Monday, July 26, 2010

"The Dig" Has Band Gear Stolen from Van in Chicago

First, the good news: New York City's The Dig has announced two new tour dates in support of Dashboard Confessional. Before traveling home following a five-week national tour with Thrice, Kevin Devine, and Bad Veins, the band will play Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL, on July 27th and Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka, MO, on July 28th with Dashboard.

In far less happy news, the band's van was robbed overnight in Chicago and most of their gear stolen. The Dig will be able to play the Gurnee and Eureka shows thanks to the good men of Dashboard Confessional, who have kindly offered to share their gear for the next two nights. Anyone with information on the stolen gear can please contact the Chicago Police and/or the band at thedigmusic@gmail.com. The van was parked on N. Leavitt St. and W. Evergreen Ave., and a full list of stolen items is below

The Dig's debut album Electric Toys was released June 8th and has been catching praise from the press, with Relix recently writing, "The Dig's formula combines the resonance and character of the Strokes with the sentimental uncertainty of a Charles Bukowski novel...the end result is 12 tracks of assorted musical flavors that truly encapsulate New York City rock and roll." The band has spent the majority of the past year on the road, in support of The Walkmen, White Rabbits, Editors, The Antlers, Portugal. The Man, Here We Go Magic, and Port O'Brien. The Dig has also had multiple tracks from Electric Toys featured on primetime dramas, most recently "I Just Wanna Talk To You" on ABC's Scoundrels, and previously "Carry Me Home" on NBC's Trauma and "Look Inside" on The CW's The Vampire Diaries.

The Dig tour dates:

JULY 27 GURNEE, IL SIX FLAGS GREAT AMERICA*
JULY 28 EUREKA, MO SIX FLAGS ST. LOUIS*

The Dig's stolen gear list:

* Bass Guitar - Fender Electric Precision - Ivory Body w/ Black Pick
Guard SN: 619368
* Guitar - PRS - McCarty - Dark Red
* Guitar - Fender Telecaster - blonde body w/ black pick guard -
double humbucker pickups - rosewood neck
* Guitar - Epiphone - 1967 Sorrento Sun burst hollow body
* Bass Amplifier - Ampeg V-4 SN: 137500
* Guitar Amplifier - Fender Deville "212" Type PR247 SN: 178888
* Custom Speaker Cabinet - 2 x 10"
* Snare Drum Ludwig 14"x 5 1/4" Steel SN: 3079825
* Rack Tom - Slingerland 13" x 8" Pearl White 1962
* Laptop Computer - Sony Vaio - 2007

Friday, July 23, 2010

Colombo Crime Family Mobster Mickey Souza Learns the Mob is More About Money Than Honor

The Colombo crime family must really be going to the dogs if this is the type of muscle they're recruiting.

Meet Michael (Mickey) Souza.

Before legendary Colombo underboss John (Sonny) Franzese pricked Souza's finger with a sterile diabetic needle in 2005 to make him a made man, Souza had built quite the fiasco-filled résumé.

There was the time he shot himself, Plaxico Burress-style, while tucking a handgun in his sweatpants. There's his arrest for boating while drunk. And then there was the time he injured one of his fellow goons while the two busted up a funeral parlor.

If an organization is no better than its worst guy, then the Colombos are indeed in trouble. And what thanks do they get for taking in this mopey mobster? He's now turned stool pigeon.

Souza, 42, made his debut on the witness stand last week at the racketeering trial of Genovese gangster Anthony Antico in Brooklyn Federal Court.

He was facing 30 years to life for drug trafficking when he sought a cooperation agreement from the feds.

"'Hello, John,'" he wrote to John Buretta, the chief of the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's organized-crime section, in 2008, offering to help "seal up" some federal cases.

"P.S. I am so ready to go to [the witness protection program] ... can't do this anymore," Souza concluded.

His testimony - and dramatic turn against the bosses - speaks to the Colombos' disarray and lowering of standards for supposed "men of honor."

"Their [the Colombos'] roster is getting pretty thin," conceded a law enforcement official.

