Madonna mia! Mobster Al Capone, who died 62 years ago in his palace on Palm Island, has a gay grandson. So claims Chris Knight Capone, author of the memoir Son of Scarface, who has been staying at the notorious gangster's Miami estate for more than a month.
Standing by the dried-up coral rock grotto near the lush compound's front gate, the salt-and-pepper goateed writer explains how he hired a group of genealogists and private investigators to track down and interview people who knew the original Scarface.
"There are a lot of secrets in this family," he says. "I didn't find out about my grandfather until my father told me he had a sordid past." After Knight Capone's father passed away, a family friend informed him that his dad's dad was America's public enemy number one.
According to the history books, Al and Mae Capone had one son, Albert Francis, whose nickname, Sonny, inspired the name for one of the central characters in The Godfather. Albert married Diana Ruth Casey in 1941. The couple had four daughters — no sons.
However, Knight Capone asserts his late father, William Knight, is Capone's second son, whom Mae sent into seclusion in 1938. "Even known relatives say I resemble my grandfather more than anyone in the family."
Yet there is no genetic paper trail linking Knight Capone to Al. The author says he is working with leading DNA geneticist Megan Smolenyak and a Chicago law firm in order to exhume Capone's remains and test the DNA. "So I can quell any doubts about my story," he says. "I know it's true."
He says he has also met Capone relatives who are helping him piece together his father's past with theirs.
Asked what Al would do if he were alive today and found out he had a gay grandson, a cackling Knight Capone quips, "He'd probably kill me."