Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kenneth Conley, Bank Robber Who Escaped the Federal Prison in Chicago Still At Large, #WeHaveAFugitive

The FBI is still searching for Kenneth Conley, 38, Kenneth Conley, Bank Robber Who Escaped the Federal Prison in Chicagoone of two convicted bank robbers who escaped last week from a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago by lowering themselves on a makeshift rope nearly 20 stories to the street.

Conley and his cellmate, Joseph Jose Banks, 37, escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center early on the morning of December 18. The pair apparently broke a window in the cell they shared, squeezed through the opening and lowered themselves to the street.

They then hailed a cab to make their getaway.

Banks was captured two days later, but Conley remains at large.

"There is no information or recent sightings," said FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde. "Given the amount of time that has passed given Mr. Conley's history of traveling, we believe he has left the area."

The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for Conley's capture. He is described as white, 6 feet tall and 185 pounds.

The two convicts, who had been awaiting sentencing in the federal detention facility, made their rope from bed sheets and dental floss, according to local media reports.

Conley pleaded guilty to bank robbery in October. He is considered armed and dangerous, the FBI said.

Escape carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mario Puzo's Family Settles Lawsuit with Paramount Over New Godfather Book

The studio that made "The Godfather" movies has settled a lawsuit with the estate of author Mario Puzo, who created the Mafia family saga. Paramount Pictures Corp sued in February in an attempt to block a new book in the "Godfather" series, which it said was being published without its permission and in violation of copyright agreements.

Notice of the settlement was filed in the U.S. District Court in New York, but terms were not disclosed as the "parties have agreed that the terms of the settlement are confidential," said Richard Kendall, a lawyer for Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc.

"We're very pleased with the settlement," said Bertram Fields, a lawyer for the Puzo estate.

Puzo, who died in 1999, was the author of the 1969 bestseller "The Godfather" and other novels on the same theme.

Paramount sued Puzo's estate in February, saying it had approved sequels without the movie studio's permission and in violation of its copyrights. The family had received Paramount's permission for the publication of only one sequel, "The Godfather Returns," by Mark Winegardner, in 2004.

The Puzo family moved ahead with a second sequel, "The Godfather's Revenge," by Winegardner in 2006, without Paramount's permission, the lawsuit said.

A third book, a prequel called "The Family Corleone" by Ed Falco, was released by Grand Central Publishing in May. An interim settlement agreement provided that funds earned from the book would go into escrow, according to a September court decision.

In the lawsuit, Paramount also claimed its agreements with Pu zo a utomatically gave it motion picture rights to "The Family Corleone" and any other sequels.

The estate filed a counterclaim in March seeking $10 million and accusing the studio of breaching a 1969 agreement with Puzo. It also asked the court to cancel Paramount's rights to the original "The Godfather" book.

In September, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan denied a motion by Paramount to dismiss the estate's counterclaim, but dismissed the attempt to cancel the book rights.

The case is Paramount Pictures Corporation v. Anthony Puzo, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-1268.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Federal Racketeering, Drug, Prostitution, and Fraud Charges Filed Against Limo Company Owner and Employees

Federal authorities this morning arrested nine persons, including the owner and eight employees or associates of a prominent limousine service in Las Vegas, following their indictment on federal racketeering charges related to the distribution of controlled substances, the facilitation of illegal prostitution, and the commission of credit card and bank fraud crimes, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

“Persons who use legitimate businesses to shield their criminal activities will get the attention of law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden. “In addition to promoting prostitution and selling drugs, these defendants are accused of defrauding customers, many of whom were undoubtedly tourists to Las Vegas. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with our federal and state law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute persons who participate in such criminal enterprises.”

“The arrests today disrupted a major racketeering enterprise that has negatively impacted the citizens, safety, and image of Las Vegas,” said Kevin Favreau, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI for Nevada. “The success of this long term investigation was due to the efforts of the Las Vegas Safe Streets Task Force, comprised of the FBI and LVMPD.”

Arrested were Charles Horky, 52, the primary owner of CLS Transportation; Kimberly Flores, 42, the manager of CLS; Archie Granata, 69, a financial advisor for CLS; Dawit Moszagi, 47, Clarence Adams, 38, James Reda, 38, Mikhail Maleev, 48, limousine drivers for CLS; and Solomon Zemedhun, 39, and Olive Toli, 48, associates of the enterprise who allegedly supplied and aided in the distribution of controlled substances. They are charged with conspiring to participate in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activities including wire fraud, access device fraud, bank fraud, distribution of controlled substances, and the use of facilities of interstate commerce to promote, facilitate, and distribute the proceeds of prostitution. They face sentences of up to life in prison and fines of up to twice the gross profits or proceeds from their criminal activity. A complete list of the defendants and the charges they face can be found at the end of this release.

According to the indictment that was returned by the grand jury on November 27, 2012 and unsealed this morning, CLS Transportation operates limousines in and around Las Vegas. Beginning no later than September 2008 and continuing through November 2012, the defendants are accused of using the limousine service to conduct and facilitate a broad range of criminal activities, including selling controlled substances, facilitating illegal prostitution, credit card fraud, bank fraud, and check-kiting. Horkey, the owner of CLS, allegedly encouraged and directed the criminal activity, and required drivers to pay him a cut of the money they were receiving from the criminal activities. In addition to the distribution of drugs and the facilitation of prostitution, CLS offered limousines for hire to its customers whom often paid for services with credit cards. The defendants allegedly devised and executed a scheme to defraud American Express and American Express card holders of more than $2.8 million through fraudulent and unauthorized charges. Many of the card holders disputed the charges, and American Express notified CLS of the fraudulent transactions and executed charge-backs. American Express eventually cancelled the CLS Transportation account. Horky and Granata allegedly perpetuated the fraudulent scheme by fraudulently opening successive additional American Express merchant accounts under false names, aliases and nominees. Horky, Flores, and Granata also devised a check-kiting scheme in which they drew checks on CLS Transportation’s payroll account knowing that the account did not contain sufficient funds. Horky, Flores, and Granata knowingly issued themselves and their associates thousands of checks on the account without sufficient funds to honor the checks. The indictment alleges that in 2010 alone, the conspirators issued and cashed more than 1,500 checks and obtained more than $2.4 million through the fraudulent check-kiting scheme.

