Sunday, September 30, 2007

Joseph Lopez Returns with More Shark Tales

I am happy to announce that I am back and the gag order is off.

I can say it was a long trial and quite an interesting mix of people. The jury was anonymous which added to the intrigue of the case. The spectators were plentiful and even tourists stopped by to see this trial. It was a long hot summer. The trial tested the system to its limits.

Most days, the court room was busting at its seems. In the end, it slowed down. There were over 100 witnesses and stipulations. There was a cart of evidence. The jury deliberated for many days and reached its decision after hours of deliberations and deadlocked on the others.

This is how the system works and that is why its great to live in America. Americans fought for this system and the other rights we enjoy. My colleagues were also a group of great lawyers with many different personalities which added to the mix. Of course, the defendants were the main attractions for the press and spectators. To me, they were the accused. - Joe Shark

Richard Hauff Photo?

A reader is looking for a photo of Richard Hauff. He is a mob associate who had an attempted hit on his life, by Frank "The German" Schweihs and Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, thwarted by the Cook County Sheriff's police in 1964. I am not aware of any photos. If you can point us in the right direction, please pass one along.

Feds Searching for Mob Money

Federal authorities have told top Chicago hoodlums to show them the money - ten million dollars in racketeering profits - and hand it over.

Some of the outfit figures claim they're broke, but federal investigators believe those mobsters are hiding millions in assets.

The trail of mob money begins with eight slices of Sopressata Italian salami and two men - convicted Chicago outfit boss Frank Calabrese and suburban lawyer Alphonse Talarico.

On August 16, during a courtroom break in the Operation Family Secrets trial, attorney Talarico was visiting with Frank the Breeze, whose family he'd represented in real estate. Federal marshals say Talarico passed contraband to prisoner Calabrese and is now banned from the courtroom. Talarico claims the contraband salami was his lunchmeat. "Must've fallen out of my pocket," he told the I-Team. "It wasn't anything devious. I wasn't trying to be a wiseguy."

He admitted to being related to wiseguys. SAFETY Buy 1 get 1 50 percent offHe is the brother of mob bookmaker Michael Talarico, who testified in the case; nephew of the late mob boss Angelo "The Hook" Lapietra and ex-in-law of mob hit man Frank "The German" Schweihs. But it's Talarico's role as the real estate attorney and taxman for Frank Calabrese that has the attention of federal agents far more than his fallen salami.

Since the early 1980's, Talarico has handled vacation land deals in Williams Bay, Wisconsin for the Calabreses. Authorities are said to be examining Walworth County deed records for Calabrese and Talarico as they try to determine find Frank the Breeze's assets.

At Talarico's Oakbrook law office, he declined to appear on TV but said the allegations are "totally inaccurate. I don't know anything about it. The U.S. government can follow anything they want."

U.S. prosecutors are also following the money behind mob leader Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, unraveling what they contend was an intricate scheme to camouflage his personal fortune.

The Clown was arrested last year after being on the lamb for months with $3,000 in his pocket. But he claimed to be in the poorhouse, living on Social Security with six-figure debts. His attorney was ordered paid with tax money.

The feds don't buy Lombardo's poverty act, and the I-Team has learned agents recently delivered a subpoena to the suburban home of his son, Joey Jr.

In what's called a "third party citation to discover assets," the junior Lombardo and other members of his family are being commanded to appear in federal court with records of money or property they may be holding for The Clown.

Feds want Joey Jr.'s tax returns and records of his father's trust account that names his mother, himself and his sister as beneficiaries. Prosecutors question how The Clown could have a trust fund if he was penniless.

According to public records, Joey The Clown and his wife, Marion, divorced in 1992. But federal authorities say the split-up was a sham, that they continued to live together in a West Side apartment building until he was indicted in 2005. And when the Lombardo family sold their Florida golf course property in 2003, eleven years after their divorce, Marion Lombardo still listed herself as "a married woman" while collecting $4.5 million.

In the past year, Mrs. Lombardo has sold two properties, totaling almost $800,000.

Joey Lombardo's lawyer and the others in the mob case are bound by a gag order because the jury is still deliberating murder charges. But Joe Dinatale, who represents Lombardo's ex-wife, son and daughter, said they're cooperating and plan to turn over documents early next month.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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Smaller Christmas Tree for Chicago Outfit

While under investigation in 2001, mob boss Frank Calabrese Sr. was captured on tape predicting what the Chicago Outfit's future might look like, describing the crime syndicate in coded language as, of all things, a Christmas tree.

"It's gonna be a smaller Christmas tree that's gonna have the loyalty that once was there," Calabrese, then in prison for loan-sharking, said on the undercover recording. "And the, the big Christmas tree ... it'll never hold up. It's gonna fall. Watch it," he said.

Thanks in part to Calabrese's own recorded words, the Christmas tree tumbled last week as the Family Secrets jury found three Outfit figures responsible for 10 of 18 gangland slayings. Earlier this month, the same jury convicted the three as well as two others on racketeering conspiracy charges.

As a result, Calabrese, 70, a feared hit man blamed by the jury for seven of the murders; James Marcello, 65, identified by the FBI in 2005 as the head of the Chicago Outfit; and legendary mob boss Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, 78, face the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in prison. But as sweeping as the case was -- resolving some of the most notorious mob murders in modern Chicago history -- organized-crime experts say the Family Secrets prosecution won't derail an entrenched Outfit that dates to Al Capone.

After the trial Thursday, Robert Grant, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office, said the Outfit remains a priority because of its propensity for violence and corruption. "They're much like a cancer," Grant said. "Organized crime, if not monitored and prosecuted, can grow, can corrupt police departments, can corrupt public officials."

"We have dozens of open investigations," John Mallul, supervisor of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago, said in an interview.

Calabrese's prison musings about a slimmer but more focused mob appear to be on the mark, the experts said.

Law enforcement officials and the Chicago Crime Commission say the mob is now run in northern and southern sections, with street crews consolidated from six geographical areas to four: Elmwood Park, 26th Street, Cicero and Grand Avenue. Mallul estimates the Outfit has about 30 "made" members and a little more than 100 associates.

Although the mob may be smaller and more tightly controlled, it remains a force with an ability to deliver its trademark illicit services as always, the FBI and experts said.

The mob continues to push its way into legitimate businesses and infiltrate labor unions, offer gambling and high-interest "juice loans," as well as extort "street taxes" from businesses, Mallul said. "In a lot of ways, it's still the same rackets -- 50 years ago, 25 years ago and today," Mallul said.

The Outfit still controls dozens of bookies who rake in millions of dollars a year in the Chicago area, he said, giving the mob its working capital for juice loans and other ventures.

"Sports bookmaking is still a huge moneymaker for them," Mallul said. "On the low end, that can include parlay cards in a tavern all the way up to players betting $5,000 or $10,000 or more a game across the board on a weekend."

James Wagner, head of Chicago Crime Commission, said his organization's intelligence from law enforcement sources indicates Joseph "the Builder" Andriacchi controls the north while Al "the Pizza Man" Tornabene runs the south.

Wagner, a former longtime FBI organized crime supervisor, said the Caruso family runs the 26th Street crew, Andriacchi leads the Elmwood Park crew, Tony Zizzo controlled the Cicero crew until he disappeared a year ago and Lombardo still held influence over the Grand Avenue crew before his arrest.

Authorities believe John "No Nose" DiFronzo also continues to play a prominent role for the mob. His name came up repeatedly in the Family Secrets trial as an Outfit leader, sometimes under another nickname, "Johnny Bananas."

Neither Andriacchi, Tornabene nor DiFronzo has been charged in connection with the Family Secrets investigation. None returned calls seeking comment. An attorney who has represented DiFronzo in the past declined to comment. Wagner said all three reputedly rose in the ranks of the Outfit through cartage theft and juice-loan operations and have since moved into legitimate businesses.

