The Chicago Syndicate: Louis Eboli
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Louis Eboli. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louis Eboli. Show all posts

Friday, August 17, 2007

Did Testifying Backfire for Lombardo?

There's a reason professional criminals don't generally take the witness stand in their own defense, as anyone watching Wednesday's cross-examination of Joey "The Clown" Lombardo could see for themselves.

It has the potential to backfire.

After another half day of trying to put his own spin on his alleged criminal activities, Lombardo had to face up to questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitch Mars, and the results were not pretty for the defense.

Lombardo was left parsing his words like a lawyer, albeit a jailhouse lawyer, as he explained away wiretap conversations involving apparent mob activity by arguing over the meaning of the word "we."

"We" seemed to plainly refer to Lombardo and his mob associates, but Lombardo, who contends he was never a part of organized crime in Chicago despite two previous convictions, said it really meant "they" or anybody but him.

"We never means 'we' in this conversation," Lombardo said of a taped chat with Louie "The Mooch" Eboli over how to muscle a new massage parlor that was encroaching on the turf of massage parlors controlled by other mob bosses.

It got so ridiculous at one point that Lombardo even invoked by inference former President Bill Clinton's fight over the word "is" during his impeachment proceedings. "Just like the president did. He didn't choose the right words," Lombardo said of his own choice of words.

Earlier in the day, Lombardo gave the jurors a primer on "street taxes," the Chicago mob's term for extortion payments. Lombardo tried to draw a distinction between an "investment tax," in which a "businessman" such as him "invests" in an activity and then takes a pre-determined cut, and a "muscle tax," which is nothing but a shakedown demanding money for the opportunity to remain in business.

At least, that's my interpretation of what he said.

In Lombardo's mind, only the muscle tax is against the law, a delineation that is clearly not shared by prosecutors.

Mars, who has made it his career to pursue the Chicago mob, seemed choked with emotion in the opening stages of his scathing cross-examination, which came as close as you'll get to seeing television-style drama in a real courtroom.

While he didn't budge Lombardo from his basic contention that he had nothing to do with the mob, he exposed its absurdity at various junctures, such as when Lombardo admitted that his family cleared more than $2 million on a sweetheart investment arranged by the late mob lawyer Allen Dorfman.

You won't believe where Lombardo now says he was holed up during most of those eight months on the lam from federal authorities. Right under my nose in Oak Park. That's right. The People's Republic of Oak Park, home of more news media representatives per capita than any other place in the Chicago area, though formerly the home of many of Chicago's top mobsters.

Aren't you glad you had us on the case?

Lombardo says he was hiding out in a basement flat owned by "some guy" named Joe. He still did not disclose the exact location.

Lombardo said the hideaway was arranged for him by his friend Georgie Colucci, whom Lombardo called from his car while parked at a golf driving range at 22nd and Wolf Road, which I presume to be the one at Fresh Meadow golf course in Hillside.

"He said stay right there," Lombardo said. "He sent some kid."

The kid drove him to Joe's place in Oak Park, which Lombardo said was "like an apartment."

Lombardo was eventually arrested in Elmwood Park, where he had been staying with another friend for just a few days, according to previous testimony in the trial.

He said those were the only two places he used to hide.

I'm not sure whether the feds believe Lombardo, who made his whereabouts during that period an issue by testifying Wednesday that he never thought he was in violation of federal law while eluding capture because he never crossed state lines. They certainly found that notion preposterous.

Lombardo said he'd always intended to surrender as soon as his co-defendants completed their trials because he didn't think it was fair that he should be charged with participating in a conspiracy with them, some of whom he'd never met before this trial.

Showing the jury a photo of Lombardo with his long hair and beard when he was captured, Mars asked if he thought that was funny.

"A little joke once in a while doesn't hurt," said The Clown.

Thanks to Mark Brown

Lombardo Just Pretends He's A Gangster

In the world of Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo presented at the Family Secrets trial Wednesday, he isn't a Chicago Outfit captain.

