Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese Sr., Nicholas Calabrese, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Michael "Hambone" Albergo, Ronald Jarrett
Friends of mine: Michael Tadin, Michael "Mickey" Gurgone
When Frank Calabrese Sr. told his brother, Nicholas, that they were going to have to find a place to dig a hole to put a body in, Nicholas Calabrese believed his brother was joking.
When they found the spot, a factory that was being built a few blocks away from White Sox park, with no workers around over the weekend, Nicholas Calabrese figured it was only a test.
"We left and went and got a shovel and one or two bags of lime," Nicholas Calabrese told jurors this afternoon in the Family Secrets mob trial as he described the first of several mob murders he allegedly committed with his brother.
Nicholas Calabrese is the star witness of the trial. He has already pleaded guilty in the case and admitted to killing at least 14 people. He is testifying against his brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., a reputed mob hitman, as well as alleged Chicago mob bosses James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, and two other men in the Family Secrets case.
Nicholas Calabrese described to the jury his first Outfit murder with his brother, which was in August 1970. Nicholas Calabrese figured the hole digging was "a test to see if I had the courage to do something like this, the nerve."
Nicholas Calabrese didn't even know the name of the man to be killed, only that he could testify against his brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., and cause him problems. Nicholas Calabrese had not a clue that the victim was Michael "Hambone" Albergo, a juice loan collector for Calabrese Sr.
Calabrese Sr.'s close friend, the late Ronald Jarrett, knew Albergo and lured him into a four-door Chevy that Jarrett had stolen to be used in the murder. Then Jarrett picked up the Calabrese brothers, who sat in back, while Albergo sat in front.
It was a Sunday, and Jarrett drove out to the factory construction site. Jarrett grabbed one of the victim's arms. Nicholas Calabrese grabbed the other.
"My brother put a rope around his neck and started strangling him," Nicholas Calabrese said, pausing at times during his testimony to collect himself. "Did he kill him?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars asked. "Yes," Nicholas Calabrese said.
Later, Frank Calabrese Sr. allegedly cut the dead man's throat just to make sure he was dead, Nicholas Calabrese testified.
After removing the dead man's pants, the victim was thrown in the hole at the construction site. The brothers threw in two bags of lime and started filling the hole. "At this point, I wet my pants I was so scared," Nicholas Calabrese said.
Later on, Frank Calabrese Sr., who was fond of talking in code, told his brother to never mention the murder by name. Always refer to the slaying as "It," Frank Calabrese Sr. allegedly said. "'It' could be anything," Nicholas Calabrese explained.
Earlier on in the trial, Nicholas Calabrese testified that in the 1980s he and his brother took part in bombing Marina Trucking -- owned by Michael Tadin, a longtime supporter of Mayor Daley -- the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace and a well-known mobster hangout, Horwath's Restaurant in Elmwood Park.
Nicholas Calabrese said he took part in the bombing of Marina Trucking and another trucking company on the South Side in the early to mid 1980s. He bombed the Drury Lane Theatre before it was opened and was with a group of men who planned the bombing of two restaurants, including Horwath's.
Calabrese testified he wasn't told why he was doing the bombings. But he told jurors how the Outfit would use bombings to intimidate and extort business people.
Tadin had no comment when reached this afternoon. Marina Trucking has previously employed men associated with organized crime, including the late Ronald Jarrett, whose name has come up frequently during the Family Secrets trial as an Outfit killer and juice loan collector, and Michael "Mickey" Gurgone, a former Streets and Sanitation worker and convicted burglar. Both men are also from the Bridgeport neighborhood where Marina is based.
Nicholas Calabrese also described to jurors how his brother, Frank Sr., once lost track of $400,000 to $500,000 of his own money in the 1980s. Frank Calabrese Sr. had about $1.6 million in cash in several safety deposit boxes in banks throughout the Chicago area but forgot about one of them, Nicholas Calabrese testified. Frank Calabrese Sr. once had a late-night meeting with Nicholas Calabrese where Frank Calabrese Sr. told him, "There's a lot of money missing."
"I says, 'What's that got to do with me?'" Nicholas Calabrese testified. Nicholas Calabrese reminded his brother that Frank Sr. had two safety deposit boxes at one of the banks.
Thanks to Steve Warmbir
Best of the Month!
- Chicago Mob Infamous Locations Map
- The Chicago Syndicate AKA "The Outfit"
- One Family's Rise, A Century of Power
- Mafia Links of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
- THE OUTFIT'S GREATEST HITS
- Top Ten Signs a Mafia Boss is Nuts
- Profile: Harry Aleman
- Firm with reputed mob ties flourishes
- Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics by Chris Christie
- Top Ten Ways The Mafia Can Improve Its Image