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Showing posts with label Rocco Infelice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rocco Infelice. Show all posts

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mickey Davis and Peter DiFronzo, Fishing Buddies or Mob Associates?

The mob-connected plot to break the legs of a deadbeat suburban businessman started at a dingy used car dealership in Melrose Park, federal prosecutors say.

Michael "Mickey" Davis, a longtime associate of reputed Outfit bosses Peter and John DiFronzo, walked into R.J. Serpico's office, closed the door behind him and threw a piece of paper onto the desk.

On the sheet were scribbled notes from a mob bookie indicating Serpico's father owed thousands of dollars in gambling debts. Serpico, who had taken a $300,000 loan from Davis to start the fledgling Ideal Motors dealership with his father, knew instantly he was in trouble.

"This wasn't our (expletive) agreement," Davis growled, according to Serpico's recent testimony in federal court. "I want my (expletive) money."

He then pulled up a chair, leaned in close and issued what prosecutors allege was a thinly veiled threat.

"How are your wife and kids doing? Are you still living in Park Ridge?" the hefty suburban landfill owner allegedly asked Serpico. "Does your wife still own that salon in Schaumburg?"

Without another word, Davis got up and walked out.

Prosecutors allege that within months of that ominous January 2013 confrontation, Davis, infuriated that Serpico had still failed to pay back the loan, ordered his brutal beating, enlisting the help of a well-known Italian restaurant owner in Burr Ridge to find the right guys for the job. The restaurateur went to reputed mob associate Paulie Carparelli, who in turn hired a team of bone-cracking goons to carry out the beating for $10,000, according to prosecutors.

Unbeknownst to everyone involved, however, the beefy union bodyguard tasked with coordinating the assault had been nabbed months earlier in an unrelated extortion plot and was secretly cooperating with the FBI. In July 2013, agents swooped in to stop the beating before it was carried out, court records show.

For the past two weeks, Davis' trial on extortion charges at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse has featured some of the biggest names in the depleted ranks of the Chicago Outfit, including the DiFronzo brothers and Salvatore "Solly D" DeLaurentis, all reputed leaders of the notorious Elmwood Park crew.

While none of the aging bosses has been charged with any wrongdoing, their names and photos have been shown to jurors as evidence of the 58-year-old Davis' purported connections to the highest levels of the mob.

Serpico testified he was well aware of Davis' friendship with the DiFronzo brothers and that he often saw Davis and Peter DiFronzo cruising past Ideal Motors in DiFronzo's black Cadillac Escalade. He said he also had heard Davis was partnered with DeLaurentis, a feared capo convicted in the 1990s of racketeering conspiracy in connection with a violent gambling crew run by Ernest Rocco Infelice.

Davis' attorneys, meanwhile, have denied he has anything to do with the mob. Davis has known the DiFronzos since childhood and has maintained a longtime business relationship with them through his landfill in suburban Plainfield, where two DiFronzo-owned construction companies have paid millions of dollars to dump asphalt and other construction debris, according to his lawyers.

To bolster their point that he had nothing to hide, Davis' attorneys showed the jury a photo that Davis kept in his office at the E.F. Heil landfill. The undated photo showed a tanned Davis deep-sea fishing off Costa Rica with Peter DiFronzo, the shirtless mob boss appearing to be reeling in a catch with a pole harness strapped around his waist.

Jurors deliberated about seven hours Friday without reaching a verdict. U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan told the panel to return Monday morning to resume discussions.

In his closing argument Thursday, Thomas Anthony Durkin, Davis' attorney, urged jurors not to get swept up in the dramatic talk of gangsters and to focus instead on the evidence that Durkin said failed to connect Davis to the mob or any extortion plot.

"If you want to get swayed by looking at 'murderer's row' here, Pete DiFronzo, John DiFronzo, Solly DeLaurentis, all the boys, then we are in trouble," Durkin told the jury in his closing argument as the mobsters' photos were flashed on an overhead screen.

Durkin also painted Serpico as a liar and called the government's undercover informant, George Brown, "just pathetic."

Both Carparelli and Brown have pleaded guilty to charges unrelated to Davis' case and are awaiting sentencing.

According to court records and testimony at the trial, Davis, who often golfed with Serpico's father, Joe, loaned the father-son team $300,000 in 2012 to purchase used vehicles to sell at Ideal Motors. The agreement called for the loan to be paid back within three years, plus an extra $300 per car sold tacked on as interest. According to prosecutors, Davis expected to more than double his money. But the deal quickly soured as the business floundered and Serpico's father continued to gamble with the borrowed funds, court records show. By the end of that year, Ideal Motors was in trouble, with creditors breathing down the owners' necks and cars being repossessed.

Serpico, 44, who is married with two children, testified he was terrified and sick to his stomach after Davis threatened him and his family at the meeting at Ideal Motors. He kicked his father off the lot to appease Davis, who became co-owner. Serpico also paid Davis nearly $60,000 in cash and a used Chevelle to try to buy some time, according to prosecutors.

Wracked with fear and not knowing what to do, Serpico "literally walked off the lot" that May 2013 and left control of the business to Davis, Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather McShain said in her closing argument. But with Ideal Motors a financial bust, Davis had had enough, McShain said.

"Mickey Davis made a decision to not only continue to collect but to follow up on his threat," McShain said.

Over the next several weeks, FBI agents secretly recorded a series of phone calls and meetings between Carparelli and Brown in which they discussed the logistics of the beating, including concerns over whether they had the proper clearance from the Outfit to carry out such an attack in the DiFronzos' territory.

In a recorded call on July 11, 2013, Carparelli told Brown their plan was safe because Davis had a direct line to the bosses, court records show.

"OK, listen, I met this guy (Davis) yesterday. You know who this guy is?" a transcript of the call quoted Carparelli as saying. "This is Solly D's partner. Ok? ...So, listen, we definitely can't (expletive) around with these guys or we're going to have a big (expletive) headache, a big headache."

But Carparelli also saw the job as a chance to prove themselves to the bosses, saying if the beating was successful it would "put us right on the map, believe me when I tell ya," according to the transcript.

A few days later, Carparelli told Brown his guys should approach Serpico as he left his new job as a salesman at Al Piemonte Ford, stage a fender-bender and attack him when he got out of his car.

"Say we give him a little tap, like an accident. 'Oh man, I'm sorry,'" Carparelli said on the call. "Guy gets out of his car. Boom, boom, boom. That's it."

Thanks to Jason Meisner.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Review of "A History of Violence: An Encyclopedia of 1,400 Chicago Mob Murders"

From his boyhood memories of the raid on a bookie joint under the Chicago apartment where he grew up to the murder cases he worked on as an officer with the Chicago Police Department's organized crime division, Harper College professor Wayne A. Johnson has been steeped in the violence of mobsters.

