The Chicago Syndicate: Anthony Pellicano
Showing posts with label Anthony Pellicano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anthony Pellicano. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Joey the Clown Given Life in Prison

Reputed mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo was sentenced Monday to life in federal prison for serving as a leader of Chicago's organized crime family and the murder of a government witness in a union pension fraud case.

Lombardo, 80, was among three reputed mob bosses and two alleged henchmen convicted in September 2007 at the landmark Operation Family Secrets trial which lifted the curtain of secrecy from the seamy operations of Chicago's underworld.

"The worst things you have done are terrible and I see no regret in them," U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said in imposing sentence. He also sentenced Lombardo separately to 168 months for going on the lam for eight months after he was charged.

Lombardo grumbled that he had been eating breakfast in a pancake house on Sept. 27, 1974, when ski-masked men beat federal witness Daniel Seifert in front of his wife and 4-year-old son and then shot him to death at point-blank range.

"Now I suppose the court is going to send me to a life in prison for something I did not do," Lombardo said. He said he was sorry for the suffering of the Seifert family but added: "I did not kill Danny Seifert."

In a last-minute effort to bolster his alibi, he read from two documents signed by Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano, now serving a 15-year sentence for wiretapping stars such as Sylvester Stallone and bribing police to run names through law enforcement databases. Pellicano was originally from Chicago.

Lombardo was one of the best-known figures in the Chicago underworld. His lawyer, Rick Halprin, told jurors during the trial that he merely "ran the oldest and most reliable floating craps game on Grand Avenue" but was not a killer.

Witnesses said he was the boss of the mob's Grand Avenue street crew — which extorted "street tax" from local businesses and engaged in other illegal activities.

He was sent to federal prison along with International Brotherhood of Teamsters President Roy Lee Williams and union pension manager Allen Dorfman after they were convicted of plotting to bribe U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon, D-Nev., to help defeat a trucking deregulation bill. Cannon was charged with no wrongdoing in the case.

Lombardo was later convicted in a Las Vegas casino skimming case.

Seifert was gunned down two days before he was due to testify before a federal grand jury. His two sons spoke at the sentencing about the pain of losing their father when they were still children.

Joseph Seifert recalled how he saw mobsters "chase my father like a pack of hungry animals" before shooting him.

Nicholas Seifert said that he succumbed to depression over the killing. "I felt like a coward for many years for not seeking revenge for what those men did to my father," he said.

Lombardo used a wheelchair in court. Halprin declined to say what health problems his client has but said he needed to be sent to a prison where he would get adequate medical care.

Zagel acknowledged that he thought carefully about Lombardo's age in deciding on a sentence. But he said he wanted one that would not "deprecate the seriousness of the crime."

Zagel has already sentenced Calabrese to life and reputed mobster Paul Schiro to 20 years. Schiro was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison seven years ago after pleading guilty to being part of a gang of jewel thieves run by the Chicago police department's former chief of detectives.

Still to be sentenced are James Marcello, reputedly one of the top leaders of the mob, and Anthony Doyle, a former Chicago police officer who became an enforcer for Frank Calabrese. Also still to be sentenced is Nicholas Calabrese, Frank's brother and an admitted hit man who became the government's star witness.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bust-out Loser Testifies Against Joey the Clown

Friends of ours: Marshall Caifano, Joey "the Clown" Lombardo
Friends of mine: Alva Johnson Rodgers, Anthony Pellicano

Alva Johnson Rodgers walked slowly into the Family Secrets trial Wednesday with a criminal record as long as his Texas drawl.

As Rodgers swore to tell the truth, he raised his left hand before quickly catching his mistake and thrusting his right hand into the air.

He's been in prison almost of third of his 78 years, Rodgers said with a hint of pride. There were auto thefts in Arkansas, Arizona and California; a bank robbery in New Jersey; the counterfeiting case in New Orleans; fake stock certificates in Florida; and a plan to bring "a boatload" of marijuana from South America. But he had never met a Chicago mobster until he helped free one from federal prison in Georgia. Rodgers, a jailhouse lawyer, said his legal research found a flaw in the sentence of his cellmate, reputed Outfit hit man Marshall Caifano.

"The Appellate Court believed us and turned him loose," Rodgers, testifying under immunity from prosecution, told a federal jury. Caifano didn't forget the favor, paying for the lawyer who was able to get Rodgers out too. It was 1973, and Rodgers was soon on his way to Chicago to start working for Caifano and his friends, including reputed mob boss Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, he said.