Authorities have said Andriacchi earned his nickname through his connections in the construction business. In the undercover prison recordings, Calabrese identified Andriacchi as the boss of the Elmwood Park crew.

DiFronzo has long had a reputation as a car expert who attended auctions and worked at dealerships, Wagner said. He was convicted of racketeering in the early 1990s for trying to infiltrate an Indian casino in California. He also had connections to waste hauling, Wagner said.

Tornabene, believed by some to be the Outfit's current elder boss, earned his nickname from his family's ownership of a suburban pizza restaurant, authorities said. Law enforcement has recently observed Tornabene, who is well into his 80s, being taken to "business" meetings at his doctor's office, Wagner said.

"Many of these guys are obviously trying to stay out of the limelight as much as they can," he said.

The Family Secrets convictions could further embolden prosecutors in their assault on the Outfit. The verdicts appear to vindicate Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, one of the most significant mob turncoats in Chicago history, who provided crucial testimony on many of the gangland slayings.

His testimony could still spell trouble for DiFronzo and others he named in wrongdoing but who were not indicted, said John Binder, a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and mob researcher who wrote the 2003 book, "The Chicago Outfit."

Calabrese testified that DiFronzo was among the dozen men or more who fatally beat Anthony Spilotro, the mob's Las Vegas chieftain, and his brother Michael in 1986.

"This trial showed how many of these guys had jobs where they worked for the city or at McCormick Place," Wagner said. "When you look at the number that have been connected to the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Water Department, it's hard to explain without the idea of clout being a factor."

In addition, a former Chicago police officer, Anthony "Twan" Doyle, was convicted of leaking inside information to the mob about the then-covert Family Secrets investigation.

"It's a problem Chicago has preferred to ignore," Wagner said.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mob Still in Chicago, Feds Too

Three members of the Chicago mob's top echelon face life behind bars after being blamed by a jury for a terrifying, 16-year wave of murder aimed at silencing witnesses and settling old scores.

But the government's victory Thursday at one of the biggest mob trials in Chicago history isn't expected to put organized crime out of business.

Prosecutors say their war with the Chicago Outfit will go on. "The Outfit isn't going away, but we aren't going away," federal prosecutor Mitchell A. Mars said after the jury found three men he called "old-time ranking bosses of the Outfit" responsible for 10 mob murders.

Robert D. Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office, said the city still is plagued by 28 "made guys" and more than 100 associates who do the dirty work but are in the mob's inner circle. But he said the jury's action Thursday was something to celebrate. "These people were charged and convicted in this trial for being the murderous thugs that they really are," Grant told reporters.

The jury deliberated for eight days to determine which defendants were responsible for specific murder.

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High Praise for "Better Off Dead: In Paradise"

John Paul Carinci’s new thriller, Better Off Dead: In Paradise surpasses Robert Ludlum and Robert Parker and does it with a flair for turning a Caribbean phrase that Jimmy Buffet would envy! A rich and realistic description of the Cayman Islands is the back drop for this page-turning tour de force.

In the original Better Off Dead, we meet Frank Granstino. Frank is a colorful, likable and very believable insurance salesman from Brooklyn, New York that becomes ensnared with the mafia. In the end Frank and his girlfriend Alicia become part of the witness protection program and are sent to heaven on Earth, the Cayman Islands.

In this new thriller, their cover is blown to smithereens and their world is turned upside down. The Mob will stop at nothing for vengeance. Readers will feel their gut reactions to the world of violence that is the mafia. Better Off Dead: In Paradise is not for the faint of heart. The violence is realistic and vivid. The reader will feel the terror right along with Frank and Alicia.

The terrorized couple is forced to flee through the islands, take a trip to New York, and then travel back to the Caribbean. All the while the bad guys are killing and blowing things up in their relentless hunt for revenge. It is only through Frank’s clever nature with the help of Alicia’s FBI experience that they are able to stay a step ahead.

Better Off Dead: In Paradise is so richly described and the characters and their dialogue is so realistic that the author must have lived through similar action himself, that or done painstaking research. The book has enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent thriller fan. It also has more than enough action to attract any reader. The audience is left to guess breathlessly at the ending and almost any reader will guess wrong!

Thanks to Brien Jones

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mob Jury Chased After Delivering Verdict

Several members of the jury that took a sledgehammer to the Chicago “Outfit” left federal court Thursday through an underground tunnel to escape the media. They surfaced inside the Kluczynski building across the street, and spilled out onto Jackson Boulevard through glass doors.

When a reporter approached with questions, one man whose vote helped put away some of Chicago’s top mobsters put his arm around a female juror and raised his voice a bit. “Just get away,” he said, before disappearing in the city bustle.

Two female jurors walked away quickly, heading west toward the river, not saying a word to a trailing reporter.

When no comment didn’t stop the chase, one woman relented on the condition she wouldn’t be identified.

“We did the best we could. We thought we did a very fair job. And we were very reasonable with each other so we could do a good job,” she said.

The woman wouldn’t comment on trial details or the mood inside the jury room during deliberations. When asked if she feared the men she’d convicted of racketeering and murder, the woman spoke in a calm, easy voice.

“I don’t have any fear because I’m just a person that’s picked to do this,” she said. “I did my job. I think everybody thought they were (were) very fair.”

Thanks to Mark Konkol

Family Secrets Mob Trial Murder Charge Verdicts

The jury deliberated on 18 murders and one attempted murder but couldn’t agree on every case. Here’s how they split: “Responsible” means they found the accused responsible; “No Verdict” means they did not.

1. Victim: Michael “Hambone” Albergo
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (Responsible)

2. Victim: Daniel Seifert
Accused: Joseph Lombardo (Responsible)

3. Victim: Paul Haggerty
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (No Verdict)

4. Victim: Henry Cosentino
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (No Verdict)

5. Victim: John Mendell
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (No Verdict)

6. and 7. Victims: Donald Renno and Vincent Moretti
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (No Verdict)

8. and 9. Victims: William and Charlotte Dauber
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (Responsible)

10. Victim: William Petrocelli
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (No Verdict)

11. Victim: Michael Cagnoni
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (Responsible)

12. Victim: Nicholas D’Andrea
Accused: James Marcello (No Verdict)

13. Attempted murder victim: Nicholas Sarillo
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr., James Marcello (Blank)

14. and 15. Victims: Richard Ortiz and Arthur Morawski
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (Responsible)

16. Victim: Emil Vaci
Accused: Paul Schiro (No Verdict)

17. and 18. Victims: Michael and Anthony Spilotro
Accused: James Marcello (Responsible)

19. Victim: John Fecarotta
Accused: Frank Calabrese Sr. (Responsible)

10 Mob Hits Committed by 3 of the Mobsters at Family Secrets Trial

A federal jury in Chicago today found three Outfit figures committed 10 gangland slayings at the heart of the Family Secrets mob conspiracy trial.

The jury deadlocked on one murder blamed on a fourth defendant as well as seven other homicides. Earlier this month, the same jury convicted the four defendants as well as a former Chicago police officer of racketeering conspiracy.

In a second round of deliberations decided today, the jury found Frank Calabrese Sr. committed seven murders, James Marcello two murders and Joey "the Clown" Lombardo one murder. As a result, the men face up to life in prison because the slayings were committed in the course of the racketeering conspiracy.

The jury, however, was unable to reach a decision on the one murder attributed to defendant Paul "the Indian" Schiro.

In its decision today, the jury held Marcello–identified by authorities as Chicago's top mob boss when the indictment was announced–-- responsible for the most notorious murders, the 1986 deaths of Las Vegas mob chieftain Anthony Spilotro and his brother Michael whose bodies were found buried in an Indiana cornfield.

