Monday, March 31, 2008

Henry Hill Tours His Goodfellas' Turf

GoodFellas was the definitive mafia film - and it is the story of one man, Henry Hill, one of the only survivors of a ruthless gang of robbers and killers.

Hill walked the streets of New York as a king - an associate of the Lucchese crime family. He stole big, he spent big and took vast quantities of drugs.

Then he got caught and spent 30 years in the witness protection programme, telling the police all they needed to know to put his mafia bosses behind bars.

"I couldn't walk around this neighbourhood ten years ago," he says standing, smoking outside Junior's diner in Long Island City. "There'd be bullets flying all over the place."

His morning started with fried calamari washed down with a glass of wine and a shot of whiskey. But it was not the Dutch courage that meant he dared to visit his old haunting grounds on this murky spring day.

"I'm old enough to die, just as long as they do it quickly," he says, pointing to his forehead.

Hill is a very different looking man from the one shown on the big screen. He is short, grey-haired, with lines on his face. A cigarette barely leaves his hand. The same goes for a bottle of beer.

After Junior's, it was on to his mistress's house. She was called Janice Rossi in the film, Linda in real life, and Hill confirms the famous scene where his wife, Karen, is madly pressing apartment buzzers and screaming that Janice is a "whore". But he says in reality he was in the apartment too and had to climb down the drainpipe to get out and reach home before Karen returned.

Hill says: "If you can't love two people at once, there's something wrong with you."

I point out that his wife probably did not see it that way. "Obviously she didn't," says Hill.

After a short interlude where he tries to persuade a traffic warden not to give us a ticket - "Sistergirl, please," he says - we are off to Robert's Lounge.

The club was owned by Jimmy Burke (Robert de Niro's character in the film) and was the scene of Spider's (played by Michael Imperioli) death. "Spider was killed in the basement," Hill says. He describes the dark room filling up with smoke and the deafening echo of bullets in the tiny space. He says Spider was buried in the basement along with several others killed there or nearby over the years. With a grim look he says: "This is a graveyard."

GoodFellas contained several scenes of visceral, shocking violence and it was not an exaggeration.

Joe Coffey became a policeman because the mafia shot his dad. It happened when he was eight and they did it right in front of him.

"GoodFellas is probably the best mafia movie as far as showing them for what they really are," he says today. "The Godfather, Casino, they show them as sort of folk heroes. GoodFellas pins them down to exactly what they are - street thugs."

Hill says he never killed anyone although he did ''bust some heads", and he admits he does not know whether his victims lived or died.

He smiles as he talks of how much he stole, though. "We stole anything we could sell," he says, as we pass a Bulova watch factory.

He claims they used to stake out the trucks as they brought shipments in and then hold up and pay off the drivers. The watches could then be sold on the black market.

His most famous crime was the Lufthansa robbery of 1978 when a reported $5m (£2.5m) was taken from a vault at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport.

Hill says the police told him more than $100m (£50m) had gone through his hands, although he himself has no idea how much he stole and spent.

He knows where it went though: "Slow horses, drugs and rock and roll."

Now he makes his money selling his story. He is promoting a new Sky Movies mafia season, and has written several books (including a cookbook - real spaghetti and marinara sauce, not egg noodles and ketchup).

He adds that he made half a million dollars advising on GoodFellas.

I ask him how he thought the victims of his crimes would feel knowing about that.

He takes a drag of his cigarette and replies: "Do you know something? I don't give a heck what those people think, I'm doing the right thing now."

Thanks to Heather Alexander

Eliot Spitzer's Prostitute Connected to Reputed Mobster

Federal investigators have developed information that the prostitute whom Eliot Spitzer is said to have met in Washington last month has some relationship with a man who the authorities contend is an associate of organized crime, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

It was unclear on Friday whether the investigators had determined the precise nature, or timing, of the relationship between the 22-year-old woman and the reputed organized crime figure, Anthony Scibelli, 37, a building contractor now under federal indictment in a separate case in Brooklyn.

But prosecutors and F.B.I. agents involved in the prostitution case have begun asking questions about whether anyone involved with the ring that the former governor is believed to have patronized, the Emperor’s Club V.I.P., understands how Mr. Scibelli knows the woman, Ashley Alexandra Dupré, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

A lawyer for Mr. Scibelli acknowledged that his client knew Ms. Dupré but said that the two did not have a sexual relationship.

“He doesn’t deny knowing her, but he does deny having any illicit relationship with her,” said the lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel. “Anthony Scibelli is a hard-working contractor. He is not a mob member. He is not a mobster. He is someone who goes to work every day.”

Mr. Shargel said his client’s only contact with Ms. Dupré, an aspiring rhythm and blues singer, was related to his efforts to further her music career. “He has contacts in the music business,” Mr. Shargel said. “She was introduced to him because of his contacts in the music business, and she obviously thought that he could help further her career, and that was the sole basis of the relationship.”

He said the two met through a mutual friend whom he did not identify.

There is no indication that Mr. Spitzer was aware of Ms. Dupré’s relationship with Mr. Scibelli, or that Mr. Scibelli knew Mr. Spitzer had reportedly been a client of Ms. Dupré’s. Indeed, two people with knowledge of the case said Ms. Dupré’s only apparent contact with the governor had been the Feb. 13 rendezvous at the Mayflower Hotel, a meeting that became famous after it was disclosed that Mr. Spitzer was referred to as Client 9 in a federal complaint against the prostitution ring. But the fact that the scope of Ms. Dupré’s contacts included someone the federal government lists as an organized crime associate underscores the dangerously vulnerable position Mr. Spitzer put himself in if he consorted with prostitutes.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Spitzer, Brandy Bergman, said the former governor had no comment, as did a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Manhattan. A lawyer for Ms. Dupré, Don D. Buchwald, also declined to comment. Ms. Dupré did not respond to messages.

Mr. Scibelli is listed as the owner of one construction company and as an executive in another that does business in the New York metropolitan region. He served a state prison sentence in the early 1990s for felony drug sale, according to state prison records.

Last month, he was one of 62 people charged in a sweeping indictment brought by federal prosecutors against the Gambino crime family, including 3 reputed leaders of the family, 6 reputed capos, 16 men the authorities classified as soldiers and others, like Mr. Scibelli, whom the government identified as mob associates.

Specifically, the government accused Mr. Scibelli of extortion and extortion conspiracy, claiming he shook down another contractor and took over the man’s portable cement plant.

He was charged along with three other men, Nicholas Corozzo and Leonard DiMaria, identified in the indictment as Gambino captains, and Mr. Corozzo’s son-in-law, Vincent Dragonetti, a reputed soldier who is involved in a construction business with Mr. Scibelli.

Mr. Shargel noted that Mr. Scibelli was not charged with racketeering conspiracy in the Brooklyn case, as were 25 of the other defendants. And he was named in just two of the 80 counts in the 170-page indictment.

He is now free on $1 million bond that was secured by the house where he lives with his wife in Medford, N.Y., and a home there owned by his parents.

Mr. Corozzo, Mr. DiMaria and Mr. Dragonetti face more serious charges: murder, racketeering conspiracy and nearly two dozen other alleged crimes for Mr. Corozzo; racketeering conspiracy and 30 extortion, gambling and other counts for Mr. DiMaria; and a litany of construction-related extortion, money laundering and gambling charges for Mr. Dragonetti.

Mr. Dragonetti and Mr. Scibelli are involved in a construction firm called Hunter-Atlantic, in Red Bank, N.J. Mr. Scibelli is the vice president and business records list Mr. Dragonetti as the registered agent.

Mr. Scibelli also has another company, VMS Consulting Inc., which is based at his home in Medford, according to business records.

Hunter-Atlantic was involved in shoring up a landmark six-story cast-iron building adjacent to the planned site of a 20-story condominium building called 57 Reade Street in TriBeCa. The city’s Buildings Department halted work there in November after the excavation for the new building left the landmark listing.

Thanks to Willaim K. Rashbaum and Ian Urbina

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CW to Detail Mafia's Connection to the Fashion Industry

ust when it seemed Seventh Avenue had shed its cloak of organized crime, it could be pulled right back in.

Lewis Kasman, a former trim producer who once fashioned himself as John Gotti's "adopted son," is expected to turn state's evidence this week in the latest Mob crackdown. A federal court in Brooklyn unsealed an 80-count indictment last month charging 62 alleged mobsters with a list of crimes, from racketeering conspiracy and extortion to theft of union benefits and money laundering.
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Although the indictment focuses on the connection between the Mafia, the construction industry and its unions, testimony by Kasman, who is alleged to have for years run a fashion industry front for the Gambino crime family, might also illuminate connections between organized crime and the New York fashion industry over the past three decades — although the ties go back longer than that.

Kasman is slated to appear in federal court Thursday and is expected to testify on his background as an associate of the Gambino crime family and his relationship with its leaders, including Joseph "JoJo" Corozzo. The government also has filed a motion to disqualify Corozzo's son, Joseph, an attorney on the case.

The indictment outlined crimes dating back to the Seventies and ensnared reputed associates of the Gambino, Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families with movie-ready nicknames such as "Vinny Hot," "One Eye" and "Fat Richie."

The three-year investigation also included a cooperating witness who wore a wire, according to the indictment, although it could not be determined at press time whether that witness was Kasman.

"The evidence relating to many of the charged crimes consists of hundreds of hours of recorded conversations secured by a cooperating witness who penetrated the Gambino family over a three-year period," said a statement last month from the office of U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell, who oversees the Eastern District of New York.

Despite the breadth of the current wave of indictments, this won't be Kasman's first time in a courtroom.

He was a principal with the now-defunct Albie Trimming Co., a family-owned trimmings manufacturer with a storefront operation and warehouse at 229 West 36th Street that supplied materials such as zippers, linings and buttons to garment industry companies, but was said to be a front for the Gambino family, then headed by Gotti. At the time, the Gambino family had a stranglehold on Seventh Avenue's trucking activities.

Kasman, who often played up his relationship with Gotti by saying he was like an "adopted son" of the convicted murderer and racketeer, pleaded guilty in 1994 in Federal District Court in Brooklyn to lying to a grand jury in 1990 by saying he was not familiar with the terms "Gambino," "capo" or "consigliere." Kasman was sentenced to six months in prison, was given a $30,000 fine and was sentenced to three years of supervised release once he was out of prison, with the stipulation that he not associate with any members of organized crime.

When Gotti, also known as the "Dapper Don," died in prison in 2002, Kasman told newspapers, "He's a man amongst men, a champion."

During its investigation that led to Gotti's conviction, the government said Albie Trimming and an associated firm, Scorpio Marketing, existed "merely to provide the appearance that John Gotti and other Gambino family members have a legitimate income." Gotti was even said to have an Albie Trimming card that identified him as "salesman."

It was the same Gambino crime family that was prosecuted by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in 1992 for illegally controlling garment industry trucking. Then-assistant district attorney Eliot Spitzer, in his opening remarks in the trial of Thomas and Joseph Gambino, sons of crime family founder Carlo Gambino, said the Gambinos and their associates resorted to an occasional show of force "where the velvet glove comes off."

Spitzer won acclaim for his successful prosecution and used it as a stepping stone to his now-disgraced governorship of New York.

