The Omaha Steaks God Bless America Memorial Day Special

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Former Home of Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn, Suspected St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Mastermind, is for Sale

There’s no shortage of historic homes in suburban Oak Park. After all, it’s the city where Frank Lloyd Wright launched his career, inspiring a generation of architects to develop what’s widely considered to be the first true brand of American architecture, the Prairie school. But Oak Park also has a seedier history, one tracing back to the bootlegging days of Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit.

At 1224 Kenilworth Avenue, a double-wide bungalow stands among historic homes built at the advent of the Prairie school. And while it’s certainly unique for its double bay windows, the structure is better known as the former home of Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn, a ruthless hitman and Capone confidant.

Legend has it, says Berkshire Hathaway agent and local radio personality Cara Carriveau, that McGurn was one of the masterminds behind the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which left seven Capone rivals dead on the North Side.

While police suspected McGurn to have been a key player in the attack, an alibi — spending the day with his girlfriend, Louise Rolfe — kept him from trial. Rolfe, dubbed “The Blonde Alibi” by the press, would eventually marry McGurn and share the house with him.

“I’m sure there’s a good reason why his nickname is Machine Gun,” Carriveau says. “There’s a gangster bus tour that goes through Oak Park and this is one of the stops.”

The house has even made an appearance on the small screen. In 2014, National Geographic visited 1224 Kenilworth with its show Diggers, on which co-hosts George Wyant and Tim Saylor perform archeological searches for relics at historic sites.

Beyond its small role in Chicago Outfit lore, the 3,349-square-foot bungalow has a much longer history with the family who currently owns it. Pauline Trilik Sharpe grew up in the house, which her parents bought 55 years ago, and fondly remembers sharing the space with friends and family.

“As a child, it was great with my grandfather living here … when my parents were at work, I could go upstairs and visit [him],” Trilik Sharpe recalls of the multi-generational household. “It’s a large home and we’d have gatherings and parties with up to 50 people.”

Given the home’s sprawling first floor, it made sense for Trilik Sharpe’s parents to stay there into old age. But with her folks gone, Trilik Sharpe says she feels increasingly like a caretaker of the house, and is ready to let another family build memories there.

She adds that she’s happy to share as much of the home’s past with its next owners as they’d like. Because, she believes, “people are interested in the history of the houses they own.”

The home is listed for $584,900.

Thanks to AJ Latrace.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Siege: Trump Under Fire" is the Sequel to the Bombshell Bestseller "Fire and Fury" by Author @MichaelWolffNYC

Michael Wolff, author of the bombshell bestseller Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, once again takes us inside the Donald Trump presidency to reveal a White House under siege.

Michael Wolff — who enraged President Trump with his international bestseller "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," about pandemonium in the first-year White House — will be out June 4 with a sequel, "Siege: Trump Under Fire."

The book, "about a presidency that is under fire from almost every side," begins with Year 2 and ends with the delivery of the Mueller report. The publisher says: "'Siege: Trump Under Fire' reveals an administration that is perpetually beleaguered by investigations and a president who is increasingly volatile, erratic, and exposed."

"Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" sold more than 4 million copies in all formats worldwide, according to Henry Holt, which is publishing both books.

Publishing sources say "Siege: Trump Under Fire" is about what Wolff considers the insurmountable legal, personal and political challenges ahead of Trump — about everybody coming after him.

The publisher says Wolff interviewed 150 sources for the new book. We're told the two key groups of sources were former senior officials, and acquaintances outside the White House who talk to Trump at night and that more than two-thirds of the book's essential sources talked to Wolff again. Indeed, some of them sought him out, knowing he was working on what was being called "Fire and Fury II."

Wolff didn't seek an interview with Trump in an effort to avoid legal action that might delay the book. Trump threatened to sue to stop publication of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," which he called a "phony book." That backfired and stoked sales.

With Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Michael Wolff defined the first phase of the Trump administration; now, in Siege: Trump Under Fire, he has written an equally essential and explosive book about a presidency that is under fire from almost every side. A stunningly fresh narrative that begins just as Trump’s second year as president is getting underway and ends with the delivery of the Mueller report, Siege reveals an administration that is perpetually beleaguered by investigations and a president who is increasingly volatile, erratic, and exposed.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Aryan Circle Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Violent Criminal Assault in Aid of Racketeering

A member of the Aryan Circle (AC) gang pleaded guilty to committing an assault, resulting in serious bodily injury to the victim in aid racketeering. The announcement came from Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Jensen of the Eastern District of Missouri.

