The Chicago Syndicate: Donald Angelini
Showing posts with label Donald Angelini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donald Angelini. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Reports that John "No Nose" DiFronzo, AKA Johnny Bananas, Chicago's Top Mobster has Died

Days earlier a “message” had been sent by Chicago mobsters, federal agents believed, when a small bomb exploded outside the home of the daughter of Outfit turncoat Lenny Patrick.

John DiFronzo was just one of a group of alleged mobsters for whom the Feds wanted to send a message back, immediately.

There was no hurry in DiFronzo that day as he breezed north on Dearborn as if it was a noon-time walk, declining to answer any questions.

DiFronzo climbed the ladder of the Outfit ranks from burglar to boss. Reporters nicknamed him “No-Nose” after he was cut jumping through a window in a Michigan Avenue burglary in the 1940s. But to his fellow organized crime brothers he was known as “Bananas” due to his complexion.

In January 1992, DiFronzo was indicted in California in a scheme to run a casino at the Rincon Indian Preservation near San Diego. He and fellow Chicagoan Donald Angelini, were convicted of fraud and conspiracy, though the conviction was over turned and he was released from prison.

By day DiFronzo worked as a car salesman at an Irving Park dealership and often by 4:00 he could be seen entering an Elmwood Park restaurant for his afternoon vodka.

DiFronzo’s name surfaced in the Operation Family Secrets trial in which mob heavy weights Joey “the Clown” Lombardo, Frank Calabrese, Sr. and James Marcello were convicted of taking part in a series of mob hits, including the murders of Tony Spilotro and Michael Spilotro.

During the trial, federal prosecutors named DiFronzo as part of the crew that killed “Tony the Ant” and his brother and buried them in an Indiana farm field. When asked during the course of the trial how prosecutors could name—and not charge—DiFronzo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars’ only response was “good question.”

The Elmwood Park mobster had reportedly been ill for some time. Within hours of the announcement of his death at the age of 89 his Wikipedia page was updated to list his birth as December 13, 1928 and his death as May 27, 2018.

Thanks to Carol Marin and Don Moseley.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rudy "The Chin" Fratto on FBI Tapes in McCormick Place Case

The FBI recorded more than 50 conversations involving Chicago Outfit boss Rudy "The Chin" Fratto during an investigation of alleged big-rigging at the city's McCormick Place.

The existence of dozens of undercover tapes is disclosed in defense motions filed in federal court in Chicago.

Fratto, 66, the leader of the Mob's Elmwood Park crew according to federal authorities, was indicted with another man last month on charges that he used inside information to score a forklift deal at McCormick Place.

The Darien resident was due to report to prison on April 28 to begin serving a year-long sentence for income tax-evasion. Today's motion filed by his tax-case attorney Arthur Nasser asks for a delay in Fratto's reporting date. An attached affidavit from Donald Angelini, Jr., the attorney handling the sweetheart contract case, states that Fratto's defense would be "greatly hampered" if he was imprisoned and couldn't assist in the preparation.

Fratto is scheduled to serve the tax sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky. Angelini Jr., son of the late Mob bookmaker Don "the Wizard of Odds" Angelini, said that he had received a 1500-page transcript of FBI undercover recordings along with more than 50 tapes. Mr. Angelini, Jr. said that he was only able to listen to three and a half hours of secretly recorded tapes and that without Fratto's help in deciphering the conversations, the defense would suffer.

The filing by Mr. Fratto's legal team in federal court also stated that there is "noise interference" on the tapes, making them "extremely difficult to interpret or understand."

Mr. Nasser will appear in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly Tuesday morning to argue for an unspecified extension in Fratto's surrender date.

The plea for freedom seems far more somber than last month's swaggering courthouse performance by Fratto himself, that included a self-styled perp walk in the lobby, a couple of wise-guy wise-cracks on the sidewalk, and some special sound effects from his driver who was behind the wheel of the family Range Rover.

