Showing posts with label Frank Schweihs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank Schweihs. Show all posts

Friday, January 09, 2015

Joseph Caffarello Dies from Shot by Off-duty Police Officer

A clouted Rosemont man who came to local attention when he was photographed sleeping on the job as a tollway supervisor was shot and killed Wednesday in a domestic incident, officials said.

Joseph Caffarello, 31, was shot at noon on Scott Street just south of Granville Avenue, authorities said — the second homicide in less than a week in the normally quiet northwest suburb of just 4,000 residents, the Sun-Times is reporting.

An off-duty Rosemont police officer allegedly shot and killed Caffarello, so Rosemont turned the investigation over to the Illinois State Police, according to a news release from Rosemont police. The police officer, who has been on the job for four years, has been put on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

State police spokeswoman Monique Bond confirmed ISP was investigating but declined to provide details. Rosemont village spokesman Gary Mack said the shooting was a “domestic incident” that occurred in the street.

Caffarello was two years ago photographed on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times, sleeping on the job while he worked as an Illinois Tollway garage supervisor.

He'd twice previously been fired, only to win his job back, before underlings in 2013 finally secured his dismissal by photographing him asleep in his office. And he wasn't shy about bragging that he had clout that protected him, authorities said at the time. He was also accused of intimidating tollway employees and threatening to bring down the tollway's inspector general.

Caffarello “did threaten to get anyone who was opposing him, including me,” Tollway Inspector General James Wagner said in 2013. “There were reports from the employees that he referred to his clout being able to take care of him.”

Caffarello's attorney disputed the allegations, but Cafarello did have ties to people with mob or political connections, public records show.

Though Caffarello wasn't accused himself of being in the Mob, he once wrote that his uncle — the late mob street tax collector Anthony “Jeep” Daddino — had been like a father to him. Daddino has been described by the Chicago Crime Commission as an Outfit member who was friends with the first mayor of Rosemont, Donald Stephens, and was a village employee. Daddino also worked for the late, feared mob killer Frank “The German” Schweihs, court records show.

When Stephens died in 2007, Daddino was at the funeral and told the Sun-Times he “lost a very good friend.”

The following year, after Daddino died from cancer, Caffarello asked the tollway for bereavement leave — something normally reserved for the deaths of immediate relatives. “I consider my uncle immediate family due to the fact that he raised me from a baby,” Caffarello wrote in a letter to tollway officials. “I do not have a relationship with my father, and my uncle was the closes [sic] thing to a father.”

When he wasn't working at the tollway, Caffarello found work at D & P Construction, which has been tied to the family of reputed Chicago Outfit boss John DiFronzo.

Caffarello also was married to the daughter of the clerk of the village of Rosemont. In 2013, Caffarello became a father.

He said he was “screwed” by the tollway after he was fired the third time. Beyond that, he didn't want to discuss his dismissal with the Sun-Times in 2013, telling a reporter he was about to enjoy a dinner of orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe cooked by his mom, whom he described as “the best.”

Relatives could not be reached Wednesday.

Mack could not provide further details of the shooting.

Cafarello's murder is the second this year in the Northwest suburb, which until Friday had not seen a murder in more than a decade.

On Friday, a 14-year-old Des Plaines student was killed in what police said was a gang-related murder.

Mack said the cases are not related.

Thanks to Fox Chicago.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Nora Schweihs of Mob Wives Chicago, Tries to Move On

Nora Schweihs is looking beyond all the screaming, name calling and hair pulling that has characterized the first few episodes of "Mob Wives Chicago." But mostly, she's trying to get past the past.

Schweihs, the daughter of Frank "The German" Schweihs, said she's on the show to get closure following the 2008 death of her father, whose body was recently exhumed at the request of his family. As soon as a blood test confirms the body is her father, Schweihs plans to bring his ashes to Florida, where she lived with him, but place some of his remains in a necklace she has made.

Schweihs said she is also honoring him by creating a pinot noir called "The German," which she hopes will bring positive spin to the nickname given to her father, an alleged mob enforcer. In a one-on-one interview with RedEye, she dismissed the murder charges against her father as "hearsay."

"Now you won't ever hear 'The German' as 'Oh, he was a hitman,'" she told RedEye outside the Bebe store in Water Tower Place.

Schweihs is very defensive of her father, who has become a hot-button issue on "Mob Wives Chicago," which began airing last month on VH1. The show features Schweihs and four other local women with ties to the "Chicago Outfit" who bicker about whose father did what and who is the least classy.

Schweihs is often in the middle of the drama, which she calls 100 percent real. In one recent episode, she becomes upset when another cast member shows up late to a memorial for her father. The confrontation turns violent.

"It is our life and it really is real," said Schweihs, wearing a sheer purple top and white jeans. "For me, the whole point of the show is for my father and nothing else and I am thisclose to getting closure."

Part of the premise of the show is Schweihs' return to Chicago after living in Florida with her father, who she calls her best friend. Schweihs, 49, said she now lives in Bridgeport and recently celebrated finishing her business master's degree at Robert Morris University.

She said she was taking multiple courses when she was filming "Mob Wives Chicago," which added to her stress level. Some of friendships she had going into the show have been strained, but she said she has gotten closer to fellow castmates Christina Scoleri and Leah Desimone.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Renee Fecarotta Russo and Nora Schweihs of Mob Wives Chicago Sued by Manager

Call it a “Mob” contract gone bad.

Two cast members of “Mob Wives Chicago” are being sued by film producer and talent manager Nick Celozzi Jr., who says both women owe him a cut of their pay for appearing on the new VH1 reality TV show.

The lawsuits, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, accuse Renee Fecarotta Russo and Nora Schweihs of breaking their contracts with Celozzi.

He says his company, Family Ties Management, arranged for both women to attend a casting call with the show’s production company, JustJenn Productions. The women hired Celozzi to be their manager for two years, according to copies of contracts that appear to have been signed by Russo and Schweihs in December.

As their manager, Celozzi was supposed to collect 15 percent of what the women get paid to be on the TV show — a figure listed in the lawsuits as $6,000 for each of the season’s 10 episodes. That makes Celozzi’s cut $900 an episode for Russo and the same for Schweihs.

Looks like it was an offer they could refuse.

To date, Russo has forked over $500 while Schweihs has paid $900, according to the lawsuits, which say the women each owe a total of $9,000 for season one — plus interest and legal costs.

“I do believe a lot of people who are new to this business … when they realize that there’s a lot of costs to being involved in this type of industry, they change their minds about what decisions they wanted to have made several months prior,” said Celozzi’s attorney, James Pesoli.

The management contracts call for disputes to be settled before the American Arbitration Association in New York. But Pesoli said that “due to the size of the claim being relatively minimal, under $10,000, it’s in both parties’ best interest to attempt to settle it locally.”

Pesoli, who appeared in court with Russo’s attorney earlier this week, said discussions are under way to potentially settle out of court. He said things haven’t progressed as much in the case of Schweihs, whom they’ve had “a great amount of difficulty” in serving with the lawsuit.

Attempts to reach Schweihs, Russo and Russo’s attorney Wednesday were unsuccessful.

“Mob Wives Chicago,” a spinoff of the popular “Mob Wives” series, debuted June 10 and airs Sundays on the cable network. The show follows the lives of five women related to Chicago mobsters.

Russo is the niece of late loan shark and Outfit hit man “Big John” Fecarotta.

Schweihs is the daughter of Frank “The German” Schweihs, an alleged mob enforcer who died shortly before going to trial in 2008 in the city’s historic Family Secrets case. Nora Schweihs made headlines last week when she had father’s remains exhumed from St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park — part of her purported quest to find out what really happened to her dad.