Souza's troubles go way back.

He was "honorably discharged" from high school because "I baseball-batted somebody on school property," he testified. He instead graduated to loansharking, drug dealing and running a Staten Island gym called Evolution, where wiseguys and wanna-bes pumped iron. And after assaulting his own wife, he was marked for death by his mobbed-up father-in-law. But maybe worst of all was violating a previously unknown rule by exposing himself in a Staten Island bar owned by a gangster.

"You know, the rules, you don't take out your private part in a wiseguy's place," Souza said on the stand, in describing his past with the mob.

In Souza's bizarro world, "sitdowns" to settle beefs are now called "standups" - "you talk on the corner." And he paid the medical bills for a guy whose eye he popped out during a grisly fight. But Souza said he sees the Mafia more clearly now. "There's no honor in this life. It's all about the dollar," he said.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicago Crime Commission's Most Wanted List

The Chicago Crime Commission, in cooperation with federal, state, county and local law enforcement authorities, has released its Most Wanted list for the Chicagoland area. The Chicago Crime Commission’s Most Wanted list is the successor of the organization’s Public Enemies list first created in the 1930s.

“The fugitives on the Chicago Crime Commission’s Most Wanted list are in hiding and are wanted by law enforcement agencies for a variety of crimes. They all have one thing in common…they should be considered armed and dangerous,” said Arthur Bilek, Executive Vice President of the Chicago Crime Commission. “A citizen should not attempt to apprehend these individuals themselves,” he added. “Many of the criminals on our list are gang members and drug dealers and are part of the culture of violence responsible for the shootings and murders that plague many of Chicago’s neighborhoods and victimize our children,” Bilek continued. “These criminals hide behind a wall of silence, where good people are fearful or choose to do nothing rather than to expose and rid their communities of this criminals,” he added.

To empower residents, the Chicago Crime Commission has developed an anonymous Most Wanted hotline and website which citizens can use to provide information on these fugitives without speaking directly to law enforcement or revealing their identities. Citizens can report information on the Most Wanted hotline at 3123720155 or www.chicagocrimecommission.org

The Chicago Crime Commission intends to partner with community organizations to distribute information on these fugitives. Additionally, the Chicago Crime Commission is utilizing social networking sites like Facebook and the Internet to digitally spread the word about the Most Wanted list.

“By working together with the community and law enforcement, I am confident that we can take a positive step to getting these criminals off the streets,” Bilek said.

The fugitives on the Chicago Crime Commission Most Wanted list are as follows:

Danny Dominguez – Wanted for Conspiracy to Possess and Distribute Cocaine – On September 24, 2008, Dominguez was one of forty members of the Latin Kings gang the FBI sought to arrest following a federal drug investigation called “Operation Pesadilla.” He is the highestranking member of Operation Pesadilla that eluded arrest that day. Dominguez is allegedly an "Inca," or a supervisor for the gang, responsible for overseeing the selling of cocaine in the district of 30th and Sawyer in Chicago, Illinois.

Eddie C. Hicks – Conspiracy, Possession and Distribution of a Controlled Substance Hicks is wanted for conspiracy, possession and distribution of a controlled substance and failure to appear. Hicks and four accomplices allegedly posed as Drug Enforcement Administration officers, prepared false search warrants, confiscated drugs, money and other valuables, and then sold the drugs to other drug dealers. Hicks was scheduled for trial on June 9, 2003 to face drug and RICO charges but failed to appear. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Hicks is the only member of the group that remains a fugitive. He is a former police sergeant, serving 30 years with the Chicago Police Department.

Erick Secundino – First Degree Murder On January 1, 2008, Secundino, an accomplice to Fernando Palomino, allegedly killed three people, leaving another victim critically injured. Investigators say what went down was not a typical drug deal but rather a drug “rip off” with the intent to rob the drug dealer. Secundino entered an apartment in the 2400 block of North Monticello, and the shooting occurred about 4:50 pm. All four victims were reportedly duct taped before the shooting. At least one weapon was recovered. Both Palomino and Secundino are alleged members of the Spanish Cobras gang and are believed to be hiding in Chicago with help from the gang.

