The Chicago Syndicate: Fred Roti
Showing posts with label Fred Roti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fred Roti. Show all posts

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Jimmy DeLeo Era Begins

An important Illinois political story took place on Wednesday.

It didn't happen in Springfield or at Chicago's City Hall.

It took place on a quiet street in Oak Park. There were no TV cameras, no press aides. It was a somber ritual marking the transfer of power.

Sam Banks, the longtime political boss of the 36th Ward on the Northwest Side of Chicago, was laid to rest. He passed away after a long bout with cancer. The funeral was held at St. Giles Roman Catholic Church.

One of Sam's pallbearers was his former political apprentice, State Sen. James DeLeo, D-How You Doin'?

Sam was the guy for years. But there's a new guy now, reaching beyond the ward, from Rush Street to Rosemont and beyond:

Jimmy.

The night before, at Salerno's Galewood Chapels on North Harlem Avenue, thousands of clout-heavy people attended the wake in rooms crammed with flower arrangements.

Attendees included trucking barons, asphalt kings, Republican and Democratic officials from across the state, right down to Christy Spina, the former driver for imprisoned Outfit boss Joey "The Clown" Lombardo. And there were plenty of judges, who along with the lawyers, helped form Sam Banks' network.

Criminal defense lawyer Tom Breen delivered the eulogy in church.

"If I were writing a newspaper column about Sam Banks," said Breen, "my newspaper column would be about a man who worked hard all his life, who loved his family, his career. That's the Sam Banks I would write about.

"He was a good person, he was a generous person. And I think we will miss him terribly."

Banks did love his family, and Breen is a fine lawyer. But he's no newspaper columnist. You can't write a column about the 36th Ward without asking some FBI types about the Chicago Outfit.

Almost two decades ago now, the old mobbed-up 1st Ward was scattered to the winds by federal prosecutions. The late Ald. Fred Roti, 1st, was sent to prison. With City Hall's official position that there is no Outfit, the old 1st Ward boundaries were erased on the city political maps.

"Once Roti was out of business, they did have other people to assume the same power and control in the 36th Ward," said Jim Wagner, the former head of the Chicago Crime Commission and longtime chief of the FBI's organized-crime section.

"If you're in organized crime, you're not going to give up the position of influence and authority," Wagner said. "You're going to turn to a replacement. That's what they are thought to have done."

Banks was low-key. He wasn't a showoff, no spaccone, like some. Again, remember, despite federal theories, there have been no Outfit-related charges. Sam was never charged. It's not illegal to know guys who know guys.

"What does that mean, ‘mob-associated?'" said DeLeo years ago, when the Sun-Times asked about political contributions he received from businesses connected to reputed Outfit boss John DiFronzo.

"In the year 2001, is there really a mob in Chicago?" DeLeo asked then, perhaps rhetorically.

Jimmy can be amusing. He's a funny guy.

Shortly after that witty comment, Chicago was treated to the most significant Outfit investigation in history. The "Family Secrets" case led to what amounts to life prison terms for top mob bosses and hit men.

In the "Family Secrets" trial, DeLeo and Sam's son, zoning lawyer and banker James Banks, were named in testimony by Ann Spilotro, widow of slain gangster Michael Spilotro, as the buyers of a business she owned. In other testimony, Sam Banks was named by a convicted burglar as an alleged conduit for protection money to corrupt cops.

Then in 2008, pressure on the 36th Ward organization increased. The Chicago Tribune investigative series "Neighborhoods for Sale" documented how clout influenced the politics of zoning in Chicago. While Sam Banks was strong, the Banks family was the first family of zoning in the city.

His brother William Banks was the alderman. For decades, Billy was chairman of the powerful City Council Committee on Zoning. Back when I covered City Hall, every time James Banks appeared before Uncle Billy's committee with a zoning matter, Uncle Billy would stand up and loudly excuse himself, saying he wanted no conflict of interest.

Then Billy would walk into the back room, perhaps have a sandwich, and wait while the other aldermen approved his nephew's zoning request. They probably didn't want a conflict of interest with Sam.

Recently, things have changed. With the feds interested in the 36th Ward, Billy has retired from the City Council. Jimmy might let him keep the Democratic committeeman's job and play with the precinct captains and pretend he's got power, but that's about it.

In his eulogy Wednesday, Breen said that moments after the family asked him to speak in church, his phone rang. It was the guy. It was Jimmy.

"He (DeLeo) said, ‘Tom, you know there is a time limit and you know that it's in a church, right?'" Breen recalled, getting some laughs. "So the golf jokes were out the window. The dinner jokes were out the window."

Jimmy is now retiring from the state Senate. He'll become a lobbyist. He still has his title insurance company business partner, Senate President John Cullerton, D-DeLeo, running things in Springfield.

Like Sam before him, it's time for Jimmy to go low-key. After all, he's the guy.

Thanks to John Kass

Reputed Mob Lawyer Sam Banks Succumbs to Cancer

Whether he was prosecuting comic Lenny Bruce on obscenity charges, defending a client, or fending off talk that he was a mob mouthpiece, lawyer Samuel V.P. Banks was a bulldog in the courtroom.

"Sam" Banks, who questioned witnesses with the force and cadence of a jackhammer, died of cancer Saturday at age 73 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

He was a member of one of Chicago's most politically connected families. His brother, former Ald. William J.P. Banks (36th), headed the City Council zoning committee until he retired last year; his son, James, is a zoning lawyer; his brother, Ronald J.P. Banks, was a judge, and his daughter, Karen, married state Rep. John A. Fritchey (D-Chicago).

Some of the city's most colorful federal probes -- and characters -- were braided through Mr. Banks' career.

Ronald Banks said his brother believed everyone deserved a strong defense. "He was good," Ronald Banks said. "He was not afraid to try any case. He believed you're innocent till proven guilty."

Sam Banks represented 1st Ward Ald. Fred Roti in 1989 after "Operation Kaffeeklatsch" broke wide open when a busboy found hidden recording equipment at a favorite pols' haunt: the old Counsellor's Row restaurant. Roti was a "made member" of the mob, according to the FBI.

In the 1991 "Gambat" probe of 1st Ward corruption, Mr. Banks defended Pasquale "Pat" Frank De Leo against charges he bribed Judge David J. Shields to fix a case.

At the 2007 "Family Secrets" trial of mobster Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, a former burglar testified he believed he'd passed bribes to police through Sam Banks. But the man admitted he never saw money change hands.

In 1989 at the Operation Greylord trial, former mob gambling boss Ken Eto -- who entered protective custody after a botched "hit"--linked Mr. Banks to a ticket-fixing scheme.

Mr. Banks was never charged with any wrongdoing.

"Sam used to say 'I take 'em as I find 'em," his brother Ronald said. "Insinuations, they do it all the time."

Mr. Banks loved the chess game of a trial, and never stooped to anything untoward because of his courtroom skill, his brother said. "Sam had too much dignity and class for that -- he was a talented man."

He grew up in the Austin neighborhood and graduated from Austin High and Loyola University. He worked his way through school as an investigator for what was then the city Welfare Department. His specialty was tracking deadbeat dads.

"One time, they knocked on a door and said they were with the Department of Welfare," his brother said. "Four bullet holes went through the door."

Mr. Banks had to call police to arrest the man inside.

Mr. Banks received his law degree from DePaul University, where he impressed Dan Ward, who was dean of DePaul's law school before becoming chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

When Mr. Ward became Cook County state's attorney, he asked Sam Banks to join him.

Mr. Banks successfully prosecuted comic Lenny Bruce on allegations of obscenity in his act at the Gate of Horn nightclub in 1963.

He was proud that he was Mr. Ward's protege, said retired defense attorney Patrick Tuite, who was sworn in as a prosecutor on the same day as Mr. Banks. "Some assistant or secretary was giving him some guff," Mr. Tuite recalled, "and he said, 'I didn't get this job through the Tribune want ads.' ''

"When I started out, he sent me a case and he gave me some encouragement and kind words," said defense attorney Terry Gillespie. "He was an aggressive, determined lawyer in the courtroom, but he had a compassionate side, especially with young lawyers."

To avoid anti-Italian bigotry, Mr. Banks' father, currency exchange owner Vincenzo Giuseppe Panebianco, anglicized his name to James Joseph and added "Banks" to their surname, said Ronald Banks. All his sons continue to use "P" or "Panebianco" in front of "Banks."

A resident of River Forest, Mr. Banks loved golfing at La Grange's Edgewood Valley Country Club and Riverside Golf Club.

He is also survived by his wife, Dorothy, his sister Marlene Panebianco, and two grandchildren. Visitation is from 3 to 9 p.m. today at Salerno's Galewood Chapels, 1857 N. Harlem. A funeral mass is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Giles Church, Oak Park. Burial is at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside.

Thanks to Maureen O'Donnell

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Chicago's Mayor Daley Campaigns with Reputed Mobster - Flashback

Flashback March 28, 1989. Richard M. Daley is leaving his stint at Cook County States Attorney to run for Mayor of Chicago. Chicago Sun-Times reporters Alf Siewers and Leon Pitt report in their article DALEY WARNS BACKERS AGAINST COMPLACENCY on March 28, 1989 (sorry no link):

While mayoral hopeful Timothy C. Evans called out "the movement," front-runner Richard M. Daley raked in the bucks, warning against complacency at what was billed as the last major fund-raiser of Daley's campaign.

"Regardless of what the polls say, regardless of what the editorials say, I need your help for the next seven days. . . . This election cannot be taken for granted," Daley told a crowd jamming the Hyatt Regency's Grand Ballroom.

Campaign staff estimated that more than 2,500 showed up for the $100-or-more-a-head buffet reception.

Across town at the University of Illinois Pavilion, thousands of Evans supporters joined in a rally reminiscent of the days when former Mayor Harold Washington exhorted members of his movement.

While the rally was in progress, Daley was being ushered around Chinatown by Ald. Fred Roti (1st) and a dancing dragon. He dismissed as "a lot of political statements" renewed charges by Evans that Daley is tied to special interests.

Could Richard Daley possibly not know that Alderman Roti was a Chicago Mob figure? U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas warned Daley that the FBI had a major Chicago Mob investigation going on in the late 1980's with Alderman Roti as a key subject, see page 220 of the book When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down. That fact that Richard Daley would be seen campaigning in public with a " high ranking made member" of the Chicago Mob says volumes. Is the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission concerned that people like Richard Daley associate with Chicago Mob members? As far back as 1983, Alderman Roti's name came up in a U.S. Senate hearing on organized crime. Here's a quote from a July 15, 1989 Washington Post column written by Bill Peterson entitled SURVEILLANCE AT LUNCH LEAVES ALDERMAN UNFAZED (sorry no link):

In 1983, William Roemer, a former FBI agent, told the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations that "informants continue to advise through the years {that} D'Arco and Roti were the front men for Marcy and for the mob."


