Sunday, June 10, 2007

When it Comes to the Chicago Mob: Who's the Boss?

Friends of ours: Al "Pizza Man" Tornabene, John "No Nose" DiFronzo, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, Michael Marcello, Anthony "Little Tony" Zizzo, Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick Calabrese

Who will be the new Tony Soprano of the Chicago mob?

With so many mob leaders on trial or dead, the Chicago Outfit is in disarray, law enforcement sources say.

It could be the "Pizza Man" acting as caretaker.

Or "No Nose" could still be pulling the strings, some Outfit watchers believe.

The "Pizza Man" is Al Tornabene, the 84-year-old former owner of a suburban pizza parlor. He has kept an extremely low profile for a reputed mob leader and has never been arrested by the FBI. Recently, his name has come up in conversations the FBI secretly recorded in prison between reputed top Chicago mob boss James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and his younger brother, Michael Marcello.

Tornabene has been seen eating in Rush Street restaurants with another top reputed mobster, Anthony "Little Tony" Zizzo, who was last seen leaving his Westmont home in August last year and hasn't been heard from since. Zizzo was responsible for overseeing one of the Outfit's most lucrative enterprises, the illegal video poker machines in bars throughout Chicago.

Tornabene has long been a mob leader, authorities say. In 1983, for instance, he presided over a ceremony at which several mobsters were inducted into full membership rights of the Outfit, court records show. Among the men who were made were Zizzo, reputed mob hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. and his brother, Nick Calabrese, who has admitted in a plea agreement with the feds that he killed at least 14 people for the Chicago Outfit. He is cooperating with the FBI.

"No Nose" is the much better known John DiFronzo, who is in his late 70s and has long been reputed to be a respected elder of the Chicago Outfit. DiFronzo is known for his business acumen and wide range of investments, including car dealerships. Some mob watchers think DiFronzo has long been rivals with James Marcello and is not overly upset over his arrest.

Tornabene hung up during a phone call Friday when asked if he was running the Outfit.

DiFronzo could not be reached for comment.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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