Celozzi, a former actor, used to appear in his father Nick’s commercials for Celozzi-Ettleson Chevrolet in Elmhurst. Dividing his time between California and the western suburbs, Celozzi has several mob-related entertainment projects in the works, including a documentary on his grand-uncle, notorious Outfit boss Sam “Momo” Giancana.

Thanks to Lori Rackl Irackl

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chicago Is My F—ing Town - Episode 1 of Mob Wives Chicago


If you ever thought that the mob was just Staten Island, think again. “The mob is Chicago. It’s in the pavement, it’s everywhere,” Renee Fecarotta Russo explains in the first moments of Mob Wives Chicago. This is where the mob began.Now that we know Chicago is where is began, let’s meet the ladies.

Renee is the niece of Big John Fecarotta, an alleged enforcer for the mob who was gunned down in 1986, shot in the back by his best friend.

Before he died, he treated Renee like a princess, and that’s just how Renee treats her own daughters, Giana who’s 20 years old (damn, Renee, you look good for the mom of a 20-year-old!) and Isabella, age 10. Giana’s father is in prison and has been for thirteen years, and unlike the women from Staten Island, making prison visits is not a priority. “I haven’t visited him this whole time, and I never want to see him again,” she says. Giana wants to know her dad though, and Renee can’t stand the idea that she wants to visit a man who was not only convicted of murder, but who was never there for her as a dad. “This guy is so horrible that I really don’t want him near my daughter.” Giana disagrees.

Nora Schweihs
Nora knows Chicago is a corrupt town and explains that the stuff we’ve seen on The Sopranos is kid stuff compared to what happens on a day-to-day in Chicago. Nora’s dad is Frank “The German” Schweihs, who is the most notorious hit man in Chicago. Just don’t insinuate that he killed Marilyn Monroe, because Nora will stab you. “Mind your own business and shut the f— up about my dad,” seems to be Nora’s motto. Nora was best friends with her dad. She still might be, his whereabouts are currently unknown. Though he was presumed to have passed away in prison, the day of the funeral, the funeral director called her family and told them that the FBI confiscated his body. She’s absolutely tortured by the fact that she was never able to say goodbye to the man she loved. After a decade in Florida, Nora moved back to Chicago and plans to find out just what happened to her dad. Reality shows don’t have nearly enough mystery, so here’s to hoping Nora’s story finds some resolution, because now I’m dying to know what happened to her dad, too.

Pia Rizza
Vince Rizza was a crooked Chicago cop turned government informant. His daughter, Pia, is not a fan of rats and considers him an embarrassment to her family. She’s had to live with the stigma of having a cooperator in the family, and admits that, when asked about her father, she tells people he’s dead. Pia’s a single mom who works at a strip club which she’s totally fine with, but Nora looks down on. “She’s so much better than working at the strip club,” Nora says. “It’s just a job,” Pia says. A job that brings in thousands of dollars a night, sometimes.

Nora feels comfortable enough talking about Pia’s job though because they go way back and their families have history and they’re like sisters. Which also gives Pia the freedom to tell us that “Nora gets a bad rap because a lot of people think she’s f—ing nuts.” I look forward to seeing that side of her. But for now, Nora just wants Pia to get her life together and find a more respectable profession. Pia takes offense to that notion.

Renee doesn’t know Pia that well, but she feels the same way about the stripping (“What she does is an embarrassment…Get off the pole.”) and to boot, she’s heard that Pia is a goumada, a mistress to several married men.

Renee admits to being judgmental, but what she really should have said was she is Judge Judy, Judge Wapner, and Judge Joe Brown all rolled into one. She can’t stand Pia’s profession, she knows Pia’s father is a rat and thinks that’s a disgrace. “Obviously this girl has no integrity,” Renee tells Nora. Do I sense our first beef of the season?

Norah just wants to have a nice girls’ night out with all the women so they can get to know each other, and suggests that maybe Pia will grown on Renee. “Like mold?” Renee asks. But before girls night happens, Pia’s cousin Anthony calls her to tell her he saw Nora out at a club, and Nora was talking smack about Pia. Sounds like Renee’s judgmental ways rubbed off, because Anthony says Nora was calling her a b—h and a whore. “Nobody talks s— about me,” Pia says. Oooh, it’s actually a race to see whose beef will blossom first this season!

Before that can happen, we meet Christina Scoleri. Born and bred in Little Italy, Christina grew up a fighter who’s used to watching her back. Christina’s father is a burglar for the mob. Though she’s loyal to her dad, she’s “definitely not the girl to take over the family business,” she says. After a ten-year marriage, she’s recently divorced but still living with her ex-husband. “I know it’s a little weird.” I mean, okay, it is a little weird, but whats weirder is that no one in Christina’s family knows they’re divorced, not even her nine-year-old daughter who lives with them. Well, we know where Christina’s Mob Wives salary is going to go, paying off the years of therapy her daughter’s going to need to figure out this situation. Christina knows she needs to get out though, that’s for sure.

Pia is Christina’s friend and has been for over ten years, and Christina doesn’t really know the other women. Pia tells Christina the things her cousin heard Nora saying, specifically that she’s a “c—t,” and Christina can’t believe it but advises Pia to address it “in a nice way first” before raising fists. Christina sounds wiser by the minute, also saying that the issue should be addressed before the girls’ night out so it’s not tense for everyone.

Rounding out the pack is Leah Desimone, another native of Little Italy, a self-professed chubby-chaser, and a woman whose father kept his mob indiscretions hidden from her view. Leah still lives at home with her father, so in case you thought Christina had the weirdest living situation of the bunch, she’s got some competition. “I don’t wanna leave my father!” Leah says.

She’s connected to the gang through Christina, as they both grew up on the same street, but she knows who the other girls are. Christina tells Leah about the Pia-Nora drama and Leah sums up the situation by saying “Nora and Pia are two balloon-heads. I’ve never seen a friendship like this before in my life.”

Leah is going to be absent from girls’ night because she’ll be out of town, and that means we won’t have access to her running commentary and Italian slang for a scene or two, which bums me out. What the crap is a bazzarelle? Because my Google translator isn’t finding it. Leah says it’s best that she’s not there though, because she will throw down if necessary, and anything can trigger her.

On to girls night… Nora is the only person who’s looking at this thing optimistically. She wants everyone to hang out, have a good time, meet one another. But no one else is psyched because of what they’ve heard, or think they’ve heard through the Chicago grapevine.

“Are the girls late or are we early?” Renee asks, and Nora mentions that Pia’s usually late. “That’s disrespectful,” Renee says, and already it feels like trouble’s brewing. Poor Pia has no idea how Renee feels because she tells us “I like Renee, I think she’s a fun girl.”

When Pia and Christina arrive, so far so good. Hugs all around! But then Pia starts talking about some unsavory behavior, like the time she was in Florida and drank a pitcher and a half of mojitos, and Renee looks at her like she wants to drown her in an above-ground pool full of mojitos. And if her dirty looks weren’t enough to make Pia feel unwelcome, Renee broaches the subject of Pia’s father being a rat, and Pia explains that her father was a rat but that she is nothing like him. Renee doesn’t push the envelope, but she also doesn’t warn to Pia, even after that reassurance.
We already have two potential beefs in the room, but now we get a third once Christina brings up the topic of Nora’s dad being a hit man. No one ever told Christina that this subject was off-limits, apparently. “What would make you bring such a sore subject into such a happy moment?” Nora asks. “My dad didn’t kill any-f—ing-body.”