The level of the Mafia's involvement in Seventh Avenue today is a matter of debate, with some contending that the corporatization of the industry and the federal government's repeated crackdowns have stifled the Mob, but others saying it's still around. Whether Kasman's testimony will shed the kind of light on the garment industry and organized crime that past state's witnesses have remains to be seen. Sources told WWD after the Gambino trucking trial in state court in 1992 that one reason Thomas and Joseph Gambino pleaded guilty of restraint of trade was that prosecutors were prepared to call Mob-turncoat Sammy "The Bull" Gravano to testify how the family and its associates used strong-arm tactics and unscrupulous bookkeeping to form a garment industry cartel. In a separate federal trial that same year, Gravano was the star witness against Gambino crime family head Gotti and his damaging testimony led to Gotti's conviction and life sentence for racketeering and murder.

Thanks to Evan Clark and Arthur Friedman

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Drug and Gambling Ring with Alleged Ties to Organized Crime

A seven-month investigation into a drug and gambling ring with alleged ties to organized crime yielded arrests of 45 people Tuesday, including a high school athletic director and a teacher from another school district.

Among those arrested Tuesday were four reputed associates of the Genovese crime family: James J. Skinner, 40, of Hazlet; his father, James W. Skinner, 69, of Allenwood; Brian DiGuilmi, 48, of Emerson, and 49-year-old Mark Iafelice of Edgewater.

Those four and 63-year-old Bernard Duffy of Hasbrouck Heights were charged with racketeering. Duffy is not believed to be associated with the Genovese family, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.

A message left at a number listed for the younger Skinner was not returned Tuesday. There was no answer at numbers listed for Iafelice, the elder Skinner and DiGuilmi, and a person answering the phone at Duffy's house did not take a message.

The rest of the suspects were charged with promoting gambling or conspiracy to possess or distribute illegal drugs.

Charged with promoting gambling were Jerry Maietta, 37, the athletic director at North Bergen High School, and Ralph Marino, 52, an aide at the school. Also charged with promoting gambling was John Prato, 36, of Brick, a teacher at Freehold Regional High School.

Molinelli said there was no evidence any teachers or students at the two schools had placed bets with the suspects. A message left at Freehold Regional High School was not returned Tuesday, and the phone was not answered at North Bergen High School.

A phone number listed for Maietta was disconnected, and a number could not be located for Marino. Prato did not return a voice mail message.

The investigation, dubbed "Off The Hook" because both Skinners live in the shore area near Sandy Hook Bay, initially targeted a gambling operation that handled about $1 million per month in transactions, according to Molinelli.

Investigators eventually uncovered the alleged drug ring through a connection between the younger Skinner and Paul Pierantoni, 44, a window washer from Carlstadt, the prosecutor said.

A telephone number for Pierantoni in Carlstadt was disconnected.

Much of the drug activity was centered in the southern Bergen County towns of Carlstadt, Wood-Ridge and East Rutherford, Molinelli said.

"These were not street sales," he said. "Most of the drugs were sold by phone and by deliveries to pickup homes. We were able to find a rather significant network of crack and marijuana dealers in south Bergen."

Many of those charged with promoting gambling accepted bets from gamblers and routed them to an offshore wire room, or phone bank, based in the Dominican Republic, Molinelli said. Those who accepted bets received a commission on winning bets and were responsible for collecting debts when the gamblers lost.

The operation was allowed to operate in exchange for kicking back a percentage of the take to the Genovese family, according to Molinelli.

More than $5 million was seized, including about $2 million from the senior Skinner, who is retired and living on a pension and had the money in an investment account, Molinelli said.

Thanks to David Porter

Mafia Author's Insights Bring Him, Fame, Fortune, and Bodyguards

The first people Roberto Saviano sees every morning are his bodyguards – the three Italian policemen who pick him up in a bulletproof sedan, drive him to the gym, or take him on errands. They haven't left him alone since "Gomorrah" – his fierce critique of the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra – hit best-seller lists in October 2006, bringing fame, fortune, and some powerful and ruthless enemies. But today, because of international and British laws that don't permit him the usual retinue of government bodyguards here in London, he's been entrusted to me – 135 pounds of journalistic muscle. Mr. Saviano doesn't speak English, and I – a native Neapolitan, myself – do; so his agent thinks I'm some sort of protection for him, and I laugh half-heartedly when the agent jokes about me being his bodyguard for a day.

I accept the task as coolly as I can, but in the back of my mind I'm wondering if I might end up between him and a hit man. I'm hardly relieved when, cautious but confident, Saviano walks out of his hotel wearing a dark coat, unmissable Italian sunglasses, and a dark scarf pulled up to his wool coppola cap. Nor am I comforted when the taxi driver, who seems to have been instructed not to breathe the name Saviano, calls out "Car for Mr. Roberto."

But as he cheerfully sidles into the back with me, it's his sunny disposition in spite of it all that cuts the tension. He peels off his hat and glasses and jokes about how conspicuous he looks wearing them in London.

This is our second day together, and maybe having a fellow Neapolitan interviewing him puts him at ease, but he chats freely as if we were old schoolmates with catching-up to do.

Saviano seems refreshingly laid back and down-to-earth for a 28-year-old who's sold over a million copies of his book in Italy alone, has been published in 33 other countries, is the only Italian on the New York Times and Economist Best of 2007 book lists, and, more important, for someone whose life is under constant threat. And he isn't scared, either.

"They'd never kill me here in the UK," he says. Also, he's in the spotlight now and it wouldn't be the right moment for the Camorra to kill him, he seems to think.

It turns out I was more worried than he ever was.

Despite the publicity shots that always portray him as serious and pensive, Saviano actually laughs a lot, especially about himself and his Mafioso looks: "If I didn't look like a proper Camorrista, the book would have never done this well."

He's right, at least about his appearance. He has the dark Mediterranean look, is short (just 5' 5"), slim but moderately well-built. He doesn't have much hair, but his huge brown eyes sparkle. With the coppola cap and the sunglasses, he looks like any dodgy guy back home. And he can talk like one too, though mostly he speaks a clear and clean Italian with a Neapolitan twang. But it's not only the looks and vocabulary that Saviano shares with the subjects of "Gomorrah." Raised in Casal di Principe, a town of 20,000 north of Naples, home to a powerful Camorra clan, Saviano stumbled across his first murdered body as a teen on his way to school. It's in the same town that he learned about the power of affiliation and belonging – when he'd ride his bike to nearby towns with his friends and scare other kids away by simply saying, "I'm from Casale."

"Corleone for people in my town is like Disneyland," he says, comparing the Sicilian Cosa Nostra town of "The Godfather" with the less publicized but more thriving towns of southern Italy's Camorra. "I grew up in a cutthroat reality."

Saviano's personal accounts, police reports, and trial evidence make "Gomorrah" an unprecedented description of that reality. It tells how the System (the name Camorristi use to refer to themselves) profits from drug trafficking, clothes manufacture, waste disposal, and public work contracts and feeds off the endemic problems of Naples – youth unemployment (40 percent), waste management crises, and political corruption.

Until the book came out in 2006, Camorra stories had only been the subject of local news reports, not international bestsellers. Saviano never trained as a journalist – he thinks of himself more as a writer. He graduated in philosophy and then did some work for national newspapers. But how did he go from the boy on the bike proud of Casale's reputation to the young writer confined to a bulletproof sedan?

"I often say that fortunately, or unfortunately, I am made of the same clay as the people I write about. I don't feel a difference in our formation, but in our choices," he says.

His father was a local doctor who was always a bit envious of the Camorra's power and money and taught Saviano how to shoot a gun when he was young. But when he saved the young target of a shooting – instead of leaving him to die as mafia doctors are supposed to do – he was beaten up for it. Saviano's mother, on the other hand, was a teacher from northern Italy, who gave him the cultural instruments to distance himself from his surroundings.

Above all, however, it was his desire to understand how the System worked that pushed him to go down a different path. "I didn't choose a different path because I thought that what they do is morally revolting," he says. "What I'm trying to do is to understand where their world begins and the legal world ends, and I've understood that they often coincide."

He uses the example of a neighbor, a boss who'd invited Saviano to his daughter's wedding and who'd paid for another neighbor's studies abroad. "It's hard to think that that same clever, generous, and kind man could one day kill a guy ... by making him swallow sand just because he'd been flirting with his niece."

Saviano is a traditionalist in many ways, like many in our corner of southern Italy. In the custom of Casal di Principe, his town, he wears three simple rings on three separate fingers – they look like wedding rings and signify the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He is not a churchgoer, but he is not an atheist either. In fact one of the people who most inspired him was Father Peppino Diana, the antimafia parish priest of Casal di Principe who was murdered in his own church in 1994. (Father Diana compared Casale and its surroundings to the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed by God for the sins of their citizens. That's where the wordplay used in the book title comes from.) But ultimately it is Saviano's questioning of what drives people's decisions and what makes people tick that sets him apart from the rest.

"Understanding was my real vaccination, not rebelling against their violence," he says. "My fascination with that world remains, and I know it's dangerous, but I have written a book to try to take it apart."

And that book has cost him a lot. When it came out, even his friends and family left him alone. People in Casale thought he was a betrayer trying to profit from his experiences, and his family simply couldn't understand why he'd write about something as awful as the Camorra. And then came the threats – that he believes are from the bosses he named in the book and who are suing him for libel. (He says he still can't forgive himself for putting his family in danger, too.) But worst of all, he says, was the police protection.

"Since I started living under escort, I've been feeling like a half man," he says. "People in Casale say that [the Camorra has] built me a coffin without having to shoot me in the head."

We'd spent our first day together at Oxford University, where a bunch of Italian students who came to hear him talk were fascinated by him. He relaxed and joked with them about how bad English food is and how hard it must be to live away from home.

Seeing what a following he had here – and all over the world (his recently formed Facebook group has 1,200 members and there are over 6,000 on his MySpace profile) – it was hard to believe how lonely he must be at times. (His family has given him full support since he started receiving threats, but he's not in touch anymore with most of his old friends.)

So, wouldn't he rather leave and go somewhere where he didn't need constant police protection?

"Of course," he says. "But I can't do it yet. I've become a symbol and if I left I'd be giving in to their power. I need to keep going for now, and then we'll see."

Thanks to Irene Caselli

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wiretap at Ballfield Leads to Conviction of Reputed Mobsters

You can now rule out the baseball field at Glen Cove High School as a place where it is safe for organized-crime figures to plot their racketeering activities.

Two reputed members of the Colombo organized-family were convicted Thursday of racketeering and extortion after a trial in which testimony centered around FBI wiretap's made with bugs planted at the school's ballfield, according to officials.

The two reputed crime figures -- Frank Leto, 76, of Glen Cove, and Louis Fenza, 56, of Jericho -- had been accused of shaking down the management of the then-Huntington Townhouse for between $200- to $400-a-week between 1997 and 1999. Leto was identified during the trial as a longtime soldier in the Colombo family and Fenza an associate.

According to testimony at the trial in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, FBI agents had been surveilling Leto, but he apparently thought he could avoid their overhearing his discussions by meeting with associates at the ballfield around midnight, sometimes when it was pitch black. But agents planted bugs around the field, picking up Leto discussing various schemes, said sources familiar with the case.

When Leto and Fenza were arrested in August 2003, federal prosecutor James Mikiewicz said, "This is a classic textbook case of organized crime extorting honest businessmen."

The Huntington Townhouse, once one of Long Island's major catering halls, was sold to the Lowe's home-improvement chain in June.

The jury returned a verdict after two days of deliberation following a trial that began in mid-February. The trial was halted for several days after Leto appeared to have fallen asleep, but was eventually hospitalized with some type of breakdown. Fenza's lawyer, Louis Fasulo of Manhattan, said of the verdict, "It's a shock," and that his client planned an appeal. Fasulo said that his client and Leto were involved with a limousine service that was used by the catering hall and the money owed was a legitimate debt.