Isolated murders, such as the infamous Valentine's Day Massacre or the beating deaths of brothers Anthony "Tony the Ant" and Michael Spilotro, have become scenes in mob movies. "But nobody ever put it in one place before," says Johnson, who has done that with his new book, "A History of Violence:: An Encyclopedia of 1400 Chicago Mob Murders.1st Edition."

From the stabbing death of Harry Bush during the newspaper "circulation war" on July 6, 1900, to the Aug. 31, 2006, disappearance of 71-year-old Anthony "Little Tony" Zizzo of Westmont, Johnson has used court documents, police records, newspaper accounts and 14 years of personal research to compile more than a century of suspected mob murders.

"You know what makes it so insidious? Their ability to get into places that affect every aspect of our lives," says Johnson, who notes cases where politicians, judges and police officers cooperated with mobsters. "Once you are into these guys, they own you."

Appearing in countless articles and TV shows as an expert on the mob, Johnson spent 25 years as a Chicago police officer and served as chief investigator for the Chicago Crime Commission before getting his doctoral degree in education. He's now an associate professor and program coordinator of law enforcement programs at Harper College.

The stereotype of the Chicago mob as the Italian Mafia known as Cosa Nostra is a myth, says Johnson, who says organized crime boasts a diverse collection of people, including many immigrants, who learned how to make money through illegal methods. The criminal groups formed partnerships and cut deals with each other, he says.

Of the 1,401 murders Johnson details, he lists only 278 as "solved," and the number of people convicted of those murders is even lower. "Just because they weren't charged doesn't mean it's not solved," says Johnson.

In teaching his "Organized Crime" class, Johnson tells the Harper students that reputed mob boss Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, who died in 1992 at the age of 86, lived the last years of his life just a short drive away, on Algonquin Road in Barrington Hills.

Student Jackie Cooney, 30, of McHenry wrote a research paper that ended up adding early 20th-century murders to Johnson's book.

"I logged 108 murders, and, of those murders, a portion of them were mob murders," says Cooney, who says she's been interested in the mob since she got her bachelor's degree in history from Roosevelt University in 2008. "I find it fascinating how people make alternative choices to provide for themselves and their families."

Studying A History of Violence: An Encyclopedia of 1,400 Chicago Mob Murdersto become a physical anthropologist while excelling in her art classes at Harper, Daniella Boyd, 21, of Wheeling responded to Johnson's request to draw a grisly scene for the cover of his book. "I did some research," says Boyd, who spent about 12 hours making a graphite drawing of the toe tag on the left foot of mobster Sam Giancana, who was gunned down in his Oak Park home in 1975.

The suburbs are home to some of the most infamous mob murders. On Feb. 12, 1985, the body of 48-year-old Hal Smith of Prospect Heights was found in the trunk of his Cadillac in the parking lot of an Arlington Heights hotel. Suspected of being a sports bookie who had run afoul of the mob, Smith was lured to the Long Grove home of his friend William B.J. Jahoda and was tortured, had his throat cut and was strangled. Jahoda, who became a friend of Johnson's before his death of natural causes in 2004, testified against the mob and helped send reputed mob leaders including Ernest Rocco Infelice and Salvatore DeLaurentis of Lake County to prison.

Another gambling operator who angered the mob, Robert Plummer, 51, was found dead in a car trunk in Mundelein in 1982. He was murdered in a Libertyville house already notorious before it was purchased by a mobster and turned into an illicit casino. In 1980, in a crime that went unsolved for more than 15 years, William Rouse, 15, used a shotgun to murder his millionaire parents, Bruce and Darlene Rouse, in a bedroom of the family home.

"Some people romanticize the mob," says Johnson, who adds that he hopes his book not only makes people recognize the heinous brutality of mobster killings, but might also help solve some of the remaining mysteries. "I hope they read my book and say, 'Yeah, it was 20 years ago, but I know who killed so-and-so.' Maybe we can still do something."

Monday, July 16, 2012

How Defective Bullets Turned Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto into a Government Witness Against the Chicago Outfit


Nothing says July in Chicagoland quite like the bodies of those two bumbling Outfit hit men found stuffed in the trunk of a car almost three decades ago this weekend in Naperville.

They'd tried to kill Outfit bookie Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto, whom Outfit bosses considered a liability after he was indicted on federal gambling charges. But the hit men botched the job. After Eto was shot three times in the head, the hit men walked away, thinking their labors were done. But Eto miraculously survived and turned government witness. For 17 years, he testified against mobsters, against labor union and political figures. He even spilled secrets on the Chicago Outfit's top cop, Chicago Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt. And for their failure, the two hit men, Jasper Campise, 68, and John Gattuso, 47, a deputy sheriff, were found strangled and stabbed on July 14, 1983. They'd been missing for a few days.

"These two stooges really screwed up, and they paid for it," said Arthur Bilek, 83, then the incorruptible chief of the Cook County sheriff's police and now the executive vice president of the Chicago Crime Commission.

I asked Bilek about the story I'd heard: That the hit men used defective bullets taken from the Cook County sheriff's office. "Exactly," he said Friday. "One put the gun right against Eto's head, pulled the trigger, and the bullet hit the skull, ricocheted under the flesh, ran all around his head. There were three shots, and with blood all over, they thought he was a goner, so they left. But he wasn't dead. He was alive. And later he testified on the Outfit."

Bilek went on to become a professor of criminal law, and most recently he's been at the crime commission. He knows the secret of organized crime: Without corrupt law enforcement and corrupt politicians, organized crime isn't very organized.

The feds had arrested Campise and Gattuso and tried to flip them, but they refused to talk. Still, the two made bail. Each was able to put up cash bond of about $1 million. In the fascinating Japanese documentary film on Eto titled "Tokyo Joe: The Man Who Brought Down the Chicago Mob," former FBI Agent Elaine Smith lamented their decision to make bail. She was Eto's case agent. "Why did they even want to get out (of jail)?" Smith said. "The bosses gave them that money. Because they were going to have you caught. They were going to kill you."

As she speaks, she makes a slicing motion with her hand across her throat.

Why did they decide to bond out? They must have thought there was a happy ending somewhere, but instead all they got was the trunk of that metallic blue Volvo. A 1983 Tribune story quotes a Naperville resident noticing a foul odor coming from the car. The neighbor said "it stunk to high heaven. It was covered in flies."

The documentary, directed by Ken'ichi Oguri, uses law enforcement photos of the time to show the open trunk. A man's leg is raised and bent oddly, but I couldn't tell which hit man it belonged to. What you could see were gray trousers pulled up past a pale calf. And black socks scrunched down to the ankle. The black dress shoes had a decent shine.

In his years in the federal witness program, Eto would often testify while covering his face in a pointy black hood, holes for his eyes, slits for his mouth. To one federal commission he told the story of how he drove to a meeting near Grand and Harlem, Gattuso beside him in the front seat, Campise behind him.

