The Chicago Syndicate: Allen Dorfman
Showing posts with label Allen Dorfman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Allen Dorfman. Show all posts

Friday, January 11, 2019

THE OUTFIT'S GREATEST HITS

The Chicago Outfit's Greatest Hits from 1920 to 2001.

1920: Big Jim Colosimo is slain in his popular Wabash Avenue restaurant, making way for the rise of Al Capone. Largely credited with taking the steps to create what would become known as the "Chicago Outfit"

1924: Dion O'Banion is shot dead in his flower shop across from Holy Name Cathedral. Chief suspects are his beer war enemies, the Genna brothers. Started hijacking whiskey right before the start of prohibition kicked in.

1929: Seven members of the Bugs Moran gang are gunned down, allegedly on orders of Capone, at 2122 N. Clark in the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Moran himself, lucky man, is late for the meeting at the S.M.C. Carting Co.


38 Detective Special1930: Jake Lingle, a Chicago Tribune reporter in the mob's pocket, is slain in the Illinois Central train station. He had crossed many mobsters, including Capone. Shot behind the ear with a 38 caliber detective's special on the way to the racetrack, Lingle was given a hero's funeral. It was only later that it was learned that he was really a legman for the mob.


1936: Capone gunman and bodyguard "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn is gunned down at a Milwaukee Avenue bowling alley, the day before Valentine's Day. Given the timing, the Moran gang was suspected. In addition to his skill with a machine gun, McGurn was also considered a scratch golfer who considered going pro and boxed as a welterweight where he was known as Battling Jack McGurn. He is credited with over 25 mob kills and McGurn was also suspected of being the principal gunner and planner of the St. Valentines Day Massacre.


1975: Mob boss Sam Giancana is killed, while cooking sausage, in the basement of his Oak Park home after he becomes a liability to the Outfit. "The Don" calls Giancana the Godfather of Godfathers - The Most Powerful Mafioso in America. Started as a hitman for Capone. Rose to boss of the Chicago crime family. Friend of celebrities such as Frank Sinatra & Marilyn Monroe. Rigged the Chicago vote for John F. Kennedy in 1960.


Joe Batters1978: Six burglars who struck at mob boss Anthony Accardo's (AKA Joe Batters by the FBI and THE Big Tuna by the Chicago media) house are found slain across the city.


1983: Worried he will sing to the feds, mobsters gun down crooked Chicago businessman Allen Dorfman outside the Hyatt Hotel in Lincolnwood. Dorfman had already been convicted under operation Pendorf: Pentration of Dorfman, along with Teamsters President Roy Williams and Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, when he was hit by the Outfit afraid he would look to reduce his sentence.


1983: Mob gambling lieutenant Ken Eto is shot three times in the head. Miraculously, he survives and testifies against old pals.


1986: The mob's man in Vegas, Anthony Spilotro, and his brother Michael Spilotro are beaten and buried alive in an Indiana cornfield. Glamorized in the movie Casino in which Joe Pesci played "Tony the Ant". Opened up a gift shop at the Circus-Cirus Hotel and Casino where he based his operations. The Family Secrets Trial revealed that the two were originally murdered by a crew led by James Marcello in a house in Bensonville. 


2001: Anthony "the Hatch" Chiaramonti, a vicious juice loan debt collector, is shot to death outside a restaurant in suburban Lyons by a man in a hooded sweat shirt. Chiaramonti had been caught on a tape played at the trial of Sam Carlisi, grabbing a trucking company owner, Anthony LaBarbera, by the throat, lifting him in the air and warning him not to be late in paying juice loan money. LaBarbera was wearing an FBI body recorder at the time. Interesting enough, the restaurant where he was shot was a Brown's Chicken and Pasta, where I have had lunch a handful of times.

Thanks to the Chicago SunTimes and additional various sources.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Bringing Down the Mob: The War Against the American Mafia

Longtime business associates Allen Dorfman and Irwin Weiner frequently lunched together. On a day in January 1983, they emerged from Dorfman's Cadillac onto the icy parking lot of a suburban Chicago restaurant, ten minutes late for their one o'clock reservation. According to Weiner, they were walking between parked cars when two men ran up behind them and yelled, "This is a robbery." One of the men fired a .22 automatic at least half a dozen times. Only Dorfman was hit. He fell to the ground in a large pool of blood that quickly froze into red ice. When the paramedics arrived, he showed no signs of life.

