The Chicago Syndicate: Pat Marcy
Showing posts with label Pat Marcy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pat Marcy. Show all posts

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Dealmakers Behind the Chicago Mob

For most Americans, real racket power in the last century hovered somewhere over the Hudson River, and no wonder. They saw New York-area gangsters featured in the best books and movies about the Mafia. Flamboyant bosses like John Gotti grabbed headlines with good sound bites and flashy trials, or the occasional high-profile hit in a crowded restaurant. But while East Coast mob families splattered each other's brains in the marinara, the Second City's less-colorful Mafia, known as the Outfit, built a criminal empire that was truly second to none. Its tentacles stretched to the West Coast and wrapped securely around Las Vegas. Not that its members didn't whack their own wayward bosses along the way, but their executions were mostly private affairs, often dispatched with a few well-placed .22s to the back of the head.

Author Gus Russo has done yeoman's work in pulling the Outfit bosses from the shadows to show how their muscle and methods came to dominate organized crime. In his 2001 book, suitably titles "The Outfit," he chronicles the Chicago mob's rise to national power after Al Capone.

Now, he weighs in with "Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Power Brokers." If you know about the short shrift the Outfit has received in the popular imagination, you can almost forgive the breathless title, but Russo pointedly uses the term "Supermob" to describe a band of Jewish lawyers, politicians and businessmen who acted as cat's-paws for some of the Outfit's most ambitious scams. Although he credits a Senate investigator with first using the term "Supermob," Russo takes it to a new level, suggesting a gang of white-collar kingpins as ruthless and tightly knit as a Mafia family. He is also serious about the "Super," claiming that the members of his "Kosher Nostra" would ultimately profit more from their "amoral, and frequently criminal careers" than did their Outfit allies.

Like all other Chicago gangster stories, Russo's starts with Capone, a criminal mastermind far more sophisticated than the brutal Scarface we know from the movies. Unlike gang leaders before him, he was not content with cornering the market on gambling and bootlegging. The "financial wiz" who showed him the way was Alex Louis Greenberg. He put Capone's money into real estate and service industries with free flowing cash, such as banks, entertainment venues and hotels. In the beginning, to protect the various investments, the mob used its excess money to buy politicians and its excess muscle to strong-arm unions. Eventually these inroads into the public sector and labor organizations would become lucrative sources of income themselves.

As the schemes got more complicated, the mobsters needed the help of lawyers, politicians and frontmen with relatively clean criminal records. It was a Faustian bargain, but it helped launch some of the most prominent names in Chicago's Jewish community. For example, according to Russo, Outfit funds and connections formed the foundation on which lawyer Abe Pritzker's family built the Hyatt hotel chain.

At the nexus of mob influence and political corruption was lawyer Jacob Arvey, the most important Jewish cog of the city's multiethnic Democratic machine. His clout with the Truman administration put a protege in charge of property seized from German companies and interned Japanese-Americans. Russo documents how these West Coast assets were sold for a fraction of their value to silent mob partners and the young lawyers, Arvey accomplices, who served as their frontmen. Some of these young lawyers then set up shop in California and duplicated Chicago's Democratic machine there, fueling their candidates' campaigns with money donated by the mob and its related unions. But the Outfit's insidious control of unions most drove its westward expansion. Back in the earliest days of moving pictures, Chicago mobsters used the threat of projectionist walkouts to shake down local theaters. These extortion schemes worked their way back to the studio lots. According to Russo, the movie moguls did not mind seeing leftist organizers pushed to the side by mob goons, who could at least be paid off to keep the cameras rolling.

Producers also got squeezed by the stars in front of the cameras, especially those managed by Jules Stein and Lew Wasserman of MCA, Hollywood's first powerhouse talent agency. Back in Chicago when Stein started the firm as Music Corporation of America, he was booking area bands and using a "union racketeer" to throw stink bombs in nightclubs that wouldn't take his acts. He was supposedly a silent partner with Outfit bosses in the hot spots where his bands played, and according to Russo, he would continue to blur the line between ownership and union influence throughout his career.

Later, when Wasserman client Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency of the Screen Actors Guild, he helped push through a waiver permitting MCA to be the only agency that could also produce programs for the burgeoning TV industry. This competitive edge helped Stein and Wasserman gain control of Universal Pictures and create Hollywood's first multimedia behemoth. In return for the SAG waiver, Russo asserts, Wasserman secretly cut Reagan into production deals (counter to SAG rules) and helped transform him into the ubiquitous TV presence that launched his political career.

The Outfit had its hooks in Las Vegas from the start (a Chicago mobster bribed Nevada legislators to pass the Wide Open Gambling Bill), but if the bosses hadn't had their fingers in the Teamsters pension fund, the city wouldn't be what we know today. From 1959 to 1961, they took $91 million from the union to build or improve one casino after another. Over the next decade, as Las Vegas' popularity soared, the Outfit was perfectly positioned to dominate the scene, with its control of corrupt politicians from both parties, its manipulation of the service unions and even its access, through Hollywood back channels, to the hottest entertainers, like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Eventually millions in cash skimmed from the casino counting rooms would make its way to Chicago's mob bosses.