A number of the defendants are expected to make their initial appearances before a federal magistrate judge at 3:00 p.m. today.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department through the Safe Streets Task Force. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy S. Vasquez.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defendant and Case Information
Case No: 02:12-CR-00440

  • Charles Horky, 52, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Kimberly Flores, 42, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Archie Granata, 69, Reno, Nevada
  • Dawit Moszagi, 47, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Solomon Zemedhun, 39, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Clarence Adams, 38, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • James Reda, 38, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Mikhail Maleev, 48, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Olive Toli, 48, Las Vegas, Nevada

All defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to conduct or participate in an enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity.

Horky, Flores, and Adams are also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to use a facility of interstate commerce (telephone and wire) to facilitate unlawful activity (prostitution). Granata is also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Reda is also charged with one count of conspiracy to use a facility of interstate commerce (telephone and wire) to facilitate unlawful activity (prostitution).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Frank Calabrese Sr Dies in Federal Prison

Authorities say Chicago mob hitman Frank Calabrese Sr. died this week in federal prison. He was 75.

According to NBC Chicago, Calabrese Sr., one of several reputed mobsters convicted in 2007 in a racketeering conspiracy that included murder, extortion and loansharking, died Tuesday at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.

A spokesman for the prison said while no cause of death has been determined as of yet, Calabrese suffered from several ailments, including heart disease. The former mobster’s body is expected to be delivered later Wednesday to the chief medical examiner’s office at the University of North Carolina where an autopsy can be performed.

Prior to his death, Calabrese was serving a life prison sentence for his involvement as a hit man with the Chicago Mafia.

Known as “the Outfit,” the most heinous of the Chicago mob’s crimes investigated were the 18 murders and one attempted murder that took place over the span between the years 1970 and 1986. Calabrese was blamed for 13 of the Chicago Outfit murders.

All of the murders and other crimes were allegedly committed to further the Outfit’s illegal activities such as loansharking, bookmaking and protecting the enterprise from law enforcement.

In addition to the jail-time, Calabrese was ordered to pay over $24 million, including millions in restitution to the families of murder victims.

Speaking on his father’s death, Frank Calabrese Jr. ­— who risked his life and secretly recorded Calabrese Sr. in prison as he bragged about mob murders — told Fox Chicago News he had “a lot of emotions” running through him.

“I believe he was taken on Christmas Day for a reason,” Calabrese Jr. said. “I hope he made peace. I hope he’s up above looking down on us.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Angela Wood's "Things Not Seen"

Rockford author Angela Wood is celebrating the nationwide release of her historical novel Things Not Seen.

The novel takes readers to 1939 as Elisabeth Muldern’s dream of teaching needy children is about to come true. She has settled in the poorest section of Chicago to do exactly that.

Kenneth Derrin finally finishes medical school, but before he can begin a country practice, his father, owner of Derrin Steel Consolidated, dies, leaving Kenneth to run the vast enterprise.

With the world on the brink of another Great War, the Chicago mob sees a lucrative opportunity to seize the steel mill industry across the country. Believing Elisabeth to be a spy for the Feds and Kenneth an uncontrollable liability, the mob seeks to eliminate all threats to the Chicago plants.

In Things Not Seen, readers learn how Elisabeth’s and Kenneth’s lives become entwined for survival by Providence.

Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide.

As an English teacher for nearly 30 years, Wood has been encouraging her students to love the art and enjoyment of writing. As a professional pianist, she has broadened her outreach to others through public performance and private instrumental tutoring. She lives with her husband and children in Rockford.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Lesson Learned From The Election: Civility In Politics Needs To Be Restored

The Stevenson family has a unique place in American political history. The first Adlai E. Stevenson, Vice President of the U.S., collected stories, jokes and aphorisms in a loose-leaf binder throughout his long career. They were jotted on napkins, cards -- anything at hand. If it was worth keeping, it went in the binder which became known as “the black book.” His son, Lewis Stevenson, Illinois Secretary of State, contributed little, but his grandson Adlai II expanded the black book in his career as a lawyer, senior official in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, Governor of Illinois, Presidential candidate and Ambassador to the UN.

Adlai E. Stevenson III inherited the black book, including contributions from friends and supporters around the world, and augmented it from his career as a Marine, lawyer, State Representative, State Treasurer, United States Senator, candidate for governor, international investment banker and ever the hereditary global sojourner and public policy activist. The black book was continuously organized and reorganized as a ready source of wit and wisdom for their speeches.

While a lack of civility is a symptom of today’s money-driven politics of ideology, tactics, religiosity and ignorance, the author believes Americans today yearn for the politics and culture which created America and made it great.

In Adlai Stevenson III’s The Black Book, he records American politics, culture and history as these men knew it. Since few, if any, American families have been as actively involved in public office and politics for as long as the Stevensons – beginning in the 1840’s with great-great-grandfather Jesse Fell who sponsored  Abraham Lincoln for President -- it is a unique history covering finance and economics, law and justice, the media, politics, religion, education, war, and so much more. In order to see the future you must see the past, from The Black Book.