At fifty-nine, Dorfman was a nationally known figure, and his death would be reported across the country. His murder was news, but it was not a surprise. He had been a key figure in the world of organized crime for more than thirty years. Beginning with Jimmy Hoffa, successive presidents of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) had allowed him to use his position as head of the pension fund to provide sweetheart loans to mob figures, money that bankrolled the Mafia's control of several Las Vegas casinos. The union itself, which had access to top business leaders and politicians right up to the White House, was run as a virtual subsidiary of the American Mafia. A month before his murder, Dorfman, Teamsters president Roy Williams, and a top Chicago mob figure, Joe Lombardo, had been convicted of attempting to bribe U.S. senator Howard Cannon of Nevada. After his conviction in December 1982, Dorfman was released on $5 million bail pending sentencing. He stood to receive as much as fifty-five years in prison.

In addition to the bribery case, the government was also conducting an investigation of money skimming in mob-backed Vegas casinos. Dorfman knew the secrets of both the Teamsters and Vegas. If he decided to cut a deal with prosecutors, talking in return for a more lenient sentence, many gangsters-and supposedly legitimate businessmen and officials-would end up in prison. The head of the Chicago Crime Commission told The New York Times, "There's no doubt in my mind that Mr. Dorfman was killed to keep him quiet ... if he ever coughed up to investigators ... this country would be shaking for a month." Someone with access to the crime scene apparently decided to ensure that at least some of Dorfman's secrets did not die with him. He made a photocopy of the dead man's memo book and sent it to the Chicago Crime Commission.

Though he was only an associate member, Allen Dorfman's life provided a window into the world of the American Mafia at its highest levels. Beginning in 1949, it took him just five years to rise from physical education instructor to millionaire, thanks to Hoffa's largess and the connections of his racketeer stepfather, "Red" Dorfman. At the time of his death he headed a financial empire that included insurance companies, condominium developments, resorts, and other projects, and he maintained homes in four states. He was a major contributor to various charities and was frequently honored by civic associations. Yet over his career he had been denounced by congressional committees and constantly pursued by federal law enforcement officers. He was indicted on several occasions, though he usually managed to win acquittals. In 1972 he was convicted of conspiring to facilitate a loan from the Teamsters Pension Fund in return for a kickback of $55,000, but he served only nine months in jail.

After his latest conviction, Dorfman should have been wary of his former associates. He might have known that the bosses of the Chicago mob would be worried that a man long accustomed to the affluent life might not be able to face spending the rest of his days in prison. True, Dorfman had not rolled over following any of his previous arrests. But in the Mafia world that was irrelevant. Chicago mob bosses Joey Aiuppa and Jackie Cerone, who were also caught up in the Vegas skim, had followed very different paths from Dorfman's. Their rise to the top had been slow, prefaced by years spent doing the dirty work with guns and blackjacks. Unlike Dorfman, they could not pose as businessmen and civic benefactors. Instead, they lived by a hard code that mandated that all doubts must be resolved in favor of the organization. They could not take the chance that someone who had so much potential to hurt them would stay silent. Since it was standard mob procedure to eliminate witnesses, Weiner's survival and his tale of attempted robbery caused some investigators to speculate that he had set Dorfman up.

The fact that Dorfman was not Italian had prevented him from becoming a "made" member of the Mafia. Still, he was well aware of its rules, though perhaps he did not think they applied to a big shot like him. The same lack of understanding had undoubtedly cost his old boss Jimmy Hoffa his life eight years earlier. Then again, a lot of people on both sides of the law had always found it hard to comprehend the culture of the American Mafia.

Books about mob life often end up on the true-crime shelves of bookstores, alongside biographies of serial killers and accounts of last year's "heist of the century." In some respects it is the appropriate place for the colorful criminals of the American Mafia. Each generation has brought forth an Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Sam Giancana, or John Gotti, all of whom have fascinated the public, as have their big and small screen counterparts: Scarface, The Godfather, and The Sopranos.