Fratto, considered by Mobwatchers to be one of Chicago's top five most powerful hoodlums, was indicted with Inverness businessman William "Billy" Degironemo. The men allegedly squeezed a consultant for inside information that helped then land a forklift contract. In exchange, Fratto allegedly offered to settle a $350,000 debt the consultant had with mafia bosses in Cleveland. Neither Fratto nor his partner knew that consultant was working undercover for the FBI.

Fratto's uncle, "Cockeyed Louis," testified at a 1950 Senate organized crime hearing. Another relative, Frankie "One Ear" Fratto, was a skilled loan shark.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rudy "The Chin" Fratto's Dining Reviews

Reputed Chicago Outfit lieutenant Rudy Fratto sat in a federal courtroom, with reporters filling the jury box a few feet away.

His usual lawyer, the always snazzy Art Nasser, was unavailable. So Rudy had another attorney: Donald Angelini Jr., son of the late Outfit king of bookies, Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini.

Though Angelini was pleasant and professionally buttoned down on Friday, Fratto, 66, seemed a bit lonely at the defense table, waiting for his criminal hearing to begin.

That scraggly beard hid his chin, and he was comfortably dressed in the Rudy look: black shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, just like a Hopalong Cassadicci.

I didn't want him to feel lonely, so I said hello and asked about a line in the federal charges, in which he was described as Rudy "The Chin" Fratto.

Hey, Rud? What's with "The Chin"?

"I don't know," Rudy said. "I don't know where they got that,"

Did the FBI get you early?

"Not too early," Rudy smirked.

Like 6 a.m.?

"No, they came later, for coffee," Rudy said.

He'll need his sense of humor. I've heard that last week's new charges are just the beginning of a larger tsunami coming for the Chicago Outfit and its political messenger boys.

In January, Fratto was sentenced in a federal tax-evasion case. That was his first conviction ever.

On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to the new charge, which involves alleged bid-rigging in contracts at McCormick Place and leverage by the Cleveland mob.

McCormick Place has long been the Outfit's playground. In 1974, the Tribune reported the payroll read like a "who's who of the Chicago crime syndicate."

The 1974 payroll list included mobsters such as the late Rocco Infelice (natural causes), the late Ronnie Jarrett (unnatural bullet holes) and the 11th Ward's favorite Outfit bookie, Ray John Tominello (still alive, investing in Florida real estate).

Quiet hit man Nicholas Calabrese also was on the McCormick Place payroll. He killed dozens of men and decades later was the star government witness in the Family Secrets mob trial.

Another McCormick Place payrollee was the Outfit's Michael "Bones" Albergo. Nick Calabrese and his brother Frank got rid of "Bones." They buried his body in a pit a few hundred yards from Sox Park.

The federal Family Secrets trial put mobsters in prison for life. Other reputed bosses who were not charged, such as John "No Nose" DiFronzo and Joe "The Builder" Andriacci, have gone underground.

Sources say DiFronzo refuses to see anyone. His only sit-downs take place in his Barcalounger, when he watches TV. And Andriacci has apparently been suffering from Fedzheimers, a malady that makes politicians and wiseguys forget lots of things, like how to find Rush Street.

Fratto has a scary reputation. Yet he's always been friendly and charming to me. Then again, I've never spotted him in my rear-view mirror. That happened to Outfit enforcer Mario Rainone. Mario didn't believe in coincidence and was so shaken by the sight of Rudy Fratto in his mirror that he ran straight to the FBI.

In the courtroom, Rudy's wife, Kim, dressed in a black shawl, said hello.

"It's always nice to see you, Mr. Kass," said Kim.

The pleasure is mine, Mrs. Fratto.

After Rudy was fitted with a home monitoring device, the couple took a long lunch in the newly remodeled second-floor federal cafeteria.

When they finally came down, they didn't want to talk to reporters. Then I asked Rudy a question he couldn't refuse:

Was the food in the federal building as good as it is at Cafe Bionda?

Rudy, always the jokester, couldn't resist.

"No," he said, "but it's better than Gene & Georgetti's, though."

Rudy knows how much I like Gene's, the best steakhouse in the city. Yet for years, Rudy had made Cafe Bionda, at 19th and State Street, a personal hangout. On her Facebook page, Kim Fratto lists Cafe Bionda as one of her favorites.