Fernando Palomino – First Degree Murder On January 1, 2008, Palomino, an accomplice to Erick Secundino, allegedly killed three people, leaving another victim critically injured. Investigators say what went down was not a typical drug deal but rather a drug “rip off” with the intent to rob the drug dealer. Palomino entered an apartment in the 2400 block of North
Monticello, and the shooting occurred about 4:50 pm. All four victims were reportedly duct taped before the shooting. At least one weapon was recovered. Palomino was on parole from the Illinois Department of Corrections at the time of the murders. Both Palomino and Secundino are alleged members of the Spanish Cobras gang and are believed to be hiding in Chicago with help from the gang.

Jesus Sanchez – Murder, Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution Sanchez is wanted in connection with a July 14, 2003 homicide on the 6200 block of South Whipple in Chicago where he was involved in the beating death of a rival gang member. Sanchez and the others allegedly brutally beat the victim with discarded wood boards. The victim died after suffering fiftynine separate injuries. Sanchez is believed to be a member of the Latin Saints gang. He was convicted in absentia of the murder and sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Lorenzo SanchezJimenez – Conspiracy, Possession and Distribution of a Controlled Substance SanchezJimenez is wanted by the FBI for his involvement in a drug distribution operation, which smuggled kilogram quantities of cocaine into the Chicago area. He has been the subject of a nationwide manhunt coordinated by Chicago FBI since April 2009 when he was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago in violation of federal drug laws.

Miguel Martinez – Murder, Drug Conspiracy Martinez is charged with conspiracy to commit multiple shootings, homicides and other firearmsrelated violent crimes during a gang war with rival gangs in the summer of 2002. He is also wanted on Federal charges stemming from his involvement in a conspiracy to commit violent crimes and distribute illegal drugs. Martinez is a two time convicted felon and is considered the second ranking member of the Insane Deuces street gang with the title of "Lieutenant Governor" or "Second Seat" and is responsible for the Aurora, IL area. Through his position he had the power to authorize hits on rival gang members as well as have others commit any one of a number of crimes on the gang's behalf.

Muaz Haffar – Wanted for Murder, Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution On July 9, 2005 Haffar and another defendant instigated an altercation that led to the death of a University of Illinois at Chicago student. Haffar beat the victim with a metal bike lock, continuing to attack him beyond the point of consciousness. The victim’s face was disfigured beyond recognition and died after suffering more than thirty separate injuries, including six skull fractures. Haffar was charged with firstdegree murder and aggravated battery, and a judge issued an arrest warrant for him after he failed to show up in court for a preliminary hearing. Haffar may have fled to the Middle East.

Sherry Halligan – Murder, Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Sherry Halligan is wanted for the murder of a man in her home in LaGrange, Illinois on January 30, 2003. While arguing with the victim, Halligan allegedly shot the victim five times. The victim died of his wounds at the scene.

Sergio Mendoza – First Degree Murder On July 17, 2005, Mendoza and a codefendant were driving in a van in the 7100 block of South Lawndale in Chicago. They approached the victim, who was sitting in a car with friends. After allegedly firing over a dozen shots they fled. The victim died at the scene. The crime is believed to be gang related, although the specific motive of the shooting is unknown.

The Chicago Crime Commission was founded in 1919 by 35 members of the Chicago business community and is the oldest and most respected citizens’ crime commission in the nation. The Chicago Crime Commission is a volunteer organization comprised of more than 200 businesses and professional leaders from the Chicago metropolitan area.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Corrupt Chicago Politicians Get Cops Killed and Put Public's Safety in Jeporady

Chicago's political class can't admit to losing control. They dare not even hint at it, particularly the mayor, what with his election coming up and his poll numbers tanking. But just about every cop in the city must feel it, with the murder Sunday of veteran Chicago police Officer Michael Bailey outside his home. As do some people in the neighborhoods.

"The man was in uniform," said Marcus Burks, 35, a bricklayer and a father who was one of the first to run to Bailey after he'd been killed in the 7400 block of South Evans Avenue.

