The Chicago Syndicate: Sam Giancana
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Sam Giancana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sam Giancana. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peter Bart's "Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, the Mob (and Sex)"

He was a tall, silver-haired man, square-jawed with a military bearing, always impeccably attired in a dark blue suit. It was only a few weeks into my Paramount job when I came to understand that His visits were a daily occurrence, but did not linger or chat with anyone other than (Paramount head of production) Bob Evans, nor did anyone on staff ever refer to him or acknowledge his visits. Korshak was the ghost who was always there but never there.

Evans had talked earlier about him once or twice, always in a manner that betrayed not only respect but near-reverence. Sidney Korshak was not so much his personal attorney (he never paid him) or even his mentor as he was his consigliere. And when Korshak arrived for an Evans audience, all other plans would be set aside. Whoever happened to be in the reception room would have to wait until the big man had come and gone from Evans' sanctum sanctorum. And this procedure was replicated by other power players at other offices in town, as I was to learn.

Sidney Korshak, it seemed to me, was the man who knew everything -- the big corporate deals as well as the personal peccadilloes. It was some time before I also realized that Korshak was the man who knew too much.

It was Korshak's role in life to dwell simultaneously in two separate and distinct worlds which, in his grand design, would remain hermetically sealed against each other. There was his celebrity world -- he liked to drop names like Kirk Douglas or Dinah Shore or Debbie Reynolds, or to casually mention that he'd just had dinner with Sinatra in Las Vegas, or with Nancy and Ronnie Reagan in Beverly Hills. But he would never mention his other friends, like Tony Accardo or Sam Giancana from the Chicago mob or Jimmy Hoffa from the Teamsters or Moe Dalitz from Vegas.

Korshak would allude to the corporate deals he made on behalf of Lew Wasserman or Howard Hughes, but he never confided what he knew about Bugsy Siegel's murder or Hoffa's disappearance.

Korshak's life was built around a web of secrecy, and he was convinced that he would always be able to move effortlessly from one world to the next. It was only later in his life that he, too, found himself trapped. As the dangers in his nether life became more ominous, Korshak was unable to extricate himself from his underworld bonds. The celebrities would continue to decorate his life, like glitzy toys, but the bad boys would always be hovering out there with their furtive demands and threats. …

Over the years my relationship with Korshak remained distanced but cordial. He never directly asked anything from me nor subjected me to his power games. When his son, Harry, began to produce movies at Paramount -- I never figured out precisely how this deal came about -- Korshak said to me he would "appreciate it" if I were to "look out" for Harry and provide advice if he began to stray. But when young Harry's career did not go well, Korshak was the first to inform his son that he would do well to pursue other career possibilities.In observing Korshak's superbly surreptitious maneuverings over time, I began to accept a reality none of us wanted to openly address. Sidney Korshak was a gangster, albeit a very civil and well-groomed gangster. The bad boys had achieved major clout in the entertainment industry, and Korshak, despite all his secrecy, represented the embodiment of that clout.

Ironically, while Korshak yearned for the trappings of "respectability," his pals in Hollywood venerated him, not for his cool or his great wardrobe or even for his lawyering skills, but rather for his fabled underworld ties. …Bob Evans, for one, had always romanticized the lore of the gangster -- hence his lifelong ambition to make the movie about the mythic, mobster-owned Cotton Club, which ultimately came to haunt him. Charlie Bluhdorn,founder of Gulf + Western, which owned Par, had a longstanding flirtation with the shadow world out of fringe financiers in Europe and ended up doing deals that resulted in prison sentences for his partners and almost for himself. (Paramount president) Frank Yablans subscribed to mobster mythology to such a degree that he even agreed to play the role of an underworld thug in a movie titled "Mikey and Nicky." He was in rehearsal on the film before an apoplectic Bluhdorn vetoed his participation (even the often reckless Bluhdhorn realized the potential jeopardy to his corporate image).

Thanks to Peter Bart

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chicago Bus Tour Of Past Mob Boss Homes

With a half-dozen people aboard a tour bus looking on, Greg Gullo chipped grounders to his son with a fungo bat in his River Forest front yard.

The bus wasn't at his house so passengers could admire Gullo's swing last weekend, but there was a time when seeing the owner of the home in the 1400 block of Monroe Street with a baseball bat in his hands would have gotten a lot of attention. As tour guide John Binder explained, the four-bedroom house was an early purchase of up-and-coming mobster Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo — nicknamed by Al Capone for his skill at pummeling people with blunt objects.

"I think the first time the tour came by, my kids were actually out in the yard playing cops-and-robbers with squirt guns," Gullo recalled. "Everyone on the bus kind of stood up and watched."

The Gullos have gotten used to the occasional tours led by Binder, their neighbor, a mob history buff and a University of Illinois at Chicago professor. He began offering tours devoted to Oak Park and River Forest's upper-class underbelly in 2005.

To be sure, the area boasts more admirable figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway, but it has a rich mob history as well. The 10-mile circuit of Binder's tour passes more than a dozen homes that once belonged to top mob figures, including the Oak Park bungalow where Sam "Mooney" Giancana was gunned down in 1975.

"For the most part, the hoods appear to have wanted the same things as other folks in the suburbs: someplace quiet, away from work, with good schools for their kids," said Binder, author of the book "The Chicago Outfit."

A prime suspect in the killing, Dominic "Butch" Blasi, lived just three miles away from the Giancana house. The .22-caliber pistol used in the murder was found in a forest preserve between the two houses.

The Giancana hit was a rare instance of mob violence in the suburbs, Binder said. Like their neighbors in legitimate businesses, mob bosses commuted into the city to do most of their business. In fact, after Accardo's house was burglarized in 1978, mob hit men reportedly found, tortured and killed all six suspected burglars — a revenge spree that terrified hoods across the city.

Thanks to Andy Grimm

Monday, April 04, 2011

Entertainment and Family History Mixed at Las Vegas Mob Experience

Mobster Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, infamous for his brutality, once reportedly squeezed a man's head in a vice until his eyes popped out of their sockets.But when he wasn't carrying out brutal interrogations or fulfilling contract killings -- duties required of him as a made man for the mob -- he was playing the role of dutiful father.

Spilotro and other mobsters with a Las Vegas connection all had softer, gentler sides that have rarely been acknowledged, says Jay Bloom, founder and managing partner of the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana.

Bloom hopes the new attraction changes that by showing publicly the soft guy side that Spilotro, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Sam Giancana, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky possessed.

The Las Vegas Mob Experience celebrated its grand opening Wednesday. It is not to be confused with the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, popularly known as the Mob Museum, which is scheduled to open later this year in downtown Las Vegas.