"As soon as I parked, 'bang!' I got shot in the head," Eto testified, with his hood on. "And I thought, well, I knew it. Second time I got shot. And I thought wow, it's not taking any effect. So the third time happened like the first and the second shot, and I thought I better play dead. So I put up my hands like that … and I laid down on the seat (shaking his hands above his head, leaning to the right). I heard the door slam shut. I heard feets (yes, he said "feets") running away."

Eto later testified against Outfit boss Ernest "Rocco" Infelice, and he told federal authorities about Hanhardt and many other figures. He even testified against influential former state Sen. James DeLeo, who was charged with tax evasion in the federal Operation Greylord probe of court corruption. Eto told the court that he bribed DeLeo with $900 to fix parking tickets when DeLeo was a bailiff.

"I would present the tickets to Mr. DeLeo, and he'd go to the back room," Eto said in court. "He'd come out and tell me what it would cost me."

The jury deadlocked at 11-1 in favor of acquittal. DeLeo later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor tax charge in a plea deal.

In 2004, Eto, living under the identity Joe Tanaka, died of cancer at the age of 84. Agent Smith said that in all his years helping the government, Eto never changed his story. "I just wonder if America will ever realize how much we gained from Ken Eto," she said in the film. But Campise and Gattuso deserve some credit, too, don't they? In a way, they were just two more victims of corrupt local government. Maybe if they hadn't used lousy Cook County bullets, we wouldn't know their names. Or the color of their socks.

Thanks to John Kass.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rudy "The Chin" Fratto's Dining Reviews

Reputed Chicago Outfit lieutenant Rudy Fratto sat in a federal courtroom, with reporters filling the jury box a few feet away.

His usual lawyer, the always snazzy Art Nasser, was unavailable. So Rudy had another attorney: Donald Angelini Jr., son of the late Outfit king of bookies, Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini.

Though Angelini was pleasant and professionally buttoned down on Friday, Fratto, 66, seemed a bit lonely at the defense table, waiting for his criminal hearing to begin.

That scraggly beard hid his chin, and he was comfortably dressed in the Rudy look: black shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, just like a Hopalong Cassadicci.

I didn't want him to feel lonely, so I said hello and asked about a line in the federal charges, in which he was described as Rudy "The Chin" Fratto.

Hey, Rud? What's with "The Chin"?

"I don't know," Rudy said. "I don't know where they got that,"

Did the FBI get you early?

"Not too early," Rudy smirked.

Like 6 a.m.?

"No, they came later, for coffee," Rudy said.

He'll need his sense of humor. I've heard that last week's new charges are just the beginning of a larger tsunami coming for the Chicago Outfit and its political messenger boys.

In January, Fratto was sentenced in a federal tax-evasion case. That was his first conviction ever.

On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to the new charge, which involves alleged bid-rigging in contracts at McCormick Place and leverage by the Cleveland mob.

McCormick Place has long been the Outfit's playground. In 1974, the Tribune reported the payroll read like a "who's who of the Chicago crime syndicate."

The 1974 payroll list included mobsters such as the late Rocco Infelice (natural causes), the late Ronnie Jarrett (unnatural bullet holes) and the 11th Ward's favorite Outfit bookie, Ray John Tominello (still alive, investing in Florida real estate).

Quiet hit man Nicholas Calabrese also was on the McCormick Place payroll. He killed dozens of men and decades later was the star government witness in the Family Secrets mob trial.

Another McCormick Place payrollee was the Outfit's Michael "Bones" Albergo. Nick Calabrese and his brother Frank got rid of "Bones." They buried his body in a pit a few hundred yards from Sox Park.

The federal Family Secrets trial put mobsters in prison for life. Other reputed bosses who were not charged, such as John "No Nose" DiFronzo and Joe "The Builder" Andriacci, have gone underground.

Sources say DiFronzo refuses to see anyone. His only sit-downs take place in his Barcalounger, when he watches TV. And Andriacci has apparently been suffering from Fedzheimers, a malady that makes politicians and wiseguys forget lots of things, like how to find Rush Street.

Fratto has a scary reputation. Yet he's always been friendly and charming to me. Then again, I've never spotted him in my rear-view mirror. That happened to Outfit enforcer Mario Rainone. Mario didn't believe in coincidence and was so shaken by the sight of Rudy Fratto in his mirror that he ran straight to the FBI.

In the courtroom, Rudy's wife, Kim, dressed in a black shawl, said hello.

"It's always nice to see you, Mr. Kass," said Kim.

The pleasure is mine, Mrs. Fratto.

After Rudy was fitted with a home monitoring device, the couple took a long lunch in the newly remodeled second-floor federal cafeteria.

When they finally came down, they didn't want to talk to reporters. Then I asked Rudy a question he couldn't refuse:

Was the food in the federal building as good as it is at Cafe Bionda?

Rudy, always the jokester, couldn't resist.

"No," he said, "but it's better than Gene & Georgetti's, though."

Rudy knows how much I like Gene's, the best steakhouse in the city. Yet for years, Rudy had made Cafe Bionda, at 19th and State Street, a personal hangout. On her Facebook page, Kim Fratto lists Cafe Bionda as one of her favorites.

With such strong recommendations, my young friend Wings and I felt we had to stop there for lunch. Cafe Bionda is a short cab ride from the federal courthouse. And a long pistol shot from McCormick Place.

We were hoping to run into head chef/owner Joe Farina to ask him about Rudy's favorite dish.

Wings ordered the Linguini con Vongole. I had the signature Nanna's Gravy. It was all delicious. Sadly, Joe wasn't in, so I left a note with our server:

Dear Joe: Sorry I missed you. Rudy recommended your place to me. The food was great. John.

The coffee was great, too. And I thought of all that coffee Rudy and his friends will be drinking, and the Rush Street guys, and the politicians, buzzing on caffeine.

They might want to stay wide awake, and keep a pot of coffee on, just in case the feds come knocking some morning.

Thanks to John Kass

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Betty Loren-Maltese is Ready to Spill the Beans



After being released from prison and living in Las Vegas, former Illinois politician Betty Loren-Maltese is ready to spill the beans.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Racketeering Indictment Nabs Reputed Mob Boss and Police Officer

A reputed mob boss, a police officer and five other men were charged Thursday in a sweeping racketeering indictment that alleges eight years of armed robberies, burglaries, jewel thefts and arson based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno, 51, of Westchester allegedly masterminded much of the group's illegal activity, including a February 2003 pipe-bomb explosion that wrecked the storefront offices of a company distributing video poker machines.

Prosecutors say the bombing was a message from organized crime to stop intruding on its $13-million-a-year video poker gambling business.

Sarno, 51, went to prison in the early 1990s as a member of an organized crime family based in the western suburbs headed by Ernest Rocco Infelice.

