Defense lawyers began cross-examining a key government witness in the federal racketeering case against Chicago Outfit boss Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno.
In New York and in the movies, the code of silence is called "omerta." In the Chicago Outfit, wiseguys play by their own rules, and they don't have a fancy Italian nickname for keeping quiet. They're just supposed to do it.
For suburban mob boss Mike Sarno, the top defendant in the current Outfit prosecution, it is clear that the code of silence is sometimes tough to enforce.
When the I-Team showed up at Sarno's Westchester home a few years ago, he had no problem clamming up in front of the camera. But about that same time, the FBI was listening in on Sarno's phone calls, as agents investigated the mob bombing of a Berwyn video poker company and links between the Outfit and the Outlaws biker gang.
In one secretly recorded phone call with a longtime family friend, Sarno could almost be heard cringing.
KANTOWSKI : Mike, how are you doing?
SARNO: How you doin', buddy?
KANTOWSKI: Good, I'm sitting here with, ah, Frank Caruso, um,
Dominick Montagna and Frank Depollo.
SARNO: Oooh, oh you, oh boy.
KANTOWSKI: Trying to work this out.
KANTOWSKI: Uh oh, I'm in trouble.
SARNO: Talk to you later.
Caruso, a South Side Outfit boss, and the other names were unwelcome subjects of that phone call between Mike Sarno and his friend David Kantowski, who says he was a 25-year friend of Sarno's. An hour later, they talked again.
SARNO: Ok, well, listen, I, I, I just got to, I want to tell you something. I appreciate everything you are doing for me, buddy, but please stop with the names on my phone. Please.
SARNO: I know I'm paranoid, but I got good reason to be.
KANTOWSKI: I wasn't even thinking, Mike I, I apologize, I wasn't even thinking about that, God d------t.
SARNO: Well, listen ...
KANTOWSKI: Sorry buddy.
SARNO: I'll do the thinking for us with that stuff because, ah ... Believe me, it's a shame we got to be like that, but we do.
Kantowski is a Chicago real estate agent and is related to two of the defendants in the case, Sam and Anthony Volpendesto.
Mr. Kantowski told the I-Team late Thursday that he may be called as a rebuttal witness during the trial.
All day Thursday, prime government witness Kyle Knight was on the stand. He provided the bomb components for that Berwyn attack.
Thanks to Chuck Goudie
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