Yet the American Mafia is more than just another group of criminals. Since the 1920s it has been the heart and soul of American organized crime. As such it has exercised significant influence on the political and economic life of the country. In American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power, I told the story of the organization up to the early 1950s. I described how the Mafia managed to acquire all the trappings of an independent state, flouting the authority of the United States government. It promulgated its own laws, not infrequently imposing the death penalty; it even maintained diplomatic relations with foreign countries, such as Cuba. And perhaps most critically, in both politics and business it managed to link the underworld to the upper world. That an organization that never had more than five thousand full-fledged members could exercise such immense power is one of the most phenomenal accomplishments in the history of the United States. It was not, however, a lasting achievement. The present work, an account of events from the 1950s into the twenty-first century, is the story of a declining power. Essentially it is a domestic military history, in that it describes the fifty-year war that law enforcement has waged on the American Mafia.

Words like "organized crime" or "Mafia" lack precision. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who crusaded against the organization, told his subordinates, "Don't define it, do something about it." Over the years, "Mafia" has come to be used as a shorthand for the leading element of American organized crime. Like "Hollywood" as a synonym for the movie industry, or "Wall Street" for high finance, it has become so embedded in the national consciousness that it is impossible to avoid using it. Attempts by official bodies to define the Mafia often fell short, or were misleading. In 1950-51 a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Estes Kefauver of Tennessee exposed the face of organized crime in a score of American cities. In its final report the committee declared that a Mafia, descended from the Sicilian original, controlled the most lucrative rackets in many major cities and tied together criminal groups throughout the country. A 1967 presidential commission described organized crime as "underworld groups that are sufficiently sophisticated that they regularly employ techniques of violence and corruption to achieve their other criminal ends." They explained that the core group of organized crime in the United States consist[s] of 24 groups operating as criminal cartels in large cities across the nation. Their membership is exclusively Italian, they are in frequent communication with each other, and their smooth functioning is insured by a national body of overseers.

In fact the Mafia in the United States was not an offshoot of the Sicilian version. While only men of Italian lineage could be "made" full-fledged members, the organization was not entirely Italian. Nor was the national "commission," as its body of top overseers was called, ever as clearly defined or powerful as it was sometimes portrayed.

In the nineteenth century, some people blamed the newly immigrated Italians for the prevalence of vice and crime in urban areas. But organized crime was well established in the New World long before Italian Americans arrived. Gamblers, saloon keepers, brothel madams, and other criminals paid off the police, who in turn funneled a large share of the take to their political masters. A few immigrants who came to the United States had been members of Old World criminal bands, such as the Neapolitan Camorra and Sicilian Mafia. It is clear, though, that the Italians who would turn to crime in this country (a tiny fraction of the whole) simply took advantage of what they found when they arrived. Even after Mussolini's crackdown on the Mafia in the 1920s propelled some genuine Sicilian mafiosi to the United States, the forms of organized crime they adopted were essentially American.

The Mafia in America produced bosses like Calabrians Frank Costello and Albert Anastasia, as well as Neapolitans Al Capone and Vito Genovese. For practical purposes it also included Jews such as Meyer Lansky and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel of New York, Abner "Longy" Zwillman of Newark, and Morris "Moe" Dalitz of Cleveland, and these men often exercised power equivalent to that of the Italian bosses. Lansky (nÈ Maier Suchowljansky) was generally ranked among the top three or four mobsters in the country. His success was the result of his financial skills and his ability to forge alliances with key leaders such as Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello. For similar reasons, Moe Dalitz would become a major figure in Ohio, Kentucky, and Nevada. Irish Owney Madden, though confined to the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas, after his exile from New York City, managed to reinvent himself as an elder statesman of the American Mafia. Welshman Murray "the Camel" Humphreys (nÈ Humpreys) was always near the top of the Chicago mob hierarchy, as were Jake Guzik and Gus Alex, who were Jewish and Greek, respectively. To emphasize the organization's American origins and its frequently multiethnic makeup, I refer to it as "the American Mafia," though to avoid constant repetition of the term, I will usually refer to it simply as "the Mafia," sometimes only "the mob(s)," or in individual cities by its local equivalent, such as "the Chicago Outfit" or the name of a particular New York family.

