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Monday, July 15, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Mob Wife’ Says ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Stole Her Story

MANHATTAN (CN) - A former star of the hit VH1 reality show "Mob Wives" says the makers of "Grand Theft Auto V" used her likeness without permission and wants $40 million.

Karen Gravano sued Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. and Rockstar Games in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Though New York resident's seven-page complaint does not include any details about Gravano's past or the allegedly infringing character in the blockbuster video game, promotional materials for Gravano's 2012 memoir describe her as the daughter of Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, "once one of the mafia's most feared hit men."

"With nineteen confessed murders, the former Gambino Crime Family underboss - and John Gotti's right-hand man - is the highest ranking gangster ever to turn state's evidence and testify against members of his high-profile crime family," a description on Amazon continues.

In "Grand Theft Auto," players of the game meet a character named Antonia Bottino as she is about to be buried alive off a dirt road.

Bottino tells her rescuer that her father, Sammy but nicknamed Sonny, was the right-hand man of the man who "more or less ran the East Coast in the '80s and '90s."

"They tried to pin a murder charge on him in 2007 and we had to go into hiding, move out West," the character says. "One day you're living the good life, the next you're moving around safe houses in rat-hole hick towns where no one comes looking."

After saying there is nothing to hide about her "snitch" father anymore, Bottino says television producers courted her for a show called "Wise Bitches."

Gravano, the real-life mob daughter, claims that the use of her name, image and likeness is "utterly damaging."

"Notwithstanding the fact that plaintiff has the utmost respect for the writers and creators of the Grand Theft Auto V video game but her story is unique and is hers to tell not that of the writer in the video game," her complaint states.

Gravano, who starred in the first three seasons of Mob Wives, says she might have given her permission to use her likeness had the video game companies sought permission.

She claims that the video game companies used some aspects of her story that "are somewhat obscure to the average person."

"This has damaged plaintiff because the plaintiff is releasing a second book containing the parts of the not-so-known aspects of the story used by the defendant," the complaint states.

The complaint alleges "direct misappropriation" and a "bad faith" violation of New York Civil Rights Law. Gravano seeks $40 million in damages and is represented by Thomas Farinella.

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