Treat Dad to Omaha Steaks for Father's Day

Showing posts with label Joe Ferriola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joe Ferriola. 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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Gangster Graveyard

Friends of ours: Joseph "Jerry" Scalise, Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto, Joseph Ferriola, Gerald Scarpelli, James Peter Basile, Harry Aleman

After learning his mobster brothers planned to kill him, the stocky bank robber figured his only way out alive was to turn FBI informant.

So, for 16 months, the self-professed soldier secretly recorded 186 conversations with his Chicago Outfit associates. He also detailed about 40 unsolved mob murders.

It was during one of those chats that FBI agent Jack O'Rourke said his informant nonchalantly mentioned a mob graveyard in southeast DuPage County near the former home of syndicate enforcer Joseph "Jerry" Scalise, imprisoned at the time for a London jewelry heist. "What are you talking about?" O'Rourke, now a private consultant, recalls asking. "He said it was common knowledge."

For five months, an elite FBI-led task force excavated many acres near Route 83 and Bluff Road, near Darien. They found bodies of two low-level wise guys before calling it quits in October 1988.

Nearly 20 years later, the group's early intelligence work remains significant. It laid part of the foundation for the Family Secrets trial under way in Chicago in which five defendants are accused of racketeering conspiracy in an indictment that outlines 18 murders, gambling and extortion.

A construction crew also resurrected the field's ominous past in March 2007 after unearthing a third body just north of the site.

It's unknown if more vanquished mobsters remain there undiscovered. A fabled 45-carat gem known as the Marlborough diamond that Scalise stole also was never found. Some theorize he hid it on his property. And, finally, just who is the turncoat who led FBI agents long ago to the burial site?

For decades, Chicago gambling kingpin Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto was a loyal soldier. That changed in February 1983 when he survived three gunshots in a botched hit. Eto played possum, and later turned informant. His would-be killers were later found dead in a trunk in Naperville - the price for not getting the job done right.

Eto proved to be a valued government witness before his Jan. 23, 2004 death, but he was not the one who led authorities to the graveyard. His attempted assassination, though, in part sparked the formation of the organized crime task force of FBI, Chicago, state and local officials in the mid-1980s to curb such mob violence.

An early goal was to bring down the crime family or "crew" of mob boss Joseph Ferriola of Oak Brook, who operated lucrative gambling rackets from Cicero to Lake County until his 1989 death.

Members of the task force said they focused on Gerald Scarpelli, who along with Scalise, known as Whiterhand because he was born minus four fingers, were Ferriola's busiest hitmen.

About this time, another mob guy started getting cold feet. O'Rourke identified him as James Peter Basile, a convicted Chicago bank robber best known as "Duke." Basile already had the FBI zeroing in on him for a 1983 race track robbery in Crete. So, after he also learned Scarpelli, his longtime associate, was planning to kill him, Basile realized he had no other choice but to break the mob's code of silence.

For 16 months, he helped the FBI listen in on his chats with Scarpelli and other associates before serving a few years in prison for the race track robbery and slipping into a witness protection program in the early 1990s.

Basile re-emerged briefly in June 1996 at a U.S. Senate judiciary committee hearing. "I finally decided to do something because it seemed there was no way out," he testified. "I began informing on the mob."

It was during one of his recordings of Scarpelli that the FBI first learned of the DuPage County graveyard. Basile later took them to the site, near Scalise's former home. The FBI heard there could be as many as seven bodies buried in the field.

It was painstaking work. For five months, task force members traded in suits, badges and guns for jeans, chain saws and shovels. They dug up acres of soil, trees and drained a pond. Members hand sifted truckloads of dirt through mesh screens for trace evidence. "We were meticulous," said Jerry Buten, a retired 30-year FBI supervisor. "This was way before CSI, but we knew the way you solve most major crimes was through physical evidence."

Authorities speculated the field held victims of the infamous chop shop wars of the 1970s, when the mob seized control of the stolen auto-parts trade and wiped out uncooperative dealers.

State police stood guard 24 hours a day. Large canopies were erected to block circling media helicopters. But they weren't the only pests. "I gave an order that anyone who came in was given a pair of work gloves because I got tired of all the suits showing up just to look at us," former DuPage Coroner Richard Ballinger said. "We'd spend 12 hours out there, come back to the office to do more work and sleep, then go back out the next morning."

On May 16, 1988, members unearthed the first skeletal remains. On June 9, a second shallow grave was found. Both men were shot to death.

Authorities brought in experts from across the country, from archaeologists to soil scientists, including top forensic anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow of Oklahoma. Snow had identified the remains of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele in Brazil and some victims of John Wayne Gacy and the 1979 American Airlines crash near O'Hare.

Using dental records and facial reconstruction, Snow relied mostly on computerized skull-face superimposition to identify the corpses. The second body, buried in a ski mask and with a cache of pornographic materials, was that of Michael S. Oliver, 29, a Chicago machinist who vanished November 1979.

In the FBI recordings, Scarpelli is heard saying that Oliver was a minor hoodlum shot during a syndicate raid on an independent porn shop near Elk Grove Village.

Not sure how to dump the body, in a scene similar to that in Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas," his underworld pals talked over a bite to eat as the corpse sat in the trunk.

It took more than one year to identify remains in the first grave as Robert "Bobbie" Hatridge, a 56-year-old Cincinnati man with a distinctive Dick Tracy square jaw, flat feet and a flair for fashion. The FBI said his girlfriend later told agents that Hatridge came to Chicago in April 1979 to meet with Scalise and Scarpelli about a big robbery. He never made it home.

Basile's graveyard tip was considered one of the task force's first big scoops. Nearly 20 years later, its intelligence work reverberates still.

The secret tapes Basile made led to Scarpelli's arrest in July 1988. He killed himself a year later, but not before making a 500-page confession that exposed many mob secrets. He also admitted to 10 murders, including some in the Family Secrets trial.

The task force also made history with another big bust. It brought down Ferriola's nephew, Harry Aleman, for killing a union steward in 1977. He was acquitted, then retried and convicted. Aleman, 68, and still in prison, is the only person tried twice for the same crime. Double jeopardy was discarded after it was learned his first judge took a bribe. "The entire (Ferriola) crew was prosecuted as a result of the task force," Buten said. "It marked the beginning of the Chicago Outfit's end."

The mob graveyard made news again in March when crews building townhouses unearthed a third body several blocks north of the field near 91st Street.

The remains were identified as Robert Charles Cruz of Kildeer, who vanished Dec. 4, 1997. Cruz, who was Aleman's cousin, had been on Arizona's death row just two years earlier until his conviction for a 1980 double murder was overturned.

The discovery of his body begs the question - Could more graves be found there?

Members searched far and wide, with one exception. At the time, a large drug rehab facility was being built there. Many wonder if beneath its foundation lie the bodies of more hoodlums. It's possible, task force members say, but unlikely. The bodies were unearthed in shallow graves less than 5 feet deep. They argue crews dug deeper when laying the foundation and probably would have found more graves if they existed.

Also still missing is the fabled $960,000 Marlborough diamond that Scalise stole during a 1980 London jewelry store heist. It was once owned by Sir Winston Churchill's cousin, the duchess of Marlborough.

Years ago, O'Rourke visited Scalise in his cell on England's Isle of Wight - the British version of Alcatraz - where he was imprisoned for the jewelry heist. "Scalise would do a lot of talking but never say anything," O'Rourke said. "Informants told us he shipped it to Chicago, where it was broken up and sold."

Scalise, 69, has kept a low profile since returning to the Chicago area after finishing an Arizona prison stint on drug charges. But, long ago, he was rumored to be working on his memoirs.