He's a mob gofer.

When he threatens a man with tough mob talk, he isn't a gangster. He is just acting like one.

When he says in a secretly recorded conversation about a massage parlor, "we'll flatten the joint," the word "we" doesn't really mean "we."

Lombardo gave those explanations Wednesday as he defended himself from the witness stand and took a verbal beating as a federal prosecutor grilled him over his account of his life, from his finances to his criminal career to the murder he is accused of committing in 1974.

Lombardo and members of his crew allegedly were trying to handcuff Bensenville businessman Daniel Seifert and take him away when Seifert got free and ran off.

"Then you had your crew chase him down and shoot him down, isn't that true, sir?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars, his voice rising. "That's not true, sir," Lombardo said.

The 78-year-old reputed top mobster denied knowing that Seifert was going to be a witness against him in a federal criminal trial involving allegations Lombardo and others embezzled from a Teamsters pension fund.

Mars suggested that if Seifert had testified, and Lombardo and a co-defendant, businessman Allen Dorfman, were convicted, it would have meant the end of "the golden goose" of access to those funds.

Dorfman provided profitable real estate deals for Lombardo, Lombardo acknowledged, including one in which his family invested $43,000 that turned into more than $2 million. Mars suggested a mob flunky wouldn't be handed such a sweetheart deal.

To show Lombardo collected street tax and extorted people, Mars referred to two secretly recorded conversations, both from 1979.

In one, Lombardo appears to be threatening a St. Louis lawyer with death unless he pays what he owes the mob.

Lombardo contended he was only acting like a mobster to get the attorney to pay up.

"That was a good role for you, wasn't it Mr. Lombardo?" Mars asked.

"Yeah, like James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson . . ." Lombardo said.

"And Joe Lombardo," Mars cut in.

"Member of the Outfit," Mars added.

"No," Lombardo said.

"Capo of the Grand Avenue crew," Mars said.

"No," Lombardo said.

In another conversation, Lombardo and an alleged crew member, Louis "The Mooch" Eboli, allegedly discuss taking retribution against a massage parlor that's not paying a street tax. Lombardo acknowledged using the word "we" in the conversation but said he misspoke and didn't mean he was involved in the matter, only Eboli.

"Just like the president said, he doesn't always choose the right words," Lombardo explained.

"Well, the president didn't have a crew, did he?" Mars replied.

At times, Lombardo needled the prosecutor.

"No, no, can't you read?" Lombardo said, when questioned about one transcript.

And later, Lombardo added: "Sir, sir, sir. Let's read it together."

"Sir," Lombardo asked the prosecutor, "are you having trouble understanding me?"

"At times, I am, Mr. Lombardo, I must admit," Mars said.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Monday, May 21, 2007

Will Mob Family Secrets be Revealed?

Friends of ours: Tony Spilotro, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, Nick Calabrese, Sam "Wings" Carlisi, Louie "The Mooch" Eboli, James LaPietra, John Fecarotta
Friends of mine: Michael Spilotro

Tony Spilotro and his brother Michael were heading to a meeting with top mobsters, and they were worried.

Tony Spilotro, already a made member of the mob and the Outfit's man in Las Vegas, was told he was going to be promoted. Michael was to become a "made" member. But they weren't acting like men in line for promotions, recently released court records show.

Michael gave his daughter his rings, a phone book and a cross to give to his wife. Tony gave the girl a briefcase containing money, rings and a phone book to pass on to his family in case he didn't return. The men never came back from the June 1986 meeting. It was a setup for them to be killed.

Fresh details about the murders could come to light this week when a federal judge will hold a hearing on evidence from the Spilotro murders that could become part of the Family Secrets trial.

It's one of 18 murders charged in the case, which involves some of the top mobsters in the Chicago area.

