The Chicago Syndicate: Anthony Doyle

Extra 25% Off Fall Favorites

Colsen Fire Pits!

Colsen Fire Pits
Showing posts with label Anthony Doyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anthony Doyle. Show all posts

Friday, February 22, 2008

Family Secrets Mob Prosecutor Succumbs to Cancer

It may seem an odd compliment, but there is perhaps no better praise for the work Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars did than how mobsters referred to him.

"That (expletive) Mitch Mars," is what crooked Chicago cop Anthony Doyle called him on tape recordings he didn't know were being made.

"That is a real testament to the guy," said Markus Funk, one of Mars' co-prosecutors in the Family Secrets trial, which put Doyle and other mobsters away in September.

Over and over, said Funk, on wiretaps and prison eavesdropping recordings, the bad guys had one concern: what did Mitch Mars know and how close was he getting?

More often than not, Mars knew a lot about the Chicago Outfit and was very close.

In September, he got closer than many mobsters ever dreamed he would: convicting mob leaders James Marcello, Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese and others on racketeering charges stemming from murders that were, in some cases, decades old.

It was a fitting exclamation point on the career of Mars, the chief of the organized crime section of the U.S. attorney's office.

Mars died of lung cancer Tuesday night. He was 55.

He had battled crime since 1978, when he joined the U.S. Justice Department. He arrived in Chicago in 1980 and joined the U.S. attorney's office in 1990 when it merged with the Justice Department's organized crime strike force.

Family Secrets was but the last hurrah in a long line of prosecutions. He also helped put away Cicero mayor Betty Loren-Maltese, Chicago Heights mob boss Albert Tocco and several others along the way.

"But we would do a disservice to remember Mitch only by what he accomplished as a prosecutor in the courtroom," said Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, in a prepared statement.

"He is a complete gentleman," said Susan Shatz, one of the lawyers who represented Lombardo in the trial. "I hold him in the highest regard.

While Mars was all business in the courtroom, those who knew him outside of it said he was easygoing and a prankster.

After months of trial and working late nights and weekends, Shatz and Mars were forever calling one another, Shatz said.

On the last day of trial, Shatz arranged with Mars' wife, Jennifer, to have Jennifer wait until Mars wound down that evening and then ask him if he had remembered to call Shatz.

Mars apparently enjoyed the joke enough to return the favor, calling Shatz that night on her office phone, demanding trial papers in a mock-annoyed voice.

"I have not taken his message off my voicemail since then," said Shatz, who said she kept it when she learned Mars was sick.

Mars discovered his cancer shortly after the trial and took a leave of absence to spend time with his family.

He is survived by his wife, his mother, Constance, his sister, Deborah Berkos, his brother, Jeffrey, an uncle Raymond Oster and several other aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Visitation is Friday from 3-9 p.m. at Damar Kaminski Funeral Home, 7861 S. 88th Avenue in Justice. A funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Cletus, 600 W. 55th St. in LaGrange.

Thanks to Rob Olmstead

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ex-Cop Doyle, Denied Bail

federal judge turned down a request for bail Wednesday from a retired police officer convicted along with four alleged mobsters at Chicago's Family Secrets racketeering conspiracy trial.

"I believe the evidence at trial has shown that he is a danger to the community," said U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who presided over Chicago's biggest mob trial in years, aimed at leaders of organized crime.

Anthony Doyle, 62, a former Chicago police officer, is being held in federal custody pending sentencing for taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that included gambling, loan sharking, extortion and murder.Anthony Doyle, 62, a former Chicago police officer, is being held in federal custody pending sentencing for taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that included gambling, loan sharking, extortion and murder.

Doyle himself was not accused of murdering anyone, although the jury found that three other defendants were directly responsible for mob hits.

In his five-page order, Zagel said that Doyle had shown a strong loyalty to convicted loan shark and hit man Frank Calabrese Sr., 70, who could be sentenced to life in prison for his part in assorted mob murders.

"The evidence showed that Mr. Calabrese Sr. is an advocate and practitioner of lethal violence and that he does not hesitate to enlist others to do his violence," Zagel said. "In addition, Mr. Calabrese displayed a profound lack of control of his own emotions at trial."

Zagel said that he had "no doubt that Frank Calabrese Sr. would be willing to take steps against those who testified against him (most of whom are not under federal protection), even if it was against his interest to do so." He said that even though Doyle and Calabrese are barred from direct communication, they might communicate indirectly. "The risk that defendant Doyle would attempt to assist Frank Calabrese Sr. is too high to be disregarded," Zagel said.

He also said Doyle is desperate because he may soon lose his police pension and will leave a sick wife behind when he goes to prison. He said that could prompt him to "do desperate things."

"He is a man skilled in the ways of crime and criminals," Zagel said.

Convicted in the case along with Doyle and Calabrese were James Marcello, 65, Paul Schiro, 70, and Joseph (Joey the Clown) Lombardo, 78.

Thanks to CBS2

Monday, October 01, 2007

All-Star FBI Team Responds to Letter and Puts Its Stamp on Chicago Outfit

The letter that spilled the Outfit's Family Secrets arrived at the Chicago offices of the FBI in November 1998.

It was addressed to now-retired FBI supervisor Tom Bourgeois, who was then the organized crime section chief. It was from Outfit prince Frank Calabrese Jr., serving a prison sentence in Milan, Mich.

Junior offered to implicate his father, Frank Sr., and uncle Nick in the unsolved murder of Outfit hit man John Fecarotta.

"It came in the mail. I couldn't believe it," Bourgeois told me last week during an interview with current FBI agents at the FBI's expansive new headquarters on the West Side. "We went to Frank to authenticate what he told us in the letter. And then we formulated a strategy on how we were going to approach this case. Strategy was the most important part here."

The recently concluded Family Secrets case took agents countless hours transcribing and decoding prison-house code, in which, for example "Zhivago" meant the two murdered Spilotro brothers buried in a cornfield. It also sent them reinvestigating cold Outfit hits from 30 years ago.

"It's hard to explain to the public how much work is involved," said James Wagner, president of the Chicago Crime Commission and a former FBI supervisor, who trained several of the agents. "You have to sit and transcribe those conversations in paper format, and that takes days and days of work right there, a mountain of paperwork," Wagner said. "And go back and find old witnesses."

Family Secrets began long before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There were two FBI squads working the Chicago Outfit then. One was working the Calabrese end, the family that ran the Chinatown crew through gambling, loan-sharking, extortion and murder. But there was another FBI squad focusing on mob-boss heir apparent Jimmy Marcello of the western suburbs, who was preparing to get out of prison and run things the Chicago way.

Both squads folded into one after 9/11. Though resources were shifted toward terrorism, the Chicago FBI kept some of its top people on the Family Secrets case that many of you have been reading about this summer.

This weekend, thousands of words and hours of video will be devoted to great sports plays, the stupendous touchdowns and home runs, and all that pressure on the necks of the Cubs and Bears, professional athletes whose names are known to millions.

FBI agents on Family Secrets aren't on baseball cards. Their names are not known. Yet they're a team more important than a bunch of ballplayers.

The lead case agent was Mike Maseth, who knew relatively little about the Outfit when he was assigned the Calabrese case at its beginning. He spent nine straight determined years working the case and countless hours with Nick Calabrese after he flipped him. And agent Anita Stamat, working on the Marcello angle, decoded the Outfit dialect with the help of Ted McNamara, the FBI's walking Outfit encyclopedia. Veteran John Mallul was the supervisor with the institutional memory who took over when Bourgeois retired.

"Ted McNamara was the mastermind with the code," Stamat said. "He's worked organized crime for 15 years. He helped guide us through the context of the prison conversations. We were recording them in the visiting room. There could be 200 people there, having their own conversations, and sometimes, Marcello would say, 'Cover your mouth,' to his brother Michael, thinking we were reading lips."

They didn't have to read lips, because they were listening and taping.

Other agents include Luigi Mondini, Chris Mackey, Christopher Smith, Tracy Balinao, Andrew Hickey, Mark Gutknecht, Dana DePooter, Trisha Holt and Tim Keese. And from the Internal Revenue Service, there were Bill Paulin, Laura Shimkus and Mike Welch.

You might not know their names, but mention Maseth or Stamat or Mallul or McNamara or the others around wise guys, and their faces freeze. The officials say is the new reputed Chinatown boss, Frank "Toots" Caruso, wouldn't be afraid of an NFL linebacker, but he'd tighten up if Ted McNamara came by for a pork chop sandwich at the Caruso polish sausage stand on 31st Street in Bridgeport.