One clear indicator that the American Mafia was homegrown was its organizational structure. The American gangs replicated the political machines in the areas where they operated. Chicago, for example, was dominated by the Democratic county organization, though certain ward bosses were given considerable latitude. The Chicago mob controlled the metropolitan area but allowed some of its leading figures to operate with a high degree of autonomy. New York was too large to be ruled by one political organization. Tammany controlled Manhattan, but Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens had their own machines. The New York Mafia's five-family structure dispersed mob power similarly across the five boroughs. In Tammany days, a "commission" made up of a powerful politician from Manhattan, another from Brooklyn, a boss gambler, and a representative of the NYPD regulated organized crime. After 1931, a local Mafia commission composed of the heads of the five families performed the same function. At the same time, a national "syndicate" also developed, directed by a commission that included the New York families and representatives from other cities. The national commission reflected prevailing political practices as well. The Republican and Democratic national committees were dominated by big states, such as New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. In the national syndicate, the New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit mobs called the shots (sometimes literally).

The internal arrangements of the families (borgattas or simply gangs) also resembled that of the political machines. The Tammany and Cook County party chairmen and the Mafia family heads were all called "boss." Both Tammany and the Chicago organization often had number two men; in the Mafia they were called underbosses. Tammany had leaders over every assembly district, while Chicago had a party committeeman in charge of each ward, and the Mafia had its middle managers too. In the post-Apalachin period, law enforcement began referring to mob sub-bosses by terms such as "capo" (head). While neat on paper, it did not always conform to local practice. In Chicago, instead of being called capos, sub-leaders were usually referred to by the territory they controlled: boss of the Loop, the Near North Side, the Far South Side, etc. In other places they might be known as captains or crew chiefs. The Tammany wise men were called sachems; the Mafia families' equivalent was consigliere, or counselor, though the job began as a sort of ombudsman to whom aggrieved gang members could appeal. Since "Tammany" was an Indian name, its rank and file were accordingly known as braves. On law enforcement charts, the lowest ranked members of the Mafia were called soldiers, a term that might also encompass crew members who were not "made." While it is sometimes claimed that any Italian made man outranked any non-Italian, this was not the case. A mob soldier, even a crew chief, had to be very respectful around "Bugsy" Siegel or "Shotgun" Alex, men whose nicknames alone indicated their temperament and propensities.

Even the boss title could sometimes be misleading. Some who bore it were no more than titular leaders. Gaetano Gagliano was formally boss of what became the Lucchese family from 1931 until his death in 1951, when he was succeeded by his underboss, Gaetano "Tommy" Lucchese. Yet during the period when Gagliano was supposedly in charge, there was virtually no mention of him, while Lucchese was well known, just as European kings and presidents have often been overshadowed by their prime ministers. Sometimes it was unclear who was actually running a particular Mafia gang. In the 1980s the federal government prosecuted "Fat Tony" Salerno as head of New York's Genovese family even though he was actually the number two man.

The key to the American Mafia's success was its ability to buy or neutralize public officials. Until the 1920s, organizations such as Tammany Hall or Chicago's First Ward had the final say over organized crime. Then Prohibition- rich gangsters turned the tables and began to act as the partners or, in some instances, controllers of the politicians. As one criminal justice official told historian Arthur Sloane, "The mobsters have always been wedded to the political system. That's how they survive. Without that wedding they would be terrorists and we'd get rid of them." The decline of the Mafia began after the 1950s, when the mobs could not muster the political influence to protect themselves from the law enforcement assault led by the federal government.

In the present work I have adopted a broad approach, as opposed to a more narrow focus on a particular mob family or individual leader. Sometimes police or journalists have labeled gangs such as New York's Gambinos or the Chicago Outfit the premier mob families in America. Such assessments are like rankings of college football teams. The view of one expert is not always shared by another or borne out on the playing field. A similar practice is to designate an individual gangster such as Vito Genovese or Carlo Gambino "Boss of Bosses." For a long time, law enforcement followed the same narrow approach in its war on the Mafia: Go after an individual Mr. Big. The turning point in the war came in the 1980s, when the federal government broadened its targets and took down most of the leadership of all five New York families in one fell swoop.