Eastern District Assistant U.S. attorneys Allan Bode and Nicole Boeckmann declined to comment. Leto's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Leto and Fenza face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced by U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt.

Thanks to Robert E. Kessler

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Gangster World : Australian Hitman For Hire: Cost: $380.00!

By Clarence Walker, Investigative Journalist, Houston Texas

If you was a cold-blood criminal how much you willing to pay a hitman to kill someone? Well maybe that depends on the amount of money you have and how much the assassin will charge to carry out a contract.

Throughout existence of mankind people have hired killers to murder others in exchange for sex, money, relationships, promise of marriage, favoritism, gold, pearls, diamonds, cars, and even high-tech video games. But if you had none of the above to offer and you are practially broke with less than $500 in your pocket and desperately needed someone murdered for whatever reason--- where in the U.S. or anywhere on foreign land can you find a professional hitman to execute a bloody job for a pitiless fee?

Thats a tough question, isn't it? Since you don't know here is the answer. According to a recent crime study if you need someone murdered in Australia you can find an assassin for as low as $380!

What a bargain. Life must really come cheap for contract killers in Australia. Assassins must be insane to snuff lives for such a pittance amount. Sounds too ridiculous to be true? Isn't it? Keep reading.

A recent study of 163 attempted and actual murders conducted between 1989-2002 by The Australian Institute of Criminology and South Australian's major crime investigation branch showed the average price for a 'hit' is $12,700, but, again, if your budget is tight as a drum a person can have a contract murder carried out for $300-$400.

This research is the first national study of the typology of contract killings in Australia.

The study further showed the majority of contract killings in Australia is usually done by angry spouses and jilted lovers. But evidence is clear the professional criminals involved with organized crime order the most successful 'hits'.

"The most common motive or reason for hiring the services of a hit man was in relation to the dissolution of an intimate relationship", Toni Makkai, acting director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, said in a statement to foreign news reporters.

Makkai pointed out the fact the most common motives ranged from preventing a person from pursuing another relationship, revenge for another having affair, eliminating a partner to shack up with a lover or gain custody of children.

Other motives were money, silencing a witness, revenge, drugs and organized crime rivalry.

The average pay of 'blood money' to a 'hitman' for a contract in Australia was $12,700, the lowest amount documented $380, the highest $76,000.

Based on the research evidence documented from crime cases indicated powerful weapons was used for the contract murders. In fact guns were five times more likely to be used in contract killings than in domestic type murders.

"If you want the job done you are going to use the most deadly weapon avaliable", Makkai said.

Among several types of homicides to go down in Australia contract killings make up only a small percentage of all murders. During the four-year study period 'hits' accounted for only two percent of murders. But the number of 'hits' is slowly rising with an average now of seven attempted murders and five carried out each year. In earlier studies of contract murders by Australian organized crime group it showed the OC groups were more sophisticated and willing to pay large amount of money for a 'hitman'.

The amount for a organized crime-type murder contract often varys based on the following factors:

Who is the hitman, his reputation for success and not being caught, fees, how many victims he'd eliminated in the past, availablitiy for future assignments. These kind of hitmen are in demand and they charge a hefty fee.

A professional hitman will take the following into consideration prior to accepting an assignment:

(1) Identity of the person to be killed, his/her background, where they are, their daily habits and routines, and,

(2) Any police or security available, news media attention, including whether the client wants the target killed in a specified manner(for example, to make the killing appear as robbery, accident or suicide).

(3) The difficulty and danger of successfully carrying out the 'hit'.

Other factors in carrying out a contract killing varys from one person to another whose desire to have a 'hit' done.

Australian Institute Criminology researcher Jenny Mouzos and South Australian police Detective Inspector John Venditto reported their findings out of 163 cases that 69 victims were killed(34 unsolved) and 94 where the attempt failed due to an informant.

Aside from organized crime contracts Mouzos and Venditto's investigation cited failed relationships between current or former spouses as motivation to find a contract killer. In this group, "63 percent of males were the instigators", says Venditto.

Both Venditto and Mouzos agreed the organized crime-related contract murders succeeded because of more money the groups have to spend to find professional hitmen which allows them to avoid the critical pitfalls that trap others with less money into most likely being caught early in the scheme by putting the word out among freinds, associates and total strangers.

When criminals operate through low-level channels to find a hitman on the streets they run the risk of having an informant contact police for reward money or gain favors in the criminal justice system.

Venditto and Mouzos exclusive study identifed three class of hitmen (1) amateurs (2) semi-pros (3) professionals

"The amateurs, Venditto says, typically are hired to kill a spouse or intimate partner". He characterised amateurs as "impulsive and disorganized and frequently caught".

Professional 'hits' were carefully planned and the assassins left few clues behind. But some were caught. Many victims of drug-related 'hits' may simply disappear without trace thereby this type of crime could be significantly higher than statistics indicated, the study concluded.

In closing as a veteran crime journalist I've written many stories about contract murders. The lowest amount was a October 1981 case in Houston Texas at the La Quinta Inn Motel involving Tommy Dunn. Dunn needed a hitman to kill his father named A.D. Dunn over a relationship the elder was having with his son's ex-girlfreind.

Famous Texas death row inmate Thomas Miller EL now awaiting a new trial in Dallas Texas had introduced Tommy to a desperate guy who can only be characterized as an amateur 'hitman'.

When Dunn asked the 'hitman' how much he charged to kill his father, the 'hitman', paused for seconds, then said, "$800.00" Dunn looked puzzled. This guy fee was dirt cheap.He thought...."something fishy".

He asked him again. Are you sure thats your price? The 'hitman' said, "yes". Dunn was stunned. He looked at the 'hitman' and said, "Hell, $800, isn't bad, even if you missed him! He didn't missed. He killed A.D. Dunn and multiple errors befelled him. He was soon captured. While in jail the 'hitman' committed suicide and Tommy Dunn was sentenced to 99 years in Texas prison.

The irony in the Dunn 'hitman' case and the amateur 'hitmen' in Australia who is desperate and willing to charge $380 to do a hit-- this is for those who needs a 'hit' done You get what you pay for.... A bumbling criminal who may not shoot straight and hard prison time.

Any comments: Journalist Clarence Walker can be contacted at Mafia101@myway.com or 713-616-0385.

Source: Australian Institute of Criminology & South Australian Major Criminal Investigation

The Lost Gotti

Meet the lost Gotti.

Banished from Gambino crime family activities by his infamous brothers John and Gene - and relegated to being a house-husband while his wife brought home the money - Vincent Gotti's crime career was mired in drug abuse and petty arrests. But times have changed, mostly for the worse for the Gambinos, and Vincent Gotti has finally hit the big time, sort of.

Six years ago, after the death of his boss brother John - and just before he turned 50 - Vincent, the black sheep of the Gotti family, finally became a Mafia soldier, authorities say.

The career surge came with a burgeoning loansharking business and the right to order at least one murder, the feds said.

Unfortunately, finally getting on the mob radar meant he got caught up in the recent massive indictment that Brooklyn federal prosecutors say has nearly decimated the Gambinos.

"Because the crimes for which [Vincent] Gotti has been charged constitute crimes of violence and narcotics offenses for which the maximum term of imprisonment is life," Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Norris argued in court papers, prosecutors asked that he be jailed without bail.

Magistrate Robert Levy and Federal Judge Jack Weinstein denied him bail this month in hearings that divulged many new details about this virtually forgotten Gotti.

"I can't sleep," Gotti told Weinstein last week in court after the judge asked if he was being treated well at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Defense lawyer Scott Leemon jumped in, saying that some inmates in the prison dormitory are up until 3 a.m.

The judge chuckled. "It might be a question of age," Weinstein said. "I'm sure at one time he could have slept through that."

Vincent Gotti's rap sheet starts in 1973, when he pleaded guilty to petty larceny. Over the next two decades, he was collared for robbery, criminal impersonation and indicted in 1980 for selling cocaine.

During this time he was also abusing drugs himself, leading to the exile imposed by older brothers John and Gene. Law enforcement sources said Vincent Gotti was banned from John Gotti's social club scene, the Ravenite in Little Italy and the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens.

Although John Gotti did not disapprove of drug dealing and Gene Gotti remains in prison for heroin trafficking, Mafia rules prohibit drug use. "John abhorred drug users," a source said. "Not for moral reasons, but for security reasons. The security of the family."

Former FBI agent George Gabriel summed up Vincent Gotti's situation in a 1992 interview with his parole officer: "Vincent has no place within the family organization. He was chased away as an embarrassment due to the stupid things he has done in the past," he said in a document in the parole file.

Even behind prison walls, though, the surname Gotti still carried some weight. A prison superintendent at the Queensboro Correctional Facility was demoted for asking Vincent to "pull strings" with executives at a construction company about a prison project, the Albany Times Union reported.

Vincent Gotti was once a shop steward in Local 23 of a construction union, but doesn't appear to have worked for some time except for a job in a phone store. His lawyer described Vincent in court as a "homemaker" whose wife of 24 years, Carmela, brings home the bacon from her job at a subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange.

The Gottis reside in a modest home in Hewlett, L.I., with their daughter, 16, and a son, 10.

The bail motion states that Vincent coaches his son's baseball team, "never misses his daughter's softball games" and is "very active" in a charity called Bless the Kids Foundation. The foundation's Web site lists an address in Ozone Park; the phone number is disconnected.

John Gotti died of throat cancer in prison in June 2002. Five months later, with eldest brother Peter Gotti running the Gambinos, Vincent was inducted into the family.

Prosecutors allege Vincent has gotten into loansharking and ordered the murder of Howard Beach bagel store owner Angelo Mugnolo in 2003.

A former law enforcement official said he was "surprised" to learn of Vincent Gotti's emergence from obscurity. "I guess it's the passing of years and the [Gambino] ranks have gotten thinner," the official offered as an explanation

Thanks to John Marzulli

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The Sopranos Coming to the Big Screen?

Hold the poles! Is a Sopranos movie in the works?

The real-life manager of the strip club that fronted for the Bada Bing on HBO's "The Sopranos" thinks there might be. Satin Dolls manager Nick D'Urso says he's holding off on renovations to the strip club in Lodi, N.J., after getting a tip that a movie would be made. He wouldn't name the tipster.

An HBO spokeswoman says there's no truth to the rumor that plans are in the works for a film about Tony Soprano and his mob crew.

As first reported in The Record of Bergen County, D'Urso says he'll wait until after the summer to renovate in case the tip pans out.

Satin Dolls has already auctioned off its bronze-colored stripper poles and replaced them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nicholas Corozzo: Wanted by the FBI

Nicholas Corozzo is wanted by the FBI for EXTORTION; EXTORTION CONSPIRACY; ILLEGAL GAMBLING; MONEY LAUNDERING; MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY; RACKETEERING CONSPIRACY; CONSPIRACY TO MURDER; and MURDER.

Wanted by the FBI - Nicholas Corozzo

SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS

Nicholas Corozzo is wanted for his alleged participation in a variety of illegal activities, including racketeering, extortion, and murder. Corozzo has been a member of the Gambino Crime Family since the early 1980s, and reportedly became a capodecina in the family in 1992. He has been charged with ordering the January 26, 1996, murder of a man who had robbed marijuana from Corozzo's crew and who was also thought to have participated in the murder of a Corozzo crew member. This individual was killed along with another man who was with the primary victim at the time.

On February 6, 2008, a warrant was issued for Corozzo in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, charging him with extortion, extortion conspiracy, illegal gambling, money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to murder, and murder. The investigation is being conducted jointly by the FBI, the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, the New York Police Department, and the United States Department of Labor.