The Mob Museum will concentrate more on the law enforcement perspective, says Michael Unger, chief executive officer of Eagle Group Holdings, the parent company of the Mob Experience, while "we will focus on the bad guys."

The "show-seum is a little bit entertainment, a little bit excitement and a little bit history all rolled together," Unger says. "We expose the human side of these men, if you will. Siegel was a great father. Same thing with Spilotro. They were good family men."

Several family members of the infamous men, including Millicent Siegel Rosen, daughter of Siegel; Spilotro's son, Vincent, and his widow, Nancy; Meyer Lansky II and Cythina Duncan, grandchildren of Lansky; and Giancana's grandson, Carl Manno, donated or loaned more than 1,500 artifacts to be displayed. Among them are Spilotro's baby shoes and his handguns; Siegel's home movies, furniture and love letters; and Lansky's golf clubs and personal diaries.

"It's quite a showcase," says 80-year-old Rosen. "People have been after me for years to do something about my father, but I never wanted to get involved in anything. But when I met Jay, his ideas were different. I was very impressed with the way he treated my father."

Visitors to the attraction will get to watch home movies shot by Siegel while learning about how he built the Flamingo and helped popularize Las Vegas as a vacation destination. He wouldn't like today's Vegas, Rosen adds. It would be much too corporate for his tastes.

Don't go in expecting to hear the whole story of the mob, though. The Mob Experience covers prohibition and gaming apart from the family history.

"The narrative they're telling seems to have some problems," says David Schwartz, director of University of Nevada, Las Vegas' gaming studies. "It seems to skip over some of the stuff organized crime did in America."

And though the artifacts may have historical value, it may be difficult to understand why, because many of them are out of context, Schwartz adds.

Attraction organizers chose to focus strictly on mob figures who played a role in the rise and spread of casinos, Unger says.

In addition to the artifacts, the Mob Experience offers a pseudo-mob "experience" in which guests can become a made man, a snitch, get whacked or have a shootout. At the ticket counter, guests give their names and some personal information in exchange for a mob nickname and a badge embedded with radio frequency identification, or RFID.

The Mob Experience is divided into three acts: the immigration of the mob figures, the rise of the mob, and the decline and fall of the mob. A three-dimensional guide accompanies visitors through, offering facts and helping to navigate the mob. As a guest enters each area, computers sense the RFID badge and greet each person by his or her mob nickname.

Actors portraying various mob characters are situated throughout the 26,000-square-foot attraction and interact with guests. Your response to each character plays a role in your fate at the end, Bloom says.

Thanks to Sonya Padgett

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mafia Princess Dethroned in Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Mob Experience is pleased to announce that Carl Manno, grandson of infamous Chicago crime boss, Sam Giancana, and son of the self proclaimed Mafia Princess, Antoinette Giancana, has joined the project as a consultant representing the Giancana family.

Last week, the Las Vegas Mob Experience terminated its consulting agreement with Antoinette Giancana, daughter of Sam Giancana, citing her gross misconduct and breach of contract. Problems with the Princess however, were brewing for months before she was finally given the boot.

Ms. Giancana alienated all of the other "family" members involved in the project, as well as the operational staff, to the point that several months ago, being deemed too difficult to work with, she was instructed not to return to the company's corporate headquarters.

According to Jay Bloom, Managing Partner of the Mob Experience, "Ms. Giancana was always resentful of the fact that The Las Vegas Mob Experience highlighted numerous famous individuals related to the history of organized crime and the role they had in the building of Sin City. She wanted this attraction to be the Sam Giancana show, with her as the spokesperson and shining star."

Bloom went on to explain that the attraction is not about one person, "We are privileged to have the involvement of the family members of many relevant historical figures including Meyer Lansky, Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel, Tony 'The Ant' Spilotro, Al Sachs, Jimmy 'Blue Eyes' Alo and Allen Smiley."

Mr. Manno, when asked about his mother's conduct stated "I have spent my life apologizing for my mother's erratic and unpredictable behavior, and I find myself having to do it again here."

Mr. Manno went on to say that he is "Excited to be a part of this extraordinary project at Tropicana Las Vegas, joining the other family members in bringing additional artifacts and personal stories about my grandfather."

They say, that in the Mob, one should never assume their status is secure because there is always someone waiting to take the place of the fallen.

The Las Vegas Mob Experience opened its doors to the public for previews on March 1, 2011, with its formal Grand Opening scheduled for March 29, 2011.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Growing Up the Son of Tony Spilotro

The only son of Tony Spilotro talks about what it was like growing up in the shadow of one of Chicago's most notorious mob bosses.

When Anthony "Ant" Spilotro walked into a room, he caused hearts to race and sometimes stop. At only 5'5", Spilotro's power wasn't from muscle; it was from an ability to intimidate and an unpredictable temper.

Hollywood tried to chronicle Spilotro's life in the movie "Casino." Now, his own family videos and an interview with his son offer a different take on these blood relatives.

Casino Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi.

This is what most people remember about Tony Spilotro's life -- it ended in a midnight grave. It was June 1986. After a horrific beating, vengeful mob bosses drove Spilotro and his brother Michael Spilotro to an Indiana cornfield where they were buried.

"I just want people to understand that he wasn't this monster," Spilotro's only son Vince told the I-Team.

Vince Spilotro knows that rewriting his late father's life story will be difficult. His father was arrested 13 times before age 20; he was initiated as a full Chicago Outfit member at age 25 after authorities believe he committed his trademark torture killing, putting a victim's head in a vice until his eyeballs popped out. From 1971 to 1986, Tony Spilotro ruled Chicago Mob rackets in Las Vegas.

"I just wanted it to come out that he was a man, he did have family, just the human side of him, just tell the truth about it. Even if you're going to tell something bad, tell the truth about it. You know what I mean? You don't have to make up a whole bunch of stuff, " Vince Spilotro said.

It is unclear how many people Spilotro killed during his Outfit career because he was never convicted of murder, but Outfit investigators put the number at between 12 and 20.

"I mean, I take this home with me every night. I mean, I've been taking this home for 20 years," said Vince Spilotro.

Now he is sharing it with the I-Team, and soon Vince Spilotro will be sharing it with the paying public.

Opening next month at the Tropicana Hotel, in the city limits his father once ruled, the interactive Mob Experience will feature Spilotro family memorabilia including baby shoes and pictures -- and guns and bullets.

"I knew what he did," said said Vince Spilotro. "He was just, you know, just a loving father."

And Spilotro family videos that show Tony "Ant" as Tony "Santa." At family parties, including Vincent's birthday's as a boy, where sometimes tony and the boys would play cards off to the side. On family trips to Disneyland, where even a budding Outfit boss waited in line.