Outfit bosses Joseph "the Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr. and Marcello will probably spend the rest of their lives in prison as a result of the case, and Paul "the Indian" Schiro might die inside too. The youngest person convicted in the Family Secrets trial is Anthony "Twan" Doyle, 62, not a boss but a Chicago cop who spilled police secrets about the Fecarotta murder to the Outfit.

Once the FBI flipped Nick Calabrese and began decoding the prison talk of his brother Frank and of Marcello, the case mushroomed. One phase is done. Other cases are being developed as you read this. "I feel this is what the FBI does best," Mallul said, "good old-fashioned police work and investigations, combined with fortuitous events that align themselves."

Like a mob princeling sending a letter to the FBI.

Thanks to John Kass

$5 Off Discount Coupon Code for, Inc.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Smaller Christmas Tree for Chicago Outfit

While under investigation in 2001, mob boss Frank Calabrese Sr. was captured on tape predicting what the Chicago Outfit's future might look like, describing the crime syndicate in coded language as, of all things, a Christmas tree.

"It's gonna be a smaller Christmas tree that's gonna have the loyalty that once was there," Calabrese, then in prison for loan-sharking, said on the undercover recording. "And the, the big Christmas tree ... it'll never hold up. It's gonna fall. Watch it," he said.

Thanks in part to Calabrese's own recorded words, the Christmas tree tumbled last week as the Family Secrets jury found three Outfit figures responsible for 10 of 18 gangland slayings. Earlier this month, the same jury convicted the three as well as two others on racketeering conspiracy charges.

As a result, Calabrese, 70, a feared hit man blamed by the jury for seven of the murders; James Marcello, 65, identified by the FBI in 2005 as the head of the Chicago Outfit; and legendary mob boss Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, 78, face the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in prison. But as sweeping as the case was -- resolving some of the most notorious mob murders in modern Chicago history -- organized-crime experts say the Family Secrets prosecution won't derail an entrenched Outfit that dates to Al Capone.

After the trial Thursday, Robert Grant, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office, said the Outfit remains a priority because of its propensity for violence and corruption. "They're much like a cancer," Grant said. "Organized crime, if not monitored and prosecuted, can grow, can corrupt police departments, can corrupt public officials."

"We have dozens of open investigations," John Mallul, supervisor of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago, said in an interview.

Calabrese's prison musings about a slimmer but more focused mob appear to be on the mark, the experts said.

Law enforcement officials and the Chicago Crime Commission say the mob is now run in northern and southern sections, with street crews consolidated from six geographical areas to four: Elmwood Park, 26th Street, Cicero and Grand Avenue. Mallul estimates the Outfit has about 30 "made" members and a little more than 100 associates.

Although the mob may be smaller and more tightly controlled, it remains a force with an ability to deliver its trademark illicit services as always, the FBI and experts said.

The mob continues to push its way into legitimate businesses and infiltrate labor unions, offer gambling and high-interest "juice loans," as well as extort "street taxes" from businesses, Mallul said. "In a lot of ways, it's still the same rackets -- 50 years ago, 25 years ago and today," Mallul said.

The Outfit still controls dozens of bookies who rake in millions of dollars a year in the Chicago area, he said, giving the mob its working capital for juice loans and other ventures.

"Sports bookmaking is still a huge moneymaker for them," Mallul said. "On the low end, that can include parlay cards in a tavern all the way up to players betting $5,000 or $10,000 or more a game across the board on a weekend."

James Wagner, head of Chicago Crime Commission, said his organization's intelligence from law enforcement sources indicates Joseph "the Builder" Andriacchi controls the north while Al "the Pizza Man" Tornabene runs the south.

Wagner, a former longtime FBI organized crime supervisor, said the Caruso family runs the 26th Street crew, Andriacchi leads the Elmwood Park crew, Tony Zizzo controlled the Cicero crew until he disappeared a year ago and Lombardo still held influence over the Grand Avenue crew before his arrest.

Authorities believe John "No Nose" DiFronzo also continues to play a prominent role for the mob. His name came up repeatedly in the Family Secrets trial as an Outfit leader, sometimes under another nickname, "Johnny Bananas."

Neither Andriacchi, Tornabene nor DiFronzo has been charged in connection with the Family Secrets investigation. None returned calls seeking comment. An attorney who has represented DiFronzo in the past declined to comment. Wagner said all three reputedly rose in the ranks of the Outfit through cartage theft and juice-loan operations and have since moved into legitimate businesses.

Authorities have said Andriacchi earned his nickname through his connections in the construction business. In the undercover prison recordings, Calabrese identified Andriacchi as the boss of the Elmwood Park crew.

DiFronzo has long had a reputation as a car expert who attended auctions and worked at dealerships, Wagner said. He was convicted of racketeering in the early 1990s for trying to infiltrate an Indian casino in California. He also had connections to waste hauling, Wagner said.

Tornabene, believed by some to be the Outfit's current elder boss, earned his nickname from his family's ownership of a suburban pizza restaurant, authorities said. Law enforcement has recently observed Tornabene, who is well into his 80s, being taken to "business" meetings at his doctor's office, Wagner said.

"Many of these guys are obviously trying to stay out of the limelight as much as they can," he said.

The Family Secrets convictions could further embolden prosecutors in their assault on the Outfit. The verdicts appear to vindicate Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, one of the most significant mob turncoats in Chicago history, who provided crucial testimony on many of the gangland slayings.

His testimony could still spell trouble for DiFronzo and others he named in wrongdoing but who were not indicted, said John Binder, a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and mob researcher who wrote the 2003 book, "The Chicago Outfit."

Calabrese testified that DiFronzo was among the dozen men or more who fatally beat Anthony Spilotro, the mob's Las Vegas chieftain, and his brother Michael in 1986.

"This trial showed how many of these guys had jobs where they worked for the city or at McCormick Place," Wagner said. "When you look at the number that have been connected to the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Water Department, it's hard to explain without the idea of clout being a factor."

In addition, a former Chicago police officer, Anthony "Twan" Doyle, was convicted of leaking inside information to the mob about the then-covert Family Secrets investigation.

"It's a problem Chicago has preferred to ignore," Wagner said.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Upholding the Legacy of Al Capone

To me the Chicago Outfit has always meant a Bears shirt and some loud sweatpants.

That's how little I've followed our neighboring city's organized crime syndicate until this week's verdict nailing five of its aging leaders and associates.

It's like "The Sopranos" episode that Tony hoped would never come. Tough guys with colorful nicknames were dragged into court by the feds to answer to charges of racketeering, illegal gambling, extortion, obstructing justice and 18 murders dating back to 1970. The jury returned guilty verdicts on the other counts but has yet to decide on the murder charges.

A panel of 12 peers, if that word can apply to a mobster trial, convicted James Marcello, 65, said to run the Outfit; Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78; Paul "the Indian" Schiro, 70; Frank Calabrese Sr., 70; and Anthony "Twan" Doyle, 62, a former Chicago cop.

The summer-long trial followed an investigation code-named Operation Family Secrets because two star witnesses were the brother and son of accused hit man Calabrese, who shouted, "Them are lies!" as the prosecutor told the jury he had left a trail of bodies.

Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, who pleaded guilty, said he peed his pants in fear as they dug a shallow grave for one victim. And he recalled that "Strangers in the Night" was playing on the jukebox at the restaurant where one guy was whacked.

There was plenty of mob-speak about high interest "juice loans" and grownup bullies collecting "street taxes" from fearful merchants. The jury saw surveillance photos and listened to tape recordings made in secret. They heard about "made" guys and "capos," bookies and henchmen. There was even talk of a severed puppy head and a dead rat being left to get someone's attention.

Wisconsin, long a vacationland for gangsters, got only brief attention at the trial. The Outfit buried a few hundred thou in cash up here but found it soaked and smelly when they dug it up.

Calabrese's lawyer tried to put a wholesome sheen on his client by saying he might as well be "a cheese salesman from Wisconsin."

One old-time Outfit figure mentioned at the trial was Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio. According to the Journal Sentinel archives, he oversaw organized crime activity in Milwaukee for his Chicago bosses in the 1950s and 1960s. He died in 1971.

