The Chicago Syndicate: Bill Jahoda
Showing posts with label Bill Jahoda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bill Jahoda. Show all posts

Monday, May 05, 2014

Review of "A History of Violence: An Encyclopedia of 1,400 Chicago Mob Murders"

From his boyhood memories of the raid on a bookie joint under the Chicago apartment where he grew up to the murder cases he worked on as an officer with the Chicago Police Department's organized crime division, Harper College professor Wayne A. Johnson has been steeped in the violence of mobsters.

Isolated murders, such as the infamous Valentine's Day Massacre or the beating deaths of brothers Anthony "Tony the Ant" and Michael Spilotro, have become scenes in mob movies. "But nobody ever put it in one place before," says Johnson, who has done that with his new book, "A History of Violence:: An Encyclopedia of 1400 Chicago Mob Murders.1st Edition."

From the stabbing death of Harry Bush during the newspaper "circulation war" on July 6, 1900, to the Aug. 31, 2006, disappearance of 71-year-old Anthony "Little Tony" Zizzo of Westmont, Johnson has used court documents, police records, newspaper accounts and 14 years of personal research to compile more than a century of suspected mob murders.

"You know what makes it so insidious? Their ability to get into places that affect every aspect of our lives," says Johnson, who notes cases where politicians, judges and police officers cooperated with mobsters. "Once you are into these guys, they own you."

Appearing in countless articles and TV shows as an expert on the mob, Johnson spent 25 years as a Chicago police officer and served as chief investigator for the Chicago Crime Commission before getting his doctoral degree in education. He's now an associate professor and program coordinator of law enforcement programs at Harper College.

The stereotype of the Chicago mob as the Italian Mafia known as Cosa Nostra is a myth, says Johnson, who says organized crime boasts a diverse collection of people, including many immigrants, who learned how to make money through illegal methods. The criminal groups formed partnerships and cut deals with each other, he says.

Of the 1,401 murders Johnson details, he lists only 278 as "solved," and the number of people convicted of those murders is even lower. "Just because they weren't charged doesn't mean it's not solved," says Johnson.

In teaching his "Organized Crime" class, Johnson tells the Harper students that reputed mob boss Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, who died in 1992 at the age of 86, lived the last years of his life just a short drive away, on Algonquin Road in Barrington Hills.

Student Jackie Cooney, 30, of McHenry wrote a research paper that ended up adding early 20th-century murders to Johnson's book.

"I logged 108 murders, and, of those murders, a portion of them were mob murders," says Cooney, who says she's been interested in the mob since she got her bachelor's degree in history from Roosevelt University in 2008. "I find it fascinating how people make alternative choices to provide for themselves and their families."

Studying A History of Violence: An Encyclopedia of 1,400 Chicago Mob Murdersto become a physical anthropologist while excelling in her art classes at Harper, Daniella Boyd, 21, of Wheeling responded to Johnson's request to draw a grisly scene for the cover of his book. "I did some research," says Boyd, who spent about 12 hours making a graphite drawing of the toe tag on the left foot of mobster Sam Giancana, who was gunned down in his Oak Park home in 1975.

The suburbs are home to some of the most infamous mob murders. On Feb. 12, 1985, the body of 48-year-old Hal Smith of Prospect Heights was found in the trunk of his Cadillac in the parking lot of an Arlington Heights hotel. Suspected of being a sports bookie who had run afoul of the mob, Smith was lured to the Long Grove home of his friend William B.J. Jahoda and was tortured, had his throat cut and was strangled. Jahoda, who became a friend of Johnson's before his death of natural causes in 2004, testified against the mob and helped send reputed mob leaders including Ernest Rocco Infelice and Salvatore DeLaurentis of Lake County to prison.

Another gambling operator who angered the mob, Robert Plummer, 51, was found dead in a car trunk in Mundelein in 1982. He was murdered in a Libertyville house already notorious before it was purchased by a mobster and turned into an illicit casino. In 1980, in a crime that went unsolved for more than 15 years, William Rouse, 15, used a shotgun to murder his millionaire parents, Bruce and Darlene Rouse, in a bedroom of the family home.

