The Chicago Syndicate: Tony Accardo
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Tony Accardo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Accardo. Show all posts

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Will the Chicago Outfit Assign Hitmen to Compose 'Trunk Music' Against the Writers Guild?

Daily Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart has come up with a novel idea to end the six-week-old writers’ strike – bring in the Chicago mafia to whack a few leaders of the striking Writers Guild.

In a column that ran in Daily Variety on Dec.10 under the headline “A way to settle so it’s all in the ‘family’” – with the word ‘family’ in quotes to make sure we all know he’s talking about the Mafia – Bart writes: “OK. I’ll admit it: I was once on reasonably friendly terms with Sidney Korshak” – the Chicago mafia’s man in Hollywood for more than 50 years.

KorshakSupermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Power Brokers, who was the go-to guy for the late-Universal Studios mogul Lew Wasserman when contract talks stalled, was a master of “the trade-off,” according to Bart, although in fact, Korshak was even more the master of a quite different art – the art of the implied death threat.

“Korshak died 11 years ago,” Bart writes, “but had he been alive today, he would have been dismayed by the state of disarray in Hollywood. The writers and show-runners don’t seem to appreciate what management has done for them, he would have declared. And the companies similarly seem to have lost their talent at hard bargaining.

“Korshak surely would have enhanced the proposed compensation for digital downloads (one of the sticking points in the contract talks), and had his offer not been embraced, a few individuals might have been downloaded as well. Peace would prevail.”

Here, by ‘downloaded,’ Bart apparently means whacked; and by “a few individuals,” he assumedly means union leaders, since they are the ones to whom contract offers are generally made.

“Does he know what century we’re in?” asked an astonished member of the WGA’s hierarchy. “Next he’ll be calling on Pinkerton agents to fire into our picket lines.”

Of course, Bart, who is a longtime member of the Writers Guild, may be just joking around – showing off the tough-guy image he has of himself, which is something he’s known to do on occasion. But a reasonable reader might ask: Is this anything for the editor of a newspaper to joke about during an increasingly tense strike?

Joking or not, whacking troublesome Hollywood union leaders is something that Korshak’s friends in the Chicago syndicate were known to do once in a while. One famous case was the murder of Willie Bioff, the #2 guy in the one of Hollywood most powerful unions, who in 1943 publicly identified Sid Korshak as the mob’s man in Hollywood.

Korshak’s ties to the Chicago mob go all the way back to the 1930s and the days of Al Capone. In 1943, his name came up during the sensational trial of some of Chicago’s top mobsters on charges that they’d extorted more than $1 million dollars from Hollywood’s movie studios. Unlike today, however, back then Daily Variety had an editor named Arthur Unger who wasn’t so cozy with the mafia, and who bravely crusaded against the mob, writing editorials in which he called on Hollywood to run the gangsters out of town.

The scandal began in the late 1930s when the Chicago mob seized control of one of Hollywood’s most powerful unions - the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents most of the behind-the-scenes workers in show business.

Frank Nitti, who was running the outfit while Capone was serving time for income tax evasion, controlled the union’s bosses, including Willie Bioff, who was finally indicted on charges of extorting money from the studios in exchange for labor peace.

During the trial, Korshak’s name came up when Bioff testified that he had been introduced to Korshak by one of the mob defendants, who had said: “Willie, meet Sidney Korshak. He is our man. . . . Any messages he might deliver to you is a message from us.”

Nitti had killed himself shortly after being indicted, and a lot of top mob guys went to jail, including Johnnie Roselli and Paul “The Waiter” Ricca. And in 1955, a decade after he was released from prison, Bioff was blown to pieces by a car bomb, which in those days was a signature mob hit.

Korshak, who was once described as “the toughest lawyer in America,” was never charged with any crime, and moved easily between gangsters and movie moguls. Though not licensed to practice law in California, where he lived for many years, Korshak served as an adviser to many of the top Hollywood studios. And at the same time, authorities said, he was also an adviser to such mob figures as Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo, Sam Giancana, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Gus Alex.

In 1978, the California attorney general’s Organized Crime Control Commission issued a report that called Korshak “the key link between organized crime and big business,” noting that he was a “senior adviser” to organized crime groups in California, Chicago, Las Vegas and New York. In a rare interview, Korshak denied the allegations. “I’ve never been cited, let alone indicted, for anything,” Korshak told the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in 1978.