Adlai E. Stevenson III has lectured widely, authored numerous articles and is the recipient of many honors, including Japan’s Order of the Sacred Treasure with Gold and Silver Star, and is an Honorary Professor of Renmin University in Beijing. He is Chairman of the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy which aims to bring practitioners from the world together to address systemic challenges to democratic systems and also Chairman of SC&M Investment Management Corp., an international financial intermediary. A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, he maintains an office in Chicago and a home with his wife, Nancy, on a farm near Galena, Illinois.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dying Mafia Don Gives Advice to His Grandson

An old Italian Mafia Don is dying and he called his grandson to his bed and said, "Grandson I wanta you to listen to me. I wanta you to take mya 45 automatic pistol, so you will always remember me." Grandson replied, "But grandpa I really don't like guns, how about you leaving me your Rolex watch instead."

The old man replied: "You lisina to me, some day you goina run da bussiness, you goina have a beautiful wife, lotsa money, a biga home and maybe a couple of bambino, some day you goina come home and maybe finda you wife in bed with another man. Whata you gonna do then? Pointa to you watch and say, "Times Up"?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Federal Arrest Warrants & $50,000 Reward Issued for Joseph Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley, #WeHaveAFugitive

Federal arrest warrants were issued late today for two men who were charged with escaping this morning from the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in downtown Chicago. Joseph Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley were each charged with escape in a criminal complaint filed this afternoon in U.S. District Court. A widespread manhunt for both men continues under the coordination of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, together with numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

Banks, described as male/black, age 37, 5’8” tall, 160 pounds, and Conley, described as male/white, age 38, 6’0” tall, 185 pounds, were believed to be traveling together and were reportedly last seen this morning in the Tinley Park area. Both men are considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about them is encouraged to contact local law enforcement or the Chicago FBI Field Office at 312-421-6700.

According to the complaint affidavit, Banks and Conley were cellmates and were present during a physical head count at 10 p.m. last night. MCC employees arriving for work at approximately 7 a.m. today observed what appeared to be a rope hanging from a window on the south side of the building. A physical head count was conducted, and neither Banks nor Conley were present in their cell. The window in the cell was broken and had a makeshift rope tied to its bars.

The high-rise MCC in Chicago, located at 71 West van Buren St., is a federal detention facility operated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Escape carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statues and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Thomas R. Trautmann, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office. The U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Chicago Police Department are assisting in the investigation, along with other law enforcement agencies.

A complaint contains merely allegations and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Manhunt Continues for Escaped Bank Robbers from Chicago High-Rise Jail, #WeHaveAFugitive

Two bank robbers pulled off a daring escape from downtown Chicago's high-rise jail Tuesday by apparently scaling down about 20 stories using a makeshift rope tied to the bars in a cell window.

Police helicopters and canine units swarmed the area, but not until more than three hours after Joseph "Jose" Banks and Kenneth Conley went unaccounted for during a 5 a.m. headcount, U.S. Marshal's Service spokeswoman Belkis Cantor said.

Both men were still at large late Tuesday night.

Investigators found a broken window in the men's cell, where window bars were found inside a mattress, according to an FBI affidavit filed late Tuesday. Fake metal bars also were found in the men's cell, a rope was tied to a window bar, and each man's bed was stuffed with clothing and sheets to resemble a body, the affidavit said.

It appeared to illustrate a meticulously planned escape from the 27-story facility that came a week after Banks made a courtroom vow of retribution. Both men are facing hefty prison sentences, and the FBI said they should be considered armed and dangerous.

SWAT teams stormed at least one home in Tinley Park, a suburb south of the city. Although neither man was found, evidence suggested that both had been at the home just hours earlier, according to the FBI.

Some schools went on lockdown after being inundated with calls from nervous parents. Mike Byrne, a superintendent in Tinley Park, said "our parents are so emotionally charged right now" because of the school shootings in Connecticut.

Hours after the escape, a rope possibly made of bed sheets could be seen dangling down the side of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. At least 200 feet long and knotted about every 6 feet, the rope was hanging from a window that was 6 feet tall but only 6 inches in diameter.

The facility is one of the only skyscraper lockups in the world, and experts say its triangular shape was meant to make it easier to guard, theoretically reducing blind spots for guards. The only other escape from the nearly 40-year-old facility occurred in the mid-1980s, Cantor said.

Exactly when Banks, 37, and Conley, 38, escaped remains unclear. Shop owners across the street from the wall the men scaled said police suddenly flooded into the area around 8:30 a.m., hours after they missed a headcount. Police initially said the men escaped sometime between 5 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.

Both men were wearing orange jumpsuits, but police believe they may have quickly changed into white T-shirts, gray sweat pants and white gym shoes. The FBI believes both men were in Tinley Park, a heavily wooded area about 25 miles south of Chicago. Authorities were scouring a local forest preserve in the afternoon.

Banks, known as the Second-Hand Bandit because he wore used clothes during his heists, was convicted last week of robbing two banks and attempting to rob two others. Authorities say he stole almost $600,000, and most of that still is missing.

During trial, he had to be restrained because he threatened to walk out of the courtroom. He acted as his own attorney and verbally sparred with the prosecutor, at times arguing that that U.S. law didn't apply to him because he was a sovereign citizen of a group that was above state and federal law.

After he was convicted by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, he said he would "be seeking retribution as well as damages," the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune reported.

When the judge asked how long he needed to submit a filing, Banks replied: "No motion will be filed, but you'll hear from me."

Pallmeyer, a prominent federal judge who oversaw the corruption trial of now imprisoned former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, appeared to stick to her regular schedule Tuesday and there were no signs of extra security. Her office declined comment.

Conley pleaded guilty last October to robbing a Homewood Bank last year of nearly $4,000. Conley, who worked at the time at a suburban strip club, wore a coat and tie when he robbed the bank, and had a gun stuffed in his waistband.

Both men were being held in the Chicago lockup, which houses around 700 inmates awaiting trial in the Dirksen Federal Building a few blocks away. It is one of the only skyscraper jails in the world, said Jennifer Lucente of Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Architect Harry Weese designed the building in the mid-1970s shortly after notorious prison riots in Attica, N.Y., and was asked to design a "more humane" lockup, Lucente said. That was one reason Weese ensured each cell had a window, she said.