Much better remembered here, of course, are the Balistrieris - dad Frank P. and sons Joe and John. They lacked a cool name like the Outfit, but they were the faces of our reputed Milwaukee mob. All three went to prison in the 1980s but were later released. Frank died in 1993, and his sons still live quietly here in town.

The FBI in Milwaukee has an organized crime detail, but these days they spend more time on groups from Eastern Europe and Asia, and street gangs.

"We don't see the Italian organized crime as being a large threat in the Milwaukee area," said special agent Doug Porrini. "There just haven't been any cases since the Balistrieris," Milwaukee U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic added.

That's OK, we don't miss it. The level of disorganized crime here is bad enough.

The U.S. Department of Justice in Chicago admitted that this prosecution wounded the Outfit but did not kill it. As these men go off to prison, new leaders will step in.

It just wouldn't be Chicago without someone upholding the legacy of Al Capone.

Thanks to Jim Stingl

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Hulking Figure Called "Twan"

"Twan" -that is the nickname for Anthony Doyle, a retired Chicago police officer who was convicted this week in the operation Family Secrets mob trial. He's the only one of the five defendants not accused of murder.

One of the Chicago mob's worst-kept secrets is corruption, greasing politicians and police to keep organized crime rackets in operation. Among the five men convicted this week of racketeering: Anthony Doyle, a Chicago cop for 21 years. The man they call Twan was the outfit's man in blue.

Sixty-two-year old Doyle is a hulking figure, whose rigid jaw line helps carve an imposing presence. Doyle is a longtime friend and associate of Chicago Outfit boss Frank Calabrese, who was responsible for at least 13 gangland murders, according to federal prosecutors.

Numerous times in 1999, Calabrese paid for Doyle to come to a federal prison in southeastern Michigan. Doyle discussed Chicago mob business with Calabrese, who is known as Frank "the Breeze." Neither man knew the FBI was secretly taping the meetings.

The visits alone violated Chicago police rules that prohibit associating with felons. And when Doyle gave Calabrese information he'd requested about a police murder investigation, straight from a department evidence computer, that was also criminal.

Investigators believe that Doyle sensed Chicago police were on to his relationship with Calabrese and that Doyle tendered his resignation from the police department in 2001 before a federal grand jury could indict him. That way, Doyle was able to receive his Chicago police pension of $2,800 a month, or $34,000 a year.

Since retiring, Doyle has collected nearly $200,000 in pension payments from the city. The director of the police pension board wrote in a letter to ABC7 that they are aware of Doyle's conviction and plan to address the forfeiture of his pension once he is sentenced. A sentencing date has not been set.

Doyle began his defense last June with a trash bin, his lawyers demonstrating for the jury that he started as a city sanitation worker and made it to the police force.

His birth name is actually Passafume, which is Italian. But when he decided to join the Chicago police force, which is historically Irish, he became Anthony Doyle. His police records list him as "Irish/Italian." But through the ethnic transformation, his nickname stayed the same: Twan.

A twan is a popular Chinese doughnut. Literally translated, it means "rice glog." Of course, police are known to be fond of their doughnuts, and Officer Doyle grew up in a section of Chinatown where twans are sold.

On Wednesday in federal court, Doyle asked to be freed on bond until sentencing, offering to post his home in Arizona; his daughter's home and the homes of two retired Chicago policemen as bond.

Judge James Zagel is considering bond but in court questioned Doyle's judgment and did not seem inclined to let him out until sentencing.

Doyle is the only mob defendant not accused of murder.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Cafe Belmondo, LLC

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Judge Profoundly Unimpressed with Retired Cop at Mob Trial

The judge who presided over Chicago's biggest mob trial in years expressed doubts today about setting bail for a retired police officer convicted in the case, saying his testimony was unbelievable.

Defendant Anthony Doyle's testimony on the witness stand was so hard to believe it brought his sound judgment into question, U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said. "What he was saying was profoundly unimpressive," Zagel said.

He said Doyle might flee to avoid prison if he was released, mistakenly assuming his daughter and several former police officers would not forfeit the homes they have offered as security for any bond. But Zagel agreed to take the bail request under consideration.

Doyle claims his sick wife needs him to be with her. The decorated former police officer appeared in court today in the bright orange jumpsuit of a federal prisoner for the first time as his attorney, Ralph E. Meczyk, pleaded with the judge to free him on bond.

Doyle, 62, was among five defendants convicted Monday of a racketeering conspiracy involving illegal gambling, extortion, loan sharking and 18 long-unsolved mob murders.

He was the only defendant not accused of involvement in a murder and the only one free on bond; the others have been in federal custody for more than a year. Doyle was taken into custody only after the jury's verdict was announced.

A major part of the prosecution's case were tapes secretly made by the FBI at a federal prison in Milan, Mich., where Doyle visited Frank Calabrese Sr., a convicted loan shark who also was found guilty Monday. On the tapes, Calabrese allegedly discussed mob business.

Prosecutors maintain the tall, broad-shouldered Doyle was a loan collector for Calabrese while also working as a Chicago police officer.

Doyle testified he went to the prison not to discuss business but merely to visit a friend. He said he didn't understand much of what Calabrese was telling him and considered it "mind-boggling gibberish."

No date has been set for sentencing. A jury was deliberating Wednesday whether the four other defendants should be held responsible for specific murders outlined in the indictment, which would qualify them for life sentences.

Racketeering conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, although prosecutors estimated that the recommended sentence for Doyle under federal sentencing guidelines would be 12 to 15 years.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Police Tactical Gear from Brigade Quartermasters, Ltd.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Playing Dumb is Wrong Prescription on Witness Stand

Anthony (Passafiume) Doyle, the hulking former Chicago cop tied to the Chicago Outfit, doesn't look like a guy who takes many beatings.

Known as "Twan" on the street, Doyle looks more like a guy who gives them for free. But he needed a doctor after the beating he took on the witness stand Thursday in the Family Secrets Outfit trial.

After a severe cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk, Doyle looked flat and gray, like the pork chops in the sandwiches at the Maxwell Street Polish stand on 31st Street byda viaduct.

Twan looked like he needed a doctor.

So I drove over after testimony was done, for a pork-chop sandwich, to the doctors office there, to see if Dr. Frank "Toots" Caruso would make a house call and tend to his lifelong friend.

Federal authorities consider Caruso, a former labor leader ousted from his union for crime connections, to be a major street boss in the Outfit. Funk kept referring to him in open court as "The Doctor," which he said was Outfit code, in the tape recordings from the federal prison in Milan, Mich., where Doyle visited Chinatown loan shark Frank Calabrese.

Prosecutors say Calabrese wanted the doctor to make a visit, to tend to sickly friends who might talk to the feds.

Since I was hungry, and Doyle appeared in need of doctorly advice, there was only one place to go. This doctor's office smelled of onions and grilled meat, which is nicer than antiseptics.

Is Dr. Toots here? Where's Dr. Toots?

"Toots no here," said the grill man through the window.

So I left my office number and ordered two pork-chop sandwiches, or sangwiches as they are called, one for me and one for my trusty colleague, the Polish Spartacus.

Light on the onions, I said. "I'll take mine regular," Spartacus said.

We stood outside, eating our tasty sangwiches at the counter on the sidewalk, reflecting on the testimony and anticipating walking across the street for a fine cigar.

Doyle's testimony had been rather predictable. He didn't know nothing. He didn't know why he used code words so easily that he appeared quite fluent in the obscure Chinatown dialect of the Outfit language.

It's not Chinese. It's not classic Italian. It's Chitalian.

On tape, Doyle and Frank Calabrese spoke of "doctors" (Caruso) and "purses" (bloody gloves sought by the FBI) and "sisters" (gangsters) and "sickly sisters" (guys who might testify against the Outfit) and the "family" (you know) and so on.

It sure sounded incriminating, but Doyle had a reason. He testified that he played along with the Calabrese code he called "gibberish" and "mumbo jumbo" because he didn't want to look stupid. So he kept talking, incriminating himself into a federal charge that as a cop in the police evidence section, he warned Outfit bosses that the FBI was looking for a bloody glove that would frighten "sickly sisters." At least, that's his theory.

"I gave him lip service," Doyle said. "I didn't know what he was talking about. I don't wanna look like a chumbolone, an idiot, stupid," Doyle said from the witness stand.

There is a tasty Sicilian Easter cake called ciambellone, but Twan doesn't look like a tasty Easter cake. He looks more like the guy you never want to meet in a parking lot at night.