Members of Russo's Supermob were pivotal resources in each of the Outfit's connections to Las Vegas, but none more so than Sidney Korshak. An obscure labor lawyer from Lawndale, Korshak would ultimately be dubbed the most powerful man in Hollywood. By the mid-'60s, the same would be true in Las Vegas. His brother Marshall had gone on to a very public career in Chicago as a lawyer, Democratic politician and city officeholder. Though Sidney would have his own notoriety, the source of his power would lurk in the shadows. Working on a flat retainer of $50,000 per job, Korshak was anointed the official labor negotiator for almost all of the Outfit-connected businesses. With just a phone call he could spark or quell strikes--a fearsome power in the seasonal hotel industry or during the massively expensive process of film production. But the contacts with his clients went far beyond labor matters. Moguls like Wasserman called him virtually every day. He helped negotiate deals for casinos and even business conglomerates on the backs of envelopes, often keeping a small piece of the action for himself. No favors were too big or too small for his clients, whether a Chicago hotel room for Warren Beatty during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, or a pardon from President Richard Nixon for ex-Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa. Ironically, he may have even contributed to the success of the film "The Godfather" by prying Al Pacino away from another studio.

Many a Korshak miracle was worked from the corner booth at Bistro, a posh Beverly Hills eatery, where a private phone was brought to his table. Russo fails to note that this setup closely emulated the notorious corner table at Counsellors Row, a restaurant across from Chicago's City Hall where the Outfit's kingmaker, Pat Marcy, ruled supreme. Like Marcy, Korshak would walk guests outside the restaurant to talk about especially confidential subjects. Some of the best yarns in "Supermob" come from a book written by Bistro's owner, Kurt Niklas, who kept tabs on the strange bouillabaisse that simmered around Korshak: It could include producer Bob Evans, actor Kirk Douglas, Gov. Jerry Brown, coarse Teamsters and, on rare occasion, cursing mobsters. One later testified that an Outfit boss warned him to stay away from Korshak because " `he's our man, been our man his whole life. [But he] can't be seen in public with guys like us.' "

In other words, the mob had to keep him subservient and separate. This was one of many conflicts in Korshak's fascinating life. He went to great ends to quash any media coverage of his activities, but he gladly relented to fawning mentions by Joyce Haber, the Los Angeles gossip columnist who, Russo says, coined the term "A-list" to describe the celebrities in the Korshak inner circle. He was a doting husband to his glamorous, shopaholic wife and a serial philanderer, not embarrassed to be seen on the town with paramours like Jill St. John. He dressed and collected art with impeccable taste but still exuded a threatening though soft-spoken manner. At one moment he could lament the unbreakable ties to his Outfit overseers and in the next threaten a recalcitrant business executive with " `cement shoes.' " In the words of one producer, " `Sidney was a very loud man in a very quiet way.' " Unfortunately, Russo does not give us much insight into how Korshak or his friends could bridge such contradictions. While "Supermob" is long on anecdote, it's much too short on analysis. No doubt there was something different about either Chicago or its Jewish community to produce the players Russo writes about. He only scratches the surface in trying to understand the world they came from. The closest he gets is a quote about Greenberg: " `[L]ike almost everyone who became rich through racketeering, respectability was what he sought most.' " The words came from long-time Sun-Times reporter Irv Kupcinet, a close friend of Korshak's and another macho Jewish guy who loved rubbing shoulders with the mob.

In fact, most of the Supermob families Russo writes about did find legitimacy, if not for themselves then for their heirs; hence the shock some of us may feel at discovering the roots of their fortunes. The same is true for some Outfit clans as well. Perhaps there is something about the institutional memory in Chicago that has helped ease the transformation. Kupcinet was a gossip columnist but a nice one, the sort who never delved too deeply into the dark sources of power. When he spotted you on a prestigious perch, like Booth One at the Pump Room, a mention in his column brought some glow of fame without the painful questions about how you got there.

Thanks to Hillel Levin

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Mob

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

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

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

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

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



The SPECIAL JANUARY 1999-1 GRAND JURY charges:



1. At all times material to this indictment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cammon and Remy Murder Cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your favorable consideration of this resolution will be appreciated.

Very truly yours,
(Signed) Richard M.Daley

Mayor.

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

The following is said proposed resolution:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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



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

Thanks to Steve Bartin

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

One Family's Rise, A Century of Power

Friends of ours: Bruno Roti Sr., Al Capone, Fred Bruno Roti, Johnny Genero, James Belcastro, Frank "Skid" Caruso, Pat Marcy, Frank "Toots" Caruso
Friends of mine: Morris "Mutt" Caruso, Dominick Scalfaro, Robert Cooley


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A neighborhood grocer

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

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

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

Chicago -- booming with hundreds of thousands of immigrants -- was a brutal place, with gangland killings, immigrants preying upon each other, rampant vice.

Roti Sr. himself was arrested twice in murder investigations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejected, twice, for citizenship

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

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

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

Son-in-law takes over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the city payroll

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

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

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

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

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

Why 'Skid?'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A power at City Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Nobody gets hurt'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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