The brother of Hollywood director Christopher Nolan also tried to escape in 2010. Matthew Nolan, who was being held pending an extradition request, was sentenced to 14 months in jail for plotting to escape from by hiding a rope made out of bed sheets in his cell.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Convicted Bank Robbers Escape from Metropolitan Correctional Center Chicago, #WeHaveaFugitive

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with its federal, state, and local partners, is seeking the public’s assistance in locating and apprehending two individuals who escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago early this morning. They are currently the subject of a widespread manhunt under the coordination of the FBI.

The escapees are

  •     Jose Banks: male/black, age 37, 5’8” tall, 160 pounds
  •     Kenneth Conley male/white, age 38, 6’0” tall, 185 pounds
  •     (Photos)

The two, believed to be traveling together, were reportedly last seen earlier this morning in the Tinley Park area.
Banks and Conley, both convicted bank robbers, should be considered armed and dangerous. If you see them, contact local law enforcement or the Chicago Field Office of the FBI at 312-421-6700.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stolen Sewer Covers Allegedly Purchased by Junk Yard Tied to Reputed Mob Boss

This story is courtesy of the Better Government Association:

Thieves descend on suburbs to steal municipal sewer covers. How did they end up at a mob-linked scrap yard?

For weeks, thieves have been making off with sewer covers from a slew of western suburbs – a likely by-product of a limp economy and relatively high resale prices for metal.

Last week, police revealed where at least some of those heavy grates ended up: in a Melrose Park scrap yard that’s been linked to reputed mob figures.

The yard on Lake Street is home to two sister companies: D&P Construction and JKS Ventures. Both are, on paper, run by Josephine DiFronzo, wife of Peter DiFronzo, who the FBI has identified as a “made” member of the Chicago mob. But the FBI has long contended that Peter DiFronzo and his brother John “No Nose” DiFronzo, a reputed mob leader, are really in charge of the operation.

The complex pays money for scrap metal, and apparently had been buying the stolen municipal items from thieves – by one account for $6 each, by another for 10 cents a pound, authorities said.

Forest Park police said that over the weekend they arrested a man who was spotted stealing sewer caps and grates, which can weigh upwards of 50 or 60 pounds. Officers found a number of them in the back of his SUV, and he told police he was headed to the scrap yard to cash in, authorities said. The village ultimately recovered other stolen pieces from the scrap yard.

A few days ago, acting on a “tip,” police from Westchester recovered more than 30 of their sewer caps and grates at JKS Ventures, each valued between $150 and $200 new.

Westchester Police Chief April Padalik said there was a large pile of stolen metal – perhaps 100 or more sewer caps and the like.

Other nearby towns that have suffered thefts include: Bellwood, Berkeley, Elmhurst, Hillside, Itasca, La Grange Park, Northlake, Western Springs and Wood Dale. At least some of those communities, alerted to the find, have since visited the Melrose Park scrap yard looking for – and finding – their missing items.

A police investigation is ongoing, with more arrests possible, authorities said.

Whether the DiFronzo operation could face trouble for buying stolen gear – unwittingly or otherwise – is unclear.

Josephine DiFronzo was reached on the phone Thursday night, but after a reporter identified himself the phone went dead. She did not respond to subsequent inquiries.

Another woman in the D&P/JKS office told a FOX 32 reporter the company helped police by alerting authorities to a suspicious sales attempt. However, Padalik said that “help” came after police had found stolen items at the scrap yard.

Despite its reputed (and well-publicized) mob connections, D&P has secured an alarming amount of government-related business in recent years through its waste-hauling operation, as detailed in previous BGA and FOX 32 reports. D&P was one of the sponsors of a village festival in Melrose Park just this past summer.

In 2007 testimony at the “Family Secrets” mob trial, John DiFronzo was implicated in the murders of mobster-brothers Anthony and Michael Spilotro, but he never was charged with their deaths.

In a rare interview several years ago, after cameras found John DiFronzo frequenting D&P/JKS offices in Melrose Park, he was asked about his role there. “Nothing,” he said.

This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Katie Drews, Patrick Rehkamp and Robert Herguth, and FOX 32’s Dane Placko. To reach them, email or call (312) 821-9027.

Help the BGA shine a light on government and hold public officials accountable by becoming a member, contributor or tipster. Details at

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Revolutionary War Newspapers Give Readers a Glimpse into The Boston Tea Party and Other Historic Events

December 16th marks the anniversary of The Boston Tea Party – an iconic political protest that marked a key turning point in the march toward American Revolution.

Readers can now experience these events as they were reported in newspapers throughout the colonies thanks to collector and author Todd Andrlik, and his new book, Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News.

Andrlik has compiled one of the largest collections of newspapers published between 1763 and 1783. Reporting the Revolutionary War features a variety of article excerpts from The Boston Tea Party through the Battle of Bunker Hill along with essays by noted historians detailing newspapers’ historical impact on the American Revolution.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Kings of Organized Crime Said to Support Al-Qaeda

Although they are organized, the new mob in town doesn't look like the old one.

The new faces of organized crime in Chicago, according to law enforcement officials, are not necessarily from the traditional Italian mob. "Organized crime is not limited to one sort of ethnic group, it's an equal opportunity corrupter," said Jack Blakey, CCSA chief of special prosecutions.

Chicago's new kings of crime are more likely to hail from Eastern Europe, South America, Mexico or the Middle East- unlike their predecessors in the traditional Italian mob.

Their end game is the same: profits. They are making box loads of money- including cash seized in a recent Cook County raid.

Authorities say there are two primary schemes. The first is retail theft, but not large expensive items. The new mobs steal necessities such as bottled water- enough to fill a warehouse that was recently busted.

"Baby formula is always a hot product, razors, anything that everybody needs that is expensive...we have cases where they are bringing in tons and tons, literally tons of property and then shipping it in containers," said David Williams, Cook County Organized Crime Task Force.