He was especially upset that prosecutors dropped the portion of the tape on him where he keeps referring to "the doctor." He didn't want to be a chumbolone about "the doctor" either, but that put him in a bind with prosecutor Funk.

"I never heard of a name called 'doctor,'" Doyle said of Caruso. "And I've known him my entire life!"

He denied this, he denied that, and if I hadn't been reading the transcripts and watching the tapes along with the jury, I'd have believed him. Perhaps they do believe him.

Outside the federal building, Hollywood producers were filming another exciting Batman movie -- this one about Batman fighting the Chicago Outfit.

The streets were crowded with extras and trucks, and production crew members told me that the big trucks with the equipment belonged to "Movies in Motion," the company founded by William Galioto, another former Chicago cop and brother-in-law of Jimmy Marcello, one of the other Outfit bosses on trial in Family Secrets.

They must think we're chumbolones. We reflected on this, walking across the street to the cigar shop, hoping to find Dr. Toots enjoying a stogie. We had two fine cigars ourselves, but the Doctor wasn't in.

Three Chicago Police detectives were inside, smoking cigars, resting their paws on their guns on their belts.

How's crime? "It always goes down when it rains," said one detective, and everybody laughed.

The TV was on, with a rerun of a M*A*S*H episode, and Col. Sherman T. Potter was speaking kindly, giving fatherly advice. I wonder if Dr. Toots would give his friend Twan that same medicine.

Thanks to John Kass

Former Chicago Cop Admits to Disgracing Badge while Moonlighting for the Mob

In the Operation Family Secrets mob trial today, a Chicago Police officer admitted that he had a year's-long relationship with top ranking members of the Chicago outfit.

Former Chicago cop Anthony Doyle is one of the five men charged with outfit crimes in Operation Family Secrets. While many Chicago Police officers moonlight to supplement their city salaries, federal prosecutors say Doyle's side job was with the outfit as a loan shark and an informant, that he gave mob bosses inside police department information about evidence in a gangland murder.

Former Chicago policeman Anthony Doyle arrived for court knowing that today's cross-examination by federal prosecutors would be out to make him look like a "chumbalone." That is an Italian slang word for idiot, or dummy, and on the witness stand this afternoon was the word that Doyle himself used to describe his motivation for the tough-guy conversations he was recorded having with Chicago outfit bosses.

The jury has seen and heard the FBI surveillance tapes of Officer Doyle meeting with mob rackets boss Frank Calabrese Senior while Calabrese was serving time for extortion at the federal prison in Milan, Michigan.

Prosecutors say that Officer Doyle provided Calabrese information about police evidence in the 1986 mob hit on John Fecarota, a killing carried out by Calabrese's brother Nick. At the time, Officer Doyle was working in the police evidence section.

Doyle today said his conversations with Calabrese during prison visits were: "mind-boggling gibberish. I don't know what's being talked about."

Then he claimed that he was just giving Calabrese "lip service...I don't want to look like a chumbalone," said Doyle, who is of Italian heritage but changed his last name to the Irish Doyle when he took the police exam.

Doyle tried to explain why he visited a mob boss in prison when police rules prohibit such contacts with felons.

"You knew Frank Calabrese Senior was an outfit boss. Didn't you?" asked prosecutor T. Marcus Funk.

"No sir," replied Doyle. "I knew him as a loan shark and bookmaker for the Chicago outfit."

Then later in the day, Funk asked him: "You knew that Mr. Calabrese was an outfit man when you visited him in prison, didn't you?"

Doyle, backed into a corner, admitted "Yes, sir" he knew the obvious.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Friday, August 24, 2007

Third Defendant Testifies at Mob Trial

Former Chicago police officer Anthony Doyle took the stand Wednesday to deny he ever helped the mob by passing along sensitive information about a mob murder.

Doyle, who was born Anthony Passafiume, is accused of using his position as an officer in the evidence room of the Chicago Police Department to check on the status of blood-soaked gloves worn by mobster Nick Calabrese in the slaying of John Fecarotta. What he found, prosecutors allege, is that the gloves had been turned over to FBI investigators, sealing Nick Calabrese's fate and forcing him down the road of mob informant. Feds have Doyle on video and audiotape visiting mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick's brother, in prison. On the tapes, he tells the Calabrese one of the dates in the file on the gloves.

Doyle, being led through testimony by his attorney, Ralph Meczyk, began Wednesday to try to explain how that happened.

He is the third defendant in the mob conspiracy case to take the stand in his defense. The other two were Joseph Lombardo of Chicago and Frank Calabrese Sr. of Oak Brook. James Marcello of Lombard and Paul Schiro of Arizona are not expected to testify.

Doyle maintained that he knew Frank Calabrese Sr. since he was a young man and met him growing up. The two began an association based on a mutual love of athletics, Doyle said. Doyle hadn't seen Frank Calabrese Sr. for years when he began visiting a federal penitentiary in Milan, Mich., where another friend of Doyle's was incarcerated.

Doyle, apparently in an attempt to show he wasn't hiding anything in the visits, testified he had to fill out an application with the Bureau of Prisons, listing his employer, in order to visit.

Doyle's incarcerated friend mentioned his visit to Frank Calabrese Sr., who passed along word that he wanted to see his old friend, Doyle testified. "He'd (Calabrese) been my friend since I was a young boy. I thought maybe he was in need of a friend … so I agreed to go up and visit him in Milan," Doyle said.

Calabrese Sr. arranged for him to drive up with Mike Ricci, another former police officer indicted in the case. Ricci died of natural causes before trial.

Once at the prison, Doyle said, Calabrese Sr. and Ricci began speaking in a confusing lingo he didn't understand. "He spoke now more in some sort of a mind-boggling code," Doyle testified. But Meczyk didn't ask why Doyle never asked the two why they were speaking in code or what it meant.

Instead, he steered Doyle toward recalling why he looked up information on the gloves. Ricci, a fellow cop, had called and asked him for the information, Doyle testified. And why, then, did Doyle relay a date from the file to Calabrese, Sr. on a separate visit, Meczyk asked.

Ricci, Doyle claimed, asked Doyle to, saying Ricci had told Calabrese, Sr. once, but Calabrese Sr. believed Ricci was senile.

Meczyk will continue his questioning of Doyle today, and then prosecutors will cross-examine him.

Thanks to Rob Olmstead

Family Secrets Doctor is No McDreamy

"She's gotta get blood work, she's gotta get this before she sees the doctor."

"Oh, all right."

That's not some heated exchange on "House," because the doctor in this show isn't the sarcastic fellow with the cane on TV. And it's not "Grey's Anatomy" either, another doctor show favored by female viewers, where the male lead is nicknamed Dr. McDreamy by the steamy female staff.

No one would say the doctor referenced above is Dr. McDreamy. You wouldn't call him that. The Doctor McDreamy in "Grey's Anatomy" is a pretty boy. He would never sell pork chop sangwiches on 31st Street in the 11th Ward.

"The Doctor" is Outfit code in the historic Family Secrets federal criminal case against the Chicago mob. There've been so many nicknames lately, even I can't keep them straight, and neither can the witnesses.

Unlike other doctors, this one wasn't board certified. Law enforcement officials say he got his trauma license from Joe the Builder and from some guy named Johnny Bananas.

We'll hear more about the doctor in court on Thursday. He'll be identified as a certain Dr. Toots, who practices everywhere he wishes, when the exchange about the doctor and blood work will be played along with other FBI recordings.

The star of Thursday's show will be Anthony "Twan" Doyle, the former Chicago police officer and 11th Ward Democratic precinct captain who worked in the evidence room of the Chicago Police Department. He'll be cross-examined by federal prosecutors.

Doyle is accused of warning the Outfit's Chinatown crew that the FBI was seeking a key piece of evidence in the Outfit killing of mobster John Fecarotta. The tapes incriminate him. The key evidence was a glove that was worn by confessed hit man Nicholas Calabrese, the guy I told you about in this column years ago now, when the Family Secrets case began, as Nick slipped into the witness protection program to become the linchpin in this fantastic trial.

Testifying in his own defense Wednesday, Doyle said that he regularly visited Calabrese's brother and co-defendant, Chinatown no-neck Frank Calabrese Sr., in the federal prison in Milan, Mich. He felt sorry for Frank, who had family problems, and who helped him develop big muscles as a lad.

