The Chicago Syndicate: Frank Buscemi
Showing posts with label Frank Buscemi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank Buscemi. Show all posts

Friday, June 26, 2015

Reinhard in 1969: Rockford Mobsters 'Retired or Inactive'

Federal judge and former Winnebago County State’s Attorney Philip G. Reinhard said in an April 4, 1969, interview with the Rockford Morning Star that he believed Mob figures in Rockford were "retired or inactive." Reinhard added he had "seen no evidence or indication" of Mafia-related activity in the Rockford area at that time.

Reinhard’s comments are in contrast with articles published in the past 15 months by The Rock River Times that detailed past Mob-related activity dating back to at least the 1970s.

Reinhard was Winnebago County assistant state’s attorney from 1964 to 1967, and Winnebago County state’s attorney from 1968 to 1976. He was nominated as federal judge for the Western Division of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. Reinhard has been on the federal bench since Feb. 10, 1992.

During the 1969 interview, Reinhard reacted to a question about the extent of Mafia activity in Rockford by saying: "There is a local structure, but if it has any ties with the national syndicate, they are very loose. There are individuals who, perhaps, made their money in syndicate-connected activities years ago and are now 'retired' or inactive. In the short time that I have been state's attorney, I have seen no evidence or indication that there is organized, syndicate activity here."

Reinhard did not respond for comment for this article, but did acknowledge during a February 2005 interview that he never knowingly prosecuted any Mob members during his tenure as state’s attorney.

MOB ATTORNEY TURNED INFORMANT

Reinhard's 1969 perception of Mafia activity contrasts with comments by former Chicago Mafia attorney turned federal informant Robert Cooley. He said in a Nov. 24, 2004, article in The Rock River Times that the Chicago Mafia, which is known as "The Outfit," had considerable interest in Rockford during the 1970s and 1980s.

Specifically, Cooley said: "[Chicago Mob captain and member of the Elmwood Park/North side crew] Marco [D'Amico], at the time when we were in power, Marco had a major crew working up there in the Rockford area. They had some illegal gambling interests up there."

According to the Chicago Crime Commission’s 1997 publication The New Faces of Organized Crime, D'Amico and eight others were indicted in 1994 "for running an illegal sports bookmaking operation, using extortion to collect gambling debts, and juice loans and conspiring to commit racketeering."

Cooley described in his 2004 book, When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down, how he assisted federal agents set up the illegal gambling sting that snagged D'Amico in November 1989 in Lake Geneva, Wis., which resulted in the 1994 indictment.

Cooley turned from Mob attorney to federal informant in 1986 after the death of his father. During the next 11 years, Cooley's efforts to expose public corruption resulted in bringing more than 30 lawyers, politicians, and Mobsters to justice by secretly taping dozens of Mob meetings.

INDICTMENTS

Whether the recent naming of 10 Rockford-area men in an illegal gambling ring was connected to D'Amico’s former crew is not known.

However, according to a separate, but likely related, indictment last April in Chicago, alleged Mob hit man from Rockford, Frank G. Saladino, was a member of the South side/Chinatown crew at the time he committed crimes for the Chicago Mob sometime between the 1960s and 2005.

Cooley explained during an interview last April that Saladino may have been a member of both the North and South side crews at differing times during that period. Saladino was named a co-conspirator in the Feb. 1 federal indictment, which alleged the sports betting operation accepted "bets and wagers on the outcome of sports events, including football and basketball games" from the early 1980s until about May 2002.

A former bookie familiar with the illegal sports gambling ring in the Rockford area alleged in 2004 one of the key organizers was a prominent business leader. That leader was not among the individuals indicted.

Saladino was found dead April 25, 2005 — the same day he was indicted on federal charges of murder and undisclosed criminal activities on behalf of the Chicago Mafia. The Kane County coroner ruled Saladino's death was due to natural causes in May 2005.

