Showing posts with label Jackie Cerone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jackie Cerone. Show all posts

Friday, March 22, 2019

A Century of Chicago Mob Bosses

A thumbnail history of Chicago's mob leaders. Dates are approximate.

1910
"Big Jim" Colosimo (1910 to 1920). Chicago's vice lord runs brothels and nightspots, shot dead in 1920 at his popular restaurant. Death cleared way for Capone

1920
Johnny Torrio (1920 to 1925). Reserved boss, eschews violence, retires in 1925 after a fouled-up hit leaves him barely alive.

1925
Al Capone (1925 to 1932). Made Chicago mob famous. Perhaps the most successful mob boss ever, the subject of countless books and movies, done in by the IRS for tax evasion.

1932
Frank Nitti (1932 to 1943). With help from Jake Guzik, rebuilds the Outfit after Capone's departure. Commits suicide after he's indicted in 1943.

1943
Paul "the Waiter" Ricca (1943 to 1950). Has a son who's a drug addict and decrees no Outfit member can have anything to do with narcotics trafficking.

1950
Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo (1950 to 1957). Considered the most capable Outfit leader ever. Never spends significant time in jail. Always plays key role as adviser, but facing a tax case, he officially hands reins over to ...

1957
Sam "Mooney" Giancana (1957 to 1966). Attends the infamous Apalachin, N.Y., meeting that draws national attention to organized crime, draws even more focus on the Outfit with his flamboyance, shared a girlfriend with JFK, flees country for eight years, slain in 1975 at his Oak Park home.

1966
Sam "Teets" Battaglia (1966). Tough leader who is convicted in federal court same year, dies in prison.

1966
John "Jackie" Cerone (1966 to 1969). Considered one of the smartest underworld figures, a strong leader, then the feds pinch him.

1969
Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio (1969 to 1971). The mob killer is an unpopular leader, then he's convicted of bank fraud.

1971
Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa (1971 to 1986). A Cicero mobster who ran gambling and strip clubs and grows into the job, with help from Accardo, Gus Alex and, later, Cerone. He is convicted of skimming profits from a Las Vegas casino.

1986
Joseph Ferriola (1986 to 1989). Heads the Outfit for only a few years before succumbing to heart problems.

1989
Sam Carlisi (1989 to 1993). Protege to Aiuppa and mentor to James "Little Jimmy" Marcello. Carlisi and his crew are decimated by federal prosecutions.

1997
John "No Nose" DiFronzo (1997 to 2018). Called mob boss by Chicago Crime Commission, but other mob watchers disagree.

2018
Salvatore "Solly D" DeLaurentis (2018 to Current?) Although not official, Solly D is considered by many mafia experts to be one the highest ranking mobster on the streets in Chicago although he has long denied these claims. It is said that his 2nd in command could be convicted mob enforcer, Albert "Albie the Falcon" Vena. Time will tell.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Chicago Brothers Discover their Father's Friends were #Mobsters. So, They Wrote a Book #MobAdjacent

Childhood is, or should be, a time of innocence, and for a while that is the way it was for brothers Michael Jr. and Jeffrey Gentile. And then a pistol fell out of a coat.

“We were taking the coats from people who had come over to visit our parents and this gun just dropped on the floor,” says Michael. “For us it wasn’t a matter of, ‘Oh my God, look, a gun!’ but, ‘Hey, we better figure out which coat this fell from and put it back.’”

The brothers were born 14 months apart in the mid-1950s, and grew up in the western suburbs and everything was just fine for a time, or as Jeffrey puts it, “just like episodes of ‘The Wonder Years’ until they started to get interrupted by episodes of ‘The Sopranos.’ ”

As they write in their book, “Mob Adjacent: A Family Memoir”: “Once Michael and I started paying attention, the veneer that wrapped around our family fiction cracked, and there was no putting it back together. One day you’re a kid learning to read; the next you’re reading the newspaper, and there’s an article about the man who came to dinner last week. Pictures, too. Yup, that’s him. The newspaper said he’d been indicted for running a suburban gambling ring and was looking at five years in prison.”

The man who came to dinner remains nameless but the names of many of the others who pepper the book’s pages and frequented the brothers’ lives read almost like an old most-wanted list.

“Through geography and happenstance, our father grew up and knew well the post-Capone generation of Chicago criminals and crime bosses,” says Michael Jr. “They were his friends.”

The names of those people, some with well-known nicknames, pop from the pages: Manny Skar, Richard Cain, Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, Frank “Skip” Cerone and his brother James “Tar Baby” Cerone and their cousin “Jackie the Lackey” Cerone.

The brothers’ grandfather came here as a 2-year-old from Italy in 1896, settling with his parents and siblings in the then heavily Italian neighborhood around Grand Avenue and Aberdeen Street. After he helped a neighbor fight off two men who were attacking him, that man, a crime figure named Vincent Benevento, conferred on him the sort of respect and supplied the connections that can go a long way in Chicago.

He had a son named Michael (in 1929), the father of Michael Jr. and Jeffrey, and together they worked in the produce business. Then the son went to war (Korea) and afterward, with the help of some by-then nefarious childhood friends, opened a bar. He married (a woman named Mary Ann) and started a family. The Gentile brothers have a sister named Lisa.

“My dad was kind of the go-to guy for his friends,” says Jeffrey. “He was always clean as a whistle and good at what he did and so when a place was in trouble, my dad was called in.”

And so it was that in the early 1960s, he was running a place called Orlando’s Hideaway, part of a notorious strip of entertainments along Mannheim Road in the near western suburbs. Those of a certain age are likely to remember the fancy hotels, nightclubs and restaurants of that strip, and perhaps some of the illegal gambling and prostitution activities too, that comprised what was known as “Glitter Gulch,” a sort of mini Las Vegas.

It was at Orlando’s where the brothers met “a small, quiet, balding man, always perfectly tailored.” The boys were told to address him as “Mr. Sam.” He was Sam Giancana, the head of the Chicago outfit from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s.

Giancana, often known as “Momo,” used Orlando’s as a meeting place. The brothers were there when Frank Sinatra came to call and, they write, “We heard an unforgettable explosion as Mr. Sam raged at Sinatra” — about a Nevada casino deal that supposedly involved Joseph Kennedy, father of JFK, a Sinatra pal. “We have never seen anyone so angry before or since. Snarling, really. Spitting mad. Literally. Red face. Eyes bulging. Insane. Terrifying.”

That is but one of the lively anecdotes in “Mob Adjacent,” a book that came to life after Michael Jr., who has had a long career in the produce business, produced and hosted a 10-part series of short YouTube videos about his family.

These premiered in November 2016. “I thought that the videos were good but that they were only a half effort,” says Jeffrey. “I always wanted to write a book about our family and so Michael and I began to collaborate, to share memories and stories.”

The foundation for the book was letters and journal entries that Jeffrey had been keeping for decades. To flesh those out the brothers talked, often for more than 14 hours at a stretch, at Michael’s home here and Jeffrey’s in Pasadena, Calif.

“Mob Adjacent” is a fine and lively book, one that gives a solid and not overwhelming history of organized crime in these parts, and offers a very detailed narrative of their family and their own lives. It is frank and honest and surprisingly amusing.

“Our lives are the result of geography and happenstance,” says Jeffrey. Or, as he writes in the book, “Being mob adjacent meant we got the best seats in the house. It also meant we got to go home after the show.”

Their father died in 1995. At his wake, Jimmy Cerone approached the open casket, patted the corpse’s cheek and whispered into the coffin, “You were a good boy.”

His sons do justice to their father’s life and this project has made them appreciate one another. “Writing this book gave us a greater understanding of who we are and where we came from,” says Michael.

It has also given them something of a cottage industry. At their website mobadjacent.com, you will find a way to order the self-published book, see the video segments and purchase all manner of items, from an array of T-shirts to shot glasses, pens and mugs. The brothers have written a pilot episode for a television series that they are shopping around to agents and producers.

“It is a sitcom based on our lives,” says Michael. “But it could also be a drama.”

Thanks to Rick Kogan.

Mob Adjacent: A Family Memoir

Mob Adjacent: A Family Memoir, takes an acid trip down memory lane as brothers Jeffrey and Michael Gentile, Jr. discover a parallel world hidden behind a suburban façade. For them, "The Wonder Years" collides with "The Sopranos." Mobsters come to dinner, contract hits come with warning notices, and thieves deliver merchandise and people. How does something like that happen to an ordinary family?

Blame it on the company they keep. Friends and acquaintances include legendary crime boss Sam Giancana, Jackie Cerone; and an assortment of hoodlums, gangsters, bone-breakers, and second-story guys, with cameo appearances by Tony Accardo, Frank Sinatra, Leo Durocher, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Joan Collins, Liza Minelli, and Elizabeth Taylor. For the Gentile brothers, life at the intersection of Hoodlum and Gangster yields dividends and teaches lessons. This is their story.