Federal agents searched Sarno's home last July and also raided the headquarters and various hangouts of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. An alliance has developed between the violence-prone club and the Chicago mob, prosecutors say.

Sarno's attorney, Terence P. Gillespie, did not return a message for comment. But he said in a previous interview with The Associated Press that Sarno was not a mob member and was "a legitimate businessman."

Attorneys for the other defendants were not reached immediately. Messages were left at the offices of four defense attorneys whose names were learned.

Two men arrested the day of the July 2008 searches and later indicted, Mark Polchan, 41, an acknowledged member of the Outlaws, and Samuel Volpendesto, 85, were also charged in the fresh indictment. They are accused of setting off the bomb that demolished C&S Coin Operated Amusements of Berwyn, a video poker device distributor. At the time, a video poker distributing company controlled by members and associates of the Chicago mob had a grip on the market for the devices, experts say.

Video poker devices are legal in Illinois if they are not used for gambling, but bartenders often pay winners under the table in many places and experts say the mob frequently takes a healthy cut of what the machines take in.

Gov. Pat Quinn is deciding whether to sign a bill to make video poker gambling legal to finance public works _ something good government forces deplore. They say the machines are addictive and some breadwinners have gambled away their paychecks.

Also charged in the indictment:

_James Formato, 42, a former Berwyn police officer accused of serving as a courier for stolen money, taking part in an attempted robbery and other crimes.

_Mark Hay, 52, described as taking part in the robbery of jewelry stores.

_Anthony Volpendesto, 46, son of Samuel Volpendesto, who also is alleged to have taken part in robbing jewelry stores.

_Dino Vitalo, 40, a Cicero police officer since 1991, accused of searching law enforcement data bases and using the information to tip off criminals and searching for electronic surveillance equipment around a jewelry store operated by Polchan. Cicero officials on Thursday placed Vitalo on administrative leave.

Prosecutors are asking the court to force the defendants if convicted to forfeit $1.8 million _ a possible measure of the amount taken in the robberies.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are the Chicago Outfit and the Outlaws Motorcycle Club Connected to a Pipe Bombing?

The west suburban home of a reputed mobster was among the locations raided by federal agents investigating a 2003 pipe-bombing outside a Berwyn video and vending machine business.

Authorities confirmed searching a home in the 3000 block of Kensington Avenue in Westchester that is registered to Michael Sarno, 50, who was convicted in the early 1990s of being part of a crime family led by mobster Ernest Rocco Infelice. Sources said Sarno, who was released from federal prison in 1999, was the target of the search and that a large amount of cash was recovered.

Sarno has not been charged with any wrongdoing in connection with the bombing. He could not be reached Thursday for comment, and his lawyer declined to comment.

On Thursday authorities unsealed an indictment against Samuel Volpendesto, 84, of Oak Brook and Mark Polchan, 41, of Justice, following a series of raids across the Chicago area Wednesday by the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In addition to the search at Sarno's home, raids were conducted on Polchan's Cicero pawn shop, Goldberg Jewelers, and three clubhouses of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in Chicago, Elgin and Kankakee.

During an initial appearance Thursday in federal court, Volpendesto was all smiles. "Looks like I'm having fun, huh?" he said as he held up his handcuffs for reporters.

Both Volpendesto and Polchan were charged in connection with a nighttime explosion outside C&S Coin Operated Amusements in Berwyn. No one was injured, but the blast blew out windows and caused extensive interior damage.

A lawyer for Volpendesto and Polchan denied either has connections to the Chicago Outfit or the Outlaws. "Sam couldn't get his leg over a motorcycle," attorney Alexander Salerno said of Volpendesto, who he said has bladder cancer and needs to be on oxygen.

Volpendesto was charged in 1990 in the baseball-bat beating of a government witness who was cooperating against Infelice. Salerno said the charge was later dismissed.

The FBI SWAT team on Thursday brought in its military-style armored vehicle to pop off heavily fortified steel doors at the Outlaw's North Side chapter in the 3700 block of West Division Street. Agents later used a torch to remove a padlock from a door. The assault vehicle's presence in the Humboldt Park neighborhood brought curious onlookers with their cameras to the scene.

Kyle Knight of Merrillville was charged last year with supplying materials for the Berwyn pipe-bomb as well as conspiring to rob a series of jewelry stores. Court records show he is scheduled to plead guilty later this month. Prosecutors have said Knight and at least five other undisclosed individuals robbed the jewelry stories of a combined $1.27 million and shot a New York salesman during one holdup.

Volpendesto and Polchan pleaded not guilty Thursday in the bombing case and were ordered held by U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox until a detention hearing next week. Neither was charged in the jewelry heists.

According to court records, Polchan has a record of arrests for felony aggravated battery and burglary charges as well as numerous misdemeanor charges from the 1980s and 1990s.

Last year, a patron at a downtown nightclub where Polchan worked as a bouncer sued Polchan after an altercation at the club. Polchan ordered the patron, Adam Cavitch, to leave the club because the flip-flops he wore on the dance floor violated the club's dress code, said Cavitch's lawyer, Kevin McNamara.

As Polchan was escorting Cavitch from the club, the two exchanged words. Polchan allegedly punched Cavitch, shattering his cheek bone, McNamara said. Attorney Al Ambutas, who represents Polchan in the lawsuit, said his client denies the allegations.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the scope of the investigation that snared Polchan and Volpendesto. Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk, who is assigned to the organized crime section, told the judge he expects to play audio and video tapes from the investigation in court at the detention hearing Wednesday.

Both face up to life in prison if convicted, authorities said.

Thanks to Jeff Coen and Todd Lighty

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Co-op Exec Said to Have Paid Mob to Avoid Union Trouble

Friends of ours: Tony Accardo, Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick Calabrese, Michael Spano, Rocky Infelice
Friends of mine: Michael Cagnoni

The head of a cooperative association specializing in shipping fruits and vegetables was also delivering a briefcase stuffed with cash to mob figures before his murder, a witness testified Thursday.

"Yes, I believe that was one of the gentlemen," security expert Fred Pavlich told the trial of five alleged mob members after studying an FBI surveillance photo of the late Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo.

Pavlich said he resigned as head of security for the shipping cooperative that Michael Cagnoni headed only weeks before a powerful bomb erupted under the driver's seat of Cagnoni's Mercedes on June 24, 1981. Pavlich said the night before he resigned, he got a threatening phone call that didn't mention Cagnoni by name but still persuaded him that it would be prudent to give up his post as the association's security director.

Federal prosecutors say convicted loan shark Frank Calabrese Sr. was responsible for the Cagnoni murder. Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, the government's star witness, described how a bomb was planted and detonated by an automatic radio-controlled device. An eyewitness, who was at one time a U.S. Marines explosives expert, testified Wednesday that the blast sent huge hunks of metal flying through the air, produced a giant cloud of smoke and tore Cagnoni's body in half.