"Some people romanticize the mob," says Johnson, who adds that he hopes his book not only makes people recognize the heinous brutality of mobster killings, but might also help solve some of the remaining mysteries. "I hope they read my book and say, 'Yeah, it was 20 years ago, but I know who killed so-and-so.' Maybe we can still do something."

Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Is Cicero Still a Mob Town?

In the 1920s, Al Capone and his gangsters, looking for a safe and protected place, moved their headquarters from Chicago to Cicero, Ill., a small town just west of the city. Some people, including a recent police chief there, say the mob never left. Carol Marin reports for 60 Minutes II. Cicero is a blue-collar town: Very few people in this suburb of about 70,000 ever get rich. But one group there has made money, for the better part of 80 years: a group known simply as "The Outfit."

Since Capone, other big-name bosses controlled the Cicero rackets: Frank Nitti, Capone's enforcer and handpicked successor; Sam "Momo" Giancana, who befriended John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, among others; and Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, the most feared and respected of all mob bosses.

Nearly 40 years ago, Cicero was described by Cook County State's Attorney Dan Ward as "a walled city of the syndicate."

In 1989, that wall began to crack. The break began with Cicero native Bill Jahoda, who for 10 years was one of the mob's top bookies. He probably made about $10 million for the mob, he says. "I was in the gambling department," he says. "I [was] in the mob's hospitality wing, or the entertainment division. But let me tell you, gambling is a very dangerous and competitive line of work. There were three murders on my shift that I was aware of that related to gambling. In two of those cases I was what would be considered the setup guy. I steered the men to the place where they were ultimately killed."

Not long after that, Jahoda became a government informant, and his testimony helped convict 20 members of a gambling crew headquartered in Cicero. When his work was done, Jahoda left town a marked man. "The mob controlled town hall," Jahoda says. "It wasn't necessarily who was in there; it was who the mob put in there." The police department knew that it shouldn't interfere with the mob's businesses, Jahoda says.

"Any time there's a dollar there, the mob wants a piece of it," he says. "Whether it's coming out of protection, whether it's coming out of graft, whether it's coming out on contracts, whether it's coming out of unions, any time there's a dollar, the mob wants to get about 90 cents on it."

In the 1980s and 1990s the mob's man at town hall was Trustee Fank Maltese, according to Jahoda. Maltese and Betty Loren were married in 1988, with some of the mob's top men in attendance. Three years later a federal grand jury indicted Frank Maltese on gambling and racketeering charges. Maltese pled guilty to the federal charges.

Maltese died before he could be sent to prison, but not before pulling off what some consider his best political fix. In a closed-door meeting with other town trustees, Maltese had his wife, who had never been elected to any office, named Cicero town president. Betty Loren-Maltese, a tough politician with a penchant for big hair and false eyelashes, is still town president. When she took office, she would change Cicero's image, she said.

Cicero doesn't deserve its reputation, she says. "Every community has a problem but apparently we get the notoriety because everybody knows the name Cicero," she says. "Some people in Southern states say, 'Oh my God, Cicero.' They assume that there's hit men with machine guns on the street."

Since 1993 Loren-Maltese has closed down strip joints and taken on street gangs. Three years ago she set out to reform Cicero's police department, which by her own account was corrupt. After a nationwide search, she found David Neibur, at the time the police chief in Joplin, Missouri.

At first Neibur didn't want the job. But then Loren-Maltese promised him that he could root out corruption wherever he found it.

Neibur took the position and began trying to clean up the town. He took a look at Ram Towing, which had the exclusive, lucrative contract to tow cars in Cicero. Ram Towing got that contract after being in business just one week. Over the next two years Ram Towing, along with its sister company, gave more than $30,000 to the political campaign of Loren-Maltese.

Neibur says he had other questions, especially about how some companies were servicing police department vehicles. His department was paying to have cars tuned up that had just been tuned up weeks before, and paid for tires that never arrived, he says.