Lombardo and four others are on trial in an alleged conspiracy to carry out Outfit business that included 18 gangland slayings decades ago. Rodgers was called by the prosecution to tell what he knows about Lombardo's control over the mob.

Dressed in a dark suit, peach shirt and dark teal tie, the gray-haired Rodgers sometimes had to lean forward on the witness stand to hear questions. He was asked if he saw Lombardo in court Wednesday. "Yeah, I see him. He just stood up," Rodgers said. Lombardo then sat back down, leaned forward and rested his chin on one hand, appearing to pay close attention.

Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Atty. John Scully, Rodgers said his first memory of Lombardo was when Lombardo was promoted within the Outfit ahead of his friend Caifano. Soon he and Caifano were taking orders from Lombardo, Rodgers said. Rodgers said he sometimes drove Lombardo around town when Lombardo had a police scanner in his car. Once, he said, they realized they were listening to their police tail. "Apparently, they considered him to be 'the Clown,' and me 'the Rabbit,' " Rodgers said. "We heard every word."

Within a year, Rodgers said, Lombardo allowed him and Caifano to try to take over the porn industry in Chicago. Rodgers said he opened a fictitious business to make peep-show booths and among the visitors were Lombardo and Lombardo's friend Anthony Pellicano, who went on to become a Hollywood private investigator who is awaiting trial in a highly publicized wiretapping case.

The peep-show business was located just a few blocks from a Catholic church, Rodgers said. "When Lombardo found out about it, he came around and told me not to put the store there," Rodgers told jurors. He said he eventually was sent to to take a cut of the profits from a business being opened on North Wells Street by William "Red" Wemette who also testified against Lombardo this week.

Rodgers said he went on to give Lombardo the idea of setting fire to a rival's giant warehouse of pornography as part of the bid to take over the distribution in Chicago. Rodgers also said he set a house fire for Pellicano and delivered cryptic messages to movie production companies to "join the association." A lawyer for Pellicano did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the allegations.

On cross-examination, Lombardo's lawyer, Rick Halprin, mocked Rodgers and his alleged connection to the reputed mob heavyweight. Rodgers again leaned forward to try to hear. "I know I'm not the government, so maybe you should lean back," said Halprin, who then asked whether Rodgers was involved only in minor crimes.

"You were just a bust-out loser?" asked Halprin, quickly saying he meant no insult.

"I did 11 years in prison for that bank robbery," Rodgers said.

"I'm glad you're not modest," the lawyer shot back.

Halprin asked Rodgers where he was planning to get $2 million to replace the pornography he planned to destroy in the warehouse.

"Your good credit?" said Halprin, who feigned a talk Rodgers might have with a loan officer. "Oh, 'And I met Joey Lombardo in a sandwich shop?' "

Halprin scoffed at Rodgers' claim that his dealings with Wemette were on behalf of the mob. He suggested the two were just close friends and noted that Rodgers had once driven Wemette's car to California. Even some jurors smiled as Rodgers said that had been a stolen car -- with Wemette's plates on it.

Also Wednesday, prosecutors played for jurors undercover audio recordings of Lombardo from a 1979 investigation into labor racketeer Allen Dorfman. Lombardo could be heard threatening the life of a casino owner who failed to repay a loan.

And defense lawyers cross-examined Wemette, who had testified about paying street tax to the Outfit from his adult bookstore. Halprin asked Wemette when he had given the FBI information on the sensational 1955 murders of young brothers John and Anton Schuessler and their friend Robert Peterson. In a bid to undercut Wemette's credibility, the defense brought out that Wemette claimed that Kenneth Hansen had confessed to the triple murder in 1968 and that he tipped off the FBI in 1971. Yet Hansen wasn't charged and convicted until the 1990s.

"The people I did speak to about it were really not interested in what I had to say." Wemette said.

Prosecutors repeatedly objected, and Halprin was forced to drop the matter.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hollywood P.I to the Stars tied to Chicago Mob

Friends of ours: Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo
Friends of mine: Anthony Pellicano, Alva Johnson Rodgers

Allegations of mob ties have long dogged Anthony Pellicano, once the private investigator of choice for Hollywood stars.