With such strong recommendations, my young friend Wings and I felt we had to stop there for lunch. Cafe Bionda is a short cab ride from the federal courthouse. And a long pistol shot from McCormick Place.

We were hoping to run into head chef/owner Joe Farina to ask him about Rudy's favorite dish.

Wings ordered the Linguini con Vongole. I had the signature Nanna's Gravy. It was all delicious. Sadly, Joe wasn't in, so I left a note with our server:

Dear Joe: Sorry I missed you. Rudy recommended your place to me. The food was great. John.

The coffee was great, too. And I thought of all that coffee Rudy and his friends will be drinking, and the Rush Street guys, and the politicians, buzzing on caffeine.

They might want to stay wide awake, and keep a pot of coffee on, just in case the feds come knocking some morning.

Thanks to John Kass

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Chumbolone Casino

So as I took last week off -- with some readers fearing I'd been chained in a City Hall dungeon for writing the words "Mayor Chucky" -- an amazing thing happened. (I took the week off after Kass did, which is why you are going to get a slew of articles today.)

Mayor Richard Daley agreed he'd like City Hall to own a gigantic casino, with all the contracts to be overseen by a special city gaming board hand-picked by the mayor himself. Please don't call it the City Hall Casino or the Daley Casino. That's rude. Call it the Chumbolone Casino.

A casino with all the contracts and jobs and deals hidden from public view should be named for all of us chumbolones who believe taxes will decrease if the casino is built.

So I'm calling on you, the readers of this column, to help the mayor by coming up with recommendations for the posts of Chumbolone Casino boss and on the Chumbolone Casino board.

The mayor has been under great stress, and nobody wants him to get angry and transform into the Mayor Chucky persona, which would terrify the Olympic selection committee. Let's help the mayor instead.

Send your Chumbolone Casino recommendations to me, and we'll present them to the mayor in a special ceremony to be held either at the Polish sausage stand on 31st Street, or at Tavern on Rush, whichever he prefers.

"Who'll handle the patronage at the mayor's casino?" asked a loyal reader who calls himself Leprechaun. "There will be jobs there, right?"

Robert Sorich. Who else?

Sorich, the mayor's former patronage boss, was convicted in federal court as part of a scheme that rigged city job applications to illegally build massive patronage armies for the mayor, in direct violation of a federal court order. Sorich is appealing his conviction on mail fraud, not racketeering, as I'd reported recently.

But who'll run the gambling? I've got just the guy behind the guy:

Rayjo.

Rayjo -- known formally as Raymond John Tominello -- comes from the mayor's neighborhood. Nobody calls him Raymond, or Ray. They call him Rayjo.

I have a suspicion that the mayor may know Rayjo, but I've been waiting for those tough TV reporters who like spanking the Urkel out of the hapless Todd Stroger to ask Daley if he knows Rayjo, or not.

Rayjo is eminently qualified. Consider his background.

Rayjo tutored under the famous Don "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini and Dominic Cortina, the Chicago Outfit's top bookies back in the 1980s, and he pleaded guilty to being one of their top lieutenants and went to prison for his crimes.

Before and after his release, Rayjo was in the real estate business with the mayor's second favorite developer, Thomas DiPiazza, on several deals in Bridgeport, and the sale of land to the Chicago Board of Education for almost a million dollars.

See? Rayjo and Tommy D. care about the school children.

And a few months ago, Rayjo was also mentioned in federal testimony in the Family Secrets trial. Chicago Outfit hit man-turned-government witness Nick Calabrese testified about a meeting to establish the pecking order in a Bridgeport gambling operation.

Calabrese said he met with several tough guys, including Outfit loan shark and former Chicago Police Officer Anthony "Twan" Doyle. Twan was convicted in Family Secrets for passing key information on an Outfit murder to Calabrese's brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., while the FBI was recording their conversations.

(Ironically, Twan invented the term "chumbolone," which he insisted means stupid idiot.)