Doyle testified he'd drive up to prison with another of Chicago law enforcement's finest -- the late Michael Ricci -- a homicide detective who changed jobs to run the sensitive Cook County sheriff's home-monitoring program.

Who was it that said good government is good politics? It was probably some 11th Warder who knew how to find Chinatown.

On Wednesday, Doyle testified he suffered through these prison visits with Frank Calabrese, fetching sangwiches, listening to nonsensical coded talk he said he couldn't understand, for hour after hour, nodding dumbly but politely during the yapping about doctors and sisters and missing purses and "Scarpe Grande" finding those purses.

Scarpe Grande means "Big Shoes," Chinatown code for the FBI, and, you may have noticed, it's not Chinese. And "purses" probably means evidence.

Ralph Meczyk, Doyle's attorney, asked Doyle if he felt relieved once these prison visits were done. "I felt like I was paroled," Doyle told the jury. "Sitting in that chair, listening to gibberish I couldn't understand."

He sighed, seeking sympathy, a large man with muscles at 62, with a face like a stone and his voice a heavy door with old hinges. Doyle is not the Officer Friendly you would ask for directions for a pork chop sangwich. But he denied ever collecting juice loans for the Outfit, and insisted he never tipped off the mob about Scarpe Grande seeking the Nick Calabrese bloody glove from the police evidence room in January 1999.

Yet he proudly talked of working for the 11th Ward Democratic Organization, and hopping on the City Hall patronage payroll wagon, first at Streets and San, later running the parking lot at police headquarters and becoming a patrolman.

On Thursday, prosecutors will focus on the Chinatown code to explain their theory that Frank Calabrese was afraid someone close to him might be talking to the feds.

"What they should do is maybe bring her to see a psychiatrist," Calabrese says on tape, speaking of a sick sister, if a sick sister had hairy arms and killed people for money.

"Shock treatment," Doyle says, understanding the prescribed Outfit method to cure Feditis, a malady of the chattering mouth. "Probably needs a good prod."

I don't know how Doyle will deny all this -- and what he says about lead federal prosecutor Mitchell Mars, blaming him for their upset stomachs.

"I said I'll bet you it's that [four letter word]ing Mitch Mars, that's what I think," Doyle tells Calabrese.

"The doctor," says Calabrese.

"The doctor," says Doyle.

I know the doctor from Chinatown isn't McDreamy. But he's got to be mcsteamy right about now.

Thanks to John Kass

Saturday, August 18, 2007

From Eating Oatmeal as a Boy to Earning for the Mob

Chicago Outfit loan shark and accused hit-man Frank Calabrese Sr. didn't have the gall to wear his First Communion suit on the witness stand. It wouldn't have fit, anyway.

Instead he wore a pale sports coat just on the edge of ivory, like an older bride with plenty of miles, still yearning for the white on her big day.

Calabrese testified in his own defense in the "Family Secrets" trial on Thursday, explaining that as a boy, his family was so poor they ate oatmeal most every night, that he had to leave school in the 4th grade to help deliver coal. And, how he grew up with an intense desire to protect the weak against the strong, even when the weak owed him money from his juice loans and couldn't pay him on time.

"I hated bullies and I still hate them today," said the knightly Calabrese, led through his story by crafty defense lawyer Joseph Lopez.

Yet when court resumes Monday, Calabrese will face cross-examination by federal prosecutors, so the jury won't see Sir Frank of Chinatown, but a different Frank, the Frank on federal tape giggling about murders.

The jury will hear about his many alleged victims, dumped into holes like so many goo-goo dolls, those yellow rubber toys of years ago. Put your thumbs on their throats, squeeze hard, and their eyes bug out, the tongues protrude, they make a strange noise, which is the way his brother, Nicholas Calabrese, described the effects of Frank's heavy work in earlier trial testimony.

"Murder? No way. No way," Frank kept telling Lopez, also resplendent in a pink shirt and electric yellow tie, as Lopez directed him through more than two hours of testimony designed to give context to Calabrese's life and have his client repeatedly deny he killed anyone.

Lopez's theory is that Frank's son and his brother Nick conspired to rip off Frank's money and keep him in prison. It's an interesting theory. But on Monday, as those tapes are played, the tapes his son Frank Jr. recorded in prison conversations with his father for the FBI, the theory will have a side effect.

Calabrese's co-defendants -- Joseph Lombardo, Paul Schiro, Anthony Doyle and James Marcello -- will look up and feel the fork in them and know they're done.

Some of my colleagues have been tempted to say that the Chicago Outfit is done, too, but it is not. Today's web was woven long ago, when Paul "The Waiter" Ricca moved here from New York and quietly allowed Al Capone to play the loud baboon in the shiny suit.

Calabrese is an example of this influence, a portly squire from the Chinatown crew, which still reaches into the 11th Ward, home of mayors. His brother-in-law was the late Ed Hanley, president of the powerful international hotel workers union, who dabbled in wiseguys and politics from Chicago to Las Vegas.

Hanley got him a city job, and later Frank got Nick a city job running McCormick Place, and depending on what testimony you believe, they either killed a lot of people together or they didn't, but they made a lot of money.

Calabrese explained on Thursday that the Outfit is dedicated to money, composed of two kinds of men, those who earn, and those who do the heavy work.

"And what is the heavy work?" Lopez asked.

"Killing people," Calabrese said, "but I didn't kill people, I was an earner ... I earned millions ... I didn't have time to do that other stuff."

He did this, he said, by loaning money at high rates to gambling addicts who couldn't go into a bank and apply for loans.

Listening to him, I wondered how lousy he must feel, in prison now, with so much opportunity outside, as City Hall pushes quietly for a giant city-run gambling casino, one that would have its own "independent" gaming commission controlled by the mayor, so it won't be subject to bothersome state regulations.

Loan sharking is part of gambling, in casinos or on Rush Street, though scary collectors aren't featured in the commercials. Calabrese testified that in his loan-sharking business, he never threatened or hurt anyone, but they paid anyway, but not from fear.

Yet it was instructive, with Calabrese explaining the meaning of "the sit down," a meeting designed to settle disputes, like the time Butch Petrocelli (one of the alleged victims) "kept sticking his nose in there" to try and take away Calabrese's card games, Calabrese said.

"It was all done diplomatically," Calabrese said. "The head of this group sits there, the head of that group sits there. And someone very important, like [late Outfit boss] Joey Aiuppa sits there."

Lopez asked: "Was there any swearing or cursing?"

"Swearing or cursing? Oh, no. It was diplomatic," Calabrese said. The way he said "oh, no" was quite odd. It was something a PTA mom would say, not some Chinatown bone-crusher who sat meekly before the boss.

The jury stopped taking notes, and stared, transfixed, as if a penguin from the zoo were sitting in front of them reading "The Divine Comedy." And Calabrese faced them, in his almost white ivory jacket, blinking.

Thanks to John Kass

Friday, August 17, 2007

End of the Clown's Days?

The Joey "The Clown" Lombardo who testified Tuesday in his own defense was the boss of nothing, in his own mind.

Street boss, what street boss? Clown, what clown?

He was just an old man with a gray face in a gray suit with a cane, pushing 80, working his jaw, his tongue fishing some flecks of lunch out of his gums as he sat in the witness box, taking the one chance left to him in this historic Family Secrets trial of the Chicago Outfit in federal court:

To convince the jury he wasn't the Joey Lombardo of legend, but instead a humble shoeshine boy from the old neighborhood who hustled a bit for extra cash.

Lombardo said he grew up on the West Side, that his father worked at the Tribune in some unspecified capacity, and that Joe later took fencing lessons in high school, played handball, even rollerbladed in later years, ending up with a small interest in a floating craps game while running minor errands for bail bondsman and Outfit wiretapper Irwin Weiner.

Lombardo didn't kill anyone, he insisted. He wasn't the boss of anything. He wasn't a made member of the Outfit, which forms the base of the triangle that runs the town. Politicians, Lombardo said, were the real hoodlums.

"There's 50 bosses in Chicago," Lombardo said, "The 50 bosses are the 50 aldermen; without them you can't get anything done. If you want zoning, you see the alderman. If you want to run a card game, you go see the alderman. If you want a dice game, go see the alderman."

In Lombardo's mind, what does that make the boss of all the aldermen, that guy I used to call Mayor Fredo, who sits on the 5th Floor of City Hall? I couldn't ask Lombardo, since he's only talking from the witness stand.

