The Chicago Syndicate: Tough Time Getting Medical Help in Federal Lockup for "The Clown"

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tough Time Getting Medical Help in Federal Lockup for "The Clown"

Friends of ours: Joey "The Clown" Lombardo

It wasn't cardiac clowning for Joe Lombardo. According to Lombardo's lawyer, a couple of weeks ago, the clown tried to get some medical attention. He has heart problems and thought he was having a heart attack and said he wanted to be taken to the hospital--stat. But it apparently took some convincing by Lombardo and his lawyer before he was actually taken to the hospital.

Joey Lombardo is known for his clowning around, like hiding behind a newspaper mask while walking through the courthouse or leading fellow mobsters up a construction ladder to evade news crews. But when Lombardo, sometimes also nicknamed "Lumpy," clutched his breastbone in a cell at the Metro Correctional Center, it was no sight gag.

Lombardo's lawyer Rick Halprin tells the I-Team that Lombardo himself couldn't convince MCC officials he was having a heart attack. Halprin says he had to appeal to the MCC's lawyer to get Lombardo taken seriously and treated.

The ailing hoodlum was brought to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was diagnosed as having had a minor heart attack. Lombardo was put into an operating room where he underwent surgery, according to his lawyer, to have a stent installed. A stent is a small metal tube inserted permanently into an artery, propping it open so that blood can flow through. It was Lombardo's fourth stent procedure.

Friday night, the hoodlum is on the mend back in his MCC jail cell and may be saying "I told you so."

While Joey Lombardo was a federal fugitive two years ago, he sent a prophetic letter to a federal judge explaining why his previous jail sentences prevented him from surrendering. It said: "Medical care in prison is a farce. I went 3 times with chest pain and 3 cardiograms they said I had a enlarged heart take 1 aspirin a day. 1 month later I was released had chest pain went to the hospital took a angiogram and found I had artery 98% blocked. Had angioplasty the same day. Since my release 1993 I've had 2 or 3 angioplasty and 3 stents put in."

Lombardo turns 78 years old on New Years Day. His federal murder racketeering trial isn't scheduled to begin until the spring, and with his latest cardiac crisis, expect the clown's health to be a recurring courtroom issue.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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