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
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