Richard Daley knew all about that hearing.Here's a quote from FBI agent William Roemer in his book, Accardo: The Genuine Godfather, on page 323:

Jeffrey Kent, chief of the Cook County State's Attorney's office( headed then by Richard M. Daley, who became Mayor of Chicago) was the prime witness before the committee in its investigation of mobbed-up unions.

Mayor Richard M. Daley and Alderman Fred Roti : Chicago Democrats working together. Mayor Richard M. Daley is also "friends" with Alderman Roti's nephew Fred Bruno Barbara, who's name came up at the infamous Family Secrets trial.

Thanks to Steve Bartin

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cook County Commissioner, John Daley, Named in FBI File of Chicago Mob Boss

Giancana's FBI file has some rather interesting information. We'll quote to you: FBI Headquarters File Number 92-3171-2602 Samuel M. Giancana, Top Hoodlum Program - Anti Racketeering. Daily Summary, July 2, 1975.

As Bureau awareFBI Files Sam Giancana, Cook County States Attorney's Office, Chicago, has in its possession some papers and documents seized under search warrant from Giancana residence. Appearing in July 1, 1975, issue of "Chicago Daily News", column of Mike Royko in article captioned "The Giancana Wedding Gifts", was a list of names of some of the several hundred guest who made monetary contributions at wedding of Giancana's daughter, Bonnie Lou, to Anthony Tisci. In previous tel. some of these guest were made known to bureau to include Circuit Court Judge Daniel Covelli.

In addition to those individuals previously noted to Bureau. Article reflected that wedding list also contained following individuals:

Pat Petrone "deceased", 25th Ward Alderman, $200 gift; Fred Roti, Alderman from First Ward, Chicago, $200 gift, Frank Chesrow, former President of Metropolitan Sanitary District of Chicago, present member of Cook County Board of Commissioners, $200 gift; Anthony DeTolve, former Illinois State Senator, nephew to Giancana by marriage, $200 gift; John Kringas, member of Chicago zoning board of appeals, partner with Vito Marzullo, Alderman in a lucrative funeral home , $50 gift; James J. Adduci, former Illinois State Representative, $20 gift; James Rinella, former Illinois State Representative, $20 gift, Louis Briatta, father- in - law to Chicago Mayor Daley's son, John Daley, who recently married Briatta's daughter, $100 gift.


Well, there you have it: Illinois politicians willing to give gifts to Chicago Mob boss Sam Giancana's daughter and it made the newspaper prominently. Mike Royko was arguably the most popular columnist of his day. You'll notice John Daley's name comes up.

Thanks to Steve Bartin

Millennium Park's Grill, AKA "Clout Cafe" Linked to Mob, Yet Pays No Property Taxes

It wasn't long after the hinky backstory to the the Park Grill in Millennium Park earned it a moniker among political insiders isn't given easily: the Clout Cafe. It continues to earn its nickname.

For example, it's connected owners still don't have to pay property taxes. "In late June the Illinois Appellate Court ruled in favor of the Park Grill in its fight against the Cook County assessor, dropping the curtain on the latest act in one of the more sensational scandals of Mayor Daley's reign," the Reader reports.

"The ruling received little coverage, but at one point the restaurant, right under the Bean in Millennium Park, was front-page news, yet another example of the connected and powerful in this town managing to catch multimillion-dollar breaks at taxpayer expense.

"That was back in 2005, when the Sun-Times revealed that the owners had managed to win the Park District's competitive bid process for the right to operate in the prime space -- even though their bid was the lowest of three. Officials said they liked the group's experience.

"The investors included Matthew O'Malley, who also owns the Chicago Firehouse, where Daley took George W. Bush in 2006 to celebrate the president's 60th birthday; relatives of Tim Degnan, the mayor's former chief of staff and political strategist; and Fred Barbara, a Daley friend, millionaire businessman, and nephew of the late alderman and mobster Fred Roti."

That's a powerful roster, but Cook County Assessor James Houlihan thought the Grill oughta pay property taxes no matter who backed it -- and no matter what kind of sweetheart deal Daley's park district gave his pals. But the state apellate court's recent ruling upheld a Cook County court's ruling that the restaurant has a concession agreement with the park district, not a lease, and therefore is immune to property taxes.

Pretty sneaky, Sis!

"Restaurants and other businesses that lease property from the government typically pay what’s called leasehold taxes, while vendors who sell hot dogs or ice cream operate under a concession license agreement and aren't required to pay real estate taxes," Crain's explains. "Even though it serves food at a restaurant - and not a pushcart - Park Grill was awarded a 20-year concession license that requires annual payments to the park district of $245,000 plus a percentage of sales."

Under Houlihan's valuation, the restaurant would have reportedly owed more than $350,000. But then, that's assuming that the Park Grill is a restaurant leasing property from the city, which clearly it is not.

Thanks to Steve Rhodes

Monday, December 08, 2008

Jane Byrne and the Cabal of Evil Men

I first met Jane Byrne before Thanksgiving in 1978 at a meeting of the “Bogan Broads” — that was their name and they were proud of it — at a hotel in Burbank across the city’s Southwest Side border.

The former Commissioner of Consumer Sales and favored cabinet member of her mentor, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, Byrne wore a long, tattered overcoat and wig.

She spoke of “reform” and making Chicago schools “more accountable” to parents in addressing the all-white coalition of women who fought busing and were often castigated, unfairly, as being racist.

No one wanted to cover Byrne at the small community newspaper where I worked. I was the newspaper’s City Hall reporter — also a job no other reporter wanted because the mayor, at the time, Michael Bilandic, was considered “boring.”

I wasn’t bored. I wanted the assignment. I chased Byrne around the city from stop-to-stop.

No one believed Byrne could win. Ald. Ed Burke, accused of being a member of a “Cabal of Evil Men,” predicted before the Feb. 27, 1979 Democratic Primary that Byrne would lose because “no one wanted their aunt” to be the mayor.

Other members of the Cabal included Ed Vrdolyak, whose slippery days ended recently with his felony corruption confession. Vrdolyak is headed towards jail, where he will be forgotten. Another was Fred Roti, the kind and gentle alderman of the notorious 1st Ward, then under the grips of the Chicago Outfit.

I remember Byrne coming to City Hall and the reporters yawning. But I ran downstairs and wrote down her quotes and turned in a story.

I still have my reporter’s notebooks with notes and a collection of audio cassette tapes of her press conferences covering the first three years that she eventually served as mayor. Byrne shocked the world and defeated Bilandic and the Chicago Democratic Machine.

Although Bilandic should have won, Mother Nature had other plans, delivering a crippling snowstorm just before the primary that exposed how poorly the city was being run. I attended a precinct captains meeting at the Bismarck Hotel, where Bilandic compared himself to Jesus Christ and the precinct captains to the Disciples. He said he was being persecuted by the anti-Christ who was, back then, columnist Mike Royko.

I remember chasing County Board President and Party Chairman George Dunne through the Bismarck with a herd of 45 reporters and camera crews knocking down coat racks and tables, and bruising knees and ankles trying to get a quote from him.

Everyone expected Byrne to change the city. She started to change, but with a vindictive flare that was truly vindictive and not simply thrown her way because she was a woman.

Byrne was mad at Morgan Finley, who had planned to hire her former reporter and current husband, Jay McMullen, but was forced to renege on the deal under pressure from Bilandic and his chief aide, Tom Donovan. I wrote that story, and McMullen threatened to punch me in the nose. I see Donovan driving around these days in a big car with his wife shopping in Orland Park, where I now live.

By late 1979, Byrne abandoned reform for power, fearing her rival Richie Daley, the late mayor’s son. She joined the Cabal, which led her on the road to defeat four years later, opening the door to the city’s first African-American mayor, Harold Washington.

Byrne should be remembered. Despite much controversy, she did some good. (Visit RadioChicagoland.com to read online the 20-year profile I wrote about Byrne for the Chicago Reader.)

Thanks to Ray Hanania

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Mob

Barack Obama's key fund raiser, Tony Rezko, went on trial last week. It's important to take a broader look at America's most corrupt large city: Chicago. (We apologize from the outset,some links no longer exist or passages we quote never existed on the web.) Chicago has had a Democratic Mayor since 1931,and today in 2008,49 of 50 Chicago Aldermen are Democrats.This long post is about the Chicago Mob and the Democratic Party machine.
Former Alderman Dick Simpson, who's now a professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, has some disturbing numbers on Chicago and Illinois politicians:

Since 1973, the U.S. attorney has indicted 30 aldermen and convicted 27 (one died before trial and two stand trial this spring). The Public Corruption and Accountability Project at UIC calculates that there have been more than 1,000 local and state governmental officials convicted since the 1970s. The "corruption tax," or cost of government corruption for Cook County residents, is now more than $300 million a year, greater than the local government tax increases this year. We can't really afford more local "Hired Truck" schemes, patronage hiring, or the state pension and driver license scandals of recent years.
Sounds like becoming an elected Alderman in Chicago has an unusual felony conviction rate,which certainly says something about the people who seek elected office in Chicago and the voters who put them in office.Yes,there have been many corrupt Aldermen in Chicago. But,one man stands above all other in terms of institutionalizing corruption in Chicago: Alderman Fred Roti.

