Reputed mob lieutenant Rudy Fratto was arrested this morning after being charged with using inside information to rig a bid and win a forklift contract at McCormick Place.
Fratto, 66, was charged along with William Anthony Degironemo, 66, of Inverness, who runs MidStates Equipment Rentals and Sale.
Fratto was taken into custody at about 7:45 a.m. He joked with the Chicago Tribune's John Kass that it was "not too early" and that he was able to have his coffee.
Wearing jeans and a black jacket, he entered a plea of not guilty.
Prosecutors say Fratto and Degironemo were able to squeeze information from a worker at Greyhound Exposition Services (GES) of Las Vegas to win a forklift contract in 2006. The contract covered two shows at McCormick Place.
The worker owed a debt to members of the Cleveland organized crime family and a Chicago lawyer, and Fratto promised to use his "standing and association with the Chicago Outfit" to help him, prosecutors allege. Fratto told the worker he would help with the worker's "debt to Cleveland," authorities said. Fratto, Degironemo and the witness were to split the profits equally, they said.
Using the information, Fratto and Degionemo submitted the lowest bid and landed the contract, according to an indictment handed down Thursday.
Degironemo also had the Chicago lawyer arrange for four people to write reference letters on behalf of MidStates, according to the charges. And Deironemo provided GES with materials claiming his company was a leader in the forklift industry when the company wasn't actively involved in such work, authorities said.
The new charges against Fratto -- a reputed lieutenant in the Elmwood Park street crew of the Chicago Outfit -- comes more than a month after he was sentenced for tax evasion.
Fratto had admitted he failed to report nearly $200,000 in income in 2005. Federal authorities had said Fratto brought in income for several years by directing payments to him to come through a defunct company he ran.
In 2005, an FBI agent said Fratto was one of five high-ranking organized crime figures who met with Rosemont Mayor Donald Stephens to discuss what control the mob would have over contracts at a casino Stephens wanted to build in the town.
Sitting with Stephens at Armand's restaurant in Elmwood Park were Fratto, reputed mob leader Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, John "No Nose" DiFronzo, his brother Peter, and Joe "The Builder" Andriacchi, according to John Mallul, head of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago.
Mallul said agents learned of the May 29, 1999, meeting just days after it occurred from a longtime FBI informant who also was there. Stephens denied he had met with the men.
In January, Fratto was asked by a Tribune reporter about his alleged status in the Outfit. He said he was a "reputed good guy" and said he had no prior criminal history.
After the new charges were announced in court today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez ordered Fratto released on $200,000 bond and on home confinement. He is to report to custody April 27 to begin serving time in the tax case.
A lawyer for Fratto, Donald Angelini, asked Valdez to allow Fratto to attend his son's high school hockey games, and the judge agreed.
Thanks to Jeff Coen
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