The last time I tried speaking to Lombardo was years ago, at Bella Notte, a nice Italian restaurant on Grand Avenue, just after former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt was indicted for running an Outfit-sanctioned jewelry-heist ring. I wanted to ask Lombardo about Hanhardt, another friend of the Outfit-connected Weiner. But before I could saunter over to Lombardo's table, he snapped his fingers, the busboys shoveled his food into containers and he walked out. The manager trotted over and said I was sadly mistaken if I thought he catered to clowns.

"Clown? Clown? What are you talking about, clown? What clown?" the manager said.

Well, wasn't that the Clown? "No, that was Mr. Irwin Goldman," the manager said, forgetting to explain why Mr. Goldman was wearing a St. Dismas medallion -- the Good Thief crucified next to Christ -- around his neck.

That was sure amusing, but Lombardo is weirdly amusing, and when he testified in court on Tuesday he got a laugh when he talked about shining shoes as a boy. Gamblers would tip him a dollar. The cops only gave him a nickel. "They were very cheap people," said Lombardo, and there was a loud chuckle in the courtroom, prompting U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel to admonish other lawyers laughing at Lombardo's wisecracks.

Rick Halprin, the seasoned criminal lawyer whose job it is to try and keep Lombardo from dying in prison, took a gamble in putting Lombardo on the stand. Halprin had no real choice, with Lombardo's fingerprint on the title application from a car used in the killing of Danny Seifert, a Lombardo partner-turned-federal witness in 1974. That fingerprint has an itch the Outfit can't scratch. It waits, still, quiet, filed, hanging over Lombardo's head.

In 1974, Seifert was killed in front of his family. Seifert was the key witness in the federal case against Lombardo. The case against him exploded the way Seifert exploded, when the shotguns came out. Halprin had to gamble the jury would see a cane in the fingers of the grandpa on the stand, not a shotgun.

The other accused Outfit bosses and soldiers on trial must be thinking that now they've got to follow him up there, too, and swear another oath, this one before God. They watched Lombardo in cold blood. There was Paul "The Indian" Schiro, James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. and former Chicago Police Officer Anthony Doyle, accused of warning the Outfit when the FBI began investigating the 18 formerly unsolved mob killings that are part of this landmark case.

Their eyes black, their heads framed against black leather courtroom chairs, they leaned back and watched the shoeshine boy. Their chins rested on fists, they took deep breaths, their eyes sponging up the light of the world.

Halprin: "On Sept. 27, 1974, did you kill Danny Seifert?"

Lombardo: "Positively, no."

Halprin: "Have you ever been a capo or a made member of the Chicago Outfit?"

Lombardo: "Positively, no."

The old man pushed that second "positively, no" too quickly past his choppers, the delivery was rushed, so it fell in front of the jury with a thunk, like a car trunk slamming shut in a lonely parking lot.

There wasn't anything amusing about it.

It wasn't funny, like a clown.

It was desperate, an old man holding his cane, seeing the end of days.

Thanks to John Kass

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lawyer on Lombardo: Hustler? Yes, Gangster? No

Friends of ours: Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr., Anthony Doyle, Nicholas Calabrese
Friends of mine: Frank Calabrese Jr.

Lawyer Rick Halprin stood a step from the jury box Monday at the Family Secrets trial and painted a picture of a vastly misunderstood Joey "the Clown" Lombardo.

Lowering his normally deep, echoing voice, Halprin contended the reputed leader of the Outfit's Grand Avenue street crew was "a hustler and not a gangster," telling jurors that his client's ambition got him tangled up with the wrong crowd and mislabeled a mobster. "Joey Lombardo is not, was not and never has been a capo or a made member of the Chicago Outfit," Halprin said.

His remarks came after federal prosecutors completed seven weeks of often-dramatic evidence and the defense opened for the five men on trial in a conspiracy case that at its heart involves 18 long-unsolved gangland slayings.

The trial's next few days could be pivotal as Lombardo and another key defendant, Frank Calabrese Sr., are expected to testify on their own behalf, their attorneys said. Former Chicago Police Officer Anthony Doyle, another defendant in the case, may testify as well.

The investigation's Family Secrets code-name came as a result of cooperation by Calabrese's brother and son. In recent testimony, the brother, Nicholas, an admitted Outfit hit man, implicated Calabrese in more than a dozen of the mob killings. The son, Frank Jr., also testified after secretly recording conversations with his father.

The task could be tall as well for Lombardo, 78, as he tries to dispel his image as one of Chicago's most clever and colorful organized-crime figures of recent decades.

In a highly unusual, strategic move Monday, Halprin delivered his opening statement on Lombardo's behalf weeks after the landmark trial began in late June and other defense lawyers addressed jurors. Halprin denied his client took part as charged in the massive criminal conspiracy but admitted he had one connection to questionable activities on the West Side. "He did, in fact, run the oldest, most reliable craps game on Grand Avenue," Halprin said with a smile.

Lombardo sat back at his defense table, watching his lawyer. At one point he looked toward the courtroom gallery while adjusting his glasses, as if gauging reaction.

Halprin's remarks lasted about 30 minutes. He stood away from a lectern, gesturing with his hands and explaining Lombardo's point of view.

Halprin portrayed Lombardo as a businessman who fell into trouble after mixing with the wrong people. He was friends with men such as mob-connected bail bondsman Irwin Weiner and labor racketeer Allen Dorfman and got swept up in their schemes, he said. Lombardo was convicted with Dorfman in an attempt to bribe the late U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada, Halprin told jurors, and was later convicted of skimming millions of dollars from a Las Vegas casino. But Lombardo played a minor role, Halprin said, and didn't see a dime of any casino cash. He was snared in the case because he spent time at Dorfman's office while the FBI was wiretapping conversations there.

In prison in the 1980s, Lombardo had an epiphany, the lawyer said. "He knew for the rest of his life, in the public's perception, [it would be]: reputed mobster, reputed gang boss," Halprin said. "He decides to withdraw from his past life."

Lombardo took out a newspaper ad in the early 1990s claiming he wasn't a made member of the mob and asking anyone who witnessed him commit a crime to call his probation officer or the FBI.

He has held to a lawful lifestyle ever since, Halprin said, working at an upholstery factory and minding his own business.

Jurors would not see a witness come into the courtroom and identify the Lombardo of the past decade as anything "other than older, smarter, wiser and a decent citizen," Halprin promised.

Halprin denied Lombardo played any part in the 1974 murder of federal witness Daniel Seifert, the lone killing in which he has been implicated. Seifert was fatally shot before he could testify against Lombardo and others in a fraud case. But Halprin said his client was 20 miles away in a restaurant at the time of the killing.

Also Monday, a defense witness testified he witnessed the 1983 murders of Richard Ortiz and Arthur Morawski and contradicted the testimony of Nick Calabrese, the government's star witness. Terry Pretto, 56, who was the first witness called for Frank Calabrese Sr., testified he lived above the Cicero bar owned by Ortiz at the time of the murder.

Pretto said several times that he was "petrified" to be testifying and faced the wrong way as he was about to be sworn in Monday. U.S. District Judge James Zagel asked him to turn around and face the bench. "Sorry guy," Pretto said.

The gray-haired Pretto said he left his pregnant wife upstairs to buy a six pack of beer on the night of the shooting when he saw a man standing in front of Ortiz's car. Pretto said a single gunman with no mask or gloves shot the men. He identified the gunman as a Cicero police sergeant.

Calabrese testified that he and his brother carried out the killing after Ortiz crossed the Outfit.

On cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Atty. Mitchell Mars, Pretto acknowledged he never gave a statement about what he contends he saw until May 2000, 17 years after the murders.

Mars pressed him for details, and Pretto admitted again that he was flustered. "I'm scared," said Pretto, even telling the prosecutor "you might come after me tonight."

"No, I guarantee it won't be me," Mars answered.

Mars also asked if it was possible Pretto was naming the police officer because he had a grudge against him. He asked if Pretto remembered giving a statement saying that the officer had once handcuffed him in Cicero and beaten him up.

Pretto said he didn't recall. "I've been handcuffed a lot of times in Cicero," he said.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Monday, August 13, 2007

Feds Rest Their Case at Family Secrets Trial

Federal prosecutors rested their case Monday at the racketeering trial of alleged mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and four other reputed members of the Chicago underworld.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel quickly denied requests by the defendants for immediate acquittal and began setting the stage for perhaps a week of defense witnesses -- including Lombardo himself -- at Chicago's biggest mob trial in years. "It's quite plain that all of these motions for acquittal at the end of the government's case must be denied and I deny them," Zagel said.