So far, though, he has upheld the mob's code of silence.

Thanks to Christy Gutowski

Duke's Life of Crime

Friends of ours: James "Duke" Basile, Sam Giancana, Joe Ferriola

An edited text of James "Duke" Basile's June 1996 testimony in Washington, D.C. before a Senate judiciary committee. He hasn't been heard from publicly since.

I have lived a life of crime since 1958, two years after I was honorably discharged from the Marines.

I was 23 and in my second year of college when, by coincidence, I became connected with organized crime by signing on to work in the Owl Club in Calumet City as an operator for roulette, poker, blackjack and dice games. When the bosses moved their gambling operations to Las Vegas in 1962, I stayed in Chicago to do outfit work.

During my tenure, I worked under several bosses -- Sam Giancana and Joe Ferriola were a few. I knew them on a first-name basis.

I became a main soldier in about 1976 after I was discharged from prison after serving five years for bank robbery. My duties included taking care of loan sharking, lending and collecting, gambling, bookmakers, chop-shops, prostitutes, restaurants and other business collections -- collections which were all extortion to allow these operations to continue doing their business.

I averaged about $300,000 a month. I was allowed to keep $5,000 monthly for myself.

During this time in 1982, I was called before the federal grand jury and given immunity. I served 15 months for my refusal to testify and earned the added respect from the outfit, being that I had kept quiet.

I was told to lay low afterward because I became too popular and had bad press. I then temporarily returned to burglaries and because of my high living and constant need for more money, I continued.

Although I was a loyal member of the Chicago outfit for 38 years, in 1986, I began for the first time to have my doubts. I finally decided to do something because it seemed there was no way out. I began informing on the mob.

The rest of my story is all documented in FBI files. I have made approximately 186 taped conversations. I was told that I kept 15 agents busy for months working on all the information I provided. I was able to provide the FBI with detailed information on 40 murders together with other details of the entire mob and its activities. I also testified against other members.

I always pride myself as having never pulled the trigger on any hits, although I was part of setting up and assisting hits.

I remain relatively straight, but it's hard. I haven't been able to get any good jobs. I've been turned down, on my worst day, at McDonald's. I've been living hand-to-mouth with jobs whenever I can get one. I'm not here looking for sympathy. I don't even deserve it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Spilotro Brothers Murder Not in a Cornfield?

Friends of ours: Tony "the Ant" Spilotro, Nick Calabrese, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Rocco Lombardo, Joe Ferriola, James Marcello, Frank Cullotta, John Fecarotta
Friends of mine: Michael Spilotro, William "Slick" Hanner

It's been 21 years since Tough Tony Spilotro, the reputed rackets boss of Las Vegas, was murdered along with his brother, presumably by members of "The Outfit" in Chicago. But the best-known version of how the men were killed is simply wrong, according to federal prosecutors in Chicago, who are preparing to out away the men responsible.

Operation Family Secrets is the name of the FBI probe that led to the indictment of 14 Chicago mobsters, charged with 18 gangland murders, including those of the Spilotro brothers. The trial, slated to begin in two weeks, will challenge widely held views of what really happened to "Tough Tony."

Movie fans around the world are familiar with the bloody end met by Las Vegas mob boss Tony "The Ant" Spilotro and his brother Michael. In the film "Casino," the characters based the Spilotro brothers were taken to an Indiana cornfield, then were beaten to a pulp, one at a time, with baseball bats, and then buried while still alive.

In Chicago, federal prosecutors are prepared to make the Spilotro murders a centerpiece of the massive prosecution of 14 mob figures. The case that will be presented at the Dirksen Courthouse lists 18 murders in all, along with many other crimes, but because of their movie notoriety, the Spilotro's are likely to get top billing.

Rick Halprin, Chicago defense attorney, said, "The event is depicted in a movie, and anybody sitting on a jury, or most of the jury, is going to associate the two. The judge is going to have to deal with that when we select a jury."

Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp: "But the movie version is wrong. Mobster-turned-informant Nick Calabrese is ready to testify that the Spilotro brothers were killed, not in Indiana, but instead, here in a quiet suburb of Bensenville."

Why should a jury believe Nick Calabrese about the Spilotro murders? Because Calabrese admits that he was one of the killers. He's also fessed up to participating in 14 other mob murders and is ready to tell all he knows about the Chicago outfit, including his own brother Frank.

This is the story told by Calabrese and corroborated by the FBI with other sources. Tony Spilotro, who was facing three indictments in Las Vegas, returned to Chicago in the belief that he might be in line for a promotion in his hometown.

Former mob associate "Slick" Hanner said, "The reason they got killed was because they were going back to Chicago to take over The Outfit. He was telling his crew we're going back to Chicago."

Acting boss Joe Ferriola, now deceased, saw it differently and ordered the murders. Spilotro's presumed boss, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, allegedly signed off on the hit. The Spilotro brothers were wary about going to a meeting, but changed their minds about taking guns along, presumably because someone close to them put their minds at ease.

According to Calabrese, the Spilotro's were picked up by James Marcello, currently listed as boss of The Outfit, and were driven to a house in the Bensenville suburb. Tony was supposed to get a promotion. Michael was to become a made member. When they got to the house, they were taken to the basement for the ceremony, and that's where Marcello, Calabrese, and four other men beat them to death.

At least two men, including hitman John Fecarotta, put the bodies in a car and jumped on the highway. As the I-Team learned, one of the first signs they would have seen directs them toward Indiana and the cornfield. Former Spilotro underling, hitman Frank Cullotta, tried to put Spilotro away, but is still bothered by the imagery.

Cullotta said, "If I had to kill him, I couldn't kill him that way. I'd a just shot him. I couldn't beat him to death like that, let his brother watch. I just assume they were showing one or the other, you're not such a tough guy after all."

The bodies were never supposed to be found, but were. For botching that job Ferracotta was murdered by Nick Calabrese. Years later, DNA evidence from that murder allowed the FBI to turn Calabrese into a witness, which led to the indictments of all the others.

Defense attorney Rick Halprin ridicules the government for going after men whose average ages are 75. He says his client, Joey Lombardo, was in prison when the Spilotro murders took place and had nothing to do with it.

It's decades later, but the trial will still be watched in Las Vegas where family ties run deep.

This year, when Rocco Lombardo, brother of Joey "The Clown," appeared in federal court, he was defended -- ironically enough -- by Attorney John Spilotro, the nephew of Tough Tony.

A lot of Spilotro family members still live in Las Vegas, including Tony's wife Nancy. They generally don't speak about those days long ago but have told the I-Team they feel some relief that the government is finally prosecuting someone for the murders.

Thanks to George Knapp

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Who Robbed Joe Batters?

Friends of ours: Tony "The Big Tuna" Accardo AKA "Joe Batters", James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Ronald Jarrett, Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick Calabrese, Frank Saladino, Tony Spiltro, Rocco Infelice, Joseph Ferriola, Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel, Daniel Bounds, James LaValley, Frank Cullotta
Friends of mine: John Mendell, Michael Spiltro

It's the stuff of Chicago mob lore, cloaked in mystery.

Tony 'Joe Batters' AccardoThieves rob the home of ruthless Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo while he's away.

Then one by one, in brutal retribution, they are rubbed out.

One well-known career burglar, not involved in the Accardo job, got so nervous he'd be killed anyway that he took a lie detector test to prove his innocence and sent it to mob bosses.

Now, the mystery around the burglary in the late 1970s is clearing as the fullest account yet of the crime and the bloody consequences is being offered in a court document made public Thursday.