Unless we understand the prolific criminal legacy of Alderman Roti,we can't understand how today,in 2008,Alderman Roti along with his friends,relatives,and associates have turned Chicago's city government into a racketeering enterprise.We must go back in time to a Chicago Tribune article on February 14,1982 titled BEST AND BRIGHTEST NO MATCH FOR OLD GUARD AT CITY HALL to understand the power of Alderman Roti:
Roti has placed nearly as many city employees on the payroll as the city personnel department,and many of them are his own family members.This is not a new trend under [Mayor] Byrne,however.Under former Mayors Richard Daley and Michael Bilandic,members of the Roti clan have always had spectacular success gaining public employment.Last fall it was disclosed that Roti family payrollers include his daughter,Rosemary,a press aide to Mayor Byrne at $25,992 a year;and Rosemary's husband,Ronald Marasso,who had been promoted from city painter to $34,000 -a -year general manager of maintenance at O'Hare International Airport.Fourteen other Roti clan members were on various other city payrolls.Because of his ward number,Roti's name is always called first during council roll calls,and he revels in that privilege.His initial response gives other administration alderman their cue as to what Roti-and,therefore,the mayor-wants.It's often said that roll calls could stop after Roti votes-the outcome is already known.Roti,an affable fellow, controls the Chicago City Council with an iron fist.
Years later in May of 2006,The Chicago Sun-Times gave a more disturbing explanation of who Alderman Fred Roti really was:
Roti became 1st Ward alderman in 1968. He soon became one of the most powerful, well-liked and respected members of the City Council. Roti was also a "made member" of the mob, according to the FBI
Think about it,the Chicago Mob ran a "made-member" for political office to take control of a city.This is why the Chicago Mob went on to become the most powerful organized crime family in all of U.S. history.As criminal defense attorney Robert Cooley explains the history of Chicago :
The city’s grim reputation is rooted back in the Roaring Twenties when Al Capone emerged victorious from gang warfare and went on to become a household name. Oddly enough, far less is known about his successors and their grip on the city during the last half of the twentieth century. But that is when Chicago’s Mafia became the single most powerful organized crime family in American history. While Mob bosses knocked each other off on the East Coast, in Chicago they united into a monolithic force called the Outfit. They would literally control the cops, the courts and the politicians – a corrupt trifecta that Capone dreamed about, but never came close to achieving. The Outfit demanded a cut of every criminal enterprise in the region, from a lowly car theft or private poker game to a jewelry heist. To enforce this “street tax,” their Hit Men killed with impunity, knowing that crooked judges would throw out any case against them. Their bookies brazenly took bets in nightclubs, at racetracks and even in government office buildings, confident that contacts in the police department (at one point as high up as the Chief of Detectives) would warn them before the vice squad could make a raid. Mobsters ran Chicago union locals, and national organizations for the Laborers and the Teamsters. This unprecedented combination of brute force and political clout let the bosses feed at the public trough with no-show jobs for their goons and municipal contracts for themselves and their associates. Government became one of their most lucrative rackets.

In his 1969 book, Captive City, investigative journalist Ovid Demaris called the Outfit, “the most politically insulated and police-pampered ‘family’ this side of Sicily” and estimated, even then, that their take was in the billions. With such total domination of their home turf, they could wander far and wide. By the Seventies, the FBI reported that Chicago’s Mob controlled all organized criminal activity west of the Mississippi – including and especially Las Vegas. Millions were skimmed from casinos like the Tropicana and the Stardust, and bundles of cash, stuffed in green army duffel bags, found their way back to the Outfit’s bosses. Meanwhile New York’s mobsters had to content themselves with the slim pickings of Atlantic City.
Here's an amazing chart of the Roti family from May 2006 from the Chicago Sun-Times(remember this is a conservative chart,the black dots are "made-members" of the Chicago Mob).

With all of Alderman Roti's power it's instructive to look at two of his major accomplishments in strengthening the power grip of the Chicago Mob over Chicago.The Chicago Mob couldn't operate without a corrupt police force.When Mayor Byrne had honest Superintendent Joe DiLeonardi run things for a while Alderman Roti put his foot down.As Robert Cooley explains:
According to Roti,he issued an ultimatum to Her Honor:either she got rid of DiLeonardi,or the municipal unions would shut down the city during the upcoming contract negotiations.Just as the Mob thought she would,Jane Byrne buckled.
With DiLeonardi gone,Roti demanded that William Hanhardt be appointed Chief of Detectives.Hanhardt was the Chicago Mob's long term plant on the police force.The position of Chief of Detectives is the fifth highest ranking position in the Chicago Police Department.Here's a quote from a federal indictment on Hanhardt and his achievements as a Chicago Police Officer and running the most successful jewelry theft ring in United States history :
COUNT ONE



The SPECIAL JANUARY 1999-1 GRAND JURY charges:



1. At all times material to this indictment:

(a) From July 13, 1953, until his retirement on pension as a captain on March 26, 1986, defendant WILLIAM A. HANHARDT was employed by the Chicago police Department (CPD"), and held several supervisory positions, including Chief of Detectives, Chief of Traffic, Commander of the Burglary Section, Deputy Superintendent for the Bureau of Inspectional Services, and District Commander. For a portion of the period of the indictment until the date of the indictment, defendant HANHARDT resided at 835 Heather Road, Deerfield, Illinois.
and
Defendant WILLIAM A. HANFLARDT (hereafter "HANHARDT^), was the leader of the enterprise. In that capacity he supervised codefendant JOSEPH N. HASINSKI and together they directed the activities of others employed by and associated with the enterprise- HANHARDT directed the other defendants and others in their gathering of information on potential jewelry theft victims and the surveillance of several such individuals. He utilized certain CPD[Chicago Police Department] officers to do database searches of CPD and other law enforcement computers to obtain information concerning jewelry salespersons. Similarly, he caused a private investigator to conduct credit bureau database searches and other database searches to gather information concerning individuals who were traveling jewelry salespersons. At times, HANHARDT used the telephone at his residence at 835 Heather Road, Deerfield, Illinois, to direct certain defendants and others to further the interests of the enterprise. HANHARDT personally participated in the theft of jewelry.
So,Hanhardt loaded up the Chicago Police Department with individuals who'd help him commit criminal acts long after leaving the police force.To understand the magnitude of Hanhardt's danger to Chicago citizens we'll quote U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 2001:
"It's remarkable that a person who was chief of detectives of the Chicago Police Department admits to being part of a racketeering conspiracy," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said afterward.
"There's no controversy over whether Mr. Hanhardt is guilty -- he stood up in court and said that today," Fitzgerald said.
Here's what U.S. Attorney Scott Lassar said about Hanhardt's operation:
"Hanhardt's organization surpasses, in duration and sophistication, just about any other jewelry theft ring we've seen,"
With the appointment of Hanhardt to Chief of Detectives, what else could Alderman Roti and the Chicago Mob do to become a more effective criminal organization?? Disarm the citizens of Chicago so they'd be no match for the Chicago Mob and corrupt Chicago police officers.Guess who lead the fight for gun control in Chicago and voted on Chicago's strict gun control ordinance leaving innocent Chicago citizens defenseless against corrupt police officers like Hanhardt and his cronies? None other than Alderman Roti.As the Chicago Tribune reported on March 20,1982 in an article titled MAYOR'S FORCES WIN HANDGUN CURB:
As Friday's council session began,[Mayor]Byrne feared the vote was too close to call.There was extensive backroom debate to determine if the matter should be brought up.But,Byrne allies,primarily Alderman Fred Roti(1st),Edward Burke(14th)and Wilson Frost(34th),moved through the council chambers,persuading wavering aldermen to back the mayor's proposals.Still,Some of Byrne's staunchest allies,including Alderman Robert Shaw(9th) and Richard Mell(33rd),deserted ranks and voted against the ordinance.Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Donovan made a last-minute deal with at least three aldermen who threatened to walk out of the meeting to avoid voting for the proposal.Donovan promised to improve city services in their wards.
Today,in 2008,Chicago has a major police corruption problem because of the handgun ban.Here's a recent look at Chicago's elite police officers officers:
A major police corruption probe is under way in Chicago.

Its target: an elite police tactical unit. Its alleged ringleader: a highly decorated police officer who, with other cops, allegedly committed home invasions and robberies.
In 1999,the Justice Department announced to America what many had long suspected:Alderman Roti was a "high ranking made member" of the Chicago Mob(look at pages 27 and 47 of this civil racketeering indictment).Here's the description of Alderman Roti:
FRED B. ROTI, a politically powerful former Chicago First Ward alderman, is the uncle of former CLDC president/ business manager Bruno Caruso and former CLDC official and Pension Fund Director Frank "Toots" Caruso. In 1992, in the case of United States v. Pat Marcy, et al. 90 CR 1045 (N.D. Illinois), Fred Roti was convicted of RICO conspiracy, bribery and extortion regarding the fixing of criminal cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County, including murder cases involving organized crime members or associates and was sentenced to 48 months' imprisonment. Roti was released from prison in 1997. As First Ward alderman, Roti was a key political patronage boss and, along with his co‑defendant Pat Marcy, a fixer for the Chicago Outfit. Roti has directly participated in interfering with the rights of the members of LIUNA in the selection of their officers and officials in that he has improperly influenced the selection of officers of the CLDC and has been responsible for the pervasive hiring of LaPietra crew members and associates at the Chicago streets and sanitation department. Roti is a made member of the Chicago Outfit.

Two points of note here on the above quote.LaPietra is the infamous Angelo "the Hook" LaPietra ,Chicago Mob Capo who earned his nickname by torturing people by putting them on meat hooks.Pat Marcy,at the time of his indictment,in the early 1990's was one of the people Roti reported to in the Chicago Mob.Marcy was the number 3 man in the Chicago Mob.Here's the New York Times on the Roti and Marcy operation:
This is at least the third major Federal inquiry into official corruption in the Chicago courts and political system within recent years. Operation Graylord, a sweeping investigation into corruption in the Cook County courts, has resulted in the convictions of more than 70 people, including 15 judges, since the mid-1980's. Operation Incubator has obtained about a dozen convictions or guilty pleas, including those from five members of the City Council and a former aide to the late Mayor Harold Washington. 'Fixed' Murder Trials

Among the accusations are that two of the men were involved in efforts to fix two separate murder trials. In both instances, the murder defendants were acquitted by judges, who heard the cases without juries.

In the first murder case, prosecutors say Pasquale Marcy, a 77-year-old official in the First Ward Democratic organization, fixed the 1977 murder trial of Harry Aleman, who was accused of killing a teamsters' union steward, by paying $10,000 to the judge assigned to hear the case. In the second, Mr. Marcy and Fred Roti, the First Ward's Alderman since 1969, are accused of having accepted $75,000 in exchange for fixing the trial of three men accused of a 1981 murder in the city's Chinatown neighborhood.

The indictment does not name the judges who presided over the murder cases. Prosecutors refused to answer further questions at the news conference about the murder cases beyond the few details laid out in the indictments.

The allegations involving the murder cases are in the first of the three indictments. That indictment charges Mr. Marcy and Mr. Roti with multiple counts of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, bribery and extortion in various attempts to fix a wide range of matters, including the results of civil bench trials, other criminal cases, zoning chanaes and judicial appointments. Indictment of Judge

In the second indictment, Federal prosecutors named David J. Shields, 58, formerly the presiding judge of the Chancery Division of the Cook County Circuit Court; and Pasquale F. De Leo, 45, a lawyer, on charges of extortion, false statements and other criminal acts in connection with attempts to fix a civil case -- filed by undercover Federal agents posing as litigants -- before Judge Shields in 1988.

In the third indictment, prosecutors charged John A. D'Arco Jr., 46, an Illinois State Senator for 13 years, with extortion and tax fraud. The indictment says Mr. D'Arco, whose district includes parts of Mr. Roti's ward, extorted $7,500 in exchange for promising to introduce into the Legislature a bill to allow a travel insurance business to sell insurance without the required state license.
With Alderman Roti and Pat Marcy indicted the Chicago Mob was never the same.The frequent Mob killings stopped because the Mob couldn't be guaranteed any longer of going up in front of judges on their pad.So who took control of Chicago's political system? One of Alderman Roti's colleagues,a close friend,Alderman Ed Burke.