GOUDIE: "Do you think your father saw you as someone who would eventually replace him?
SPILOTRO: No, not at all. Here's what happened. In the beginning he didn't, it was all school, you have to do this, you have to do that. In the end he was, he had quadruple bypass, he was getting tired. He was sharing more. I don't know if that's grooming me, but it was still, school, school, school."

When museum plans were unveiled last summer, Tony Spilotro's reclusive widow Nancy was also in attendance. Their family treasures will be on display with some from Chicago boss Sam Giancana and Vegas founder Bugsy Seigel.

GOUDIE: "What would your father think about you selling family memorabilia for a profit.
SPILOTRO: He wouldn't like it. It's a two-way street. I think he'd like that I'm telling the truth, selling it for a profit sounds a little seedy...These people are going to protect it, they're going to display it a little more classy than if someone bought it on eBay."

For the Spilotro family, it is a chance to tell inside stories about the days growing up in their Las Vegas home as the son of a Mob boss.

The Enforcer, Tony Spilotro: The Chicago Mob's Man Over Las Vegas.

Spilotro said, "I helped when I was a kid, at 18 years old, helped design this room, at our house, it was a place called the 'Security room.' There was a steel door, which was covered with wallpaper, you never knew it was steel. A solid door with the frame. The walls were all insulated with concrete and stuff. I mean, you couldn't get in that room."

And after almost 25 years, the museum and this interview, are a chance to come to terms with the past.

"I just like to tell everybody that he's just a man that grew up, raised a family and got caught up in some things that maybe he shouldn't have, but he lived it the way he lived it," said Spilotro.

The founder of the Mob Experience museum says he isn't setting out to glorify the Chicago Outfit. He says that showing the living contradictions that were Chicago Mob bosses is aimed at giving the public new insight about a significant American criminal group.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mafia Memorabilia War Heats Up

There is a Chicago mob war underway, but it is unlikely to result in bloodshed. But the fight is actually 1,800 miles away from Chicago.

From 1955, when the reign of Mayor Richard J. Daley began, through today with his son, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago has shunned any official recognition of the city's gangland past. But Las Vegas -- for decades controlled by the Chicago Outfit -- is embracing its rich organized crime history.

With not one but two Mob museums planning to open this year, a fight for Chicago Mob memorabilia is now on.

On one end of the famous Las Vegas strip will be the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also known as the Mob museum. It is Mayor Oscar Goodman's $50 million pet project in a former federal building, much of it funded by tax money. After countless delays, the official Mob museum is set to open late this year.

At the other end of the strip -- and in direct competition -- is the privately owned and operated Mob Experience. It will fire the first shot with preview parties next week and a grand opening in early March, with interactive holograms of Hollywood Mob figures leading tourists through the exhibits.

"We are not setting out to glorify the Mob by any mean, and nobody in Las Vegas is looking to glorify the mob. But at the same time we are not looking to vilify these people either. I think in the process of collecting these artifacts and being exposed to the stories of the family members, we've been given the greatest Mob story never told," said Jay Bloom, Mob Experience partner.

The late Chicago Outfit boss Sam "Momo" Giancana is among those depicted in exhibits. His daughter Antoniette is among the family members of major Mob figures hired as paid contributors to the Mob Experience. And she is happy to deliver her father's glory days in Vegas.

"It was glorious. I wished he were here now. We were treated like kings, queens and princesses and princes. There was nothing that Sam needed or wanted in this town, it was given to him gladly with love and respect," said Antionette Giancana, Mafia princess.

The Mob Experience will feature memorabilia from the Giancana family along with personal mementos from Bugsy Seigel, Meyer Lansky and others, including Chicago's long-time Mob emissary to Las Vegas Anthony "Tony Ant" Spilotro.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Michael Mann to Direct Tony Accardo Movie "Big Tuna"

Sheldon Turner will write Big Tuna for Michael Mann to direct, reports Variety. The project is a biopic of Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana, the protege that replaced him.

The trade says the movie is one of several that could become Mann's follow-up to Public Enemies. Mann has also been eyeing a medieval film about the battle of Agincourt, between England and France, based on Bernard Cornwell's best-seller. Another is a biopic of WWII photographer Robert Capa.

Turner (Up in the Air) will work on Big Tuna as he prepares his directorial debut on the independently produced revenge drama By Virtue Fall.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sam Giancana's Life Could become TV Series

Legendary Chicago mobster Sam Giancana could soon get the TV series treatment. Ted Field and his Radar Pictures shingle have pacted with Dimitri Logothetis and Nicholas Celozzi to turn Giancana's life story into a drama. Radar, Logothetis and Celozzi are looking first for international financing and distribution before turning their attention to finding a U.S. partner. A deal is imminent, the trio said.

Giancana ran the Chicago mob -- known as "the Outfit" -- from the 1950s to the 1970s, when he was forced out of power and exiled to Mexico. Upon his return, Giancana became an informant for the FBI but was assassinated in his home. Giancana's murder has never been solved.

Giancana was also a widower raising three daughters. Celozzi secured Giancana's life rights from daughters Bonnie and Francine, who also happen to be Celozzi's cousins.

Logothetis and Celozzi will write and exec produce. The duo's credits include recent Lifetime telepic "The Lost Angel."

Logothetis' other credits include "Code Name Eternity," "Dark Realm" and "Stephen King's Sleepwalkers." He also directed HBO's "Body Shot." Celozzi has written indie features such as "Quiet Kill" and "A Fine Step."

Giancana story also hits home for Field, who formerly owned the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as Kaiser Broadcasting and Interscope Communications. As a producer, Field was behind "The Invention of Lying," "Jumanji," "The Last Samurai" and "Runaway Bride."

Thanks to Michael Schneider

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mafia Princess Challenges Coco Giancana to Take a DNA Test to Prove She's Granddaughter of Sam Giancana

The daughter of assassinated Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana is challenging a Las Vegas woman to take a DNA test to prove she's Giancana's granddaughter.

Antoinette "Mafia Princess" Giancana, one of the mobster's three daughters, said she does not believe the claim by Coco Giancana, who identified herself as a granddaughter during a Tony Curtis-related interview last week with Vegas Confidential.

"This has really been upsetting to me and my sisters," said Antoinette Giancana, who moved from Chicago to Las Vegas about 14 months ago to be involved in the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana . She added, "We don't know her or of her. I'd like to have a DNA test done. I just don't believe it."

Coco Giancana, who operates a local concierge service, said, "I don't have to prove anything to anybody. If she doesn't like it, that's tough."

According to Coco Giancana, Sam Giancana had an affair with a woman from Oak Park, Ill., who was a film star. "They had a baby. That was my mother."

The mobster visited the family home more than 100 times, said Coco Giancana. "I know where my mother came from and I know who came to our house and I know where the checks came from."