"A Chicago police officer gets shot to death outside his house, he's in full uniform, and he gets killed because some thugs want to rob his car on Sunday morning?" Burks asked me.

Detectives canvassed the neighborhood in the heat. And people sat out on their porches, watching, some fanning themselves in the shade.

"I saw him on the ground," Burks said. "You couldn't mistake him being the police. And still they try to rob him? They shoot him down? Tell me what happened to this city? Just think about that."

Bailey, 62, had just spent the night guarding Mayor Richard Daley's home.

Bailey hadn't been running through some night alley after felons or doing the kinds of things that get cops killed. It was a hot sunny morning, and he had a spray bottle of Windex in his hand.

He'd been polishing the windows of his new car, a black Buick, a gift to himself for his retirement that was supposed to take place in a couple of weeks. Neighbors said he polished the windows of that new car every morning, after he'd spend the night guarding the mayor's house.

So his attackers most likely confronted him knowing he was a cop. And now he's the third Chicago police officer killed in the last couple of months. On May 19, Officer Thomas Wortham was shot to death outside his home in the Chatham neighborhood, as thugs tried to steal his motorcycle. And on July 7, in the parking lot of a police facility near 61st Street and Racine Avenue, Officer Thor Soderberg, also in uniform, was killed with his own gun after a struggle with an attacker.

"This has just been a terrible year, and I don't remember anything this bad, maybe if you go back to the early '70s when we came on and we were losing, what, maybe 10 guys a year? And that was before bulletproof vests," former Chicago police Superintendent Phil Cline said.

We were in the parking lot of police headquarters at 35th Street and Michigan Avenue. Cline had just finished speaking to a group of a couple of hundred police and their families from across Illinois, part of a bike-athon that would take them to the Gold Star Memorial, with the names of fallen police on the wall.

I asked Cline and other former and current officers gathered there what had changed, if anything, with Bailey's slaying. They all said the same thing: Bailey was in uniform. And still they tried to rob him.

There was a time when the sight of the uniform alone would stop them. Not now. And that is transformation.

"I think what you're seeing is that the gangbangers have lost their fear of the police — and that's not a good thing," Cline said. "The balance we always wanted was that the good citizens in the neighborhood to like the police, the gangbangers to fear us. Evidently, we've lost that.

"And that's something the department is going to have to work on, to take back the street from these gangs. The city is going to have to bite the bullet and hire more police." But the mayor and his rubber-stamp council have spent all the money. There is no money. They spent it on deals for the guys who know guys who got their beaks wet.

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of deals went to the cronies. And now there's no money left to hire cops.

Police numbers are down. Cops are retiring at unprecedented rates. And there aren't enough young officers going through the academy to take their place. That puts even greater stress on sergeants and commanders.

Meanwhile, the mayor has a problem, and it's all about control. A new Tribune poll released Sunday shows that 53 percent of Chicago voters don't want Daley re-elected.

Sixty-eight percent disapprove of his handling of government corruption, with 13 percent offering no opinion. Figure that there are enough worried government workers in the 13 percent to make that 68 percent even greater. And 54 percent of voters disapprove of how he's handling crime, with 13 percent offering no opinion, so figure that 54 percent is higher than stated.

For almost 20 years, voters have shrugged off the corruption, figuring it was a price to pay for order. But voters finally understand that the cost of corruption has taken from funds available for public safety.

Politics and policing are a lot about public perception. And here's the one folks will have as they begin the work week on Monday: A veteran police officer in uniform, who spent the night guarding the mayor's house, shot to death outside his own home on Sunday morning, confronted by robbers while polishing his car, just weeks away from retirement.

Thanks to John Kass

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

FBI Files Released on Chicago's Most Feared Mobster Frank"The German" Schweihs

The FBI called him a "psychopath" and "an extremely ruthless, cold-blooded and malicious individual with a violent temper."

He was dubbed "one of the top 'hit men' in Chicago for the past 10 years," back in 1975.