The Spilotros' brother, Patrick, grabbed his wife, Kathy, as the verdict was read. "It was a sense of justice being served," he said later of his reaction. "We're just thankful the verdict came down as it did."

The jury also found that Calabrese, portrayed by prosecutors as a ruthless hit man, took part in the 1980 shotgun slayings of William Dauber and wife Charlotte and the 1981 car-bombing of trucking executive Michael Cagnoni.

Lombardo, a legendary mob figure for decades, was held responsible for gunning down Daniel Seifert in front of his wife and young son shortly before Seifert was to testify in court against Lombardo, a former business partner.

The jury deadlocked on whether Schiro, the Outfit's representative in Phoenix who is serving a prison sentence for his role in a mob-connected jewelry theft ring, committed the 1986 murder of grand jury witness Emil Vaci.

The jury was also unable to reach a verdict on six murders attributed to Calabrese and one blamed on Marcello.

The jury convicted the Outfit figures as well as Anthony "Twan" Doyle, a former Chicago police officer, of racketeering conspiracy on Sept. 10 for extorting "street taxes" from businesses, running illegal gambling operations, making high-interest "juice" loans and protecting the mob's interests through violence and murder.

The 18 gangland slayings date back decades.

The prosecution case hinged on the testimony of Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, one of the highest-ranking mob turncoats in Chicago history who linked his brother to many of the murders. Calabrese's son, Frank Jr., also secretly tape-recorded conversations with his imprisoned father. The unprecedented cooperation by relatives of a mob target prompted federal authorities to code-name the probe Operation Family Secrets.

Doyle was convicted of passing on confidential information about the federal probe to a mob friend but wasn't charged in the murders.

The riveting trial, which played out over 10 weeks this summer before overflow crowds in the largest courtroom in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, marks the most significant prosecution of the Chicago mob in decades.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prosecutors Want FBI Agent's Defense Attorney Booted

Rogue FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio could be forced to find another lawyer on the eve of his blockbuster murder trial if Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes gets his way.

Prosecutors yesterday asked a judge to boot defense lawyer Douglas Grover from the case so they could call him as a witness against his own client.

"I want to put Mr. Grover on the stand," lead prosecutor Michael Vecchione told state Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach. Vecchione said he wanted Grover out because of a meeting the defense lawyer had years ago with a star prosecution witness.

DeVecchio, 66, was indicted last year for allegedly helping mobster Gregory Scarpa Sr. carry out four murders in the 1980s and '90s.

Scarpa, who has since died, was an FBI informer. Fall Discounts from The Wine MessengerHis ex-girlfriend Linda Schiro is the star witness who met with Grover 15 years ago during a Justice Department probe that cleared DeVecchio.

"Their point is that Schiro is a blatant liar," said Vecchione, adding that Grover met with Schiro and helped influence her.

Grover scoffed at the allegation. He called it tit-for-tat because he had successfully forced two prosecutors off the case.

"Removal of counsel on the eve of trial ... the prejudice would be extreme," said Reichbach, who reserved decision.

The trial is scheduled to get underway next month.

Thanks to Scott Shifrel


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Vintage Untouchables

The Untouchables - Season One, Volume Twoicon
The Untouchables
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Thirty years before they hit the big screen via Brian DePalma's brilliant movie adaptation, Eliot Ness's legendary exploits came to life in the classic 1950s and '60s television series THE UNTOUCHABLES. Created by veteran crime-drama producer Quinn Martin, the series followed Ness (Robert Stack) and his team of crack crimefighters--including agents Martin Flaherty (Jerry Paris), Jack Rossman (Steve London), Enrico Rossi (Nicholas Georgiade), and William Youngellow (Abel Fernandez)--as they took on the Mafia underworld of gangsters Al Capone (Neville Brand) and Frank Nitti (Bruce Gordon) in Prohibition-era Chicago. Smart and iconic, the series distinguished itself with superb voiceover narration from broadcaster Walter Winchell and a gritty style that nonetheless eschewed graphic depictions of gore and violence. This collection presents the second half of the vintage series' debut season.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Former Rockford Cop Testified at ‘Family Secrets’ Mob trial

Current Winnebago County, Illinois Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro said he can not detail his involvement in landmark trial against ‘The Outfit’

By Jeff Havens (This is an original, previously unpublished article.)

Although the federal jury in Chicago has handed down racketeering convictions in the historic Chicago Mafia trial and are still deliberating murder charges, there are many questions Rockford, Illinois locals may likely never have answered anytime soon. This revelation comes in spite of a local law enforcement official’s participation in the monumental investigation and resulting trial of the Chicago Mob, which is known as "The Outfit."

Dominic Iasparro, deputy chief of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department said he testified for about 15 minutes on August 1st, during which he identified three Rockford men in photographs that the prosecution introduced earlier as exhibits.

"I participated in the [Operation Family Secrets] investigation, and was subpoenaed to identify a series of photographs," Iasparro said.

When asked about his role in the investigation, Iasparro declined to provide any details about his involvement. The multi-year investigation led to the 2005 indictment of 14 individuals connected to "The Outfit" on charges, which included murder, conspiracy, racketeering, illegal gambling and loan sharking from the 1960s to the time of the indictment.

According to Iasparro, the individuals he identified were Rockfordians: Frank G. Saladino; Salvatore "Sammy" Galluzzo and Joseph W. Saladino.

Although Frank Saladino was charged with murder and other undisclosed crimes, he was never tried because he was found dead in a hotel room the day he was indicted on April 25, 2005. And even though their names and photos were mentioned during the trial, Joseph Saladino and Galluzzo were not charged in connection with "Family Secrets" operation.

Several photos featuring both Saladinos and Galluzzo were submitted during the federal government’s case against the Mob. One FBI surveillance photo taken on April 20, 1989 shows Galluzzo leading Frank Saladino in a parking lot (see link http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/hot/familySecrets/2007_07_26/photo_april_20_1989.pdf).

Iasparro denied taking the photo, and did not know why the photo was submitted in court. Iasparro also said he did not testify as to rank of the Saladinos and Galluzzo in the organization. He referred that question and others about the photos to the U.S. Dept. Of Justice.

A message left at the U.S. Dept. Of Justice in Chicago was not returned to confirm or refute information obtained by The Rock River Times regarding individuals in the photos.

Efforts to contact Joseph Saladino and Galluzzo were unsuccessful. Court transcripts of testimony are not yet available for review.

Mob file destruction

In addition to being a deputy chief for the sheriff’s department, Iasparro was also a longtime detective for the Rockford Police Department, and head of the Rockford area Metro Narcotics task force for more than 30 years. He was also the interim Rockford Police Chief from October 2005 to April 2006.

Iasparro abruptly retired from the Rockford Police Department shortly after current Rockford Police Department Chief Chet Epperson took the helm on April 10, 2006.

In the Dec. 21-27, 2005 issue of The Rock River Times, Iasparro admitted he and other unnamed police officials destroyed police intelligence files that concerned alleged Rockford Mafia members sometime during the mid-1980s. But the Mob file purging was done without the knowledge of then-Rockford Police Chief William Fitzpatrick who said he would have objected to destroying the files (see link http://rockrivertimes.com/index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=11945).

Iasparro characterized the file destruction as part of a national effort to purge documents that were "not related to specific people and specific crimes."

Business partners

According to Steve Warmbir, staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, Frank Saladino was involved in five of the 18 murders detailed at the trial (see link http://rockrivertimes.com/index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=17383). In addition to being a murderous enforcer and intimidating physical presence for the Mob, Frank Saladino was also in business with Galluzzo, who has his own business partner locals should know—attorney Paul S. Nicolosi.

Galluzzo was reported to be a "mob soldier" in a March 4, 1984 news article in the Rockford Register Star. He was also business partners with Saladino and Nicolosi in separate businesses. Sources for The Rock River Times speculated that Galluzzo may have been promoted in the organization since the death of former Rockford Mob Boss Frank J. Buscemi in December 1987.

