Sunday, May 01, 2016

Chicago Gun Shootings Stats for 2016 through April 30th, #MurderCapitalUSA

For the time period from January 1, 2016 to April 30, 2016, the City of Chicago saw the following # of shootings:

Shot & Killed: 187

Shot & Wounded: 969

Total Shot: 1156


Friday, April 29, 2016

Former @FoxNews Commentator Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.

“Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone.  His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country.  This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”

“Mr. Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “With these criminal actions, Mr. Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain.  I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.”

In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Simmons admitted he defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team.  Simmons admitted making false statements about his financial and criminal history, and admitted that there are no records or any other evidence that he was ever employed by or worked with the CIA, or ever applied for or was granted a security clearance by that agency.  Simmons also admitted that in order to obtain the senior intelligence advisor position, he lied about work he had done a year earlier as a team leader on the Human Terrain Systems program.  Simmons admitted to making similar false statements in 2009 as well, in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service.

As to the wire fraud charge, Simmons admitted to defrauding an individual victim, identified as E.L., out of $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment.  Simmons admitted to sending E.L. promised monthly disbursements to make it appear as if her funds had been invested as promised, and to repeatedly lying to her about the whereabouts of her money in order to perpetuate the fraud.  As Simmons admitted, he simply spent the funds on personal purposes and there was never any actual real estate investment project.

As to the firearms charge, Simmons admitted that at the time he was arrested in this case, he was unlawfully in possession of two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing on account of his prior felony convictions, including a prior Maryland felony conviction and two prior federal felony firearms convictions.

Simmons was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 14, 2015, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the major fraud against the government count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the felon-in-possession of a firearm count when sentenced on July 15.  The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Matriarch of a Mobbed-up Family Found Mentally Unfit

The matriarch of a mobbed-up family charged with trafficking drugs through their Italian restaurant in Queens has been found mentally unfit to stand trial.

Eleonora Gigliotti, 55, has suffered from mental illness for many years preceding her arrest in April 2015 on drug charges with husband Gregorio, and son Angelo, according to her lawyer.

Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie said Thursday that the husband and son can proceed to trial this July and he awaits a re-evaluation of Mrs. Gigliotti’s mental condition in four months.

The judge ordered a mental exam after Gigliotti’s lawyers informed him that she was spitting on guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center, claimed her cellmate had poisoned her, and appeared severely depressed.

Federal prosecutors allege that the Gigliottis were smuggling large amounts of cocaine hidden inside shipments of yucca delivered from Costa Rica.

The Gigliottis allegedly have ties to Genovese crime family figures and the 'Ndrangheta organized crime group in Italy.

During the investigation, Mrs. Gigliotti was picked up on a wiretap urging her husband to assault a relative they suspected of stealing money from them. “Have someone grab him at night. ... Bring him here and bang him up over here,” she said, according to court papers.

Thanks to John Marzulli.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ditch the Al Capone Shirt and take The Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

Paul Dailing was fed up with the folksy and unaffected way people talk about Chicago corruption—think Al Capone T-shirts and the bemused smirk as people shrug and say, “That’s the Chicago way.”

The reality is corruption in Chicago has ruined untold numbers of lives and led to the untimely end of many of them. To remind people of this reality, albeit in an enlightening and entertaining way, Dailing combined his experience as a newspaper reporter, a journalism professor, and a riverboat tour guide to create a unique walking tour about political corruption in Chicago and Illinois.

“People don’t realize the actual cost of all of this,” Dailing says. “I want them to know that even though people love Richard J. Daley, if you were black, he wasn’t a great mayor. If you were gay, or a woman, or poor, or a hippie, or just not his friend, he was terrible. This stuff gets romanticized for some lousy reason.”

The Chicago Corruption Walking Tour begins aptly outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, moving north with stops at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, the Marquette Building, Thompson Center, one of our excessively expensive parking meters, a ritzy strip of River North that’s somehow in a tax increment finance, or TIF, district, and other downtown places to highlight key moments of unscrupulous power moves. Even people who’ve lived in Chicago their whole lives will learn something, Dailing promises.

