The Chicago Syndicate: Sam Annerino
Showing posts with label Sam Annerino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sam Annerino. Show all posts

Monday, May 04, 2009

Unseen Victims from Mob Killings

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose -- convicted last week of passing information to the Chicago Outfit about a top mob witness -- was only 7 years old when Joe the janitor was found dead.

So he probably didn't read the small 1975 Tribune story about the body of the 33-year-old janitor found in the basement of Chalmers Elementary School on the West Side. Chicago detectives said the janitor suffered a massive heart attack. But a mortician at the Daniel Lynch Funeral Home in Evergreen Park made an amazing discovery along The Chicago Way.

There was a hole in the back of Joe the janitor's head. A heart attack didn't make that hole. A .22-caliber bullet was found lodged in the brain of the janitor.

His name? Joseph Lipuma.

A couple of weeks later, Lipuma's friend and alleged stolen-goods dealer Ronald Magliano, 42, was found shot to death in his South Side home. The home had been set ablaze, an Outfit practice to destroy evidence. Detectives figured the two murders were related, but no arrests were made.

Two years later, a friend of Joe's and Ronnie's was killed in a sensational daytime Outfit hit. Mobster Sam Annerino was chewed up by three men with shotguns outside Mirabelli's Furniture store in Oak Lawn. The Outfit had sway in Oak Lawn. The town's motto? "Be prudent, stay safe."

A few miles to the east in Evergreen Park lived Joe Lipuma's young nephew. A top student at Evergreen Park High School, an excellent athlete, he was so impressive that he was accepted as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. But he didn't like the military life, came home after a year, went to law school, and became a federal prosecutor before becoming a criminal defense attorney.

Recently, at John Ambrose's trial, I met that man. He was John Ambrose's attorney, Francis Lipuma, Joe's nephew. I disagree with him about Ambrose, but I couldn't help admiring his skill in the courtroom.

"I was just a kid -- a freshman -- when my uncle was killed," Frank Lipuma told me the other day after the Ambrose guilty verdict. "All I really remember about it was pain. Pain and sadness throughout my house, throughout my family."

Just in case you think I'm drawing some nefarious inference about Frank Lipuma, let me be clear: I'm not.

Lipuma was an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago. To become a federal prosecutor, applicants must undergo a rigorous FBI background check.

They reach back into your childhood, interview your friends from elementary school and scrub your family. If there were anything there, the FBI would have found it. But what they did find was a young man who felt the pain of his Uncle Joe's death but never learned why he was killed.

"I do remember the funeral home found he'd been shot, and that police thought it was a heart attack, but someone had put a gun behind his ear," Frank Lipuma told me. "It was terrible, all that pain in the family then. He was involved with people. There was just speculation. He knew Annerino, they said. I was just a kid playing baseball, trying to get to college."

Through weeks of testimony in Ambrose's trial, we heard about the Outfit informant he was supposed to protect: the deadly hit man turned star government witness in the historic Family Secrets case, Nicholas Calabrese.

Calabrese was in the federal witness protection program. Ambrose was convicted of leaking information to the mob about what Calabrese told the feds concerning dozens and dozens of unsolved Outfit murders.

One of the murders involved Annerino, the friend of Joe Lipuma and Ronnie Magliano who was known as "Sam the Mule."

The leaked information was contained in the FBI's 2002 threat assessment detailing Nick Calabrese's cooperation, a document prosecutors alleged was read by Ambrose before he leaked details of it to the mob through an Outfit messenger boy:

"Nicholas Calabrese will testify that he, along with Joseph LaMantia, Frank Calabrese Sr. and Frank Saladino, planned and attempted to murder Samuel Annerino. Ronald Jarrett, who is deceased [murdered], also participated in the planning. ... Though the attempt was unsuccessful, Nicholas Calabrese later learned that the murder was later carried out by Joseph Scalise. William Petrocelli and Anthony Borsellino also participated in the murder, but are deceased."

I asked Frank Lipuma if he became a federal prosecutor in part to find out who killed his Uncle Joe, but he wouldn't say: "I couldn't find any hard facts. I deal in facts."