Coco Giancana moved here about 20 years ago, she said, after a career as a top model in New York City for Wilhelmina modeling agency. She grew up across from Jilly Rizzo's joint in New York and was befriended by Rizzo and Sam Giancana's friend Frank Sinatra, "who would take us backstage when I was 16."

Sam Giancana was killed at his Chicago home in 1975 in what appeared to be a mob hit. He was 67.

"There are so many people who claim they are related to us," said Antoinette Giancana.

Coco Giancana said she kept her grandfather's name "because I'm proud of it." She added that she's never taken a DNA test to confirm her link to the organized crime chief.

Her father, whom she did not identify, was a partner with Arnie Morton, who founded Morton's steak restaurants empire. She wasn't shy about filling in the blanks in her biography. During her modeling days, she said she dated the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench over a 10-year period starting in the 1970s.

Thanks to Norm!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Biography of Sam Giancana

Born Gilormo Giancana, upon May 24, 1908, in Chicago, Illinois. Baptized Momo Salvatore Giancana and good well known as Sam, he grew up in a severe area upon the West Side of Chicago, as the son of Sicilian immigrants. As a teenager, Giancana led a travel squad called “The 42s,” who carried out low-level tasks for members of the absolute Chicago Mafia of the 1920s, led by the scandalous mafiosi Al Capone. Giancana got a pursuit as a “wheelman,” or driver, in the Capone organization, and was arrested for the initial time in 1925, for automobile theft. He shortly graduated to “triggerman,” and by the age of twenty had been the budding theme in 3 attempted attempted attempted murder investigations, though was never tried.

In 1933, Giancana tied together Angeline DeTolve; the integrate had 3 daughters. (Their daughter Antoinette published a memoir, Mafia Princess, in 1984.) Giancana climbed the host ranks via the rest of the decade, as the care in Chicago altered with the jailing of Capone in 1931 (he died in 1947). He initial served prison time starting in 1939, for illegally production whiskey. After his recover in the early 1940s, Giancana set out to take over Chicago’s bootleg lottery gambling operations, quite those in the city’s primarily African-American neighborhood. Through a heartless fibre of events, together with beatings, kidnappings, and murder, he and his associates won carry out of the numbers racket, augmenting the Chicago Mob’s annual income by millions of dollars.

A clergyman who interviewed Giancana during his Selective Service earthy hearing during World War II personal the mafiosi as a “constitutional psychopath” who showed “strong eremitic trends.” As a result, Giancana perceived 4-F standing and was unfit from troops service. He profited from the fight upon the homefront, creation a happening production tawdry allotment stamps. By the finish of the war, the Giancana family had changed from the city to a residence in the abundant Chicago suburb of Oak Park.

When Anthony “Tough Tony” Accardo stepped down as the conduct of the Chicago Outfit (as the city’s bend of the Mafia was known) in the mid-1950s, Giancana ascended to the tip spot. By 1955, he tranquil the gambling and harlotry operations, narcotics trafficking, and alternative bootleg industries in his hometown. Under his leadership, the Chicago Mafia grew from a comparatively small-scale pole to a bone-fide rapist organization. He after told an representative for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which he “owned” not usually Chicago, though Miami and Los Angeles as well.

In 1959, FBI agents planted a microphone in a room at the Armory Lounge in the suburb of Forest Park, which served as Giancana s headquarters. For the subsequent 6 years, they were means to eavesdrop upon the workings of the Mafia and benefit hold of most rapist activities in Chicago and around the country. Though Giancana s power as Chicago’s preeminent crime trainer was already streamer towards the finish by the tighten of the 1950s, his trail in the 1960s would cranky with dual of America’s most absolute men: Robert and John F. Kennedy.

After Angeline s death in 1954, Giancana became scandalous for his decorated amicable hold up and visit womanizing. He was a crony of the thespian and singer Frank Sinatra, and reportedly used Sinatra as a go-between with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was alienating the Mafia with his relentless debate opposite orderly crime in America. (The intervention was assumingly unsuccessful, as Robert Kennedy swayed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to place Giancana’s home in Oak Park underneath 24-hour notice in 1963.) Giancana’s countless lovers enclosed Phyllis McGuire, of the McGuire Sisters singing group, and Judith Campbell Exner, an singer who would couple Giancana to an even some-more absolute man: President John F. Kennedy, with whom Exner became concerned when she was still saying Giancana.

Giancana’s assorted ties to JFK have prolonged been the theme of speculation. Many historians hold which list seasoned mixture in Chicago (then underneath the carry out of old-school Democrat Mayor Richard Daley) helped safeguard Kennedy’s choosing in 1960. Giancana himself reportedly claimed which he had helped run a vote-stealing fraud in Cook County, Illinois, a district which had been the determining cause in Kennedy’s victory. On the alternative hand, there have been additionally determined rumors of Mafia impasse in JFK’s 1963 assassination, maybe as punish for what they saw as the ingratitude of the Kennedys in the form of RFK’s electioneer opposite orderly crime.

Whatever Giancana’s specific couple to JFK was, the dual group had a nemesis in common: Fidel Castro, whom Mob leaders hated since he had taken over Cuba, with the endless gambling rackets. The Kennedy Administration, obviously, noticed Castro’s Communist system of administration as a hazard to inhabitant security, as evidenced by the barbarous Bay of Pigs advance in Apr 1961. The tie between Giancana and Kennedy would again be the theme of conjecture when report after flush which the Mafia and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had assimilated forces someday in the 1960s to tract Castro’s assassination.

In 1965, Giancana was put upon hearing for refusing to attest prior to a Chicago grand jury questioning orderly crime. He was condemned to a single year in jail. Upon his release, Giancana trafficked to Mexico, where he lived in self-imposed outcast until 1974. He was extradited which year by the Mexican authorities to attest prior to an additional grand jury. He was postulated shield from sovereign charge and appeared prior to which jury 4 times, though supposing small report of use.

Giancana was subsequent called to attest prior to a United States Senate cabinet questioning Mafia impasse in a unsuccessful CIA tract to attempted murder Castro. Before he was scheduled to testify, Giancana flew to Houston, Texas, and underwent gall bladder surgery. He returned to his Oak Park home upon Jun 17, 1975. Two days later, Sam Giancana was shot once in the back of the conduct and multiform some-more times up by the chin with a .22-caliber pistol whilst in progress in his basement. Though theories abounded as to who killed him (rival Mafiosi, CIA operatives shaken about his destiny testimony, a single of most former girlfriends), no a single was ever arrested in tie with the murder.

Thanks to Full Issue

Monday, December 07, 2009

"Capone May Go Free"

Imagine being a kid whose father was Al Capone's attorney and being taken to school by Sam "the Cigar" Giacana.