Calabrese, 69, is among five men charged with taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that included extortion of "street tax" from businesses as well as illegal gambling, loan sharking and 18 murders.

Pavlich testified Cagnoni was a brilliant shipping executive who figured out a way of setting up a cooperative association consisting of Chicago and New York grocers and California produce growers. He said thousands of trucks were going back and forth between Chicago and the West Coast every week aboard railroad cars with the association's shipments.

On arriving in the Chicago area, some trucks went to local grocers while others went on to New York to supply produce to supermarkets there. But every week Cagnoni also carried a briefcase stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash to Flash Trucking, a suburban Cicero company that made most of his Chicago-area deliveries, Pavlich testified.

Flash was owned by brothers, Michael and Paul Spano. Michael Spano is serving a 12-year prison sentence for his 2002 conviction for helping former Cicero town president Betty Loren-Maltese swindle the suburb -- long plagued by mob influence -- out of millions of dollars in insurance money.

Prosecutors say that when longtime Cicero mob boss Rocky Infelice was sent to prison in the early 1990s he dubbed Michael Spano his successor.

Pavlich said sometimes money was delivered to a meeting in a Rosemont hotel that Cagnoni and a number of other men attended.

"I of course kept my distance and went downstairs as I was told to do," Pavlich said. But he identified an FBI surveillance photograph of Accardo, who for decades was one of the most powerful mob bosses in the country, as that of one of the men on hand for at least one meeting. "I believe Rocky was there every time I was there," the former security director said, speaking of Infelice.

Calabrese attorney Joseph Lopez asked Pavlich whether he made the payments to avoid union problems. Pavlich said that as he understood it, that was one of the reasons.

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

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ice Bar Has Mob Links

Friends of ours: Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Ernest "Rocky" Infelice, Kenneth Bratko, Marshall Caifano

An owner of Ice Bar -- the site of the slaying of Chicago Bear Tank Johnson's bodyguard -- once invested in a mob-tied casino and is the daughter of an associate of Outfit boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo.

Bar owner Anna Marie Amato also pleaded guilty to a felony drug possession case in 2005 but under the special probation she received, she did not have a felony conviction entered on her record, allowing her to keep her liquor license, according to court records and a city spokeswoman. Amato, 50, has not returned phone messages requesting comment in recent days.

Amato is the daughter of Kenneth Bratko, a longtime associate of Lombardo and a convicted felon. Bratko was convicted in February 1970 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking part in the hijacking of more than $300,000 in cameras from a truck headed to Melrose Park. Bratko was charged with Ernest "Rocky" Infelice, the late Cicero mob boss whose conviction was later thrown out.

Five years before, Bratko was acquitted along with top Chicago gangster Marshall Caifano in a $48,000 insurance fraud scheme in Chicago.

Bratko was the subject of a confidential 1975 memorandum by an investigator from an Illinois state commission looking into an organized crime takeover of the truck-hauling industry. Bratko was accused of initiating the takeover while he was still in federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., but never charged. Bratko did not return phone messages on Tuesday.

Bratko's daughter, Amato, and another Bratko family member were among the investors in the mob-tied casino, the Curacao Caribbean Hotel & Casino, according to an investor list from 1989 obtained by the Sun-Times. The casino operation, suspected of washing money for the Outfit, was the subject of an IRS criminal investigation, but no charges resulted, sources said. The hotel later declared bankruptcy.

As for Amato, she pleaded guilty last year to possession of crystal meth after police caught her paying $400 for 3.2 grams of it. Amato received a special two-year probation for first-time drug offenders that allowed her to avoid having the felony entered on her record as long as she successfully completes her probation. Without a felony on her record, the city did not have grounds to revoke her liquor license, said Rosa Escareno, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Business Affairs and Licensing.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir and Fran Spielman

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mob's Eto Dies Long After Surviving Hit

Friends of ours: Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto , Ernest Rocco Infelice, John Gattuso, Jasper Campise

A noted Chicago mob figure who ran gambling operations for the Outfit, survived a botched hit and turned government informant and witness has died after a long stint in the federal witness-protection program, a federal official confirmed.

Ken Eto turned on the mob after he survived being shot in the head in a Northwest Side parking lot in 1983 and went on to testify against mob boss Ernest Rocco Infelice in 1991. After a news report Wednesday on WLS-TV Ch. 7 that said Eto died in Atlanta in 2004 in his 80s, federal officials in Chicago said they had been aware of his death, which had not been reported by the media before Wednesday.

First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro, who for years headed the U.S. Justice Department's Chicago Organized Crime Strike Force, said Wednesday that he knew of Eto's death, but he did not know when he had died.

Eto, known as "Tokyo Joe," survived three gunshots in the head in February 1983 in an attempted assassination that came after he was convicted of a gambling charge and the mob feared he would become a turncoat.

Former FBI agent Jack O'Rourke said Wednesday that Eto was a gambling expert who for decades ran games and books for the mob's North Side crew. Eto learned gambling in the service while riding a troop train to Alaska during World War II. After returning to Chicago, he took up with the mob and handled not only their games and books, but also paid bribes to police, O'Rourke said.

In 1983, the mob turned on Eto and ordered him killed.

Inside a car parked along Harlem Avenue on the North Side, two men fired three shots into Eto's skull. The men, whom Eto later identified to federal agents as mob soldiers John Gattuso and Jasper Campise, then left him for dead, O'Rourke said. But Eto didn't die, and after awaking from unconsciousness, dragged himself to a nearby pharmacy, where he called 911, O'Rourke said.

FBI agents and then-Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeremy Margolis rushed to the hospital where Eto was taken, O'Rourke said. During his recovery, Eto agreed to "flip" for the feds, O'Rourke said. "He really had nowhere else to go," O'Rourke said

Eto not only fingered Gattuso, a Cook County sheriff's officer, and Campise, as the gunmen, but he also provided intelligence about mob activity to the FBI. O'Rourke said he learned that soon after the shooting, the mob planned to murder Gattuso and Campise. O'Rourke said he and then-U.S. Atty. Dan Webb tried to persuade the men to cooperate with the government, but they refused.

On July 14, 1983, their bodies were found in the trunk of car in Naperville. Eto, meanwhile, was placed in the witness-protection program, O'Rourke said.

In 1989, Eto testified against a state legislator implicated in the Operation Greylord investigation. Eto was 72 when he testified in 1991, telling the court he had spent 40 years in the Chicago Outfit.

"I've never seen a witness like him," Shapiro said. "Completely unflappable."