Neibur told Loren-Maltese about these allegations, he says. He also cited poker machines he says were making illegal payoffs in bars and restaurants. He asked his boss to outlaw the machines, which have been used by the mob as a way to make money. She refused, he says.

The FBI was also interested in the town's operations. It had bugged town hall as part of a corruption investigation with Loren-Maltese as one of the targets. The FBI wanted Neibur's help in its investigation, which is still going on, Neibur says.

Through an attorney, Ram Towing said it has done nothing wrong. When Neibur made his allegations of corruption, Cicero's special legal sounsel at the time, Merrick Rayle, investigated and said he found no wrongdoing. "I didn't hear about any, and I certainly didn't see it," Rayle says. "And it's not my sense, having worked with these folks, that they were corrupt in any fashion.

Rayle served as Cicero's special legal counsel for a year and a half. Besides investigating Neibur's claims, his other principal job was to catch and fire police officers who violated Cicero's residency requirements. His bill was $1.5 million. He did a lot of work for the money, Rayle says. He also contributed around $34,000 to Loren-Maltese's political fund during that time. There is no correlation between the donations and his hiring by the town, Rayle says. Rayle says Loren-Maltese fired him because his bills were too high. His replacement, a personal friend of the president, charged even more.

Even though he was fired by Loren-Maltese, Rayle says that he still likes her. "I think she has done a tremendous job as president of the town of Cicero," he says. "Lesser people would walk away from that job because of the constant turmoil, the constant bad press."

Four and a half months after Loren-Maltese hired Neibur to reform the Cicero police department, she fired him. Neibur is now suing. He was dismissed after turning over documents to the FBI alleging a pattern of fraud, he says. "[One] night, five members of the police department showed up at my house, seized my car, uniforms, ammunition and served me with a letter from Betty saying that I could no longer represent myself as a employee of the town of Cicero in any capacity," he says.

Loren-Maltese refused to comment on any of these matters. In a written statement the town's attorney said: "The exclusively negative nature of the topics submitted for discussion could only serve to harm the improving image of the town of Cicero." But in 1998, she did speak to a local TV station: "Does the town have a problem? Are there investigations going on? Yes. Will there always be? Yes, because we are Cicero."

Loren-Maltese dedicated the town's public safety building to the memory of her husband, the late mob felon.

Jahoda's testimony, which helped convict Maltese, was a blow to the outfit, but it was hardly fatal, he says. The man who now runs the day-to-day operation of the Chicago mob, is a former Cicero resident, Johnny "Apes" Monteleon, according to authorities. "I learned the hard way that Al Capone really never left Cicero," Neibur says. "I believe the organization still exists in Cicero.

Thanks to Carol Marin

Wednesday, March 29, 2000

Bill Jahoda: The Chicago Outfit's "Mister In-Between"

Bill "B.J." Jahoda leans against his black Cadillac Fleetwood in the parking lot of the Hamilton Hotel in Itasca, five miles west of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Athletic and well groomed, the forty-six-year-old Jahoda appears unseasonably sun-tanned for a life-long resident of the Midwest. Dressed casually, he could easily be mistaken for a professional golfer. Six-foot-two and a hundred and ninety pounds, he has medium-length, straight brown hair, and striking blue eyes.

Now pacing by his car, Jahoda lights a Raleigh Filter King with his gold Dunhill cigarette lighter and notices his right hand uncharacteristically trembling just a bit. His long slender fingers taper to impeccably manicured nails. He wears a Cartier wristwatch--which notes that it is 8:10 A.M., Thursday, April 20, 1989. A gold ring that cradles a rare U.S. gold coin is on the small finger of his left hand, and a two-and-a-half carat diamond ring adorns the index finger of his right hand.

Actually, Jahoda is neither a golf pro nor the kind of guy who spends his leisure time at a country club. However, he does have, in certain circles, a feared and respected reputation as a savvy businessman. He is, after all, the chief operating officer of a thriving enterprise with $25 million in annual revenues--all of it in cash. Last year alone, he earned more money than the combined annual salaries of the president and the vice president of the United States.

