Friday, June 16, 2017

The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosimo and the Ladies of the Levee

While some people are fascinated or repulsed by the evil crimes committed by Chicago mobsters, others have studied it. And one who has is studied the mob is Wauconda author Arthur J. Bilek, whose book is "The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosemo and the Ladies of the Levee."

"The First Vice Lord" covers the early years of the Chicago outfit through 1920. Bilek found that it began with Big Jim Colosimo, who came to the United States from Italy, worked as a Chicago street cleaner and rose in Chicago's political ranks.

The book details Colosimo's career through the time period. Bilek has also co-authored a book with William Helmer, entitled "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre."

Bilek's life of battling crime began after graduating in 1953 from Loyola University with a masters degree in criminology. He spent the rest of his life in law enforcement and education, climbing the ranks of the Chicago Police Department and was appointed Chief of Cook County Sheriff's Office in 1962.

He said he started the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Criminal Justice bachelor's of science program in 1966, was the associate director of Northwestern's Traffic Institute in 1989, He also worked on Cook County's Cold Case Task Force.

Most recently he was a board member of the Chicago Crime Commission and followed the Family Secrets trials. He believes the outfit still operates but its political prowess has dwindled since Colosimo's day.

Thanks to Ilene Haluska

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