“Nora’s in f—ing la la land about what her dad used to do,” Christina tells us. Again, loving Christina’s to-the-point honesty. I wonder if it will come back to bite her? (This is also the same women who admits “I could drink, like, a kegger of shots!” during the night. I also wonder if that will come back to bite her.)
Renee notices that Christina is like halfway through her kegger of shots and she’s like “Slow down, killer!” But the moment we assumed would happen finally happens, Pia tells the girls “I have to address something.”

“I have to tell Nora about what I heard.” Pia tells Nora what her cousin told her, and Nora’s response is very lawyer-y. “Tell him to get it on tape, and then I’ll believe what I said,” she says, basically talking in circles because I don’t really know what she means. “It’s hearsay.” Finally she tells Pia “I never said it.”
“I don’t know if Nora called Pia a whore, but I wouldn’t blame her if she did,” Renee says. “If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck…quack quack.”

Nora and Pia actually talk things out and kiss, and Nora says “Love you, drop it.” Beef number one seems to actually be squashed, which seems miraculous.

Christina’s not dropping anything though. “You guys should have addressed this the next day,” she tells Pia, sticking to her guns of nipping drama in the bud. Except that she has no clue that she’s starting beef number three. Christina and her kegger of shots are losing control and she keeps pushing everyone’s buttons over an issue that’s already been resolved, and no one knows why. Judging from her face, I don’t even know if she knows why.

She holds fast to the notion that since Pia confided in her about this issue, it’s now her business, and she doesn’t like the way it was resolved after all.

“Shut the f— up!” Pia tells Christina. “Are you my friend or are you not my friend? Right now I don’t think you’re my friend!” she yells, getting up off her couch. “All of a sudden Christina’s like a raging junkyard dog.”

Christina tosses her drink at Nora who stepped in to separate them, and hell breaks loose. “This is completely out of control,” Renee says, as security tries to pry the women apart, but they are fused together at the hair extensions by now.

Once the dust clears, Renee still finds a way to place the blame on Pia, saying “Pia she just has no class. She’s just a piece of s—.”

Introductions are complete, welcome to the world of Mob Wives Chicago.

Thanks to Elizabeth Black

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Nora Schweihs Profile from Mob Wives Chicago

Nora Schweihs
Nora Schweihs grew up hearing that her father, Frank “The German” Schweihs was the most notorious hit-man in Chicago. And now she’s hoping to set the record straight. As one of the castmembers of Mob Wives Chicago, Nora has returned to her hometown with a mission to clear her father’s name and show the world who she is. Unfortunately, she has to contend with a family that doesn’t support her for being on the show, an uncooperative FBI that confiscated the body of her her father after he died, and a lot of in-fighting with her girlfriends. And still, she says the show is the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Meet Nora, everyone.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Mob Wives Chicago Cast

As the second season of VH1′s ratings hit “Mob Wives” continues to captivate fans with the never-ending, real-life drama in New York, the network introduces a new group of “Syndicate Sisters” with the debut of the franchise’s first spin-off, “Mob Wives Chicago,” to premiere Spring 2012.

Mob Wives Chicago

“Mob Wives Chicago” follows the lives of five women allegedly connected to “The Outfit,” Chicago’s version of the Mob, as they bear the cross for the sins of their Mob-associated fathers. With lives that are right off the pages of a story book, each woman has chosen her own way to live her life in the city that was once home to Al Capone, sometimes in spite of and many times because of who her father is. Along the way these women battle their friends, families and each other as they try to do what’s best for themselves and their children. But ultimately, it is the ghost of their fathers they battle, living and dead, as they try to overcome and persevere in the face of these men’s notorious legacies.

Meet the cast of “Mob Wives Chicago”:

RENEE FECAROTTA RUSSO: Renee is a strong independent businesswoman who was raised by her uncle, “Big John” Fecarotta, following the death of her father. An alleged loan collector and hit man for “The Outfit,” Fecarotta was Renee’s mentor and best friend until being gunned down by fellow mobster Nick Calabrese. Fiercely loyal to his memory, Renee still abides by the “code”: never associate with rats…take it to the grave.

NORA SCHWEIHS: Nora is back in Chicago to take care of some unfinished business. Nora’s father, Frank “The German” Schweihs, was reputed to be one of the most notorious hit men for the Mob. Schwiehs, whose alleged “hits” were not limited to the Mob, has long been rumored to be responsible for the death of Marilyn Monroe. Shortly after his death in 2008, the government confiscated his remains before he could be properly buried. Nora has returned to Chicago to learn the whereabouts of his body. Despite growing up hearing stories of his viciousness and brutality, Nora idolized her father and she continues to defend him… even to his grave.

PIA RIZZA: Pia may have a mouth like a trucker, but she’s spoken zip about her father since she was a little girl. Vincent Rizza was a dirty Chicago cop who worked for the Mob, testified against the Mob and then went into the Witness Protection Program. Pia has struggled all her life to hide from the shame of having a “rat” for a father. It’s been especially difficult to avoid the judgments and finger pointing in a town that celebrates the folk heroes and glory days of the Mob.

CHRISTINA SCOLERI: As an unemployed divorced mother of a 9-year-old, Christina is struggling to provide a stable environment for her daughter. Christina is the daughter of Raymond Janek, a one-time thief and alleged fence for the Mob. Serving 20 years off and on for various offenses, Janek finally went straight in 1987, and his relationship with his daughter remains distant. Christina’s father is a reminder of her own unstable upbringing, and she’s determined not to repeat the sins of her father.

LEAH DESIMONE: Leah is the over-protected daughter of William “Wolf” DeSimone, a supposed “associate” of the Mob, but Leah’s keeping mum. Leah never knew, and knew never to ask what her Dad did for a living. Leaving one day in a suit, Wolf would return days later in street clothes with no explanation and none expected. Now “retired,” Wolf still keeps tabs on his little girl. But as vigilant as he is of her safety, Leah is equally secretive of her Dad’s profession … if you’re “connected,” you NEVER talk about it!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Frank "The German" Schweihs' Daughter to Star on "Mob Wives: Chicago"

During his long career as a mob enforcer, Frank “The German” Schweihs gained a reputation as a fearsome hit man relied upon by the Chicago Outfit to eliminate its enemies, including potential government witnesses who might talk out of school.

Schweihs, who was said to be so psycho scary that even other tough guy mobsters went out of their way to avoid him, died of cancer in 2008 while waiting to go on trial in the landmark Operation Family Secrets case.

Later this week, sources tell me, the television network VH-1 is planning to announce Schweihs’ daughter Nora will be one of the stars of the new Chicago spinoff of its hit reality series, “Mob Wives.”

Is there still any doubt in your mind that The Outfit isn’t what it used to be? “Mob Wives,” which bills itself as a docu-soap, has never purported to spill any mob secrets during its now two season run following the exploits of a group of Staten Island women with familial ties to New York organized crime figures. “Mob Wives: Chicago” isn’t expected to be any different.

Instead, the program explores the lives of the women with the goal of showing how their mob surroundings have affected them personally—as mothers, daughters and wives. For anybody who has seen the prolific catfighting among the New York cast, the affect would appear to be pretty straightforward: it’s made them crazy.

Nora Schweihs, 48, is said to be a piece of work herself. I’ve only managed to get her on the phone a couple of times — both occasions resulting in her angrily yelling at me that she didn’t know what I was talking about and to never call again. Still, I can respect that. That’s how a real mobster’s family member is supposed to react when a newspaper reporter calls, not schedule a press conference.