Mob Adjacent: A Family Memoir.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Former Reputed Mobster Michael Magnafichi on Faith

Michael Magnafichi, once described by authorities as a “made” member of the Chicago mob, raised Catholic, says he prays every night before bed, believes in heaven for most people.

Nearly 20 years ago, an FBI document described Magnafichi as a “rising star” in Chicago’s underworld. How would he describe himself now, at 55?

“Well, not ‘up and coming in the mob,’ that’s for sure. I describe myself as first just enjoying life, I guess. . . . I still play a lot of golf.”

“I don’t do anything illegal any more. I was basically just in the gambling business . . . Truth of it is what’s legal today was illegal yesterday. Now, there’s gambling all over the place . . . It’s a thing people are doing at their office on their breaks,” going online.

Grew up in Bensenville, went to college for two years or so, including Northern Illinois University on a partial golf scholarship.

His dad Lee Magnafichi was a mob figure of some heft, a confidante of late Chicago Outfit overlord Tony Accardo and deceased boss Jackie Cerone. He died of cancer in 1989.

“We were a very structured family, meals at home . . . very normal.”

“Wasn’t beaten . . . over the head” with religion.

“We were born and raised Catholic, went to catechism” — in other words, Sunday school — “church every Sunday . . . My father didn’t go.” But his mom often did.

“She always . . . told us that you don’t have to go anywhere to have faith. You could say your prayers. As long as you believe in God and try to do good by God, God could hear you anywhere.”

His parish growing up was St. Alexis in Bensenville, though the family also attended Holy Ghost in Wood Dale sometimes.

Magnafichi’s dad didn’t discuss it but had religious beliefs. When he got ill, a friend’s wife gave him a saint’s medallion that he kept in his wallet.

“I always thought that religiously, that if you don’t pray during the good times and only in the bad times, that God wouldn’t hear you. But that’s not necessarily true.

“I’m no religious person. I don’t go to church . . . I do say prayers, though. I pray every night before I go to bed. . . . I say an Our Father, Act of Contrition and a Hail Mary. And I pray for . . . healthiness for all my friends and family.

“I believe that God does answer your prayers in His time. You can’t say a prayer, buy a Lotto ticket, say, ‘God make me win this Lotto.’

“I believe in, I don’t want to say karma, but it seems like good things happen to good people.”

How do mobsters reconcile religious convictions with a criminal life?

“A guy one time told me that God is not concerned with the person, he’s concerned with the person’s soul. So the person could do things that maybe aren’t God’s way, but, if the soul is good, that’s what God’s concerned with. And that’s how I think a lot of guys rolled with it, dealt with it that way.”

In other words, “This is my business, but this is my life, my life I choose to lead one way, my business” is different.

“I don’t know if that’s hypocritical, I don’t know if it just works for me, but it does.

“My dad was away when we were young. He went away for four years.

“I’m at peace with everything I’ve done . . . I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have peace with it . . . You can call that what you want, but that’s just my way.”

Once during mass as a kid, when the basket was being passed for donations, the priest said, “I want to hear a silent collection today” — meaning just bills, no change.

“You kind of lose respect for the Church. They’re a business, too.”

He’s godfather to several friends’ kids.

He stopped regularly going to church around 13. “I was sports-minded . . . I just didn’t make time for it.”

The 10 Commandments, “I’ve broken a few.”

“I’ve gotten caught up in some things, I’ve been in jail before . . . but I believe I paid the price for that.

“My idea of heaven would just be Augusta National, being able to play that every day.”

Believes most people make it to heaven.

But “I think what these terrorists are doing, I think that’s unforgivable . . . I don’t think God has a place for these people who kill innocent people for no reason.”

Thanks to Robert Herguth.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Bringing Down the Mob: The War Against the American Mafia

Longtime business associates Allen Dorfman and Irwin Weiner frequently lunched together. On a day in January 1983, they emerged from Dorfman's Cadillac onto the icy parking lot of a suburban Chicago restaurant, ten minutes late for their one o'clock reservation. According to Weiner, they were walking between parked cars when two men ran up behind them and yelled, "This is a robbery." One of the men fired a .22 automatic at least half a dozen times. Only Dorfman was hit. He fell to the ground in a large pool of blood that quickly froze into red ice. When the paramedics arrived, he showed no signs of life.

At fifty-nine, Dorfman was a nationally known figure, and his death would be reported across the country. His murder was news, but it was not a surprise. He had been a key figure in the world of organized crime for more than thirty years. Beginning with Jimmy Hoffa, successive presidents of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) had allowed him to use his position as head of the pension fund to provide sweetheart loans to mob figures, money that bankrolled the Mafia's control of several Las Vegas casinos. The union itself, which had access to top business leaders and politicians right up to the White House, was run as a virtual subsidiary of the American Mafia. A month before his murder, Dorfman, Teamsters president Roy Williams, and a top Chicago mob figure, Joe Lombardo, had been convicted of attempting to bribe U.S. senator Howard Cannon of Nevada. After his conviction in December 1982, Dorfman was released on $5 million bail pending sentencing. He stood to receive as much as fifty-five years in prison.

In addition to the bribery case, the government was also conducting an investigation of money skimming in mob-backed Vegas casinos. Dorfman knew the secrets of both the Teamsters and Vegas. If he decided to cut a deal with prosecutors, talking in return for a more lenient sentence, many gangsters-and supposedly legitimate businessmen and officials-would end up in prison. The head of the Chicago Crime Commission told The New York Times, "There's no doubt in my mind that Mr. Dorfman was killed to keep him quiet ... if he ever coughed up to investigators ... this country would be shaking for a month." Someone with access to the crime scene apparently decided to ensure that at least some of Dorfman's secrets did not die with him. He made a photocopy of the dead man's memo book and sent it to the Chicago Crime Commission.

Though he was only an associate member, Allen Dorfman's life provided a window into the world of the American Mafia at its highest levels. Beginning in 1949, it took him just five years to rise from physical education instructor to millionaire, thanks to Hoffa's largess and the connections of his racketeer stepfather, "Red" Dorfman. At the time of his death he headed a financial empire that included insurance companies, condominium developments, resorts, and other projects, and he maintained homes in four states. He was a major contributor to various charities and was frequently honored by civic associations. Yet over his career he had been denounced by congressional committees and constantly pursued by federal law enforcement officers. He was indicted on several occasions, though he usually managed to win acquittals. In 1972 he was convicted of conspiring to facilitate a loan from the Teamsters Pension Fund in return for a kickback of $55,000, but he served only nine months in jail.

After his latest conviction, Dorfman should have been wary of his former associates. He might have known that the bosses of the Chicago mob would be worried that a man long accustomed to the affluent life might not be able to face spending the rest of his days in prison. True, Dorfman had not rolled over following any of his previous arrests. But in the Mafia world that was irrelevant. Chicago mob bosses Joey Aiuppa and Jackie Cerone, who were also caught up in the Vegas skim, had followed very different paths from Dorfman's. Their rise to the top had been slow, prefaced by years spent doing the dirty work with guns and blackjacks. Unlike Dorfman, they could not pose as businessmen and civic benefactors. Instead, they lived by a hard code that mandated that all doubts must be resolved in favor of the organization. They could not take the chance that someone who had so much potential to hurt them would stay silent. Since it was standard mob procedure to eliminate witnesses, Weiner's survival and his tale of attempted robbery caused some investigators to speculate that he had set Dorfman up.

The fact that Dorfman was not Italian had prevented him from becoming a "made" member of the Mafia. Still, he was well aware of its rules, though perhaps he did not think they applied to a big shot like him. The same lack of understanding had undoubtedly cost his old boss Jimmy Hoffa his life eight years earlier. Then again, a lot of people on both sides of the law had always found it hard to comprehend the culture of the American Mafia.

Books about mob life often end up on the true-crime shelves of bookstores, alongside biographies of serial killers and accounts of last year's "heist of the century." In some respects it is the appropriate place for the colorful criminals of the American Mafia. Each generation has brought forth an Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Sam Giancana, or John Gotti, all of whom have fascinated the public, as have their big and small screen counterparts: Scarface, The Godfather, and The Sopranos.

