Giuliani's family had mob ties, book says

By Timothy Williams, Associated Press, 7/7/2000

EW YORK - A biography of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says that several members of his family had ties to the mob and that his father fired a gun at a man during a Brooklyn shootout.

It also says the law-and-order mayor himself once slugged a guy who ogled his date.

The book, ''Rudy: An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani,'' was written by Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett and portions of it were printed in this week's Voice.

Those portions, released Monday, said Giuliani's father, Harold, pleaded guilty and served 18 months in prison for holding up a milkman at gunpoint in the 1930s, a decade before his son was born.

The 50 pages of excerpts released yesterday by the publisher, Basic Books, contain new allegations. But the book, which comes out next week, says there is no evidence the mayor himself had mob ties.

Giuliani, responding to the assertions, said his career as a federal prosecutor speaks for itself.

'' I'll stand on my record as having prosecuted or put in prison more members of the Mafia than probably any US attorney in history, having been threatened with death by them at least three times,'' the mayor said at a news conference.

''If that's not enough to remove the Mafia prejudice, then there's probably nothing you could do to remove it.''

When the first excerpts were released, Guiliani said his father, who died in 1981, ''was the most generous and kindest and most charitable man I ever knew.'' He also said his father's past died with him.

In the early 1960s, according to the book, Giuliani's father, uncle, and cousin took part in a gunfight on a Brooklyn street.

Barrett said the uncle, Leo D'Avanzo, was a mob-connected loanshark. He, his son Lewis, and the mayor's father were looking for a mobster with whom they were having a loansharking dispute, the book said. There apparently were no injuries in the ensuing exchange of gunfire, the book said.

A few years later, Lewis D'Avanzo was not so lucky. Barrett writes that he specialized in stolen vehicles and that FBI documents link him to several murders. He was killed by FBI agents in Brooklyn in 1977. At that time Rudolph Giuliani was an assistant US attorney in Manhattan and had not seen his cousin in years.

Another Giuliani cousin, Joan Ellen D'Avanzo, who was raised in the same house as Giuliani, became an addict and was beaten to death in 1973, according to the book.

Kathy Livermore, Giuliani's girlfriend during college, said her former steady once slugged someone in her defense. ''The guy either said something, or made a remark or whistled and Rudy just turned right around and punched him. His friends pulled him off the guy.''

Harold Giuliani died at age 73 of prostate cancer, the same disease that forced the mayor to drop his bid for US Senate this year against Hillary Rodham Clinton.