The German’s daughter certainly has the bona fides for the show. Her ex-husband, Michael Talarico, was a mob bookmaker and nephew of mob boss Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra. In fact, when Talarico testified for the prosecution against Frank Calabrese Sr. in the Family Secrets trial, he told the jury he was still working as a bookie.

There’s Nora Schweihs of Mob Wives Chicagoa rather unflattering mugshot of Nora Schweihs on the Internet arising from a 2004 DUI arrest in Florida, where she and her father both used to live. She was also charged in the incident with resisting arrest and felony possession of cocaine. She was convicted on the DUI, but the other charges were dropped.

Joining Schweihs on the show will be her good friend, Renee Fowler Russo, the niece of mob loan shark and killer John Fecarotta, whose own 1986 assassination provided the break that set the Family Secrets dominoes in motion. Nicholas Calabrese, the hit man whose cooperation with authorities was at the heart of the Family Secrets case, is said to have flipped in large part because he left a bloody glove behind when he killed Fecarotta, which years later provided a DNA match.

What qualifies Russo for the show, we’re told , is that she and her mother Barbara, Fecarotta’s sister, lived with “Big John” while she was growing up. Russo, 44, now operates an eye care business in Ukrainian Village and has numerous other past entanglements that could add to the drama.

The other two women in the four-member cast are Pia Rizza, 40, daughter of Vincent Rizza, a dirty Chicago cop who doubled as a bookmaker and juice collector before he turned government witness, and Christine Scoleri, 41, daughter of a small-time Cicero-area hood described to me as a “knockaround guy.”

Rizza’s father was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1982 for drug dealing and ended up in the federal witness protection program. Perhaps most notably, he testified against Harry “The Hit” Aleman, maybe the only Chicago mob guy of his generation more feared than Schweihs.

Scoleri’s father shows up so infrequently in our news clippings that I’m not quite comfortable mentioning him by name with the rest of this crowd. Scoleri, by the way, is her married name.

I’m told there are another one or two Chicago mob women, as yet unrevealed, who aren’t part of the regular cast but might make cameo appearances during the season with an eye toward a bigger role in the future — if our mob women prove as popular as New York’s.

Might there be a “your daddy killed my daddy” story line sometime in the future?

Thanks to Mark Brown

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reviewing the History Behind Famous Mob Nicknames

A colorful nickname comes with the job when you are a reputed Chicago crime boss, often whether you like it or not.

The trial of Michael "Big Mike" Sarno is getting underway in federal court in Chicago, with prosecutors arguing that the 6-foot-3-inch, 300-pound Sarno wasn't just imposing because of his size, but because he was the big man behind a violent mob jewelry theft and illegal gambling ring.

Imposing aliases have captivated the public and aggravated mobsters since the days of Al "Scarface" Capone, a fact that apparently was too much for one prospective juror. The juror, a suburban businessman, told U.S. Judge Ronald Guzman he would be biased by the repeated use of nicknames during the trial. So Guzman sent him home.

Defense attorney Michael Gillespie said he's not worried about his large client's nickname, which is pretty mild for an alleged mobster. "There's nothing nefarious about that nickname," Gillespie said. "But I do think (federal prosecutors) put the nickname in there for a reason. They could've just charged him as 'Michael Sarno.'"

A big appetite is a more benign way to get a pet name than, say, Anthony "Joe Batters" Accardo, the former reputed mob kingpin who earned his sobriquet for beating people with baseball bats. The story goes that after hearing of one such beating, Capone himself said, "That guy, (Accardo), he's a real Joe Batters." Throughout his life, everyone called Accardo "Joe," said Gus Russo, author of "The Outfit."

"They started to call (Accardo) 'Big Tuna' in the press, but no one ever called him that," said Russo. Mobsters' nicknames often were generated by the press or FBI agents eager to antagonize their targets, a favorite tactic of longtime Chicago FBI chief William Roemer. "(Roemer) was the one that referred to (Outfit Vegas boss) Anthony Spilotro as 'The Ant,'" Russo said. "That was (Roemer's) way of infuriating these guys."

Attorney Joseph Lopez said the press hung the nickname "The Breeze" on his loan-sharking client Frank Calabrese Sr. "That's a media nickname. No one ever called him that. He was 'Cheech,'" said Lopez. "Cheech is 'Frank' in Italian. It's a neighborhood thing. These guys get their nicknames like anyone else, as young kids in the neighborhood."

Of course, former Lopez client Anthony "The Hatchet" Chiaramonti was known for attacking juice-loan delinquents with a hatchet, the attorney acknowledged. "Hatchet earned that nickname," said Lopez, noting that jurors heard Chiaramonti strangle an informant — who was wearing a wire at the time — during a trial in the 1990s. "I called him Tony."

When reputed mobsters deny, or take offense to, their nicknames, it may be because they haven't heard them until someone plays them tapes of a wiretap. Wiretaps in Sarno's case will show that some of his lieutenants often called their boss "Fat Ass" behind his back. Not a good career move in most jobs, and a potentially deadly one in The Outfit.

"These are not guys you might want to call by a nickname to their face," said Markus Funk, one of the lead prosecutors in the Family Secrets trial that featured defendants Frank "the German" Schweihs; Paul "the Indian" Schiro; and Joseph Lombardo, who was listed with three nicknames: "the Clown," "Lumbo" and "Lumpy."

U.S. attorney's office policy is to include nicknames in an indictment only when the monikers are used in wiretaps or correspondence, said former prosecutor Chris Gair. However, modern mobsters are so paranoid about wiretaps and FBI surveillance that they seldom even risk using a nickname, Gair said. Their coded euphemisms get so vague, often it's clear the mobsters can barely carry on a conversation.

"Instead of a name or a nickname, they'll say something like 'You know that guy down by Grand and Ogden (avenues)?' 'You mean the guy who stands outside the grocery?' And the circumlocutions are so obscure, it's obvious they don't know who the other guy's talking about," Gair said. "But they're so paranoid, they still won't use a name."

Gair, for the record, said he seldom used nicknames in cases he handled.

"I would almost never put (nicknames) in an indictment. FBI agents and IRS guys have a nickname for everybody," he said. "For most guys, they use nicknames the way you or I do among friends."

Thanks to Andy Grimm

More Mob Nicknames

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

FBI Files Released on Chicago's Most Feared Mobster Frank"The German" Schweihs

The FBI called him a "psychopath" and "an extremely ruthless, cold-blooded and malicious individual with a violent temper."

He was dubbed "one of the top 'hit men' in Chicago for the past 10 years," back in 1975.

Investigators were warned: "Extreme caution should be exercised ... in view of his propensity for violence." And a confidential source once told the FBI he was "a very mean individual and that he had on one occasion shot a girlfriend in the head."

One nickname he was known by was "The Nut."

But for decades, Francis John Schweihs was best known - and feared - on the streets of Chicago by a nickname that spoke only of his heritage: "The German."

Though he was reputed to be a prolific mob killer, Frank Schweihs never went on trial for a single murder.

He died in 2008 at the age of 76 from complications of cancer. It was just a few months before he would have faced the most serious charges of his life, as part of the landmark Operation Family Secrets case that sent top Chicago Outfit bosses and killers to prison.

Many of Schweihs' secrets went to the grave with him. But his once-secret FBI files - 531 pages in all, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times - shed new light on a man widely considered to have been the most-feared Chicago mobster ever.

According to one report in the FBI files: "Sources have also indicated that Schweihs is allowed a free reign in Chicago due to his violent nature.

Sources have also indicated that Schweihs is called in by various Chicago crews to do hits."