It's just one of the tales on tap as part of the Family Secrets federal trial, involving the top names in the Chicago Outfit, including reputed mob leaders James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo.

Those alleged mobsters and others have been charged in a case involving 18 unsolved Outfit murders.

The trial won't only be about those murders. It will reveal a secret 40-year history of the Outfit itself.

On the Accardo burglary, ace thief John Mendell was simply out to get back what he had already stolen, according to the document.

Mendell had led a burglary crew that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewelry from Levinson's Jewelry. The only problem was that Accardo was a friend of the owner.

Mendell went into hiding as he learned top mobsters were angry with him and looking for revenge. He hid the loot in the rafters of his business. But it wasn't safe there for long -- another group of burglars broke in and stole the items.

Limoges JewelryMendell wanted his loot back and led his crew to break in to Accardo's home, where the jewelry was stashed in a walk-in vault.

The feds believe this because one of their witnesses -- whose name is blacked out in the court document -- allegedly went on the jewelry store burglary with Mendell but balked at pulling the heist at Accardo's home.

Mendell was lured to his death by a fellow burglar he knew and trusted, Ronald Jarrett, according to the new document. Jarrett worked for reputed hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. Jarrett died in 2000, shot in a mob hit outside his Bridgeport home.

Participating in Mendell's murder were Calabrese Sr., his brother Nick Calabrese, Jarrett and mob hit man Frank Saladino, the court filing alleges. Nick Calabrese is cooperating with the feds and expected to tell jurors in detail how Mendell was killed. He was beaten without mercy, his body punctured by an ice pick. Five other burglars met a similar fate.

The government filing also sheds more light on the slayings of Anthony Spilotro, the mob's man in Las Vegas, and his brother Michael in 1986. The brothers were lured to a Bensenville area home, on the promise of promotions within the mob, but they were beaten to death by several mobsters, authorities say.

In 1986, federal investigators had secretly wired phones at Flash Trucking in Cicero, allegedly the headquarters for years of the Cicero mob, as well as the home phone of Cicero mob boss Rocco Infelise. Investigators heard Infelise, James Marcello and top mob boss Joseph Ferriola exchange calls to set up a meeting with Outfit leader Sam Carlisi at a McDonald's in Oak Brook on June 13. The next day, the Spilotros were slain.

All of the witness names are blacked out in the heavily redacted court document, but the Sun-Times has reported the names of several witnesses, including reputed Outfit hit man and career burglar Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel, failed mob assassin Daniel Bounds, mob leg breaker James LaValley and burglar and mob killer Frank Cullotta, a close associate of Anthony Spilotro.

Cullotta is expected to be a key witness against Lombardo but will likely undergo a vigorous cross by Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin. "From what I've been told, Cullotta, in Sicilian, means mendacious," Halprin said.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Aleman Parole Vote Case Ends in Acquittal for Officials

Friends of ours: Harry Aleman, Joseph Ferriola

A former state parole board member was cleared Monday of charges that he voted to free mob hit man Harry Aleman in exchange for help in getting his son a gig as an entertainer in Las Vegas.

Sangamon County Circuit Judge Patrick Kelley found both Victor Brooks and former ranking prison official Ron Matrisciano not guilty of charges that included official misconduct and wire fraud in the case brought by the office of Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan.

Kelley delivered a directed verdict for Brooks and Matrisciano, meaning the defendants did not even have to present their side before the judge ruled the attorney general's office had not proven its case, defense attorneys said. "We believe this case should never have been indicted in the first place, and this view has been borne out by the outcome today," said L. Lee Smith, a former federal prosecutor who represented Brooks.

Brooks, 56, formerly of Batavia but now living in Florissant, Mo., was the only member of the Prisoner Review Board who voted in 2002 in favor of parole for Aleman, who remains in prison serving 100 to 300 years for killing a Teamsters official. Matrisciano, 52, formerly a high-ranking prison official, testified on behalf of Aleman and eventually lost his job with the Illinois Department of Corrections as the case unfolded.

The indictment alleged Brooks agreed to vote for Aleman's release in exchange for Matrisciano's help in landing Brooks' son, a singer, a job in Las Vegas. Prison officials have said Matrisciano told them he is a family friend of Aleman's. But the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence of an alleged quid pro quo, Smith said.

"We presented all of the evidence to the court," said Robyn Ziegler, Madigan's spokeswoman. "The court considered that evidence and reached its decision, and we respect that decision."

Matrisciano and Brooks had been friends for more than 20 years.

Matrisciano, a frequent visitor to Las Vegas, merely had suggested a couple of people to call during a lunch in Nevada with Brooks' son, Smith said. "Ron said, `When I'm out there (in Las Vegas), maybe I can get him a couple of leads,'" said Terry Ekl, who represented Matrisciano.

The indictment also alleged Matrisciano knew he should have been speaking as a private citizen to the Prisoner Review Board and falsely portrayed his statement as a recommendation from the Illinois Department of Corrections, but the allegation was also tossed aside, Ekl said.

Evidence showed Matrisciano, who is seeking his job back, had brought the matter up beforehand to superiors and received approval and that he had not identified himself as representing the department, Ekl said.

The indictments were the latest twist in the long saga of Aleman, the nephew of reputed former rackets boss Joseph Ferriola.

His conviction in 1997 made American legal history as the first time a criminal defendant had been retried after an acquittal. A mob lawyer later admitted that he bribed the judge in the first trial, and Aleman was subsequently convicted of the 1972 murder.

The Tribune first reported that Matrisciano, while serving in his role as an assistant deputy director of the Illinois Department of Corrections in December 2002, testified before the Prisoner Review Board in favor of paroling Aleman.

After a parole hearing at Dixon Correctional Center, the parole board officer overseeing the matter recommended Aleman's bid for parole be denied. Such recommendations are usually upheld unanimously by the full board. But when the full board considered the matter, Brooks made the unusual request for a roll call vote and cast the only vote for Aleman's parole.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chicago Mob Time Line: January 1, 1985

Friends of ours: Sal DeLaurentis, Chuckie English, Sam Giancana, Joe Ferriola, Fifi Buccieri, Turk Torello, Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo, Fat Tony Salerno, Genovese Crime Family, Dominic Palermo, Tony Spilotro, Rocco Infelise, John "No Nose" DiFronzo, Sam "Wings" Carlisi, Michael Carracci, Jackie Cerone
Friends of mine: Hal Smith, Dom Angelini, Chris Petti


IN THE YEAR 1985: Sal DeLaurentis was strongly suspected of playing a role in the torture murder of a bookmaker named Hal Smith. A few months before federal investigators caught Solly D on tape telling Smith that he would be "trunk music" unless he made a $6,000 a month street tax payment to him.

- Chuckie English, Sam Giancana's top aide, died with vast interests in the Phoenix area, real estate and construction.

- Joe Ferriola, AKA Joe Negall, was now the boss over the Chicago mob. He had been with Fifi Buccieri's crew until Buccieri died, and Turk Torello took over. When he died, Ferriola took over and eventually assumed control of all the gambling in Chicago.

It was widely assumed that Tony Accardo was still in charge of the organization, just as Paul Ricca had been in charge when Accardo and Giancana were running things.

- Tony Accardo sold his condo on Harlem avenue and moved into affluent Barrington Hills, to live on the estate with his daughter Marie, Mrs. Ernie Kumerow. Mr. Kumerow is a union official.

- Fortune magazine declares that Tony Accardo is the second ranked boss in the country behind Fat Tony Salerno in New York of the Genovese family.

- According to Dominic Palermo's wife, who was an FBI informant, her husband Dominic got the order to kill the Spilotro brothers at a meeting he attended at the Czech Restaurant in Chicago. Palermo said that Joe Ferriola ordered the hit and Rocco Infelise gave it his okay.