That's the early life of Donald "Donnie" Parrillo, who has written and self-published a book, "Capone May Go Free," about his family's connections to the Chicago mob. Parrillo served as councilman in Chicago's notorious First Ward, which has been credited with swinging the presidential election in favor of John F. Kennedy.

"It's about an era that's never going to happen again," Parrillo said. "Today, organized crime is very little. It's more of a myth."

Parrillo, who will be 79 on Dec. 13, had a heart attack while visiting Michigan City about a month ago. He's recovering from quadruple bypass surgery at his Chicago home. He spoke to The News-Dispatch by phone about the book he worked on for nearly a year.

In the book's prologue, Parrillo assures the reader, "Every word you are about to read is true. This is truly a true story based on my own experiences, from growing up in Chicago's 'Little Italy' where I saw 'Taylor Street Justice' administered with an iron hand, to that truly frightening moment when I was approached at my father's grave by the leader of the Chicago Outfit, Sam 'the Cigar' Giancana, and asked to run for alderman of Chicago's legendary First Ward."

The book's title comes from a newspaper headline about Parrillo's father, William "Billie" Parrillo, who found a legal loophole to get the infamous Al Capone free from prison. Capone had already served more than four years of an 11-year sentence at Alcatraz for tax evasion. Capone was released on parole and, ultimately, was done in by brain syphilis he got from actress Jean Harlow. He died at age 48.

William Parrillo also died at 48, and his son has never gotten over the early death. His father graduated from Kent College of Law in Chicago and became an assistant U.S. district attorney. William Parrillo left to start his own law practice with partner Joe Roach. Soon, his son said, "they became the go-to lawyers in Chicago for gangsters...," including Capone, Giancana and Frank Nitti.

Parrillo makes a point of saying his father worked for the organized crime syndicate, but he wasn't connected to them.

"They never could order him what to do," Parrillo said. "He was never in a position where he had to say yes."

The author devotes an entire chapter to Giancana, commonly referred to as "Mo." He knew Giancana "from the day I was born," he said. The Chicago mob boss occasionally took him and his brother to school.

"Mo loved the limelight," Parrillo recalled.

He writes about being asked to go to his father's grave, where he was met by a man dressed like a cemetery caretaker. The man turned out to be Giancana, and he asked Parrillo to run for alderman of Chicago's First Ward, one of the most politically influential wards in the city.

"The government was breathing down the First Ward's back because gambling was running wild," Parrillo said. "They knew I was a legitimate businessman."

Parrillo served as alderman from 1964 to 1968 and said he benefitted financially from it.

"The $11 million deposit bank I owned went to a $36 million bank," Parrillo said. "I also inherited a lot of money."

Parrillo spent summers at his family's lake house in Long Beach, starting at age 3 until his late teens. He lived full time in Long Beach with his wife and two children from 1979 to 1989. His daughter, Kimberly, graduated from Elston High School in 1986, and son Timothy is a 1987 Elston graduate.

"I loved Long Beach and the area so much, I wanted them to experience it, too," Parrillo said.

He considers the mobsters he knew as men who treated each other honorably.

"The lesson I learned from the big shots was, if you're an honorable person, you can never be stopped," Parrillo said. "When you make a commitment, you follow through with it."

Parrillo is distributing the book only in Michigan City. He has contracted with local resident Alan Harvey to stock the books in the three Al's Supermarkets and at The Bookstore at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets. Visit or call (877) 874-6220 for more information.

Thanks to Laurie Wink

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Patrick Tuite Settles Lawsuit Over Double Deal

The Reader received the other day a nearly blank sheet of paper passing itself off as a press release. At the top of the sheet PRESS RELEASE had been typed, and beneath that heading this message:

"The case of Tuite vs. harper Collins, Michael Corbitt and Sam Giancana has been resolved. All terms of the settlement are confidential. The reference to Patrick Tuite was removed from the paperback edition of the book Double Deal prior to its publication in 2003."

There was a cover letter, equally terse.

"Dear Sir or Madam: In that your publication previously reported on the litigation for defamation brought by Patrick Tuite, the enclosed Press Release may be of interest to your readers. The release is self-explanatory and no additional information is available."

It was signed by Paul M. Levy of the Loop law firm Deutsch, Levy & Engel.

The press release was self-explanatory in the sense that it said why it said nothing. Because the terms are confidential, that's why. I called Levy and, chancing an immediate hang-up, asked who he was. He said he represented Tuite. Why are the terms confidential? I asked. He did not have to answer such a prying question, but he did.

"By agreement of the parties," he said. "We felt it was an appropriate element of the settlement."

The Tuite suit was major litigation. I wrote about it frequently for the Reader, and at some length. Tuite is a prominent criminal defense attorney who believed he was slandered in Double Deal, a 2003 book written by a mobbed-up ex-cop, now dead, and by the godson of the former Chicago mob godfather. In the book, Corbitt, the cop, told a story about making a run out to Salt Lake City to pick up $1 million stuffed into a couple of duffel bags. Corbitt said he understood the money was needed to hire a "big-shot lawyer" — Tuite — to defend mob boss Joey Aiuppa against federal charges.

"After Tuite was on the case, all the guys were sort of semijubilant. Everybody figured Tuite had it all handled..." Corbitt wrote. "So you can imagine their reaction when they were all found guilty the following January...

"And what about Tuite? What kind of explanation could he possibly have given for this result? I can't think of one that would've satisfied me--not after advancing him a million bucks for his legal fees. And I guess that's why, for the life of me, I've never understood why Pat Tuite didn't get whacked. Go figure."

The theory Tuite advanced in his lawsuit for why he didn't get whacked was that there was no million dollars and he didn't even represent Aiuppa. His suit failed at the circuit court and appellate levels on the grounds that Illinois' "innocent construction rule" required the courts to measure arguably slanderous language by its most benign interpretation, which in this case was simply that the mob thought Tuite was one crackerjack attorney. Tuite appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. He went beyond arguing that the lower courts had misapplied the innocent construction rule. He called the rule an "anachronism" and asked the supreme court to abolish it.

First Amendment attorneys leaped to the rule's defense. The Reader, the Tribune, the Sun-Times, ABC, CBS, WLS, Crain Communications, the Copley Press, the Illinois Broadcasters Association, and Simon & Schuster joined in an amicus brief that called Tuite's request "profoundly ill-advised." The brief argued that the innocent construction rule "preserves writers, publishers and broadcasters from the chilling effect of having to mount a lengthy and expensive defense of marginal and abusive cases." If, occasionally, it's misapplied, "that...does not mean you throw it out; that is what appellate review is for."