His FBI file shows authorities were interested in Schweihs for many reputed mob hits in Chicago and elsewhere, including killings in M ilwaukee and Kansas City.

Schweihs' penchant for violence, his hair-trigger temper and his twisted behavior made him stand out even in the Chicago mob. Schweihs started his criminal career as a thief. One time, he defecated in a cash register while he and his young partners in crime robbed a business, sources say.

The late mobster Michael Spilotro warned his teenage daughter in the 1980s: If she ever saw Schweihs around their Oak Park home, call the cops and lock the door.

Schweihs once was caught on a secret government wiretap telling an undercover informant: "I won't see you for a while. I gotta - I got a f------ hit," according to a FBI transcript of the conversation.

Schweihs was also a member of a sophisticated burglary crew in Florida, where he spent much of his time when not in Chicago - and where he once ran into serious trouble with the law.

It was May 1975. He was arrested in Fort Lauderdale after two brothers, who were checking on their auto-body shop late at night, came across Schweihs and another man apparently trying to break into a Wells Fargo bank next door. Schweihs was convicted in that case in 1976. The prosecution victory in the Florida case was short-lived. A federal appeals court overturned Schweihs' conviction.

He wouldn't do prison time until the mid-1990s, when he was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for shaking down pornography bookstore owners for money.

In the mid-1970s, Schweihs was inves tigated for more than a year for allegedly extorting two restaurant-quality Vulcan ranges out of a guy who owed him money. Schweihs used them at his own Old Town restaurant, the Meat Block, according to the FBI files.

The Internal Revenue Service once had Richard Johnson - a legendary undercover agent - strike up a business relationship with Schweihs. It was a remarkable feat because Johnson was black, and Schweihs, beside being paranoid about law enforcement, was a virulent racist. Schweihs would brag about how he could sniff out FBI agents.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006, Johnson recalled how he convinced Schweihs that he was interested in buying a restaurant property from him that Schweihs had converted into an Italian bicycle shop when he had problems with his liquor license.

Another time, Johnson said, Schweihs wanted to show him how strong a Plexiglas screen in the building's vestibule was. So Schweihs picked up a baseball bat and hammered at it in a frenzy for a minute. "I'm looking at him and ducking at the same time," Johnson said. "It was like he was in another world."

Schweihs, oddly, given his own reputation for violence, told Johnson that Italians could learn something from black people, saying, "You guys march and raise hell and shoot each other." But Johnson's undercover investigation had to be cut short. Schweihs began threatening the life of then-Cook County Board President George Dunne, who Schweihs mistakenly believed was behind his liquor-license problems. Dunne was warned of the threat, and the investigation ended.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Underworld Histories 2: Chicago

IF YOU were an underworld mobster would you really like the nickname "The Clown", or "The German" – or what about "Mad Sam"?

Then there's "Joe Batters" – sounds like someone who works at a fish and chip shop, doesn't it?

But they are all real-life and real scary members of Chicago's underworld: Joey "The Clown" Lombardo (also known as Lumpy), Frank "The German" Schweihs and Samuele "Mad Sam" DeStefano.

Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo (also known as Big Tuna) was the chief executive of the Chicago Outfit, that city's notorious crime gang founded by none other than Al Capone. According to this doco, Accardo earned the Joe Batters moniker because of "his talent of breaking skulls with a baseball bat".

Underworld Histories 2: Chicago is littered with such marvellously rich quotes which could be discarded as the stuff of comic book gratuitousness if it weren't recorded fact.

Like this quote from a former mob member about an associate who was being tortured with an ice pick: "Billy wouldn't come up with anything, so finally they stuck his head in a vice and they started tightening until . . ."

(OK, look away now, or up to the ceiling, like the camera does in Reservoir Dogs when they're ripping that guy's ear off, because I'm about to give you the end of this quote and it's a bit squeamy. So skip to the next paragraph if you need.)

". . . until his eyeball popped out. Then they cut his throat."

Eeee-yuk. Horrible, horrible stuff . . . but you just have to watch it somehow – like a train wreck. Or like when I saw Huey Lewis from the '80s band Huey Lewis And The News playing the part of celebrity lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago on Broadway a few years back.

He was awful . . . eye-poppingly awful. It was a wonder a Chicago mobster on vacation in New York didn't open his violin case and rat-a-tat-tat him right there on stage. But back to America's "second city".

Underworld Histories 2: Chicago details the rise and fall of the Outfit from the Prohibition days of the 1920s through to the wild and wicked '60s and '70s and touches on how the city now copes with its bloody heritage, saying law enforcement agencies now have the upper hand on mobsters.

"For the people of Chicago," the narrator (who's Rory O'Shea, by the way, but who really sounds like he's channelling Phil Hartman's Simpsons character Troy McClure) says, "organised crime is the history and the foundation of the city."

The underworld of Chicago was just that. The city is located on the banks of Lake Michigan and in the mid 19th century much of it was built on stilts to avoid flooding. The bullets and bashings went on in the gloomy shadows around those stilts. But there were a few light moments in the history of the Outfit – the classic being Mad Sam DeStefano.

There's some great footage of him arriving for a pre-trial in the mid-1960s.

He's carried into court on a stretcher and he's rambling incoherently through a bullhorn to the crowds outside.

It looks like a scene from Get Smart. But once again, there is a seriousness behind all this.

DeStefano was convicted of rape and sentenced to three years' imprisonment when he was just 18. He was known as Mad Sam for his sadistic torture methods and the way he'd froth at the mouth and laugh uncontrollably when being interviewed by police.

Considered by some to be a devil worshipper, he also built his own sound-proof torture chamber in his basement.

If ever Heath Ledger had needed an archetype for The Joker, then this was the guy.

Actually, come to think of it, Huey Lewis doesn't look too horrendous against these mobsters. Now that's scary.

Thanks to Geoff Shearer

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Print Edition of Informer is Now Available

Tom Hunt, the publisher of Informer is very happy to announce that a print edition of Informer's first issue is on sale through MagCloud, a branch of HP doing top quality, groundbreaking work in the periodicals field. In addition to printing and sales, the MagCloud service provides an online preview and a "subscribe" option, which alerts interested readers by e-mail when a new issue becomes available.

In the future, print (ISSN 1943-7803) and electronic (ISSN 1944-8139) editions of Informer will become available simultaneously.

Informer, The Journal of American Mafia History - Vol. 1, No. 1, September 2008
The Mob's Worst Year: 1957, Part 1, by Thomas Hunt / Capone's Triggerman Kills Michigan Cop by Chriss Lyon / New Orleans Newspaperman Reveals His Role in 1891 Anti-Mafia Lynch-Mob / A Look Back: 100 Years Ago, 75 Years Ago, 25 Years Ago / Book Reviews: Frank Nitti; The Mafia and the Machine; The First Vice Lord; The Complete Public Enemy Almanac / Author Interview: David Critchley / Ask the Informer: Joe DiGiovanni of Kansas City / Current Events: John A. Gotti, James "Whitey" Bulger / Deaths: John Bazzano Jr., Frank "the German" Schweihs, Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who Took Mob Killer Frank Schweihs' Body from Funeral Home?

The family members of reputed mob enforcer Frank "The German" Schweihs who gathered Monday morning for his funeral learned there would be no body to bury.

Authorities called the funeral home as an estimated 10 to 15 people gathered for a private graveside service and ordered that the body be turned over to the Cook County medical examiner's office. The service was held without the body.

"All of a sudden as they were about to start the service on Monday, the funeral home gets notified," Paul Brayman, one of Schweihs' attorneys, said Tuesday.