Palermo, who worked for the very mobbed up Chicago Laborers local 5, was left behind in the cornfield by the other killers after they took the Spilotro's out. Palermo walked five miles to a phone both and called his wife, told her what happened and had her pick him up.

From that information, the FBI was able to locate the Spilotro bodies. The corpses were not, as the story so often goes, discovered when a farmer plowed them up. Rather, the Chicago office of the FBI probably spread that story to cover its informants.

- The Chicago mob's new boss, John "No Nose" DiFronzo decided to try and skim money out of legalized gambling at the Rincon Indian resort, on a federal reservation in San Diego County, California. It was a last ditch attempt to keep their grip on the Nevada gambling scene but the entire scam was a disaster.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The first time the reservation scam was discussed was in July of 1985, between DiFronzo, Dom Angelini, who, at the time was Chicago's man in Vegas, and underboss, Sam "Wings" Carlisi at a meeting held at Rocky's Restaurant in suburban Melrose Park, Illinois.

The plan was to finance the tribe's venture into gambling, take over the operations, skim money from the casinos as well as use it to launder money from narcotics sales. Dom Angelini placed Chris Petti, the outfit's man in San Diego, in charge of the takeover. Petti was ordered to deal directly with Angelini's brother-in-law, Michael Caracci, a soldier in the DiFronzo crew.

To work the scam, Caracci called Petti at the same San Diego pay phone they had been using for years, which, unknown to them the FBI had tapped years before. They decided that although the Rincon deal looked good, Chicago didn't want to sink any money into it.

But that they would, however, get involved if an outside source wanted to put up the financing to take over the Indian gambling resort. Petti made contact with Peter Carmassi, whom he had been told was a money launderer for a Columbian drug cartel.

Carmassi, who was actually an undercover FBI agent, showed interest in the Rincon casino deal. In several tape recorded and filmed meetings with undercover agent Carmassi, Petti laid out the entire scam to take over the Rincon reservation gambling concession.

On January 9, 1992, the government indicted Petti, DiFronzo, Carlisi and the reservation's lawyer, on 15 counts of criminal conspiracy. DiFronzo and Angelini were convicted and got a 37-month sentence, with fines approaching one million dollars.

- Corbitt joined the Cook County Sheriff's Department, and was assigned to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. However, he was indicted and convicted for racketeering and obstructing justice in 1988.

- Jackie Cerone got nailed on federal charges for skimming $2,000,000 from the Stardust Casino in Vegas and was sent to prison in Texas.

Thanks to Mob Magazine

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Stool Pigeon?

Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese Sr., James Marcello, Sam Carlisi, Joseph Ferriola, Joey Aiuppa, Nick Calabrese, John Fecarotta, Tony Spilotro, Michael Spilotro, Billy Dauber, Ronald Jarrett

Reputed mob killer Frank Calabrese Sr. was taking a walk with his son in the prison yard at the federal detention center in Milan, Mich., uttering words that should never have left his lips. During that walk and others, Calabrese Sr. spoke of mob slayings -- ones the FBI says he was involved in, according to sources familiar with the matter. He discussed who was a made members of the Outfit and who wasn't. And he described his own initiation rites into the Chicago mob, where he was a reputed "made" man.

Under Outfit rules, talking about any one of those topics would be enough to get a mobster killed. But what was worse for Calabrese Sr. was that his statements were being secretly tape-recorded, by own his son, Frank Jr., who was in prison with him at the time, several years ago.

During those strolls around the prison yard, Calabrese Sr. spilled decades of mob secrets, details he should have never told anyone, even his own flesh and blood. Now those indiscretions are coming back to haunt him. Calabrese Sr.'s secretly recorded statements helped federal prosecutors build their case against him and other alleged mobsters, including the reputed head of the Chicago Outfit, James Marcello. "Wings" Jim Marcello started in the Chicago Syndicate as the driver of "Black Sam" Carlisi who was the powerful underboss under Joe Ferriola. Carlisi himself started as the driver for Joey Aiuppa when Aiuppa was boss.

The tape recordings are vital to the case and expected to be played at the trial next year of Calabrese Sr., Marcello and others, and should be a highlight. The trial will mark the culmination of the most significant prosecution federal authorities have brought against the Chicago Outfit, charging top leaders with 18 murders. Frank Calabrese Sr. alone has been accused of taking part in 13 of the slayings.

Calabrese Sr.'s attorney, Joseph Lopez, downplayed the importance of the tape-recorded conversations on Friday and questioned how the feds could properly interpret them. "My client doesn't know anything about any murders," Lopez said. The feds "gave the son the script, and he followed it. It's all very good theater."

Lopez contended that no fresh details about the slayings pop up on the tapes, and some conversations show "a father puffing up his chest for his son." "They are talking about facts that people 'in the know' would know," Lopez said. "When you hear the tapes in court, everyone will be able to draw different conclusions as to what was said."

Frank Calabrese's son, Frank Jr., put his life on the line every time he secretly tape-recorded his father, who was always cagey, always suspicious. The men were in prison together on a loan-sharking case the feds had brought against Calabrese Sr. and his crew. Calabrese Sr., who ran the crew, got nearly 10 years in prison. His son, Frank Jr., who had much less involvement in the matter, got more than 4 years.

Frank Calabrese Sr. was known for his brutality and ruthlessness, both on the streets and at home, ruling his family with fierce intimidation. To this day, Calabrese Sr. still tries to reach out and rattle family members, whether by getting messages passed out to relatives from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, where he is being held, or having rats put on the porch of another family member, sources said.

Frank Calabrese Sr. was extremely leery of even his closest associates, much less family, making it that much more of a challenge for the younger Calabrese to get him talking. Frank Calabrese Jr. not only had to get his father chatting about matters that his father would be extremely reluctant to talk about. The son also had to get his father to discuss those matters clearly, with enough detail, to be useful to federal prosecutors.

If Calabrese Sr. or any other prisoner found out the younger Calabrese was wearing a listening device in the prison yard, his life would have been in peril. But somehow, Frank Calabrese Jr. exceeded all expectations.

Despite all the danger to Calabrese Jr., he received no major benefits from the FBI. His main motivation was trying to ensure his father would stay behind bars for the rest of his life, law enforcement sources said. Calabrese Jr. was released from prison in 2000.

One recording Calabrese Jr. made even helped persuade his uncle Nick to cooperate with the feds. Frank Calabrese Sr. and his brother Nick Calabrese had a long history together and were tight. They would often do mob killings together, authorities said. But what was once a close partnership is now a blood feud, with Nick Calabrese confessing to 15 mob hits and helping the FBI. Frank Calabrese Sr.'s own words helped turn his brother Nick into one of the FBI's most valuable informants.

The key conversation came one day when Frank Calabrese Sr. and Frank Jr. were in prison and discussing Nick Calabrese and whether he was cooperating with the feds. Nick Calabrese was not cooperating at the time, but relations were tense between the two brothers. Frank Calabrese Sr. was refusing to have his underlings send money to help support his brother's family, according to court testimony. And Nick Calabrese was still sore over how Frank Calabrese Sr. had treated his own sons, Frank Jr. and Kurt, in the loan-sharking case, effectively hanging them out to dry.

Frank Calabrese Sr. assured his son on the recording that he had gotten word out of the prison that if Nick Calabrese was helping investigators, then he would have no objection to his brother being killed. Frank Calabrese Sr. said that this was the life he and his brother had chosen. When the feds played that tape for Nick Calabrese, he began cooperating. But that wasn't the only factor contributing to Nick Calabrese's change of heart.