Besides the 78-year-old Lombardo, those on trial are James Marcello, 65, Frank Calabrese, 69, Paul Schiro, 70, and Anthony Doyle, 62.

They are charged with operating Chicago's organized crime family -- known as the Chicago Outfit -- as a racketeering enterprise that included gambling, extortion, loan sharking and 18 long-unsolved murders.

Among those murdered was Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, for years the mob's man in Las Vegas and the inspiration for the Joe Pesci character in the movie "Casino." He and his brother Michael were beaten and strangled in 1986 and buried in an Indiana cornfield.

Lombardo plans to take the witness stand in his own defense sometime this week, attorneys said. Defense attorneys for Calabrese and Doyle did not rule out the possibility that their clients also could testify.

Lombardo's defense is based on the claim that, after serving years in prison for attempting to bribe a U.S. senator and involvement in Las Vegas casino skimming, he swore he would never take part in any further crimes.

Zagel said he would allow Lombardo to talk about his withdrawal from a life of crime despite grumbling from prosecutors that it amounted to letting him vouch for his own good behavior.

On cross examination, prosecutors are guaranteed to ask him why he went on the lam for months after the indictment was unsealed. He was arrested after FBI agents cornered him in an Elmwood Park alley.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Mobster, Tony Spilotro, Fought Killers to Death

Friends of ours: Tony "the Ant" Spilotro, Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick Calabrese, James Marcello, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Paul "The Indian" Schiro, Anthony Doyle
Friends of mine: Michael Spilotro, Frank Calabrese Jr.

A mobster who inspired a movie character warned his attackers before they beat him to death that they would get in trouble, an organized crime insider testified Monday.

Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, and his brother, Michael, had been lured to a basement on the pretext that Michael would be initiated as a "made guy" into the mob, Frank Calabrese Jr. said.

"He came into the basement and there were a whole bunch of guys who grabbed him and strangled him and beat him to death," Calabrese said at Chicago's biggest mob trial in years. "Tony put up a fight. He kept saying, 'You guys are going to get in trouble, you guys are going to get in trouble,'" the prosecution witness said.

Five defendants, including Calabrese's father, reputed mob boss Frank Calabrese Sr., are charged with taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 killings, gambling, loan sharking and extortion. The slayings of the Spilotro brothers - Michael was killed the same night - were among the murder charges.

Despite his graphic narrative, Calabrese was not a witness to the June 1986 death of Tony Spilotro, known as the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas and inspiration for the Joe Pesci character in "Casino."

Calabrese testified that he heard what happened from his uncle, Nicholas Calabrese, who has pleaded guilty and also is expected to testify at the trial. The younger Calabrese testified he was told Tony Spilotro would be killed because he was engaging in unauthorized activities in Las Vegas.

Calabrese Sr., 69, is on trial along with James Marcello, 65; Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78; convicted jewel thief Paul Schiro, 70; and former police officer Anthony Doyle, 62.

Prosecutors on Monday began playing tapes made secretly by Calabrese Jr. in talks with his father when they both were imprisoned for loan sharking. Calabrese Jr. said he wrote to an FBI agent volunteering to make the tapes because he wanted to change his life and get away from his father, whom he described as manipulative and unwilling to give up crime. The father sat expressionless as his son, who now runs a carry-out near Phoenix, said he wanted to "expose my father for what he was."

Also Monday, convicted bookie Joel Glickman, who went to jail rather than testify against Calabrese Sr., told jurors he paid thousands in "street tax" to the mob and once got a "juice loan" from Calabrese.

Glickman, looking haggard after spending a week behind bars for contempt because of his earlier refusal to testify, said he paid as much as $400,000 in "street tax" over 25 years of working as a bookmaker.

If he hadn't paid the mob for permission to do business, he would have lived in a state of fear, he said.

"Fear of what?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Markus Funk. "Fear of getting hurt," Glickman said.

Glickman said that he stopped working as a bookie for six years in the 1970s and went into the insurance business, but that while doing so he got a $20,000 loan for his boss from Calabrese.

"A juice loan?" Funk asked, using a mob term for usury.

"I'd say so," said Glickman, testifying under immunity from prosecution.

Calabrese attorney Joseph Lopez tried to soften the impact of that testimony, asking Glickman whether "Calabrese ever threatened you."

"Never," Glickman said. He agreed with Lopez that Calabrese had always been polite and diplomatic with him.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Friday, June 22, 2007

How Do 18 Chicago Outfit Murders Remain Unsolved for Decades?

How do 18 Chicago Outfit murders remain unsolved for decades?

It might help to have the cops on your side.

This came out in the opening statement by Assistant U.S. Atty. John Scully in the historic Family Secrets trial, when Scully pointed at one of the accused, a fellow with the intriguing nickname of "Twan."

He's called Twan in the 11th Ward, in Bridgeport and Chinatown, where not only the wiseguys are nervous about this trial, but presumably some 11th Ward politicians, too, about information gushing from the mouths of Outfit informants.

Twan is a tough-looking fellow, with a muscly forehead and plates for eyebrows, a Chinatown Sammy Sosa in a nice suit, and the only one of five defendants not accused of being involved in the 18 murders.

The name Twan remains a mystery. If any of you know his longtime friend, Bridgeport's former labor boss, Frank "Toots" Caruso, and you ask Toots and he tells you, please call me. On a pay phone.

Scully's suggestion about how things work isn't in the name Twan, but in another, official name used by Twan: Chicago Police Officer Anthony Doyle.

According to Scully, Doyle was with the Outfit and a loan shark, but Doyle also worked in the evidence section of the Chicago Police Department for a time. If Scully's allegations are correct -- and Scully was correct a few years ago when he put former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt behind bars for running the Outfit's jewelry-heist crew -- the Outfit's reach into local law enforcement will be demonstrated once again.

Good cops who make small mistakes are often publicly humiliated, trotted out and yelled at by politicians who wag their fingers for TV cameras. Their families are ruined. But law-and-order politicians somehow always forget to wag their fingers at cops like Hanhardt or Twan.

If you're a loyal reader, you might remember that I wrote about Outfit tough guy John Fecarotta years ago, after reporting that Chinatown crew member Nicholas Calabrese had sought refuge in the federal witness protection program, which started Family Secrets. Fecarotta was implicated in many of the 18 murders by Scully on Thursday, including the 1986 beating deaths of brothers Anthony and Michael Spilotro. It was Fecarotta's job to bury them. He blew it by inserting them in a shallow grave in an Indiana cornfield.

After the Spilotros' bodies were found, Fecarotta was invited to go on another crime, on Belmont Avenue. But he didn't know he was the intended target until Nick Calabrese pointed a gun at his face. There was a struggle, Nick was shot, and though Fecarotta ended up dead, a bloody glove was found, dripping with Nick's DNA. The glove ended up in the police evidence section where Doyle worked.

When the FBI began asking about the glove, Scully said Doyle became quite interested in this development, figuring that his Outfit superiors would be equally interested, if not more so. Scully alleged that Doyle told Nick Calabrese's brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., about the glove that could put the Calabrese family in the Fecarotta murder.

"He betrayed his oath to the public and decided to remain loyal to Outfit interests," Scully said.

There were other highlights in court Thursday, including Frank Calabrese Sr.'s lawyer, the dynamic and splendidly dressed Joseph Lopez, the only lawyer in town tough enough to pull off pink socks and work for mobsters while remaining a loyal reader of my column.

He described his client as a man ruined by an ungrateful son, another informant witness, Frank Calabrese Jr. Junior was a drug addict who didn't want to go into the trucking business and who cared more about a tarty wife than his own father's love, Lopez said.

He pointed to his client, who allegedly strangled several people until their eyes popped out but who was so soft and kindly-looking in court, he could have been in a TV commercial for facial tissue.

"Who is this man in the powder blue suit who could be a cheese salesman from Wisconsin?" Lopez asked the jury about Frank Calabrese Sr.

Gentle Wisconsin cheese salesman? I wonder where he read that oneThief.

Other highlights included the lists of the Outfit soldiers allegedly in on the 18 killings. And the repeated mention of Bridgeport hit man Ronnie Jarrett, who worked for Bridgeport trucking boss/mayoral favorite Michael Tadin and was the model for the James Caan crime classic "Thief."