The medical examiner's office said it was not notified of Schweihs' death July 23 at Thorek Medical Center in Chicago while awaiting trial, even though it was widely reported Friday. The law requires that anyone dying in custody be examined by the medical examiner's office.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Frank 'The German' Schweihs - "A Killer, That's All, A Killer of a Girl"

Diane Pappas learned that Chicago isn't Camelot a lifetime ago when a tugboat captain found her sister's murdered body in the Chicago River. Eugenia "Becca" Pappas was only 18.

So last week, 46 years after Becca's death, when Diane heard the German was dead, she knew what to do: Drive out to the cemetery, to Becca's grave in the shade of a giant Norwegian pine, and talk to her little sister. "I'm going to the cemetery right now," Diane said. "I've got to be there. Now I want to tell Becca. The big, tough man. The big killer. The murderer of my sister. The German. The murderer of a girl."

If Frank "The German" Schweihs ever wondered about hell, he's not wondering now. He died last week, at 78, of cancer, waiting to stand federal trial in the Family Secrets case.

The FBI considers him the Babe Ruth of Outfit hit men, with dozens of Outfit victims, mobsters from New York to Los Angeles, murderous bosses and their turncoat business associates. Other hit men were terrified to be near him, even when he was sleeping. A glimpse of the German in Los Angeles, a chance sighting in a car window, frightened Jimmy "The Weasel" Frattiano so much that the mobster ran shrieking into the federal witness protection program.

Schweihs the enforcer was the reason those frail, old men could run things without worrying about ambitious underlings. He's the reason they made fortunes, and a president and mayors and judges.

The list of the German's dead is a history of organized crime in America. Except for Becca Pappas, a beauty, tall, slim, black eyes, black hair. "I know he killed her. I just know. She was in his car. She was driving his car the last time anyone saw her. His car disappeared. Then it was auctioned a month later, totally stripped clean, washed down," Diane said.

Becca's murder was investigated by corrupt Chicago lawman Richard CainThe Tangled Web: The Life and Death of Richard Cain - Chicago Cop and Mafia Hitman. This being Chicago, Schweihs was released without charges. Still, I agree with Diane that Schweihs killed her sister.

Why? Because, as explained to me by mob-watchers and former FBI agents, no man in Chicago, or anywhere else, would have dared approach the German's girlfriend. Not even to say hello. They wouldn't have allowed their brains to think of it. Not one. Schweihs would have skinned them alive with a paring knife.

The German is said to have later shotgunned Cain at Rose's Sandwich Shop. And killed Jimmy "the Bomber" Catuara. Teamsters lawyer Allan Dorfman died in a parking lot, shot in the head with a .22. Joe Testa was blown up in his car. Sam DeStefano's arms were shotgunned off in his garage. Patsy Riccardi, Chucky Nicoletti, the list continues.

The Chicago Outfit's flamboyant Hollywood connection, Johnny Rosselli, was found stuffed into an oil drum, floating at sea. Angelo Boscarino was shotgunned, though his son was later given a piece of the failed Rosemont casino deal.

If I've missed a few names, Schweihs didn't miss.

In the late 1980s, he was held in the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center at the same time as Outfit member-turned-federal informant Gerald Scarpelli. The official story is Scarpelli committed suicide. He must have seen the German in the day room and then decided to tie his own feet and hands and choke himself to death with a plastic bag in the shower. The German is also credited with torturing and killing several burglars who dared rob the home of Anthony Accardo.

"He never informed. He killed who they told him to kill. And if he was involved in the killing of that young woman—it sheds an entirely new light on his personality," said FBI Special Agent John Mallul, a supervisor of the Organized Crime Unit. "No criminal ever wanted to see this guy around. Even if they knew that Frank was coming around and knew why, they were still terrified."

Law enforcement says that just about his only friend was Chicago political figure Peter Schivarelli, currently the manager of the rock group Chicago and the former 43rd Ward supervisor of Streets and San. Schivarelli is reputed to have been around Outfit types all his life and is the nephew of late mobster Johnny "The Bug" Varelli.

One night, Schweihs was arrested after fighting with police. "Schivarelli came down to the station trying to get him out, throwing his political clout around, and all hell broke loose," former FBI agent Jack O'Rourke recalled a while back. "It was a madhouse."

"That's not my recollection," Schivarelli said when I tracked him down. He talked on the phone as if I held a subpoena. "But I'd rather not debate it. I'll respectfully decline to comment."

Too bad. I was waiting to hear that the German was kind to tiny children and animals and helped old women cross the street. None of it matters to Becca Pappas' sister. "Schweihs still lived 46 years when he shouldn't have. And people glorify him, and they glorify the mob with their movies and TV shows. But all he was, was a killer. That's all. A killer of a girl."

Thanks to John Kass

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Frank "The German" Schweihs, Chicago Outfit Mob Enforcer, Dies Awaiting Trial

Frank "the German" Schweihs, a reputed Chicago Outfit enforcer once described as one of the most feared men in the city, died Wednesday in a North Side hospital after being transferred from the Metropolitan Correction Center, where he was awaiting trial.

Frank 'The German' SchweihsSchweihs, 78, was cancer-stricken and too ill to face charges in last year's landmark Family Secrets case, one of the biggest mob trials in Chicago's history. The frail Schweihs was scheduled to go to trial Oct. 28. He appeared at recent hearings in federal court in a wheelchair.

On Wednesday, Schweihs died in Thorek Memorial Hospital, said jail spokesman Vincent Shaw.

Schweihs initially went on the lam after the sweeping indictment came down in 2005, but authorities were able to track him down in an apartment complex in a small town in Kentucky late that year.

His upcoming trial had been threatened when Schweihs signed a do-not-resuscitate order that might have forced officials to move him from the downtown jail, which has no medical facility. But Schweihs rescinded the order.

During the Family Secrets trial, in which five of Schweihs' co-defendants were found guilty, witnesses testified that Schweihs was a henchman for capo Joey "the Clown" Lombardo. Schweihs was identified during the trial as being involved in the 1974 hit in Bensenville on Lombardo business partner and federal witness Daniel Seifert.

Schweihs' last court appearance June 10 was memorable, as he complained loudly and barked at federal prosecutors. One of them, Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk, who was part of the trial team on Family Secrets, had looked in his direction as he spoke with his attorney Ellen Domph.

"You makin' eyes at me?" Schweihs snarled. "Do I look like a [expletive] to you or something?"

In a recent court filing, prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge James Zagel to seat an anonymous jury to hear the Schweihs case, noting that he used violence to rise in the Outfit starting in the 1960s.

"Throughout this phase of his life, Schweihs continued to use seemingly irrational brutality for 'effect,' portraying himself as the consummate 'tough guy' at every opportunity," the government's brief stated.

Trial testimony during last year's Family Secrets case made it clear that Schweihs was someone who others linked to the mob feared most.

Michael Spilotro, who was killed in a mob hit along with his brother, once told his daughter that if she ever saw Schweihs around their home, she was to call 911 immediately. Brothers James and Mickey Marcello, defendants in the case, had another nickname for him: "Hitler."

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Did Federal Prosecutor Make Eyes at Mobster in Court?

Reputed mob hitman Frank "The German" Schweihs -- once among the most feared men in the Chicago Outfit -- wasted little time Tuesday showing that the cancer that ravaged his body has not softened his attitude.

"You making eyes at me?" Schweihs said from his wheelchair to a federal prosecutor during a status hearing in his criminal case."Yeah you, you making eyes at me? Do I look like a fag to you?" Schweihs asked.