Hollywood P.I to the Stars, Anthony Pellicano, tied to Chicago MobOn Thursday, for the first time, the feds marked his place in Chicago mob history, saying he once belonged to the mob crew of Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo.

The allegation came to light in a court document released Thursday that lays out much of the case against Lombardo and other top mobsters who are going on trial June 5. Pellicano's name is blacked out in the heavily redacted document, but based on other public court documents, the Sun-Times could determine that Pellicano was the individual being referenced.

A former associate of Lombardo, Alva Johnson Rodgers, is cooperating with the feds and is expected to testify at trial that Pellicano asked him to torch two buildings in the mid-1970s.

Pellicano grew up in Cicero and worked in Chicago for years before heading to California. The Sun-Times first reported last month that Pellicano did the investigative work to provide Lombardo with an alibi for the 1974 murder of a key federal witness against Lombardo.

Pellicano's attorney, Steven Gruel, has denied that Pellicano has any mob ties.

In one case, Pellicano allegedly paid Rodgers to shut down a restaurant. Rodgers got some neighborhood kids to break the restaurant's windows, which hurt business, but Pellicano allegedly was looking for something a little more permanent, like burning the place down. Rodgers allegedly declined and refused to give Pellicano his money back.

In another instance, previously reported by the Sun-Times, Pellicano allegedly asked Rodgers to burn down a building in the northwest suburbs, and Rodgers complied.

Lombardo allegedly chewed out Rodgers both times for not getting his permission for the crimes.

Pellicano is in jail in California awaiting trial on charges he illegally eavesdropped on the conversations of the enemies of his rich and powerful clients. The feds have alleged he contacted unnamed Chicago mobsters to put a hit on a witness against him.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Anthony Pellicano Worked for Mobster Lombardo?

Friends of ours: Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Frank Cullotta
Friends of mine: Anthony Pellicano

Private investigator Anthony Pellicano shot to fame working for Hollywood stars. But when he worked in Chicago 30 years ago, Pellicano hustled for an alleged rising star of a different kind: Infamous Chicago mobster Joseph "Joey The Clown" Lombardo.

Pellicano's investigative work from 1974 on Lombardo's behalf could provide Lombardo an alibi for the brutal murder of Daniel Seifert, who was to be a key witness against Lombardo in a Teamster fund embezzlement case. Lombardo is charged in Seifert's death in the upcoming Family Secrets mob trial in Chicago.

These days, Pellicano has his own problems as he sits in jail awaiting trial on charges he illegally wiretapped the conversations of the enemies of his rich and famous clients. Those allegations have rocked the Hollywood elite. But in 1974, Pellicano was working for Lombardo, compiling information to show Lombardo was far away when Seifert was gunned down the morning of Sept. 27 outside his Bensenville factory.

Prosecutors are expected to tie Lombardo to the Seifert murder by pointing to his fingerprint on a title application for a car used in the slaying.

Pellicano's investigation, though, contends Lombardo was at the International House of Pancakes in the 2800 block of West Diversey the morning of the murder. After Lombardo left the restaurant, he noticed someone had stolen his wallet from his car's glove compartment. Lombardo went back inside the IHOP and reported the theft to two cops having breakfast. They wrote a report, which is included in Pellicano's work. There's a signed statement from one of the cops and another from a driver's license facility supervisor who says Lombardo came in the morning of the murder for a duplicate license.

Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin, called his client's alibi "rock solid." He said Pellicano's current difficulties have no impact on his work for Lombardo.

In another court document obtained by the Sun-Times, a government informant, former mobster Alva Johnson Rodgers, a Lombardo associate, alleges in late 1973 or early 1974 that Pellicano asked him to burn down a Mount Prospect building. Rodgers alleges he did just that, but Pellicano was never charged.

Pellicano is being held in custody because he allegedly asked unnamed Chicago mobsters to put a hit on a witness against him, according to a government court filing.

Pellicano's attorney, Steven F. Gruel, disputed the allegations and said he's seen nothing to buttress claims his client is tied to the mob.

Also, on Monday, Lombardo's attorney filed a motion asking the feds for a pre-publication copy of a book by a government informant, mobster Frank Cullotta. Cullotta may be a witness at the Family Secrets trial, and his book could provide fodder for the defense.

Prosecutors should have access to Cullotta, who is hiding under a new identity, Halprin noted. "For all I know, he's Ann Coulter," Halprin quipped.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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