Most of America thinks Mayor Daley runs Chicago.Those on the inside know that's not the case.The man who runs Chicago from behind the scenes,since the early 1990's, is Alderman Ed Burke,Chairman of Chicago's Finance Committee.Burke went from being an errand boy for Alderman Roti to the most powerful elected figure in the state of Illinois.In a corrupt state like Illinois,the guy with the most money in his campaign fund is the man at the top.In Illinois,it's not Chicago's Mayor Daley or Governor Blagojevich but Alderman Burke.The Chicago Tribune explains:
But the state’s richest political family was Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. Together, their political committees held $8.3 million in cash. The Tribune reported Monday that Anne Burke’s campaign was returning a large portion of her cash to donors because she is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, who traditionally ceases fundraising after elections, raised just $43,000 in the last six months, but had $3.1 million in cash on hand.
The guy with the most money obviously had the track record to get things done.Alderman Burke has never had a serious opponent run against him but sure has amassed a massive campaign fund.Not only is Burke the boss of Chicago's City Council, he's the person that slates all the judges in Cook County.With all judges in Cook County members of the Democratic Party, that makes Ed Burke the boss of the judicial branch.No man in America has more unchecked power than Alderman Burke with his control of the tax code in Chicago and the judicial branch of government.Alderman Burke also runs a law firm in the property tax appeals business:
The primary focus of the firm involves contesting real estate tax assessments in the office of the respective county assessors, before boards of review and, when appropriate, in the trial and appellate courts.
Recently, a founder of Illinois Family Court Accountability Advocates (IFCAA) has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to investigate Alderman Burke and his wife justice Ann Burke.One of the allegations concerned fixing a murder trial for Alderman Roti :
I am co-founder of the non-profit organization known as Illinois Family Court Accountability Advocates (IFCAA) which was created to stop the public corruption in the family courts in Illinois that is hurting the children of Illinois families.

Multiple IFCAA co-members, including myself, have had or are having our cases heard in the domestic relations court of the Circuit Court of Cook County in which it is apparent that rampant, unchecked, improper, and illegal activities have taken and are taking place.

It is clear that the corruption does not just involve a few judges and attorneys on the trial level. The material evidence in court records reveals that the corruption is systemic up through the reviewing courts. Further research has revealed that a critical intervention point is with the individual primarily responsible for which attorneys end up on the Chicago bench, specifically, Alderman Edward Burke.

One could argue with confidence that there is no way Chicago’s court system can or will be cleaned up until there is an investigation of Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, the newest appointee of the Illinois Supreme Court, Justice Anne Burke.

I have read the book, When Corruption Was King, by Robert Cooley, and have been in contact with him. Mr. Cooley is the former criminal attorney who was responsible for the FBI investigation, Operation Gambat, which resulted in the successful prosecution and conviction of three judges, one alderman, several attorneys, and multiple other Circuit Court of Cook County and City of Chicago officials. After reading Mr. Cooley’s book, I researched other sources regarding the professional and personal backgrounds of Justice Anne Burke and her husband, Edward, the longtime alderman from the 14th Ward, and the powerful and influential chairman of Chicago’s City Council's finance committee and chairman of the Democratic Party’s judicial slate-making subcommittee, the alleged “gatekeeper” of who becomes a judge in Chicago’s courts.

As a resident of the State of Illinois, I am writing to you and all your colleagues on the Illinois Supreme Court to formally request an investigation of Justice Anne Burke and her husband as well as others who were specifically named by Mr. Cooley in his book, When Corruption Was King. I am formally requesting that you, as a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, cause an investigation to be initiated by the appropriate authorities.

I respectfully call your attention to the information and allegations presented herein as well as to your Oath of Office, and to the absolute duty to report misconduct of judges and attorneys under Illinois Supreme Court Rules, which rules mandate an investigation of the allegations herein. [Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 63 (B)(3)(a) and/or Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.3(a)&(b); See Endnotes.] Further, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District opinion entered on November 1, 2005 in Case No. 05 C 0283, Golden and Golden v. Nadler, Pritikin & Mirabelli, LLC, et al, stated in pertinent part, “The court notes that Illinois attorneys have an absolute duty to report misconduct of other attorneys. See Skolnick v. Altheimer & Gray, 191 Ill.2d 214, 226, 730 N.E.2d 4, 246 Ill. Dec. 324 (2000)”

In Mr. Cooley’s book, he specifically stated that Alderman Ed Burke contacted Judge Cieslak, recently deceased, regarding at least two murder cases and tried to influence his decision on those cases. In his book, that was printed and distributed nationally, Mr. Cooley stated that Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, were involved in a molestation case that he, himself, was asked to fix. After these allegations were published, when Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, Justice Anne Burke, were asked to comment on the allegations, they stated, “No comment.”

These and other very serious allegations that were made sometime ago about these individuals have gone unopposed and uninvestigated After these allegations were made public, Justice Anne Burke was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court and her attorney husband, Alderman Ed Burke, has been allowed to remain as Chairman of the Democratic Committee that slates judges.

After I read the book, I was able to make contact with Robert Cooley and he told me that he was informed years ago that Ed Burke was to be indicted for a number of illegal activities he was involved in, including the fixing of murder cases. He also told me that there were a number of cases he was involved in fixing and a number of other illegal activities and yet no one from any state investigative agencies ever contacted him or the late Judge Cieslak nor anyone else who witnessed illegal acts involving the Burkes. [He indicated that the Burkes are still involved in alleged illicit activities including recently attempting to get the Emerald City Casino license returned to a number of close friends.] He told me that within the past year, Judge Cieslak gave an interview to two members of the media in which Judge Cieslak verified that all the allegations made in Cooley’s book were true. After the judge gave the interview, the two separate reporters specifically told Mr. Cooley that they were “not allowed to do the story because it involves Ed Burke.”

Mr. Cooley told me that he has talked to a number of people and has provided information about Ed and Anne Burke similar to that which resulted in indictments and convictions in Operation Gambit. He told me that major newspaper and television entities flat out told him that they could not do a substantive story on Ed Burke or Anne Burke.

Cammon and Remy Murder Cases

In his book, Mr. Cooley stated Ed Burke and Anne Burke along with Attorney Pat Tuite fixed a murder case before Judge Maloney. Herbert Cammon’s case was a murder case in which it was alleged that Herbert Cammon, a gay black man, murdered his wife with the help of his gay lover by stabbing her over 40 times and leaving the knife sticking out of her mouth. It was alleged that he murdered his wife to obtain the proceeds of a $250,000 life insurance policy. The case was originally assigned to Judge Arthur Ceilsik. After a mistrial because of a hung jury, Ed Burke approached Judge Cieslik and told him to withdraw from the case. When the judge refused to withdraw from the case, he told the judge, “What’s the big deal. It’s only a fucking nigger.”[1] Ed Burke’s wife, Anne, had filed an appearance in the case as co-counsel with Pat Tuite. Anne Burke also requested that the judge withdraw from the case saying, “My husband was the one who put you on the bench.” [Judge Cieslek lived in the 14th ward.] When the judge finally withdrew from the case due to media pressure initiated by the attorneys, the case was assigned to Judge Tom Maloney. Judge Maloney dismissed the case in a bench trial. Cooley revealed that he was wearing a wire when the aforementioned events took place such that the FBI was fully informed. Cooley revealed that he was in communication with Judge Cieslik and he tried to encourage the judge to not let the case go. He also reported to the feds that the case would be assigned to Judge Maloney who would fix the case.

Mr. Cooley revealed that this was the second murder case that Ed Burke tried to fix before Judge Ceislak. Prior to the Cammon case, Cooley wrote about a murder case that Ed Burke tried to fix before Judge Cieslik as a favor to one of the mob bosses, Angelo “The Hook” LaPeitra. This was the Remy murder case in which some Chicago Police officers beat a black man to death for smoking on an “L” train. Cooley stated in the book that one of the police officers was a relative of LaPeitra. He also reported that when Ed Burke was talking to Attorney Sam Banks, Ed Burke made similar racist statements as in the Cammon murder case, specifically, “It’s only a fucking nigger. I can’t see why the judge is making such a big deal about it.”

He also reported that when Ed Burke was in Counselors Row he made a similar racist statement as in the Cammon case. When he specifically said to the group at the First Ward table “I can’t see why the judge is making such a big deal about it. It’s only a fucking nigger.”

At the time the book came out, Anne Burke was a sitting judge on the appellate bench and she never sued the author or publisher when they made these statements. The accusations appear to be true.

A report by Abdon M. Pallasch from Chicago Lawyer dated January 1998 stated that WBBM-TV reported “U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated rumors in 1988 that [Ed] Burke bribed judges to fix two murder cases.”

Why weren’t Anne Burke and/or Ed Burke questioned about their involvement in the Cammon or Remy murder cases? If there was an investigation, why weren’t Judge Arthur Cieslik or Attorney Robert Cooley interviewed?

Politicians are called many things but fixing a murder trial is well... very serious business.Just why didn't Alderman Burke sue Robert Cooley for claiming Alderman Burke fixed a murder trial for the Chicago Mob?

With Tony Rezko's trial,who do you think Rezko went to for some legal work? None other than Alderman Ed Burke.The Chicago Sun Times reports:
Why did Ald. Edward M. Burke vote to approve Tony Rezko’s plans to develop the South Loop’s biggest piece of vacant land even as he was working for Rezko on that same deal?

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

The much-conflicted alderman says he meant to sit out the vote. He’d even sent a letter to the Chicago Board of Ethics in August 2003 saying he would abstain from any Council votes on Rezko’s plan to put as many as 5,000 homes and stores on a 62-acre site along the Chicago River at Roosevelt Road.

The much-conflicted alderman says he meant to sit out the vote. He’d even sent a letter to the Chicago Board of Ethics in August 2003 saying he would abstain from any Council votes on Rezko’s plan to put as many as 5,000 homes and stores on a 62-acre site along the Chicago River at Roosevelt Road.

But then Rezko’s project came before the City Council on March 31, 2004, and Burke cast his vote — in favor.

“An error occurred,” the alderman said in a written response to questions, “and Rule 14 was not invoked.”

That would be the Council rule under which aldermen are supposed to abstain from a vote when they have a conflict of interest.

Of course, it’s up to the alderman who has a conflict to invoke the rule.

Burke’s legal work for Rezko’s Rezmar Corp. is referenced in records on the 62-acre site Rezko wanted to develop with $140 million in city subsidies. The project fizzled, and Rezmar sold the land.