Thanks to Jeff Coen, Rudolph Bush and Matt O'Connor

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, May 01, 2005

Crackdown just latest hit on mob

Friends of ours: Anthony Chiaramonti, Al Capone, James Marcello, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick Calabrese, Michael Spano Sr., Gus Alex, Lenny Patrick, Sam Carlisi, Rocco Infelice, Marco D'Amico, John DiFronzo
Friends of mine: William Hanhardt

Among the 14 alleged mob bosses and associates indicted last week by a federal grand jury were three "made" members who enjoy lofty status in the organized crime underworld.

Prosecutors said the indictments were historic for Chicago because never before had so many high-ranking bosses of La Cosa Nostra been taken down in a single criminal case. The mob, U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said, had taken a hit. But the truth is the Outfit has been wounded for some time.

A series of successful federal prosecutions over the years have put many bosses behind bars and have forced mobsters and their associates into much lower profiles. "Over the last 20 years, it's been one blow after another," said Lee Flosi, a former FBI agent who supervised the organized crime task force in the early 1990s.

The mob has downsized from six street crews to four. The number of organized crime associates--individuals the crews need for muscle, loan sharking, debt collecting and sports betting--also has dwindled.

"Made" members, who are typically of Italian descent and have committed one murder on behalf of the mob, have become an endangered species.

The last known induction into the mob took place in 1984 at the Como Inn, an Italian restaurant in Chicago, although there may have been other induction ceremonies since, according to former organized crime investigators.

The FBI estimates that Chicago now only has 25 "made" members and another 75 organized crime associates. Federal authorities said that 15 years ago the mob had 50 "made" members and as many as 400 associates.

Mob violence has dropped off, as well.

The last known successful mob hit occurred in Nov. 20, 2001. That's when Anthony "Tony the Hatch" Chiaramonti, a top figure in the Outfit's South Side rackets, was gunned down in the vestibule of a west suburban chicken restaurant. The 67-year-old Chiaramonti's murder remains unsolved.

The hit, or rub-out, was used to command loyalty, to take out rivals or to silence witnesses. According to the Chicago Crime Commission, 1,111 gangland slayings have been committed since 1919.

The latest arrests of alleged mobsters generated widespread media interest and calls from overseas talk show hosts who recall the St. Valentine's Day massacre of 1929, which led to the end of Prohibition, made Al Capone a household name and solidified Chicago as the gangster capital of the world. But the Chicago Police Department's definition of organized crime has shifted during recent decades from the Outfit to street gangs like the Latin Kings and the Black Gangster Disciples that control drug sales in the city.

"When you look at who's a bigger threat to the public, it's clear," said Cmdr. Steve Caluris, who runs the Deployment Operations Center, which coordinates all of the department's intelligence gathering. "These aren't just punks hanging out on street corners. It's organized crime." Chicago police statistics show that 1,276 murders were tied to street gangs from 2000 through 2004.

The 41-page racketeering indictment provided fresh insights into the mob's enterprise of illegal gambling, loan sharking and murder. Prosecutors charged that La Cosa Nostra bosses and "made" members were responsible for 18 gangland slayings from 1970 through 1986.

While the Outfit is still active in embezzling from union pension and benefit funds, illegal sports bookmaking, video poker machines and occasional violence, its heyday of influence passed long before Monday's indictments of James Marcello, the reputed boss of the mob; fugitive Joseph "the Clown" Lombardo; and 12 others.

Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. and Nicholas Calabrese were the three "made" mob members indicted, according to court records.

"Once `made,' the individual was accorded greater status and respect in the enterprise," the indictment said. "An individual who was `made' or who committed a murder on behalf of the Outfit was obligated to the enterprise for life to perform criminal acts on behalf of the enterprise when called upon."

Prosecutors had begun weakening the Chicago Outfit with a series of successes, though few of the convictions have involved mob murders.

Among the more recent major cases have been that of William Hanhardt, a former Chicago police deputy superintendent, for running a mob-connected jewelry theft ring and reputed Cicero mob boss Michael Spano Sr. for looting $12 million from town coffers.

In the 1990s, convictions included mob leaders Gus Alex, chief political fixer for decades; Lenny Patrick, a gangster for 50 years who became the highest-ranking mobster to turn government informant; Sam Carlisi, former head of the mob's day-to-day operations; Ernest "Rocco" Infelice, convicted of murdering a bookmaker who refused demands to pay "street tax"; and Marco D'Amico, a top gambling boss.

With each aging mobster who dies or goes to prison, the Outfit has not been fully successful in recruiting leadership. Still, law enforcement officials and mob watchers caution that Monday's arrests do not mean the Chicago La Cosa Nostra is near death. La Cosa Nostra--"this thing of ours" or "our thing"--is used to refer to the American mafia.

The mob controls most of the illegal sports betting in the Chicago area, remains stubbornly entrenched in the Teamsters Union and remains disturbingly effective at collecting "street taxes" as a cost to operate businesses such as strip clubs.

While federal authorities, took down alleged members and associates from the Grand Avenue, the 26th Street and Melrose Park crews, the Elmwood Park street crew was untouched. That crew, perhaps the most powerful of the four mob crews in the Chicago area, reputedly is led by John "No Nose" DiFronzo. And even though they are imprisoned, mob bosses have remained adept at running their enterprise from their cells. "They still continue illegal activities through conversations with relatives and associates. It's not going to put them out of business," said James Wagner, a 30-year FBI veteran who retired in 2000.

Court records show that Frank Calabrese Sr., a leader with the mob's 26th Street crew, did just that. Two retired Chicago police officers allegedly delivered messages between Calabrese and mobsters on the outside, including messages to determine whether Calabrese's younger brother, Nicholas, had become an mob turncoat and was cooperating with government. Frank Calabrese Sr. was right to worry; his brother had become an informant, federal authorities said.

The indictment provided sketchy data about a sports bookmaking operation that allegedly was run between 1992 and 2001 by Frank Calabrese Sr. and Nicholas Ferriola. The indictments stated that it operated in northern Illinois and involved five or more people.

Thomas Kirkpatrick, president of the Chicago Crime Commission, said illegal gambling is the mother's milk of the mob.

Kirkpatrick said he had seen one estimate from several years ago that about $100 million was bet with the Chicago mob on the NFL's Super Bowl. "That's where the money is for the mob," Kirkpatrick said. "No one else has the ability to move the money, to cover the bets, to keep the records and to collect debts. That takes an organization."

And, the chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board last week raised concerns that the current board's low staffing of investigators could let organized crime sneak into the state's nine operating riverboat casinos. Gaming officials fear that mob figures would work the casinos in search of desperate gamblers and offer them "juice loans," lending money at rates that can reach 520 percent a year.

The Chicago mob allegedly has its tentacles deep into at least six Teamsters Union locals, according to a report prepared last year by the union's anti-corruption investigators. They turned up allegations of mob influence, kickback schemes and the secret shifting of union jobs to low-wage, non-union companies.