Daniel B. Jerome, 31, of Wentzville, Missouri, committed aggravated assault on a fellow AC gang member in Jefferson County, Missouri, on Nov. 9, 2013. According to the plea agreement, Jerome participated in a “patch-burning,” which included violently assaulting the victim and removing the victim’s gang tattoo using a burning log. Sentencing for Jerome has been scheduled for Aug. 7, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The plea agreement states that the AC is a powerful race-based, multi-state organization that operates inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Missouri, Texas, Louisiana and the United States. The AC was established in the mid-1980s within the Texas prison system (TDCJ). In recent years, the AC’s structure and influence expanded to rural and suburban areas throughout Missouri, Texas and Louisiana. The AC emerged as an independent organization during a period of turmoil within the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). The AC was relatively small in comparison to other prison-based gangs, but grew in stature and influence within TDCJ in the 1990s, largely through violent conflict with other gangs, white and non-white alike.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Nick Bosa and Joey Bosa are the Great-Grandsons of the Most Powerful American Mob Boss of the 20th century

In the first round of the 1987 draft, the Dolphins used the 16th pick to select John Bosa, a defensive end from Boston College. Miami again drafted 16th the following year, choosing Eric Kumerow, a linebacker from Ohio State whose father and uncle had been NFL offensive linemen. In ’93, Bosa married Kumerow’s sister, Cheryl, and they had two sons, Nick and Joey. Joey, of course, is a Pro Bowl edge rusher for the Chargers. Meanwhile, Jake Kumerow, son of Eric, is a receiver who went undrafted in 2015 but caught on with the Packers, starting two games last season.

So it is that when Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa was taken last week in the 2019 draft, second overall by the 49ers, he become the seventh player in the family, over three generations, to join the NFL. Yet none of them could ever hope to be considered the most feared and fearsome member of the clan. Not by a long shot.

Tony Accardo didn’t get the mob handle Joey Batters for his proficiency at baking muffins. And the same ruthlessness that earned Accardo his nickname and a place on Al Capone’s organization chart was on full display a half-century later. In early 1978, Accardo was in California to escape the Midwest’s biting cold when robbers broke into his suburban Chicago home. The 71-year-old Accardo seethed, less for rage over property lost than over the breach of respect.

At the time, he passed his days playing with his grandkids, including his daughter Marie’s thick-shouldered son, Eric, then 12. Still, Accardo wasn’t beyond demonstrating who was boss. Using his connections to identify the thieves, he betrayed no mercy. Within the year, 10 men were dead. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Each was found with his throat cut; one was castrated and disemboweled, his face removed with a blow torch, a punishment imposed, presumably, because he was Italian and should have known better.” As another account in The Guardian put it, Accardo “avenged insult with interest.”

This was business as usual. Accardo was born in Chicago in 1906, the year after his parents emigrated from Sicily. Though he was later believed to have a photographic memory, Tony dropped out of school at 14, in 1920, not coincidentally the first year that the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol was made illegal by the Eighteenth Amendment. Short on formal education but long on street smarts, he went to work for local crime syndicates and neighborhood bootleggers, executing muggings and serving as a lookout, before graduating to armed robbery.

In the mid-’20s he caught the eye of the real Scarface. In John Kobler’s definitive biography Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone, the author writes that Accardo became a bodyguard “and was sometimes seen in the lobby of the Hotel Lexington with a tommy gun across his knee.” He was having lunch with his boss in 1926 when members of Chicago’s North Side Gang opened fire. According to mob lore, Accardo splayed his body over Capone to thwart the hit.

Accardo would not only take bullets for Capone, but also deliver deadly blows. By some accounts he helped plan the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, when Capone’s soldiers, dressed as police, killed seven members of Bugs Moran’s rival bootlegging gang. Days later Accardo figured prominently at a dinner that had been arranged both to celebrate Capone’s consolidation of power and to deal with two troublesome capos. In a scene later bastardized in the 1987 film The Untouchables, Accardo took the men out back before the main course was served and bashed their skulls in with a baseball bat. “Boy, this kid is a real Joey Batters,” Capone allegedly enthused about his protégé. The nickname stuck.

Despite these acts of violence, Accardo was, really, more brain than muscle. His specialties: understanding legal loopholes, expanding the mob’s reach and prospecting for new revenue streams. He was particularly involved in the gambling racket around Chicago, at one point overseeing an estimated 7,500 mob-controlled businesses that offered games of chance.