Investigators were warned: "Extreme caution should be exercised ... in view of his propensity for violence." And a confidential source once told the FBI he was "a very mean individual and that he had on one occasion shot a girlfriend in the head."

One nickname he was known by was "The Nut."

But for decades, Francis John Schweihs was best known - and feared - on the streets of Chicago by a nickname that spoke only of his heritage: "The German."

Though he was reputed to be a prolific mob killer, Frank Schweihs never went on trial for a single murder.

He died in 2008 at the age of 76 from complications of cancer. It was just a few months before he would have faced the most serious charges of his life, as part of the landmark Operation Family Secrets case that sent top Chicago Outfit bosses and killers to prison.

Many of Schweihs' secrets went to the grave with him. But his once-secret FBI files - 531 pages in all, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times - shed new light on a man widely considered to have been the most-feared Chicago mobster ever.

According to one report in the FBI files: "Sources have also indicated that Schweihs is allowed a free reign in Chicago due to his violent nature.

Sources have also indicated that Schweihs is called in by various Chicago crews to do hits."

His FBI file shows authorities were interested in Schweihs for many reputed mob hits in Chicago and elsewhere, including killings in M ilwaukee and Kansas City.

Schweihs' penchant for violence, his hair-trigger temper and his twisted behavior made him stand out even in the Chicago mob. Schweihs started his criminal career as a thief. One time, he defecated in a cash register while he and his young partners in crime robbed a business, sources say.

The late mobster Michael Spilotro warned his teenage daughter in the 1980s: If she ever saw Schweihs around their Oak Park home, call the cops and lock the door.

Schweihs once was caught on a secret government wiretap telling an undercover informant: "I won't see you for a while. I gotta - I got a f------ hit," according to a FBI transcript of the conversation.

Schweihs was also a member of a sophisticated burglary crew in Florida, where he spent much of his time when not in Chicago - and where he once ran into serious trouble with the law.

It was May 1975. He was arrested in Fort Lauderdale after two brothers, who were checking on their auto-body shop late at night, came across Schweihs and another man apparently trying to break into a Wells Fargo bank next door. Schweihs was convicted in that case in 1976. The prosecution victory in the Florida case was short-lived. A federal appeals court overturned Schweihs' conviction.

He wouldn't do prison time until the mid-1990s, when he was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for shaking down pornography bookstore owners for money.

In the mid-1970s, Schweihs was inves tigated for more than a year for allegedly extorting two restaurant-quality Vulcan ranges out of a guy who owed him money. Schweihs used them at his own Old Town restaurant, the Meat Block, according to the FBI files.

The Internal Revenue Service once had Richard Johnson - a legendary undercover agent - strike up a business relationship with Schweihs. It was a remarkable feat because Johnson was black, and Schweihs, beside being paranoid about law enforcement, was a virulent racist. Schweihs would brag about how he could sniff out FBI agents.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006, Johnson recalled how he convinced Schweihs that he was interested in buying a restaurant property from him that Schweihs had converted into an Italian bicycle shop when he had problems with his liquor license.

Another time, Johnson said, Schweihs wanted to show him how strong a Plexiglas screen in the building's vestibule was. So Schweihs picked up a baseball bat and hammered at it in a frenzy for a minute. "I'm looking at him and ducking at the same time," Johnson said. "It was like he was in another world."

Schweihs, oddly, given his own reputation for violence, told Johnson that Italians could learn something from black people, saying, "You guys march and raise hell and shoot each other." But Johnson's undercover investigation had to be cut short. Schweihs began threatening the life of then-Cook County Board President George Dunne, who Schweihs mistakenly believed was behind his liquor-license problems. Dunne was warned of the threat, and the investigation ended.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Monday, July 05, 2010

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Legendary Organized Crime Figure Frank Colacurcio Sr. Dies

Frank Colacurcio Sr., the strip-club magnate whose organized-crime exploits covered more than half a century and helped define Seattle's history of police corruption and reform, died Friday. He was 93.

Mr. Colacurcio had been in declining health for some time, suffering from congestive heart failure. His death was confirmed by his attorney, Irwin Schwartz. Mr. Colacurcio died at University of Washington Medical Center, said spokeswoman Leila Gray.