Some stolen goods are sold in the US, and some are sent overseas- all undercutting legitimate Chicago merchants and driving up prices. The Assistant Cook County States Attorney, who leads a regional organized crime task force, says the loss of state sales tax hurts everyone. "In Illinois last year, approximately $77 million could have gone to firemen, policemen, hospitals, teacher," said David Williams, Cook County Organized Crime Task Force.

The second racket according to investigators is food stamp fraud. It involves loose networks of convenience stores that allow recipients of Illinois link cards to use them for cash. "It's not hard to cash in a link card, it's not hard... That's been going on forever but that's common in every neighborhood," said Eric Burns, Englewood resident.

In November, three suburban men were arrested and their South Side stores were shut down for allegedly taking kickbacks from cashing out link cards. "The store owner will swipe the card for a hundred dollars, as a ruse that they're purchasing groceries. They'll give the individual recipient $50 back and then keep $50 for their own profit& The government is the one that is funding the program, so these are our tax dollars that are flowing out of these stores for this fraud," said Williams.

In Al Capone's day, the flow was illegal liquor. From Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana through Joey the Clown Lombardo and current boss John DiFronzo, the traditional mob's rackets were labor union corruption, gambling and other lucrative public vices.

As a rule, victims were only those involved with the mob. This is not the case for the new kings of crime. "The ability of these groups to target some of our most vulnerable communities is something that we can't let stand," said Jack Blakey, CCSA chief of special prosecutions.

Fourty-six million Americans are on food stamps. For these new organized crime groups, that provides an almost endless cash stream.

Other rackets operated by the new kings of crime are vexing authorities: from pilfering ATMs to forgery and ID theft. With federal law enforcement focused on terrorism, Cook County prosecutors have taken the lead with their task force that now includes the Midwest.

There is a connection between terrorism and the new kings of crime. Authorities say some of their profits support Al-Qaeda.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bully Bandit Reward Offered

Thomas R. Trautmann, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is asking for the public’s help in identifying the individual believed responsible for up to four robberies in and around Chicago over a two-week period. Mr. Trautmann also announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual responsible for the robberies.

This robber, who has been dubbed the Bully Bandit for his aggressive demeanor in his encounters with both bank employees and customers, first struck on November 28, 2012, at a North Community Bank branch at 1600 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago. On this occasion as well as the three subsequent robberies he is believed to have carried out, the robber approached the teller window and demanded cash in a shouting, threatening manner. During the course of some of the robberies, he has even pushed customers out of his way to get to the teller window or to get out the door after getting cash from the tellers. To date, he has not displayed a weapon, nor have injuries been reported during the heists.

The same individual is also believed to have struck a Chase Bank branch twice in the span of a week. The bank, located at 4440 West North Avenue, was robbed on November 30 and again by the same person just six days later, on December 6. The latest robbery occurred December 11 at the PNC Bank branch located at 6620 West Ogden, in Berwyn.

Each time, the robber has worn a black jacket with a black hoodie underneath. He wore the hood pulled over his head and cinched tight around his face in an effort to conceal his identity. Witnesses reported that he kept the strings that tighten the hood in his mouth.

The Bully Bandit is described as a Hispanic male in his late 20s to early 30s, with black hair, brown eyes, and a mustache, 5’7” to 5’8” tall, with a medium build.

Anyone recognizing this individual or having any information about the robberies is asked to call the Chicago office of the FBI at (312) 421-6700. This case is being investigated by the FBI in coordination with local authorities.

"Kidnapped in Gaza" and "Murder in the Mountains" on Crime Beat Radio

On December 20th, Journalist David Aikman ( discusses his new novel, Kidnapped in Gaza, and Michael Crisp, discusses his book, Murder in the Mountains on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST., on the Artist First World Radio Network at

Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reputed Mob Ties and Janitor Layoffs Have Chicago Aldermen Calling for O'Hare Maintenance Contract to be Rebid

Some Chicago aldermen said Tuesday that the city’s janitorial contract at O’Hare International Airport should be rebid, over concerns about the layoffs the contract would mean for union janitors, as well as the company’s ties to mob figures.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports about 300 union custodians who work for Scrub, Inc., are being pushed out, after the Emanuel administration awarded a new janitorial contract at O’Hare to United Maintenance, a non-union firm.

“It’s just not right, like 10 days before Christmas, you give somebody a letter saying that they’re going to be laid off. It’s just not right,” said janitor Jermaine Samples.

The current janitors’ union, SEIU Local 1, has said the jobs the company is offering have much lower salaries, and fewer benefits. But the company said Tuesday it has offered jobs to roughly 380 people, including more than 100 current O’Hare custodians who have filled out job applications.

It claimed the health insurance, dental and vision coverage, and pension plans it will provide are superior to those workers’ current benefits. For example it said its health plan has no limit on medical claims, and covers 70 to 90 percent of the costs for out-of-network claims, while current O’Hare janitors have a $400,000 limit on claims, and no coverage for out-of-network claims.

United also said some Scrub, Inc., employees who have been hired will be making $2 to $4.60 more per hour.

The city has said United will work with the current custodians to find them jobs, but there are no guarantees those workers will keep their jobs, and if they did, it would most likely be for much lower pay and fewer benefits.

Ald. Rick Munoz (22nd) was incensed that many veteran custodians at O’Hare are being laid off so close to the holidays. “What’s going on over at O’Hare … socially is irresponsible, because these men and women who have been laboring day in and day out are being let go right before the holiday season, and being replaced by employees who make less,” Munoz said. “Are we in favor of the bottom line that simply saves money and rushes to the bottom, and races and pushes contractors to pay the lowest wage possible? Or are we looking at a bottom line that helps middle-class Chicago be a better Chicago?”