DESCRIPTION

Date of Birth Used: March 17, 1940 Hair: Gray
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York Eyes: Brown
Height: 5'5" Sex: Male
Weight: 170 pounds Race: White
NCIC: W5938496320 Nationality: American
Occupation: Unknown
Scars and Marks: None known
Remarks: Corozzo may wear glasses.

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS PERSON, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FBI OFFICE OR THE NEAREST AMERICAN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reward Offered on Murder Case from Mob Burial Ground

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Reward Offered on Murder Case from Mob Burial Groundand John E. Zaruba, DuPage County Sheriff, are asking for the public's help in solving the 1997 murder of ROBERT CHARLES CRUZ. In appealing to the public for help, they have also announced that a reward of up to $10,000 was being offered for information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

CRUZ, age 50, was last seen in Kildeer, Illinois on December 4, 1997. His body was unearthed by a construction crew working on a site in unincorporated DuPage County on March 20, 2007. He had been shot twice in the head and wrapped in a roll of carpet. The site where CRUZ' body was discovered was just yards away from an area where two other bodies were found in 1988, in what became known as the "Mob Burial Ground".

CRUZ was released from prison in Arizona in 1995. He had a lengthy criminal record and was a known associate of members of the Chicago LCN and other criminal elements. It is possible that this association led to his death, although no claims of responsibility have ever been received by law enforcement.

Anyone having any information about CRUZ' murder is asked to call the Chicago FBI at (312) 421-6700

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Did Chicago Go Easy on a Mob Connected City Vendor? African-American Politicians Say Yes

African-American politicians accused the Daley Administration on Thursday of giving a “slap on the wrist” to James Duff, head of a mob-connected family that became the poster child for minority business fraud in Chicago.

Instead of barring James Duff and his two co-defendants from ever doing business with the city -- as recommended by Inspector General David Hoffman -- newly-appointed Chief Procurement Officer Montel Gayles chose a three-year ban.

Hoffman strongly disagreed -- and African-American politicians sided with him.

White members of the Duff family fraudulently obtained $100 million in janitorial contracts earmarked for minorities and women through their company, Windy City Maintenance.
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“If you can commit a $100 million fraud and get a three-year slap on the wrist, the next fraud may be $200 million with the precedent being established by the Duff’s that you get to come back and play. It might even be something that encourages fraud,” said U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.).

“To restore public trust, a more stringent penalty is needed — not only for the Duff’s, but for other companies that might take advantage. To do otherwise is to support a cycle of, ‘Let me get mine. After a few years off, I get to come back and participate again.’ That stinks of insider dealing.”

Ald. Ed Smith (28th) agreed that James Duff “should be made to pay severely — by never doing business with the city again.”

“As big as it is, they should have been an open-arms company sensitive to minority business. They should have tried to help minorities. Instead, they ripped them off. It was a disgrace.They should be made to pay for that much more severely than three years,” Smith said.

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) condemned the three-year penalty as “an incomprehensible slap on the wrist. What exactly do you have to do, then, to be barred permanently? If this isn’t sufficient cause, what is?”

Gayles could not be reached for comment. In arguing for a lifetime penalty, Hoffman cited a de-barment rule issued by the Department of Procurement Services in December, 2005.

At the time, Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey had been brought in to clean up the mess caused by the Duff scandal and other minority business fraud.

The rule states, “The period of de-barment may be for a stated period of time or -- if no duration is set at the time of the debarment -- indefinitely. Periods of de-barment may be imposed concurrently or consecutively.”

“They had the discretion … to go as high as they wanted to … The crimes to which Mr. Duff pleaded were very broad — including racketeering and money laundering. There’s no ordinance that restricts a de-barment period based on those convictions,” Hoffman said.

He added, “If contractors who commit serious misconduct are allowed to come back and compete for taxpayer-funded contracts, it becomes very hard to enforce a system of integrity.”

It’s not the first time City Hall has treated the Duff’s with kid gloves.

On New Year’s Eve, 1999, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges concluded that men ran Windy City and stripped the company of women’s business enterprise (WBE) status, which gave the company a leg up on city contracts. But, Georges insisted there was no evidence of fraud because ownership of the company evolved when Patricia Green -- Duff’s mother -- gradually withdrew from the company.

Six years later, James Duff pleaded guilty to engineering a $100 million fraud.

He is expected to be released from a South Dakota federal prison in 2014. He will become eligible to do business with the city in 2011.

Terrence Dolan, who was convicted with Duff, has already served his time and now works at a Hinsdale janitorial firm. Duff co-defendant William Stratton remains in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. He is expected to be released in 2010.

Thanks to Fran Spielman

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lawsuit Claims Illinois Attorney General Office Falsely Accused Ex-Parole Board Member of Trading Vote on Mob Hit Man Harry Aleman

A former Illinois parole board member has filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Lisa Madigan and other state officials, alleging they falsely accused him of trading his vote to free a notorious mob hit man.

A Sangamon County judge cleared Victor Brooks last year of charges he voted to free Harry Aleman in 2002 in exchange for help landing Brooks' son a job as a singer in Las Vegas. Former Corrections Department executive Ron Matrisciano was also cleared of related charges.

Brooks contends Madigan, her assistants, state police officials or former colleagues on the Prisoner Review Board wrongly accused him or provided false information to investigators. He is seeking more than $2 million, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

A Madigan spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday. Aleman remains in prison serving 100 to 300 years for killing a Teamsters official.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mafia Selling Fake Antique Whiskey Online

The Italian mafia is targeting the rapidly growing fake antique whisky market in Scotland by selling counterfeit bottles for thousands of pounds online.

Though the industry has tried to clamp down on bogus bottles being sold in auction houses, The Scotsman quotes experts as saying that the trade has now moved to the Internet and describe it as a "faker's paradise".

Unwitting collectors are being fleeced after discovering the whisky they have bought is little more than modern-day spirits poured into old bottles.

Whisky enthusiast Serge Valentin has launched a website exposing the dubious trade after paying a "substantial" sum for a bottle of vintage whisky that turned out be a sophisticated forgery.

The Frenchman said the scam had been driven underground and online.

He said: "Internet auction sites like eBay have become a faker's paradise. You can buy old bottles, old labels, capsules and display boxes. There is nothing illegal about this, but obviously it can be misused by unscrupulous individuals."

Valentin said fake vintage whiskies online ranged from the downright crude to sophisticated forgeries.

His website, whiskyfun - features a rogue's gallery of dubious bottles.

Whisky writer Dave Broom says organised criminals may have put the fake whiskies on the market from Italy.

Thanks to The Cheers Magazine

Deputy Chief of US Attorney's Organized Crime Unit Heads to Private Practice

Sidley Austin LLP announced today that Timothy Treanor has joined the firm as a partner, resident in New York. Treanor, who most recently served as the Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Unit in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, will focus his practice on white collar defense and investigations.

Treanor is an experienced prosecutor and investigator of securities, healthcare and bank fraud, wire and mail fraud, racketeering, money laundering, tax evasion and other business crimes. He has conducted a dozen significant federal criminal trials, convicting all 24 defendants. Treanor joined the U.S. Attorney's office in 1999 and held several leadership positions before his appointment, by U.S. Attorney for the SDNY, Michael Garcia, to be Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Unit in 2006.

“Tim is a highly respected trial lawyer who led the government’s efforts on a number of important white collar and criminal investigations and trials in recent years,” said Steven Bierman, a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and a global coordinator of the firm’s complex commercial litigation practice. “We look forward to working with him on the further expansion of our white collar practice in New York.”

“I am pleased to be joining a firm I have long respected,” said Treanor. “Sidley already has strength and a great reputation in white collar, securities and complex commercial litigation, and I am looking forward to expanding the depth of services we can offer to the firm’s impressive roster of clients.”

Treanor received his J.D. degree from Fordham Law School, where he was Notes and Articles Editor of the Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif. He received his B.A. degree from the College of the Holy Cross. Treanor clerked for U.S. District Judge Harold Allbritton III of the Middle District of Alabama.

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Despite Recent Success in Fighting "The Outfit", Federal Prosecutors' Mob Focus Decreases

The ranks of the Chicago mob have taken some serious hits in recent years.

So have the ranks of federal prosecutors specializing in Outfit prosecutions.

The number of federal prosecutors dedicated solely to prosecuting Outfit cases has dwindled to an all-time low -- two attorneys -- just after one of the most significant victories ever by the U.S. attorney's office against the mob, the Family Secrets case.

Some prosecutors have been transferred out of the group over the years. Others have retired. And in the biggest blow to the group, its highly regarded chief, Mitchell Mars, died recently after battling cancer.

It's a fact that's causing great worry among some mob busters.

In interviews with the Chicago Sun-Times, six current or former law enforcement officials familiar with the situation said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is making a mistake by not beefing up the unit.

The Outfit may be battered, but it is far from dead, they say. It's getting more sophisticated in how it carries out and covers up its crimes.

"The lessons learned from the Family Secrets trial should tell everybody that the Outfit is alive and active in the city," said James Wagner, a retired FBI agent who battled the mob in Chicago and is now the head of the Chicago Crime Commission.

The crime commission will send a letter to Fitzgerald this week asking him to increase the number of attorneys in the group, Wagner said.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago had no comment on the matter.

The organized-crime group of prosecutors doesn't need the dozen or so lawyers it had in the early 1990s, officials say, with some suggesting that five or six attorneys would be enough these days.

"I think it's a strategic mistake," said Ken Holt, a retired FBI agent who worked on several high-profile Outfit cases.

Holt and others point to the fact that the organized-crime group has lost a great deal of institutional memory with the death of Mars and the retirement of prosecutor John Scully last year.

Mars led the prosecution of the Family Secrets case, which resulted in the convictions of Chicago mob boss James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and top mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, among others.

Scully, another prosecutor on Family Secrets, also worked on the case of former Chicago Police chief of detectives William Hanhardt, who led a mobbed-up jewelry theft ring before being sent to prison.

Law enforcement officials say the group needs veteran attorneys who know the history of and the players in various Outfit street crews, attorneys who can understand, for instance, the significance of an obscure reference from a wiretapped conversation between two mobsters.

The cases are long and complex -- Family Secrets spanned activities covering nearly 40 years -- and they build upon one another, yet another reason to have dedicated attorneys there for the long haul, officials say. And even with some top mobsters behind bars, it's not going away.

"When one guy gets locked up, another guy replaces him," Holt said.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Widowed Alyssa Milano Works for Mafia in "Wisegal"

Here’s a news flash - things don’t work out so well when you get involved with the mob.

Yet screenwriters can’t seem to stop themselves from spinning gangster tales. There’s nothing particularly new about “Wisegal,” on Lifetime.

Alyssa Milano stars as Patty Montanari in 'Wisegal'Alyssa Milano stars as Patty Montanari, a widowed mother of two young boys. Unable to pay her bills, Patty begins working for the Mafia - first by selling tax-free cigarettes, then by turning a failing mob-owned restaurant into a successful nightclub.

Along the way, she falls for married gangster Frank Russo (Jason Gedrick). Mob boss Salvatore Palmeri (James Caan) makes Patty a promise - he will provide for her family forever if she transports a half-million dollars across the Canadian border.

Even though “Wisegal” is based on a true story, any savvy TV viewer could write what happens next. Heck, anyone who caught 15 minutes of any “Sopranos” episode can forecast how this story will unfold. And writer Shelley Evans seems to know that. Her script often skips key points of exposition. Without explanation, Frank’s son Mouse (Zak Longo) is involved in drugs and this is a huge problem for the mob. Suddenly Frank is a violent threat to Patty and her family.