Yet the American Mafia is more than just another group of criminals. Since the 1920s it has been the heart and soul of American organized crime. As such it has exercised significant influence on the political and economic life of the country. In American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power, I told the story of the organization up to the early 1950s. I described how the Mafia managed to acquire all the trappings of an independent state, flouting the authority of the United States government. It promulgated its own laws, not infrequently imposing the death penalty; it even maintained diplomatic relations with foreign countries, such as Cuba. And perhaps most critically, in both politics and business it managed to link the underworld to the upper world. That an organization that never had more than five thousand full-fledged members could exercise such immense power is one of the most phenomenal accomplishments in the history of the United States. It was not, however, a lasting achievement. The present work, an account of events from the 1950s into the twenty-first century, is the story of a declining power. Essentially it is a domestic military history, in that it describes the fifty-year war that law enforcement has waged on the American Mafia.

Words like "organized crime" or "Mafia" lack precision. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who crusaded against the organization, told his subordinates, "Don't define it, do something about it." Over the years, "Mafia" has come to be used as a shorthand for the leading element of American organized crime. Like "Hollywood" as a synonym for the movie industry, or "Wall Street" for high finance, it has become so embedded in the national consciousness that it is impossible to avoid using it. Attempts by official bodies to define the Mafia often fell short, or were misleading. In 1950-51 a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Estes Kefauver of Tennessee exposed the face of organized crime in a score of American cities. In its final report the committee declared that a Mafia, descended from the Sicilian original, controlled the most lucrative rackets in many major cities and tied together criminal groups throughout the country. A 1967 presidential commission described organized crime as "underworld groups that are sufficiently sophisticated that they regularly employ techniques of violence and corruption to achieve their other criminal ends." They explained that the core group of organized crime in the United States consist[s] of 24 groups operating as criminal cartels in large cities across the nation. Their membership is exclusively Italian, they are in frequent communication with each other, and their smooth functioning is insured by a national body of overseers.

In fact the Mafia in the United States was not an offshoot of the Sicilian version. While only men of Italian lineage could be "made" full-fledged members, the organization was not entirely Italian. Nor was the national "commission," as its body of top overseers was called, ever as clearly defined or powerful as it was sometimes portrayed.

In the nineteenth century, some people blamed the newly immigrated Italians for the prevalence of vice and crime in urban areas. But organized crime was well established in the New World long before Italian Americans arrived. Gamblers, saloon keepers, brothel madams, and other criminals paid off the police, who in turn funneled a large share of the take to their political masters. A few immigrants who came to the United States had been members of Old World criminal bands, such as the Neapolitan Camorra and Sicilian Mafia. It is clear, though, that the Italians who would turn to crime in this country (a tiny fraction of the whole) simply took advantage of what they found when they arrived. Even after Mussolini's crackdown on the Mafia in the 1920s propelled some genuine Sicilian mafiosi to the United States, the forms of organized crime they adopted were essentially American.

The Mafia in America produced bosses like Calabrians Frank Costello and Albert Anastasia, as well as Neapolitans Al Capone and Vito Genovese. For practical purposes it also included Jews such as Meyer Lansky and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel of New York, Abner "Longy" Zwillman of Newark, and Morris "Moe" Dalitz of Cleveland, and these men often exercised power equivalent to that of the Italian bosses. Lansky (nÈ Maier Suchowljansky) was generally ranked among the top three or four mobsters in the country. His success was the result of his financial skills and his ability to forge alliances with key leaders such as Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello. For similar reasons, Moe Dalitz would become a major figure in Ohio, Kentucky, and Nevada. Irish Owney Madden, though confined to the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas, after his exile from New York City, managed to reinvent himself as an elder statesman of the American Mafia. Welshman Murray "the Camel" Humphreys (nÈ Humpreys) was always near the top of the Chicago mob hierarchy, as were Jake Guzik and Gus Alex, who were Jewish and Greek, respectively. To emphasize the organization's American origins and its frequently multiethnic makeup, I refer to it as "the American Mafia," though to avoid constant repetition of the term, I will usually refer to it simply as "the Mafia," sometimes only "the mob(s)," or in individual cities by its local equivalent, such as "the Chicago Outfit" or the name of a particular New York family.

One clear indicator that the American Mafia was homegrown was its organizational structure. The American gangs replicated the political machines in the areas where they operated. Chicago, for example, was dominated by the Democratic county organization, though certain ward bosses were given considerable latitude. The Chicago mob controlled the metropolitan area but allowed some of its leading figures to operate with a high degree of autonomy. New York was too large to be ruled by one political organization. Tammany controlled Manhattan, but Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens had their own machines. The New York Mafia's five-family structure dispersed mob power similarly across the five boroughs. In Tammany days, a "commission" made up of a powerful politician from Manhattan, another from Brooklyn, a boss gambler, and a representative of the NYPD regulated organized crime. After 1931, a local Mafia commission composed of the heads of the five families performed the same function. At the same time, a national "syndicate" also developed, directed by a commission that included the New York families and representatives from other cities. The national commission reflected prevailing political practices as well. The Republican and Democratic national committees were dominated by big states, such as New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. In the national syndicate, the New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit mobs called the shots (sometimes literally).

The internal arrangements of the families (borgattas or simply gangs) also resembled that of the political machines. The Tammany and Cook County party chairmen and the Mafia family heads were all called "boss." Both Tammany and the Chicago organization often had number two men; in the Mafia they were called underbosses. Tammany had leaders over every assembly district, while Chicago had a party committeeman in charge of each ward, and the Mafia had its middle managers too. In the post-Apalachin period, law enforcement began referring to mob sub-bosses by terms such as "capo" (head). While neat on paper, it did not always conform to local practice. In Chicago, instead of being called capos, sub-leaders were usually referred to by the territory they controlled: boss of the Loop, the Near North Side, the Far South Side, etc. In other places they might be known as captains or crew chiefs. The Tammany wise men were called sachems; the Mafia families' equivalent was consigliere, or counselor, though the job began as a sort of ombudsman to whom aggrieved gang members could appeal. Since "Tammany" was an Indian name, its rank and file were accordingly known as braves. On law enforcement charts, the lowest ranked members of the Mafia were called soldiers, a term that might also encompass crew members who were not "made." While it is sometimes claimed that any Italian made man outranked any non-Italian, this was not the case. A mob soldier, even a crew chief, had to be very respectful around "Bugsy" Siegel or "Shotgun" Alex, men whose nicknames alone indicated their temperament and propensities.

Even the boss title could sometimes be misleading. Some who bore it were no more than titular leaders. Gaetano Gagliano was formally boss of what became the Lucchese family from 1931 until his death in 1951, when he was succeeded by his underboss, Gaetano "Tommy" Lucchese. Yet during the period when Gagliano was supposedly in charge, there was virtually no mention of him, while Lucchese was well known, just as European kings and presidents have often been overshadowed by their prime ministers. Sometimes it was unclear who was actually running a particular Mafia gang. In the 1980s the federal government prosecuted "Fat Tony" Salerno as head of New York's Genovese family even though he was actually the number two man.

The key to the American Mafia's success was its ability to buy or neutralize public officials. Until the 1920s, organizations such as Tammany Hall or Chicago's First Ward had the final say over organized crime. Then Prohibition- rich gangsters turned the tables and began to act as the partners or, in some instances, controllers of the politicians. As one criminal justice official told historian Arthur Sloane, "The mobsters have always been wedded to the political system. That's how they survive. Without that wedding they would be terrorists and we'd get rid of them." The decline of the Mafia began after the 1950s, when the mobs could not muster the political influence to protect themselves from the law enforcement assault led by the federal government.

In the present work I have adopted a broad approach, as opposed to a more narrow focus on a particular mob family or individual leader. Sometimes police or journalists have labeled gangs such as New York's Gambinos or the Chicago Outfit the premier mob families in America. Such assessments are like rankings of college football teams. The view of one expert is not always shared by another or borne out on the playing field. A similar practice is to designate an individual gangster such as Vito Genovese or Carlo Gambino "Boss of Bosses." For a long time, law enforcement followed the same narrow approach in its war on the Mafia: Go after an individual Mr. Big. The turning point in the war came in the 1980s, when the federal government broadened its targets and took down most of the leadership of all five New York families in one fell swoop.

Thanks to Thomas Reppetto

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

U.S. Seeks Nearly $4 Million in Restitution from Family Secret Mobsters

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
EASTERN DIVISION
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA )
) No. 02 CR 1050
v. ))
Judge James B. Zagel
FRANK CALABRESE SR., et al. )

MOTION FOR IMPOSITION OF RESTITUTION

This cause comes before the Court on motion of the United States for imposition of
restitution, pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (“MVRA”), in the above-captioned matter against defendants Frank Calabrese Sr., James Marcello, Joseph Lombardo, Paul Schiro, and Anthony Doyle.1 For the reasons discussed below, these defendants are jointly and severally liable for a total restitution amount of $3,909,166.30.2

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendants Frank Calabrese Sr., James Marcello, Joseph “The Clown” Lombardo, Paul “The Indian” Schiro, and Anthony “Twan” Doyle were convicted as a result of their criminal participation in a racketeering enterprise known as the Chicago Outfit. The charged conspiracy involved, among other categories of criminal conduct, the murders of 18 individuals. See Doc. #397 at 9-10. There is little dispute that these murders were part of the conspiracy, and were committed to advance the criminal objectives of the Chicago Outfit.