At that meeting were Frank Sr., the late Outfit enforcer Ronnie Jarrett and Outfit figure Mario Dispensia. Oh, and one other guy.

Rayjo.

How's that for qualifications?

Like his buddy Tommy D., Rayjo also worked for the city, so he has a public service background too.

So Rayjo it is, for chief operating officer of the Chumbolone Casino.

Yet there are other important casino jobs, from scooping up the quarters in the slot machines, to running the VIP bottle service for high-rollers, even building the casino itself, and securing City Hall occupancy permits. And don't forget the Chumbolone Casino board. I'm sure you'll find responsible people. But don't ask Jim Wagner, president of the Chicago Crime Commission. He argues that, given City Hall's habit of playing footsie with the Outfit for the last century, a casino won't save taxpayers money.

"You'll end up having to pay a tax for all the corruption that will be brought into play, with the contracts, with the sweetheart deals, with the ghost employees and, history has shown, with the corruption of government and law enforcement," Wagner said.

Wagner spent decades with the FBI, hunting the Chicago Outfit. So, naturally, City Hall sniffs at his concerns.

So who will we put on the board? And who'll scoop up the quarters?

Please help the mayor help you.

Your baby needs a new pair of shoes.

Thanks to John Kass

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Connectiing the Dots with Chicago Clout

In 1999, Mayor Richard Daley met with close advisers at City Hall to discuss a favorite project, a plan to build dozens upon dozens of expensive single-family homes along the Chicago River in his ancestral 11th Ward, in what is now the troubled Bridgeport Village development.

Also at the meeting were mayoral strategist Tim Degnan, considered the fifth Daley brother, and Degnan business associate and 11th Ward developer Thomas DiPiazza, according to court documents and Tribune reports. But before and after that meeting with the mayor, according to public records in Illinois and Florida, DiPiazza was also engaged in a series of other, separate real estate transactions with a Bridgeport fixture known as Rayjo.

That's what he's called in Bridgeport, in Chinatown, on Rush Street and at the federal building, by prosecutors and the FBI. He's well known in these circles.

His formal name is Raymond John Tominello.

Tominello, 67, is considered a mathematical genius. He was convicted in 1989 of running the Chicago Outfit's illegal sports book operation under the supervision of the legendary Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini and Dominic Cortina.

In 1989, Angelini, Cortina and Tominello all pleaded guilty, a week after their indictment on federal racketeering charges. Tominello served less than a year in federal prison. Angelini and Cortina have since died. But Rayjo still thrives, at least in real estate.

What does this tell us? That DiPiazza, who gets into meetings with the mayor about one of the most important developments in Bridgeport in years, has a mobbed-up business associate.

Of course the mayor will say he didn't know about it. And that may be true. He might not have ever heard the name Rayjo in his entire life, even though they're about the same age and grew up in the same neighborhood. Can't coincidences happen in Chicago?

DiPiazza's attorney Mark Kralovec said last week that Tominello had worked for DiPiazza years ago, but that Tominello no longer works with DiPiazza's business.

Conrad Duncker, real estate attorney in Tominello's deals with DiPiazza and DiPiazza's partner, Richard Ferro, declined to comment.

"I really can't answer any questions. Have a good day sir," said Duncker, before hanging up the phone. Tominello did not respond to repeated attempts to contact him, through his attorneys and at his homes. That's too bad. It would have been nice to hear how he transformed his life, from Outfit bookie to Mr. Real Estate with Tommy D.

Investing in real estate with guys who know Mayor Daley isn't a crime, not even for a bookie. Understanding Chicago doesn't come by reading official press releases, but by reading the tracks of exotic creatures in public records.

"Rayjo was an integral part of the Cortina/Angelini combine," Chicago Crime Commission President James Wagner, the former longtime FBI supervisor, told me last week. "He hasn't been convicted of anything lately, but back then, Rayjo was considered to be one of them, not a lowly worker, but a manager, with talent and some ambition to move up. You're talking about a lot of money."