It may be predictable, but the movie is backed by creditability. Joseph Pistone, the real-life FBI agent who inflitrated the mob as Donnie Brasco, and Anthony Melchiorri, Patty’s real-life son, are executive producers. Melchiorri pays homage to his mother but doesn’t justify her actions. “These people helped me. I made them my family. I knew what I was doing,” Patty tells an FBI agent.

The acting imbues the movie with a higher level of quality. Milano (“Charmed,” “My Name is Earl”) is an extremely likable TV presence. Sporting her best New York accent (probably last heard when she played Long Island Lolita Amy Fisher in the 1993 TV movie “Casualties of Love”), she brings Patty’s scrappy determination to life.

Caan, who knows a thing or two about mob movies, has the right amount of benevolent malice. And Gedrick does a lot with his extremely underwritten role. So while “Wisegal” might not be anything new, it’s a perfectly entertaining way to spend a Saturday night.

Thanks to Amy Amatangelo

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Shark Weighs in on Mobster Sentencing and Federal Guidelines

The Michael Marcello sentencing was held and he was sentenced to 102 months, which is within the guideline range of 87-108 months. Some may think this was too much and others may say not enough. The federal guidelines are a funny set of rules. There are these things called "grouping" where a judge can find different crimes can be grouped together and in effect cancel each other out and become equal in the equation. Sentencing guidelines also use tax losses to calculate the range. The more mula (money) the more time.

Guidelines can be tricky and even courts, prosecutors, probation officers, and defense lawyers can have different views on their application. The Supreme Court recently ruled judges can depart from the guidelines and impose sentences not in violation of a statutory minimum. This is a new direction in which courts can depart. We as lawyers (prosecutors and judges are lawyers) get used to one system and then another one is put in its place. As the guidelines fade away so do the sentences. We have more people in prison than any other country. Are lawyers losing that many cases?

Joseph "The Shark" Lopez

Enhanced Evidence Revealed in Tinley Park Executions

Tinley Park Murders: It's been six weeks since five women were brutally killed inside a Lane Bryant clothing store in a south Chicago suburb. Now, AMW AMWhas teamed up with some of the best experts in the country to analyze evidence and help track down the killer. We are now releasing images of two cars that may be linked to these gruesome murders -- and an enhanced recording of the killer's voice caught on tape.

William Balser: Until February 18, 1998, most people thought Bill Balser was a respectable family man. He was well-educated and even had a photographic memory. In his free time he enjoyed exercise and playing jazz trumpet. However, police say that Balser and his girlfriend, Robin Lee Robinson, abused drugs, alcohol -- and her two daughters.

Robin Robinson: Robin Lee Robinson's two daughters withstood eight years of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of Robin's boyfriend, William Lloyd Balser. Cops say what made matters worse is the fact that Robinson was aware of it and did nothing. Since 1998, she's been on the run and cops are hoping that she'll soon be behind bars.

Mark Earhart: Police in Tennessee are on the hunt to track down an alleged sex offender who they say skipped town. Cops say Earhart may be working on a barge and is known to have experience with towboats.

Faarah Iiman: On December 14, 2007, cops say that an argument over a Playstation 2 ended in an attempted murder in Portland , Maine . Police tell us that suspect Faarah Iiman accused his friend of taking the video game console, and he wanted it back -- at any cost.

Jose Reyes-Sanchez: His nickname is "Angel," but cops say Jose Ramon Reyes-Sanchez won't be fitted for his wings any time soon. According to police, he killed two men following an argument, then hit the road with an unlikely partner -- his 12-year-old son.

Joseph Duran: Police in Vacaville , Calif. are on the lookout for an 18-year-old suspect in the shooting of one of his former friends. Cops say that Joseph Stanley Duran shot and killed 19-year-old Angelo Hurst during a drive-by shooting on June 20, 2007. Authorities tell AMW that Hurst wasn't the intended target -- Duran was aiming for someone else and Hurst was simply caught in the crosshairs in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, Duran's on the run and cops are hoping that AMW viewers can help to pinpoint his whereabouts.

Tammy Vincent: Almost 30 years have passed since police were called to an isolated beach 20 miles north of San Francisco to investigate a grisly murder scene that centered around the charred remains of a teenage Jane Doe. For years, cops tried to identify the girl and figure out the events surrounding her death, but it wasn't until AMW lent a helping hand that parts of the puzzle began to fit together. Authorities now know that the murdered girl -- 16-year-old Tammy Vincent -- was the girl embroiled in the middle of a state's case against a sleazy Seattle strip club whose owners, cops believe, had her killed for the things she knew.

Jon Schillaci: The FBI top ten list is generally reserved for terrorists and other violent criminals. But, the bureau - and AMW - believe that sexual predators should be part of the list as well. That's why the hunt is on for Jon Schillaci, a convicted child sexual predator. He is now on the top ten list. Cops say the ex-con was offered a new chance at life after serving time in Texas , but instead repaid one family's kindness with a parent's worst nightmare.

Chi Du: When a jealous ex spotted his former girlfriend with another man, he decided that if he couldn't have her, then no one would. Police say a brutal attack soon followed, and Chi Du left two stunned victims behind.

Eddie Harrington: Both the FBI and police in Columbus , Ga. have issued arrest warrants for the abduction of three children. Authorities say that Eddie Harrington, 28, got into an argument with his wife and kidnapped his three children from their home: twin sisters Aliyah and Agna Battle, 1 year old, and Cedric Harrington, 3 years old. The police are concerned about the safety of both the children and Harrington -- and he has a history of mental health issues.

Perry Griffin Killers: The family of Perry Griffin is trying to come to terms with why Perry, 37, was gunned down outside his office in Dothan , Ala.

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How Joe Pistone and the FBI Used Intel to Stop the Mob

Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano just couldn’t believe it.

On July 26, 1981, he and his fellow wise guys learned that Donnie Brasco—who they knew as a small-time jewelry thief and burglar, who they thought was their partner and even their friend, who they were about to officially induct into the Bonnano crime family—was actually FBI Agent Joe Pistone.

Pistone had fooled them all with a masterful acting job that had begun in 1976 and lasted six long years. He had appeared in “Little Italy” in New York City as a stranger and outsider, slowly meeting and making friends with a series of mobsters, gaining their trust, making it look like he was participating in their life of crime—all the while secretly gathering vital intelligence on the Mafia and its criminal ways.

It wasn’t easy, to be sure. Pistone had to think, talk, and act like a crook (he spent two full weeks, for example, studying the jewelry industry). He had to know the rules of the Mafia game. He had to tell lies—lots of lies—convincingly, about who he was and what he was up to. He had to make friends with mobsters and criminals and be separated from family and friends for long stretches of time, even on holidays.

It was incredibly dangerous work as well. While playing his part, Pistone could have been seen with the wrong person or been recognized by someone he knew. His various recording devices could have been exposed or gone haywire and given him away. He might have let a word slip. The slightest mistake or accident could have cost him his life. His mission was so secret that only a handful in the FBI knew about it.

The decision to put Pistone into this undercover role was made by our office in New York City, home of the five main Mafia families—Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo, Genovese, and Lucchese. In years past, we’d had some success in gathering intelligence on the mob, but typically only around the edges. The core—the leadership—was often untouchable because of the Mafia's code of silence. Agents in our New York office decided to try out a longer-term undercover operation—one of the first of its kind. But even they had no idea that it would end up lasting so long and bearing so much fruit.

And what an intelligence goldmine it was. The operation gave us a window into the inner workings of the Mafia generally and the Bonanno family specifically (and to a lesser degree, some of the other families), not only in New York, but in Florida, Michigan, and elsewhere. We learned firsthand who the players were, what kinds of rackets they were running, and what rules they played by. And it ultimately led to more than 100 federal convictions.

The end game. The tool that Pistone and a small band of agents bravely pioneered in the ‘70s was used again and again with great effect over the next three decades, generating intelligence that helped us target and take down major criminal enterprises and deal a serious blow to the Mafia. And it became a staple of our intelligence tradecraft, a crucial arrow in the quiver we use to protect the American people.

Thanks to the FBI.

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How Would Youse Like to be in a Mob Movie?

Dare to Dream films is holding a casting call next week for the new movie: "Little Chicago".

Their looking for women ages 21 through 40's. You're encouraged to bring either a headshot or a recent up-close photo.

The casting call is Monday and Wednesday from 2 to 7 p.m., at the Chameleon Lounge in Endicott, NY For more information, call (607) 743-0851.

Little Chicago Plot Summary:

Little Chicago is not in the state of Illinois. It's 75 miles from Niagara Falls, New York.

Stefano Magaddino, cousin of Joseph Bonanno, and his brother Antonio stood by the roaring waters of Niagara Falls on a freezing day in January of 1920, a day that changed the drinking habits of Americans. This was the day the Volstead Act -- Prohibition -- went into effect.

"We’re going to be rich, Antonio," Stefano said, looking over the Niagara River. "I'm glad I voted Republican."

They made a fortune moving alcohol, the golden key of bootleg whiskey, across the Canadian border. Magaddino would become the man to be reckoned with in Western New York. No one would dare cross one of the last "Dons" in America.

Like a giant conglomerate, the illegal booze racket ran wild. Speakeasies saturated the landscape, small-time hoods battled for power and Wild-West-style gang wars raged in small towns in Western New York and northern Pennsylvania.

The smell of big money reached the noses of ambitious young thugs.

Murder numbers ran out of control. It was a wide-open franchise as long as the Magaddinos received a generous return.

Out of the gunsmoke surfaced Al Ritchie, an ex-boxer and small-time thug who was given a gold badge by the district attorney and ran a successful bootleg operation.

The main character, Richie, an outside Mafia renegade, was behind many of the 14 unsolved murders in "Little Chicago." When he came to town he was a tall, handsome, 26-year-old Italian immigrant. He was a womanizer with a hypnotic charm. His jet-black hair, deep set eyes and slender build gave him a Valentino appearance. He always wore expensive suits and a $1,000 diamond pin in his lapel. He was the target of at least five attempts on his life but always walked away unscathed. To stay alive, he had to be clever, cunning and ruthless. He always wore a smile on his face, but kept a sinister hate in his heart. He trusted no one. His involvement with a 16-year-old beauty was taken as a passing fancy, but the affair carried a dark shadow with it. Rose Parente, a wide-eyed cupie-doll high school senior, was a constant companion of Ritchie’s.

Al Ritchie would go on to live his immigrant dream. He made a fortune with bootleg booze, ran a nightclub, the Sunset Inn, a few miles outside of Olean. He had cars, clothes, action and a reputation to be reckoned with. What more could one ask out of life?

He was a Robin Hood to the poor and downtrodden, but a chilling person to his enemies.

The movie is based on the true story described in a chapter of the book “Invisible Ink" by Carl A. Veno.

KegWorks.com (Dot Com Holdings of Buffalo, Inc)

Plea for Mercy Reduces Mobster's Sentence

Saying he was swayed by a family's plea for mercy, a federal judge sentenced a mob figure to 8 1/2 years in prison Tuesday for passing information to his imprisoned half-brother, a reputed Outfit boss.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel said he had planned to impose an even stiffer sentence until Michael Marcello's son, Sam, and others spoke of his dedication to his family.

"He's a decent man, he's remorseful and he's very conscious of his actions," the son said of Marcello, who pleaded guilty in June to racketeering and conspiracy to conduct affairs with organized crime. "He's always insisted I conduct myself with principle. "

Zagel said Marcello's loyalty had made him an exceptional family member but may also have led him down "the disastrous path" to his mob activities.