A copy of the report had been provided to the Justice Department after the investigators alleged that union leaders acting at the direction of the Chicago mob had blocked their probe into alleged wrongdoing. "The Chicago area, more than anywhere else where Teamster entities are concentrated, continues to furnish the conditions that historically have made the union vulnerable to organized crime infiltration and systemic corruption: an organized crime family that still has considerable strength, a corrupt business and political environment and resistance to anti-racketeering reform efforts by key Teamster leaders," the report said.

In fact, the FBI's organized crime unit already is investigating some of the allegations in the report.

Agents are looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were siphoned from a Teamsters benefit plan that provides dental care to Chicago-area undertakers and valets, according to sources. "The mob is the same as it always has been," said FBI spokesman Ross Rice, "just on a smaller scale."

Thanks to Todd Lighty and Matt O'Connor

Friday, September 26, 2003

Daley anti-crime message doesn't apply to Duffs

A few hours after his good pals, the Duffs, were indicted by a federal grand jury for defrauding city taxpayers out of more than $100 million--Mayor Richard Daley made like a comedian. He asked Chicago to stand with him to fight crime. Then he said the Duffs were hard-working guys. Excuse me for not laughing, but a joke that involved a $100 million contract--even as your property taxes skyrocket--isn't all that funny, is it?

Daley was on the Northwest Side, asking Latinos, African-Americans and others to bravely face down street thugs. All that was missing was a caped-crusader costume or a tiny and sarcastic court jester at his side. When the mayor talked about criminals, he wasn't talking about the Duff clan. They're pink and suburban and close to him, part of his clique, and some Duffs are friends of Chicago Outfit bosses.

"That's why you're here holding your child on your shoulders!" Daley shouted to the crowd Thursday night, which was ready to commence with an anti-crime march. "We're here to protect all the children! That's why [criminals] are enemies!"

It was an amazing display. At least it proves what he thinks of taxpayers. They're the suckers who get squeezed to fill the public troughs from which his friends eat.

Daley wouldn't hang out with drug dealers, obviously. But he'd show up at the Duff Christmas parties at the Como Inn, legendary affairs, glad-handing and back-slapping, letting political Chicago know the Duffs were his guys.

The parties were Daley declarations, that the Duffs were Daley's, so watch it. And everybody who's anybody got the message. But out in the neighborhood Thursday, he wasn't referring to the alleged Duff criminal masterminds. Instead, he was referring to neighborhood lowlifes, guys who take your money with a gun, not a deal.

What was also amazing was that the crowd at the anti-crime rally was largely minority.

Only a few hours before, the Duffs were indicted for ripping off minorities and women, by running phony minority businesses that got $100 million in city contracts, though the Duff men are not blacks or Latinos or women.

They're pinkish tough guys, with Daley clout, from a family that brags about ties to the Outfit bosses, including the late Anthony Accardo, and the imprisoned (but still vigorous behind bars) Rocco Infelice.

"I know a lot of people," Daley told reporters. "And they have to be on their merits. And that's what it is."

He was asked: Is it disconcerting to you that your friends and political supporters were indicted? "It happens, unfortunately, it does," he said.

The mayor did brag, though, once the Duff scandal became public--he forgot to mention that Tribune investigative reporters and editors made it public--that his administration denied minority contract certification to 880 companies.

A Tribune reporter asked: How many of those denied were political contributors?

"Geez, I don't know."

How many were your friends?

"Gee, I don't know. I don't really know. Doesn't matter if they're friends or not."

Geez.

Daley made news, although some might miss it, by admitting Thursday that he knows the Duffs. When the Tribune first broke the Duff investigation in 1999, he didn't know them. "Oh, I know them. Sure," he said Thursday. "You know that. They're hard-working people. This is an unfortunate incident."

What about their ties to organized crime? "Geez. I don't know about that," said the crime-fighting mayor of Chicago.

Earlier, City Corporation Counsel Mara Georges said she was not surprised by the indictments, which is natural, since there were federal subpoenas issued first. And she had trouble explaining why the Daley administration couldn't find the fraud--she actually defended Daley's "investigation" of the Duffs--which found that, geez, pink guys got minority contracts.

"We took aggressive and affirmative action against them," said Georges, perhaps unaware of the pun.

She also explained why her investigation of the Duffs didn't find any fraud. "We do not have subpoena powers," she said.

Geez, Mara.

Tribune investigative reporters Andrew Martin, Laurie Cohen and Ray Gibson don't have subpoena powers. The editors don't have subpoena powers. But they figured out that the Duffs aren't minorities.

Now, finally, a federal grand jury has figured it out. And it only cost you $100 million to make Daley's friends happy.

That's funny. Like a clown.

Thanks to John Kass

Wednesday, March 29, 2000

Bill Jahoda: The Chicago Outfit's "Mister In-Between"

Bill "B.J." Jahoda leans against his black Cadillac Fleetwood in the parking lot of the Hamilton Hotel in Itasca, five miles west of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Athletic and well groomed, the forty-six-year-old Jahoda appears unseasonably sun-tanned for a life-long resident of the Midwest. Dressed casually, he could easily be mistaken for a professional golfer. Six-foot-two and a hundred and ninety pounds, he has medium-length, straight brown hair, and striking blue eyes.

Now pacing by his car, Jahoda lights a Raleigh Filter King with his gold Dunhill cigarette lighter and notices his right hand uncharacteristically trembling just a bit. His long slender fingers taper to impeccably manicured nails. He wears a Cartier wristwatch--which notes that it is 8:10 A.M., Thursday, April 20, 1989. A gold ring that cradles a rare U.S. gold coin is on the small finger of his left hand, and a two-and-a-half carat diamond ring adorns the index finger of his right hand.

Actually, Jahoda is neither a golf pro nor the kind of guy who spends his leisure time at a country club. However, he does have, in certain circles, a feared and respected reputation as a savvy businessman. He is, after all, the chief operating officer of a thriving enterprise with $25 million in annual revenues--all of it in cash. Last year alone, he earned more money than the combined annual salaries of the president and the vice president of the United States.

No ordinary entrepreneur, Jahoda works as the managing partner of the Chicago Mafia's most profitable illegal casino gambling and bookmaking operation. The Chicago Crime Commission, the United States Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Justice have already identified him as a key "soldier" in "The Outfit". But, over the past few years, his demanding though profitable career--arbitraging numbers on sporting events, fielding wagers, and hustling rigged casino games--has degenerated into horrific acts of betrayal and violence. Although federal law enforcement agencies and the media have never identified Jahoda as a "hitter" for the Mafia, they suspect him of participating in two highly-publicized gangland murders. Press coverage and scrutiny from the federal government have made him public property.

Overwrought after being conned into playing unwitting roles in the murders of two men he knew and liked, Jahoda has decided to make his most dramatic move in his long career with the underworld. Willing to jeopardize his personal safety, he is prepared to place his life in the hands of his worst enemy: Thomas Moriarty, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service's famed Criminal Investigations Division, a high-tech version of Eliot Ness's unit when he brought down Chicago's Al Capone.