Thanks to Thomas Reppetto

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Ruthless Rise of Mobster Joey "The Clown" Lombardo

To neighbors, Joseph Lombardo was a beloved family man and respected boys baseball coach in his West Side neighborhood -- "more liked than the priest" in the community, according to one friend.

To the feds, Lombardo is the man who had a factory owner slain in front of the man's wife and 4-year-old son.

To investigators, he's the man who knows no loyalty, signing off on the murders of three close friends.

When he appears in federal court these days, for updates on the trial starting June 19 that could put him in prison until his dying days, he's the wisecracking senior citizen. At 78, he's the oldest of a mostly geriatric bunch of mobsters in what likely will be the last great Outfit trial in Chicago history -- the Family Secrets case.

He's "the Clown," known for his quick wit. When the cops stopped him once in the 1980s, after he fled a gambling raid, he had $12,000 in cash on him and a book filled with jokes. But the wisecracks, investigators say, only mask the brutality of one of the last of the old-time Chicago mobsters.

Interviews with people who have known and investigated Lombardo, as well as a review of thousands of pages of court records and law enforcement documents, reveal the story of the ruthless rise of Lombardo in the Chicago Outfit.

"He was vicious and a killer," said retired FBI Agent Jack O'Rourke. "He was their prime enforcer."

Lombardo has denied hurting anyone. Now behind bars at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, he declined an interview request.

In court in 1983, Lombardo said: "I never ordered a killing, I never OKd a killing, and I never killed a man in my life."

His attorney, Rick Halprin, says his client has never been a mob leader. But investigators say Lombardo was a top mobster for years, thanks to his criminal versatility.

He allegedly went from busting heads and two-bit burglaries to orchestrating a bribe attempt of U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon. He was convicted in that case in the 1980s, as well as another one for skimming millions from Las Vegas casinos for the mob. He allegedly controlled millions of dollars in Teamster pension funds through his friend, insurance magnate Allen Dorfman, and was responsible for getting the skim from Las Vegas casinos to Chicago mob bosses.

As a child, Lombardo never knew such wealth, growing up poor in Depression-era Chicago, one of 11 children, the son of a printer. A graduate of Wells High School, he worked as a paperboy, plucked chickens, shined shoes, loaded boxcars at Union Station for 69 cents an hour and handled room service at the Blackstone Hotel.

He was also quite the athlete, playing on wrestling, basketball, fencing and swimming teams and even taking square-dancing lessons. He found a passion for golf and caddied for top Chicago gangster Jackie Cerone. He was also quite the gin rummy cardshark. But he didn't have to rely on cards for cash. His criminal work was apparently quite profitable, authorities said. In recent years, while Lombardo pleads poverty, his family trust benefitting his ex-wife, son and daughter has sold real estate for millions. Authorities believe the trust was set up to keep the feds from seizing assets.

Lombardo's success was punctuated by violence. He has been a suspect in numerous murders but never convicted. What's more, authorities say, he had control over the most allegedly vicious hit man around, Frank "The German" Schweihs. Schweihs is charged in the Family Secrets case with Lombardo. Schweihs would talk about doing an Outfit killing like he was taking out the garbage, court records show.

Even before Lombardo was a somebody in the Chicago Outfit, he was "the Clown."

It was 1964, and Lombardo was on trial in Chicago with other alleged loan sharks for beating a man who owed the mob money. The case was making headlines, and so was Lombardo. When police took his mug shot, he opened his mouth into a cavernous yawn to stop the cops from getting a good photo of him.

Even then, Lombardo -- then going by a variation of his birth name, Joseph Lombardi -- was referred to in the press as the Clown.

The other notable twist: Lombardo was innocent of the charge. But he was part of a clever plot to scotch the case, authorities said. When police rounded up the loan sharks, they arrested the wrong Joseph Lombardi. At the time, two Chicago gangsters had that name and looked similar. Defense attorneys for the men realized the error but kept silent to spring a trap on prosecutors, authorities said. It worked. When the victim took the stand, he could identify all the defendants as his attackers, all except the Clown.