Rezko has since been indicted on federal corruption charges that accuse him of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state contracts under Gov. Blagojevich.

When Burke voted for Rezko’s project, the alderman’s law firm was trying to get a 77 percent cut in the site’s real estate taxes, arguing that Cook County Assessor James Houlihan was wrong to have used the sale price to determine the property’s value.

If it had succeeded, the appeal would have saved Rezmar more than $390,000 in real estate taxes. And Burke would have gotten 20 percent of that savings, according to Daniel Mahru, Rezko’s former partner.

But Burke lost and got nothing. Because he didn’t get paid, he never had to publicly disclose his legal work for Rezmar.

“The ordinance did not require me to disclose that my law firm represented this company,” Burke said in his statement to the Sun-Times. “The rule is very simple: You must receive ‘compensation in excess of $5,000,’ as outlined in the city’s own disclosure form. In fact, my law firm received no compensation at all.”

Burke spent at least six months trying to win the tax cut for Rezko:

• On Nov. 24, 2003, Burke asked Houlihan to lower the assessed value. He didn’t get what he wanted.

• On Dec. 16, 2003, Rezmar hired Burke to appeal to the Cook County Board of Review.

• On March 31, 2004, Burke joined fellow aldermen to approve Rezko’s development plans for the 62-acre site.

• On May 25, 2004, Burke appealed to the Board of Review, which refused to give Rezmar a tax break.

Burke has a history of voting on legislation involving his legal clients. Ten years ago, the Sun-Times found Burke voted to approve city leases for two airlines represented by his law firm. Burke then used a rare parliamentary move to change four “yes” votes to abstentions. Burke blamed those “yes” votes on the late Ald. Thomas Cullerton, claiming he told Cullerton that he planned to abstain from voting on the airline leases.
In conclusion,Alderman Roti is gone but his legacy lives on.On August 11,1999 the Justice Department named Alderman Roti as a high ranking "made member" of the Chicago Mob.Did Roti deny it? No.He died just weeks later on September 20,1999.When the Chicago City Council came back to meet on September 29,1999 one of the first orders of business was to honor the life of Alderman Roti.No we aren't joking.Being convicted for felonies on the job as Alderman Roti was, is to be honored by Chicago Democrats.We'll quote to you the full resolution entered on pages 11238,11239,and 11240 of the Journal-City Council-Chicago on September 29,1999 :
Rules Suspended--TRIBUTE TO LATE ALDERMAN FRED B.ROTI.
The Honorable Richard M.Daley,Mayor,presented the following communication:
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
CITY OF CHICAGO
September 29,1999.
To the Honorable,The City Council of the City of Chicago:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--I transmit herewith a resolution honoring the life and memory of Alderman Fred B. Roti.

Your favorable consideration of this resolution will be appreciated.

Very truly yours,
(Signed) Richard M.Daley

Mayor.

Alderman Burke moved to Suspend the Rules Temporarily to permit immediate consideration of and action upon the said proposed resolution.The motion Prevailed.

The following is said proposed resolution:

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti passed away on Monday,September 20,1999,at the age of seventy-eight;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti,one of eleven children,the son of southern Italian immigrants,was born in an apartment over a store in Chinatown,the near south die neighborhood where he spent his whole life;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti spent more than fifty years in government service,the jobs ranging form state senator to city drain inspector to a post at the city morgue;and

WHEREAS,In 1968 Fred B. Roti was elected alderman of Chicago's great 1st Ward;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti loved his work as alderman,and he counseled mayors,encouraged downtown development,helped shape the Chicago skyline and served the citizens of the 1st Ward ably and with vigor until 1991;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti's talents,hard work and friendly,humorous manner earned him the respect and affection of former colleagues,constitutients,citizens and the press;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti is remembered as a kind,considerate person,who had great love for his family and community;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti is survived by his loving son,Bruno;his loving daughters,Rose Mary Marasso and Mary Ann Walz;and his two sisters;and

WHEREAS,Fred B. Roti was much loved by his six grandchildren;and

WHEREAS,Fred B.Roti, a committed public servant, a cherished friend of many and good neighbor to all,will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by his many family members,friends and associates;now therefore,


Be it Resolved,That we ,the Mayor and members of the City Council of the City of Chicago,assembled this twenty-ninth day of September,1999,do hereby extend to the family of the late Fred B. Roti our deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathies upon their loss;and

Be it Further Resolved,That a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to the family of the late Fred B. Roti as a sign of our sympathy and good wishes.

On motion of Alderman Burke,seconded by Aldermen Granato,Tillman,Beavers,Balcer,Rugai,Solis,Suarez,Mell,Allen,O'Connor,Natarus,Hansen and Schulter,the foregoing proposed resolution was Adopted by a rising vote.


At this point in the proceedings,The Honorable Richard M. Daley,Mayor,rose and on behalf of his own family and the people of Chicago extended condolences to the family of former Alderman Fred Roti.Mayor Daley remembered the Alderman as a true Chicagoan who served his constituents without regard to wealth or status,as a public official who refused to permit the intensity of the political debate to impinge upon the civility of personal relationships.Fred Roti loved politics and loved government because he loved people,Mayor Daley declared,and he leaves his family a legacy of public service.



There you have it: Mayor Daley,Alderman Burke, and the rest of the Chicago City Council believes a "high ranking made member" of the Chicago Mob was a "committed public servant" and "leaves his family a legacy of public service".These are the values of the Chicago Democratic Machine.

Thanks to Steve Bartin

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cook County State's Attorney Candidate Lobbied for Reputed Mob Associate's Company

Larry Suffredin -- a self-styled reformer running for Cook County state's attorney -- lobbied for a landfill controlled by Fred Bruno Barbara, a businessman once charged with extortion and implicated in the mob bombing of a restaurant, the Sun-Times has learned.

Suffredin, a Cook County commissioner (D-Evanston), has come under attack by rivals for his work as a lobbyist on behalf of casino and drug-company interests. State records show he also lobbied for Kankakee Regional Landfill LLC -- a company tied to Barbara -- in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

"I don't think I've ever met Fred [Barbara] in my life," Suffredin said. "I didn't know he had an interest in it."

Barbara, 59, is a multimillionaire involved in trucking, waste hauling, banking, and other businesses. A friend of Mayor Daley's, Barbara at one time got more than 60 percent of his garbage-hauling business from city contracts. He has also been a consultant to the city's much-criticized blue bag recycling program. He has been arrested five times, including a 1982 arrest for extortion in an FBI sting. Barbara was acquitted in that case -- and has never been convicted of any crime.

During the Family Secrets mob trial last year, Outfit hit man Nicholas Calabrese said Barbara participated in the 1980s bombing of Horwath's Restaurant in Elmwood Park. Barbara is the grandson of Bruno Roti Sr., an organized crime boss, and the nephew of late Ald. Fred Roti, who allegedly represented mob interests on the City Council.

Documents on file with the state list Barbara as Kankakee Regional's manager as far back as May 31, 2006. The company's address is given as 2300 S. Archer Ave., the address of other Barbara businesses. At a hearing held last June, an official from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency identified Barbara as one of three partners in the landfill.

Barbara did not return calls seeking comment.

Kankakee Regional has been trying to build a 240-acre dump in Kankakee since at least 2004. But the project has faced opposition from local groups and from Waste Management, the trash-removal giant that has a competing proposal. Kankakee Regional has been granted a development permit to build infrastructure but not to accept waste, according to IEPA spokeswoman Maggie Carson.

The project has been approved by the Kankakee city council and the Illinois Pollution Control Board, but it is bogged down in litigation and has not opened. In June 2007, Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued Kankakee Regional for illegally dumping construction and demolition debris at the site. That suit and another are pending.

Tom Volini, one of the partners in the project, said the landfill is environmentally sound and the dumping was permitted by the city and under state law. "The issuance of the Illinois EPA permit is the best evidence of the soundness," said Volini, the brother-in-law of former 48th Ward alderman Marion Volini.

Suffredin -- who has made fighting political corruption central to his campaign for state's attorney -- said he "interacted with the Illinois EPA" and dealt with "hydrology issues" on the landfill's behalf.

Suffredin said he has not worked on the project in over a year, and pointed to a public filing made by his law firm, Shefsky & Froelich, stating it withdrew on July 27, 2007.

"Tom Volini is the only person I ever dealt with on this project," Suffredin said.

Suffredin said he was told "there was a falling out with the partners, and Tom was removed as the person in charge," prompting the Shefsky firm to stop representing the landfill. But in its own filing dated Aug. 23, 2007, Kankakee Regional lists both Suffredin and the Shefsky firm as its lobbyists. The company has not yet filed a lobbying disclosure form for 2008, according to the secretary of state's office.

Suffredin is competing in a tight race against five other candidates for the Democratic nomination to succeed state's attorney Dick Devine. The winner in the Feb. 5 primary will face Republican Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica. In a recent TV ad, Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool says of Suffredin, ''On the county board he's a reformer. He'll take on political corruption.''

Suffredin said he saw no problem with representing the Barbara-controlled company. "He's not been a client. He's been an owner of a client that I worked for ... If I had directly represented him, it'd bother me," Suffredin said.

Thanks to Eric Herman and Tim Novak

Black Hound New York - Valentine's Day Collection

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's Still the Chicago Way, New Books Prove Nothing Changes

“Here is the difference between Dante, Milton, and me. They wrote about Hell and never saw the place. I wrote about Chicago after looking the town over for years and years.”

Those were the profound words of Carl Sandburg, published in his book of “Chicago Poems: Unabridged (Dover Thrift Editions)” in 1916.

Ninety-one years later, Chicago’s landscape may have changed, but the sordid souls, who poisoned Sandburg’s time, live here in infamy.

That much is evident after sitting through last week’s Operation Family Secrets trial in federal court in Chicago. Five elderly men connected to the Chicago Outfit are charged with running mob rackets and torturing and killing 18 people the past four decades by strangulation, beating and shooting, with ropes, ball bats, blowtorches, shotguns, fists and feet. But the five hoodlums with witty nicknames such as the Clown, the Breeze, Little Jimmy and Twan, didn’t operate without help from outside their secret organization.

Just as in Sandburg’s day, when the hell-bent were called Big Jim and the Fox, the mobsters of our era admit they bribed police and public officials to protect their illegal businesses.

Two new books prove that nothing has changed. Despite the modernization of Michigan Avenue, lakefront beautification and regular police department announcements that crime is declining, the dirty business of public corruption at the behest of the Outfit thrives.