In Hollywood, Korshak helped broker numerous deals for some of the top studios. In 1973, he mediated in the negotiations that led to the sale of MGM’s theaters and properties in its overseas markets to Cinema International Corp., a joint venture between MCA and Paramount. MCA chairman Lew Wasserman and Charles Bluhdorn, whose Gulf & Western owned Paramount, personally negotiated the deal with MGM owner Kirk Kerkorian - with Korshak as mediator.

Bart knew Korshak back in those days, too – back when Bart was second-in-command at Paramount Studios in the 1970s – back when Korshak was the mentor of Bart’s mentor – Robert Evans, who was head of production at Paramount.

“Sidney (Korshak) was in my office every day for 10 years,” Evans said in an interview for my L.A. Weekly cover story about Bart in 1994. “There’s not a day that went by when I was in Los Angeles that Sidney wasn’t there…Sidney and Peter and I spent a lot of time together. They never broke bread. But, you know, Peter was my right-hand guy and Sid was my consigliere, so naturally they met.”

In his book, “The Kid Stays in the Picture: A Notorious Life,” Evans wrote that Korshak “was not only my consigliere, but my godfather and closest friend . . . my lifelong protector.”

Bart, whose coverage of the strike has been criticized for toadying up to management, was a newspaperman in the 1960s before he joined Evans and Korshak in running Paramount Studios. In 1990, Bart actually boasted in an article for Gentlemen’s Quarterly that he carried a gun while covering riots in Los Angeles for The New York Times in the mid-1960s. “I carried a gun in my last days at The Times,” he said, claiming that he had twice been shot at while covering a race riot. “My philosophy was: If a man’s going to shoot at me, he’s going to get it right fucking back. I was a good shot. But it was not Times policy.” (Nor is it the policy of any newspaper in the country.)

And he says he wasn’t joking about having shot people during the Watts Riots. When asked about this in 1994, he told LA Weekly that the gun he used was taken from him “by an L.A. cop who was chasing somebody that ran past. He said, ‘Hey, Pete, do you have a gun? And I said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘Hand it to me.’ That’s the last I saw of that goddamn gun.”

So maybe he’s kidding about killing union leaders, and maybe he’s exaggerating about shooting black people during the Watts riot. But either way, maybe the Writers Guild should ask: Why is this guy still a member of this union? Isn’t there some bylaw against members advocating the murder of Writers Guild leaders – especially during a strike?

Thanks to David Robb, Inc.

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.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Mob Will Extort Street Taxes from Anyone

Friends of ours: Nicholas Calabrese, Frank Calabrese Sr., Fred Roti, Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Jackie "The Lacky" Cerone

I could just kick myself for missing Monday's installment of the Family Secrets mob trial playing out at the federal building here in Chicago. There's so much that doesn't make the headlines that is every bit as spellbinding as the stuff that does.

No, I'm not talking about who got whacked in 18 old, cold, brutal unsolved mob hits. Or even referring to the riveting testimony of Nicholas Calabrese, the mob hit man and betraying brother of defendant Frank Calabrese Sr., whose deadpan delivery and downcast eyes mesmerized the jury for five days.

What I'm talking about are those little snippets and small moments when the intersection of the Chicago Outfit and this city's powerbrokers and businessmen comes into startling focus.

The high drama of the day dealt with the cross-examination of Calabrese by defense attorneys who sought to undercut his credibility and shore up the fortunes of the five defendants whose prospects of dying outside prison are looking rather dim. But what happened at the end of the day wasn't even mentioned in the Tribune account and only briefly in the Sun-Times, the last paragraphs of which read:


Victor Cacciatore? The Chicago attorney and real estate developer? Chairman of Lakeside Bank? Member of convicted ex-Gov. George Ryan's transition team? One of the partners of now-indicted Antoin "Tony" Rezko's defunct 62-acre riverfront parcel in the South Loop? Holder of loads of government contracts and political contributor of at least $385,000 since 1995?

Yes, that Victor Cacciatore.

When he took the stand this week at the request of federal prosecutors, it was to buttress what Nick Calabrese had been saying about the Chicago mob. That they will muscle, extort, threaten or kill anybody if they think they can get away with it.

Thank goodness for Sun-Times reporter Steve Warmbir's blog that delved into this small but fascinating aspect of the trial.

Warmbir reports that Cacciatore testified he was being extorted by the mob in the 1980s, though "his memory was fuzzy."