"Talk about having your jaw drop and your case collapse," said attorney Louis B. Garippo, who prosecuted the case. Lombardo walked out a free man. His fellow mobsters walked too, after a jury acquitted them.

Lombardo's antics would be only his first of many public displays.

After he was arrested in 1980 for leading police on a chase, he left the courthouse one day, past the press corps, hidden behind a newspaper with a peephole cut out for his eyes. He was tripped up, though, as he went through the revolving door.

When Lombardo got out of prison in 1992, the FBI in Chicago began getting strange phone calls from a man identifying himself as Long John Silver. The caller would let agents know when he was going to call through newspaper ads.

The caller provided good info about the Outfit's hierarchy but was anxious to steer agents away from one person -- Lombardo's son, Joseph Jr., whom agents were investigating but never charged. Agents traced the calls as coming from pay phones near Lombardo's home, sources said.

The phone calls never amounted to much, and the agents never proved they were coming from Lombardo. But there was a tantalizing clue. Flip the initials for Long John: you get J and L. Short for Joseph Lombardo? Lombardo could pull that stunt, agents figured.

To get into the Chicago Outfit as a made member -- to have the full rights of membership -- a candidate must murder for the mob. Lombardo's qualifying kill was allegedly the 1965 hit of mob associate and hotel owner Manny Skar, according to court records. Lombardo allegedly shadowed Skar for two days before Skar was killed as he exited his car to enter his apartment on Lake Shore Drive.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Lombardo was on the move, wearing multiple hats for the Outfit and allegedly signing off on the murders of three close friends.

The first was in 1974 -- the slaying of businessman Daniel Seifert. Seifert ran a fiberglass business in the suburbs and was an unwitting front for Lombardo. Lombardo and Seifert were so close that Lombardo baby-sat Seifert's kids. But when the feds came calling and Seifert decided to cooperate, Lombardo decided his friend had to go, authorities charge. On Sept. 27, 1974, Seifert was gunned down outside his Bensenville factory as his wife and 4-year-old son watched. With Seifert dead, the charges against Lombardo evaporated. Lombardo is charged in connection with Seifert's murder in the Family Secrets case along with racketeering.

The next to go was insurance magnate Allen Dorfman, who went on Hawaii golf vacations with Lombardo. Lombardo was close to Dorfman, a clout-heavy insurance broker. Lombardo and Dorfman allegedly schemed to control the Teamsters' pension funds, which loaned millions to build Vegas casinos. Lombardo would allegedly muscle people for Dorfman.

In one conversation, secretly tape-recorded by the feds, Lombardo spoke to mob lawyer and casino investor Morris Schenker, who wasn't coming up with the money Dorfman believed Schenker owed the Outfit.

"Now, it's getting to the point now where you either s - - - or get off the pot," Lombardo said to Schenker, who was 72 at the time of the 1979 conversation. "If they come back and tell me to give you a message and if you want to defy it, I assure you that you will never reach 73," Lombardo said.

Schenker died of natural causes. Dorfman did not, getting gunned down in 1983 in Lincolnwood after Outfit leaders worried he'd turn stool pigeon.

Three years later, another Lombardo friend, mob killer Anthony Spilotro, was beaten to death along with his brother, Michael Spilotro. Lombardo allegedly oversaw Spilotro, who was the Outfit's man in Las Vegas. The Spilotros and Lombardo were close. Their families came over on the same boat from Italy.

In the end, though, Anthony Spilotro had to die, Outfit leaders decided. He was causing too much heat in Vegas, including taking out a contract on an FBI agent.

The Spilotro brothers were lured to a Bensenville area home on the ruse they were getting promotions. Instead, when they went down to the basement, several mobsters surrounded them and beat them to death. They were buried in an Indiana cornfield.

In recent years, Lombardo has kept a low profile. He has been seen hanging out more at the Italian restaurant La Scarola than with other mobsters.

His defense -- unique but possibly workable -- is that he has moved away from the mob life.