The switch in janitorial companies at O’Hare means no holiday for 7-year janitor Mildred Rueda. “I mean, I’m grateful because I do have my family, but as far as celebrating, there isn’t any,” Rueda said. But United Maintenance said in a news release Tuesday that neither Rueda nor Samples has applied for a job with the company.

Munoz and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) are among a number of aldermen who have said the custodial contract at O’Hare should be rebid. “It’s not only very un-Chicagoan, but it’s very un-American to essentially bring in companies that decide that they’re going to cut wages in order to provide a more so-called efficient and fair contract,” Waguespack.

Aldermen have also raised concerns about the mob ties of some of top executives at the new custodial contractor.

Paul Fosco, the executive vice president of United Maintenance’s parent firm, United Service, served time in federal prison on mob racketeering charges, along with co-defendant and former Chicago mob boss Anthony Accardo. The Chicago Crime Commission has an entire file on Fosco. And United Maintenance owner Richard Simon was once business partners with reputed mob figure William Daddano, Jr.

“What we’ve seen is allegations about mob ties that is really unsettling for the people of Chicago, and for City Council members,” Waguespack said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has defended the contract with United Maintenance, saying it was competitively bid.

Thanks to CBS2.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chicago Police Commander Leo Schmitz Video with CBS National News

There is a war going on -- not overseas, but right here on the streets of America. A gang war has taken over parts of Chicago. Over the weekend, 14 people were shot. Two were killed.

So far this year, there have been more than 2,364 shootings and 487 homicides.

CBS News National Correspondent Dean Reynolds rode along with Commander Leo Schmitz of Chicago Police Department's 7th district. The area is a gang-related swath of the city's South Side. They started to drive as children were leaving school for the day.

"When you have them coming out of school, and there's any kind of gang conflicts, you've got a mix like fire and gasoline," Schmitz said. The gangs are fighting a war over turf, drugs and money. "It's crazy," he said. "What used to be a fist fight now turns into, 'Let's go to the guns,'" Schmitz said.

Shooting deaths are up 20 percent in the city this year, though in the 7th district Schmitz and his team have managed to cut homicides by 30 percent.

He credits better intelligence from informants, increased patrols and a citywide crime-tracking database. "We use the knowledge," Schmitz said. "So, if there's a shooting right here, we know that the retaliation will be a block down."

The police gave us a bulletproof vest for the trip, and within minutes it because crystal clear why. A block away, a man walking was a target. The suspect was fleeing the scene.

"He done shot at me right here!" the man said.

The commander and his men ran down the suspected shooter, 21-year-old Julian Gayles. Police think the shooting was probably gang-related.

The police also received the weapon. Schmitz described it as a 9mm Beretta. "If you can see the hammer's already (up)," he said. "That means he just shot it."

Chicago has seized more guns this year than New York and Los Angeles combined. The violence is so bad that the heavily armed police now attend gang funerals to prevent revenge killings. Schmitz said he doesn't just want to maintain a level of clam.

"I want to win," Schmitz said. "So, we're going to always try to do better than we did before."

It didn't get much better this weekend. Among the victims was an off-duty cop.

Hate Crime Statistics Report for 2011 Released by FBI

In 2011, U.S. law enforcement agencies reported 6,222 hate crime incidents involving 7,254 offenses, according to the FBI's just-released Hate Crime Statistics, 2011 report. These incidents included offenses like vandalism, intimidation, assault, rape, murder, etc.

The data contained in this report, which is a subset of the information that law enforcement submits to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, includes the following categories: offense type, location, bias motivation, victim type, number of individual victims, number of offenders, and race of offenders.

Highlights from the 2011 Report:

  • Of the 6,222 reported hate crimes, 6,216 were single-bias incidents—46.9 percent were racially motivated, 20.8 percent resulted from sexual orientation bias, 19.8 percent were motivated by religious bias, 11.6 stemmed from ethnicity/national origin bias, and 0.9 percent were prompted by disability bias.
  • Law enforcement agencies reported 7,713 victims of hate crime—victims can be individuals, businesses, institutions, or society as whole. Sixty percent of these 7,713 were victims of crimes against persons, while 39.8 were victims of crimes against property.
  • Thirty-two percent of the 6,222 hate crime incidents reported took place in or near residences; 18 percent took place on highways, roads, and alleys; and 9.3 percent took place at schools or colleges. The remaining percentage took place at locations like houses of worship, parking lots, bars, government and office buildings, etc.

New in Hate Crime Reporting

Beginning in 2013, law enforcement agencies reporting hates crimes will be able to get even more specific when reporting bias motivation.

For example, the new bias categories of gender and gender identity—which added four new bias types—were added to the FBI’s hate crime data collection as a result of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Other bias types were modified to comply with the race and ethnicity designations specified by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Data submitted under these new specifications will be part of the UCR program’s new system, scheduled to go online next year. (The 2013 crime data will be published in 2014).

FBI’s Role in Investigating Hate Crimes

Hate crimes continue to be the highest priority of the Bureau’s civil rights program because of their heinous nature and their impact on victims and communities (see sidebar for case examples). They investigate hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction, assist state and local authorities during their own investigations, and in some cases—with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division—monitor developing situations to determine if federal action is appropriate.

In addition to responding to hate crimes, they’re also taking a proactive approach to hate crimes overall. They’re integrating a cadre of analysts with their experienced investigators to not only establish a national threat picture but to identify risk factors that can be used by FBI field offices to assess the potential for hate crimes at the local level.

Increasing Hate Crime Awareness

Most of all, they’re working to increase awareness of these crimes by establishing liaisons with civic and religious leaders and credible community organizations. Through their UCR program, they offer training to help law enforcement recognize hate crimes and also assist their partners in developing their own hate crimes training programs.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Is Michael Spatero Innocent of Killing Mobster Joseph Campanella?