The jury in its Special Verdict forms, moreover, concluded that James Marcello, Joseph Lombardo, and Frank Calabrese Sr. personally participated in Outfit murders;3 the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Paul Schiro’s involvement in the Vaci homicide. In addition, Doyle, a long-time Chicago Police Officer and member of the conspiracy since the 1960's, knew full well that the Outfit committed homicides. Doyle in fact was taped discussing that the Outfit killed people with Calabrese Sr.,4 and indeed personally attempted to obstruct the investigation of the Outfit homicide of John Fecarotta. It would therefore be frivolous to argue that it was not foreseeable to defendants that the racketeering conspiracy they joined in the 1950's and 60's, and never withdrew from, involved homicides. Because defendants were convicted for their involvement in a the Outfit’s racketeering conspiracy, because the charged murders advanced the Outfit’s illegal objectives, and because such murders were known and/or foreseeable to the defendants, defendants Calabrese Sr., Marcello, Lombardo, Schiro, and Doyle must be held jointly and severally responsible for restitution to the estates of the murder victims.

II. ARGUMENT

The MVRA defines a “victim” as:

[A] person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of an offense for which restitution may be ordered including, in the case of an offense that involves as an element a scheme, conspiracy, or pattern of criminal activity, any person directly harmed by the defendant's criminal conduct in the course of the scheme, conspiracy, or pattern.

18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(2) (2000) (emphasis added); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(1)(A) (authorizing restitution for defendants “convicted of an offense under [Title 18]”). If, as here, the victims of the violent crimes are deceased, the Court must order restitution payable to the victims’ estates. 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(1). Moreover, according to 18 U.S.C. § 3664(h):

If the court finds that more than 1 defendant has contributed to the loss of a victim, the court may make each defendant liable for payment of the full amount of restitution or may apportion liability among the defendants to reflect the level of contribution to the victim's loss and economic circumstances of each defendant. There is substantial case law dealing situations where, as here, murder victims’ estates, the victims’ families, or the victims’ dependents, including widows and children, are entitled to receive restitution payments:

• United States v. Douglas, 525 F.3d 225, 253-54 (2d Cir. 2008) (affirming restitution award
for funeral expenses and lost income under 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(3), (4));
• United States v. Serawop, 505 F.3d 1112, 1125, 1128 (10th Cir. 2007) (defendant convicted
of voluntary manslaughter ordered to pay restitution for lost income to estate of three-month
old victim);
• United States v. Cienfuegos, 462 F.3d 1160, 1164 (9th Cir. 2006) (finding the victim’s estate
was entitled to restitution);
• United States v. Oslund, 453 F.3d 1048, 1063 (8th Cir. 2006) (affirming restitution order
awarding lost future income under the MVRA and stating that “[w]hen the crime causes the
death of a victim, the representative of that victim’s estate or a family member may assume
the victim’s rights”) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(2));
• United States v. Pizzichiello, 272 F.3d 1232, 1240-41 (9th Cir. 2001) (victim’s surviving
family members properly awarded lost income, funeral, and travel expenses under the
MVRA);
• United States v. Checora, 175 F.3d 782, 795 (10th Cir. 1999) (defendants convicted of voluntary manslaughter ordered to pay restitution for the support of the victim’s minor children that were directly and proximately harmed as a result of the victim’s death);
• United States v. Razo-Leora, 961 F.2d 1140, 1146 (5th Cir. 1992) (defendants convicted of charges related to a murder-for-hire conspiracy ordered to pay restitution for lost income to the murder victim’s widow);
• United States v. Jackson, 978 F.2d 903, 915 (5th Cir. 1992 )(“[T]he district court has the authority to order the defendants to pay the victims’ estates an amount equal to the victims’ lost income . . . .”);
• United States v. Roach, 2008 WL 163569, at *3-5, 9 (W.D.N.C. Jan. 16, 2008) (restitution awarded for lost income based on reasonable assumptions that murder victim would work 40 hours per week for 50 weeks per year until age 65 at state minimum wage and receive two percent increase per year);
• United States v. Visinaiz, 344 F. Supp.2d 1310, 1312-13 (D. Utah 2004) (MVRA requires restitution for lost income in homicide cases; no ex post facto implication); and
• United States v. Bedonie, 317 F. Supp.2d 1285, 1288-90 (D. Utah 2004), rev’d on other grounds, 413 F.3d 1126 (10th Cir. 2005) (court appointed an expert to calculate lost income who made reasonable and reliable race- and sex-neutral projections of future lost income without any discount for possible “consumption” of income by the victims).

In a conspiracy such as this, co-conspirators must be held jointly and severally liable for the total foreseeable restitution amount. See generally United States v. Rand, 403 F.3d 489, 495 (7th Cir. 2005) (“[Defendant] may be held responsible for losses caused by the foreseeable acts of his co-conspirators. Co-conspirators generally are jointly and severally liable for injuries caused by the conspiracy . . . .”), citing United States v. Martin, 195 F.3d 961, 968-69 (7th Cir. 1999); United States v. Amato, 540 F.3d 153, 163 (2nd Cir. 2008) (holding that it was “within the district court's discretion to make [defendant] jointly and severally liable for entire loss that [victim] suffered as a result of conspiracy even while apportioning liability of some of [defendant's] co-conspirators.”). The evidence at trial established the proposition, understood well by the co-conspirators, that an “authorized”/”okayed” murder was a powerful weapon in the Outfit’s punishment and control arsenal. In addition, the recorded February 11 and 12, 1962, discussions attached hereto as Government Exhibit A graphically highlight the Outfit’s long-standing use of murder to achieve its criminal objectives. During the two surreptitiously recorded Miami, Florida, meetings between Jack Cerone, Dave Yarras, Pete LNU, James Vincent “Turk” Torello, and others, the men discuss various Outfit murders (indeed, the men were assembled in Florida to kill union boss Frank Esposito). The foreseeability prong of the analysis therefore strongly favors a full restitution award.



Turning to what evidence the Court can consider in its effort to determine the total loss, the MVRA specifically provides for restitution to “the victim for income lost by such victim as a result of the offense,” and states that the restitution amount shall represent “the full amount” of the victim’s loss. 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(2)(C); § 3664(f)(1)(A); see also Roach, 2008 WL 163569, at *8-9 (restitution awarded for lost income based on reasonable assumptions that murder victim would work 40 hours per week for 50 weeks per year until age 65 at state minimum wage and receive two percent increase per year). Applied to the present case, the inquiry thus centers on approximating the future income of the above-described murder victims. Cienfuegos, 462 F.3d at 1164 (“Any victim suffering bodily injury or death necessarily incurs the income lost only after the injury, i.e. in the future, as a consequence of the defendant’s violent act.”).5 This income figure must include prejudgment interest through the date of sentencing “to make up for the loss of the funds’ capacity to grow.” United States v. Shepard, 269 F.3d 884, 886 (7th Cir. 2001) (relying on 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(1)(B)(i)(II) and In re Oil Spill by the Amoco Cadiz, 954 F.2d 1279, 1311-35 (7th Cir.1992)).

“The determination of appropriate restitution is by nature an inexact science.” United States v. Williams, 292 F.3d 681, 688 (10th Cir. 2002). Though not required to do so, the government has engaged Financial Forensic Expert and Certified Public Accountant Michael D. Pakter to prepare a report calculating the lost estimated earning capacity of the identified murder victims. See generally Cienfuegos, 462 F.3d at 1169 (requiring non-speculative basis for calculations). Michael D. Pakter’s twenty-two page report is attached hereto as Government Exhibit B.

III. CONCLUSION

The calculations set forth in the attached report are based on conservative assumptions,6 see Government Exhibit B at 16-18, and constitute the best available evidence of the proper restitution amount under the MVRA. The government has therefore sustained its burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence the losses sustained by the victims, and has established that Outfit murders were at a minimum reasonably foreseeable to Calabrese Sr., James Marcello, Lombardo, Schiro, and Doyle. See generally 18 U.S.C. § 3664(e) (Court resolves restitution disputes by preponderance of the evidence standard); Razo-Leora, 961 F.2d at 1146 (“The prosecution has the burden of demonstrating the amount of loss sustained by the victim and proving this loss by a preponderance of the evidence.”); see also Doc. #839 (government’s summary of trial evidence presented against each defendant). The government therefore asks this Court to hold defendants Calabrese Sr., James Marcello, Joseph Lombardo, Paul Schiro, and Anthony Doyle jointly and severally liable for restitution in the amount of $3,909,166.30. See Government Exhibit B at 7.