Nicolosi is the attorney for the City of Loves Park and Village of Rockton. At one time, Nicolosi or attorneys from his law firm, Nicolosi and Associates, P.C., also represented the villages of Caledonia and Roscoe.

Nicolosi is also the brother of Philip J. Nicolosi, the newly appointed Winnebago County State’s Attorney. Phil Nicolosi was a Rockford Township trustee for more than 15 years before he became state’s attorney last month.

In one business—Buckley Partners LLC—Galluzzo, Nicolosi and other members of the Galluzzo and Nicolosi families leased office space to the Illinois Attorney General during former Illinois Gov. George Ryan’s term. However, Phil Nicolosi was not one of the members of Buckley Partners (see link http://rockrivertimes.com/index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=10480).

In the other business, Galluzzo was partners with Frank Saladino in Worldwide General Contracting Inc. However, the City of Rockford never issued any building permits to Worldwide General Contracting since it was founded in 1988.

In connection with Worldwide General Contracting, Phil Nicolosi was named in 2000 as a defendant in a lawsuit in which Frank Saladino alleged extortion, conspiracy and fraud against him and 13 others, including Paul Nicolosi and Galluzzo.

Phil Nicolosi speculated he was named in the lawsuit because Frank Saladino "did not have proper representation advising him, he may have felt that he should just name as many names as he could."

Paul Nicolosi has responded to repeated questions in the last few years about his association with Galluzzo by not commenting.

Light sentence

Joseph Saladino recently served 27 months in a Minnesota prison for a conviction on federal weapons charges, including possession of a machine gun.

Saladino could have received up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine on the charges. Instead, he pled guilty in federal court in 2003 to possession of the machine gun and possession of a firearm by a felon.

As part of the plea agreement, Saladino served a little more than two years in prison in spite of his violent past, which included battery of a police officer in 1983, obstructing a police officer about one month later and a 1964 rape conviction along with co-perpetrator Frank Saladino.

The 2003 agreement for Joe Saladino was negotiated by Rockford-based, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Iasparro—son of Dominic Iasparro (see link http://www.rockrivertimes.com//index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=10046).

Gambling ring and unsolved murder

In a local case that is likely related to the "Family Secrets" operation, Joseph Saladino and Frank Saladino were named in February 2006 along with eight others in an alleged illegal sports betting ring that existed from the early 1980s until 2002. Most individuals that were indicted in that case have pled guilty to the federal charges.

However, unanswered questions remain as to why local authorities were not able to bring charges more quickly than federal agents from outside the area in that case and others, such as the still unsolved 1980 killing of Mob member Joseph J. Maggio (see link http://www.thechicagosyndicate.com/2006/05/mob-murder-suggests-link-to.html).

Jeff Havens is a special correspondent and award-winning, former reporter for The Rock River Times, a weekly newspaper based in Rockford, Illinois.

Will Daley Bring Back Fugitive From Mexico to Testify?

As chairman of the new Chumbolone Museum of Grant Park, I have an important announcement regarding my top underling and museum co-chair, Mayor Richard Daley.

We at the Chumbolone Museum have ordered the mayor to lead an expedition into Mexico to find Chicago's missing link: Marco Morales, the notorious corrupt fugitive and bribe-paying city contractor.

The Chumbolone Museum doesn't care how Daley brings him back, as long as he brings him back. Alive.

What we don't need is Marco in pieces, wrapped in butcher paper. Sure, we'll stuff Marco, if that's what the mayor wants, but only after Marco testifies in federal cases about bribes at City Hall.

"I don't think that's a very good idea," said a real top Daley administration official when I explained the extradition expedition. "I don't think he'll want to go."

Not even to bring Marco back? Alive? "No, not even for Marco," the official said.

Well, too bad. He's going, whether he likes it or not. Daley has already traveled to France and demanded the French extradite a suspected murderer for trial in Chicago. How can my own Chumbolone Museum vice chairman not apply his rigorous extradition standards to Mexico?

As loyal readers know, the mayor and I are co-founders of the Chumbolone Museum, so he won't have to support that other museum nobody wants in Grant Park. Chumbolone is Chinatown slang for fool, and as election results prove, there are millions of us in the Chicago area. We need a museum more than rich kids need a museum.

So if you don't see the mayor, don't worry, he'll be in Mexico, on the Marco hunt, with a hand-picked team of experts. They'll wear pith helmets and cute khaki shorts, and carry big nets on long poles over their shoulders, as befitting a proper museum expedition. Except for the mayor.

He'll have his own net, but he won't wear a pith helmet. A pith helmet would smash his hair and make his head perspire. Instead, he'll wear his famous Indiana Jones hat.

On Thursday, Tribune reporters Ray Gibson, Dan Mihalopoulos and Oscar Avila broke the news on the Tribune's Web site that Mexican federal police had seized Morales.

Morales had a deal with federal prosecutors here in Chicago years ago that he'd testify about bribes he paid to Daley administration officials in exchange for lucrative city contracts. But he changed his mind, ran to Mexico instead, and his son began receiving $40 million in Daley administration contracts. Naturally, the mayor knew nothing about hush money.

Mexican authorities arrested Morales in 2004, but denied extradition on corruption charges. Recently, U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Morales on drug charges, making extradition easier. It also makes City Hall nauseous.

"I miss Chicago so much," Marco Morales told me in a phone interview last September. "I miss everything about Chicago."

But not enough to come back? "No," he said then. "I've got issues up there."

The main issue was the Chicago Outfit promising to blow his brains out if he continued talking about bribes he allegedly paid to Tony Pucillo, Daley's former Department of Transportation boss. And about his relationship with Daley insider and trucking boss Michael Tadin.

Pucillo's brother and Tadin were involved in a company that paved the city's streets, in a contract overseen by Tony and supported by Daley.

Back in the day, at Department of Transportation golf outings, Tony, Mike and the mayor would ride in the same golf cart, saying hello to laborers and vendors in the asphalt business. It was Daley's way of advertising that his boys had his blessing. Only a chumbolone wouldn't get it.

So we at the Chumbolone Museum called Pucillo and Tadin on Thursday, telling them to report for duty with the mayor. They'll ride a golf cart around and around the walls of the prison in Mexico City. The mayor will yell from the back seat.

"Marco! Marco! Where are you? Marco?"

Every great expedition requires bait to lure exotic creatures into the open, so explorers can catch them in their nets. And I've got just the thing.

"There's no Polish sausage around here. No Italian sausage," Marco told me in our interview. "You know that place the Carusos have in Bridgeport? Well, I'd die for one of those Polish sausages."

He meant the Maxwell Street Polish stand on 31st Street, and brothers Frank "Toots" Caruso and Bruno Caruso. The FBI considers them to be the experts on the Outfit's Chinatown crew.

"I just remember what a Polish tastes like and I miss it, you know, like I miss Chicago," Morales told me.

Don't worry Marco. The Chumbolone Museum will pay Toots to bring a hot sack of sangwiches for you. You're coming home, buddy.

Mayor Daley is on his way. But before he persuades me to stuff and mount you in the Chinatown Asphalt wing at our Chumbolone Museum, you'll have to talk to other experts.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI. But they're no chumbolones.

Thanks to John Kass

Championcatalog.com

Partial Transcript of Witness Testimony Given to Chicago Mob Jury

The weekend has arrived and jurors in Chicago's biggest mob trial in years have gone home without determining individual responsibility, if any, of the defendants for the murders mentioned in the charges.

The jury has already found all five defendants guilty of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that involved illegal gambling, loan sharking, extortion and a wave of 18 murders.