On December 13th, The case of Michael Spatero: A Miscarriage of Justice? Spatero was convicted of the killing of mobster Joseph Campanella but many people believe he is innocent. A discussion with investigator Mike Pizzi and members of the Spatero family takes place on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST., on the Artist First World Radio Network at

Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Playboy Bloods Gangster Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

A Las Vegas man pleaded guilty today in federal court to conspiring to conduct a racketeering enterprise as a member of the Playboy Bloods criminal street gang, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada.

Steven Booth, 27, aka “Stevie-P,” pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Phillip Pro in the District of Nevada to one count of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering enterprise.

According to court documents, the Bloods is a criminal street organization whose members engage in drug trafficking and acts of violence. The Playboy Bloods is a local affiliate of the Bloods, with control and operation within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. A subset of the Playboy Bloods is Full Throttle Clique, a group made up of Playboy Bloods members who engage in acts of violence, including murder.

According to Booth’s plea agreement, he is a member of the Playboy Bloods and the Full Throttle Clique. Booth pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct and participate in the conduct of the affairs of the Playboy Bloods through a pattern of racketeering activity.

According to court documents, Booth aided and abetted the murder of security guard Brian Wilcox in the Jets housing complex located in Playboy Blood controlled territory in Las Vegas. On approximately January 20, 2004, Wilcox and another security guard approached Booth and several other Playboy Bloods and told them they had to leave the property. An argument ensued, and the security guards rode away on their bicycles to call for backup. According to court documents, a Playboy Blood fired a gun at Wilcox, hitting him three times, and Booth and the others fled the scene. On January 21, 2004, Wilcox was pronounced dead.

Booth also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the murder of Billy Thomas. On October 31, 2004, Playboy Bloods and Full Throttle member Quazi Burns was murdered, and Playboy Bloods members believed that a rival Crips gang member was responsible for the crime. That night, according to court documents, several Playboy Bloods members, including the defendant, met at the Jets complex and discussed retaliating against the Crips. Booth and the other Playboy Bloods members got into two cars and spotted Billy Ray Thomas, who was working on his car, at Pecos Terrace Apartments in Las Vegas. According to court documents, several Playboy Bloods’ members got out of the cars carrying firearms, approached Thomas, and shot and killed him, believing that he was a Crips gang member.

At sentencing, scheduled for April 5, 2013, Booth faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Booth is one of 10 defendants charged in October 2008 with conducting racketeering activity through the Playboy Bloods criminal enterprise. To date, six defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison on this indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas D. Dickinson and Phillip N. Smith, Jr. of the District of Nevada and Trial Attorney Kevin L. Rosenberg of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

New York Unions Are Still Mob Targets

The Genovese crime family has a well-earned reputation as the most feared of New York City's five Mafia organizations. An FBI bust this spring may weaken that standing. Local unions are hoping so. On April 18, an 18-count indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn federal court charging 11 arrestees with racketeering, embezzlement, extortion and other offenses. At least eight are Genovese soldiers or associates, including capo Conrad Ianniello, nephew of recently-deceased onetime acting boss Matthew Ianniello. U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, Eastern District of New York, stated: "This indictment is the most recent chapter in this office's continued fight against organized crime's efforts to infiltrate unions and businesses operating in New York City." All defendants, save for one, have pleaded not guilty. Her spokesman told NLPC this week that all other cases are still pending.

New York's La Cosa Nostra families in recent years have seen attrition in their ranks as a result of aggressive law enforcement. Two cases stand out. In February 2008, federal agents arrested some 60 Gambino made men and associates (including Genovese and Bonanno members) for crimes including murder, racketeering, theft, and loan sharking. By the end of that September, virtually all defendants pleaded guilty; about three dozen were sentenced. The bust was part of a sweep, called Operation Old Bridge, coordinated with Italian authorities. Three years later, in January 2011, hundreds of FBI agents, U.S. marshals, and New York State and New York City cops arrested nearly 120 persons named in an 82-page, 16-count indictment for murder, racketeering, money-laundering, extortion and other offenses. It was the largest Mafia bust in American history. Nearly three dozen of those arrested were full-fledged members of the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese or Lucchese crime syndicates; others belonged to the DeCavalcante (Northern New Jersey) and Patriarca (New England) families. The entire Colombo leadership, for the time being, was taken out of commission. Dozens of other defendants were associates of various mobs.

Labor unions figured in each case. Nabbed in Operation Old Bridge was Louis Mosca, business manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 325. He eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud conspiracy for buying a book containing the names of union members on behalf of the brother of Gambino captain Lenny Dimaria. And Michael King, former contractor project supervisor-shop steward for Laborers Local 731, pleaded guilty to extortion. In the 2011 mob takedown, which has taken longer to prosecute, New York Mafia families controlled various operations of Cement and Concrete Workers Local 6A (a Laborers affiliate), International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 282, and International Longshoremen Association Local 1235.

Conrad Ianniello is a logical starting point for connecting the dots in this latest round of arrests and indictments. If nothing else, he's got an impressive mob pedigree. His uncle, Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, who died of health problems at age 92 this August, served as acting boss for the Genovese family after godfather Vincent "the Chin" Gigante was sent packing to federal prison in 1997, the latter's "crazy man" act revealed as just that -- an act. The elder Ianniello controlled the Queens, N.Y.-based Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 until he pleaded guilty in 2006 to two separate federal charges, the first for arranging payoffs from bus companies to Local 1181 officials and the second for extorting payments from trash hauling companies in Connecticut. He received respective prison sentences of 18 months and (concurrently) two years. His nephew, Conrad, picked up a few lessons during his youth. He was convicted for grand larceny in 1972 and gun possession in 1986. These brushes with the law apparently didn't put him on a straight and narrow path.