Respectfully submitted,
PATRICK J. FITZGERALD
United States Attorney
By: s/ T. Markus Funk
T. MARKUS FUNK
Assistant U.S. Attorney
219 South Dearborn, Room 500
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 886-7635

1 Defendant Nicholas Calabrese at trial admitted his involvement in a number of Outfit murders. That testimony, however, was given pursuant to the Court’s grant of immunity. Tr. 2299-2300. Moreover, with the exception of the murder of John Fecarotta, the information provided by Nicholas Calabrese to law enforcement was at all times proffer-protected. See Tr. 2870. The government is restricting the instant restitution request to victims who were not lifelong associates/members of the Chicago Outfit; the Fecarotta homicide is therefore not part of the government’s calculations, and accordingly no restitution is sought as to Nicholas Calabrese.

2 This restitution amount is separate and distinct from defendants’ forfeiture liability. See United States v. Webber, 536 F.3d 584, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2008) (“Forfeiture and restitution are distinct remedies.”).

3 Frank Calabrese Sr. was found to have participated in the murder of Michael Albergo, William Dauber, Charlotte Dauber, Michael Cagnoni, Richard Ortiz, Arthur Morwawki, and John Fecarotta; James Marcello was found to have participated in the murders of Anthony Spilotro and Michael Spilotro; and Joseph Lombardo was found to have participated in the murder Daniel Seifert.

4 See 2-19-2000 Transcript (Doyle telling Calabrese Sr. how James LaPietra and John “Apes” Monteleone without authorization beat another mob associate and as a result were almost ordered killed by Outfit Boss “Skid” Caruso; Doyle: “Had it been where the Old Man was still alive, they’d of went.”)

5 Indirect loss or consequential damages should not be included in any restitution order; only direct, actual losses may be awarded. United States v. Frith, 461 F.3d 914, 921 (7th Cir. 2006), citing 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(2); United States v. George, 403 F.3d 470, 474 (7th Cir. 2005) (“‘Loss’ means direct injury, not consequential damages.”). On the other hand, no expenses for consumption should be deducted from any potential claim for lost future wages; such deductions are not permissible under the MVRA, which provides only for an award of “income lost,” not net income lost. 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(2)(C). Additionally, restitution must be ordered for necessary funeral and related services. 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(3).

6 The government reserves the right to submit an adjusted report if and when the government receives additional/revised income or other information for the victims.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cop Stories About The Chicago Outfit

Jim Jack and I are watching the world's biggest mob trial from a back bench, where he can whisper to me while pointing to this thug and that one.

All these decaying Chicago Outfit guys, they look like uncles and grandpas now. But Jack knew a few of them when they just looked mean. They hide it better now.

Jack, 79, was a Chicago cop. He got on the force in 1955, made detective a year later, and worked the old Gale Street District on the Northwest Side -- last stop before the suburbs. He and his longtime partner, Frank Czech, knew all the hinky joints and liked to poke their heads in.

Jack points across the courtroom to a balding fellow slumped in a chair. That's Frank Calabrese Sr., alleged hit man in love with his work.

Jack tells me about the first time he met Calabrese. It was 1958 and he and Czech were cruising around, looking for a suspect in a shooting. They stopped at a mob-connected joint called The Nest, in the 3800 block of North Central.

"It was like 2 o'clockish in the morning, a swinging place, Tony Smith playing on stage," Jack says. "And me and my partner walk in and it was jammed. I was lucky I had my feet on the floor. I take two steps to the bar and there's a space between two guys. I'm bothering nobody, just sticking my head in there to look down at the end of the bar."

One of the two guys swiveled on his stool, as Jack recalls, and offered a traditional Chicago greeting: "What the f--- you lookin' at?" Jack replied, "Nothing much."

"Evidently he took offense to that, because first thing I know he whacked me right in the mouth," Jack tells me now. "Later on, when he's under arrest, he says he's sorry -- he didn't know we were cops. Like if I were a regular patron, it's OK to do a tattoo on my face."

I look across the courtroom again at Calabrese. He still looks like somebody's uncle. But I wonder if he's wondering what the f--- I'm looking at.

James A. Jack has been attending the Family Secrets mob trial at the Dirksen Federal Building since it began June 21. He's thinking of writing a book about his cop days, and the trial fits in.

Jack already has written one award-winning bookThree Boys Missing: The Tragedy That Exposed the Pedophilia Underworld, Three Boys Missing: The Tragedy That Exposed the Pedophilia Underworld, just published by HPH Publishing. The book is Jack's account of his dogged police work in the days immediately after one of Chicago's most notorious crimes, the 1955 Peterson-Schuessler triple murders.

Jack didn't solve that crime. Decades would pass, in fact, before an aging pedophile would be convicted of the murders and tossed in prison. But in the course of working on the case, Jack and his partner rooted out two or three other sex offenders, and they discovered something that was almost like a secret in the more innocent 1950s -- pedophilia is frightfully common.

That's what happens when you're a cop: You learn the world is a darker place than most people know.

I ask Jack for another story, another tale from those jolly formative years. He tells me about his first partner as a detective, a cop who dressed in Gucci on a Florsheim salary.

"Phil Tolomeo -- the Outfit put him in there," Jack tells me. "The first month I was working with him, I didn't even know. I was new and just married.

"We're working midnights and he's driving, and he stops at a place on Harlem called Meo's," Jack continues. "He says, 'Wait here, I'll be right back,' and he goes in and it's like 45 minutes, then an hour. He comes out and I say, 'Jesus, where the hell you been?' He says, 'Oh, I just went to see a few guys.'"

Jack didn't like Tolomeo's Gucci shoes. He didn't like that Meo was the last three letters in Tolomeo. He didn't like what he had heard when he started asking around -- that Meo's was a favorite mob hangout.

"They're all in there, every day and every night -- Tony Accardo, Aiuppa, Cerone, Murray the Camel," Jack says. "I'm not Charlie Chan, but I'm beginning to figure it out."

The last straw came the third or fourth night Tolomeo left Jack waiting outside Meo's. All of a sudden, as Jack sat there in the dark, flashbulbs began popping in the weeds from a vacant lot across the street. Somebody was taking pictures.

Back at the police station, Jack finally had a talk with Sgt. George Murphy, the supervisor of detectives. "Sarg, what's going on?" he said. "I'm gonna get myself fired."

Murphy nodded and clued Jack in. Yeah, he said, that was probably the FBI taking surveillance pictures from the weeds. And he already knew all about Tolomeo.

"Somebody had to be his partner, Jim," Murphy said, "and you're new and we didn't think you'd get in trouble with him."

"Get me off," Jack said.

The next month, Jack had a new partner, Frank Czech. And 35 years after that, long after leaving the police force, Phil "Philly Beans" Tolomeo -- who was, indeed, related to the owner of Meo's -- entered the federal witness protection program. He explained to the FBI exactly how Frank Calabrese's extortion racket worked.

Jack wasn't a Chicago cop for long. He left the police force in 1968 and became head of national security for Toys R Us. He had a family to support, and he was tired of moonlighting to make ends meet. One good-paying job made more sense than two or three poor paying jobs. Not bad for an ex-boxer from the West Side who grew up in an orphanage. But before turning in his badge, Jack gathered enough great cop stories for a lifetime.

Like the story about getting into a huge bar fight with Tony Spilotro, the vicious mob boss of Las Vegas who wound up dead in an Indiana cornfield.

Jack's story about Spilotro is a long one, starting in 1961 and ending in 1963. It's also a good one, involving a nightclub singer, a pretty girl and a grudge that wouldn't go away. But in the space I've got left here, I could never do it justice.

"You really should write that book," I tell Jack, whispering to him at the Family Secrets trial.

Up on the witness stand, a forensic pathologist is describing how Tony Spilotro and his brother Michael were beaten to death with nothing but fists, knees and feet.

"I just might," Jack says. "It was something."

Thanks to Tom McNamee

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saluting the Best Mafiosa Court Room Antics

Friends of ours: Frank "the German" Schweihs, Sam “Mad Sam” DeStefano, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, John Gotti, Joey “Doves” Aiuppa, Jackie “The Lackey” Cerone, Tony "the Ant" Spilotro, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo
Friends of mine: Judge Thomas Maloney

“The Sopranos” might have ended, but the first episode of Chicago’s latest mob drama begins Tuesday.