Prosecutors ignored Schweihs' remarks and continued to take care of the routine business of his upcoming trial, scheduled to begin in October. Schweihs, 78, was originally to be tried along with five other defendants in the historic Family Secrets federal prosecution against the Chicago mob. But a battle with cancer made him too sick to go to trial with the other men, including Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr. and James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, who were convicted.

Schweihs, looking pale and gaunt, first asked his attorneys if they were in a foreign country after apparently noticing that one of the prosecutors wears a turban. Schweihs has a history of making racially insensitive remarks and has shown over the years a disdain for a wide variety of people. Schweihs later referred to another federal prosecutor in court as "another a--hole."

U.S. District Judge James Zagel did not reprimand Schweihs but ended the hearing quickly after his last remark.

One of Schweihs' attorneys, Ellen Domph, said outside court that Schweihs is usually "very polite."

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Friday, May 09, 2008

Part 2 of the Chicago Mob's Family Secrets Trial to Start by the End of the Year

Alleged mobster Frank "The German" Schweihs has eluded law enforcement officials twice but prosecutors said Thursday they are not through trying to bring him to trial.

Schweihs went on the run three years ago when prosecutors unveiled their sweeping Operation Family Secrets indictment against the top echelon of the Chicago mob.

He was missing for eight months before FBI agents swooped down on his hideaway nestled deep in the Kentucky hills.

Then he missed the Family Secrets trial due to a battle with cancer.

Federal prosecutors now say Schweihs is healthy enough to face trial. They have blocked out an early September date for his trial which they said could last as long as two months.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Markus Funk told U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel Thursday that the government could call as many as 110 witnesses.

Zagel said he didn't know if the September date would hold but added he would try to have the trial by the end of the year or soon after.

Schweihs is accused of a June 1986 murder in Arizona and squeezing "street tax" payments out of a suburban strip joint and an Indiana porn shop by threatening the owners with violence.

He's also accused of going on the run to avoid prosecution.

The Family Secrets trial ended in September with the conviction of five alleged mobsters in a racketeering conspiracy involving decades of extortion, loan sharking and murder.

One of the five Family Secrets defendants convicted in September, loan shark and hit man Frank Calabrese Sr., was in court Thursday to complain that he isn't getting enough time to study his case while locked up in the federal government's Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Calabrese, who according to witnesses strangled a number of victims and then slashed their throats to make sure they were dead, appeared before Zagel wearing orange prison coveralls and leg irons.

Federal officials said they had allotted extra time for Calabrese to have access to a computer and CD ROMs to study his case. But his attorney, Joseph Lopez, said the correctional officers on the floor where his cell is located haven't been honoring that order.

Zagel scheduled a hearing for next week and said he hoped the problem would be straightened out by then.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Was Marilyn Monroe Whacked by the Chicago Mob?

The I-Team looked into one of Chicago's most feared mob hit men, Frank "The German" Schweihs and whether he was behind the mysterious death of Hollywood legend, Marilyn Monroe in 1962.

Frank Schweihs' cancer kept him from being tried with the rest of the family secrets clan last summer. But on Thursday morning in federal court, prosecutors will proceed with their plans to try Schweihs this fall on charges of mob crimes and murder.

There won't be paparazzi nor any mention of Marilyn MonroeWas Marilyn Monroe whacked by the Chicago Mob?, even though her death and the death of a Chicago manicurist have been pinned on Schweihs.

In Chicago in 1962, the Dan Ryan Expressway opened. Mayor Richard J. Daley was in his second term. Integration started in the Chicago schools. The Cubs lost 101 games. And Frank Schweihs was a rising star in the Outfit, living in the west suburban home of his Outfit boss. By '62, Schweihs had been arrested as often as his age - he was 32 years old - for crimes from burglary to homicide. But he seemed to carry a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Even though he was German, Schweihs hung out in Greektown and it may have been during a night out there that he met a tall, slender 18-year-old manicurist, Eugenia Pappas. They called her Becca. They began to date to the dismay of her family.

"My sister came to see me eight days before she was murdered and I said, 'Please don't be involved with anyone like that because when you die, they just step over your body,'" said sister Diane Pappas.

It was advice not taken. Becca's body was found floating in the Chicago River. She had been shot through the heart, according to police, while sitting in the passenger seat of a car. Chicago detective Richard Cain, who led that investigation, was himself secretly on the mob's payroll. Schweihs was questioned but never charged.

Diane Pappas said she doesn't know what Schweihs' motive would've been.

"I wouldn't know. She was a naive 18-year old girl and that's all I know. She was smitten with him," Diane Pappas said.

The Pappas family cringed at reporting that Outfit bosses had ordered Schweihs to silence Becca because he had told her about his role in another murder.

A 1993 book about Marilyn Monroe, written by an L.A. private eye, concludes that "Eugenia Pappas found out about Marilyn Monroe," from Schweihs, who was then ordered to kill her. Whether that is true, Monroe's death was never officially ruled a suicide due to lack of evidence. Many investigators believe Monroe was *murdered* by the Chicago Outfit because of her connections to the Kennedy family and Chicago mob boss Sam "Momo" Giancana.

Did Frank 'The German' Schweihs partner with Tony Spilotro to kill Marilyn Monroe at the direct of Chicago Mob Boss Sam Giancana?A police informant reportedly stated that Giancana deployed Schweihs and Anthony "Ant" Spilotro to kill Marilyn Monroe and make it look like a drug overdose.

John Flood spent 41 years in metro-Chicago law enforcement, most with the Cook County sheriff's police. He is now retired in Las Vegas and is considered an Outfit expert. Flood says there's a possibility they were involved because of the close relationship of Giancana, the Chicago boss, and Frank Sinatra. They would meet in Reno.

Flood says Schweihs, or Schways as he knew him, was the prime suspect in dozens of gangland hits.

"A cold-blooded, tough killer who would murder anyone if ordered to," Flood said of Schweihs.

In 1989, Schweihs was convicted of shaking down porno store owners and was recorded on an FBI tape boasting that he was the boss and no one else.

When the Family Secrets indictments were handed up in 2005, Schweihs went into hiding and was finally arrested in a Kentucky apartment house at age 76, living with a girlfriend, while his long-ago girlfriend can never rest in peace.

"How is that justice? Walking around for 45 years doing horrible deeds like he's always done? That's very unfortunate," said Diane Pappas. "I hope he goes to jail for the rest of his life and suffers pain with the cancer."

And after 45 years, Diane Pappas heeded the suggestion of her late husband, a career Chicago cop, not to be too public in accusing Frank Schweihs. A crotchety, bad tempered hoodlum, Schweihs has never buckled under the weight of authority and will likely take to his grave, whatever he may know about a Hollywood death that stunned the world and a Chicago murder that has divested a family.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Feds Searching for Mob Money

Federal authorities have told top Chicago hoodlums to show them the money - ten million dollars in racketeering profits - and hand it over.

Some of the outfit figures claim they're broke, but federal investigators believe those mobsters are hiding millions in assets.

The trail of mob money begins with eight slices of Sopressata Italian salami and two men - convicted Chicago outfit boss Frank Calabrese and suburban lawyer Alphonse Talarico.

On August 16, during a courtroom break in the Operation Family Secrets trial, attorney Talarico was visiting with Frank the Breeze, whose family he'd represented in real estate. Federal marshals say Talarico passed contraband to prisoner Calabrese and is now banned from the courtroom. Talarico claims the contraband salami was his lunchmeat. "Must've fallen out of my pocket," he told the I-Team. "It wasn't anything devious. I wasn't trying to be a wiseguy."