Just weeks before Tominello was indicted, he, Ferro and DiPiazza were listed on a commercial loan filing statement with the Illinois secretary of state's office for a continuation of an undetermined business loan. And a couple of years after Tominello's prison stint, in 1992, records show that a trust all three were involved in sold a large tract of commercial/industrial property at 300 W. 83rd Street, to the Chicago Board of Education for nearly $900,000. A portion of that property now serves as open space across the street from Simeon Career Academy.

In 1998 -- a year before DiPiazza met with Daley about Bridgeport Village -- DiPiazza's company sold a house to Tominello at 2806 S. Shields Ave., down the street from the neighborhood social center, the Italian American Club.

Next door to Tominello, DiPiazza deeded a lot to the family of Joseph "Shorty" LaMantia, county records show. LaMantia was assuming control of the Chicago Outfit's Chinatown Crew that runs Bridgeport. And for the next five years, according to tax records, tax bills for the Tominello house on Shields were addressed to Ferro-DiPiazza, but with a catch. They were mailed to Tominello's home. But Rayjo's home isn't officially the Ferro-DiPiazza offices. That office is at 3611 S. Normal Ave. Perhaps Tominello forgot to put his name on his taxes.

A similar thing happened on a Tominello investment property on Archer Avenue purchased in 1997. On the deed, the mailing address was listed at Ferro-DiPiazza. City building inspectors in 2000 found several code violations. The violation notices were sent to Ferro-DiPiazza on Normal, not to Tominello's home on Shields.

In 2003, DiPiazza sold a home on Marco Island, Fla., to Tominello for $300,000, not counting sunscreen.

Rayjo isn't the only smart guy DiPiazza knows. DiPiazza and another friend of Degnan's, the mayoral fashionista/waste-hauling king Fred Bruno Barbara, are also investors in the pricey real estate that houses the famous Tavern on Rush restaurant in the city's historic Viagra Triangle at Bellevue and Rush.

Degnan is close to both men.

Decades ago, in a Tribune story, Degnan publicly admitted to a serious gambling problem, saying in 1969 he owed $82,000 in gambling debts. In today's dollars, that comes to $459,000, a huge chunk for a young man back then. I haven't heard about Degnan gambling a dime lately, unless you count his wife getting magically clouted in as an investor in that Rosemont casino deal.

There's nothing illegal in all this real estate investing, as far as I can tell. These are puzzle pieces, coming together, revealing a little known feature of City Hall's infrastructure.

I asked Jim Wagner if he was surprised that DiPiazza, with his City Hall clout, meeting with the mayor and so on, would be involved in deals with Rayjo.

"No," Wagner said.

Of course not. This is Chicago.

Thanks to John Kass

CharlesKeath.com

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mobster's Granddauther, "Not Qualified", "Not Recommended", Still a Judge

Friends of ours: Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini

Jill Cerone Marisie, the granddaughter of the late convicted mobster Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, is about to be elected a Cook County judge from the 13th Subcircuit. A Republican from Inverness, she has no opposition in next week's election and will proceed directly to the bench.

Although the Chicago Council of Lawyers found her "not qualified" and the Chicago Bar Association, citing insufficient legal experience, said she was "not recommended," Marisie won the primary anyway against four other male opponents.

Her grandfather was a major mob henchman for the late Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo and an associate of mobster Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini. No one suggests Marisie or her father, Jack P. Cerone, is an operative of organized crime. There is, however, a certain family pride in the patriarch. Photos of Jackie the Lackey are prominently featured at his son's suburban restaurants.

Mob connections have been an issue in the November election. Alexi Giannoulias, Democratic candidate for state treasurer, has been grilled about loans his family's Broadway Bank has given to convicted mob associates though the loans were not illegal. Giannoulias' brother George is a donor to the Marisie campaign.

State Sen. Wendell Jones (R-Palatine) also supports Marisie, saying he checked her out and found her "outstanding."

Being a judge in Illinois is virtually a job for life. Not one judge in 10 years has lost a bid for retention, so Marisie could have a long career. Though I never succeeded in reaching her, I was curious about a couple of things. Among her campaign donors are individuals with familiar last names. One of them is "Accardo." Another is "Angelini."

I'd love to know more.

Thanks to Carol Marin

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