In short, he's retired.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir


Friday, January 21, 1983

Prior to Mob Hit, Allen Dorfman Built Financial Empire through Teamsters #Solidarity

Allen M. Dorfman, the Chicago insurance executive who was slain yesterday in a hotel parking lot near Chicago, built a huge financial empire through close associations with leaders of the teamster's union that began more than 30 years ago.

Mr. Dorfman, who was 59 years old, went into the insurance business in 1949 to handle the health and welfare funds of one of the major branches of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Over the years he received millions in fees and commissions from the union.

His empire included insurance companies, condominium developments, resorts and other projects, and he had homes in suburban Chicago and Wisconsin, Florida and California.

Mr. Dorfman was convicted last month, along with the president of the teamsters' union, Roy L. Williams, and three others on Federal charges of conspiring to bribe Senator Howard W. Cannon, Democrat of Nevada, to delay or defeat a bill to deregulate rates for trucking freight. The measure eventually passed. Senator Cannon was not indicted in the case.

Mr. Dorfman had been free, pending sentencing, on a $5 million bond. He faced a maximum sentence of 55 years and a fine of $29,000. Forty Federal agents worked on the case for 14 months and recorded more than 2,000 reels of conversations. The operation was described by Federal investigators as the most elaborate in the history of electronic surveillance.

The Federal authorities named the multimillion-dollar effort Operation Pendorf, for Penetrate Dorfman, and said they hoped to prove links between Mr. Dorfman, the teamsters' pension fund and crime figures in Chicago and Las Vegas, Nev.

Mr. Dorfman had been a subject of extensive scrutiny by Federal agencies for at least 10 years. In 1972 he was convicted on a Federal charge of conspiring to facilitate a loan from the teamsters' Central States Pension Fund in return for a kickback of $55,000 and served nine months in jail.

Mr. Dorfman was indicted in three other cases, including one involving organized crime figures and a loan from the pension fund, but he was acquitted in each.

After his conviction in 1972, Mr. Dorfman was forced to relinquish his official relationship with the pension fund. However, through insurance companies that he controlled in Chicago, he continued to insure some of the fund's borrowers and also to process claims for the union's related health and welfare fund.

Mr. Dorfman was introduced in 1949 to James R. Hoffa, who later became the teamster president and subsequently disappeared in 1975. The introduction was made by Mr. Dorfman's stepfather, Paul (Red) Dorfman, a former prizefighter, associate of Al Capone and the head of Waste Handlers Union Local 20467 in Chicago.

At that time Mr. Hoffa was attempting to expand his base from Detroit. He reportedly turned to Paul Dorfman and his crime connections for assistance in Chicago.

In return, Mr. Hoffa saw to it that the teamsters' insurance business that he controlled went to a company that had been newly set up by Allen Dorfman and his mother, Rose.

Mr. Hoffa developed a close relationship with Paul and Allen Dorfman. Eventually, Mr. Hoffa and Allen Dorfman became partners in several businesses, including an oil property in North Dakota, a Wisconsin resort, an Ohio race track and a New York real-estate concern.

In the 1950's alone, according to Robert F. Kennedy, who later became United States Attorney General, Mr. Dorfman's insurance agency handled the premiums on nearly $100 million in teamsters' business. By 1978 Mr. Dorfman was getting $6.1 million a year for handling health and welfare alone.

Over the decade Mr. Hoffa ran the union, ending in 1967, when he went to prison for jury tampering and stealing union funds, Mr. Dorfman was regarded as the second most powerful man associated with the teamsters; he was said to have maintained that position when Frank E. Fitzsimmons took over from Mr. Hoffa in 1967.

When Mr. Hoffa went to prison, he was quoted as saying, ''When Dorfman speaks, he speaks for me.'' Mr. Dorfman graduated from Marshall High School on the West Side of Chicago. He attended the University of Illinois, but dropped out to enlist in the Marines and won a silver star at the battle of Iwo Jima.

Immediately before he started his first insurance company with his mother, he had been teaching physical education at the university. Five years later the teamsters' insurance business had made him a millionaire.

In addition his mother, Mr. Dorfman's survivors include his wife, Lynn;, three sons, James, Michael and David, and a daughter, Kim.

Thanks to Joseph B. Treaster

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Operation Family Secrets