On another recording with his son, Frank Calabrese Sr. scoffed about a mob hit that his brother Nick nearly botched and talked about it in detail. Calabrese Sr. told his son how Nick Calabrese had been assigned to kill fellow mob hit man John Fecarotta in 1986.

Fecarotta had messed up an attempt to kill Tony Spilotro, the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas, and mob bosses decided that Fecarotta had to go.

According to court records and law enforcement sources, Fecarotta was set up on the ruse that he and other mobsters were going to drop off a bomb. Fecarotta apparently never figured out that the device they were carrying was fake, made up of flares taped together to look like dynamite. Nick Calabrese and Fecarotta were heading to the job site in a stolen Buick. As they pulled up near a bingo hall on West Belmont, Calabrese pulled his gun to kill Fecarotta. But Fecarotta fought him off, struggling with Calabrese until the gun went off, wounding Calabrese in the forearm.

Fecarotta ran for his life, and Nick Calabrese bolted after him, knowing if Fecarotta escaped, it would mean Nick Calabrese's own death sentence from the mob.

Nick Calabrese shot and killed Fecarotta, but Calabrese made a critical error. He left behind a bloody glove, which investigators recovered and kept. Years later, DNA tests tied Nick Calabrese to the glove and the murder.

On the secret tape recordings, Frank Calabrese Sr. spoke of other murders involving him and his brother. In one instance, Frank Calabrese Sr. bragged how he had orchestrated a shotgun slaying in Cicero of two men, Richard Ortiz and Arthur Morawski. They were sitting in a car outside Ortiz's bar on Cermak when eight shots were pumped into the 1983 Mercury, killing both men. Ortiz was killed over drugs, law enforcement sources say. Ortiz's family has denied Ortiz had anything to do with drug dealing. Morawski was killed by accident.

Calabrese Sr. also discussed his role in the 1980 slayings of mob hit man William Dauber and his wife, Charlotte, in Will County. Calabrese Sr. implicated his righthand man, the late Ronald Jarrett, as being involved, too. Jarrett was slain in a mob hit in 1999. I was living near Jarrett at this time. Calabrese Sr. even talked about mob hits he had no involvement in -- the murders, for instance, of Tony and Michael Spilotro.

Martin Scorsese's celebrated Las Vegas gangster movie, "Casino," had the men being beaten to death with baseball bats in an Indiana cornfield. But the movie got it wrong. Tony Spilotro, the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas, had been lured back to the Chicago area. Spilotro, a made man, was told he was going to be promoted and that his brother was going to be made into the Outfit.

James Marcello, now the reputed head of the Chicago mob, allegedly drove the Spilotros to a Bensenville-area home and their deaths, according to court testimony. Although, it was not like this in the movie, several sources within the FBI have already suggest this from their CI's.
On tape, in the prison-yard conversations with his son, Frank Calabrese Sr. names the mobsters who were there to kill the Spilotro brothers, including his brother, Nick. As the men surrounded Tony Spilotro, he begged for time to say a prayer, a novena, sources said. His killers declined and proceeded with their work. I find it dubious that Tony "the "Ant" would have begged anybody for anything, especially to say a novena.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir Staff Reporter Sun-Times

Monday, October 03, 2005

Profile: Harry Aleman

He's known as the ultimate iceman -- a cool, calculating mob killer whose brains and brutality are matched only by his stubborn refusal to rat out others. But to hear it from reputed hit man Harry Aleman -- whose dark, penetrating eyes once struck terror into hearts -- he's really an old softy, just trying to get by while serving a 100- to 300-year prison sentence.

He breaks into a smile at the thought of his first great-grandchild paying a recent visit ("It was something to see"), shakes his head at the hurricane devastation in New Orleans ("A f------ shame"), contemplates Jesus' suffering in the movie "The Passion of the Christ" ("This guy had balls this big") and longs for freedom and living out his final years with his family ("They sustain me").

During an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times at the Western Illinois Correctional Center, about 250 miles from Chicago, the convicted killer spoke about his personal and professional lives and admitted being affiliated with the Chicago mob -- when it existed. "It's over," he insists. "It's done."

He also says he has never killed anyone and is doing time for someone else's crime.

In fact, Aleman hints that new evidence pointing to his innocence will emerge in an upcoming court filing. One of his lawyers later explained that Aleman will be seeking a new trial based on "newly discovered evidence" that he won't yet discuss.

Authorities regard Aleman's claims of innocence and a frameup as ridiculous. "I think he's convinced himself he's a victim, which people often do when they've been locked up for as many years as Harry has," said Cook County prosecutor Scott Cassidy. "There was evidence that he was a hit man for the mob, and I think he relished that role."

In a landmark case handled by Cassidy, Aleman was convicted in 1997 of shotgunning to death a Teamsters union steward who once was married to Aleman's cousin. It remains Aleman's sole murder conviction, although he once was indicted in another case and is suspected in 15 to 20 or more slayings. "Never, never," he said, when asked if he has ever killed anyone. "And they know who killed them -- but he's dead. They don't get raises or elevated blaming a dead person."

Aleman said he was framed because he would never flip on fellow hoodlums as local and federal officials pressed him to do. He said he maintained that obstinate attitude during more-recent prison visits by investigators.

It's not totally clear why Aleman -- a thin but taut man of 66 with graying, combed-back hair and well-groomed nails -- agreed to speak. A reporter wrote him many months ago, and Aleman recently agreed to talk. He said he has never granted an interview before. But the three-hour sit-down came as Aleman lays the groundwork to get a new trial, he faces a December parole hearing, and a massive federal investigation bears down on some of his old mob associates for crimes stretching back decades.

"I could be a target; I don't know what's in the FBI's mind," said Aleman, who's prone to gesturing and raising his voice when trying to make a point.

"For all I know, they're going to keep indicting me for murders" until he flips.

Thawing out

Harry Aleman wants hot chocolate.

Technically it's still summer, but the frigid rain pelting Aleman's medium-security prison, population 1,900, indicates otherwise. Aleman suggests that the reporter who came to visit him go to the vending area and get a hot chocolate -- and a coffee for "yourself." Then he remembers: You need a special vending card, so that's not an option.

He's hungry, apparently having missed lunch for this meeting. But he's still polite and friendly. "What can I do for you?" he asks after small talk about a long-ago hunting and fishing excursion out West.

Aleman is reminded it was he who wrote the reporter earlier in the month saying he had something "exceptionally newsworthy" to discuss.

"Where's the letter?" he asks.

In the car.

"Did the FBI send you?"

No.

The meeting is taking place in a small office with a desk, typewriter, phone and a few filing cabinets. The walls are tan cinder block. The floors are pale tile. Aleman is wearing a blue button-down prison-issued shirt tucked into darker prison-issued pants. He's carrying a coat. He and the reporter are alone, but just outside the closed door is another desk and, at times, a guard. There'll be no trouble, however. Aleman isn't regarded by corrections officials as problematic.

Aleman begins speaking about himself, claiming he was "out and out railroaded" and prosecuted for no other reason than "just to get Harry."

William Logan, the Teamsters official, was murdered in 1972, and an eyewitness, Bob Lowe, testified during a 1977 trial that Aleman was the trigger man.

Aleman was acquittedWhen Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down, and later it was determined that the judge had been bribed with the help of mob lawyer Bob Cooley, who later became an informant.

Although the law bars "double jeopardy" -- trying someone for the same crime twice -- Cook County prosecutors won a new trial as the courts determined there was no "jeopardy" the first time because the case was fixed.