If the jurors find that any of 4 men are individually responsible for specific murders, those defendants will face a maximum of life in prison. The maximum sentence for racketeering conspiracy alone is 20 years.

The jurors went home today after getting Federal Judge James Zagel to agree to help them refresh their memories about witness testimony by sending them a portion of the transcript.

Zagel didn't reveal what portion of the written transcript of the 10-week trial the jurors had requested.

Spa Finder, Inc

Friday, September 21, 2007

Difronzo Family Secrets

John DiFronzo was implicated in outfit murders and other crimes during the recent mob trial of the century, but he wasn't charged. The I-Team has learned more about the man they call "No Nose."

You can call him "No Nose," or you can call him "Johnny Bananas" as he is sometimes known. But to the thugs, hustlers and hoodlums who report to him in the outfit, federal authorities say 78-year-old John DiFronzo is known as the boss. And they say DiFronzo's top lieutenant has the same last name because it's his younger brother.

A finger to the nose: that's mob sign language for John "No Nose" DiFronzo, according to feds. The pantomime act was caught on covert jailhouse tapes of meetings between Chicago Outfit bosses that were used as evidence during this summer's Family Secrets trial.

Authorities say DiFronzo's position is so important to the mob, that his underlings don't want to implicate him by speaking his real name.

So, they signal his nickname "No Nose," awarded to DiFronzo decades ago after a Michigan Avenue fur heist when part of his sniffer was severed as he jumped through a plate glass window.

John DiFronzo cut his teeth with the mob's Elmwood Park crew. He and his wife once lived in a Grand Avenue apartment house that they own, where their name is still on the front mailbox.

No Nose's rap sheet stretches back to the 1950s and features dozens of arrests and convictions. During the Family Secrets trial, federal prosecutors portrayed DiFronzo as a top outfit leader, and for the first time, said he was involved in the 1986 gangland murders of Anthony Spilotro -the mob's Las Vegas boss - and his brother, Michael, who were found six feet under an Indiana farm field.

The only evidence of DiFronzo's role in the Spilotro hit was from mob snitch and star witness Nick Calabrese. Law enforcement sources say they didn't want to risk losing a case against DiFronzo.

In one 2003 conversation between mobster brothers Jimmy and Michael Marcello, feds say they discussed No Nose.

James: "it quieted down on this guy, they didn't have what they thought they were gonna have or something like that?

Michael: I guess. That's what we heard. They thought they had something now they're not so sure."

DiFronzo is now atop the mob's flow chart that started with Scarface and continued through the Big Tuna, according to former federal agent and ex-Chicago crime commission director Bob Fuesel. "Their spots change, but they're still the same outfit that we know about from the days of Capone through Accardo for 50 years up until John DiFronzo today," Fuesel said.

DiFronzo was unreachable in River Grove or at his corner lot vacation home in Lake Geneva. His longtime lawyer, Carl Walsh, declined to comment Wednesday.

The FBI said a gag order prevented them from answering why DiFronzo hasn't been charged with the murders that prosecutors say he committed.

Do they even know where he is? "There is no reason for us to know his whereabouts because he hasn't been charged with anything," said Ross Rice, FBI spokesman.

Mob investigators say No Nose will lean on his brother, Peter DiFronzo, to help manage outfit rackets. Peter DiFronzo is a convicted warehouse thief who did time at Leavenworth. He and his brother are both fully initiated "made" members of the Chicago Outfit, according to the Chicago Crime Commission.

FBI records state that Peter and No Nose operate a west suburban construction and waste hauling firm, a politically connected company that "obtained contracts through illegal payoffs or intimidation."

When the I-Team visited D and P Construction Tuesday, Peter DiFronzo thought we were there to survey for new sewer lines. When told that the I-Team was there on an outfit investigation, he claimed to no know nothing and drove off in a new Cadillac Escalade.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Family Secrets Judge Trusts Jury

After a week off, jurors went back to work at Chicago's biggest mob trial in years Thursday, and the judge refused to poll them on whether news stories may have biased them.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said it would be a mistake to treat jurors "as if they were some delicate object that must be encased in glass" and that he had reviewed recent news stories and saw no problems. "The system is that we trust the jurors unless we have some definitive evidence that that trust is not justified," Zagel said.

The five defendants already have been convicted by the jury of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that involved illegal gambling, extortion, loan sharking and 18 murders that went unsolved for decades.

Among the victims was Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, long the mob's man in Las Vegas and the inspiration for Joe Pesci's character in the movie "Casino." He and brother Michael Spilotro were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in June 1986.

Other victims were strangled, beaten and shot to keep them from leaking secrets to the FBI, according to witnesses at the 10-week Operation Family Secrets trial.

The jury now is deciding what, if any, individual responsibility four of the defendants have in specific murders that are listed in the indictment. Only one of the defendants, retired Chicago policeman Anthony Doyle, 62, is not accused of taking part in any of the murders.

The other defendants are James Marcello, 65, Frank Calabrese Sr., 70, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78, and Paul Schiro, 70. Each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is found responsible for any of the murders.

Marcello has been described by prosecutors as a major figure in the mob. Calabrese was previously convicted of loan sharking, Lombardo of conspiring to bribe a senator and Schiro of being part of a jewel theft ring headed by Chicago police department's former chief of detectives.

All the defendants except Doyle have been in custody for more than a year. Doyle was taken into custody after he was found guilty on the racketeering conspiracy charge and now is being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a block from the courthouse.

Zagel said Thursday that he would consider a defense request to free Doyle on bond pending sentencing, but not until after the jury reaches its decision on whether Calabrese was responsible for murder.

Prosecutors say the husky, broad-shouldered Doyle was a collector for Calabrese's loan sharking business while also working as a police officer. The government also has videotapes of Doyle visiting Calabrese in prison and discussing what prosecutors describe as a mob murder investigation.

Zagel said Wednesday he thought the deliberations might go on for a long time, but on Thursday indicated he was as much in the dark as anyone. He said the jurors have sent no signal to him on how they are progressing. "When the jury hasn't said anything that could mean in the next 10 minutes or the next 10 days," Zagel said.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Delay in Jury Delibertations Should Be Minimal Say Legal Experts

A defense attorney at Chicago's biggest mob trial in years said Friday he is unhappy about a delay in jury deliberations, but experts suggested its impact on the case is likely to be minimal.

Professor James B. Jacobs of New York University School of Law said in a telephone interview that "trial judges have a great deal of leeway in managing their juries and granting delays and adjournments."

"Sometimes a juror gets sick and they suspend jury deliberations," he said. "I can say for sure that it's not automatically impermissible. Does it raise an issue in the event that the defendants are convicted? Sure."

He said defense attorneys might be able to argue the delay prejudiced jurors "because it broke the flow of the discussions or increased the risk the jurors might discuss the case" with outsiders. "But I think the presumption is that the management of the trial is properly up to the trial judge," he added.

Professor John R. Kroger of Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., who as a federal prosecutor handled organized crime cases, said trial adjournments are common enough but "it's a little unusual for jury deliberations to be adjourned."

Some judges who must leave during jury deliberations arrange for another judge in the same courthouse to handle any matters that arise.

"I don't know why the judge chose not to go that route here," Kroger said. But he suggested defense attorneys' protests might yield little.

"I doubt there's any real appellate issue there as long as the judge ensures when the jury returns that they haven't been discussing the case during the adjournment and that they haven't been following media reports," he said. "In that case there should be no problem with them returning after a week off."

Lombardo and three co-defendants could face life sentences if jurors find them responsible for specific murders. The fifth defendant convicted, retired Chicago police officer Anthony Doyle, is not accused of directly taking part in any of the murders.

If the jurors do not find the four defendants responsible for specific murders, they still face 20-year maximum sentences on for racketeering and some who were convicted of other offenses such as obstruction of justice, tax fraud and gambling could be subject to more time.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Vitacost.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It Can't Be Whitey

If that's Whitey Bulger, I'll eat my scally cap.

