The Chicago Syndicate: Jury Hears of Payoffs to the Mob
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Monday, January 01, 1990

Jury Hears of Payoffs to the Mob

For 14 years, until he disappeared in 1988 and was feared slain, the owner of an Old Town pornographic video store allegedly paid thousands of dollars in protection money, or ``street taxes,`` to the Chicago mob. On Tuesday, William ``Red`` Wemette, reappeared in public for the first time. From a witness stand in U.S. District Court, he recounted how he gave the money and dealt with six mob money collectors or their bosses. Four of them are dead or in prison. The other two, reputed mob figures Frank Schweihs, 59, formerly of Lombard, and Anthony Daddino, 60, a Rosemont building inspector, are on trial before Judge Ann Williams on charges of attempted extortion. The conspiracy in which they are charged does not include actual extortion, despite Wemette`s contention that he paid Schweihs and Daddino a total of $19,800. That`s because the 40-year-old Wemette was a paid informant for the FBI, and the money he paid was not his but that of the FBI.

A jury hearing the case was told in opening statements Tuesday that beginning in the 1970s, Wemette led two seemingly contradictory lives-one as a merchant of pornography, the other as a government mole. During the two years ending last September, when he dropped from sight by plan, Wemette recorded the alleged Schweihs-Daddino payoffs with FBI cameras and audio equipment hidden in his apartment above his X-rated video shop at 1345 N. Wells St.

``Since 1971, I provided information to the FBI and got some monetary gain, about $10,000,`` Wemette acknowledged under questioning by special attorney Thomas Knight of the Justice Department`s Organized Crime Strike Force. Knight told the jury that the evidence includes video and audio recordings made on 23 dates from May 1, 1987, until Sept. 15, 1988. Wemette testified that he began making extortion payoffs to various mobsters in 1974, when he opened his Old Town porn shop, then known as ``The Peeping Tom, and that the initial payoff sum of $250 a week was set by mob street boss Joseph Lombardo, now in prison. Others who figured in the shakedowns, he said, included Marshall Caifano, also now in prison, and two now-dead individuals, Louis Eboli and Albert ``Obbie`` Frabotta. He said Daddino and Schweihs increased the sum to ``a nice round`` figure of $1,100 a month in 1985. The increase, he explained, came after he complained to Schweihs that another collector wanted to start taxing the video porn dealer on a hot dog stand he also owned in Old Town. That collector never bothered him again, Wemette said.

He said Daddino, whom he knew as ``Jeeps,`` once sought his help to bribe police officers, saying that too many bookmakers whom Daddino collected protection money from were being arrested. Defense attorneys Allan Ackerman and John L. Sullivan contend that Wemette suffered no economic loss because of the use of FBI funds and that the FBI recordings show nothing but friendship between the three men.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Affliction Sale

Flash Mafia Book Sales!