Jarrett was gunned down in 1999, about the time that Twan was getting worried about the glove. Jarrett's murder is not included in this case.

"Unfortunately," said Lopez, arguing that his client was not involved in other murders, "people get killed for various reasons all the time."

"The truth," Lopez said, quoting a lyrical Italian proverb, "is somewhere between the clouds."

But I think it's in the evidence room of the Chicago Police Department.

Thanks to John Kass

Chicago Police Star Flashed by Accused Mobster

Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese Sr.,
Friends of mine: Anthony "Twan" Doyle, Michael Ricci

He's accused of working for the mob, yet he still carries a Chicago Police star.

When retired cop Anthony Doyle arrived at federal court Wednesday for opening statements in his trial, he flashed security officers a badge and police photo ID.

There's nothing improper in Doyle using the retirement badge he received for 20 years of service as a decorated officer, said his lawyer, Ralph Meczyk. Doyle didn't get special treatment, Meczyk said. It's the same as a citizen using a driver's license as proof of ID, he said.

Doyle, 62, joined the Chicago Police Department in September 1980 and retired in June 2001 on a pension, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. He worked in the police Evidence and Recovered Property Section in the 1990s, records show. And he was arrested at his Arizona home in 2005 and charged with agreeing to pass messages from reputed mob boss Frank Calabrese Sr. to other Outfit members while Calabrese was in prison. In addition, Doyle allegedly kept Calabrese abreast of an investigation into a gangland murder.

Doyle's nickname is "Twan," short for Anthony, according to federal authorities. But he also is mysteriously referred to as "Captain Crunch" in one court document. At the time of his arrest, he was a member of the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Posse, an auxiliary police unit.

Another former Chicago cop, Michael Ricci, also was a co-defendant in the mob case. He died last year.

Thanks to Frank Main and Steve Warmbir

Relax The Back

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blood and Gore Highlight Opening Statements at Family Secrets Mob Trial

Friends of ours: Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr., Paul Schiro, Anthony Doyle, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Nicholas Calabrese, Michael "Hambone" Albergo
Friends of mine: William Hanhardt

Chicago's biggest mob trial in years started Thursday with a prosecutor urging the jury to forget what they know about movie mobsters and see the now-elderly defendants for who they are: men who "committed brutal crimes on behalf of the Chicago Outfit."

"This is not The Sopranos. This is not The Godfather. These are real people, very corrupt and without honor," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully told the jury.

As Scully described a blood-drenched litany of murders, he showed the jury large photos of the victims. He talked about Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, once the Chicago mob's man in Las Vegas and the inspiration for Joe Pesci's character in the movie Casino. Spilotro and his brother were allegedly lured into a basement and beaten to death, then buried in an Indiana cornfield.

The men on trial — reputed mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78, James Marcello, 65, Frank Calabrese Sr., 70, Paul Schiro, 69, and former Chicago police officer Anthony Doyle, 62 — are accused in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 murders. All have pleaded not guilty.

An anonymous jury is hearing the case, with the jurors being identified only by court-issued numbers to protect their identities.

"Four of the five defendants in this room committed brutal crimes on behalf of the Chicago Outfit," Scully told the jury in his opening statement. The fifth, Doyle, protected them, he said.

Scully described Calabrese as a violent loan shark who strangled witnesses with a rope and cut their throats to make sure they were dead.

Defense attorney Joseph Lopez painted a different picture for the jury, describing Calabrese as a much-maligned, deeply religious man "who believes in peace" and loved his family. He ripped into Calabrese's son, Frank Jr., who is expected to be a key witness for the government against his father.

"He's going to say, 'My father is a rotten S.O.B., my father never loved me' — none of this is true," Lopez said. He said the jurors would see letters between the father and son "expressing love for one another."

"You're going to hear that Frank did slap his son around on numerous occasions," Lopez said. But he said that was only because the youngster was robbing the neighbors of their jewelry and taking cocaine.

He said Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, also expected to be a key witness, once stole a rifle with a silencer from Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, where it had been used to shoot birds that congregated on the scoreboard.

Scully described Marcello as one of the top leaders of the Chicago Outfit. He said Lombardo was the boss of the mob's Grand Avenue crew. Schiro was jailed five years ago for taking part in a jewel theft ring led by the Chicago police department's one-time chief of detectives, William Hanhardt.

Doyle, the retired Chicago police officer, also worked as a loan shark under Calabrese, according to federal prosecutors. He is the one defendant in the case not directly accused of murdering anyone. But Scully said that he aided and abetted the others in their work.

Scully was graphic in describing the killings, but it was Lopez who offered the juiciest details.

He recounted how FBI agents, acting on an informant's tip, tore up concrete in a parking lot near U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, looking for the last remains of murdered loan shark Michael Albergo. He said they found "thousands of bones" under the parking lot. But DNA testing couldn't tie any of the bones to Albergo, Lopez said, repeatedly referring to the victim by his mob nickname of "Hambone."

4th of July Sale

Monday, June 18, 2007

Family Secrets Mob Trial Capsule

The Judge

U.S. District Judge: James B. Zagel

A Reagan appointee, Zagel is generally considered a good draw for the prosecution and one of the brightest judges on Chicago's federal bench. He is also among the most experienced, marking his 20th year on the federal bench this month. Zagel, 66, was once married to TV investigative reporter Pam Zekman, wrote "Money To Burn," a fictional thriller about a plot to rob the Federal Reserve Bank, and played a judge in the 1989 movie "Music Box."

Who's on Trial?

Fourteen alleged mobsters and associates were indicted in the case in 2005, but only five are expected to go on trial. Two of the original defendants died, one is too ill to face trial, four have pleaded guilty and two more are set to plead guilty as soon as Monday.

Joey "the Clown" Lombardo

A reputed capo in the Grand Avenue street crew, Lombardo has been alleged to be a mob leader who committed murder while controlling pornography and other Outfit business in the city. Known for his alleged penchant for violence and an odd sense of humor, he once took out a newspaper ad to publicly announce that he was officially retired from the mob. He is charged in connection with the murder of Daniel Seifert in September 1974. He was separately convicted of attempting to bribe a U.S. senator and conspiring to skim $2 million from the Stardust casino in Las Vegas along with mob bosses Joseph Aiuppa, John Cerone, and Angelo LaPietra.

James Marcello

Marcello, 65, was described by Chicago's top FBI agent as the boss of the Chicago Outfit when the Family Secrets indictment came down in the spring of 2005. The Lombard resident had previously been convicted in 1993 on federal charges of racketeering, gambling, loan-sharking and extortion. Authorities have alleged he passed on money to the family of mobster Nicholas Calabrese to try to buy his silence on gangland slayings. Federal agents recorded conversations he had with his brother, Michael, while James was in a federal prison in Michigan. The men allegedly discussed gambling operations and Calabrese's possible cooperation with law enforcement.

Frank Calabrese Sr.

The one-time street boss of the mob's South Side or 26th Street crew, the 70-year-old Calabrese once was alleged to be the city's top loan shark. He is charged in connection with the 1980 murder of hit man William Petrocelli in Cicero as well as a dozen other slayings. Calabrese pleaded guilty in 1997 to using threats, violence and intimidation to collect more than $2.6 million in juice loans. He was in prison when the Family Secrets indictment came down. His brother, Nicholas, is the key turncoat witness in the case, and Calabrese's son, Frank Calabrese Jr., also is expected to testify against his father.

Paul "the Indian" Schiro

A 69-year-old mob enforcer who is charged in one of the gangland killings, Schiro was an alleged associate of murdered mobster Anthony Spilotro. At the time of his Family Secrets indictment, he was in prison for taking part in a jewelry-theft ring headed by William Hanhardt, a former Chicago police chief of detectives.

Anthony Doyle

Doyle, also known as "Twan," is a former Chicago police officer. He is charged in the conspiracy for allegedly passing messages from the imprisoned Frank Calabrese Sr. to other members of the Outfit. Calabrese was trying to find out if his brother was cooperating with authorities, and Doyle allegedly was keeping him up to date on a law enforcement investigation into the murder of mob hit man John Fecarotta, authorities alleged. The 62-year-old was arrested at his home in Arizona as federal prosecutors and the FBI were announcing the Family Secrets case.

Thanks to Jeff Coen


Affliction Sale

New York Crime Families

Flash Mafia Book Sales!

Al Capone's Vault

John Gotti Archives

Crime Family Index

The Sopranos Library