Our favorite fugitive serial-killer-cum-FBI-informant, Whitey - Jimmy, to you - has been on the lam for 12 years, and it has become an article of faith that every couple of years the FBI trots out somebody saying they almost caught their former stool pigeon.

The latest story is great stuff altogether because it comes with video.

Better yet, it comes with all sorts of undeniable plausibilities.

Can't be Whitey. Too much hair. And Whitey's too vain to put on all that weight.

Ah, but isn't that a perfect disguise?

Can't be Whitey. He wouldn't go to Sicily because his erstwhile criminal associates in the Mafia would find and kill him.

Ah, but isn't that just what our Jimmy, who spent all those years in Alcatraz studying counterintelligence, would do? Hide among the enemy and they won't look for you.

The latest installment of "Is That Whitey?" has provoked the wrong question. The real question is, "Is That Cathy?"

Cathy Greig, Whitey's moll, would be 56. The woman in the pictures looks a lot older than that. Whitey spent his entire life with women who looked like his daughters, and now we're supposed to believe he's spending the winter of his years with someone who looks like Barbara Bush? That doesn't sound like our Jimmy. Besides, Cathy had a ton of plastic surgery before she and Whitey hit the road. Guess who paid for it?

As for Whitey fearing La Cosa Nostra, his long, eventually obvious association with the FBI suggests he did not consider his LCN goombahs to be the brightest bulbs. Whitey hung around for seven years after the Globe's Spotlight Team exposed him as a rat for the FBI, so he had concluded that the local franchise of the LCN was either too stupid or too incompetent to kill him.

If they couldn't or wouldn't kill him in Quincy, why would he fear them in Sicily, where the dons have a lot more to worry about than exacting revenge against some low-rent Irish gangster who gave up Larry Baoine's barbooth game in Lowell? The Mafia hasn't been able to kill even a fraction of its own members who have violated the code of omerta, which translates from the Italian to "I ain't doin' time."

Still, if it was Whitey, you've got to appreciate his sense of irony in selecting Taormina as the place for him and Cathy to dress up and play Ozzie and Harriet on vacation.

Taormina was the name of the restaurant in New York's Little Italy where the Teflon Don, John Gotti, used to hang out. The payphone at Taormina had a sign that said "WARNING - THIS PHONE IS BUGGED."

Who needs bugs when you've got rats? Whitey always loved sticking it to the Italians.

Pat Nee and Howie Winter, who besides being retired gangsters are standup guys, told the Globe's Shelley Murphy they're convinced the fellow in the photos is not Whitey.

Chip Fleming, who used to work intelligence for the Boston police, and who knew Whitey as well as anyone, doesn't think it was, either.

That's good enough for me. But there are state cops and DEA agents, who really want to catch this guy, who think it is.

This whole episode shows just how much of a secular society we have become. It used to be, every few years, some peasant in some Third World hamlet would see an apparition of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Now we have Whitey sightings every few years. But - did you notice? - none of the Whitey sightings are in places you'd never want to go.

Jimmy, if you're reading this online somewhere, take some friendly advice: Head for Montenegro. The wine is cheap, the beaches are spectacular, you can buy the local cops with a case of beer, and, trust me, no one will come looking for you, because the airport at Podgorica is a dump.

Thanks to Kevin Cullen

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Connectiing the Dots with Chicago Clout

In 1999, Mayor Richard Daley met with close advisers at City Hall to discuss a favorite project, a plan to build dozens upon dozens of expensive single-family homes along the Chicago River in his ancestral 11th Ward, in what is now the troubled Bridgeport Village development.

Also at the meeting were mayoral strategist Tim Degnan, considered the fifth Daley brother, and Degnan business associate and 11th Ward developer Thomas DiPiazza, according to court documents and Tribune reports. But before and after that meeting with the mayor, according to public records in Illinois and Florida, DiPiazza was also engaged in a series of other, separate real estate transactions with a Bridgeport fixture known as Rayjo.

That's what he's called in Bridgeport, in Chinatown, on Rush Street and at the federal building, by prosecutors and the FBI. He's well known in these circles.

His formal name is Raymond John Tominello.

Tominello, 67, is considered a mathematical genius. He was convicted in 1989 of running the Chicago Outfit's illegal sports book operation under the supervision of the legendary Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini and Dominic Cortina.

In 1989, Angelini, Cortina and Tominello all pleaded guilty, a week after their indictment on federal racketeering charges. Tominello served less than a year in federal prison. Angelini and Cortina have since died. But Rayjo still thrives, at least in real estate.

What does this tell us? That DiPiazza, who gets into meetings with the mayor about one of the most important developments in Bridgeport in years, has a mobbed-up business associate.

Of course the mayor will say he didn't know about it. And that may be true. He might not have ever heard the name Rayjo in his entire life, even though they're about the same age and grew up in the same neighborhood. Can't coincidences happen in Chicago?

DiPiazza's attorney Mark Kralovec said last week that Tominello had worked for DiPiazza years ago, but that Tominello no longer works with DiPiazza's business.

Conrad Duncker, real estate attorney in Tominello's deals with DiPiazza and DiPiazza's partner, Richard Ferro, declined to comment.

"I really can't answer any questions. Have a good day sir," said Duncker, before hanging up the phone. Tominello did not respond to repeated attempts to contact him, through his attorneys and at his homes. That's too bad. It would have been nice to hear how he transformed his life, from Outfit bookie to Mr. Real Estate with Tommy D.

Investing in real estate with guys who know Mayor Daley isn't a crime, not even for a bookie. Understanding Chicago doesn't come by reading official press releases, but by reading the tracks of exotic creatures in public records.

"Rayjo was an integral part of the Cortina/Angelini combine," Chicago Crime Commission President James Wagner, the former longtime FBI supervisor, told me last week. "He hasn't been convicted of anything lately, but back then, Rayjo was considered to be one of them, not a lowly worker, but a manager, with talent and some ambition to move up. You're talking about a lot of money."

Just weeks before Tominello was indicted, he, Ferro and DiPiazza were listed on a commercial loan filing statement with the Illinois secretary of state's office for a continuation of an undetermined business loan. And a couple of years after Tominello's prison stint, in 1992, records show that a trust all three were involved in sold a large tract of commercial/industrial property at 300 W. 83rd Street, to the Chicago Board of Education for nearly $900,000. A portion of that property now serves as open space across the street from Simeon Career Academy.

In 1998 -- a year before DiPiazza met with Daley about Bridgeport Village -- DiPiazza's company sold a house to Tominello at 2806 S. Shields Ave., down the street from the neighborhood social center, the Italian American Club.

Next door to Tominello, DiPiazza deeded a lot to the family of Joseph "Shorty" LaMantia, county records show. LaMantia was assuming control of the Chicago Outfit's Chinatown Crew that runs Bridgeport. And for the next five years, according to tax records, tax bills for the Tominello house on Shields were addressed to Ferro-DiPiazza, but with a catch. They were mailed to Tominello's home. But Rayjo's home isn't officially the Ferro-DiPiazza offices. That office is at 3611 S. Normal Ave. Perhaps Tominello forgot to put his name on his taxes.

A similar thing happened on a Tominello investment property on Archer Avenue purchased in 1997. On the deed, the mailing address was listed at Ferro-DiPiazza. City building inspectors in 2000 found several code violations. The violation notices were sent to Ferro-DiPiazza on Normal, not to Tominello's home on Shields.

In 2003, DiPiazza sold a home on Marco Island, Fla., to Tominello for $300,000, not counting sunscreen.

Rayjo isn't the only smart guy DiPiazza knows. DiPiazza and another friend of Degnan's, the mayoral fashionista/waste-hauling king Fred Bruno Barbara, are also investors in the pricey real estate that houses the famous Tavern on Rush restaurant in the city's historic Viagra Triangle at Bellevue and Rush.