How fitting that the official festivities will take place in the feds’ ceremonial courtroom. The Outfit is big on ceremony, beginning with the oath that “made” guys take. They also take an oath of Omerta, promising never to talk about family secrets to the big bad wolf with the menacing initials: FBI. But how many of us can keep a good secret for life? So, between the gangsters who are desirous of saving their own hides and those who have or will be pleading guilty to high crimes and non-misdemeanors, only five wiseguys are expected to actually be sitting on their ceremonial behinds when jury selection begins Tuesday.

The lawyers for La Cosa Nostra have some serious work ahead of them in the next four or five months. I’m talking about the new, outlandish stunts the hoods will need if they expect to get a mention in the Mob’s Greatest Trial Antics.

It appeared as though Frank “The German” Schweihs might offer the first memorable moment. The German, who was one of the Outfit’s most feared and proficient hitmen, according to federal authorities, is said to be terminally ill.

There was a time when Schweihs would have come to trial with the rest of them, his skin pasty white and IV tubes plugged into his veins, a sad and pathetic character worthy of great sympathy from the jury. But now, Schweihs has been “severed” from the trial, which seems to be an apt legal description for somebody who federal authorities say cut short a few dozen lives himself.

Judge James Zagel didn’t want Schweihs dying one day during the case and creating a mistrial for the others, so he allowed him time to heal … a consideration that Mr. Schweihs himself allegedly would rarely grant those who begged him for mercy.

Schweihs could have followed the script written by Sam “Mad Sam” DeStefano back in the ’60s. The vicious mob enforcer would feign illness so he had to be wheeled into court on a gurney while wearing pajamas. Once, Mad Sam used a bullhorn in the courtroom so he was assured of being louder than prosecutors.

The crafty New York mafia boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante use to wear his bathrobe to court, mumble to himself and claim God was his lawyer in an effort to persuade jurors that he was deranged. It worked for many years until The Chin was eventually convicted. In 2003, two years before he died in prison, Gigante admitted it had all been an act.

The best courtroom performance by a mob lawyer was in 1986 by Bruce Cutler, who was representing John Gotti at the time. Cutler took the thick federal indictment against Gotti and stuffed it in a courtroom wastebasket. “It’s garbage,” Cutler shouted at prosecutors. “That’s where it belongs.”

Sickness and sympathy has been a favorite play by hoodlums for decades. When Chicago Outfit boss Joey “Doves” Aiuppa was on trial in Kansas City 20 years ago, Aiuppa hunched over a walker coming and going from court. Nevertheless, he managed to get in and out of a taxi and his hotel just fine.

During that same trial, Aiuppa’s vice consigliore Jackie “The Lackey” Cerone delivered a veiled threat to a Chicago news reporter while they were riding on a crowded elevator.

“How’s the wife and that new baby of yours?” Cerone asked the newsman, whose coverage he must have under appreciated. The question stunned the reporter, who certainly never had spoken to Cerone about his wife or his new daughter, Caylen Goudie.

Once, in 1983, I asked the infamous Outfit tough-guy Tony “The Ant” Spilotro a question that now seems prophetic.

“Tony, are you concerned for your personal safety?” I asked The Ant as he bailed out of Cook County jail.

Spilotro just sneered at me … a far different look than he must have displayed three years later when he and his brother were clubbed and buried alive in an Indiana cornfield.

When defrocked Cook County Judge Thomas Maloney was on trial for taking bribes to fix murder cases, the mob-connected Maloney tried his best every day to avoid TV crews staked out in front of the federal building.

Once, Maloney thought he had outsmarted news jockeys by sneaking into the federal building basement and walking up a ramp from the underground parking garage.

Not to be tricked, camera crews were waiting atop the ramp when Maloney strutted up dressed in a black trench coat and fedora. He began running across Adams Street in the Loop, pursued by TV crews until he tripped and did a belly flop onto the asphalt, staggering to his feet with a mouthful of gravel.

The finest out-of-court routine was put on by Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, who will go on trial again Tuesday. Years ago when he was free on bond, The Clown enjoyed living up to his nickname by shielding his face from photographers using a newspaper with cut-out eyeholes.

While he was a fugitive, Lombardo wrote a letter to Judge Zagel, who is hearing his case, stating that he was unfairly targeted by prosecutors who could convict “a hamburger” in federal court.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Monday, June 18, 2007

Family Secrets Mob Trial Capsule

The judge

U.S. District Judge: James B. Zagel

A Reagan appointee, Zagel is generally considered a good draw for the prosecution and one of the brightest judges on Chicago's federal bench. He is also among the most experienced, marking his 20th year on the federal bench this month. Zagel, 66, was once married to TV investigative reporter Pam Zekman, wrote "Money To Burn," a fictional thriller about a plot to rob the Federal Reserve Bank, and played a judge in the 1989 movie "Music Box."

Who's on trial

Fourteen alleged mobsters and associates were indicted in the case in 2005, but only five are expected to go on trial. Two of the original defendants died, one is too ill to face trial, four have pleaded guilty and two more are set to plead guilty as soon as Monday.

Joey "the Clown" Lombardo

A reputed capo in the Grand Avenue street crew, Lombardo has been alleged to be a mob leader who committed murder while controlling pornography and other Outfit business in the city. Known for his alleged penchant for violence and an odd sense of humor, he once took out a newspaper ad to publicly announce that he was officially retired from the mob. He is charged in connection with the murder of Daniel Seifert in September 1974. He was separately convicted of attempting to bribe a U.S. senator and conspiring to skim $2 million from the Stardust casino in Las Vegas along with mob bosses Joseph Aiuppa, John Cerone, and Angelo LaPietra.

James Marcello

Marcello, 65, was described by Chicago's top FBI agent as the boss of the Chicago Outfit when the Family Secrets indictment came down in the spring of 2005. The Lombard resident had previously been convicted in 1993 on federal charges of racketeering, gambling, loan-sharking and extortion. Authorities have alleged he passed on money to the family of mobster Nicholas Calabrese to try to buy his silence on gangland slayings. Federal agents recorded conversations he had with his brother, Michael, while James was in a federal prison in Michigan. The men allegedly discussed gambling operations and Calabrese's possible cooperation with law enforcement.

Frank Calabrese Sr.

The one-time street boss of the mob's South Side or 26th Street crew, the 70-year-old Calabrese once was alleged to be the city's top loan shark. He is charged in connection with the 1980 murder of hit man William Petrocelli in Cicero as well as a dozen other slayings. Calabrese pleaded guilty in 1997 to using threats, violence and intimidation to collect more than $2.6 million in juice loans. He was in prison when the Family Secrets indictment came down. His brother, Nicholas, is the key turncoat witness in the case, and Calabrese's son, Frank Calabrese Jr., also is expected to testify against his father.

Paul "the Indian" Schiro

A 69-year-old mob enforcer who is charged in one of the gangland killings, Schiro was an alleged associate of murdered mobster Anthony Spilotro. At the time of his Family Secrets indictment, he was in prison for taking part in a jewelry-theft ring headed by William Hanhardt, a former Chicago police chief of detectives.

Anthony Doyle

Doyle, also known as "Twan," is a former Chicago police officer. He is charged in the conspiracy for allegedly passing messages from the imprisoned Frank Calabrese Sr. to other members of the Outfit. Calabrese was trying to find out if his brother was cooperating with authorities, and Doyle allegedly was keeping him up to date on a law enforcement investigation into the murder of mob hit man John Fecarotta, authorities alleged. The 62-year-old was arrested at his home in Arizona as federal prosecutors and the FBI were announcing the Family Secrets case.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Battaglias: From Siciliy to the Chicago Mob to the NHL

It was during a conversation about restaurants, Italian food and his Sicilian roots that Bates Battaglia mentioned his grandfather.

The Battaglias: From Siciliy to the Chicago Mob to the NHLHe said the old man's name was Sam and that no, Sam was not in the food service industry like Bates' father, Richard.

The Toronto Maple Leafs forward was speaking softly and politely -- like he always seems to -- as he explained that Sam "took a different" path in life. He said if a reporter wanted to know what that path was, he could punch Sam Battaglia's name into the Internet and find out for himself.

Sam Battaglia embodied the American Dream. He was nobody when he started out, nothing more than a poor uneducated son of Italian immigrants scratching out a living on Chicago's rough-and-tumble west side.

By the time of his death in 1973, everybody in town knew the Battaglia name. Sam had made it. He went out on top. But his American Dream was lived out in a sinister and shadowy otherworld populated with two-bit hoods, killers for hire, politicians on the take, corrupt cops, compromised union bosses and a code of honour that was written in blood.

"Sam Battaglia was the Don of the Chicago mafia," says Jack Walsh, the special agent for the Internal Revenue Service who finally caught up with Battaglia in 1967 and sent him to jail for 15 years. "Battaglia's street name was Teets, and he ran the Chicago Outfit from his farm out west of the city."