“Capone’s men chased Octavius Granady [a black aldermanic candidate] through two wards before shooting him to death,” he says. “That was among the more disturbing stories I found while researching for the tour.”

Dailing’s topics range from seemingly outrageous (former mayor William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson threatening the king of England, the Chicago Outfit gangsters who also were aldermen) to all-too-familiar stories, like which four of our governors went to prison and which others were just criminally charged. He even uses maps to illustrate the most egregious examples of gerrymandering—like in the 4th district, where a stretch of highway where no one lives somehow connects two distinct areas.

Tours start Sunday, May 1, and spots can be reserved online. A mile-long tour is available for $15 and the full 2.25-mile tour costs $25. Half of the tour revenue goes to City Bureau, an organization that trains young journalists covering the south and west sides to create meaningful journalism that is published in local and national outlets (including this one).

One of the running themes throughout the tour is that it’s not always clear who’s bad and who’s good—"It’s a fluid issue,” Dailing says. Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, for example, may have sent disgraced former governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich to prison, but he also threw reporters in jail during the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame affair.

“I think Otto Kerner was a great governor, except for the fact that he took bribes,” Dailing adds. “The Kerner Commission report delved into the race riots, and it was the first time the U.S. government admitted social inequality is a real thing.”

It gets even murkier at the turn of the century when 1st ward aldermen Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna and John “Bathhouse John” Coughlin came to power. While they helped poor citizens find better jobs and services, they also gave people free drinks at a bar in exchange for votes and used their influence to line their own pockets.

“They were basically scumbags for the people,” Dailing says. “But guys like Hinky Dink and Bathhouse also made things difficult for people who didn’t fall in line and vote the way they were told. Buying beers for votes is cute, but I try to show this in terms of a larger picture where things get worse, and suddenly these people aren’t so cute.”

Dailing says he hopes people leave the tour a little angry, a little more skeptical, but ultimately more aware of the extent to which corruption shaped Chicago and Illinois. “I don’t want people to leave this thinking it’s a hopeless situation,” Dailing says. “We know these stories because these people failed. The patronage system has been whittled down from the height of where it was, same with the Chicago Outfit. People are wising up that TIFs are bad politics.”

Political satire shows like The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee are popular even though they point out sad-but-true aspects of the way the world works. With that in mind, Dailing hopes people enjoy the tour but also are upset enough to get more involved with local political processes.

“I do want people to be pissed off and to want to do something about it,” he says. “I also want people to have a different Chicago experience. It’s OK to marvel at how tall the Sears Tower is, but we have more to talk about here.

“And screw all the romanticizing of Al Capone. We don’t need an unhinged gangster killer on T-shirts.”

Thanks to Benjamin Feldheim.

Book Reveals the Inside Story of the Law's Battle to Remove the Influence and Corruption of Organized Crime from Sin City's Streets and Casinos

In 1971The Battle for Las Vegas, the Chicago mob, known as the Outfit, sent an enforcer to Las Vegas to keep an eye on its casino interests. When he wasn’t busy taking action against threats to their cash-skimming activities, he ran lucrative street rackets that included loan sharking, robbery, burglary, and fencing stolen goods. For the next 15 years nothing happened in the Las Vegas underworld without his knowledge and approval. His name was Tony Spilotro. In the 1995 movie Casino, Joe Pesci played a character based on Spilotro.

This book tells the real story of Tony’s time in Sin City and the law’s efforts to remove him. It was compiled from many sources, including books, public records, and newspaper archives. But in large part it is told by the former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives and FBI agents themselves; the men that actually conducted the investigations, and the current and former reporters who covered the organized crime beat.