While Capone was a model of public flamboyance, Accardo cut the opposite figure, never granting interviews and living by the credo “keep your head down.” On the rare occasion when he appeared in public, he typically wore a hat pulled low and sunglasses shrouding his face.

After Capone’s conviction for tax evasion in 1931, Accardo became a leader in the Chicago operation, gaining power when Frank (the Enforcer) Nitti committed suicide in ’43 and Paul (the Waiter) Ricca was convicted on extortion charges nine months later. By the late 1940s, Accardo was in full control of the Chicago mafia. (Not that he ever admitted it. For decades he was invariably described as an alleged or reputed mob boss.)

“Accardo may not have had Capone’s mystique, but he was extraordinarily powerful,” says Rich Lindberg, a Chicago author and historian. “Remember, you’re talking about a time when the Chicago Outfit”—as Illinois’s multiethnic crime syndicate was known—“was so powerful that the newspapers had reporters whose only beat was covering the mob.”

In 1934, Accardo married Clarice Pordzany, a chorus girl. They adopted two sons, Joseph and Anthony; had two biological daughters, Marie and Linda; and moved into a sprawling home in River Forest, Ill., replete with an indoor pool and bowling alley. Tony would hold lavish Fourth of July parties that drew the most prominent mob figures throughout the country. In a scene cribbed for The Godfather, the FBI would come and survey the cars, matching license plates with names. Reportedly, Frank Sinatra showed up at the house to sing for Accardo on one of his birthdays.

Under Accardo the Chicago Outfit moved from bootlegging and assorted acts of violence to more sophisticated ventures. (As Ricca once put it, “Accardo had more brains for breakfast than Al Capone had in a lifetime.”) By penetrating labor unions, expanding gambling ties and establishing a beachhead in a newly minted city of sin, Las Vegas (with an equity stake in the Stardust Hotel), the Chicago Outfit came to resemble a conventional business. And Joey Batters was the unquestioned CEO. When mob historians refer to him as perhaps the most powerful American underworld figure of the 20th century, it is not hyperbole. New York City may have had a bigger organized crime scene, but that was split among five families. In Chicago, for all intents, there was just one boss.

Despite 30-plus arrests, Accardo never spent a night in jail. Not that there weren’t close calls. In 1946, Irish gangster James Ragen tried to inform on Accardo to the FBI—until Ragen died suspiciously of mercury poisoning. In ’51, Accardo was called to testify before Congress about organized crime. Wearing sunglasses, he invoked the Fifth Amendment 172 times. And in ’59 he was indicted for tax violations after he listed his occupation as “beer salesman” and tried to write off his Mercedes-Benz as a business expense. A jury overturned his conviction after a protracted appeal.

Accardo spent most of the 1960s and ’70s in what the Tribune called “semiretirement and serving as a counselor to underworld figures.” Marie, meanwhile, married Palmer Pyle, a guard with the Colts, Vikings and Raiders. (His brother Mike played nine seasons at center for the Bears and won a championship alongside Mike Ditka.) Palmer and Marie divorced, and she wed Ernest Kumerow, a former Chicago union boss, who adopted Eric and his sister, Cheryl, raising them both as his own. At Oak Park–River Forest High, Eric was a three-sport star, a 6' 6" 228-pound mauler whose grandfather often watched him play, inconspicuously, from the bleachers.

During pre-draft interviews after Eric’s junior year in Columbus, NFL teams asked about Accardo, concerned that he might influence games. (According to the Tribune, William Roemer, a former senior agent on the FBI’s Organized Crime Squad in Chicago, told teams Accardo would never put his grandson in that position.) After Eric ended up a Dolphin, a Miami Herald reporter told him that Joey Batters had been named No. 2 on Fortune magazine’s ranking of American gangsters, to which Kumerow replied, “To me, he’s just my grandfather, and I love him. He’s a great man, a caring man. I remember him coming to ball games and being with us. I never had an opinion when I would see articles in the paper. I don’t believe them. Half of what you read in the paper isn’t true.”

Eric was a pallbearer in 1992 when Accardo died at age 86, an event that occasioned a front-page obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times. In the ultimate testament to Accardo’s savvy, he died of natural causes. “If you’re a mobster and you don’t die with your shoes on, you must have been doing something right,” says Lindberg. “Just consider his span. He was in power for six decades. Capone was in power for six years.”

Joey Bosa was born three years after Accardo died; Nick, two years after that. Both tend to smile when their great-grandfather’s name comes up, but neither is inclined to talk about him. (Both Eric and Cheryl Kumerow declined to comment for this story.)