According to federal prosecutors, the younger Ianniello in 2008 shook down contractors and extorted payments from street vendors operating at the Feast of San Gennaro in Lower Manhattan's Little Italy. The annual festival had a reputation for mob infiltration until 1996 when then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani appointed a special aide, Mort Berkowitz, to oversee the event. Ianniello also allegedly engaged in racketeering conspiracy to facilitate illegal gambling. More apropos, he had his handprints on organized labor. During April and May 2008, noted the indictment, Ianniello conspired with two other defendants, Robert Scalza and Ryan Ellis, each a Genovese associate, to extort payments from an unnamed labor union so its leaders would refrain from further organizing at a Long Island work site. In this way, the defendants could reserve organizing for International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades (IUJAT) Local 713, where Scalza served as secretary-treasurer.

Local 713 isn't the only mobbed-up Journeymen and Allied Trades affiliate. Two other defendants, James Bernardone, secretary-treasurer of the Bronx-based IUJAT Local 124, and Paul Gasparrini, were charged with racketeering conspiracy. The pair allegedly extorted payments from a subcontractor during approximately 2006-09 at various construction sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. The indictment cited Bernardone as a Genovese crime soldier and Gasparrini as a Genovese associate. Another indicted co-conspirator, Salvester Zarzana (see photo), previously had been president of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 926 until his ouster for his alleged abuse of his union-issued credit card. Zarzana now stands accused of extortion in connection with a Local 124 project site. The indictment identified him as a made man in the Genovese syndicate.

Union corruption in this round of indictments also involved persons not necessarily involved with the Genoveses. That would include John Squitieri, who in 2008 allegedly embezzled funds from employee pension and annuity plans of Local 7-Tile, Marble, and Terrazzo, an affiliate of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC). He provided nonunion tile workers for the renovation of the Paramount Hotel near Manhattan's Times Square. In this way, he could pocket union retirement plan contributions. Another individual, Rodney Johnson, a project manager at the Paramount Hotel site, was charged with obstruction of justice for impeding a grand jury investigation.

The three remaining defendants weren't involved in union activity, but they're significant notwithstanding. A Genovese family associate, William Panzera, and Robert Fiorello, were charged with loan-sharking and extortion. And the final defendant, Felice Masullo, a Genovese associate who had been considered for elevation to made man, was indicted on running an illegal sports gambling operation. This wasn't his first dust-up with the law. Several years ago he ran a restaurant with two brothers, Anthony and Angelo Masullo, until all three were charged with racketeering. Each pleaded guilty in November 2009. Felice Masullo received a prison sentence of 41 months for cocaine distribution, extortion and sports gambling. This case was part of a probe that secured racketeering pleas from former Genovese acting boss Daniel Leo and his nephew, Joseph Leo, for illegal gambling and loan-sharking; several other Genovese personnel were among the dozen charged. For Masullo, the story didn't end there. This April, with 15 months remaining in his sentence, he was hit with new gambling charges. He pleaded not guilty at first but then changed his plea to guilty, and was sentenced in October in Manhttan federal court to eight months in prison.

Like previous mob busts and indictments, this latest round underscores the still-pervasive power of the Mafia and the Genovese family in particular. And if there is a New York Mafia outfit whose ranks could use some thinning, it's the Genoveses, with an estimated 250 to 300 made men and another thousand or more associates. Federal authorities cite the need for continued vigilance even while acknowledging the blow they have struck against the mob's operations. FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk explained in announcing the indictments: "Even as mob families seek and discover new ways to make money by illegitimate means, they continue to rely on tried-and-true schemes like extortion and gambling. The mob's purpose is making money, and how is less important than how much." And Robert Panella, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, stated: "The Office of Inspector General will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate labor racketeering in the nation's unions."

Thanks to Carl Horowitz.

Reputed Ties of New O'Hare Airport Janitorial Contract Winner, United Maintenance, Grows

A high-ranking employee of the contractor who recently won a $99.4 million janitorial contract with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration once served a prison sentence after he was charged in the same corruption case as late Chicago mob boss Anthony “Big Tuna” Accardo.

Paul A. Fosco was convicted on racketeering charges in 1987, sentenced to a 10-year prison term and left federal prison in 1993, public records show. He now is an executive vice president of United Service Companies, according to his profile posted on the LinkedIn networking website.

United Service is owned by Richard Simon, a former Chicago Police officer who led the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau from 2002 to 2005. On Oct. 31, Emanuel’s administration chose one of United’s many companies, United Maintenance Co. Inc., to clean O’Hare International Airport for five years starting Dec. 15.

The Chicago Sun-Times first reported last week that Simon had partnered in yet another firm with William Daddano Jr., who was accused of organized-crime ties by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Chicago Crime Commission.

After shrugging off Simon’s business ties to Daddano this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked Wednesday to comment on Fosco. The mayor again defended the deal, which has faced heavy criticism from organized labor leaders. They say it will result in the dismissal of hundreds of union workers.

“Look, it was competitively bid,” Emanuel said, adding that United Maintenance would hire about 100 employees who currently clean O’Hare. “We will have a vigorous enforcement and make sure everybody lives by and appropriately stands by the law.”

Thanks to Dan Mihalopoulos.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Former Gambino Mobster Faces Off Against Retired DEA Agent on Crime Beat Radio

On December 6th, Lou Ferrante, a former Gambino mobster, and Louie Diaz, retired DEA agent who took down Nicky Barnes, grew up in the same tough Brooklyn neighborhood. They go one on one in a discussion about their parallel lives.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST., on the Artist First World Radio Network at

Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Chicago Mob Wives Whacked

"Mob Wives Chicago" has been iced.

The VH1 reality show featured five women married or related to reputed mobsters in Chicago.

A spokesman confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times that the show will not be coming back for a second season after an 11-episode run.

Cast member Pia Rizza told the newspaper that the Sunday night summer time slot and competition with the Olympics were factors in the low ratings.

The show was a spinoff of "Mob Wives," which followed the lives of five New York women with husbands connected to the Mafia.

The Chicago show faced some opposition from an Italian-American group that objected to the Mafia stereotypes, and businesses that would not cooperate with the show.

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