In keeping with his life story, Mr. Colacurcio was under indictment at the time of his death, facing allegations of racketeering and promoting prostitution.

"It is the end of an era, hopefully one that won't be repeated," former Seattle U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said Friday.

Mr. Colacurcio died only a week after the final dismantling of his strip-club operations by federal prosecutors, 67 years after he was first sent to prison for what was then called carnal knowledge with a teenage girl.

As Seattle's longest-running crime figure, Mr. Colacurcio often was portrayed by law-enforcement officials and the news media as one of Seattle's most notorious racketeering figures.

The reputation stemmed from convictions for tax evasion and racketeering that repeatedly sent him to prison. Adding to the lore were murky tales — involving corrupt cops and his cat-and-mouse dealings with law-enforcement officials — that no one could explain, except perhaps Mr. Colacurcio.

Despite his notoriety, Mr. Colacurcio wasn't flashy. He wore golf shirts, played cards and lived in a modest home in the Sheridan Beach neighborhood of Lake Forest Park at the north end of Lake Washington. His one indulgence was a 38-foot boat used for fishing in Alaska.

He benefited in the 1950s and 1960s when Seattle had rougher edges and police turned their eyes from vice and criminal activity in exchange for payoffs.

Eventually, he became a top target of federal and local law-enforcement officials.

For years, the feds and other investigators picked through his trash, eavesdropped on his conversations and recruited snitches. They finally got him in the 1970s, for racketeering and failing to pay taxes on money skimmed from his businesses. But their long-held suspicion that Mr. Colacurcio was involved in the execution-style slayings of several people who had crossed him never resulted in charges. In an interview a few years ago, Mr. Colacurcio dismissed the notion that he was involved in old killings or illegal activities. "They have been investigating me since the time I was born," he said.

Once considered Seattle's own connection to the Mafia, he more likely headed a homegrown organized-crime outfit, law-enforcement officials concluded.

"Mafia malarkey," he once complained, saying local investigators needed someone they could label as their own mob figure.

Yet he and his associates also seemed to enjoy the image. Five years ago, while he awaited a court hearing, a cellphone belonging to an investigator on his defense team rang. The ringtone: the theme song for the movie "The Godfather."

For some detectives, investigating Mr. Colacurcio was an obsession. They built dossiers with flow charts and pictures of his known associates. Once, they even rented a room next to his old SeaTac office to eavesdrop through an electrical outlet.

Mr. Colacurcio outlasted some investigators, who moved to other jobs or retired. One federal prosecutor who brought charges against him later became his defense attorney.

"I'll never be 'retired' retired," Mr. Colacurcio said in 1995. "Not until I'm in the grave."

He ran his operations from Talents West, a hiring agency and business office in a small building on Lake City Way. Its walls displayed photographs of scantily dressed women and a giant framed photo of Mr. Colacurcio leaving a courthouse.

Mr. Colacurcio was born in Seattle to immigrant parents on June 18, 1917. He quit school at age 15 to begin farming and started a produce-hauling business.

Beginning in the 1950s, he used thugs and threats to control Seattle's jukebox, pinball and cigarette-vending-machine business, competitors alleged. Those businesses historically had attracted organized crime because of their easily skimmed cash.

He also sought to expand into Portland, drawing the attention of a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime.

Under questioning by Robert F. Kennedy, chief counsel for the committee, James "Big Jim" Elkins, a Portland crime figure, told the committee that Mr. Colacurcio asked for Elkins' help in opening prostitution houses there.

"He wanted me to arrange so that he could take over three or four houses," Elkins testified. "I told him if he wanted the houses to go buy them."

Elkins described Mr. Colacurcio as a fellow racketeer and a "boy that had various things operating in Seattle."

In the 1960s, Mr. Colacurcio held an interest in several bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Seattle. He ran a beer garden at the Seattle World's Fair in 1962 and introduced go-go dancing to Seattle at the Firelite Room in 1965.