At this moment, Bill Jahoda intends to flip--to give himself up and become a government witness against his colleagues in the Chicago Outfit. This bold plan is even more remarkable and unique, because Jahoda has not been caught and forced to plea-bargain in return for his cooperation. He wants to volunteer to come in on his own--without talking to an attorney or even asking for any promises or concessions from the federal government, which clearly has the power to take away his freedom.

Regardless of the consequences, Jahoda has made this decision as a matter of conscience. Risking everything, he knows only one thing for sure: the biggest gamble of his entire life lays before him.

Because of the obvious dangers, Jahoda has had to concoct a plausible cover to lure special agent Moriarty into his plan. He knows that it would be unlikely for Moriarty to agree to meet with him anywhere alone--because federal agents usually come to Jahoda and other mob figures in teams of two or more.

To complicate matters, Jahoda has been told by his boss--Rocco Infelise, the ruthless consigliere of the Chicago mob--that the local Outfit "owns" a top federal law enforcement official: code name, "Whiskers." Jahoda realizes that Moriarty would not meet with him without talking to his own supervisor. For all Jahoda knows, Moriarty's boss could be "Whiskers". Jahoda needs an explanation in case he and Moriarty are seen together--or if word leaks to "Whiskers" about the meeting and consequently to Rocky Infelise.

The two-hundred-and-fifty pound Infelise has massive hands and forearms, dark, dead eyes and a starkly menacing presence. A horse racing enthusiast, Infelise has a criminal record going back to 1952 with arrests for murder, burglary, armed robbery, and narcotics trafficking. He has also been convicted for firearms violations and the theft of a million dollars in silver bullion. He has a widely-known reputation as a brutal stone killer.

Since getting out of prison in 1978, Infelise has become the most feared street boss in the Chicago Outfit. Now, as consigliere of the local mob, three of the local mob's five street bosses report directly to him: Salvatore "Solly D" DeLaurentis; Robert "Gahbeet" Bellavia; and Louis Marino.

As a prospective government witness, B.J. knows that federal prosecutors will ask him to take dead aim at Infelise and bring him down. Realizing that is no small task, Jahoda always believed that the intuitive Infelise has had the ability to look into his soul. Although Infelise looks like a thug, he possesses a shrewdness that supersedes intelligence. Simply speaking, Jahoda isn't sure that he can take a shot at Infelise and remain composed--without this pathological killer detecting his hidden objective.

Jahoda will have to double-cross Infelise, the man he has depended on and trusted for the past ten years; the man who has given him the opportunity to become wealthy and powerful beyond his dreams.

Meantime, Jahoda, while taking on Infelise, wants to place DeLaurentis, Bellavia, and Marino on his agenda. Although he has no grudge against either Bellavia, a non-descript gangster who appears to have an ability to blend into walls, or Marino, a seemingly friendly guy who can turn deadly in a heartbeat, Jahoda's antipathy toward DeLaurentis has intensified after Solly D recently took the underworld's sacred blood oath and officially became a "made" member of the Mafia.

DeLaurentis has a reputation as the flashiest guy on Infelise's crew. At five-seven, 160 pounds, and triple-tough, DeLaurentis's only goal in life has been to become a mobster. In fact, he would have promised his first born for the opportunity. A good-looking megalomaniac, Solly also prides himself as a talented amateur singer.

With Infelise's 1988 promotion to consigliere, DeLaurentis's power has grown; he has replaced Infelise as the street boss of Lake County. In effect, he is now Jahoda's crew chief.

DeLaurentis's animosity towards Jahoda peaked in September 1985 after Penny Carson--a dark-haired, fiery brown-eyed beauty-- jilted Solly D after two dates and then began a love affair with Jahoda. After making his bones with the Mafia fours years later, DeLaurentis, flexing his newfound power, has told Jahoda that he now has the muscle to avenge all acts committed against him, real or imagined. Jahoda knows that DeLaurentis possesses the patience and authority to order both him and Penny murdered.

To facilitate his plan to flip, Jahoda--still pacing in the parking lot, waiting for Tom Moriarty--has created a ruse. The previous day, he called Moriarty and claimed that the thirty-two- year-old Penny Carson and her ten-year-old daughter, Stacy, have been receiving a sudden rash of obscene phone calls. Jahoda told Moriarty during their conversation, "You people are listening in on our calls! At least, I hope you are! We've got a problem with a pervert! And I need to talk to you in person!"

In effect, Jahoda has to "qualify" Moriarty, even though from past experience he believes him to be incorruptible and relentless. Jahoda wants to weigh Moriarty's reaction to his fictitious problem. Also, he presumes that Moriarty will give him another pitch to become a federally-protected witness-- because he always has.

After putting out his cigarette, Jahoda walks into the hotel and sees the federal agent alone in the coffee shop. Six-foot- one and with green eyes and dark hair, the thirty-six-year-old Moriarty, a twelve-year veteran of the IRS, has investigated, tailed, wiretapped, and attempted to put Jahoda behind bars for over six years. He doesn't have a clue about Jahoda's intentions. In this little coffee shop, amidst the bustle of mid-morning diners, one of law enforcement's most extraordinary adventures is about to begin.

In the wake of this meeting with Moriarty, Jahoda--who was represented by former U.S. Strike Force attorney David Schippers--offered to wear a wire on his colleagues in the underworld. After months of memorializing these conversations, he became the key witness before a federal grand jury and then at the longest criminal trial in the history of the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The result? Twenty convictions.

Speaking of Jahoda's contribution, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "In Jahoda, the Internal Revenue Service agents [with whom he worked], found a rare combination: a mob insider with a broad vocabulary and a seemingly steel-trap memory."

At Jahoda's sentencing hearing, federal prosecutor Mitch Mars testified for his star witness, saying: "There is no doubt that the cornerstone of that investigation and the cornerstone of the government's success at trial was Mr. Jahoda's cooperation. . . . Mr. Jahoda's testimony led to a single-handed demise of the entire street crew. . . . In my view, his cooperation is unparalleled."

U.S. District Judge Ann C. Williams agreed, concluding at Jahoda's sentencing hearing: "Let me say one other thing that the Court was persuaded by: The fact that when you came to the government, you didn't ask for any consideration, any favors, and no deals. . . . And you knew that given the nature of the information that you had and the length of time you had been involved in this organization and, indeed, your extraordinary memory and the voluminous records that you kept, that the information that you could present to the government would put you in a tremendous bargaining position with respect to your future. . . . It is for that reason that the Court feels that imposing any kind of sentence which would require you to serve in the custody of the Attorney General is not warranted."

A heroic Mafia mutineer, Bill Jahoda deserves better than to be called "a rat."

Thanks to
Moldea.com


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


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