Specifically, the FBI-led probe named "Operation Family Secrets," alleged the Chicago Mob was involved in 18 murders and racketeering conspiracy extending from the mid-1960s to 2005. The alleged racketeering involved sports betting, video gambling, loan sharking and collecting "street tax" from participants in illegal activities.

According to the 2005 indictment, Saladino was a "member of the South Side/26th Street crew." Saladino's last known Rockford address in 2004 was 1303 Montague Rd.

PROBES AND LAWSUITS

But illegal gambling charges and probes extend further back than the February 2006 indictment. In December 1968, a federal grand jury in Freeport called at least
eight people for questioning in connection with illegal gambling and other Mob-related activity in Rockford and northern Illinois. Reinhard became Winnebago County state's attorney in November 1968.

Among those subpoenaed before the Freeport grand jury were: Rockford Mob boss Joseph Zammuto; Adviser Joseph Zito; Underboss Charles Vince; Zammuto’s successor, Frank J. Buscemi; Philip Priola and Mob Soldier Joseph J. Maggio (see Mob Murder Suggests Link to International Drug Ring).

Priola is former AFL-CIO union official and one of the original members of a group that wanted to bring a casino boat to Rockford in the early 1990s. He was also one of the owners of U Grill It Inc., which did business in Machesney Park Mall several years ago as Texas Grill Steakhouse and Lounge.

Priola and others in his family were charged by federal officials on July 29, 2003, for allegedly conspiring to "defraud" the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department.

In response to an Oct. 6, 2003 article in the Rockford Register Star, which detailed the case, Priola sued the Rockford Register Star in 2004 alleging the article concerning U Grill It was libelous.

The case is still in the discovery phase, and was scheduled for a March 22 status hearing with 17th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Janet Holmgren. The Register Star is seeking tax returns and other documents related to the litigation, which also involved Priola’s son-in-law, Todd Gage.

When interviewed by The Rock River Times in 2004 about the lawsuit, Priola said he moved from Rockford to Las Vegas. He and other members of his family eventually pled guilty to the charges before a scheduled trial.

The indictment alleged that from at least 1992 to 1998, Priola and others "intentionally conspired" to under-report "gross receipts and net profits of
LT's Bar." It also alleged a cash-skimming operation took place for the benefit of the named family members.

Included in the alleged skimming operation were proceeds from "cigarette vending machines and coin-operated amusement machines."

Buscemi, a Chicago native, was owner of Stateline Vending Co., Inc., and Rondinella Foods Co., before his death in Rockford Dec. 7, 1987. Winnebago County court documents from 1988 indicate Saladino worked for Rondinella in the 1980s when Buscemi owned the business. The vending machine company was dissolved in 1988.

According to Buscemi's FBI file, the Rockford Mob was alleged to control the
vending machine business in Rockford during the 1980s, and used "extortionate business practices."

Vince, another person in addition to Priola and Buscemi who was called before the 1968 grand jury, was identified in a March 4, 1984, Rockford Register Star article as residing in an apartment at 1904 Auburn St., in Rockford. Land records for the address show the property was owned by the grandparent's of Peter and Mathew Provenzano from 1964 to 1987.

In July 1978, federal court documents show Vince, along with other members of the Rockford and Milwaukee Mafia, were alleged to have tried to extort money from a competing upstart vending machine company owner. The owner of the company the Mob members tried to shakedown was actually an undercover federal agent named Gail Cobb who was masquerading as Tony Conte.

Cobb and legendary FBI agent Donnie Brasco, whose real name was Joseph P. Pistone, worked together at the behest of the Bonanno crime family in New York to forge an alliance between the Rockford, Milwaukee and Bonanno family (see Mob Murder Suggests Link to International Drug Ring).

Actor Johnny Depp portrayed Pistone in the 1997 movie Donnie Brasco, during the time in the late 1970s when Pistone infiltrated organized crime.

As to Vince's residence and the Provenzano family's ownership of the property, Peter Provenzano was given the opportunity in October to comment about this coincidence and other questions, but declined after he was given an advance copy of topics for the interview.