For years, the well-entrenched tolerance policy in Seattle and King County kept the police from bothering him until the payoff system crumbled, brought down by investigative reporters, Christopher T. Bayley, a reform-minded King County prosecutor, and Stan Pitkin, a hard-charging U.S. attorney in Seattle.

In a 1971 trial, Mr. Colacurcio was convicted of racketeering for bringing illegal bingo cards into the state. Federal prosecutors exposed a bribery scheme in which police were paid to ignore illegal gambling activities at area taverns. A nightclub owner testified that he paid Colacurcio $3,000 a month for police protection.

Around the same time, State Patrol investigators reported that Mr. Colacurcio had met in Yakima with Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno, the son of legendary New York Mafia boss Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno, to discuss a business relationship. Mr. Colacurcio famously responded to a reporter that he and his family had gone to Yakima to pick hot peppers, "but I didn't pick no bananas."

Although he served prison stints for the 1971 conviction and a 1981 tax-fraud conviction, Mr. Colacurcio opened topless taverns and strip clubs — another cash business that allowed profit-skimming — throughout the Seattle area and beyond, eventually operating in at least 10 Western states.

Law-enforcement officials banded together in 1984, driving him out of many states.

For a period, Mr. Colacurcio almost faded into local lore. After a 1991 guilty plea to tax fraud and his 36-year-year marriage to Jackie Colacurcio ended in divorce about the same time, he and his son, Frank Colacurcio Jr., concentrated on running a smaller number of nude-dancing clubs.

The clubs, which years earlier had stopped selling alcohol to avoid state liquor inspectors, made their money from cover charges, high-priced soft drinks and charging a hefty per diem to the dancers. But Mr. Colacurcio and his son landed on the front page of newspapers in 2003 when the "Strippergate" scandal jolted Seattle City Hall.

For years, the Colacurcios had tried to expand parking at Rick's, a Lake City Way strip club, but were repeatedly rejected. When the parking plan came before the council again in 2003, Colacurcio associates contributed thousands of dollars to three City Council members, who helped form a majority that approved the plan.

Strippergate also cast a spotlight on the long friendship between Mr. Colacurcio and former Washington Gov. Albert Rosellini. Rosellini, who served as governor from 1957 to 1965 and is now 100 years old, played a role in pushing for the parking-lot rezone.

Their ties had gone back for years, dogging Rosellini during his political career, although there was never proof of illegal dealings.

In the Strippergate case, prosecutors charged Mr. Colacurcio, his son and two others with skirting donation limits by secretly reimbursing contributors. In 2008, Mr. Colacurcio, his son and an associate pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid fines. The fourth defendant was dismissed from the case. But even before that case was resolved, the Strippergate case prompted FBI and local law-enforcement officials to launch a broader investigation, looking for evidence of prostitution at Colacurcio clubs.

Investigators also reopened old homicide cases, trying to link Mr. Colacurcio or his associates to the slayings of five people in the 1970s and 1980s: a rival strip-club operator and his fiancée, a bar owner in Central Washington, a mechanic in a murder-for-hire scheme, and a police informant.

Neither Mr. Colacurcio nor his associates were tied to those cases, and involvement in the Central Washington case has been ruled out.

The four-year investigation culminated with racketeering charges brought against Mr. Colacurcio, his son and others last year, alleging they allowed rampant prostitution at Rick's and three other clubs in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties that generated million of dollars in business.

Last week, Frank Colacurcio Jr., 48, pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge that will cost him $1.3 million and likely land him in prison for a year and a day. Four close associates of his father earlier pleaded guilty to prostitution- and racketeering-related charges.

As part of plea deals, the Colacurcios' four strip clubs have been shuttered, and the government seized the buildings and other property valued at $4.5 million. The final piece of property, Talents West, was forfeited by Colacurcio Jr. under his plea.

In a final interview a year ago, while sitting in a leather chair, a blanket draped over his lap, Mr. Colacurcio was asked what he wanted his legacy to be. He paused, mulled the question and replied, "I think my background speaks for itself."

Thanks to Steve Miletich