I first wrote about Tuite's suit in 2006, when Tuite took his suit to the supreme court. A few months later I examined what was to me the tortured logic by which that court both ruled for Tuite but managed to keep the innocent construction rule alive. When defense attorneys asked the court for a rehearing, I wrote about the Tuite suit a third time. And that was that. A rehearing wasn't granted and Tuite's suit returned to circuit court for trial. But in the end — I was able to find this out — the two sides agreed to let a mediator work out terms everyone could live with.

Those are the terms that are none of our business.

The note from Levy wasn't quite as succinct or dramatic a message as a dead fish dropped on your doorstep. But it came close. The message: It's over; Fuhgeddaboutit!

Which I'm afraid I and the various parties to the amicus brief had begun to do as soon as the innocent construction rule was saved. It was unpleasant of Levy to tell us so little. But it was nice of him to remember that we once cared.

Thanks to Michael Miner

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Mafia Princess Plans for Grand Opening of The Las Vegas Mob Exhibition

Plans for a Mafia exhibit in Las Vegas would include artifacts that lift the veil on how Mafia bosses really lived -- down to their favorite chairs, fancy china and shotguns.

The Las Vegas Mob Exhibition could find a home at a fancy hotel on the Strip as soon as next year, says Antoinette "The Mafia Princess" Giancana, the project spokeswoman and daughter of notorious Chicago Outfit boss, Sam "Momo" Giancana.

"We've got my father's things. All the living room furniture from when my mom and dad were married in 1933," she said. "Crystal and flatware. We've got a slot machine and one of his rifles. He used to hunt."

Similar artifacts that belonged to Bugsy Siegel and Meyer "the Mob's Accountant" Lansky also will be on display, Giancana said.

Of course, the exhibit will face competition from the government. Las Vegas mayor, former high-profile mob lawyer Oscar Goodman, has his city backing a $50 million mob museum in the works called the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement.

Giancana said she's not worried about competition.

"That place will be more documentary and police-oriented," she said. "Our exhibit will be more about family."

Thanks to Mark J. Konkol

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mob War Ready to Erupt in Las Vegas?

In one corner is the 74-year old daughter of legendary Chicago Outfit boss Sam "Momo" Giancana whose turf once included Sin City.

In the other corner is the beefy mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, who was once the defense lawyer for the Chicago Mob's top emissary in Vegas.

At stake are future tourist dollars once Goodman and Antoinette "Mafia Princess" Giancana open competing crime syndicate museums.

According to "Vegas Confidential" columnist Norm Clarke, Ms. Giancana "was in Las Vegas over the weekend for meetings with backers of the museum, which is planned for a Strip location. It would compete with a $50 million downtown mob museum being pushed by Mayor Oscar Goodman. She's partnering with local investors Jay Bloom and Charlie Sandefur, who reportedly are in negotiations with Strip properties for their venue."

The quirky Giancana, who wrote a book about growing up as the daughter of a Chicago Outfit boss, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that "There would be tremendous foot traffic. I think it's going to be dynamite" she said. Her father was cut down by mob bullets in 1975 as he cooked a late-night snack in his Oak Park basement apartment.

Ms. Giancana claims to be moving to Las Vegas this summer to personally oversee the project. Clarke reports that "Giancana arrived with two beefy bodyguards for a business dinner Saturday at Capo's on West Sahara Avenue. She has asked Capo's owner Nico Santucci, a Chicago native, to design the Giancana room for the exhibit, which will include the same furniture that was in the family home the night her father was killed while frying Italian sausage and peppers."

The exhibit is "going to be a first," Giancana said. Bloom, she said, is "bringing in millions of dollars (worth of stuff) from various different (crime) families that have never, ever been seen" by the public.

Mobologists believe that Chicagoan Anthony "Ant" Spilotro whacked her father in the June twilight 34-years ago. Spilotro became the Outfit's top guy in Las Vegas. The Ant's numerous criminal cases were deftly handled by smooth-talking defense lawyer Oscar Goodman. Long after Spilotro himself was murdered and buried in an Indiana cornfield with his slain brother, Mr. Goodman was elected mayor of Las Vegas.

One of Mayor Goodman's top priorities has been a mob museum, now under construction near his city hall office. The $50 million tourist attraction could open as early as next year.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

85 Year Old Denied Release from Custody in Reputed Mob Pipe Bombing Case

A federal judge today refused to release from custody an elderly Oak Brook man charged with the Outfit-related pipe-bombing of a video gambling machine business.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier said he believes 85-year-old Samuel Volpendesto has serious health problems but found the risk of flight was too great to release him from the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown.

Volpendesto is charged in a case that links the Chicago mob and the Outlaws motorcycle gang to the pipe bombing of a Berwyn business that was in competition with the Outfit. Reputed mobster Michael "the Large Guy" Sarno also was indicted in the case.

Nathan Diamond-Falk, Volpendesto's lawyer, argued his client is suffering at the MCC from bladder cancer and an infection from a cut he sustained in the spring. It would be a life sentence for Volpendesto to remain jailed before a trial, Diamond-Falk said.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk told the judge Volpendesto looked vigorous in court before the hearing started and was "acting like a clown, frankly." Volpendesto can be heard on secretly made tapes in the case linking himself to the Outfit and the 2003 bombing, Funk said.

At different points in one recording, Funk said, Volpendesto bragged about working for mobsters with ties to legendary Outfit boss Al Capone and claimed he also worked for the late mob boss Sam Giancana.

At Funk's request, a jail official informed the court about Volpendesto's ongoing medical treatment at the MCC.

Schenkier ultimately rejected Volpendesto's request, noting the crime was very serious and suggesting that despite the fact Volpendesto is confined to a wheelchair, he could still flee and not be available to have his case heard by a jury.

That could be his choice, Schenkier said, or the choice of the Outfit if the mob perceived Volpendesto could help the government. "He might have assistance in not being around at trial," the judge said.

Thanks to WGN

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Antoinette "The Mafia Princess" Giancana To Open Mob Museum in Las Vegas

The "Mafia Princess" is moving to Las Vegas to help open a mob-themed exhibit.

Antoinette Giancana, daughter of murdered Chicago mob chief Sam Giancana, was in Las Vegas over the weekend for meetings with backers of the museum, which is planned for a Strip location. It would compete with a $50 million downtown mob museum being pushed by Mayor Oscar Goodman.

She's partnering with local investors Jay Bloom and Charlie Sandefur, who reportedly are in negotiations with Strip properties for their venue.

"There would be tremendous foot traffic," she said by phone Tuesday. "I think it's going to be dynamite. Jeez," she paused, adding, "I shouldn't use that word."

Her 1984 book was titled "Mafia Princess - Growing Up In Sam Giancana's Family," as was the 1986 made-for-TV movie that starred Susan Lucci as Giancana and Tony Curtis as her father.

Las Vegas was part of her father's territory, and she's excited about "following in the shadow of his footsteps."