InSin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul her book “Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul.” author Karen Abbott writes about the open sex trade in Chicago’s Levee District on the near South Side in the early 1900s. It focuses on the turn-of-the-previous-century whorehouse, the Everleigh Club. The story amounts to a blueprint for the modern rackets that the Calabrese/Lombardo Outfit is now on trial for allegedly running.

In 1900, dance hall operator Ike Bloom was in charge of making sure the police allowed bordello operators, call girls and pimps to freely conduct their business. "So integral was Bloom to the web of Levee graft that his portrait, handsomely framed, hung in a prominent place of honor in the squad room of the 22nd Street police station,” writes Abbott.

Below Bloom’s picture was a price list of the appropriate bribes to be paid to police: “Massage parlors: $25 weekly; Larger houses of ill fame, $50-$100 weekly, with $25 additional each week if drinks are sold; Saloons allowed to stay open after hours, $50 per month; Sale of liquor in apartment houses without license …”

The architects were First Ward Alderman “Bathhouse” John Coughlin and Democratic Party boss Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna.

In a second new book, “The Tangled Web: The Life and Death of Richard Cain - Chicago Cop and Mafia Hitman,” author Michael J. Cain reports on the devilish work of his brother Dick. In the late 1950s and ’60s, Dick Cain was a Chicago police vice detective and then chief investigator for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.

Author Cain says his brother was also “a made Mafia soldier and a protégé and informer for legendary mob boss Sam Giancana.”

Dick Cain was a Chicago mobster, groomed by the mob to be a Chicago cop. “Dick was one of a very small number that reported directly to Sam ‘Momo’ Giancana,” writes Michael Cain.

Dick Cain distributed weekly mob bribes to other cops, according to his brother, and tipped Outfit bosses to gambling and prostitution raids. When independent, non-mob rackets were raided, Cain would be seen in the next morning’s newspapers posed with a Tommy gun, a la Eliot Ness.

Cain’s mob work stretched to Mexico and Cuba and probably included murders, admits his brother. Dick Cain was killed in 1973, five days before Christmas. Two gunman ambushed him in a West Side sandwich shop.

Richard Cain and Sam Giancana’s corrupt DNA was the same that Ike Bloom and his ilk had in 1900. And now a century later, the bad genes are on display in Operation Family Secrets.

Testimony revealed that modern-day Chicago cops were on the Outfit payroll. Mob informants testified they were tipped off by dirty cops about upcoming raids.

An alleged Chicago mob boss testified about his cozy relationship with politically connected labor union bosses and with the late First Ward Alderman Fred Roti, who was convicted of corruption.

Another accused mob boss, who once bribed a U.S. senator, last week implicated all 50 Chicago aldermen in a payoff scheme to allow illegal gambling in their wards.

An admitted Outfit hit man pinned a suburban firebombing on one of Mayor Daley’s close friends.

So nothing changes. We just keep writing about Chicago, after looking the town over for years and years.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Friday, August 17, 2007

Frank Calabrese Sr. Takes Witness Stand

In the Family Secrets mob trial Wednesday there was testimony from "Joey the Clown." Thursday, it was "Frankie the Breeze." In an unusual strategy, the two top defendants in the federal case have now taken the witness stand.

We know from his testimony that mob boss Joe Lombardo fancies himself as one of those movie gangsters played by Jimmy Cagney. In the Hollywood vein, then Frank Calabrese's testimony Thursday qualifies Calabrese as the flimflam man. For three hours in the witness chair Thursday afternoon, Calabrese admitted to being a part of the Chicago mob, explained how the Chicago mob operates and who else is in it, then tried to convince the jury that he had nothing to do with any mob murders.

Frank Calabrese Senior's education was on display Thursday in court. Frank "the Breeze," as he's known, was a fourth grade drop out who twice went AWOL from the military. Now, at age 70 and claiming to be hard-of-hearing, the convicted outfit boss is fighting to stay out of prison for the rest of life in operation family secrets.

Calabrese is charged with 13 gangland murders as part of the mob conspiracy. Calabrese denied them all, saying "No way, I loved that guy" when asked about them. He appeared in court well groomed and dressed in a Palm Beach-style sportcoat fit for a croquet match. His lawyer Joe Lopez dazzled the jury with a pink shirt and banana-colored tie. Calabrese peppered his testimony with a sorrowful tale of his poor upbringing. "We ate oatmeal many nights," he said, "because we had no money."

Calabrese admitted to being a streetfighter: "I hated bullies and I still hate them today." Then he boasted, "I was very good with my hands." he was also well connected, he said, to the late, corrupt 1st Ward Alderman Fred Roti, Calabrese's brother-in-law was hotel restaurant union boss Ed Hanley, whom Calabrese claimed once offered him a job as president of the union local in Las Vegas.

Despite claiming he couldn't do arithmetic and barely literate, Calabrese admitted to a career as a mob loanshark, illegally lending hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who couldn't get bank loans at interest rates sometimes 10 times the going rate and keeping the accounting books. But Calabrese claimed: "There was never a time that anybody got a beating from me for not paying...I'd sit and talk to them."

In a remarkable confession, Calabrese talked about the structure of the outfit: There are "heavy workers" who do the killing, he said, and there are "money makers" who control the finances. Said Calabrese: "I was a money maker, I mean millions. When would I have time for" the killing?

Calabrese said Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa was the outfit's top boss who oversaw what were called "sit downs," meetings to solve mob problems. "It was all done diplomatically," stated Calabrese. "At the head was someone very important, usually Joey Auippa."

We know from his testimony Wednesday that mob boss Joe Lombardo fancies himself as one of those old Hollywood gangsters played by Jimmy Cagney. Judging by the jury's reaction to Frank Calabrese's testimony, Calabrese might be better suited for a role in the old classic movie "Born Yesterday."

Jurors who have been taking non-stop notes the past eight weeks, Thursday took down nothing that Calabrese said. One juror spent the afternoon doodling on the back of his notebook.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Mob Will Extort Street Taxes from Anyone

Friends of ours: Nicholas Calabrese, Frank Calabrese Sr., Fred Roti, Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Jackie "The Lacky" Cerone

I could just kick myself for missing Monday's installment of the Family Secrets mob trial playing out at the federal building here in Chicago. There's so much that doesn't make the headlines that is every bit as spellbinding as the stuff that does.

No, I'm not talking about who got whacked in 18 old, cold, brutal unsolved mob hits. Or even referring to the riveting testimony of Nicholas Calabrese, the mob hit man and betraying brother of defendant Frank Calabrese Sr., whose deadpan delivery and downcast eyes mesmerized the jury for five days.

What I'm talking about are those little snippets and small moments when the intersection of the Chicago Outfit and this city's powerbrokers and businessmen comes into startling focus.

The high drama of the day dealt with the cross-examination of Calabrese by defense attorneys who sought to undercut his credibility and shore up the fortunes of the five defendants whose prospects of dying outside prison are looking rather dim. But what happened at the end of the day wasn't even mentioned in the Tribune account and only briefly in the Sun-Times, the last paragraphs of which read:

"CHICAGO BUSINESSMAN VICTOR CACCIATORE TESTIFIED HE WAS A VICTIM OF OUTFIT EXTORTION AND . . . PAID $200,000 IN THE EARLY 1980s TO THE PEOPLE EXTORTING HIM AND THREATENING HIS FAMILY."

Victor Cacciatore? The Chicago attorney and real estate developer? Chairman of Lakeside Bank? Member of convicted ex-Gov. George Ryan's transition team? One of the partners of now-indicted Antoin "Tony" Rezko's defunct 62-acre riverfront parcel in the South Loop? Holder of loads of government contracts and political contributor of at least $385,000 since 1995?

Yes, that Victor Cacciatore.

When he took the stand this week at the request of federal prosecutors, it was to buttress what Nick Calabrese had been saying about the Chicago mob. That they will muscle, extort, threaten or kill anybody if they think they can get away with it.

Thank goodness for Sun-Times reporter Steve Warmbir's blog that delved into this small but fascinating aspect of the trial.

Warmbir reports that Cacciatore testified he was being extorted by the mob in the 1980s, though "his memory was fuzzy."

In the 1980s, Cacciatore told the court, somebody put the head of a dog on his son's car and shot out his back windshield. Cacciatore called the cops. Oddly, he refused to tell police at the time who exactly it was who was extorting him to the tune of $5 million. Instead, Cacciatore went to 1st Ward Ald. Fred Roti, someone who had sent a lot of business Cacciatore's way. The extortion demand dropped to a mere $200,000.

Roti, you may recall, went to federal prison in the 1990s on corruption charges. It was revealed that he was a made member of the Chicago mob.

Cacciatore told the court this week that he had some familiarity with mob figures and had lived next door in River Forest to Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, the onetime head of the Outfit. When shown the so-called Last Supper photo of Accardo, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Jackie "The Lacky" Cerone and others, Cacciatore was able identify a number of them. But on the stand, he still could not identify those extorting him nor did he recall telling investigators years ago that by naming names he'd be signing his own death warrant.

Cacciatore, a civic-minded philanthropist not accused of anything, didn't return my calls Tuesday. But, like the trial itself, he leaves us wanting to know much more.

Thanks to Carol Marin

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Banker Becomes Focus of Mob Testimony

Friends of ours: Frank "Toots" Caruso, Nicholas Calabrese, Bruno "The Bomber" Roti, Fred Roti
Friends of mine: Fred Barbara

Mayor Daley's friend Fred Bruno Barbara -- who found himself accused in court this week of participating in a mob bombing two decades ago -- has had a lot of jobs over the years. Truck driver. Garbage kingpin. Multimillionaire investor.

His latest: banker.

Barbara, who once was found not guilty of trying to collect an illegal "juice" loan from an undercover FBI agent, last year joined the boards of directors of two banks -- one in Evergreen Park, another on Chicago's Northwest Side.

Barbara, who once was found not guilty of trying to collect an illegal "juice" loan from an undercover FBI agent, last year joined the boards of directors of two banks -- one in Evergreen Park, another on Chicago's Northwest Side.

In April 2006, he was appointed to the board of Evergreen Community Bank. A Barbara business partner, car dealer Joseph Rizza, was already a board member. The bank was purchased by Evergreen Private Bank earlier this year, and Barbara and Rizza remain on the board. "Fred's been a very good board member," said Darin Campbell, president and chief executive of Evergreen Private Bank.

Last October, Barbara and state Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago) got state approval to join the board of Belmont Bank & Trust, founded last year by James J. Banks, a zoning attorney who is the nephew of Ald. William Banks (36th).

Barbara, 59, who has homes in Oak Brook and Palm Beach, Fla., has been arrested five times but never convicted of any crime, records show. So state regulators had no reason to exclude him from a bank board, according to state regulators. "These are allegations, and we can't and don't make licensing decisions because someone is alleged to have done something," said Scott Clarke, assistant director of banks and trusts for the Illinois Division of Banking.

