The Chicago Syndicate: Sale of James Marcelle's Reputed Ranch Could Get Expensive for Former Owners
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sale of James Marcelle's Reputed Ranch Could Get Expensive for Former Owners

Being married to the mob can get expensive. For one senior citizen couple, William and Ann Galioto, it could wind up costing them $473,485.62. Plus interest.

The potentially big bill marks the end of a fascinating tale involving a horse ranch in Big Rock, just west of Aurora, a chatty mistress, and the head of the Chicago mob.

It begins as many sad stories do, as a love story — or at least as a story of mutual attraction in the flattering lighting of a Cicero strip club more than 25 years ago. That 's where a young woman, tending bar, met an up-and-coming Chicago mobster named James “Little Jimmy” Marcello. Marcello fell hard for the bartender, so hard he began a relationship with her lasting for decades.

In 1986, Marcello signed a contract to buy a ranch in Big Rock for him and his mistress. They used assumed names, Connie and James Donofrio, and even gave the property a cute name — the C&J Ranch, records show.

Marcello paid his mistress thousands of dollars a month for living expenses. He figured she would never rat on him, even though Marcello learned early on that his mistress had once been a snitch for the federal government. Little Jimmy was wrong.

Just how wrong he would learn in 2007, as he sat in a federal courtroom in Chicago, as a defendant in the historic Family Secrets mob trial, watching his former mistress testify against him.

By then, Marcello ran organized crime in Chicago. His conviction in the Family Secrets case would send him to prison for life. Marcello helped murder several people for the Chicago mob, including setting up Anthony and Michael Spilotro. In 1986, Marcello drove the brothers to the Bensenville area home where they thought they were receiving promotions within the mob. Instead, they were beaten to death.

As part of Marcello’s sentence, a federal judge ordered him to pay more than $4.4 million in restitution. The court order would create complications for the Galiotos.

Ann Galioto is James Marcello’s sister and an entrepreneur in her own right. She is listed as the president of a company that ran a strip joint, Allstars Gentlemen’s Club, for years in west suburban Northlake, before the club burned down in 2010. At the time, the fire attracted the attention of federal investigators, as did the financially creative way some of the club’s strippers were allegedly being paid, according to a law enforcement source.

Ann’s husband, William, is a former Chicago cop, who made headlines in 1995 when Mayor Daley killed a multimillion-dollar low-interest city loan to him and his partners to build a movie studio on the West Side, over concerns about Galioto’s past.

More recently, William Galioto had his name on another real estate deal — Marcello’s horse ranch in Big Rock, the feds say.

While the feds allege Marcello bought the property, it was put in William Galioto’s name. At one point, while Marcello was in prison, he was secretly taped by the feds discussing whether the property should be transferred out of his brother-in-law’s name to one of Marcello’s flunkies. Marcello was worried he couldn’t trust the Galiotos, according to the feds.

That never happened, and in 2008, after Marcello was convicted in the Family Secrets case, Galioto sold the ranch for about $500,000. The feds contend that William Galioto was merely acting as a front for his brother-in-law, Little Jimmy. Prosecutors call William Galioto nothing more than Marcello’s “alter ego” in the ranch sale. The feds want those sale proceeds, however they can get it.

A federal judge will decide if the Galiotos will be on the hook for the money. An attorney for the Galiotos declined to comment Monday.

So for now, the federal tab goes to the couple — $473,485.62. Plus interest.

Thanks to CST.

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