The Chicago Outfit has many victims, and some might consider Ambrose to be one of them. He wanted to ingratiate himself with the bosses. He'll soon be fired from federal service and may even serve prison time. Joe Lipuma was a victim, too, and so was his family.

Murder isn't just between killer and target, especially Outfit murders. The victims are found among living survivors, legitimate folk spaced apart, often unknowing, as if on a vine reaching back through time, remembering.

Thanks to John Kass

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Family Secret Murders

The milestone mob case has solved many more Chicago Outfit killings than first thought. When the curtain went up on Operation Family Secrets, authorities said the plot involved 18 old gangland murders. But 18 is just the number of killings that were part of the court case.

The I-Team has learned that federal authorities consider as many as 40 mob murders now solved because of their investigation.

The mob's hit parade has been rolling since 1919 with corpses in cars and alleys; on street corners, sidewalks and alleyways; even in back yards and barber chairs. And in almost 90 years of keeping the stats, just a few Outfit murders have ever been solved.

"Whenever we had an organized crime homicide in Area 4, they were some of the hardest cases to work because even their own family members wouldn't talk to you," said Steve Peterson, Chicago police.
Charles Tyrwhitt
When you're a contract killer for La Cosa Nostra, or the LCN, part of the deal is, you don't get caught.

"This is the first investigation that I can recall where so many murders are charged...it goes to the heart of the LCN and that is a bunch of murderous thugs," said Robert Grant, FBI.

One man was *the* most murderous of the thugs: Nick Calabrese, mob hitman-turned-government informant.

During the summer-long trial, Calabrese admitted that he personally took part in more than a dozen gangland killings. But the I-Team has learned that during months of interviews with Chicago FBI agents, Nick Calabrese identified the Outfit triggermen in many additional murders that were never revealed in court.

"About 20 or so that Nick Calabrese provided information on," said John Scully, Family Secrets prosecutor. "I haven't looked at it in a while, but there are a number of murders beyond the ones that he testified about. Again, that he was not involved in, but through conversations with other mobsters."

Retired federal prosecutor Scully revealed the information during a recent interview about the Family Secrets case. While Scully declined to provide details, the I-Team has learned that the case of one mob murder victim is atop those cleared by Calabrese.

Manny Skar, a mob gambling functionary was mysteriously shot dead in 1965 as he emerged from his car near the garage of this Lake Shore Drive apartment house where he and his wife lived. Skar was about to snitch on the Outfit.

According to FBI interview reports, known as 302's, Nick Calabrese told agents that the hit man who rubbed out Skar was none other than Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo.
Mob investigators believe it was Lombardo's first hit, carried out as a requirement of The Clown's induction into the outfit.

Skar's murder and the numerous other "bonus killings" cleared by Nick Calabrese, will be used by prosecutors at the upcoming sentencing of Lombardo, Nick's brother Frank "The Breeze" Calabrese and "Little Jimmy" Marcello.

"At some point, if they haven't done it already, the FBI will be advising the police departments that have an interest in those murders now that this case is done," said Scully.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice confirms that the bureau is providing local authorities with details of the old mob murders, but he says in some cases, informant Nick Calabrese didn't even know the name of the victim.

However, from court records and law enforcement sources, these are among the secret murders also believed cleared by Calabrese:

-Sam Annerino, 1971. A top south suburban enforcer, taken out by masked gunmen in the middle of an Oak Lawn street.

-Anthony Reitinger, 1975. Mob bookie, gunned down in Mama Luna's restaurant on the Northwest Side.

-Tony Borsellino, 1979. A mob assassin shot five times in the back of the head and dumped in a Frankfort farm field.

-Sam Guzzino, 1981. Outfit bodyguard found mangled in a southwest suburban ditch.

-Ronnie Jarrett, 1999. South Side mob lieutenant ambushed on his Bridgeport doorstep.

Besides Nick Calabrese lifting the veil of secrecy on as many as 20 additional Outfit murders, he has also disclosed details of a number of botched gangland shootings, where the target survived.

Defense lawyers declined to comment on Calabrese' additional statements, saying that his FBI records are still under a court-protective order.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Crime Family Index