Provenzano is a board commissioner at Rockford/Chicago International Airport, proponent for Rockford's return to home rule, and part owner of military contractor SupplyCore, Inc. Since its incorporation in 1987 as Pro Technical Products, Inc., the companies have been awarded more than $1 billion in U.S. Defense Department contracts—most of which has been awarded since the late 1990s.

Pro Technical Products, which was formed by Provenzano's father, changed its
name to SupplyCore in 2001, according to state records. Provenzano's brother, Mathew Provenzano, is secretary of SupplyCore and is one of the board of directors for the taxpayer-supported MetroCentre in Rockford.

Both Provenzano brothers were nominated for their positions by Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey. SupplyCore heavily financed Morrissey's successful mayoral campaign last year.

About the author:
Jeff Havens is a former award-winning reporter for the weekly newspaper The Rock River Times in Rockford, Ill. Havens lived most of his life in the Rockford area, and wrote dozens of news articles about the Mob in Rockford and Chicago. Assistant Editor for The Rock River Times, Brandon Reid contributed to this article.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Former Rockford Cop Testified at ‘Family Secrets’ Mob trial

Current Winnebago County, Illinois Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro said he can not detail his involvement in landmark trial against ‘The Outfit’

By Jeff Havens (This is an original, previously unpublished article.)

Although the federal jury in Chicago has handed down racketeering convictions in the historic Chicago Mafia trial and are still deliberating murder charges, there are many questions Rockford, Illinois locals may likely never have answered anytime soon. This revelation comes in spite of a local law enforcement official’s participation in the monumental investigation and resulting trial of the Chicago Mob, which is known as "The Outfit."

Dominic Iasparro, deputy chief of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department said he testified for about 15 minutes on August 1st, during which he identified three Rockford men in photographs that the prosecution introduced earlier as exhibits.

"I participated in the [Operation Family Secrets] investigation, and was subpoenaed to identify a series of photographs," Iasparro said.

When asked about his role in the investigation, Iasparro declined to provide any details about his involvement. The multi-year investigation led to the 2005 indictment of 14 individuals connected to "The Outfit" on charges, which included murder, conspiracy, racketeering, illegal gambling and loan sharking from the 1960s to the time of the indictment.

According to Iasparro, the individuals he identified were Rockfordians: Frank G. Saladino; Salvatore "Sammy" Galluzzo and Joseph W. Saladino.

Although Frank Saladino was charged with murder and other undisclosed crimes, he was never tried because he was found dead in a hotel room the day he was indicted on April 25, 2005. And even though their names and photos were mentioned during the trial, Joseph Saladino and Galluzzo were not charged in connection with "Family Secrets" operation.

Several photos featuring both Saladinos and Galluzzo were submitted during the federal government’s case against the Mob. One FBI surveillance photo taken on April 20, 1989 shows Galluzzo leading Frank Saladino in a parking lot (see link http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/hot/familySecrets/2007_07_26/photo_april_20_1989.pdf).

Iasparro denied taking the photo, and did not know why the photo was submitted in court. Iasparro also said he did not testify as to rank of the Saladinos and Galluzzo in the organization. He referred that question and others about the photos to the U.S. Dept. Of Justice.

A message left at the U.S. Dept. Of Justice in Chicago was not returned to confirm or refute information obtained by The Rock River Times regarding individuals in the photos.

Efforts to contact Joseph Saladino and Galluzzo were unsuccessful. Court transcripts of testimony are not yet available for review.

Mob file destruction

In addition to being a deputy chief for the sheriff’s department, Iasparro was also a longtime detective for the Rockford Police Department, and head of the Rockford area Metro Narcotics task force for more than 30 years. He was also the interim Rockford Police Chief from October 2005 to April 2006.

Iasparro abruptly retired from the Rockford Police Department shortly after current Rockford Police Department Chief Chet Epperson took the helm on April 10, 2006.