Bates Battaglia never met his grandfather. He was born two years after the authorities released the old man from prison so he could die at home, quietly, a victim of cancer.

Bates' parents divorced when he was a little kid. He and his two brothers, Anthony and Sam, would spend the school year -- and hockey season -- in the Chicago area with their mom, Sandra. Once school was out, they headed to Florida where Richard had become a successful restaurateur.

Neither parent told the Battaglia boys much about their grandpa, beyond Richard telling them that his father had been "well-respected. And that he was one of the nicest men, and that that's the way a lot of people knew him." But the kids around Chicago knew otherwise. And they talked, as kids do. It was out on the street playing road hockey where Bates learned that the man he knew as Grandpa was a notorious mobster.

"This is my family," Bates says. "This is who I am, and this is where I came from. And I wouldn't change anything about it.

"I'm proud of who I am, and who my family are."

Sam Battaglia first drew notice in Chicago in 1930 when he committed a stop-the-presses-style crime. At the time, he was a member of the 42 Gang, a wild bunch of juvenile crooks who ran amuck in Al Capone's kingdom of sin, stealing cars, robbing cigar stands and holding up nightclubs in the hopes that the big boss was paying attention.

At the age of 22, Sam Battaglia pulled a gun on the wife of the mayor of Chicago, William Hale Thompson, and asked her to hand over her jewels. He left the scene with US$15,500 worth of shiny trinkets, plus the gun and badge of the woman's police escort. The authorities were unable to positively identify Battaglia as the culprit. But Capone and his cronies were indeed paying attention. In no time, the young gangster nicknamed Teets -- because he had had his front teeth knocked out -- was on his way up the organized-crime ladder.

Bates' father is Sam Battaglia's youngest son. Richard currently resides in Raleigh, N.C., the city to which he moved in 1999 after his boy made it with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Richard understood that young athletes tend to get rich before they get wise, so he encouraged Bates to put his money in to something he could touch, such as real estate. The hockey player, who turns 31 next week, now owns two condominiums, a beach house, a house, a bar and a building in Raleigh's restaurant district that he and his dad plan to transform into an upscale Italian eatery once he stops playing. "We want it to be a place where you're not coming in dressed like a bum," Bates says.

In the meantime, Richard tends to the bar -- Lucky B's -- and shops around for other potential investment opportunities in the Raleigh area. (When Bates is home for the summer, his father cooks dinner four times a week for he and his younger brother, Anthony, a winger with the Columbia (S.C.) Inferno of the East Coast Hockey League.)

Asked how the son of the one-time Don of the Chicago Outfit can be playing chef to his boys instead of running a crew of his own in Chicago and Richard, polite like Bates though more verbose, answers: "How do you know I wasn't? You are asking me something I can't talk about."

Richard will say that whatever he did is in "the past," that he is "not real proud of it," and that he has never been in jail. He is simply Bates' dad now, and happy to be that.

He was a star high school athlete in his own day. Football and baseball were his games. Much like his boys, he only learned of Sam's line of work when the kids in the neighbourhood started talking.

Richard remembers Steve Sullivan, an Irish brat with a big mouth who later became his best friend, making some crack about his father when they were playing baseball as 10 year olds. "I ran over to the dugout and started beating the s--- out of him," Richard says. "That was my dad he was talking about. Steve didn't know that hurt me. He was just a little kid and being a smart ass.

"What really hurt me was that I would see my dad on TV for certain things, and I didn't understand it."

To Richard, Sam was the father who came home every night to have dinner with his family. And on Friday nights, he was the dad who piled through the front door of his house with all his buddies in tow to partake in one of his mother's multi-course feasts. The men would sit around the big round basement table after dinner smoking cigars and talking.

Richard, Steve Sullivan, and the rest of the Oak Park Pony League baseball team made it to the 1960 World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Richard remembers standing at home plate on a perfect sunny day, looking out to right field and seeing his father -- with a couple buddies in tow -- strolling along the fence line. "I got real excited -- and it kind of gets me now, just thinking about it," Richard says. "And don't you know it, I hit a home run right over their heads." The crime boss threw a big party for all the parents and the players after Oak Park won the championship game. There was lots of food and drinks. Sam paid for the whole thing.

Sam Battaglia had hit the big time, and was a millionaire several times over with a fortune built upon extortion, loan sharking, burglary and the Chicago Outfit's No. 1 moneymaker: gambling.

Battaglia's star in the Outfit's galaxy was approaching its zenith in the early 1960s. Sam (Momo) Giancana, Battaglia's old pal and a fellow graduate of the 42 Gang, was running the whole show. Giancana had brought La Cosa Nostra out of the back rooms of Little Italy and into the national spotlight. He was a friend of Frank Sinatra. He ran around with one of the singing McGuire sisters, and he allegedly held discussions with the CIA about putting a mob hit out on Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Giancana was jailed in 1965 for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury. In his absence, Battaglia assumed control of the Outfit. By then, the Chicago mafia was a far-reaching and influential empire. "They could produce more money and votes for politicians than any other organization in Chicago or even Illinois," Walsh, the IRS special agent, says. "They had tremendous power. They had master control in Chicago."

Battaglia's command centre was an opulent racehorse farm he owned in Kane County. Every morning his driver, Jackie (the Lackey) Cerone, would pick Sam up at his home in Oak Park and take him out to the property.

Battaglia was an untouchable, and then he made a mistake.

The Outfit, with the help of some crooked people who held influential political offices, was extorting money from building contractors in Northlake, Ill. Rocco Pranno, a.k.a. Jim Martell, was running the operation with Battaglia's blessing. Construction would be halted midstream on a major project under the pretext that an engineering firm needed to review the contractor's plans. The builder was then charged a hefty fee to continue the work, leaving Pranno and his partners to divide the spoils.

It was not long after Battaglia replaced Giancana that the new boss replaced Pranno with Joe Amabile, a.k.a. Joe Shine. Pranno was not happy with the new arrangement. Neither were his associates. One of them started talking to Walsh. The mafia turncoat wound up being the government's star witness in a sensational 11-week trial that resulted in Battaglia's conviction on extortion and conspiracy charges. (The witness is still alive, and Walsh refuses to divulge his identity).

During the court case, the special agent's wife began receiving calls at home. The voice on the phone would describe in detail the clothing Walsh's children wore to school that day. Walsh approached his superiors about it, and a meeting was arranged with the defendant so prosecutors could inform Battaglia of what was happening on the outside. "The old mafia had a code," Walsh says. "This was the only time anyone heard Battaglia speak, except for me when he said he wouldn't talk to me. "But he told them: 'Tell the kid he doesn't have to worry any more. It won't happen again.' "And I never got another call."

Sam Battaglia was arrested 25 times in his life: for burglary, larceny, assault and attempted murder. He was also the prime suspect in seven unsolved homicides.

His grandson, Bates, is a winger of modest talent on a mediocre Toronto Maple Leafs team but a budding property baron/restaurant owner in Raleigh.

Bates' younger brother, Anthony, is still waiting for his NHL dream to come true.

His older brother, Sam, runs a successful chiropractic practice on Chicago's west side -- on the same street where his grandfather got his start. He has an 18-month-old son, also named Sam.

Bates says about the closest he and his brothers have come to a life of crime was a juvenile addiction to Martin Scorsese's mafia film, Goodfellas. "We were so in to that movie," he says. "You see that and the hype and what the [mobsters] get, and it looks like a cool lifestyle at points. "But any one who has actually been in that life, or around it, like my dad, will tell you that you have those guys who you think are your best friends and they will turn on you in a second."

Richard Battaglia likes to talk about the "circle of life," and about how amazing it is that a dirt-poor family from Sicily can come to Chicago to chase the American Dream and, within a few generations, produce two sons who are professional athletes and another who is dedicated to healing. "Listen," Richard says. "I am proud of my dad, and I love him more than anything, and I wish he was alive today to see this. "The old days are gone and past, and I'm gone and past, and this is the new era where the Battaglia boys are going to do a lot of good things. "And that's the way it is."

Thanks to Joe O'Connor

Monday, November 06, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'd love to know more.

Thanks to Carol Marin

Monday, October 23, 2006

Brewer Shadowed by Mob Heritage

A ceramic bust of a Windy City mobster stares from behind the candlelit bar at Aldente Cafe and Lounge. His hollow gaze is cast in the direction of a black-and-white photograph of himself stirring a pot of sauce. Below the likeness of the late Jackie "the Lackey" Cerone, rows of bottles stamped with Iron City Beer's red label glisten in a cooler.