He admitted to being related to wiseguys. SAFETY Buy 1 get 1 50 percent offHe is the brother of mob bookmaker Michael Talarico, who testified in the case; nephew of the late mob boss Angelo "The Hook" Lapietra and ex-in-law of mob hit man Frank "The German" Schweihs. But it's Talarico's role as the real estate attorney and taxman for Frank Calabrese that has the attention of federal agents far more than his fallen salami.

Since the early 1980's, Talarico has handled vacation land deals in Williams Bay, Wisconsin for the Calabreses. Authorities are said to be examining Walworth County deed records for Calabrese and Talarico as they try to determine find Frank the Breeze's assets.

At Talarico's Oakbrook law office, he declined to appear on TV but said the allegations are "totally inaccurate. I don't know anything about it. The U.S. government can follow anything they want."

U.S. prosecutors are also following the money behind mob leader Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, unraveling what they contend was an intricate scheme to camouflage his personal fortune.

The Clown was arrested last year after being on the lamb for months with $3,000 in his pocket. But he claimed to be in the poorhouse, living on Social Security with six-figure debts. His attorney was ordered paid with tax money.

The feds don't buy Lombardo's poverty act, and the I-Team has learned agents recently delivered a subpoena to the suburban home of his son, Joey Jr.

In what's called a "third party citation to discover assets," the junior Lombardo and other members of his family are being commanded to appear in federal court with records of money or property they may be holding for The Clown.

Feds want Joey Jr.'s tax returns and records of his father's trust account that names his mother, himself and his sister as beneficiaries. Prosecutors question how The Clown could have a trust fund if he was penniless.

According to public records, Joey The Clown and his wife, Marion, divorced in 1992. But federal authorities say the split-up was a sham, that they continued to live together in a West Side apartment building until he was indicted in 2005. And when the Lombardo family sold their Florida golf course property in 2003, eleven years after their divorce, Marion Lombardo still listed herself as "a married woman" while collecting $4.5 million.

In the past year, Mrs. Lombardo has sold two properties, totaling almost $800,000.

Joey Lombardo's lawyer and the others in the mob case are bound by a gag order because the jury is still deliberating murder charges. But Joe Dinatale, who represents Lombardo's ex-wife, son and daughter, said they're cooperating and plan to turn over documents early next month.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Part Two of Family Secrets Mob Trial Coming Next Spring

While jurors deliberate over the evidence in the family secrets mob murder trial, it appears act two of the saga will now unfold next spring.

CBS 2’s John “Bulldog” Drummond has learned federal prosecutors are planning an all-out blitz on another high-profile Chicago mob figure.

Frank “The German” Schweihs was severed from the family secrets trial last spring reportedly because of health reasons. He was apparently suffering from cancer. But a source says the 77 year old has made a miraculous recovery. If his health holds, he’ll be brought back to Chicago for a trial in the spring, possibly in April.

Bits and Pieces, Inc.For a time, Schweihs, known as “The German” in underworld circles, led the feds on a merry chase until he was arrested in an apartment complex in Berea, Kentucky.

Schweihs, a feared mob enforcer, was convicted in 1989 for shaking down Red Wemette, an adult book store owner. Schweihs was secretly recorded on videotape boasting that no one could move in on his territory. It was an expletive-filled tirade.

“This joint has been declared for years. There’s no one has the right to come in __ and in our domain. I don’t give a __ who the __ he is. If it’s Al Capone’s brother and he comes back reincarnated, ok. This is a declared __ joint and no one has the right to come and ___ with this, ok,” Schweihs said.

Schweihs did time on the extortion charges and now faces a new variety of accusations including his alleged involvement in the murder of a government witness, Daniel Seifert. Seifert was gunned down outside his Bensenville factory in September of 1974.

Schweihs has been a suspect in a number of other high-profile slayings including the murder of Admiral Theater impresario Patsy Ricciardi. Schweihs’ name was on the lips of mob investigators when mob associate Allen Dorfman was shot to death outside a Lincolnwood hotel in January of 1983. But in those slayings, Schweihs was never charged with being involved.

In the 1970s, every time there was a gangland slaying, Schweihs’ name came up, but there was never any proof that Schweihs was involved and he never was charged.

Thanks to John "Bulldog" Drummond

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Dentist Who Drilled the Mob

Friends of ours: Tony Spilotro, Nick Calabrese, Frank Calabrase Sr., James Marcello, Joseph "Joey The Clown" Lombardo, Frank "The German" Schweihs
Friends of mine: Michael Spilotro, Frank Calabrese Jr.

It is the stuff of novels: a dentist on the trail of his brothers' killers who learns to extract more than teeth.

When Patrick Spilotro, 70, takes the stand this week in the federal "Family Secrets" mob trial, the gruesome odyssey of a brother thirsty for justice will unfold with a few shocking surprises.

In an interview last week, Spilotro detailed his obsession with bringing his brothers' killers to justice.

Spilotro told Michael Sneed: "I promised my mother 21 years ago I would find the men who did it; who butchered my brothers and tortured her sons. We talked about it before she died in 1995. You never get over something like that. But I told her I would never give up."

Sneed is told mobster Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, who was hiding in Chicago in hopes of not becoming part of the "Family Secrets" trial, was captured as a result of a visit to Spilotro's office for dental problems. A tooth abscess led the feds to the flamboyant mobster.

The story of how Spilotro, a suburban dentist, helped break the backbone of the old Chicago mob syndicate is the detritus of two decades spent searching for 12 men who beat and strangled his brothers, reputed mobsters Tony and Michael Spilotro. The menburied them in an unmarked grave in an Indiana cornfield in 1986.

It was the flipping of mobster Nick Calabrese and his nephew, Frank Calabrese Jr., that cracked the "Family Secrets" case. And it was Spilotro, who began working with the feds 21 years ago, who helped them do it.

Secretly taping Nick Calabrese while in prison for extortion, Spilotro primed the pump of redemption with the help of his dental patient, Nick's wife, Nora. And it was Spilotro who tracked down Frank "The German" Schweihs, a reputed mob killer, in his Kentucky lair by tracing multiple cell phones used by Schweihs' son, Sneed hears.

Many of these men and their wives and kids and grandparents were patients of Spilotro over a 35-year span.

Spilotro did not know Calabrese was one of his brothers' murderers, and told Sneed that it would have been impossible for him to talk to Calabrese had he known.

Spilotro's intention was to get Calabrese to tell him what happened that night when a mobster named James Marcello, described in 2005 as the boss of the Chicago outfit, allegedly called Michael Spilotro's home and summoned him to the meeting that led to his death. Michael's daughter, Michelle, will reportedly testify that it was Marcello's voice she heard on the phone that night.

It was the flipping of Nick Calabrese that broke the case. But during Spilotro's meeting with the underworld kingpin, Spilotro discovered Calabrese hated his brother, Frank, whom he considered a dangerous psychopath. Spilotro also told the feds Frank Calabrese's son, Frank Jr., hated his father; important information for the feds to build a scenario to subsequently flip them, sources said.

Armed with Spilotro's information, and subsequent DNA evidence linking Calabrese to a mob hit, the feds were able to flip Calabrese -- whose wife, Nora, had urged him to cooperate.

Spilotro never knew of Nick Calabrese's involvement in his brothers' demise.

"They never told him that they did it," a source said. "But there's no honor amongst these men," said Spilotro. "No respect. They are all a different breed. Money and power are their gods, nothing else."

Thanks to Michael Sneed

Crime Family Index