In the 1980s, Cacciatore told the court, somebody put the head of a dog on his son's car and shot out his back windshield. Cacciatore called the cops. Oddly, he refused to tell police at the time who exactly it was who was extorting him to the tune of $5 million. Instead, Cacciatore went to 1st Ward Ald. Fred Roti, someone who had sent a lot of business Cacciatore's way. The extortion demand dropped to a mere $200,000.

Roti, you may recall, went to federal prison in the 1990s on corruption charges. It was revealed that he was a made member of the Chicago mob.

Cacciatore told the court this week that he had some familiarity with mob figures and had lived next door in River Forest to Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, the onetime head of the Outfit. When shown the so-called Last Supper photo of Accardo, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Jackie "The Lacky" Cerone and others, Cacciatore was able identify a number of them. But on the stand, he still could not identify those extorting him nor did he recall telling investigators years ago that by naming names he'd be signing his own death warrant.

Cacciatore, a civic-minded philanthropist not accused of anything, didn't return my calls Tuesday. But, like the trial itself, he leaves us wanting to know much more.

Thanks to Carol Marin

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chicago Mob Consigliere Revealed?

Friends of ours: Nick Calabrese, James "Jimmy the Man" Marcello, Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa, Alphonse "Al the Pizza Man" Tornabene, Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo, Sam "Wings" Carlisi, Anthony "Little" Zizzo
Friends of mine: Leo Caruso

Federal documents reveal a new name in the upper crust of the Chicago outfit, a man that some mob experts believe may have become the mob's "elder statesman."
Documents filed by federal prosecutors in the case against 14 top mob figures revealed the identity of what some mobwatchers say is the Chicago outfit's current consigliere. The man's name was blotted out -- redacted --from the government filing. But, the ABC7 I-Team reveals the name behind the black mark.

Mafia initiation ceremonies are not open to the public. The only pictures are cheesy Hollywood reenactments. So when Chicago wiseguy Nick Calabrese started deep dishing outfit details to federal authorities a few years ago, one story stood out. It is explained in a government filing known as a proffer, or play-by-play, of the case that federal prosecutors plan to put on against Chicago hoodlums charged in Operation Family Secrets. The proffer states that Nick Calabrese will testify that a number of individuals were "made" (or inducted) with him in 1983, including co-defendant James "Jimmy the Man" Marcello.

During the "making ceremony," each 'inductee' was accompanied by his crew boss or "capo," according to the government. Two men "conducted the ceremony, which included an oath of allegiance to the organization."

One of the concelebrants was the late Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa, then considered the top ranking boss of the mob. Aiuppa's partner in the blood ceremony was blacked out in publicly filed documents. But, the ABC7 I-Team has seen an un-redacted copy of the filing. We can reveal the name under the black mark: Alphonse Tornabene.

Tornabene is now 84 years old. He is known in mob circles as "Al the Pizza Man." A suburban pizza parlor is still in his family. Even though he owns a summer home in William's Bay, Wisconsin, the I-Team found Tournabene at the front door of his suburban Chicago house and asked him whether he was the grand mobster at an outfit initiation.

GOUDIE: "Know about that?"

TORNABENE: "I don't remember."

GOUDIE: "You don't remember?"


GOUDIE: "You and Mr. Aiuppa?"

TORNABENE: "I don't remember."

GOUDIE: "You administered the oath of the Outfit according to the feds?"

TORNABENE: "I don't remember."

"Well, it shows significance, one that they took him under their trust to make such a significant ceremony, in making some mob guys," said Robert Fuesel, former federal agent.

Former IRS criminal investigator Bob Fuesel says Tornabene grew up as an outfit bookie but was apparently being groomed for higher office. With the three elder statesman of the outfit all dead, Joey Aiuppa, Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo and Sam "Wings" Carlisi, some federal lawmen believe that the role of consiglieri has fallen on Carlisi's cousin, Al Tornabene, who may have a hard time getting around these days, but is still meeting with known outfit associates.

GOUDIE: "The Crime Commission is saying that you run the mob?"

TORNABENE: (laughs) "I can't even move..."

On several days I-Team surveillance spotted Leo Caruso at Tornabene's home. Seven years ago Caruso was permanently barred from the Laborers' International Union after a federal investigation linked him to the mob's 26th Street crew. A Justice Department report stated that Caruso was "deeply involved with organized crime figures in a substantial manner."

TORNABENE: "He's just a friend..."

GOUDIE: "Mr. Caruso is a friend?"