"Maybe one of your principles is one of your problems," the judge said. "Maybe you were too good of a brother."

Zagel said he had intended to sentence Marcello,58, to more than nine years—the maximum called for under federal sentencing guidelines.

Thanks to Azam Ahmed

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Fifth Mafia

James Van Der Beek has started talks to star in Vito Giambalvo's new crime drama The Fifth Mafia.

The Dawson's Creek actor is expected to play an FBI Agent whose life is ruined by the son of a murdered Mafia boss, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Already confirmed for the movie are Joe Mantegna, Armand Assante and Eric Balfour, who will play the son who runs into trouble with the FBI.

The script is based on a story by Philip Olsen. Shooting is expected to begin at the end of the month.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Shark Pays His Respects to Mitch Mars

2 weeks ago yesterday, I attended Mitch Mars' wake. It was a tragic event for the legal community. Mitch was a great guy. One time we played golf at an outing and I was the only one in the foursome who was not in law enforcement. We made jokes all day about the various sponsors of the golf holes. I proposed that "The Outfit" sponsor the hole-in-one and we all laughed. I was given beer coolers with federal law enforcement logos and I a passed them out to the boys for their boats on Lake Geneva. We had fun using those coolers on hot days and busting about Mitch and his band of untouchables.

Mitch was a great adversary who never went after the lawyers, only their clients. I have been under surveillance for years meeting with guys at restaurant's etc.... Mitch never cared because he knew it was part of the business and he knew that my clients would never tell me anything that could hurt them because that is how they are. Mitch loved rock music including Chicago favorites - Smashing Pumpkins. We talked about music and concerts all the time. I was sad to see Mitch go because he had been in the office when I started practicing law in 1984. I met him during the Pedote, Bambulas and Switek trial. It was 1985 and it was my first federal criminal trial. It was a planned robbery of over 1 million in gold that was thwarted because a informant was recruited to drive the getaway van. The robbery was going to be at the Maller's building in Chicago also known as the jewelers building. Anyway, Mitch came to see the trial and I did meet him. (Ed Pedote pleaded guilty to federal robbery, weapons and drug charges and sentenced to 5 years probation. Mike Swiatek and Daniel Bambulas were sent to prison on that case.)

Over the years we came to know each other. Like me he was a Chicago boy born into the concrete jungle, not a suburban boy. Mitch and I loved hot dogs and hot dog stands. We talked about Chicago hot dogs all the time. Mitch loved the small hot dog stands with the soggy buns and rolled tamales.

I have to say he will be missed, but not by my clients. This is a funny business because the lawyers can be friendly, but in the court room they can be ruthless to each other. The clients may not understand the relationship lawyers have with one another and that is understandable. We, as lawyers, do not take it personal, but some clients do. The prosecutor's job is to lock up criminals and my job is to keep them out. Mitch locked up a lot of guys over the years. Some hate him, while others despise him, yet some say he was fair. Good bye Mitch, we will all miss you!

- Joe "The Shark" Lopez

Judge Approves of Prosecutors Romancing US Marshal

Arresting and romancing don't mix.

That was one of the conclusions of a federal judge Friday as he rejected a request from a deputy U.S. Marshal who wanted his statements to investigators kept out of his upcoming trial for allegedly leaking secrets to the Chicago mob.

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose, once a rising star but now suspended without pay, said he was coerced into making statements that he leaked information concerning a witness he was guarding - Nicholas Calabrese, a mob hit man turned federal witness.

Prosecutors argued they were interested in getting Ambrose to cooperate - in "romancing" him, as U.S. District Judge John Grady characterized it.

Prosecutors said authorities didn't wind up arresting Ambrose, 39, of Tinley Park, during a meeting in September 2006 with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and FBI agent Robert Grant, the head of the bureau's Chicago office.

Fitzgerald and Grant wanted to pitch Ambrose to cooperate.

They thought he leaked the information on Calabrese but didn't know how imprisoned mob boss James Marcello learned of it. They wanted Ambrose to fill in the blanks.

Fitzgerald testified at Friday's court hearing he told Ambrose at the start of the 2006 meeting he wasn't under arrest.

Grant backed up Fitzgerald's testimony.

Ambrose, though, told the judge Fitzgerald never mentioned he wasn't under arrest - a key omission.

Ambrose argued whatever he told Fitzgerald and Grant in the meeting shouldn't be allowed as evidence at trial because he was coerced. But the judge didn't buy it.

"If you're going to romance him, arresting him is inconsistent with romancing - or pitching him - as they put it in testimony," Grady said.

Ambrose's attorney, Francis Lipuma, said Ambrose was disappointed by the judge's ruling, but Ambrose still plans on going to trial.

The U.S. attorney's office had no comment on the judge's ruling.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Outstanding Values at My Wines Direct

Mafia 2 Screenshots

ActionTrip has updated their Mafia 2 screenshot gallery with a bunch of awesome in-game snaps from Illusion Softworks'... oops, I meant 2K Czech's, upcoming sequel to Mafia, currently in development for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. A sample is shown below.

Sure, these are just screenshots, but they do manage to convey a sense of intensity, shown through a number of scenes from the forthcoming action adventure. We're really impatient to witness actual gameplay footage. For the time being though, we hope these shots will be enough to quell your thirst for Mafia 2.

Oh and don't worry about the violence. It's all for the good of the "family."

Mafia 2 Screenshot

Direct2Drive

Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Mob

Barack Obama's key fund raiser, Tony Rezko, went on trial last week. It's important to take a broader look at America's most corrupt large city: Chicago. (We apologize from the outset,some links no longer exist or passages we quote never existed on the web.) Chicago has had a Democratic Mayor since 1931,and today in 2008,49 of 50 Chicago Aldermen are Democrats.This long post is about the Chicago Mob and the Democratic Party machine.
Former Alderman Dick Simpson, who's now a professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, has some disturbing numbers on Chicago and Illinois politicians:

Since 1973, the U.S. attorney has indicted 30 aldermen and convicted 27 (one died before trial and two stand trial this spring). The Public Corruption and Accountability Project at UIC calculates that there have been more than 1,000 local and state governmental officials convicted since the 1970s. The "corruption tax," or cost of government corruption for Cook County residents, is now more than $300 million a year, greater than the local government tax increases this year. We can't really afford more local "Hired Truck" schemes, patronage hiring, or the state pension and driver license scandals of recent years.
Sounds like becoming an elected Alderman in Chicago has an unusual felony conviction rate,which certainly says something about the people who seek elected office in Chicago and the voters who put them in office.Yes,there have been many corrupt Aldermen in Chicago. But,one man stands above all other in terms of institutionalizing corruption in Chicago: Alderman Fred Roti.

Unless we understand the prolific criminal legacy of Alderman Roti,we can't understand how today,in 2008,Alderman Roti along with his friends,relatives,and associates have turned Chicago's city government into a racketeering enterprise.We must go back in time to a Chicago Tribune article on February 14,1982 titled BEST AND BRIGHTEST NO MATCH FOR OLD GUARD AT CITY HALL to understand the power of Alderman Roti:
Roti has placed nearly as many city employees on the payroll as the city personnel department,and many of them are his own family members.This is not a new trend under [Mayor] Byrne,however.Under former Mayors Richard Daley and Michael Bilandic,members of the Roti clan have always had spectacular success gaining public employment.Last fall it was disclosed that Roti family payrollers include his daughter,Rosemary,a press aide to Mayor Byrne at $25,992 a year;and Rosemary's husband,Ronald Marasso,who had been promoted from city painter to $34,000 -a -year general manager of maintenance at O'Hare International Airport.Fourteen other Roti clan members were on various other city payrolls.Because of his ward number,Roti's name is always called first during council roll calls,and he revels in that privilege.His initial response gives other administration alderman their cue as to what Roti-and,therefore,the mayor-wants.It's often said that roll calls could stop after Roti votes-the outcome is already known.Roti,an affable fellow, controls the Chicago City Council with an iron fist.
Years later in May of 2006,The Chicago Sun-Times gave a more disturbing explanation of who Alderman Fred Roti really was:
Roti became 1st Ward alderman in 1968. He soon became one of the most powerful, well-liked and respected members of the City Council. Roti was also a "made member" of the mob, according to the FBI
Think about it,the Chicago Mob ran a "made-member" for political office to take control of a city.This is why the Chicago Mob went on to become the most powerful organized crime family in all of U.S. history.As criminal defense attorney Robert Cooley explains the history of Chicago :
The city’s grim reputation is rooted back in the Roaring Twenties when Al Capone emerged victorious from gang warfare and went on to become a household name. Oddly enough, far less is known about his successors and their grip on the city during the last half of the twentieth century. But that is when Chicago’s Mafia became the single most powerful organized crime family in American history. While Mob bosses knocked each other off on the East Coast, in Chicago they united into a monolithic force called the Outfit. They would literally control the cops, the courts and the politicians – a corrupt trifecta that Capone dreamed about, but never came close to achieving. The Outfit demanded a cut of every criminal enterprise in the region, from a lowly car theft or private poker game to a jewelry heist. To enforce this “street tax,” their Hit Men killed with impunity, knowing that crooked judges would throw out any case against them. Their bookies brazenly took bets in nightclubs, at racetracks and even in government office buildings, confident that contacts in the police department (at one point as high up as the Chief of Detectives) would warn them before the vice squad could make a raid. Mobsters ran Chicago union locals, and national organizations for the Laborers and the Teamsters. This unprecedented combination of brute force and political clout let the bosses feed at the public trough with no-show jobs for their goons and municipal contracts for themselves and their associates. Government became one of their most lucrative rackets.

In his 1969 book, Captive City, investigative journalist Ovid Demaris called the Outfit, “the most politically insulated and police-pampered ‘family’ this side of Sicily” and estimated, even then, that their take was in the billions. With such total domination of their home turf, they could wander far and wide. By the Seventies, the FBI reported that Chicago’s Mob controlled all organized criminal activity west of the Mississippi – including and especially Las Vegas. Millions were skimmed from casinos like the Tropicana and the Stardust, and bundles of cash, stuffed in green army duffel bags, found their way back to the Outfit’s bosses. Meanwhile New York’s mobsters had to content themselves with the slim pickings of Atlantic City.
Here's an amazing chart of the Roti family from May 2006 from the Chicago Sun-Times(remember this is a conservative chart,the black dots are "made-members" of the Chicago Mob).