Today, the Chicago Outfit is essentially defunct, organized crime in the city having been replaced by street gangs. Inasmuch as the Outfit exists at all, there are believed to be fewer than 30 members remaining. Tony Accardo is a figure frozen in lore, a star in a game that, at least locally, is no longer played. Still, you suspect he’d be pleased that, in a more public and permissible line of work, his family has risen to the top.

Thanks to Jon Wertheim.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Book Signing for Ghost: Secrets of an FBI Undercover Agent at @TheMobMuseum

INSIDE JOBS: SECRETS OF AN FBI UNDERCOVER AGENT

Date: May 9, 2019
Time: 7 p.m. in the Historic Courtroom
Cost: Free for Members or with Museum Admission

FBI Special Agent Michael R. McGowan (Retired) is the co – author, along with New York Times bestseller author Ralph Pezzullo, of the fascinating memoir tilted Ghost – My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent, recapping his more than 30 years of dedicated service within the FBI, the majority of which was spent working undercover against some of the most dangerous, sophisticated, and notorious criminal organizations and individuals throughout the world, having participated in excess of 50 FBI Undercover Operations. Ghost was released nationally on October 2, 2018, and was ranked #1 New Release on Amazon under Law Enforcement Biographies. In addition, the book’s film rights have now been optioned to Sylvester Stallone’s new production company, Balboa Productions, for development as a feature film.

For over 30 years, Special Agent McGowan successfully infiltrated the Italian LCN (La Cosa Nostra/”The Mob”) and Russian Organized Crime groups, Mexican drug cartels, Outlaw motorcycle gangs, contract murderers, and corrupt politicians, all resulting in significant arrests, seizures, and lengthy incarcerations. He has been recognized at the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice for his FBI UCO assignments, both domestically and internationally.

In the FBI’s-109 year history, Special Agent McGowan is the only FBI Agent with the following unique experiences: Successfully infiltrating three separate Mafia families – the Merlino/Luisi Philadelphia/Boston Family (1998-99); the Rhode Island faction of the Patriarca Family (2000-2005); and the Boston faction of the New England LCN (2008), resulting in the indictment and incarceration of one Boss, one UnderBoss, two capos, a national Union President, union officials, and dozens of LCN associates and soldiers. No other FBI Agent has infiltrated more than one LCN Family. Successfully infiltrating the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel and indicting the notorious head of the world’s most powerful Drug cartel organization and the most wanted fugitive in the world, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, and his Executive Management board – the only successful US law enforcement undercover penetration of the Sinaloa Cartel. Seized more than $15 million dollars of Cartel drugs without the expenditure of any FBI drug buy funds (2009-2012).

Successfully infiltrating two Pakistani heroin trafficking organizations on separate occasions resulting in the indictment and incarceration of a top five international drug baron and the seizure of over 100 kilograms of almost pure heroin, valued at $400 million dollars, again without the expenditure of any FBI drug buy funds. The combined seizures are ranked as two of the top, if not top, heroin seizures ever within the United States (1992-1994) and (1995-1996).

Falsely accused and investigated by the FBI of stealing $180 million dollars of drugs from a secured FBI evidence vault. Was interrogated with Miranda Warnings more than 20 times, had major case fingerprints taken in front of co-workers, and had his reputation and integrity temporarily destroyed by the false allegation. Later assisted in identifying the correct suspect. (1994).

In addition to the above FBI undercover assignments, Special Agent McGowan was also intimately involved in the 2001 “PENTBOM” 9/11 Boston investigation, and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings investigation. Special Agent McGowan also served as an FBI SWAT Team member for more than 10 years, and prior to joining the FBI, served as a Police Detective/Police Officer for several years, and received commendations for his arrests on homicide, sexual assault, armed robbery, and other violent felony offenses.

In his post-FBI career after retiring in 2017, Special Agent McGowan continues to provide training and mentoring to new law enforcement undercover agents, and now also provides consultant and technical advising services to the entertainment industry. Special Agent McGowan recently served as the law enforcement consultant/technical advisor on the set of Equalizer 2, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal. He is currently at work consulting and advising on other Fuqua Films development projects.

He is also at work on his second novel, Wrong Move , a James Michael Devonshane FBI fictional thriller series led by an unconventional, less-than-perfect but relentless FBI Agent battling not only the bad guys in the street but the internal and risk-averse forces within FBI management sitting inside safely behind their pristine desks. Special Agent McGowan lives in New England with his family and now fifth child, a 5-year-old badly behaved English Crème Golden Retriever.


Crime Family Index