In the Dec. 21-27, 2005 issue of The Rock River Times, Iasparro admitted he and other unnamed police officials destroyed police intelligence files that concerned alleged Rockford Mafia members sometime during the mid-1980s. But the Mob file purging was done without the knowledge of then-Rockford Police Chief William Fitzpatrick who said he would have objected to destroying the files (see link http://rockrivertimes.com/index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=11945).

Iasparro characterized the file destruction as part of a national effort to purge documents that were "not related to specific people and specific crimes."

Business partners

According to Steve Warmbir, staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, Frank Saladino was involved in five of the 18 murders detailed at the trial (see link http://rockrivertimes.com/index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=17383). In addition to being a murderous enforcer and intimidating physical presence for the Mob, Frank Saladino was also in business with Galluzzo, who has his own business partner locals should know—attorney Paul S. Nicolosi.

Galluzzo was reported to be a "mob soldier" in a March 4, 1984 news article in the Rockford Register Star. He was also business partners with Saladino and Nicolosi in separate businesses. Sources for The Rock River Times speculated that Galluzzo may have been promoted in the organization since the death of former Rockford Mob Boss Frank J. Buscemi in December 1987.

Nicolosi is the attorney for the City of Loves Park and Village of Rockton. At one time, Nicolosi or attorneys from his law firm, Nicolosi and Associates, P.C., also represented the villages of Caledonia and Roscoe.

Nicolosi is also the brother of Philip J. Nicolosi, the newly appointed Winnebago County State’s Attorney. Phil Nicolosi was a Rockford Township trustee for more than 15 years before he became state’s attorney last month.

In one business—Buckley Partners LLC—Galluzzo, Nicolosi and other members of the Galluzzo and Nicolosi families leased office space to the Illinois Attorney General during former Illinois Gov. George Ryan’s term. However, Phil Nicolosi was not one of the members of Buckley Partners (see link http://rockrivertimes.com/index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=10480).

In the other business, Galluzzo was partners with Frank Saladino in Worldwide General Contracting Inc. However, the City of Rockford never issued any building permits to Worldwide General Contracting since it was founded in 1988.

In connection with Worldwide General Contracting, Phil Nicolosi was named in 2000 as a defendant in a lawsuit in which Frank Saladino alleged extortion, conspiracy and fraud against him and 13 others, including Paul Nicolosi and Galluzzo.

Phil Nicolosi speculated he was named in the lawsuit because Frank Saladino "did not have proper representation advising him, he may have felt that he should just name as many names as he could."

Paul Nicolosi has responded to repeated questions in the last few years about his association with Galluzzo by not commenting.

Light sentence

Joseph Saladino recently served 27 months in a Minnesota prison for a conviction on federal weapons charges, including possession of a machine gun.

Saladino could have received up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine on the charges. Instead, he pled guilty in federal court in 2003 to possession of the machine gun and possession of a firearm by a felon.

As part of the plea agreement, Saladino served a little more than two years in prison in spite of his violent past, which included battery of a police officer in 1983, obstructing a police officer about one month later and a 1964 rape conviction along with co-perpetrator Frank Saladino.

The 2003 agreement for Joe Saladino was negotiated by Rockford-based, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Iasparro—son of Dominic Iasparro (see link http://www.rockrivertimes.com//index.new.pl?cmd=viewstory&id=10046).

Gambling ring and unsolved murder

In a local case that is likely related to the "Family Secrets" operation, Joseph Saladino and Frank Saladino were named in February 2006 along with eight others in an alleged illegal sports betting ring that existed from the early 1980s until 2002. Most individuals that were indicted in that case have pled guilty to the federal charges.

However, unanswered questions remain as to why local authorities were not able to bring charges more quickly than federal agents from outside the area in that case and others, such as the still unsolved 1980 killing of Mob member Joseph J. Maggio (see link http://www.thechicagosyndicate.com/2006/05/mob-murder-suggests-link-to.html).