No ordinary entrepreneur, Jahoda works as the managing partner of the Chicago Mafia's most profitable illegal casino gambling and bookmaking operation. The Chicago Crime Commission, the United States Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Justice have already identified him as a key "soldier" in "The Outfit". But, over the past few years, his demanding though profitable career--arbitraging numbers on sporting events, fielding wagers, and hustling rigged casino games--has degenerated into horrific acts of betrayal and violence. Although federal law enforcement agencies and the media have never identified Jahoda as a "hitter" for the Mafia, they suspect him of participating in two highly-publicized gangland murders. Press coverage and scrutiny from the federal government have made him public property.

Overwrought after being conned into playing unwitting roles in the murders of two men he knew and liked, Jahoda has decided to make his most dramatic move in his long career with the underworld. Willing to jeopardize his personal safety, he is prepared to place his life in the hands of his worst enemy: Thomas Moriarty, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service's famed Criminal Investigations Division, a high-tech version of Eliot Ness's unit when he brought down Chicago's Al Capone.

At this moment, Bill Jahoda intends to flip--to give himself up and become a government witness against his colleagues in the Chicago Outfit. This bold plan is even more remarkable and unique, because Jahoda has not been caught and forced to plea-bargain in return for his cooperation. He wants to volunteer to come in on his own--without talking to an attorney or even asking for any promises or concessions from the federal government, which clearly has the power to take away his freedom.

Regardless of the consequences, Jahoda has made this decision as a matter of conscience. Risking everything, he knows only one thing for sure: the biggest gamble of his entire life lays before him.

Because of the obvious dangers, Jahoda has had to concoct a plausible cover to lure special agent Moriarty into his plan. He knows that it would be unlikely for Moriarty to agree to meet with him anywhere alone--because federal agents usually come to Jahoda and other mob figures in teams of two or more.

To complicate matters, Jahoda has been told by his boss--Rocco Infelise, the ruthless consigliere of the Chicago mob--that the local Outfit "owns" a top federal law enforcement official: code name, "Whiskers." Jahoda realizes that Moriarty would not meet with him without talking to his own supervisor. For all Jahoda knows, Moriarty's boss could be "Whiskers". Jahoda needs an explanation in case he and Moriarty are seen together--or if word leaks to "Whiskers" about the meeting and consequently to Rocky Infelise.

The two-hundred-and-fifty pound Infelise has massive hands and forearms, dark, dead eyes and a starkly menacing presence. A horse racing enthusiast, Infelise has a criminal record going back to 1952 with arrests for murder, burglary, armed robbery, and narcotics trafficking. He has also been convicted for firearms violations and the theft of a million dollars in silver bullion. He has a widely-known reputation as a brutal stone killer.

Since getting out of prison in 1978, Infelise has become the most feared street boss in the Chicago Outfit. Now, as consigliere of the local mob, three of the local mob's five street bosses report directly to him: Salvatore "Solly D" DeLaurentis; Robert "Gahbeet" Bellavia; and Louis Marino.

As a prospective government witness, B.J. knows that federal prosecutors will ask him to take dead aim at Infelise and bring him down. Realizing that is no small task, Jahoda always believed that the intuitive Infelise has had the ability to look into his soul. Although Infelise looks like a thug, he possesses a shrewdness that supersedes intelligence. Simply speaking, Jahoda isn't sure that he can take a shot at Infelise and remain composed--without this pathological killer detecting his hidden objective.

Jahoda will have to double-cross Infelise, the man he has depended on and trusted for the past ten years; the man who has given him the opportunity to become wealthy and powerful beyond his dreams.

Meantime, Jahoda, while taking on Infelise, wants to place DeLaurentis, Bellavia, and Marino on his agenda. Although he has no grudge against either Bellavia, a non-descript gangster who appears to have an ability to blend into walls, or Marino, a seemingly friendly guy who can turn deadly in a heartbeat, Jahoda's antipathy toward DeLaurentis has intensified after Solly D recently took the underworld's sacred blood oath and officially became a "made" member of the Mafia.

