One of Chicago's oldest, most powerful mob figures has passed away.
ABC-7's I-Team has learned that Alphonse Tornabene died on Sunday. ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie was the last reporter ever to question Tornabene.
In mob ranks Tornabene was known as "Pizza Al" because of the west suburban pizzeria that he'd owned for decades. But federal authorities say Al Tornabene was also into another kind of dough as an overseer of the crime syndicate's books.
By the time he died on Sunday at age 86, Pizza Al had risen to the upper crust of the Chicago Outfit.
When the I-Team first met the outfit octogenarian in 2007, he was a relative unknown to the public and even to federal agents. Authorities had been surprised to learn of Tornabene's high-ranking position in the mob hierarchy.
Former hitman and federal informant Nick Calabrese had told U.S. investigators that Tornabene was one of two men who administered the initiation rites of Outfit.
The so-called making ceremony was just like Hollywood showed it, complete with bloodmixing and burning holy cards, according to Calabrese, with Tornabene co-officiating the proceedings with Joey "Doves" Aiuppa, the late mob boss.
Such an assignment would have made Tornabene one of the mob's top men.
His house in Summit and a summer outpost in William's Bay, Wisconsin, were both modest by top hoodlum standards.
The pizzeria that Tornabene founded is open for business on Monday but a sign announces the sad news that "due to a death in the family" they will be closed Wednesday for the funeral.
Mobwatchers say Tornabene's true legacy is in another family, one that the ailing pizzaman laughed off in his final interview.
GOUDIE: "The Crime Commission is saying that you run the mob?"
TORNABENE: (laughs) "I can't even move..."
He managed to get around for almost two more years after we met him that day.
The wake for Al Tornabene will be Wednesday and his funeral will be Thursday morning.
With Tornabene gone and wisecracking mobster Joey "the Clown" Lombardo in prison for life, that leaves the reigns of the Chicago Outfit in the hands of just one man, according to federal agents: John "No Nose" DiFronzo.
Thanks to Chuck Goudie
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