It's a Chicago mob mystery that's still unsolved: Reputed Outfit boss Anthony "Little Tony" Zizzo -- an aging, longtime survivor of mob intrigue and betrayal -- drove away from his Westmont home on Aug. 31, 2006, never to be seen again.
His abandoned Jeep turned up at a Melrose Park restaurant, and speculation ran rampant.
Was Zizzo, 71, cooperating with the feds?
Was he trunk music?
Now, new information in a court record obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times sheds new light on the circumstances leading up to Zizzo's disappearance.
Investigators think Zizzo was murdered. New information suggests he was clashing with another top mobster just before his disappearance, according to the court filing.
Zizzo was feuding with reputed Cicero street crew boss Michael "Big Mike" Sarno, 52, and "that came to a crescendo just before Zizzo was last seen," according to a confidential federal informant described in the court document as an upper-echelon member of the Outfit who has been providing information to the government for more than 25 years. The informant is not identified.
Sarno is charged with ordering the bombing of a Berwyn company in 2003 that was competing with an Outfit-sanctioned video poker business. Federal prosecutors T. Markus Funk and Amarjeet Bhachu have alleged that Sarno used his ties to a motorcycle gang leader to carry out the pipe-bombing.
Sarno has not been accused of any wrongdoing in connection with Zizzo, and Sarno's attorney, Michael P. Gillespie, rejected Friday any suggestion that Sarno had anything to do with Zizzo's fate. "That's absolutely ridiculous," Gillespie said. The attorney also said that claims that Sarno is a mob leader are "just not true."
The dispute between Sarno and Zizzo is not specified in the court document, which quotes an FBI affidavit filed in the case.
Both men, though, have allegedly been involved in a highly profitable mob business that has resulted in violence before.
Zizzo, at one point, oversaw video gambling for the mob. He was the boss of Anthony "The Hatch" Chiaramonti, who was gunned down outside a Brown's Chicken and Pasta in suburban Lyons in 2001 in a dispute over video poker territory.
Sarno is also allegedly involved in the video poker business, along with illegal bookmaking and juice money collection, and is known for his fearsome reputation on the street.
Both Sarno and Zizzo were among the reputed mobsters listed as threats to the physical safety of Nicholas Calabrese, a mob killer turned star federal witness in the historic Family Secrets case against mob leaders.
Sarno, now under house arrest, recently made headlines when he was allowed to attend a family Christmas-time dinner last year at the swanky Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in downtown Chicago.
Thanks to Steve Warmbir
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