Giancana, 74, said she's moving here this summer to take a hands-on role in the project.

Her father, who controlled Chicago in the late 1950s and 1960s, was killed at his Chicago home June 19, 1975, four days before her birthday.

While the name of Las Vegas hit man Tony Spilotro has come up as a suspect, her No. 1 suspect, she said, remains the CIA. She's convinced the CIA wanted to silence her father. She co-wrote the 2005 book "JFK And Sam: The Connection Between the Giancana And Kennedy Assassinations," which made the case that her father ordered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Giancana arrived with two beefy bodyguards for a business dinner Saturday at Capo's on West Sahara Avenue. She has asked Capo's owner Nico Santucci, a Chicago native, to design the Giancana room for the exhibit, which will include the same furniture that was in the family home the night her father was killed while frying Italian sausage and peppers.

"Sam would love this joint," she told Santucci, who opened the Italian steakhouse at 5675 W. Sahara Ave. this year. It's patterned after a Chicago speakeasy with photographs of mob icons and members of the Rat Pack.

The exhibit is "going to be a first," Giancana said. Bloom, she said, is "bringing in millions of dollars (worth of stuff) from various different (crime) families that have never, ever been seen" by the public.

Thanks to Norm Clarke

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cook County Commissioner, John Daley, Named in FBI File of Chicago Mob Boss

Giancana's FBI file has some rather interesting information. We'll quote to you: FBI Headquarters File Number 92-3171-2602 Samuel M. Giancana, Top Hoodlum Program - Anti Racketeering. Daily Summary, July 2, 1975.

As Bureau awareFBI Files Sam Giancana, Cook County States Attorney's Office, Chicago, has in its possession some papers and documents seized under search warrant from Giancana residence. Appearing in July 1, 1975, issue of "Chicago Daily News", column of Mike Royko in article captioned "The Giancana Wedding Gifts", was a list of names of some of the several hundred guest who made monetary contributions at wedding of Giancana's daughter, Bonnie Lou, to Anthony Tisci. In previous tel. some of these guest were made known to bureau to include Circuit Court Judge Daniel Covelli.

In addition to those individuals previously noted to Bureau. Article reflected that wedding list also contained following individuals:

Pat Petrone "deceased", 25th Ward Alderman, $200 gift; Fred Roti, Alderman from First Ward, Chicago, $200 gift, Frank Chesrow, former President of Metropolitan Sanitary District of Chicago, present member of Cook County Board of Commissioners, $200 gift; Anthony DeTolve, former Illinois State Senator, nephew to Giancana by marriage, $200 gift; John Kringas, member of Chicago zoning board of appeals, partner with Vito Marzullo, Alderman in a lucrative funeral home , $50 gift; James J. Adduci, former Illinois State Representative, $20 gift; James Rinella, former Illinois State Representative, $20 gift, Louis Briatta, father- in - law to Chicago Mayor Daley's son, John Daley, who recently married Briatta's daughter, $100 gift.

Well, there you have it: Illinois politicians willing to give gifts to Chicago Mob boss Sam Giancana's daughter and it made the newspaper prominently. Mike Royko was arguably the most popular columnist of his day. You'll notice John Daley's name comes up.

Thanks to Steve Bartin

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Untold Stories of Alderman Don Parrillo

Former First Ward Alderman Don Parrillo, 78, is the most admittedly corrupt Chicago politician you likely never heard of. But that's likely to change.

Parrillo, who represented the city's notorious 1st Ward from 1964 to 1968, is about to self-publish a controversial book concerning organized crime and political corruption in the city Al Capone made famous.

His father, William "Billy" Parrillo, was the attorney of choice for the Chicago mob's elite, he says - Al Capone, Frank Nitti and Sam Giancana, among them.

Consequently, the alderman has a lot stories. "I started talking into my tape recorder," Parrillo explains. "I've got 16 chapters."

"I name names unless the person is still alive or a member of their family is still alive," he says, adding with a laugh, "I want to stay that way."

Parrillo also admits that getting into Chicago politics wasn't exactly his idea.

He was asked to run for alderman as a personal favor by Chicago Outfit boss Sam Giancana, who used to drive him and his brother to school as kids, Parrillo says. "This was before Giancana was anybody...I used to call him Mr. Sam."

Other Parrillo tales range from the simply curious - it was American film sex symbol of the 1930s, Jean Harlow, who infected Al Capone with the syphilis that eventually killed him - to the simply conspiratorial - the Kennedy brothers' (JFK & RFK) alleged involvement in the death of another American film sex icon, Marilyn Monroe.

For an unauthorized account of both Parrillo and his book, see reporter Anthony DeBartolo's 4,000-word Hyde Park Media web exclusive: "The Untold Stories of Alderman Don Parrillo."

Anthony DeBartolo is a Chicago-based reporter who has frequently contributed to the Chicago Tribune. His feature work has also appeared in daily newspapers across the U.S. and in Canada, including the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, Sacramento Bee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Toronto Star.

DeBartolo is also the author of the special interest health book, "Lupus Underground: A Patient's Case for a Long-Ignored, Drug-Free, Non-Patentable, Counter-Intuitive Therapy That Actually Works"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Dark Side of Camelot

There are many Jack Kennedys in America's collective consciousness, even 46 years after his Friday lunchtime slaying under clearing Dallas skies. It was the most public killing in American history until the destruction of the World Trade Center on a sunny Tuesday morning.

A million bits of paper, freed through gaping holes in the burning Twin Towers, fluttered high over Manhattan. So did the president's brother and political keeper, Robert Kennedy, face a blizzard of paperwork as he secured safes at the White House, the Justice Department, the national security regimes and other offices around Washington. His goal: to hide his dead brother's sins and political missteps from a shocked and mourning American people.

Bobby wanted to protect his brother's legacy while denying the Kennedy family's political enemies their proof of JFK's complicity in the murder of Diem of South Vietnam; Lumumba of the Congo; Arbenz of the Dominican Republic and other excesses of presidential power; the failure of the Bay of Pigs; the secret deal with Khrushchev to remove nuclear missiles from Turkey to end the Cuban Missile Crisis and other details best kept from the public so soon after JFK's death.

Nor was there any love lost between Bobby and Lyndon Baines Johnson, the newly sworn-in president already in the air with the slain president on board. Bobby worked the phones the afternoon of the shooting, ordering longtime Kennedy family aides and political operatives to not discuss what they knew and to secure any letters, memos or notes of communications in which JFK took part.

In addition to changing the combination on the Oval Office safe to keep LBJ from discovering its contents until he could find a secure place for them, Bobby ordered the removal of the secret taping system that JFK had installed not only in the Oval Office but throughout the living quarters that the president, until two nights before, had shared not only with Jacqueline but with a woman whom Bobby himself had arranged for his brother to bed.