With his application to join the Belmont Bank board, Barbara submitted documents to the state showing he and four reputed mobsters -- including his cousin Frank "Toots'' Caruso -- were found not guilty 24 years ago when they were charged with trying to collect an illegal high-interest loan from an undercover FBI agent.

In court testimony Tuesday, admitted mob hit man turned government informant Nicholas Calabrese said Barbara joined two reputed mobsters when they bombed the now-defunct Horwath's Restaurant, a well-known mob hangout in Elmwood Park.

Barbara -- a grandson of early Chicago mob boss Bruno "The Bomber'' Roti -- never was charged in connection with the Horwath's bombing. He didn't return calls for comment.

Barbara built a fortune as a city contractor, getting city trucking business while his uncle, the late Ald. Fred Roti, was a powerful member of the City Council and -- according to an FBI document made public after Roti died -- a "made" member of the mob.

Barbara sold his company, Fred Barbara Trucking, in 1997 in a deal that could have brought him as much as $100 million, records show. He became a consultant to the company that now operates the mayor's much-criticized blue-bag recycling program.

Barbara's wife, Lisa Humbert, had a trucking company that was fired from the city's Hired Truck Program after, in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times investigation, the city determined she wasn't running the business, as she'd claimed. She'd gotten city work by claiming to have a women-owned business.

Thanks to Tim Novak

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Unfinished Business of Donnie Brasco

The only real mobster I ever met was a funny little guy named Fred. He was short, stooped and rumpled, with basset-hound eyes and pallid skin. A wise-cracking, kewpie-doll of a guy with a cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth. Maybe you remember him. Fred Roti, former alderman of the old mobbed-up First Ward. The representative, as Harper's Magazine once described him, of the "Italian business interests" in City Hall.

Freddy liked to hang out at the City Hall press room and share coffee and jokes with the beat reporters. In fact, he was the Art Linkletter of the city council. Freddy thought reporters, just like kids, say the darnedest things!

I happened to be there on the day he asked his legendary question: "So, boys, what should my campaign slogan be this year?"

"Vote for Roti," Bob Davis said without skipping a beat, "and nobody gets hurt!"

Furtive glances. A pause. A long pause. It seemed to get awfully hot all of a sudden, too. And then that old Linkletter look spread slowly across Roti's gnarled face. "You're baaaad," he chortled to relieved laughter all around.

If we're lucky, that's as close as most of us will ever get to an honest-to-goodness wiseguy. But Joe Pistone, a k a Donnie Brasco, has lived in the belly of the beast.

Pistone is the former FBI agent who went undercover as a Mafia soldier for six years and helped cripple the Five Families of New York. He told his story in a best-selling book that later became a movie starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.

Now, Pistone is back with a sequel. Donnie Brasco: Unfinished Business promises to reveal the tales that he couldn't disclose earlier. Unfortunately, it seems more like a ploy to cash in one more time on the Donnie Brasco brand. The book has all the drama of a night out with the boys, reliving the glory days. And it reads with all the charm of a 300-page federal indictment.

And that's a shame, since if you can endure the self-congratulation, insufferable stories about being on the set with Al and Johnny, and a Jack Webb -- just the facts, ma'am! -- style of storytelling, there are some fascinating insights here into what mobsters are really like, and what it takes to bring them down.

The best stories illuminate the moral ambiguity inherent in the double life of an undercover agent. In the name of the law, he has to be ready to break the law. To catch a criminal, he has to risk becoming one.

For the first time, Pistone admits to crimes that would have ended the Donnie Brasco operation if his superiors in the FBI had known about them -- hijackings, burglaries, armed robberies and beatings. "I had to gain the trust of criminals and gangsters," he says, "and there is only one way to do that. You got to do what you got to do."

Pistone tells a chilling story about a capo -- his boss -- ordering him to kill a mob enemy. It's a wiseguy's ultimate test. "The people I had been assigned to infiltrate engaged in murder the way a cabbie goes through a yellow light," Pistone writes. "I had long ago made my decision of what to do when this predictable occasion arose. If Bruno's there, he's gone. If I have to put a bullet in his head, I will."

There is a nagging conflict between what Pistone thinks he can achieve and what his FBI superiors think is reasonable -- and safe.

After blowing one assignment for his mob bosses, Pistone is called to a summit to face the music. He knows the FBI would rather pull the plug on the operation than risk his life. Pistone also knows the basic rule of mob life is "not to rat, and not to run." So he goes, without telling the FBI. "I was finally in so deep I was lying to the FBI by omission," he says. "Because of my job I lied regularly in my personal life to those I was closest to. I was finally in the mud at the deep end."

One reads on in anticipation and, finally, irritation, waiting in vain for more stories packing this kind of tension. The closest he comes is a brief description of how Donnie Brasco was ordered to abort his undercover pose just as he was on the verge of becoming a "made member" of the Bonnano crime family, a decision he describes as having "the keys to the vault and suddenly throwing them away." But there's no elaboration, no sense of what the debate was like, and what was really lost.

Instead, an interminable, mind-numbing timeline of recent mob cases descends into a tirade on a trial in which Pistone claims everyone involved -- wiseguys, investigators and prosecutors -- are angling ineptly for book deals. The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight winds up as The Gang That Couldn't Write Straight.

Thanks to Joe Kolina, a Chicago journalist with a long-standing interest in what Bonnano family soldier Lefty Ruggiero described as "the underworld field."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Alledged Mob Social Club: We Do a Lot of Good Things

Friends of ours: Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra, Bruno Caruso, Fred Roti, Frank "Toots" Caruso, Michael Talarico
Friends of mine: Robert Cooley

Leaders of the Chicago mob's 26th Street Crew established the Old Neighborhood Italian-American Club in 1981.

Members said it was just a private social club. But the FBI tapped the club's phones in the 1980s, suspecting it was a nerve center for gambling and "juice loans" -- illegal, high-interest loans enforced with the threat of violence. The wiretaps became part of a case against 10 men accused of running an illegal gambling operation in Chinatown.

Some reputed mob figures still hang out at the club. But one of them says reputed mob members no longer run the place as they once did. He put it this way: "We're not influenced by us any more."

The club -- which includes members of the powerful Roti family -- has broadened its membership since it was founded in 1981 by the late Angelo "The Hook'' LaPietra, who ran the 26th Street Crew. The members include doctors and lawyers, and people from different ethnic backgrounds.

The club has sponsored youth baseball teams, hosted anti-drug seminars for kids and held civic events featuring, among others, former Los Angeles Dodgers baseball manager Tommy Lasorda. It's opened its doors to church functions and school graduations. It's hosted "breakfast with Santa" and huge July 4th parties. "We do a lot of good things," one longtime member says. And when the White Sox are playing, its big-screen TV is blaring. Sox Park is just a few blocks south of the club, a red-brick building at 30th and Shields -- a big improvement over its former home in a Chinatown storefront. "It started out as a storefront, they'd play cards, sit around," said one veteran mob investigator. "Now, it's a Taj Mahal, with dues, workout rooms."

One past member is Robert Cooley, a former Chicago cop who became a mob lawyer, then government informant. "Everybody that I knew from the Chinatown area belonged, all of the bookmakers that I represented, that I knew," Cooley said in a July 1997 deposition to union investigators examining alleged mob ties of labor leader Bruno F. Caruso.

Caruso, a nephew of the late Ald. Fred B. Roti, was identified in a 1999 FBI report as a "made" member of the mob. He is also a member of the Old Neighborhood Italian-American Club. The group's "purpose . . . was to keep the neighborhood very active with children," Caruso said in a deposition six years ago.

Other current or recent members include two other men the FBI identified as "made" mob members: Caruso's brother Frank "Toots'' Caruso and Michael Talarico, a restaurant owner who married into the extended Roti family.

The club president is Dominic "CaptainD" DiFazio, a longtime friend of "Toots" Caruso. In a recent interview, DiFazio allowed that he was involved in illegal gambling but said that was years ago.

"Twenty five years ago, I was arrested for taking bets on horses -- 25 years ago," DiFazio said. "You learn your lesson quick in life, and that's it. Everyone's made a mistake in their life.

"Whatever I do now I do now, my heart's in this organization . . . It was always for the community, never anything sinister, believe me."

Thanks to Robert C. Herguth, Tim Novak and Steve Warmbir

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

One Family's Rise, A Century of Power

When Bruno Roti Sr. died in 1957, 3,000 people lined the streets to pay their respects. Fourteen cars overflowed with flowers.

The wail of a 12-piece marching band filled the streets of the neighborhood that Roti Sr. had called home for nearly five decades, since leaving his small village of Simbario in southern Italy in 1909. Nearly 100 men wearing black sashes across their chests escorted the hearse through the neighborhood today known as Chinatown. They were members of an organization Roti founded -- the Society of St. Rocco di Simbario.

It was a funeral fit for a cardinal. Or a mayor. According to his death certificate, Bruno Roti Sr., dead at 76, was a beer distributor.

To people in his tightly knit Italian neighborhood, Roti Sr. was their leader. Years after Roti's death, his godson, in a recorded interview he gave in 1980 for the "Italians in Chicago" project run by the history department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recalled him as a man who showed immigrants a "clean, decent, respectable way of life.''

To Chicago Police, though, Roti Sr. was "The Bomber," "The Mustache," "a big man in the Chicago crime setup." In the early part of the century, he was part of the Black Hand, police said -- the name given to loose-knit gangs of extortionists who preyed on fellow Italian immigrants for money. The Black Hand gangs would be taken over in the 1920s by Al Capone's gang.

"Roti was close to Al Capone and was visited by Capone on many occasions,'' according to an FBI report prepared nine years after his death.

The FBI identified Roti Sr. as the leader of what would become the Chicago Outfit's 26th Street/Chinatown crew, a key cog in organized crime here. His descendants would build upon his legacy, extending the family's influence over public office and organized labor.

A neighborhood grocer

Bruno Roti Sr. visited Chicago in 1901, then returned eight years later for good, according to the passenger manifest of the ship -- named La Bretagne -- that brought him to America when he was 28.

Roti passed through Ellis Island in the spring of 1909 on his way to Chicago to join his two brothers and his pregnant wife's siblings. Wife Marianna Bertucci Roti and the couple's two sons stayed behind in Simbario, joining Roti in Chicago seven months later, according to his petitions for citizenship.

Roti Sr. became a grocer, operating a store in the 2100 block of South Wentworth, according to a Chicago city directory from 1917.

Chicago -- booming with hundreds of thousands of immigrants -- was a brutal place, with gangland killings, immigrants preying upon each other, rampant vice. Roti Sr. himself was arrested twice in murder investigations.