Aleman still is indignant over the ruling, noting that two white men who once denied killing black youngster Emmett Till in 1955 and were acquitted in his race-inspired murder later confessed in a magazine article. But they couldn't be retried because of double jeopardy.

Aleman was tried again in 1997 -- again with Lowe's help -- and convicted. A book about Lowe and his long road to justice, Everybody Pays, came out a few years ago.

Aleman, though, questions Lowe's credibility, mentioning his personal troubles and asking a "hypothetical" question: If a killer "in the movies" made eye contact with an eyewitness to a murder, what do you think would happen to that eyewitness? "You kill him," not let him go, Aleman says.

'I didn't feel nothing'

Aleman's other allegation -- raised unsuccessfully by his defense team in the 1997 trial, at which Aleman never testified -- was that William "Butch" Petrocelli really killed Logan. Petrocelli had been secretly dating Logan's ex-wife, and he and Logan had fought, Aleman said. Petrocelli also was a reputed hit man. Aleman said they once were best friends, and he described Petrocelli as "my partner." Petrocelli disappeared in late 1980, and his mutilated body was discovered several months later.

Although Aleman was jailed at the time -- he has spent most of the last 27 years in custody for various crimes -- questions have been raised about whether he ordered the hit because his old pal was holding back money meant to take care of his family.

Aleman dismisses that theory, saying, "If he was holding back money, I wouldn't have known about it because my family was taken care of."

Theories about Petrocelli's murder also have centered on Petrocelli possibly shaking down people in a mob boss' name, without his knowledge, then keeping the cash.

Aleman, though, claims Petrocelli was killed by mobsters because it was found out he was a "rat."

How was that discovered? "People in the neighborhood" began asking questions about why Aleman got sent away on a particular beef and Petrocelli didn't, Aleman said, and "it got to the right ears."

Whose?

"Whoever," Aleman says.

Aleman believes -- it's not clear exactly why he believes this -- that Petrocelli was in trouble with the law in the late 1970s, so a relative, a policeman, persuaded him to flip. And then the government didn't want to admit Petrocelli was the Logan killer, Aleman says.

Cassidy, the Cook County prosecutor, said, "I have no information to support that allegation" of Petrocelli being an informant. The feds wouldn't comment. "The government wants everybody to be a stool pigeon ... and I'm never going to become a stool pigeon," Aleman said. "I don't want to disgrace my family."

The government doesn't "respect" that stance "because they've had so much success turning over hard-core guys," Aleman says. "The guys out there [still on the street] I have to think twice about. You're not stupid."

How did he feel when Petrocelli died? "I didn't feel nothing," Aleman says. "I wish they would have got him and made him confess, then exile him. Killing him didn't help me at all. I'm still languishing in prison."

No more mob

The feds hope to solve 18 old mob hits as part of their ongoing probe. One of those is Petrocelli's murder.

The indictment fingers notorious loan shark Frank Calabrese Sr. as a participant, saying he "and others committed the murder of William Petrocelli in Cicero."

Aleman has not been implicated in any of the 18 killings, or any of the other crimes listed in the indictment, but curiously, he is mentioned in the document as being among the "criminal associates who reported at various times to [late hoodlum] Joseph Ferriola."

The feds are basing much of the information in their racketeering case on the word of mobster-turned-witness Nick Calabrese, Frank Calabrese Sr.'s younger brother. Aleman says Nick Calabrese and he served time together at the federal prison in Pekin. He describes Nick Calabrese, now in protective custody, as "a regular guy," quick to add that "I didn't pal with him or anything like that. ... You never ask a guy questions." He heard about Nick Calabrese flipping "in your paper."

Aleman doesn't know if he'll be pulled into this probe in some way, and the feds won't talk. "Who knows what Calabrese could say," he says. What could he say? "It's not anything 'on me' [that Nick Calabrese has], it's what they want him to say," Aleman says, referring to the feds.

To that point, federal prosecutor Mitch Mars later said, "We never tell any of the witnesses to say [something]. It's suicidal for us. . . . Nick will say whatever he's going to say."

Aleman looks at the floor when asked about Frank Calabrese Sr. He refuses to discuss him, changing the subject to the reporter's shoes, marveling that they had cost just $17 on sale. When pressed, he says, "Go talk to him."

Likewise, Aleman would rather not talk about reputed mob boss John "No Nose" DiFronzo, who was not indicted in the feds' current case. "I don't know what anybody does," Aleman says.

Asked about the severity of one Calabrese brother turning on the other, Aleman says, "I don't think about them things. If he did it, he did it." But he adds that the increasing number of mob informants is one of the reasons "no new people [are] coming into the mob.

"The reporters and newspapers have to keep it alive, but there ain't nothing in Chicago, no street tax, no extortion, no nothing," Aleman says. "There might be some old guys languishing around, but it's moot.

"The younger generation doesn't want no part of the mob; it's over." Aleman adds that young men would rather go to college and not take a risk they'd end up like him.

"There's no dice games, no card games, no bookmaking, if there's any bookmaking, it's just with the Jewish people on the North Side," he says, adding that even if that's happening, there's no street tax on the money changing hands.

"There's nobody who wants to do the job; this isn't the '30s or '40s," he recalls. "Is there a mob running over, putting people in trunks? . . . No, nobody wants to be part of it because of the feds. ... And these guys don't want to go to no jail like Harry.

"Whoever they locked up recently, they locked them up for their past performance, because they haven't been doing anything for the past 10 or 15 years."

While it's true the murders in the feds' case are old, authorities accuse reputed mob chief Jimmy Marcello and his brother Michael "Mickey" Marcello, among others, of running an illegal video gambling operation in recent years.

Aleman readily admits knowing the heavy hitters in that indictment. His take on the Marcellos, after being told about the alleged video gaming racket: "Mickey's a legit guy . . . his brother wouldn't make him do anything stupid like that. He has a catering business or a vending business."

Aleman said he only knew Jimmy Marcello was in trouble by catching a glimpse of the WGN-TV news one day.

Aleman also knows reputed mob overlord Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, who was accused of murder in the feds' current case but is on the lam.

Aleman says he didn't know Lombardo had taken off. "Joey ran away? Good for him," he says. "I hope they don't find him because he's a real good guy. He'd help anyone. ... He was known for helping out everyone in the neighborhood.

"He's not a monster at all; he helped more people in this area; he's the softest touch around -- 'Hey Joe, can you loan me $20?' Newspapers, what they can do to you."

Regrets? He's had . . . very few

Aleman indicated that it was the black-knight image of hoodlums that led him into the mob.

Sure, his dad was a criminal, a "regular thief," he says. But it was the guys in the shiny cars and slick suits who would act as "Robin Hoods," watching over the neighborhood and paying the grocery bills when a family couldn't, that got Aleman excited. "Some guys want to be like that; some want to be a tailor" like one of Aleman's grandfathers, he says. "I wanted to take care of my family. . . . I'd do anything to support them, anything. Like many other guys did before me."

Aleman, who says he tries to "slough it off" when people call him a cold-blooded killer, was asked several times if he has any regrets about his chosen profession or anything he might have done in the past. "The only regret I have is not being with my family and not being with my grandkids," Aleman replies the first time.

Later, when asked again, he gets a serious look -- something that often entails a clenched jaw -- and says, "The only regret I've got is I broke my mother's heart, and she died prematurely. . . . All I try to do is try to stay healthy and see my family and talk to them . . . all you've got left is family."

And lastly: "The only regret I have is not being able to sit down and eat with my family on a daily basis."

Family dinner

Family is a recurring theme with Aleman. Not "family" in a mob sense, but his family at home.