With all of Alderman Roti's power it's instructive to look at two of his major accomplishments in strengthening the power grip of the Chicago Mob over Chicago.The Chicago Mob couldn't operate without a corrupt police force.When Mayor Byrne had honest Superintendent Joe DiLeonardi run things for a while Alderman Roti put his foot down.As Robert Cooley explains:
According to Roti,he issued an ultimatum to Her Honor:either she got rid of DiLeonardi,or the municipal unions would shut down the city during the upcoming contract negotiations.Just as the Mob thought she would,Jane Byrne buckled.
With DiLeonardi gone,Roti demanded that William Hanhardt be appointed Chief of Detectives.Hanhardt was the Chicago Mob's long term plant on the police force.The position of Chief of Detectives is the fifth highest ranking position in the Chicago Police Department.Here's a quote from a federal indictment on Hanhardt and his achievements as a Chicago Police Officer and running the most successful jewelry theft ring in United States history :
COUNT ONE



The SPECIAL JANUARY 1999-1 GRAND JURY charges:



1. At all times material to this indictment:

(a) From July 13, 1953, until his retirement on pension as a captain on March 26, 1986, defendant WILLIAM A. HANHARDT was employed by the Chicago police Department (CPD"), and held several supervisory positions, including Chief of Detectives, Chief of Traffic, Commander of the Burglary Section, Deputy Superintendent for the Bureau of Inspectional Services, and District Commander. For a portion of the period of the indictment until the date of the indictment, defendant HANHARDT resided at 835 Heather Road, Deerfield, Illinois.
and
Defendant WILLIAM A. HANFLARDT (hereafter "HANHARDT^), was the leader of the enterprise. In that capacity he supervised codefendant JOSEPH N. HASINSKI and together they directed the activities of others employed by and associated with the enterprise- HANHARDT directed the other defendants and others in their gathering of information on potential jewelry theft victims and the surveillance of several such individuals. He utilized certain CPD[Chicago Police Department] officers to do database searches of CPD and other law enforcement computers to obtain information concerning jewelry salespersons. Similarly, he caused a private investigator to conduct credit bureau database searches and other database searches to gather information concerning individuals who were traveling jewelry salespersons. At times, HANHARDT used the telephone at his residence at 835 Heather Road, Deerfield, Illinois, to direct certain defendants and others to further the interests of the enterprise. HANHARDT personally participated in the theft of jewelry.
So,Hanhardt loaded up the Chicago Police Department with individuals who'd help him commit criminal acts long after leaving the police force.To understand the magnitude of Hanhardt's danger to Chicago citizens we'll quote U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 2001:
"It's remarkable that a person who was chief of detectives of the Chicago Police Department admits to being part of a racketeering conspiracy," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said afterward.
"There's no controversy over whether Mr. Hanhardt is guilty -- he stood up in court and said that today," Fitzgerald said.
Here's what U.S. Attorney Scott Lassar said about Hanhardt's operation:
"Hanhardt's organization surpasses, in duration and sophistication, just about any other jewelry theft ring we've seen,"
With the appointment of Hanhardt to Chief of Detectives, what else could Alderman Roti and the Chicago Mob do to become a more effective criminal organization?? Disarm the citizens of Chicago so they'd be no match for the Chicago Mob and corrupt Chicago police officers.Guess who lead the fight for gun control in Chicago and voted on Chicago's strict gun control ordinance leaving innocent Chicago citizens defenseless against corrupt police officers like Hanhardt and his cronies? None other than Alderman Roti.As the Chicago Tribune reported on March 20,1982 in an article titled MAYOR'S FORCES WIN HANDGUN CURB:
As Friday's council session began,[Mayor]Byrne feared the vote was too close to call.There was extensive backroom debate to determine if the matter should be brought up.But,Byrne allies,primarily Alderman Fred Roti(1st),Edward Burke(14th)and Wilson Frost(34th),moved through the council chambers,persuading wavering aldermen to back the mayor's proposals.Still,Some of Byrne's staunchest allies,including Alderman Robert Shaw(9th) and Richard Mell(33rd),deserted ranks and voted against the ordinance.Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Donovan made a last-minute deal with at least three aldermen who threatened to walk out of the meeting to avoid voting for the proposal.Donovan promised to improve city services in their wards.
Today,in 2008,Chicago has a major police corruption problem because of the handgun ban.Here's a recent look at Chicago's elite police officers officers:
A major police corruption probe is under way in Chicago.

Its target: an elite police tactical unit. Its alleged ringleader: a highly decorated police officer who, with other cops, allegedly committed home invasions and robberies.
In 1999,the Justice Department announced to America what many had long suspected:Alderman Roti was a "high ranking made member" of the Chicago Mob(look at pages 27 and 47 of this civil racketeering indictment).Here's the description of Alderman Roti:
FRED B. ROTI, a politically powerful former Chicago First Ward alderman, is the uncle of former CLDC president/ business manager Bruno Caruso and former CLDC official and Pension Fund Director Frank "Toots" Caruso. In 1992, in the case of United States v. Pat Marcy, et al. 90 CR 1045 (N.D. Illinois), Fred Roti was convicted of RICO conspiracy, bribery and extortion regarding the fixing of criminal cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County, including murder cases involving organized crime members or associates and was sentenced to 48 months' imprisonment. Roti was released from prison in 1997. As First Ward alderman, Roti was a key political patronage boss and, along with his co‑defendant Pat Marcy, a fixer for the Chicago Outfit. Roti has directly participated in interfering with the rights of the members of LIUNA in the selection of their officers and officials in that he has improperly influenced the selection of officers of the CLDC and has been responsible for the pervasive hiring of LaPietra crew members and associates at the Chicago streets and sanitation department. Roti is a made member of the Chicago Outfit.

Two points of note here on the above quote.LaPietra is the infamous Angelo "the Hook" LaPietra ,Chicago Mob Capo who earned his nickname by torturing people by putting them on meat hooks.Pat Marcy,at the time of his indictment,in the early 1990's was one of the people Roti reported to in the Chicago Mob.Marcy was the number 3 man in the Chicago Mob.Here's the New York Times on the Roti and Marcy operation:
This is at least the third major Federal inquiry into official corruption in the Chicago courts and political system within recent years. Operation Graylord, a sweeping investigation into corruption in the Cook County courts, has resulted in the convictions of more than 70 people, including 15 judges, since the mid-1980's. Operation Incubator has obtained about a dozen convictions or guilty pleas, including those from five members of the City Council and a former aide to the late Mayor Harold Washington. 'Fixed' Murder Trials

Among the accusations are that two of the men were involved in efforts to fix two separate murder trials. In both instances, the murder defendants were acquitted by judges, who heard the cases without juries.

In the first murder case, prosecutors say Pasquale Marcy, a 77-year-old official in the First Ward Democratic organization, fixed the 1977 murder trial of Harry Aleman, who was accused of killing a teamsters' union steward, by paying $10,000 to the judge assigned to hear the case. In the second, Mr. Marcy and Fred Roti, the First Ward's Alderman since 1969, are accused of having accepted $75,000 in exchange for fixing the trial of three men accused of a 1981 murder in the city's Chinatown neighborhood.

The indictment does not name the judges who presided over the murder cases. Prosecutors refused to answer further questions at the news conference about the murder cases beyond the few details laid out in the indictments.

The allegations involving the murder cases are in the first of the three indictments. That indictment charges Mr. Marcy and Mr. Roti with multiple counts of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, bribery and extortion in various attempts to fix a wide range of matters, including the results of civil bench trials, other criminal cases, zoning chanaes and judicial appointments. Indictment of Judge

In the second indictment, Federal prosecutors named David J. Shields, 58, formerly the presiding judge of the Chancery Division of the Cook County Circuit Court; and Pasquale F. De Leo, 45, a lawyer, on charges of extortion, false statements and other criminal acts in connection with attempts to fix a civil case -- filed by undercover Federal agents posing as litigants -- before Judge Shields in 1988.

In the third indictment, prosecutors charged John A. D'Arco Jr., 46, an Illinois State Senator for 13 years, with extortion and tax fraud. The indictment says Mr. D'Arco, whose district includes parts of Mr. Roti's ward, extorted $7,500 in exchange for promising to introduce into the Legislature a bill to allow a travel insurance business to sell insurance without the required state license.
With Alderman Roti and Pat Marcy indicted the Chicago Mob was never the same.The frequent Mob killings stopped because the Mob couldn't be guaranteed any longer of going up in front of judges on their pad.So who took control of Chicago's political system? One of Alderman Roti's colleagues,a close friend,Alderman Ed Burke.

Most of America thinks Mayor Daley runs Chicago.Those on the inside know that's not the case.The man who runs Chicago from behind the scenes,since the early 1990's, is Alderman Ed Burke,Chairman of Chicago's Finance Committee.Burke went from being an errand boy for Alderman Roti to the most powerful elected figure in the state of Illinois.In a corrupt state like Illinois,the guy with the most money in his campaign fund is the man at the top.In Illinois,it's not Chicago's Mayor Daley or Governor Blagojevich but Alderman Burke.The Chicago Tribune explains:
But the state’s richest political family was Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. Together, their political committees held $8.3 million in cash. The Tribune reported Monday that Anne Burke’s campaign was returning a large portion of her cash to donors because she is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, who traditionally ceases fundraising after elections, raised just $43,000 in the last six months, but had $3.1 million in cash on hand.
The guy with the most money obviously had the track record to get things done.Alderman Burke has never had a serious opponent run against him but sure has amassed a massive campaign fund.Not only is Burke the boss of Chicago's City Council, he's the person that slates all the judges in Cook County.With all judges in Cook County members of the Democratic Party, that makes Ed Burke the boss of the judicial branch.No man in America has more unchecked power than Alderman Burke with his control of the tax code in Chicago and the judicial branch of government.Alderman Burke also runs a law firm in the property tax appeals business:
The primary focus of the firm involves contesting real estate tax assessments in the office of the respective county assessors, before boards of review and, when appropriate, in the trial and appellate courts.
Recently, a founder of Illinois Family Court Accountability Advocates (IFCAA) has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to investigate Alderman Burke and his wife justice Ann Burke.One of the allegations concerned fixing a murder trial for Alderman Roti :
I am co-founder of the non-profit organization known as Illinois Family Court Accountability Advocates (IFCAA) which was created to stop the public corruption in the family courts in Illinois that is hurting the children of Illinois families.

Multiple IFCAA co-members, including myself, have had or are having our cases heard in the domestic relations court of the Circuit Court of Cook County in which it is apparent that rampant, unchecked, improper, and illegal activities have taken and are taking place.

It is clear that the corruption does not just involve a few judges and attorneys on the trial level. The material evidence in court records reveals that the corruption is systemic up through the reviewing courts. Further research has revealed that a critical intervention point is with the individual primarily responsible for which attorneys end up on the Chicago bench, specifically, Alderman Edward Burke.

One could argue with confidence that there is no way Chicago’s court system can or will be cleaned up until there is an investigation of Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, the newest appointee of the Illinois Supreme Court, Justice Anne Burke.

I have read the book, When Corruption Was King, by Robert Cooley, and have been in contact with him. Mr. Cooley is the former criminal attorney who was responsible for the FBI investigation, Operation Gambat, which resulted in the successful prosecution and conviction of three judges, one alderman, several attorneys, and multiple other Circuit Court of Cook County and City of Chicago officials. After reading Mr. Cooley’s book, I researched other sources regarding the professional and personal backgrounds of Justice Anne Burke and her husband, Edward, the longtime alderman from the 14th Ward, and the powerful and influential chairman of Chicago’s City Council's finance committee and chairman of the Democratic Party’s judicial slate-making subcommittee, the alleged “gatekeeper” of who becomes a judge in Chicago’s courts.

As a resident of the State of Illinois, I am writing to you and all your colleagues on the Illinois Supreme Court to formally request an investigation of Justice Anne Burke and her husband as well as others who were specifically named by Mr. Cooley in his book, When Corruption Was King. I am formally requesting that you, as a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, cause an investigation to be initiated by the appropriate authorities.

I respectfully call your attention to the information and allegations presented herein as well as to your Oath of Office, and to the absolute duty to report misconduct of judges and attorneys under Illinois Supreme Court Rules, which rules mandate an investigation of the allegations herein. [Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 63 (B)(3)(a) and/or Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.3(a)&(b); See Endnotes.] Further, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District opinion entered on November 1, 2005 in Case No. 05 C 0283, Golden and Golden v. Nadler, Pritikin & Mirabelli, LLC, et al, stated in pertinent part, “The court notes that Illinois attorneys have an absolute duty to report misconduct of other attorneys. See Skolnick v. Altheimer & Gray, 191 Ill.2d 214, 226, 730 N.E.2d 4, 246 Ill. Dec. 324 (2000)”

In Mr. Cooley’s book, he specifically stated that Alderman Ed Burke contacted Judge Cieslak, recently deceased, regarding at least two murder cases and tried to influence his decision on those cases. In his book, that was printed and distributed nationally, Mr. Cooley stated that Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, were involved in a molestation case that he, himself, was asked to fix. After these allegations were published, when Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, Justice Anne Burke, were asked to comment on the allegations, they stated, “No comment.”