So opens "The Dark Side of Camelot," a 1997 classic by Seymour Hersh, the journalist who broke the My Lai story. Worth a revisit at this time, it's a thoroughly researched and hyper-revealing look not only at JFK's life and presidency but at the horrifying politics of the time. Politics so well hidden from a trusting public by a press corps that, by and large, honored an unwritten rule that certain things a powerful man does are best not reported.

Jack Kennedy was incapable of true partnership with people beyond Bobby and his father, Joe, whom he worshiped. He inherited his father's beliefs that other men were of lesser importance and were to be used for personal gain. Women, meanwhile, were a beautiful distraction that held little value beyond sexual pleasure.

Hersh personally interviewed many men and women who had known JFK since his days as a congressman from Massachusetts; his behavior hadn't changed since his carefree college days at Harvard.

For all that was at stake, JFK at times felt he was invincible, that nothing could touch him. Recklessness is a Kennedy trait and JFK brought it to the fore after he won the presidency.

Hersh quotes a longtime lover of Jack's who slept with him the night before his inauguration. She said the idea of betraying Jacqueline and his children was not on his mind, even though, had it been reported by an otherwise fawning press, his political career would have been over before his first 100 days in the White House.

She said, "I think somehow between his money, his position, his charm, his whatever, he was caught up in feeling that he was buffered. That people would take care of it. There is that feeling that you are not accountable, that the laws of the world do not apply to you. Laws had never been applied to his father and to him."

Yet JFK, described by former lovers as smooth, a charming man who laughed easily when among peers at the thousands of nights of parties and social events in his political years, kept the Kennedy aloofness at the same time.

Hersh interviewed Charles Spalding, who grew up with JFK: "Kennedy hated physical touching. People taking liberties with him," said Spalding. "Which I assume goes back to his mother [Rose] and the fact that she was so cold, so distant."

As president, JFK ignored the niceties of politics when he had to. He ordered the assassinations of world leaders and, like his father, had a working relationship with organized crime bosses in Chicago and New Orleans. JFK also regularly received graft while in the White House, Hersh writes. Over a period of years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from California businessmen were delivered to the White House by operatives. Chicago mobster Sam Giancana's girlfriend on several occasions ran money from JFK's White House to the mob boss personally. She'd board a train at Union Station carrying a suitcase filled with cash and deliver it to Giancana himself, who would meet her at the Chicago train station. Not once, but several times, according to Hersh. The delivery of the money was set up by Bobby.

Was it money for Giancana's help in trying to kill Castro? A payoff for delivering votes in the 1960 election, which Kennedy won by a very slim margin? "That election was stolen," Hersh writes.

There is no understanding Jack Kennedy without investigating his grandfather, John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, an old Boston pol, bought a seat in Congress in 1912 but lost it after an investigation by the House.

Joe Kennedy played a big role in that scandalous election, hiring thugs to beat voters opposed to Fitz; Joe then used money and less-violent but just as effective means to get his son Jack elected president. The lessons were not lost on Jack.

Hersh's book is priceless in its bare-knuckled accuracy, from the origins of the Kennedy empire, the purchase of the 1960 presidential election, JFK's deadly international gamesmanship, J. Edgar Hoover's hatred of the Kennedys and father Joe's embracing of Adolf Hitler's politics.

The myth of the young idealist, the brave and courageous knight cut down early in life, still survives in the hearts of most Americans. In spite of the facts, JFK's role is that of the fair-haired American prince worthy of canonization.

Thanks to Hersh, history is properly recorded here for those willing to read it. "The Dark Side of Camelot" reveals a rogue's gallery of pimps, mobsters, right-wing military officers, ruthless political operatives, a fanatical FBI director and, of course, CIA spooks -- all the shadowy illegitimates of American politics who helped give JFK the presidency and who eventually decided to take it all away from him after the rain stopped falling in Dallas.

In a tragic twist of irony, Hersh connects JFK's inability to dodge the final head-blast from "Oswald's rifle" to JFK's amorous adventures. Because he'd strained his back while having a tryst in the pool belonging to his brother-in-law, the actor Peter Lawford, JFK had to wear a canvas and metal back brace from his neck to his waste. When hit by the neck shot, JFK tried to duck before the second (or third) shot -- but the brace limited his motion.

This book is as explosive as the bullet that sent JFK's skull flying.

Thanks to John L. Guerra

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Chicago Mob Order

Last week's death of an old-line Chicago Outfit boss reveals some changes in the way the crime syndicate does business.

As Chicago organized crime figures die off or go to prison, authorities tell the I-Team they are being replaced by far less flamboyant Outfit bosses, men who conduct mob rackets quietly and collect the proceeds with skilled efficiency.

The new mob order has never been more apparent than at last Wednesday's wake for high-ranking outfit boss Alphonso Tornabene, who died on Sunday at age 86.

It looked just like any other wake for any other man who'd lived a long life. The friends and relatives of Alphonso Tornabene streamed into pay their last respects all day on the northwest side.

A few mourners apparently didn't want to be seen at the wake for a man who recently headed the Chicago Outfit, according to testimony from a top underworld informant.

Mob hitman Nick Calabrese told the FBI that Tornabene administered the sacred oath of the Outfit to new members, a position reserved for only top capos. It's a ceremony that Calabrese described just as Hollywood has depicted over the years with a blood oath and a flaming holy card.

On Wednesday night, at Chicago's Montclair Funeral Home, the ceremony was less fiery. The holy card had Tornabene's name on it.

The attendees included Tracy Klimes, who says Tornabene was a great man who once cared for her family after her own father died, and knew little of his Outfit ties. "People always judge a book by its cover and I know there's things that people say about people but he had a wonderful heart," said Klimes.

The scene on Wednesday was far different than the crowds that turned out at Montclair more than thirty years ago after flashy Outfit boss Sam Giancana was assassinated and where attendance by Giancana's underlings was considered mandatory.

In 1986, mob bosses from other cities and a Hollywood actor showed up for the wake and funeral of Anthony and Michael Spilotro who had also been murdered by their Outfit brethren. But by 1992 at the Montclair wake for godfather Anthony "Joe Batters" Accardo, only a few top hoodlums dared to attend such a public event.

The Accardo funeral and Tornabene's wake on Wednesday are evidence that the new mob order calls for discretion in business and in life.

There was one notable mourner on Wednesday night: suburban nursing home owner Nicholas Vangel.

During the Family Secrets mob trial, Mr. Vangel was shown to be a confidante of one time mob boss Jimmy Marcello. Although Vangel wasn't charged, the government showed undercover video of Vangel visiting with Marcello in prison and discussing the FBI investigation.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie


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