Jeff Havens is a special correspondent and award-winning, former reporter for The Rock River Times, a weekly newspaper based in Rockford, Illinois.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

FBI Mob Files Deal with Garbage

Friends of ours: Joseph Zito, Joseph Auippa, Joseph Zammuto, Frank Buscemi

Eye-popping allegations are part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records concerning Joseph Zito, a reputed Rockford Mafia counsuleri, who reportedly had interests in the City of Rockford's garbage collection and disposal. Zito died of natural causes in 1981. Included in Zito's FBI file are allegations of bribery and intimidation during a time when a new garbage contract was being negotiated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Also during that time, the city closed the municipally-owned People’s Avenue landfill and began dumping its trash at the privately-owned Pagel Pit, which opened in July 1972.

The dump, which was formerly known as Pagel Pit, received approval from the Winnebago County Board Dec. 8 to expand Winnebago Landfill. The 18.7 million cubic-yard expansion is expected to serve 11 northern Illinois counties between 2010 and 2031. In 2004, the county also approved spending millions of taxpayer funds on two roads that lead to the landfill. The money will pay for 8 miles of road upgrades on Baxter Road and 5 miles on South Perryville Road.

According to the FBI file, Zito was allegedly part owner of the City of Rockford’s former waste hauler—Rockford Disposal Service Co. A March 31, 1970, FBI bulletin from Zito's FBI file reads that a male source "said [redact] for the Rockford Disposal Company and is also [redact] the Greater Rockford Airport Authority. "He said the site, which was under consideration as a new landfill site to be used for dumping garbage was under control of the airport authority and although unsuitable, in [redact] opinion, as a landfill site was being pushed in the City Council when the Illinois State Health Department advised that it would not be approved by that department as a landfill site.

"[Redact] advised that the City furnished the landfill site for the contractor who has the garbage disposal contact for Rockford, Illinois. "[Redact] said that in conversation with [redact] they stated no matter which site was selected for the landfill and no matter who the current contractor might be they would 'have to make their peace with Rockford Disposal Company.'

"He said he asked what was meant by that statement but received no answer. "He said when he was showing opposition to the airport landfill site, he was approached by [redact] Rockford Disposal Company, in approximately October 1969, was asked, 'What does it take to get you to leave us alone?'" wrote the unidentified FBI agent.

Less than two months after issuing that memorandum, the FBI issued another bulletin on May 13, 1970. The document concerned alleged "bribery negotiations relative to [the] Cherry Valley Landfill site." The bulletin reads: "[A source] states he was told it would cost $100,000 to obtain Rockford City Disposal contract. "It has been previously reported that sources believe Rockford Disposal Service, Inc., utilizes Joe Zito in quieting labor disputes when Rockford Disposal first obtained the Rockford City contract [in 1956]. ...

"Rockford is presently attempting to locate a landfill site which would then be used by Rockford Disposal in performance of its trash removal contract. ... The site most likely to be chosen is located in Cherry Valley Township, adjacent to Rockford."

During a Dec. 1 interview, Dave Johnson, Winnebago County clerk and former long-time Rockford alderman, said he thought the site referred to in Zito's FBI file was the City of Rockford's 155-acre composting facility at the northeast corner of South Mulford and Baxter roads. Johnson raised questions about the city’s garbage contract in 1974, which led to an investigation conducted by the Rockford Police Department.

According to a 1975 Rockford Police Department report, Browning Ferris Industries, the city' garbage hauler at that time, was also known as Rockford Disposal Service Co. State records indicate Rockford Disposal changed its name to Laidlaw Waste Systems (Illinois) Inc., on March 25, 1982.

When Zito died in 1981, an FBI surveillance photo shows Zito' funeral was attended by Chicago Mafia boss Joseph Aiuppa, Joseph Zammuto, head of the Rockford Mob, and Frank J. Buscemi, who took control from Zammuto after his retirement, according to a March 4, 1984, Rockford Register Star article.

Thanks to Jeff Havens

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