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By Jeff Havens (This is an original, previously unpublished article.)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

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