bull calls.


I'll be like, hello. I don't even know what I would say. I'd be so excited. I don't fangirl much over things, but I just feel like you and your family, you guys are a part of history, and there's a lot of people that are famous and stuff like that, but you guys are literally a part of american history. That's wild.


Yeah, it is.


So why don't you shout out all your social media so that people can find you websites for your business? All that jazz.


Okay, so Karen Gravano is. I'm on Instagram. And the Instagram for the Body depot is the body depot. The website for it is bodydeepot clinic. And that's my love. I love anything. Skincare. I love being there. I love kind of, like, building something from the ground. So, yes, that's my baby.


We're going to come visit you next time. We actually have some time. And we're in New York because we do come on tour and stuff like that. Or New Jersey. We're going to come and spend a day and we'll probably bring the cameras and stuff like that and just get some treatments.


Okay. Yeah. I got you, girl. I got you.


I think it'll be awesome.


Yeah. And then I'm working on something big, so look out for it. Hopefully it'll be on TV soon.


And again, thank you so much, Karen, for coming.


Thank you for having me.


Thank you guys so much for listening to another episode of Dumb Blonde.


I will see you guys next week. Bye.