These and other very serious allegations that were made sometime ago about these individuals have gone unopposed and uninvestigated After these allegations were made public, Justice Anne Burke was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court and her attorney husband, Alderman Ed Burke, has been allowed to remain as Chairman of the Democratic Committee that slates judges.

After I read the book, I was able to make contact with Robert Cooley and he told me that he was informed years ago that Ed Burke was to be indicted for a number of illegal activities he was involved in, including the fixing of murder cases. He also told me that there were a number of cases he was involved in fixing and a number of other illegal activities and yet no one from any state investigative agencies ever contacted him or the late Judge Cieslak nor anyone else who witnessed illegal acts involving the Burkes. [He indicated that the Burkes are still involved in alleged illicit activities including recently attempting to get the Emerald City Casino license returned to a number of close friends.] He told me that within the past year, Judge Cieslak gave an interview to two members of the media in which Judge Cieslak verified that all the allegations made in Cooley’s book were true. After the judge gave the interview, the two separate reporters specifically told Mr. Cooley that they were “not allowed to do the story because it involves Ed Burke.”

Mr. Cooley told me that he has talked to a number of people and has provided information about Ed and Anne Burke similar to that which resulted in indictments and convictions in Operation Gambit. He told me that major newspaper and television entities flat out told him that they could not do a substantive story on Ed Burke or Anne Burke.

Cammon and Remy Murder Cases

In his book, Mr. Cooley stated Ed Burke and Anne Burke along with Attorney Pat Tuite fixed a murder case before Judge Maloney. Herbert Cammon’s case was a murder case in which it was alleged that Herbert Cammon, a gay black man, murdered his wife with the help of his gay lover by stabbing her over 40 times and leaving the knife sticking out of her mouth. It was alleged that he murdered his wife to obtain the proceeds of a $250,000 life insurance policy. The case was originally assigned to Judge Arthur Ceilsik. After a mistrial because of a hung jury, Ed Burke approached Judge Cieslik and told him to withdraw from the case. When the judge refused to withdraw from the case, he told the judge, “What’s the big deal. It’s only a fucking nigger.”[1] Ed Burke’s wife, Anne, had filed an appearance in the case as co-counsel with Pat Tuite. Anne Burke also requested that the judge withdraw from the case saying, “My husband was the one who put you on the bench.” [Judge Cieslek lived in the 14th ward.] When the judge finally withdrew from the case due to media pressure initiated by the attorneys, the case was assigned to Judge Tom Maloney. Judge Maloney dismissed the case in a bench trial. Cooley revealed that he was wearing a wire when the aforementioned events took place such that the FBI was fully informed. Cooley revealed that he was in communication with Judge Cieslik and he tried to encourage the judge to not let the case go. He also reported to the feds that the case would be assigned to Judge Maloney who would fix the case.

Mr. Cooley revealed that this was the second murder case that Ed Burke tried to fix before Judge Ceislak. Prior to the Cammon case, Cooley wrote about a murder case that Ed Burke tried to fix before Judge Cieslik as a favor to one of the mob bosses, Angelo “The Hook” LaPeitra. This was the Remy murder case in which some Chicago Police officers beat a black man to death for smoking on an “L” train. Cooley stated in the book that one of the police officers was a relative of LaPeitra. He also reported that when Ed Burke was talking to Attorney Sam Banks, Ed Burke made similar racist statements as in the Cammon murder case, specifically, “It’s only a fucking nigger. I can’t see why the judge is making such a big deal about it.”

He also reported that when Ed Burke was in Counselors Row he made a similar racist statement as in the Cammon case. When he specifically said to the group at the First Ward table “I can’t see why the judge is making such a big deal about it. It’s only a fucking nigger.”

At the time the book came out, Anne Burke was a sitting judge on the appellate bench and she never sued the author or publisher when they made these statements. The accusations appear to be true.

A report by Abdon M. Pallasch from Chicago Lawyer dated January 1998 stated that WBBM-TV reported “U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated rumors in 1988 that [Ed] Burke bribed judges to fix two murder cases.”

Why weren’t Anne Burke and/or Ed Burke questioned about their involvement in the Cammon or Remy murder cases? If there was an investigation, why weren’t Judge Arthur Cieslik or Attorney Robert Cooley interviewed?

Politicians are called many things but fixing a murder trial is well... very serious business.Just why didn't Alderman Burke sue Robert Cooley for claiming Alderman Burke fixed a murder trial for the Chicago Mob?

With Tony Rezko's trial,who do you think Rezko went to for some legal work? None other than Alderman Ed Burke.The Chicago Sun Times reports:
Why did Ald. Edward M. Burke vote to approve Tony Rezko’s plans to develop the South Loop’s biggest piece of vacant land even as he was working for Rezko on that same deal?

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

The much-conflicted alderman says he meant to sit out the vote. He’d even sent a letter to the Chicago Board of Ethics in August 2003 saying he would abstain from any Council votes on Rezko’s plan to put as many as 5,000 homes and stores on a 62-acre site along the Chicago River at Roosevelt Road.

The much-conflicted alderman says he meant to sit out the vote. He’d even sent a letter to the Chicago Board of Ethics in August 2003 saying he would abstain from any Council votes on Rezko’s plan to put as many as 5,000 homes and stores on a 62-acre site along the Chicago River at Roosevelt Road.

But then Rezko’s project came before the City Council on March 31, 2004, and Burke cast his vote — in favor.

“An error occurred,” the alderman said in a written response to questions, “and Rule 14 was not invoked.”

That would be the Council rule under which aldermen are supposed to abstain from a vote when they have a conflict of interest.

Of course, it’s up to the alderman who has a conflict to invoke the rule.

Burke’s legal work for Rezko’s Rezmar Corp. is referenced in records on the 62-acre site Rezko wanted to develop with $140 million in city subsidies. The project fizzled, and Rezmar sold the land.

Rezko has since been indicted on federal corruption charges that accuse him of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state contracts under Gov. Blagojevich.

When Burke voted for Rezko’s project, the alderman’s law firm was trying to get a 77 percent cut in the site’s real estate taxes, arguing that Cook County Assessor James Houlihan was wrong to have used the sale price to determine the property’s value.

If it had succeeded, the appeal would have saved Rezmar more than $390,000 in real estate taxes. And Burke would have gotten 20 percent of that savings, according to Daniel Mahru, Rezko’s former partner.

But Burke lost and got nothing. Because he didn’t get paid, he never had to publicly disclose his legal work for Rezmar.

“The ordinance did not require me to disclose that my law firm represented this company,” Burke said in his statement to the Sun-Times. “The rule is very simple: You must receive ‘compensation in excess of $5,000,’ as outlined in the city’s own disclosure form. In fact, my law firm received no compensation at all.”

Burke spent at least six months trying to win the tax cut for Rezko:

• On Nov. 24, 2003, Burke asked Houlihan to lower the assessed value. He didn’t get what he wanted.

• On Dec. 16, 2003, Rezmar hired Burke to appeal to the Cook County Board of Review.

• On March 31, 2004, Burke joined fellow aldermen to approve Rezko’s development plans for the 62-acre site.

• On May 25, 2004, Burke appealed to the Board of Review, which refused to give Rezmar a tax break.

Burke has a history of voting on legislation involving his legal clients. Ten years ago, the Sun-Times found Burke voted to approve city leases for two airlines represented by his law firm. Burke then used a rare parliamentary move to change four “yes” votes to abstentions. Burke blamed those “yes” votes on the late Ald. Thomas Cullerton, claiming he told Cullerton that he planned to abstain from voting on the airline leases.
In conclusion,Alderman Roti is gone but his legacy lives on.On August 11,1999 the Justice Department named Alderman Roti as a high ranking "made member" of the Chicago Mob.Did Roti deny it? No.He died just weeks later on September 20,1999.When the Chicago City Council came back to meet on September 29,1999 one of the first orders of business was to honor the life of Alderman Roti.No we aren't joking.Being convicted for felonies on the job as Alderman Roti was, is to be honored by Chicago Democrats.We'll quote to you the full resolution entered on pages 11238,11239,and 11240 of the Journal-City Council-Chicago on September 29,1999 :
Rules Suspended--TRIBUTE TO LATE ALDERMAN FRED B.ROTI.
The Honorable Richard M.Daley,Mayor,presented the following communication:
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
CITY OF CHICAGO
September 29,1999.
To the Honorable,The City Council of the City of Chicago:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--I transmit herewith a resolution honoring the life and memory of Alderman Fred B. Roti.

Your favorable consideration of this resolution will be appreciated.

Very truly yours,
(Signed) Richard M.Daley

Mayor.

Alderman Burke moved to Suspend the Rules Temporarily to permit immediate consideration of and action upon the said proposed resolution.The motion Prevailed.

The following is said proposed resolution:

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti passed away on Monday,September 20,1999,at the age of seventy-eight;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti,one of eleven children,the son of southern Italian immigrants,was born in an apartment over a store in Chinatown,the near south die neighborhood where he spent his whole life;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti spent more than fifty years in government service,the jobs ranging form state senator to city drain inspector to a post at the city morgue;and

WHEREAS,In 1968 Fred B. Roti was elected alderman of Chicago's great 1st Ward;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti loved his work as alderman,and he counseled mayors,encouraged downtown development,helped shape the Chicago skyline and served the citizens of the 1st Ward ably and with vigor until 1991;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti's talents,hard work and friendly,humorous manner earned him the respect and affection of former colleagues,constitutients,citizens and the press;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti is remembered as a kind,considerate person,who had great love for his family and community;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti is survived by his loving son,Bruno;his loving daughters,Rose Mary Marasso and Mary Ann Walz;and his two sisters;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti was much loved by his six grandchildren;and

WHEREAS,Fred B.Roti, a committed public servant, a cherished friend of many and good neighbor to all,will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by his many family members,friends and associates;now therefore,


Be it Resolved,That we ,the Mayor and members of the City Council of the City of Chicago,assembled this twenty-ninth day of September,1999,do hereby extend to the family of the late Fred B. Roti our deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathies upon their loss;and

Be it Further Resolved,That a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to the family of the late Fred B. Roti as a sign of our sympathy and good wishes.

On motion of Alderman Burke,seconded by Aldermen Granato,Tillman,Beavers,Balcer,Rugai,Solis,Suarez,Mell,Allen,O'Connor,Natarus,Hansen and Schulter,the foregoing proposed resolution was Adopted by a rising vote.


At this point in the proceedings,The Honorable Richard M. Daley,Mayor,rose and on behalf of his own family and the people of Chicago extended condolences to the family of former Alderman Fred Roti.Mayor Daley remembered the Alderman as a true Chicagoan who served his constituents without regard to wealth or status,as a public official who refused to permit the intensity of the political debate to impinge upon the civility of personal relationships.Fred Roti loved politics and loved government because he loved people,Mayor Daley declared,and he leaves his family a legacy of public service.



There you have it: Mayor Daley,Alderman Burke, and the rest of the Chicago City Council believes a "high ranking made member" of the Chicago Mob was a "committed public servant" and "leaves his family a legacy of public service".These are the values of the Chicago Democratic Machine.

Thanks to Steve Bartin