Some believe he cynically fosters this image of a devoted family man to soften his reputation -- to jurors, investigators, the public. But Cassidy, the prosecutor, believes there really is a strong mutual love between Aleman and his family. "Unfortunately, he has another side to him," Cassidy added.

Whatever the case, Aleman's family has remained devoted to him, weathering a four- to five-hour drive from the Chicago area to visit him.

Aleman has no biological children. But long ago, he married a woman, Ruth, with four kids. Their biological father, also a hoodlum, had been murdered. Aleman notes: "I didn't know my wife at the time he got killed."

Ruth died in 2000. Aleman helped her raise two boys and two girls as his own, and believes their fusion as a family unit was serendipitous.

As a teenager, Aleman had a nasty accident. While washing his dad's car in a family friend's garage, Aleman stepped on one of those sewer caps, it flipped up, and he came down hard on it, right between the legs. His scrotum was torn open, and he was rushed to the hospital. Aleman was patched up and recalls being told he still could have kids some day. But much later, he found out he was unable to have children, so finding a "ready-made" family was "destiny," he says.

Aleman emphasizes the importance of having dinner every night -- when his dad wasn't in jail -- with his family growing up around Taylor Street.

When his dad was in jail, Aleman was sent to live with grandparents and an aunt, while his brothers stayed with their mom. He lived there as a youngster. He became quite close with the aunt, Gloria, often curling up with her to sleep. And so, when she ended up marrying Joseph Ferriola, the fearsome mobster, Aleman became close with him, too.

Aleman says he wasn't really involved in anything heavy, and cites Uncle Joe as evidence. "They make me part of the mob because of my uncle . . . which is not true because the last thing he wanted me to do is join," Aleman recalls. "My Aunt Gloria, she made sure he didn't make me do anything like he was doing."

Still, there's ample evidence of Aleman's ferocity. Before being sent to state prison, he did prison time for home invasions and other racketeering-related crimes.

For years, Aleman was accused of working as an illegal "juice" loan collector, pursuing deadbeats who didn't pay what they owed the mob, said Vic Switski, the former Aleman case agent on the FBI/Chicago Police organized crime task force.

Once, Aleman was accused of shoving a woman through the glass door of a lounge, then beating a Chicago Police commander's son who tried to intervene.

Because his frame was always slight -- he's 5-foot-8, 140 pounds -- Aleman said he felt he sometimes had to fight to prove himself. In high school, he and a friend brawled against others every day one semester, he said.

'You have no idea'

Aleman once sent ripples of terror throughout the underworld, and segments of legitimate society, but his own fears appear much different. They don't seem to involve the joint because he says he has no real trouble, from guards or other inmates. People treat the older guys with some deference, he says, and he and the other old-timers are known as "pops" by the younger, mostly black prison population.

One of the few times he alluded to fear came in a childhood story involving his beloved aunt, who "dressed me up and walked me to school," he says. "I was afraid to go to school."

He admits to being scared seeing his little great-granddaughter; he was worried about the long drive and his family getting into a car accident. The wife of a fellow inmate in Atlanta once was killed that way, driving to see the inmate, he says. "It's etched in me," he adds, simmering about his 2003 transfer from Dixon, which is closer to Chicago, to this current facility in the sticks, south of Macomb.

Aleman also hints at some frightening characters in his past. "You have no idea the guys in Chicago who never got their names in the newspapers and are the most f------ dangerous guys I knew," Aleman says. He declines to identify them.

Most of all, though, as the interview with the reporter nears completion, Aleman seems worried about the impact a story might have. He says he's not optimistic about getting paroled -- at more than one point, he says he's resigned to dying in prison -- but he's clearly thinking toward the possibility of freedom. "My fate was cut out . . . to raise my four kids and to be in prison for the rest of my life," he says. "I've got the love of my kids ... what else could I ask for? Of course, it would be nice to be with them."

"Don't hurt me," Aleman later implores.

IN AND OUT OF COURT

1975: Bookie Anthony Reitinger is murdered; Aleman indicted years later, but it never goes to trial

1977: Put on trial for 1972 murder of William Logan; acquitted because judge is bribed

1978: Convicted of interstate home invasions, goes to federal prison

1980: Reputed hit man and Aleman friend William "Butch" Petrocelli is murdered

1989: Aleman gets out of prison, albeit briefly

1990: Hit with new racketeering charges, sent to prison to await trial

1992 : Convicted in that case, gets 12 years

1997: Retried for Logan murder. Convicted, sentenced to 100 to 300 years

2002: Denied parole

2005: Major mob indictment comes down, Aleman not charged; awaits parole hearing


ALEMAN'S EARLY RECORD

A snapshot of Harry Aleman's early rap sheet

YEAR ARREST/CHARGE
1960 malicious mischief
1961 gambling
1962 possession of burglary tools
1962 assault, criminal damage
1965 aggravated assault
1966 grand theft auto
1966 armed robbery
1968 criminal damage to property
1969 aggravated kidnapping
1971 violating Federal Reserve Act
1975 keeper of gambling place

Thanks to Robert C. Herguth - Chicago Sun Times

Monday, December 23, 2002

Did feds kill off the mob?

Friends of ours: Fred Roti, Frank Maltese, Joe Ferriola, Sam Giancana, Bill Daddano, Tony Accardo, Vincent "Jimmy" Cozzo
Friends of mine: John D'Arco Sr., Pat Marcy, Betty Loren-Maltese, Robert Natale, John Serpico, Don Stephens, John Duff, Ed Hanley, William Hanhardt, James Vondruska, Bob Cooley

A mere decade ago, the Chicago Outfit's political wing still had an address: Room 2306 of the Bismarck Hotel, at Randolph and LaSalle, the 1st Ward offices of Committeeman John D'Arco Sr. and Ald. Fred Roti, a made member of the mob. Downstairs at Counsellors Row Restaurant, D'Arco and Roti held court with mob-friendly aldermen, judges and state legislators like John D'Arco Jr. The feds installed a hidden camera at Counsellors Row and wired lawyer Bob Cooley. They caught D'Arco and Roti discussing mob business such as rigging elections, bribing judges to fix cases and greasing zoning and license deals.

"Yes sir," the judges and aldermen--some still in office--told ward Secretary Pat Marcy, and rushed off to get him a liquor license or whatever he asked for.

Roti and D'Arco Sr. went to jail and have since died. Counsellors Row was torn down and the old 1st Ward mapped out of existence. Even the Bismarck has a new name: Hotel Allegro. At the same time, the feds took over some of the most mobbed-up unions to try to clean them.

So did the feds kill the mob? Are local pols right to call mob influence in Chicago "ancient history?" Have the mobsters gone straight and quit trying to cultivate friends in government? Mob-watchers and cops say, "No."

The mob has always wanted friendly judges on the bench for help on cases and cops on the force to keep some crimes unsolved. Controlling unions provides jobs for flunkies and money for pols. Friendships with legislators prevent bills cracking down on video poker, which some say nets $100 million a year for the mob.

Most of all, the mob wants friends in government for jobs and contracts. The mob doesn't offer health insurance--mob lackeys need day jobs for that. "It used to be you'd give him $200 a week to get the [illegal betting] books--now you get him a city job," a city worker said at a Northwest Side coffee shop as he looked around cautiously and sipped coffee on his 11 a.m. break. "There's a lot of power with jobs," said Terrance Norton, the Better Government Association executive director.

A slew of convictions this year shows the downsized mob has just diversified and moved west. And the video poker games stay in the bars.

Stone Park Mayor Robert Natale went to prison this year for taking mob bribes to allow illegal video poker gambling at mob-linked bars.

Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, widow of convicted mobster Frank Maltese, will be sentenced next month for an insurance scam that skimmed $4 million from employee policies. The firm behind the scam gave $21,000 to Gov. Ryan, state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) and others.

Union boss John Serpico--appointed and reappointed by Gov. Jim Thompson and Gov. Jim Edgar to head the state port authority even though Serpico testified in 1985 he regularly met with mob boss Joe Ferriola--was sentenced this year on a loan scheme. Serpico showered union money on pols.

Still, elected officials whose campaigns benefit most from the generosity of businesses the state Gaming Board or the Chicago Crime Commission call mob-tied say the mob is dead: "I don't think there's a mob around anyway to run anything," said state Rep. Ralph Capparelli (D-Chicago). "They're still talking about 1924 and 1930. I think you use the word 'mob' because some guy has an Italian name." Saviano and state Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago) have made similar statements.

If a mob-linked legitimate business does good work and offers the low bid, why shouldn't it get the contract, one west suburban mayor asked.

With no official address or go-to guy in local government, it's hard to know the mob's legislative agenda. Mob-watchers say a new casino in Rosemont, or better yet, downtown Chicago, tops the list, along with more video poker.

The state Gaming Board refused to allow a casino in Rosemont, finding mob-linked firms already working on the site. Former Crime Commission chief investigator Wayne Johnson blasted twice-indicted, never-convicted Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens for ties to men the commission says are associated with organized crime, such as Sam Giancana and Bill Daddano.

Stephens sued Johnson for libel but admitted the ties to Giancana and Daddano in court filings. Stephens' suit silenced Johnson, the most vocal mob-watcher in town. Johnson left the commission and has been advised by attorneys not to discuss Stephens' alleged mob ties.

Mayor Daley has not cut all ties to the mob-linked Duff family, which donated $8,875 to his campaigns and reaped $100 million in local government contracts. Patriarch John F. Duff Jr. was a character witness for mob boss Tony Accardo. "I just know them. That's all," Daley said. "I'm not personal friends with them. I know them. So what?" A federal grand jury subpoenaed records of Duff contracts with local governments.

Daley's main ally in pushing a downtown casino in the early '90s was Ed Hanley, who had to give up control of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers union amid a federal probe of mob ties.

William Hanhardt was convicted this year of running a jewelry theft ring that stole more than $5 million while Hanhardt climbed the ranks of the Chicago Police Department to deputy superintendent. Cooley warned officials more than a decade ago that Hanhardt was the mob's main plant on the force, getting mob lackeys hired and promoted.

Police Supt. Matt Rodriguez quit five years ago after admitting a close friendship with a mob-linked felon questioned in an oil executive's murder.

Chicago police have watched as powerful ward committeemen still in office today huddled with mob higher-ups such as Vincent "Jimmy" Cozzo.

"What does the mob want from government? No. 1, money, and No. 2, power," Cooley said. "Nobody could ever get a city job or a promotion without the approval of the 1st Ward. They had all the jobs in McCormick Place, all the city jobs, police, sheriff's, state's attorney."

Mobbed-up unions provide an entree for mob types to get jobs in departments like Transportation and Streets and Sanitation that hire union members. A raid at Streets and Sanitation found 37 employees AWOL, including Chucky Miller, who was robbing a Wisconsin jewelry store of $250,000 on city time.

Transportation Department 'worker' James Vondruska, whom the commission calls a mob associate, pleaded guilty this year to playing the horses on city time. WBBM-TV reporter Pam Zekman taped him and other mob-linked workers playing hooky.

Mob-watchers say the mob wants to unionize workers at any new casino that opens in Rosemont or Chicago to work their way into the operation there. "John Serpico was out there with John Matassa 'cause they were going to unionize all the workers at the casino," one mob-watcher said.

The feds have taken over one union after another, from the Teamsters to the Laborers and Hotel and Restaurant Workers' locals, to try to purge them. Serpico was kicked out of the Laborers Union, then committed his loan fraud at Central States.

"The attraction of a union to a mob organization is the union's pension fund investments and medical plans, which are supposed to go to benefit union rank and file, most of whom could never enter the same restaurants ... as Hanley and his syndicate friends," said Combined Counties Police Association President John Flood. "And the main attraction of a union like that controlled by Hanley to the politicians also is the ability to dish out cash contributions."

Thanks to ABDON M. PALLASCH

Monday, November 06, 1989

Mobster's Cooperation Revealed

The Chicago crime syndicate suffered a potentially devastating blow Thursday with the disclosure that jailed mob rackets figure Gerald Scarpelli apparently has defected and become a government informant. The information, in a nine-page government report filed in U.S. District Court by prosecutors, said that Scarpelli has admitted having a role in mob killings and knowledge of at least one other murder. Some mob observers speculated Thursday that if Scarpelli is admitting his involvement in crimes, he probably is implicating others as well to improve his chances of making a deal with authorities. Prosecutors and Scarpelli`s defense lawyers have declined to discuss the contents of the document with the news media. In the past, however, defense lawyers have scoffed at suggestions Scarpelli had turned informant to help himself.

Scarpelli, 51, is believed to be one of the mob`s top killers. He was a close associate of several top mob figures, including Joseph Ferriola, until recently the Chicago syndicate`s operating chief. A burglar by trade, Scarpelli was not only a top hit man during Ferriola`s 1985-88 reign as boss, but became Ferriola`s chief gambling and juice loan collector on the Southwest Side and in the southwest suburbs, according to sources familiar with the Scarpelli case. Thus, they said, Scarpelli was familiar with the inner workings of the mob`s day-to-day activities under Ferriola and Ferriola`s chief henchman, Ernest Rocco Infelice.

Ironically, if Scarpelli turned informant, he did so after being arrested last summer on evidence provided by another gangland informant. Federal authorities haven`t named that informant, but he is believed to be Scarpelli`s longtime associate, James Basile, who is now in federal protective custody. In secretly taped conversations between Scarpelli and the informant, Scarpelli is heard talking about ``sitting down with`` bosses he identified as ``Joe, Rocky and Sam.`` The FBI said the three are Ferriola, Infelice and Sam Carlisi, who is believed to have succeeded the ailing Ferriola as the mob`s operating boss last fall.

The court document gave no hint that Scarpelli told secrets about them, limiting its revelations to the charges against Scarpelli that resulted in his arrest. In that regard, the document said Scarpelli had admitted taking part in the 1979 slaying of North Chicago nightclub operator George Christofalos, and the 1980 killing of mob assassin William Dauber, 45, and Dauber`s wife, Charlotte, 37. It said Scarpelli also provided information about the killing of mob associate Michael Oliver, whose body was found buried last spring in a field south of suburban Darien.

According to the document, all of the information allegedly given by Scarpelli was told to the FBI on July 16 and 17-the day of his arrest and the following day. The information is in a report filed by John L. Burley, a lawyer with the U.S. Justice Department`s Chicago Organized Crime Strike Force concerning a meeting with Jeffrey Steinback, one of Scarpelli`s defense lawyers, to discuss the prosecution`s evidence.

Until now Scarpelli hadn`t been linked to the death of Christofalos, operator of a far-north suburban strip joint. But he has long been suspected by authorities of taking part in the slayings of the Daubers near Crete. Sources said Dauber was informing on Scarpelli to a variety of federal and state agencies. Dauber was an underling of Albert Tocco, the fugitive south suburban rackets boss who was captured by federal agents in Europe Thursday. Oliver is believed to have been buried in the Darien field by accomplices after he was slain during a botched attempt to rob a suburban pornography shop that competed with another porn shop.

Thanks to John O'Brien and Ronald Koziol


Crime Family Index