The Chicago Syndicate

Monday, November 04, 2019

Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells

Everyone knows the hits: “Hanky Panky,” “Mony Mony,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Crimson and Clover,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” All of these songs, which epitomize great pop music of the late 1960s, are now widely used in television and film and have been covered by a diverse group of artists from Billy Idol to Tiffany to R.E.M. Just as compelling as the music itself is the life Tommy James lived while making it.

James tells the incredible story, revealing his complex and sometimes terrifying relationship with Roulette Records and Morris Levy, the legendary Godfather of the music business. Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells, is a fascinating portrait of this swaggering, wildly creative era of rock ’n’ roll, when the hits kept coming and payola and the strong-arm tactics of the Mob were the norm, and what it was like, for better or worse, to be in the middle of it.

Now in paperback, after five hardcover printings, Tommy James’s wild and entertaining true story of his career—part rock & roll fairytale, part valentine to a bygone era, and part mob epic—that “reads like a music-industry version of Goodfellas” (The Denver Post).


State Representative Luis Arroyo Charged with Offering Bribe to Fellow Lawmaker in Return for Support of Legislation #Corruption #Details

Illinois State Rep. LUIS ARROYO has been charged in federal court with offering a bribe to a fellow state lawmaker in an effort to influence and reward the lawmaker for supporting legislation that would benefit Arroyo’s private lobbying client.

Arroyo, 65, of Chicago, is charged with one count of federal program bribery, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Arroyo made an initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez and was ordered released on a personal recognizance bond. The next court date was not immediately set.

The complaint was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Stetler and James Durkin.

Arroyo has represented the 3rd District in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2006.  He has also managed Spartacus 3 LLC, a private lobbying firm in Chicago.

According to the complaint, on Aug. 2, 2019, Arroyo offered to pay $2,500 per month to an Illinois state senator in return for the senator’s support of sweepstakes-related legislation that would benefit one of Arroyo’s lobbying clients. On Aug. 22, 2019, Arroyo met with the senator at a restaurant in Skokie and provided him a check for $2,500 as an initial payment, with the expectation that additional payments would be made for the next six to 12 months, the complaint states. The check was made payable to a nominee of the senator for the purpose of concealing the illicit payment, the complaint states.

Federal program bribery is punishable by up to ten years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.  The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Member of #HellsAngels Biker Gang and Wife Sent to Prison Over Meth Ring

An Anchorage Hells Angel got 18 years in federal prison while his wife got another four years for their role in a methamphetamine distribution ring in Anchorage.

Charles Denver Phillips, also known as “Pup” was a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle group, whose members the US Department of Justice says “pose a serious national domestic threat” for their affiliations to organized crime including drug trafficking, and his wife Latrilla kept their stash in their apartment and at a CONEX located at an Anchorage dog-kenneling business.

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Charles and Latrilla Phillips sold 401 grams of meth to a repeat customer, an event witnessed by law enforcement officials.

On Aug. 10, 2018, officials searched the Phillips’ Anchorage apartment and the CONEX they controlled. At the apartment, they found 120 grams of methamphetamine some of which “was packaged in baggies containing scenes from the Disney movie “Frozen.” Investigators found decor and clothing decorated with Hells Angels imagery.

The apartment had equipment for distribution as well: digital scales, packaging items, and $24,942 in cash. The CONEX, meanwhile, had ten pounds of methamphetamine.

In addition to 18 years in federal prison, Charles Phillips - who was on supervised release at the time of his arrest for a previous drug trafficking charge - got five years of supervised release. Latrilla, who had no prior criminal history, was given eight years in prison with four years of supervised release. The couple also returned $24,942 in proceeds from their trafficking operation that was found in their apartment.

Man Killed in Mall Parking Lot Linked to Hells Angels Biker Gang

Police have identified the man shot and killed in the parking lot of a South Shore mall Wednesday as Roger Bishop. Media reports say he had links to the Hells Angels biker gang. Bishop, 49, was attacked in broad daylight in Brossard. A fire-damaged car was found nearby.

The attack took place around 11:30 a.m. in the Place Portobello mall parking lot on Taschereau Blvd. west of Highway 10, said Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Ingrid Asselin. The shooting took place near the World Gym.

Investigators aren’t yet sure whether the victim was arriving or leaving the parking lot when he was shot. It’s too early to say if any video surveillance cameras captured the attack. Asselin said police don’t know whether the burned car, found on Thierry St., was linked to the killing.

Longueuil police initially responded to the call, but handed the investigation over to the SQ because the shooting might be connected to organized crime, Asselin said.

Asselin said anybody who saw suspicious activity in the area or has other information about the crime should call the SQ tip line at 1-800-659-4264. “Sometimes a little detail can make the difference in an investigation,” Asselin said.

Thanks to Andy Riga.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

John Gotti Once Ordered a Mob Hit on Don King, According to Sammy "The Bull" Gravano

It’s pretty much common knowledge that the mob and boxing had a long standing connection. And, although gangsters are no longer known to dominate the fight game, names like Owney Madden and Frankie Carbo will always stand out for having tarnished the sport’s reputation. Now another famous gangster, or former gangster, has come out with some rather revealing stories and opinions regarding the sweet science and organized crime.

Sammy “The Bull”Gravano was about as big a mobster as one could find. Connected to nineteen murders, he stood as underboss of the powerful Gambino crime family up until he early 90s, when he decided to testify against his boss, notorious mobster John Gotti.

Now in his 70s, Gravano is out of jail and going public in a big way. He recently was the subject of a terrific, if not disturbing,interview with Patrick Bet-David, where he talked about Gotti actually putting a hit out on famed promoter Don King. As Gravano tells it, he had a fighter who he wanted to have face Mike Tyson during Tyson’s prime. “He was a tough fighter,” Gravano says of the possible opponent in the interview, “and he was a little bit over the hill.”

Someone Gravrano refers to as “a street guy” was sent to King, who was promoting Tyson at the time, in order to generate interest. To his credit, the controversial King, who had done time in prison himself, didn’t want to get involved with the Gambinos. “I’m not doing any of that bullshit,”Gravano quotes King as saying. Taking the news of King’s refusal back to family boss Gotti, Gravano was given a pat order. The “street guy” was “to go back,make another appointment (with King), and kill him.” Gravano expressed surprise, but Gotti claimed the “street guy” should return to King and “hit him with a proposal” that would essentially stand as an offer King couldn’t refuse.“If he says no,” Gravano quotes Gotti as saying, “take a gun out and shoot him.”

Fortunately for King and the world of boxing, the hit never went down. Gravano claimed the “street guy” got cold feet and disappeared. Left without a hit man, Gravano had no interest in pursuing a matter he wasn’t crazy about to begin with. “I’m definitely not going after him,” Gravano reflects with a laugh, “because this is insane now. We’re hitting a guy because he doesn’t want to do a deal? We’ll be hitting guys every other week.”

Yet Don King isn’t the only figure Gravano talks about inthe interview. “Teddy Atlas is an asshole,” the former hit man says to Bet-David. Gravano, who liked to box, was once questioned by Atlas: “Are you afraid?” Gravano said no. “He took it,” Gravano goes on to say, “to a different level, meaning that’s cowardice.” While admitting Atlas is “a tremendous trainer,” Gravano also presents a personal challenge on camera.

“Teddy,” he says, “come down and put the fucking gloves on with me, I’ll show you how scared I am of you. And you’re a fucking bitch.”

It ain’t Shakespeare – but it gets the point across.

Thanks to Sean Crose.

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