The first time, in 1920, he was picked up with four others in the slaying of labor leader Maurice "Moss'' Enright, according to newspaper accounts. Enright was trying to take over the city's street sweeper union. Police suspected Roti had disposed of the sawed-off shotgun that was used to kill Enright. But he was never charged.

As Prohibition-era violence raged, Roti Sr. was charged in a killing in 1931, according to newspaper accounts. At the time, he was 51 and the father of 10 children. One of his sons, then 10 years old, was Fred Bruno Roti, who would grow up to be a powerful Chicago alderman -- and, according to the FBI, a "made" member of the mob.

The victim was Johnny Genero, a gangster who was driving to his mother's house with another man when his car was trapped by another car at 29th and Normal. Genero was shot in the head. He died instantly. His companion wasn't harmed.

Police arrested Roti Sr., described in newspaper reports as a saloonkeeper, and four others, including James Belcastro. Belcastro, nicknamed "King of the Bombers,'' had been arrested more than 150 times. Among his alleged crimes: the 1928 murder of a political candidate and the operation of a bomb factory. He wasn't convicted in either case.

Belcastro was often referred in newspaper stories as Chicago's "Public Enemy No. 4,'' and as a "pineapple thrower'' -- a flip reference to persistent allegations he threw bombs at homes or businesses. The Chicago Daily News decreed he was "head of the bomb making division of Capone Inc.''

A few weeks after Genero's murder, prosecutors dropped all charges against Roti, Belcastro and the others. No one was ever convicted of Genero's murder.

When Belcastro would be arrested, Roti Sr.'s wife sometimes put up her family's home to bail Belcastro out of jail. Or her brother Bruno Bertucci would. In fact, the Rotis and Bertuccis often put up their homes to bail people out of jail, among them Bruno Roti Sr. himself, according to Cook County property deeds.

Rejected, twice, for citizenship

Roti applied twice during Prohibition to become an American citizen. The first time, he was rejected for "ignorance,'' the second for not having "five years good character.''

Finally, 36 years after he moved to America, Roti was granted citizenship in 1945, a few months after World War II ended. One of his character witnesses was John Budinger, the alderman of the 1st Ward, the hand-picked successor of Michael "Hinky Dink'' Kenna, the infamously corrupt alderman who'd served during Prohibition.

Chicago's 1st Ward -- which included the Loop and Near South Side -- had long been ruled by the mob, which had a hand in everything from gambling to politics to development. Eleven years after Bruno Roti Sr.'s death, his son Fred became the 1st Ward alderman, a job he eventually gave up when he got caught taking bribes.

Son-in-law takes over

When Bruno Roti Sr. died, his criminal empire went to Frank "Skid'' Caruso, who had married Roti's daughter Catherine in 1934, according to FBI reports.

According to an FBI report dated Feb. 25, 1966, "His 'clout' comes from the fact he is the son-in-law of BRUNO ROTI referred to as 'MUSTACHE.'

"It has previously been reported that CARUSO is the leader of rackets and organized crime in that area and gets a piece of all action taking place there," the report said, referring to Chinatown.

Another FBI report, from Oct. 20, 1969, said: "CARUSO characterized as formerly a 'baggage thief' and was nothing until he married into the Bruno Roti family."

Caruso was a onetime patronage worker for the city street department. He served in the Army during World War II, was wounded in France and received a Purple Heart -- a fact his son Bruno proudly noted during a deposition six years ago.

Taking over from his father-in-law, Caruso concentrated on illegal gambling, including "juice loans" -- illegal, high-interest loans often made to gamblers. A craps game Caruso ran in Chinatown in 1962 was "one of the biggest and best in the entire Chicago area,'' an informant told the FBI.

"Bruno Roti had considerable wealth and property and cash in that area and this wealth is still somewhat controlled by [Caruso] in view of his leadership capacity concerning gambling and criminal matters," according to the 1969 FBI report.

On the city payroll

Over the years, many of "Skid" Caruso's relatives held city patronage jobs, usually in the Streets and Sanitation Department. Two of his three sons, two of his brothers, his sister's husband and five of his wife's brothers all had city jobs at some point. Today, he has grandchildren, nieces and nephews -- more than 30 relatives in all, including Carusos, Rotis and other family members -- on the city payroll.

Caruso's older brother, Joe "Shoes" Caruso, made headlines in 1959, when a reporter found him working at a liquor distributorship when he was supposed to be at his city job -- using a hand broom to sweep two city blocks in Chinatown. "Shoes" Caruso didn't bat an eye at getting caught.

"I've been through all this before,'' he told the Chicago Tribune in 1959. "It's always the same -- a lot of wind, and nothing ever happens. Wait and see. There still will be payrollers after all of us are dead and gone.''

Thirty-two years later, "Skid'' Caruso's oldest son, Peter, and other relatives got caught up in a similar scandal involving city workers assigned to sweep streets with brooms. Once again, city officials found they weren't working eight hours a day.

"Skid" Caruso's gambling associates also landed city jobs, thanks to Caruso's brother-in-law, Frank Roti, according to an FBI report filed shortly after Roti's funeral in 1966. "Frank Roti held a city job most of his life and was responsible for hiring many individuals who assisted Caruso in racket operations," the FBI said.

Why 'Skid?'

The FBI had two versions of how "Skid" Caruso got his nickname, according to its files. One said it was due to his "association with the Skid Row element." The other said it was a shortened version of "Machine Gun Skid," which he was called in his younger days, when he "committed numerous acts of terrorism,'' according to an Oct. 20, 1966, FBI report.

Caruso was arrested at least 10 times, mostly on gambling charges, but never convicted, according to his FBI file. In 1965, Chicago Police arrested him on gambling charges, but the case was dropped after prosecutors discovered that evidence had been "lost or misplaced," according to the FBI.

"I know the system must be working if my father never did a day in jail ... for organized crime," his son Bruno Caruso said in a 2000 deposition.

"Skid'' Caruso's gambling crew included his brother, Morris "Mutt'' Caruso, and their sister's husband, Dominick Scalfaro, who were arrested in separate gambling cases in the 1960s. "Mutt'' Caruso's case was dismissed. Scalfaro was convicted, but the case was dismissed on appeal.

Caruso died in 1983 at 71. Fourteen years later, his grandson and namesake, Frank Caruso, was charged with beating Lenard Clark, a black teenager who had come into the Carusos' neighborhood. Frank Caruso was convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to eight years in prison.

His trial brought the close-knit family even closer together, as relatives defended the young man, arguing that reporters unfairly portrayed him as a racist.

Caruso's father, Frank "Toots" Caruso, wrote to the judge, asking for leniency. He described Sunday gatherings at the home of his mother, Catherine Roti Caruso, Bruno Roti Sr.'s daughter and matriarch of the family. The elder Caruso wrote that his son "speaks to his Nana with reverence. I have let him know that she is 87-years-old and any day could be her last. We all eat at Nana's house every Sunday. She cooks for 21 people, but her granddaughters serve and clean up afterward. Frank's job is to set the table the third Sunday of every month."

The grandmother is now 94 years old. She still lives in the Chinatown home where she raised her family, right next door to the home of her late younger brother, Fred Roti, who, as alderman, would take the family farther in politics than any other family member.

A power at City Hall

Roti became 1st Ward alderman in 1968. He soon became one of the most powerful, well-liked and respected members of the City Council. Roti was also a "made member" of the mob, according to the FBI -- a fact not made public until after his death in 1999.

Roti's political career abruptly ended in 1991, when he was charged with taking bribes to fix zoning and court cases. Two years later, he was found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison.

The charges resulted from a federal probe that loosened the mob's political grip over the 1st Ward, including the area controlled by the 26th Street Crew long run by Roti's brother-in-law, "Skid'' Caruso.

"The 26th Street/Chinatown Crew historically was supposedly aligned with the 1st Ward, which was operated and controlled under organized crime auspices . . . and historically has had influence within the city of Chicago government for contracts, jobs with Streets and Sanitation, city contracts for hauling, trucking companies and so on," former FBI Agent John O'Rourke, an expert on the Chicago Outfit, said in a July 1997 deposition in a labor case.

Federal authorities attacked the mob's hold on Chicago politics with the help of Robert Cooley, a Chicago cop-turned-mob-lawyer who secretly recorded conversations with politicians and judges. Federal agents also hid a listening device in a booth at the old Counsellor's Row, a restaurant and 1st Ward mob hangout that was across from City Hall.

When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down by Robert Cooley.

The investigation found that the powerhouse in Chicago's mob politics was Pat Marcy, who held the unassuming title of secretary of the 1st Ward Democratic Organization but whose power was vast. Marcy took bribes and doled out city contracts and jobs, fixed criminal and civil cases, and bribed politicians and judges, according to testimony at Roti's trial. Roti was alderman, but he answered to Marcy.

'Nobody gets hurt'

Roti reveled in his reputation as the mob's voice on the City Council. During Roti's re-election campaigns, the joke around City Hall was "Vote for Roti, and Nobody Gets Hurt.'' And Roti shared in the laugh.

He was elected alderman in 1968 and held the job until he resigned in 1991, when he was indicted. He'd been a state senator from 1950 to 1956. When he left the Senate, he was a patronage worker in the city's Sewer Department.

Over the years, Roti often was asked about his many relatives working for the city. "So I have some relatives on the payroll," Roti said in 1981. "They're doing an excellent job."

That comment came a year after his son -- city employee Bruno F. Roti -- was indicted in a police motor-pool scandal, charged with billing the city for work done on Bruno Roti's own car. He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to a work-release program for six months and fined $5,000.

Ald. Roti also faced criticism that he helped steer the city's trucking business to his nephews -- including Fred Bruno Barbara, who would make a fortune off city business.

When Roti died, his family and friends jammed the streets of Chinatown for a funeral procession similar to his father's 42 years earlier. His longtime friend, Ald. Bernard Stone (50th), made sure everyone knew the role Roti played in Chicago history.

"Our skyline should say 'Roti' on it,'' Stone said at the funeral. "If not for Fred Roti, half the buildings in the Loop would never have been built."

Roti, his father Bruno Roti Sr. and brother-in-law Frank "Skid" Caruso are buried together at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside. Roti Sr. is interred in a stone mausoleum -- one of the most ornate, intricately carved edifices in the cemetery. It towers over the graves of his relatives. To the right is the grave of Ald. Fred Roti; to the left, "Skid'' Caruso. Other relatives are buried nearby.

At Christmas, fresh wreaths decorated each grave. A large one with a red bow was hanging on Roti Sr.'s mausoleum.

Nearly 50 years after his death, Bruno Roti Sr. hasn't been forgotten.

Thanks to Tim Novak, Robert C. Herguth, and Steve Warmbir

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