Degnan is close to both men.

Decades ago, in a Tribune story, Degnan publicly admitted to a serious gambling problem, saying in 1969 he owed $82,000 in gambling debts. In today's dollars, that comes to $459,000, a huge chunk for a young man back then. I haven't heard about Degnan gambling a dime lately, unless you count his wife getting magically clouted in as an investor in that Rosemont casino deal.

There's nothing illegal in all this real estate investing, as far as I can tell. These are puzzle pieces, coming together, revealing a little known feature of City Hall's infrastructure.

I asked Jim Wagner if he was surprised that DiPiazza, with his City Hall clout, meeting with the mayor and so on, would be involved in deals with Rayjo.

"No," Wagner said.

Of course not. This is Chicago.

Thanks to John Kass

CharlesKeath.com

Concerns Expressed by Chicago Crime Commission Regarding Proposed Expansion of Gambling

The Chicago Crime Commission The Chicago Crime Commissionnotes that the Illinois Senators and Representatives have again discussed legislative proposals to expand gaming in Illinois. The proposals include new gaming licenses for new casinos, including the City of Chicago, as well as the installation of slot machines at Illinois horse race tracks. However, the proposals do not appear to address the responsibility for suitability investigations to be conducted by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) on potential investors in these new gambling operations.

The IGB, as presently staffed, has experienced difficulty in timely reviewing applications for investments and conducting thorough background investigations. The IGB has never had sufficient staffing to routinely review all vendor contracts regardless of the service provided. The budget restrictions imposed by the State have, in the past, left the IGB staff with concerns about appropriate due diligence or comprehensive background investigations over all aspects of gaming. Adding new casino licenses and slot machines at horse race tracks would, potentially, completely overwhelm the ability of the IGB to provide complete, competent and independent oersight of the industry.

Arguments have previously been made that increasing the budget of the IGB in order to increase the staff and improve their ability to investigate and monitor the gaming industry would cost too much. The answer to this problem could be found in the gaming control operations in both Nevada and New Jersey. Both states require companies and individuals to pay a set amount before an investigation is initiated and to continue to finance the costs of each investigation, without any input or influence on the quality or extent of that investigation. Refusal to pay ends the licensing process. Each Illinois casino location could also be required to pay for the cost of IGB Agents who are required by law to be on-site during gaming activity, but who should be present at all times the casinos are open. This system would take the burden of the cost of the due diligence investigative process off of the State and place it on an industry that generates significant profits to the owners. This would not remove the need for a State budget for the overall operation of the IGB, but the primary costs would be shifted to the companies and individuals that benefit the most from the privilege of owning and operating gaming facilities in Illinois.

This system to increase the size of the staff of the IGB would also be much preferable to any proposed "out-sourcing" of this responsibility to private companies whose ownership and employees would also need complete background investigations.

This basic amendment to the financial operation of the IGB should be made at the time any additional licenses are made available in order to permit the IGB to continue to protect the integrity of gaming in Illinois.

Only Mob Impacted by Whitey Sighting is Tourists

The possible sighting of the legendary Boston gangster James (Whitey) Bulger - who served as the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's savage villain in "The Departed" - is being greeted as a perverse stroke of luck by local Sicilian officials.

With the international spotlight now focused on the town of Taormina, where photographs were taken of a man resembling the now-77-year-old fugitive mobster, officials say the area is likely to become an even greater tourist destination.

"Forgive the cynicism, but it's good for tourism, and it provides a lot of publicity to Taormina at a worldwide level," city official Salvatore Cilona told Corriere Della Sera, one of Italy's major newspapers. "Taormina has always drawn famous criminals," Cilona added, noting that the infamous New York mobster Lucky Luciano stayed in the seaside resort town with a friend in 1962.

Images of a man resembling Bulger, who has been on the lam for more than 10 years, were captured by a vacationing DEA agent on April 10. The man was videotaped window-shopping with a silver-haired woman who may be his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 56.

The FBI, which is offering a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture, conducted a facial recognition test, but it was inconclusive.

The ruthless former leader of the Winter Hill Gang has been charged with 19 murders and is suspected of having committed many more.

While ruling Boston's criminal underworld in the 1970s, Bulger was also playing ball with the FBI, serving up tips that damaged the interests of his rivals.

He vanished in 1995, just before he was hit with a racketeering indictment.

Thanks to Rich Schapiro.

Alyssa Milano is a Wisegal

Alyssa Milano Wisegal Alyssa Milanohas been tapped to star in the Lifetime original movie "Wisegal," a drama inspired by the true story of a women who became a trusted messenger for the Mafia.

Milano will play Patty Montanari, a widow with two young sons who becomes romantically involved with Frank Russo, a captain in a Brooklyn crime family who persuades her to work for the organization as a courier transporting millions of dollars from Canada into the U.S. When Patty learns that Frank has murdered his son, she realizes what he is capable of and begins to fear for her life and her sons' lives.

The movie will be executive produced by Joe Pistone, a real FBI agent who infiltrated the mob. "Donnie Brasco," the 1997 feature film starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, was based on Pistone.

"Wisegal" will premiere early next year.

Lifetime Networks president of entertainment Susanne Daniels was enthusiastic about having Milano in a Lifetime project, noting that she had worked with her when the actress was co-starring in the 1998-2006 drama series "Charmed" on WB Network, where Daniels was head of programming.

"We have been looking for the right project for her great talent, and she's ideal as the star of this riveting story," Daniels said.

"Wisegal" is produced by Daniel H. Blatt Prods. Pistone is executive producing with Daniel H. Blatt, Leo Rossi and Anthony Melchiorri; Danielle McVickers is co-producing. Jerry Ciccoritti is directing from a script by Shelley Evans.

Thanks to Kimberly Nordyke

Upholding the Legacy of Al Capone

To me the Chicago Outfit has always meant a Bears shirt and some loud sweatpants.

That's how little I've followed our neighboring city's organized crime syndicate until this week's verdict nailing five of its aging leaders and associates.

It's like "The Sopranos" episode that Tony hoped would never come. Tough guys with colorful nicknames were dragged into court by the feds to answer to charges of racketeering, illegal gambling, extortion, obstructing justice and 18 murders dating back to 1970. The jury returned guilty verdicts on the other counts but has yet to decide on the murder charges.

A panel of 12 peers, if that word can apply to a mobster trial, convicted James Marcello, 65, said to run the Outfit; Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78; Paul "the Indian" Schiro, 70; Frank Calabrese Sr., 70; and Anthony "Twan" Doyle, 62, a former Chicago cop.

The summer-long trial followed an investigation code-named Operation Family Secrets because two star witnesses were the brother and son of accused hit man Calabrese, who shouted, "Them are lies!" as the prosecutor told the jury he had left a trail of bodies.

Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, who pleaded guilty, said he peed his pants in fear as they dug a shallow grave for one victim. And he recalled that "Strangers in the Night" was playing on the jukebox at the restaurant where one guy was whacked.

There was plenty of mob-speak about high interest "juice loans" and grownup bullies collecting "street taxes" from fearful merchants. The jury saw surveillance photos and listened to tape recordings made in secret. They heard about "made" guys and "capos," bookies and henchmen. There was even talk of a severed puppy head and a dead rat being left to get someone's attention.

Wisconsin, long a vacationland for gangsters, got only brief attention at the trial. The Outfit buried a few hundred thou in cash up here but found it soaked and smelly when they dug it up.

Calabrese's lawyer tried to put a wholesome sheen on his client by saying he might as well be "a cheese salesman from Wisconsin."