The connection between the beer and the bust might seem obscure, but the link is Jack P. Cerone, 66, of Des Plaines, Ill., the publicity-shy mobster's son. His family owns the Lincoln Park restaurant and he might soon own a major stake in the bankrupt Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

By all accounts, Jack P. Cerone is not a member of La Cosa Nostra. Some critics, however, contend he has done little to distance himself from the fearsome reputation his father earned as a protege of Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo, one of the powerful bosses of the Chicago Outfit in the 1950s.

Jackie "the Lackey" Cerone ran the Chicagoland mob in the late 1960s, six steps removed from the immortal Al Capone. His term ended in 1986 when he was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in skimming more than $2 million from Las Vegas casinos. The scam was the basis for the blockbuster motion picture "Casino."

"His father's name would still carry weight in Chicago," said John Flood, a former Chicago-area law enforcement official and organized crime expert. "Everybody knew Jackie Cerone. He was a big-time Chicago mobster."

Jack P. Cerone denied repeated attempts to be interviewed for this article. Pittsburgh Brewing President Joseph R. Piccirilli has said he hired Cerone in the late 1990s to negotiate a labor contract, but he has declined to detail their relationship. "He heard of him because he's a labor lawyer? Maybe," said Jim Wagner, president of the Chicago Crime Commission. "But he probably more heard of him because of his father and the mob connection."

Stake in Iron City

Details about Jack P. Cerone's transformation from labor lawyer to financial stakeholder in the brewery are emerging in Pittsburgh Brewing's ongoing bankruptcy. Court records show Jack P. Cerone holds the lucrative trademark rights to Iron City, IC Light and Augustiner brands as well as minority ownership in the company.

Jack P. Cerone's financial involvement began three years ago, when he paid $1.5 million to purchase two brewery loans worth about $6 million. Collateral on the loans included 20 percent ownership in Pittsburgh Brewing and the trademark rights. But his stake in the 145-year-old Lawrenceville brewery could increase substantially. The company filed a recovery plan last week that could increase Jack P. Cerone's ownership stake to 40 percent and his claim against Pittsburgh Brewing to $8 million.

Brewing in Greater Pittsburgh (Images of America).

The brewery now must persuade its creditors and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough to accept the plan for Jack P. Cerone to maximize his investment. "The company would have to succeed with the current ownership in place for him to get all of his money," said George Sharkey, business agent for the International Union of Electrical Workers of America Local 144b, which represents Pittsburgh Brewing's bottlers.

Should the brewery fail, Jack P. Cerone might be in position to sell the brands to recoup his money. The value of the three flagship brews has been bandied about between $3 million and $4 million, said attorney Michael Healey, who represents Pittsburgh Brewery's unions. He said he is not aware of any formal appraisal of the trademark rights. Selling trademarks is an option, said Carol Horton Tremblay, an economics professor at Oregon State University and co-author of "The U.S. Brewing Industry: Data and Economic Analysis."

In May, Anheuser-Busch Cos. bought the rights to brew Rolling Rock beer for $82 million. The pride of Latrobe, Westmoreland County, is now brewed in New Jersey. "But Pittsburgh Brewing CoPittsburgh Brewing Co.. today isn't even Pittsburgh Brewing Co.." of old, said Robert S. Weinberg, 79, a St. Louis-based beer industry consultant, "much less a Latrobe. ... There's always a renaissance, but I think there's a point beyond which brands can be resurrected -- and I think they're beyond that."

Kenneth Elzinga, a University of Virginia economics professor and beer industry expert, agreed. "The odds for the economic redemption of a medium-size, regional brewery producing a mainstream lager beer are not good," Elzinga said. "Most brewing firms in the United States that survive or prosper are either very large, and can exploit economies of scale, or small, and can tap into the market for special tastes and preferences. Pittsburgh Brewing is not well positioned to do either."

A private family man

While his involvement in Pittsburgh Brewing has raised Jack P. Cerone's public profile, he apparently prefers to stay out of the limelight. He graduated from Illinois Benedictine College in Lisle, Ill., then earned a law degree from DePaul University in Chicago in 1964. He joined the Chicago Bar Association in 1965 and once served as president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers of Illinois, a Chicago-based association of Italian-American attorneys.

Friends and colleagues refused to comment.

Jack P. Cerone and his wife, Judy, have five children.

Daughter Jill C. Marisie, a Republican, is running uncontested in November for a Cook County, Ill., circuit judgeship. She was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1990 and has worked as a state prosecutor.

Son Jack runs two restaurants in Chicago -- the Rat Pack-themed II Jack's, named after father and son, and Aldente, which is replete with large photos plucked from the family album. The late Jackie Cerone is included in many of the oversized, black-and-white images -- either cooking or posing with family and friends.

Some people consider Jack P. Cerone as the real owner of the restaurants, which he has called "his" when inviting people to dine there.

In August, eight employees of a former Frank Sinatra tribute music venue, Rizzo's Live in downtown Chicago, filed a lawsuit that claimed Jack P. Cerone owes them almost $100,000 in back wages. The federal lawsuit claims he was the sole financier and controlled the business -- even though he is not listed on paper as the club owner.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported notable visitors of the popular Chicago nightspot included Dean Martin's daughter, Gail, and Federico Castelluccio, who played hit-man Furio Giunta on "The Sopranos."

"I don't know of any information received that put him in business with any (mobsters) here in Chicago, other than associating with his father and friends of his father," said Wagner, of the Crime Commission. "But there's a difference between just associating and trading off the reputation -- and I think for a while that's what he was doing."

Jack P. Cerone will not publicly discuss his father. His only published comments came in a newspaper article following Jackie Cerone's death in 1996 -- six days after being released from federal prison in Florida due to bad health. "He was a gambler, a bookmaker all his life and he ran a tavern," Jack P. Cerone told the Chicago Tribune. "He loved to be around people. He was my best friend. Whatever he did he did and kept that to himself."

Fighting for unions

Jack P. Cerone earned a reputation as a labor lawyer, fighting for union workers in numerous contract fights with Chicago city officials -- from the 1980s when he fought for Laborer garbage collectors and seasonal street cleaners to the late 1990s when he salvaged victory for the Decorators Union in a trade show row.

When Piccirilli brought him in, even union representatives said his presence helped. "He certainly knows more about the bargaining process than Joe Piccirilli, and that's no shot at Joe," said Ken Ream, international representative of the International Union of Electrical Workers.

Ream and others describe Jack P. Cerone as professional but tough. "You can tell he's been around the negotiation table before," said Sharkey, the union business agent. "He's worked both sides of the fence. He's worked for the unions, for companies and as an arbitrator."

Cutting ties

A 1986 report by the President's Commission on Organized Crime identified Jack P. Cerone as one of three sons of well-known mobsters working for Laborers-International Local 8 in Chicago. "You're talking about the old Chicago mob and their sons," said former FBI Special Agent Peter J. Wacks, who investigated the Chicago mob for 30 years and helped convict the late Jackie Cerone. "They all end up working for the same union. Doesn't that seem odd?"

Court-ordered sanctions forced labor unions to cut ties with people connected to organized crime. One casualty was Jack P. Cerone, who had business dealings with Teamsters and Laborers unions. His company, Marble Insurance Agency, lost union contracts in 1993 because of his ties to organized crime, according to a 2004 Teamsters report.

In 1995, Jack P. Cerone, saying he was not a mobster, filed a federal lawsuit claiming he'd been improperly severed from his business relationships. A district court judge rejected the claim a year later, saying Jack P. Cerone "knowingly associated with his father." The court said the union's actions "were not only appropriate, but were mandated by (an) obligation ... to rid itself of the corruption influence of organized crime," the report stated. "There's no release from that," said Wagner of the Crime Commission. "It's a permanent ban." But Jack P. Cerone's associations with organized crime figures weren't limited to his father, investigators say. Wagner said Jack P. Cerone socialized with mobsters. Wacks, of the FBI, said surveillance showed Jack P. Cerone arranging and sometimes attending meetings with "made men and top guys."

Members of the Chicago mob met at the Brookwood Country Club. According to an affidavit of a former FBI agent, some of these meetings involved the late Jackie Cerone.

At one time, the country club was owned -- in part -- by Jack P. Cerone. A jury in 1989 ordered DuPage County officials to pay Jack P. Cerone and other owners more than $10 million for the 116-acre golf course and driving range. The county took the property through condemnation because nearly a quarter of it was flood plain.

Until Jack P. Cerone's name surfaced this year in connection with the Pittsburgh Brewing bankruptcy, Chicago investigators said they hadn't heard his name in years. "His profile here has been very, very low key," Wagner said, "perhaps by choice."

Thanks to Jason Cato


Crime Family Index