The Chicago Syndicate: The Shark Pays His Respects to Mitch Mars
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Shark Pays His Respects to Mitch Mars

2 weeks ago yesterday, I attended Mitch Mars' wake. It was a tragic event for the legal community. Mitch was a great guy. One time we played golf at an outing and I was the only one in the foursome who was not in law enforcement. We made jokes all day about the various sponsors of the golf holes. I proposed that "The Outfit" sponsor the hole-in-one and we all laughed. I was given beer coolers with federal law enforcement logos and I a passed them out to the boys for their boats on Lake Geneva. We had fun using those coolers on hot days and busting about Mitch and his band of untouchables.

Mitch was a great adversary who never went after the lawyers, only their clients. I have been under surveillance for years meeting with guys at restaurant's etc.... Mitch never cared because he knew it was part of the business and he knew that my clients would never tell me anything that could hurt them because that is how they are. Mitch loved rock music including Chicago favorites - Smashing Pumpkins. We talked about music and concerts all the time. I was sad to see Mitch go because he had been in the office when I started practicing law in 1984. I met him during the Pedote, Bambulas and Switek trial. It was 1985 and it was my first federal criminal trial. It was a planned robbery of over 1 million in gold that was thwarted because a informant was recruited to drive the getaway van. The robbery was going to be at the Maller's building in Chicago also known as the jewelers building. Anyway, Mitch came to see the trial and I did meet him. (Ed Pedote pleaded guilty to federal robbery, weapons and drug charges and sentenced to 5 years probation. Mike Swiatek and Daniel Bambulas were sent to prison on that case.)

Over the years we came to know each other. Like me he was a Chicago boy born into the concrete jungle, not a suburban boy. Mitch and I loved hot dogs and hot dog stands. We talked about Chicago hot dogs all the time. Mitch loved the small hot dog stands with the soggy buns and rolled tamales.

I have to say he will be missed, but not by my clients. This is a funny business because the lawyers can be friendly, but in the court room they can be ruthless to each other. The clients may not understand the relationship lawyers have with one another and that is understandable. We, as lawyers, do not take it personal, but some clients do. The prosecutor's job is to lock up criminals and my job is to keep them out. Mitch locked up a lot of guys over the years. Some hate him, while others despise him, yet some say he was fair. Good bye Mitch, we will all miss you!

- Joe "The Shark" Lopez


  1. ed pedote was not guilty.he took the rap for someone else.where were the cops when pedote was gunned down after being brutily beatten.ed is greatly missed.i knew him well......very well

    1. He was a great man! And always will be in my eyes,he changed my life!

  2. eddie pedote was one of the good guys



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