In the pages of this book, the commander of Metro’s Intelligence Bureau tells what strategies were put in place to combat Spilotro and his ruthless gang. The reader rides along with a pair of Metro detectives as an evening of routine surveillance turns violent and deadly, and joins FBI agents as they track bags full of unreported cash from mob-controlled casinos in Vegas to the crime families in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Kansas City. It contains the inside details of the night Spilotro’s burglary crew broke into a business expecting a $1 million score, but instead walked into a joint Metro and FBI ambush. It also explains why one of Tony’s once-trusted lieutenants switched sides, sending shockwaves through organized crime families nationwide.

The adulterous relationship between Spilotro and the wife of his long-time pal and mob associate, Lefty Rosenthal is delved into. Rosenthal was considered to be a sports betting genius, and had been a major power in the Vegas gaming business until Tony arrived in town. After that, what could have been a panacea for both men turned into a nightmare. The affair between Tony and Geri Rosenthal was more than likely a contributing factor in the Outfit’s decision that Tony was expendable, resulting in his being beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in 1986.

An intriguing mix of people are unveiled as the author takes his readers back in time to the mob days in Vegas : Lawmen that were heroes, and other cops that were rogues. There are gangsters who robbed and murdered; rats and informants who played both sides, crooked hotel and casino employees, dedicated prosecutors, and journalists that had to walk a fine line to maintain credibility with both the lawmen and the mobsters.

The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. The Mob, contains many photos and insights that won’t be found elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Liberace Garage at Hollywood Cars Museum Adds the Late Entertainer's Classic "Bicentennial" Rolls Royce

Now rolling into The Liberace Garage (www.liberace.org) at the Hollywood Cars Museum, Las Vegas, in all of its red, white and blue splendor, is the late entertainer's Bicentennial Rolls Royce, a 1952 Silver Dawn two light convertible London Motor Show car.

Liberace Garage at Hollywood Cars Museum Adds the Late Entertainer's Classic Bicentennial Rolls Royce


Designed for the "Liberace Show '76," the majestic vehicle was used on stage at the Las Vegas Hilton, with Liberace flying out of it via high wire cables while fireworks exploded and "Stars and Stripes Forever" played. It was later used at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. For Liberace, cars were often an extension of his wardrobe. So naturally, accompanying the Rolls is an updated version of a red, white and blue "Hot Pants" costume.

Launched with a gala catered cocktail reception at the Museum in early April, the Liberace Garage - now open to the public - is a collaboration between The Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts (www.liberace.org) and Hollywood Cars Museum at Hot Rod City, Las Vegas (www.hollywoodcarsmuseum.com). The event was a fundraiser for the foundation, which has provided over $6 million in scholarships in the creative and performing arts since 1981.

Among the vehicles on display at the Liberace Garage is the 1961 Rolls Royce Phantom V that Liberace used to drive onto the stage when he performed at the Las Vegas Hilton. The Foundation lent it to the production of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning HBO film Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon; Douglas, as Liberace, drove it on the stage.

The Liberace Garage also includes the crystal encrusted roadster that he had onstage during his final run of shows at Radio City Music Hall in 1986, and a large handful of cars he drove regularly, including the London Taxi (with the meter still installed) that he used to pick up famous guests from the Palm Springs Airport and the Bradley GT gold flaked sports car, among others.

The Hollywood Cars Museum at Hot Rod City is presented by Michael Dezer (www.dezercollection.com), owner of one of the world's largest vehicle collections at the Miami Auto Museum. It features vehicles that have appeared in more than 100 films, TV shows and videos and many wild custom creations.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust

"Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America's Biggest Corruption Bust" by Terrence Hake with Wayne Klatt.

This is the first book detailing Operation GreylordOperation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust, one of the most successful undercover investigations in FBI history that occurred in 1980s Chicago. Hake, a naive attorney with no covert experience, was chosen to lead the undercover operation with no covert experience.

The Cook County Court system in Chicago was filled with corrupt judges and lawyers and after an almost four year investigation, more than 80 indictments were handed down to those judges and lawyers, according to the Chicago Tribune. Although the historical significance of this investigation cannot be overlooked, this book reads like a fictional thriller as Hake divulges his insider knowledge. A suspenseful tone is maintained throughout; ensuring readers are riveted from the first page.

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