One old-time Outfit figure mentioned at the trial was Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio. According to the Journal Sentinel archives, he oversaw organized crime activity in Milwaukee for his Chicago bosses in the 1950s and 1960s. He died in 1971.

Much better remembered here, of course, are the Balistrieris - dad Frank P. and sons Joe and John. They lacked a cool name like the Outfit, but they were the faces of our reputed Milwaukee mob. All three went to prison in the 1980s but were later released. Frank died in 1993, and his sons still live quietly here in town.

The FBI in Milwaukee has an organized crime detail, but these days they spend more time on groups from Eastern Europe and Asia, and street gangs.

"We don't see the Italian organized crime as being a large threat in the Milwaukee area," said special agent Doug Porrini. "There just haven't been any cases since the Balistrieris," Milwaukee U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic added.

That's OK, we don't miss it. The level of disorganized crime here is bad enough.

The U.S. Department of Justice in Chicago admitted that this prosecution wounded the Outfit but did not kill it. As these men go off to prison, new leaders will step in.

It just wouldn't be Chicago without someone upholding the legacy of Al Capone.

Thanks to Jim Stingl

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Hulking Figure Called "Twan"

"Twan" -that is the nickname for Anthony Doyle, a retired Chicago police officer who was convicted this week in the operation Family Secrets mob trial. He's the only one of the five defendants not accused of murder.

One of the Chicago mob's worst-kept secrets is corruption, greasing politicians and police to keep organized crime rackets in operation. Among the five men convicted this week of racketeering: Anthony Doyle, a Chicago cop for 21 years. The man they call Twan was the outfit's man in blue.

Sixty-two-year old Doyle is a hulking figure, whose rigid jaw line helps carve an imposing presence. Doyle is a longtime friend and associate of Chicago Outfit boss Frank Calabrese, who was responsible for at least 13 gangland murders, according to federal prosecutors.

Numerous times in 1999, Calabrese paid for Doyle to come to a federal prison in southeastern Michigan. Doyle discussed Chicago mob business with Calabrese, who is known as Frank "the Breeze." Neither man knew the FBI was secretly taping the meetings.

The visits alone violated Chicago police rules that prohibit associating with felons. And when Doyle gave Calabrese information he'd requested about a police murder investigation, straight from a department evidence computer, that was also criminal.

Investigators believe that Doyle sensed Chicago police were on to his relationship with Calabrese and that Doyle tendered his resignation from the police department in 2001 before a federal grand jury could indict him. That way, Doyle was able to receive his Chicago police pension of $2,800 a month, or $34,000 a year.

Since retiring, Doyle has collected nearly $200,000 in pension payments from the city. The director of the police pension board wrote in a letter to ABC7 that they are aware of Doyle's conviction and plan to address the forfeiture of his pension once he is sentenced. A sentencing date has not been set.

Doyle began his defense last June with a trash bin, his lawyers demonstrating for the jury that he started as a city sanitation worker and made it to the police force.

His birth name is actually Passafume, which is Italian. But when he decided to join the Chicago police force, which is historically Irish, he became Anthony Doyle. His police records list him as "Irish/Italian." But through the ethnic transformation, his nickname stayed the same: Twan.

A twan is a popular Chinese doughnut. Literally translated, it means "rice glog." Of course, police are known to be fond of their doughnuts, and Officer Doyle grew up in a section of Chinatown where twans are sold.

On Wednesday in federal court, Doyle asked to be freed on bond until sentencing, offering to post his home in Arizona; his daughter's home and the homes of two retired Chicago policemen as bond.

Judge James Zagel is considering bond but in court questioned Doyle's judgment and did not seem inclined to let him out until sentencing.

Doyle is the only mob defendant not accused of murder.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Cafe Belmondo, LLC

Criminal Defense Attorney Not Happy with Jury's Vacation

A defense lawyer at Chicago's biggest mob trial in years says he's unhappy about a delay in jury deliberations.

Attorney Rick Halprin represents alleged mob capo Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, and he says he doesn't like surprises. UncommonGoodsLombardo and his four co-defendants have already been convicted of taking part in a long-running racketeering conspiracy that included 18 mob murders.

Jurors are now trying to decide if individual defendants are directly responsible for specific murders listed in the indictment. That could boost the maximum sentence to life in federal prison.

After jurors went home last night, U.S. District Judge James Zagel announced that further deliberations would be put off for a week. He didn't give a reason.

Experts suggest the delay's impact on the case is likely to be minimal.

Whitey Bulger Spotted in Italy?

On April 10, 2007, in Taormina, an Italian city on the island of Sicily, an individual observed a couple they believed to be FBI Top Ten fugitive James J. "Whitey" Bulger and his girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth Greig. On April 10, 2007, in Taormina, an Italian city on the island of Sicily, an individual observed a couple they believed to be FBI Top Ten fugitive James J. Bulger and his girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth Greig.The individual was able to take a brief video recording of the Bulger look-a-like and his companion.

To date, the coordinated efforts of the FBI, Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Department of Correction, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Italian law enforcement authorities have not been able to exclude the two people photographed in Italy as James J. Bulger and Catherine Elizabeth Greig. A facial recognition analysis was conducted and proved to be inconclusive. Additionally, interviews of associates of Bulger and Greig did not resolve the question for law enforcement that these two individuals were "look-a-likes" or are in fact are Bulger and Greig. Therefore, law enforcement is interested in speaking with anyone who was visiting this area of Italy during the months of March, April, and May of 2007 and may have observed or had contact with the two individuals in the photograph and video.

James J. Bulger was indicted for twenty-one (21) counts of RICO-MURDER and has been a fugitive since January of 1995. Bulger, along with Greig, is known to have traveled throughout the United States and Europe since his indictment and flight. Bulger planned for his life on the run by placing large sums of cash in safe deposit boxes domestically and internationally. Safe deposit boxes have been discovered in Clearwater, Florida (2001), Ireland and England (2002), and Montreal, Canada (2003). It is believed that other safe deposit boxes exist in other locations.

A reward of up to $1,000,000 is being offered for any information leading directly to the arrest of James J. Bulger. Individuals with information concerning Bulger should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the nearest office of the FBI or local law enforcement agency. Bulger is considered armed and extremely dangerous. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Tips may be directed to 800-CALL-FBI or FBI Tips.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mob Trial Jurors Decide to Join Judge on Vacation

Jurors at the racketeering conspiracy trial of five alleged Chicago mobsters broke off deliberations after two days Thursday and the judge said they would not return to finish their work for a week.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who is presiding over Chicago's biggest mob trial in years, issued a brief written statement through the court clerk's office Thursday afternoon saying the deliberations had ended for the day and would resume again at 9 a.m. next Thursday.

The jury has already convicted the defendants of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that involved illegal gambling, extortion, loan sharking and 18 long unsolved mob murders.

You Decide 125x125For the last two days, the jurors have been deciding whether to hold four of the defendants responsible for specific murders listed in the indictment -- something that would boost their maximum sentences for the racketeering conspiracy conviction to life in prison.

In his statement, Zagel did not explain the unusual move of sending the jurors home for a week after they had already started deliberations. He was not at the courthouse on Thursday -- the first day of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana. Chief Judge James F. Holderman declined to comment and referred a reporter to Zagel's two-sentence written statement.

Those convicted at the 10-week trial were James Marcello, 65; Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78; Frank Calabrese Sr., 70; Paul Schiro, 70, and Anthony Doyle, 62.

All but Doyle are accused in the racketeering conspiracy indictment of responsibility for specific murders -- Calabrese for 13, Marcello for three and Lombardo and Schiro for one each. But they are not charged with murder.

If the jury finds any or all of them responsible for specific murders as charged in the indictment the maximum sentence on the racketeering conspiracy charge will be boosted to life in federal prison.

Otherwise, the maximum for racketeering conspiracy alone is 20 years.

Thanks to Mike Robinson