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Thursday, August 7, 2008

The New York Post by STEFANIE COHEN, LARRY CELONA and KATI CORNELL - August 7, 2008

A former NYPD detective is under investigation by the FBI for his alleged role in a mob hit ordered by John "Junior" Gotti and is expected to face federal charges, The Post has learned. Besides ratting out his boyhood pal Gotti, mob turncoat John Alite fingered retired cop Phil Baroni, 56 for being in a getaway car and helping dispose of the body of coke pusher George Grosso, a source said. Grosso was shot in the back of the head on Dec. 20, 1988. At the time, Baroni was getting a generous disability pension from the NYPD."[They] just took him out of the car and dumped him on the side of the road" in Flushing Meadow Park, the source said. The murder is one of three rub- outs detailed in an indictment leveled against Gotti, 44, who was arrested Tuesday. Baroni joined the NYPD in 1975 and worked in the 104th Precinct in Queens. He was promoted to detective in 1985, and retired in 1986 - receiving three-quarters of his final salary - because of a back injury. 

The source remembers Baroni as "very cocky and "very explosive." He added, "He had a short fuse" and "no sense of humor." Baroni often worked out and lifted weights and considered himself "God's gift to women," according to the source. Messages left for Baroni were not returned, nor were calls to his wife. Sources said Baroni grew up with Gambino associate Alite, 45, in Queens, and the two later lived blocks from each other in Cherry Hill, NJ. Alite was best friends with Gotti when they were in their 20s, and is responsible for introducing Baroni to his mob-scion pal, other sources said. "He's a dirty cop. He was providing information to the family, dealing coke, doing armed robberies with other members of the family," another law-enforcement source said. And Baroni isn't the only cop the feds have eyed. A Suffolk County officer involved in the Grosso hit is also being probed, sources said.  Additional reporting by Philip Messing

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