DeLaurentis has a reputation as the flashiest guy on Infelise's crew. At five-seven, 160 pounds, and triple-tough, DeLaurentis's only goal in life has been to become a mobster. In fact, he would have promised his first born for the opportunity. A good-looking megalomaniac, Solly also prides himself as a talented amateur singer.

With Infelise's 1988 promotion to consigliere, DeLaurentis's power has grown; he has replaced Infelise as the street boss of Lake County. In effect, he is now Jahoda's crew chief.

DeLaurentis's animosity towards Jahoda peaked in September 1985 after Penny Carson--a dark-haired, fiery brown-eyed beauty-- jilted Solly D after two dates and then began a love affair with Jahoda. After making his bones with the Mafia fours years later, DeLaurentis, flexing his newfound power, has told Jahoda that he now has the muscle to avenge all acts committed against him, real or imagined. Jahoda knows that DeLaurentis possesses the patience and authority to order both him and Penny murdered.

To facilitate his plan to flip, Jahoda--still pacing in the parking lot, waiting for Tom Moriarty--has created a ruse. The previous day, he called Moriarty and claimed that the thirty-two- year-old Penny Carson and her ten-year-old daughter, Stacy, have been receiving a sudden rash of obscene phone calls. Jahoda told Moriarty during their conversation, "You people are listening in on our calls! At least, I hope you are! We've got a problem with a pervert! And I need to talk to you in person!"

In effect, Jahoda has to "qualify" Moriarty, even though from past experience he believes him to be incorruptible and relentless. Jahoda wants to weigh Moriarty's reaction to his fictitious problem. Also, he presumes that Moriarty will give him another pitch to become a federally-protected witness-- because he always has.

After putting out his cigarette, Jahoda walks into the hotel and sees the federal agent alone in the coffee shop. Six-foot- one and with green eyes and dark hair, the thirty-six-year-old Moriarty, a twelve-year veteran of the IRS, has investigated, tailed, wiretapped, and attempted to put Jahoda behind bars for over six years. He doesn't have a clue about Jahoda's intentions. In this little coffee shop, amidst the bustle of mid-morning diners, one of law enforcement's most extraordinary adventures is about to begin.

In the wake of this meeting with Moriarty, Jahoda--who was represented by former U.S. Strike Force attorney David Schippers--offered to wear a wire on his colleagues in the underworld. After months of memorializing these conversations, he became the key witness before a federal grand jury and then at the longest criminal trial in the history of the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The result? Twenty convictions.

Speaking of Jahoda's contribution, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "In Jahoda, the Internal Revenue Service agents [with whom he worked], found a rare combination: a mob insider with a broad vocabulary and a seemingly steel-trap memory."

At Jahoda's sentencing hearing, federal prosecutor Mitch Mars testified for his star witness, saying: "There is no doubt that the cornerstone of that investigation and the cornerstone of the government's success at trial was Mr. Jahoda's cooperation. . . . Mr. Jahoda's testimony led to a single-handed demise of the entire street crew. . . . In my view, his cooperation is unparalleled."

U.S. District Judge Ann C. Williams agreed, concluding at Jahoda's sentencing hearing: "Let me say one other thing that the Court was persuaded by: The fact that when you came to the government, you didn't ask for any consideration, any favors, and no deals. . . . And you knew that given the nature of the information that you had and the length of time you had been involved in this organization and, indeed, your extraordinary memory and the voluminous records that you kept, that the information that you could present to the government would put you in a tremendous bargaining position with respect to your future. . . . It is for that reason that the Court feels that imposing any kind of sentence which would require you to serve in the custody of the Attorney General is not warranted."

A heroic Mafia mutineer, Bill Jahoda deserves better than to be called "a rat."

Thanks to Dan E. Moldea.

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