Top mob boss James "Little Jimmy" Marcello doesn't want jurors to hear from a member of the Spilotro family, who would testify he called Michael Spilotro at home regarding the meeting where the brothers were killed. The family member has not been named in court records but apparently can recognize Marcello's voice.

Marcello also didn't want jurors to hear from one of the Spilotro brothers' widows, who can testify about statements the men made before they left for the meeting.

The brothers' brutal murders are easily the best known among the murders charged in the case. In the mob movie "Casino," the Spilotro brothers -- with Joe Pesci playing the character based on Tony Spilotro -- were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield.

In real life, they were slain in a basement in a Bensenville-area home and later buried in a cornfield.

Several top mobsters were waiting in the basement and attacked the Spilotro brothers as they entered. Among the attackers waiting downstairs were several mobsters, now dead, including top mob boss Sam "Wings" Carlisi, Louie "The Mooch" Eboli, James LaPietra and John Fecarotta.

The FBI learned the details of the murder from one of the men who was there, reputed mob hitman Nick Calabrese, who now is cooperating with the feds and is expected to testify at trial.

Marcello is charged in the murders and allegedly drove the Spilotro brothers to the Bensenville-area home and their deaths.

Tony Spilotro asked his killers if he could say a novena before he died. His request was denied, and the killers strangled the brothers.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Monday, January 01, 1990

Jury Hears of Payoffs to the Mob

For 14 years, until he disappeared in 1988 and was feared slain, the owner of an Old Town pornographic video store allegedly paid thousands of dollars in protection money, or ``street taxes,`` to the Chicago mob. On Tuesday, William ``Red`` Wemette, reappeared in public for the first time. From a witness stand in U.S. District Court, he recounted how he gave the money and dealt with six mob money collectors or their bosses. Four of them are dead or in prison. The other two, reputed mob figures Frank Schweihs, 59, formerly of Lombard, and Anthony Daddino, 60, a Rosemont building inspector, are on trial before Judge Ann Williams on charges of attempted extortion. The conspiracy in which they are charged does not include actual extortion, despite Wemette`s contention that he paid Schweihs and Daddino a total of $19,800. That`s because the 40-year-old Wemette was a paid informant for the FBI, and the money he paid was not his but that of the FBI.

A jury hearing the case was told in opening statements Tuesday that beginning in the 1970s, Wemette led two seemingly contradictory lives-one as a merchant of pornography, the other as a government mole. During the two years ending last September, when he dropped from sight by plan, Wemette recorded the alleged Schweihs-Daddino payoffs with FBI cameras and audio equipment hidden in his apartment above his X-rated video shop at 1345 N. Wells St.

``Since 1971, I provided information to the FBI and got some monetary gain, about $10,000,`` Wemette acknowledged under questioning by special attorney Thomas Knight of the Justice Department`s Organized Crime Strike Force. Knight told the jury that the evidence includes video and audio recordings made on 23 dates from May 1, 1987, until Sept. 15, 1988. Wemette testified that he began making extortion payoffs to various mobsters in 1974, when he opened his Old Town porn shop, then known as ``The Peeping Tom, and that the initial payoff sum of $250 a week was set by mob street boss Joseph Lombardo, now in prison. Others who figured in the shakedowns, he said, included Marshall Caifano, also now in prison, and two now-dead individuals, Louis Eboli and Albert ``Obbie`` Frabotta. He said Daddino and Schweihs increased the sum to ``a nice round`` figure of $1,100 a month in 1985. The increase, he explained, came after he complained to Schweihs that another collector wanted to start taxing the video porn dealer on a hot dog stand he also owned in Old Town. That collector never bothered him again, Wemette said.

He said Daddino, whom he knew as ``Jeeps,`` once sought his help to bribe police officers, saying that too many bookmakers whom Daddino collected protection money from were being arrested. Defense attorneys Allan Ackerman and John L. Sullivan contend that Wemette suffered no economic loss because of the use of FBI funds and that the FBI recordings show nothing but friendship between the three men.


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