It’s called Omerta – the code of silence. It’s an old world Mob term that still applies here in modern-day Chicago. And when we started asking about two companies tied to the Mob, we saw it in action.
“Will you get the hell out of here?” one woman yelled when we asked. “Jesus Christ!”
“We just want to know who runs the business,” FOX Chicago investigator Dane Placko replied.
“None of your damned business!”
“D & P Construction” and “JKS Ventures” in Melrose Park are family-run businesses. The family is headed by John DiFronzo, the 81-year-old reputed boss of bosses of the Chicago Outfit.
Former FBI agent Jim Wagner spent his career busting the mob. Now, the head of the Chicago Crime Commission says the businesses are being run by convicted felons. When Dane Placko showed Wagner our video of the business owner, Wagner said he looked like the John DiFronzo he remembered: “He’s actually remained in very good shape for a man his age.”
Back in the day, John DiFronzo earned his nickname “No Nose” when a shard of glass clipped his nose during a gun battle with police. In the historic “Family Secrets” mob trial, a government turncoat testified that DiFronzo took part in the murders of mobsters Michael and Anthony Spilotro, who were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield. He was named in open court, but DiFronzo has never been charged with the crime.
FOX Chicago investigator Dane Placko spent several days over the summer watching John DiFronzo going in and out of D & P Construction – sometimes spending hours inside. When we finally talked to him, he appeared to be right at home.
"What do you do for D & P Construction and JKS?" Placko asked.
"Me? Nothing. Nothing," DiFronzo replied.
"Well we see you here quite often,” Placko continued.
"It's just my brother. It's my brother."
"Peter?" Placko asked.
"Yes, that's my family,” said DiFronzo.
"Who owns D & P?"
"His wife I think."
Josephine DiFronzo signs her name as the owner of the business. When Placko asked whether Mrs. DiFranzo was in, people at the business did not seem happy.
"Go away. Don't worry about who's here,” said one woman.
"They're not here. Go away," said a man.
Ultimately, FOX Chicago News never saw Josephine Spilotro at the company’s headquarters on the Northwest side. She stayed at their multi-million dollar home in Barrington, while her husband Peter went to work.
Peter DiFronzo also is reputedly a made member of the Chicago Outfit. And we saw Joseph DiFronzo, the youngest brother, who just got out of federal prison after he was caught running a massive indoor marijuana farm. When he arrived at D & P headquarters driving his brother’s car, we approached him to ask some questions.
That’s when a woman on the property told DiFronzo to leave the property rather than talk to us. “Go, go, go,” she yelled at him through the closed windows of DiFronzo’s Chrysler 300.
No one wants to talk about it, but the DiFronzo family clearly has a keen sense of business. Trucks hauling gravel, Dumpsters and fancy Cadillacs pass through the gates all day long. And millions of your tax dollars help keep it going.
"A basic rule of government and politics in the United States of America is you do business with reputable companies,” says Andy Shaw of Chicago’s Better Government Association. “You don't do business with gangsters, you don't do business with mobsters. You don't do business with people with a long record of felony convictions. You don't do that.”
Well, it turns out they do that in Bellwood, Stone Park, Norridge, Harwood Heights, Schiller Park and River Grove.
Suburbs and government agencies which have made payments to D&P Construction and JKSS Ventures since 2001 from the Freedom Of Information Act:
Stone Park: $61,052
Schiller Park: $79,670
Franklin Park: $1,586,722
Elmwood Park: $787,462
Leyden Township: $59,218
River Grove: $384,416
Cook Co. Forest Preserve: $32,212
Melrose Park: $1,088,041
Stone Park: 61,021
Harwood Heights: $300
Oak Park: $7,497
Thanks to Dane Placko
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