The FBI is currently investigating the disappearance of Tornabene's top lieutenant, Anthony "Little" Zizzo. The two men met frequently until last August, when Zizzo mysteriously vanished after leaving his west suburban condo for a meeting on Rush Street.

"Well, these indictments through the US attorney's office, just put everything in disarray, and so do they know what happened to Zizzo. I'm sure somebody does. It's hard for me to believe based upon his reputation that he has not been uncovered and/or is probably deceased," said Fuesel.

"Pizza Al" has no criminal record but comes from a mob family. His late brother Frank was convicted of vote fraud and prostitution and authorities say was active in outfit vice rackets.

The Tournabenes are also related by marriage to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Frank Tournabene was a great uncle to Blagojevich's wife Patty. A spokeswoman for the governor's wife says that while she is aware of her late uncle Frank Tornaebene, she doesn't recall a relative named Al and has no memory of ever meeting such a person.

The I-Team attempted to reach former union boss Leo Caruso about his relationship with pizza l Tornabene. A woman who answered the phone at Caruso's Bridgeport home said he wasn't interested in talking.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Monday, June 18, 2007

Long Unsolved Murders Focus of Chicago Mob Trial

Friends of ours: Tony Accardo, James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Anthony Doyle, Frank "The German" Schweihs, Nicholas Calabrese, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro

It seemed like a good idea at the time. A gang of burglars decided in December 1977 to break into the home of Tony Accardo, one of the most powerful men in organized crime history, and rob his basement vault. Accardo was not amused.

Six men Accardo blamed for the heist were swiftly hunted down and murdered, according to papers filed by federal prosecutors in preparation for Chicago's biggest mob trial in years, scheduled to begin Tuesday. And that's only one of the grisly tales jurors are likely to hear at the trial stemming from the FBI's "Operation Family Secrets" investigation of 18 long-unsolved mob murders allegedly tied the Outfit, Chicago's organized crime family.

"This unprecedented indictment puts a hit on the mob," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in announcing the charges in April 2005. "It is remarkable for both the breadth of the murders charged and for naming the entire Chicago Outfit as a criminal enterprise under the anti-racketeering law."

Reputed top mob bosses head the list of defendants -- James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. and wisecracking Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo. Four co-defendants include a retired Chicago police officer, Anthony Doyle. All have pleaded not guilty.

Another defendant, alleged extortionist Frank "The German" Schweihs, has been tentatively dropped from the trial for health reasons.

Accardo, the notorious mob boss whose home was hit by the burglars, died in 1992 at age 86. He boasted that he never spent a night in jail.

The case has already made the kind of headlines that might seem the stuff of novels and movies. A federal marshal assigned to guard a star witness was charged with leaking information about his whereabouts to organized crime. The marshal has pleaded not guilty. That witness -- Nicholas Calabrese, brother of Frank Calabrese Sr. -- knows four decades of mob history from the inside and really does have a link to the movies. He is expected to testify against his brother.

Nicholas Calabrese pleaded guilty to several counts in May and admitted that he took part in 14 mob murders including that of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, known as the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas. Spilotro, who inspired the character played by Joe Pesci in the movie "Casino (Widescreen 10th Anniversary Edition)," and his brother were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in 1986.

Lombardo, 78, and Schweihs disappeared after the indictment was unsealed in 2005, setting off an intense FBI manhunt.

Crime buffs speculated that Lombardo was hiding out in the hills of Sicily or enjoying a life of ease in the Caribbean. In fact, after nine months on the run, FBI agents nabbed him in a suburban alley one frosty night in January 2006. Schweihs was captured deep in the Kentucky hill country in December 2005.

The Clown lived up to his nickname later when he appeared before U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who inquired about the aging man's health and asked why he hadn't seen a doctor lately.

"I was supposed to see him nine months ago, but I was -- what do they call it? -- I was unavailable," Lombardo rasped.

In the 1980s, Lombardo was convicted in the same federal courthouse, along with then-International Brotherhood of Teamsters President Roy Lee Williams, of attempting to bribe Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada.

When Lombardo got out of prison he took out a newspaper ad denying that he was a "made guy" in the mob and disavowing any role in future organized crime activities. Lombardo defense attorney Rick Halprin scoffs at prosecutors' claims his client is a powerful organized crime leader. "Those things just aren't true," he said.

Experts say the Chicago crime syndicate is so deeply entrenched that it won't be decapitated even if the government gets a clean sweep of convictions.

Gus Russo, who describes the Chicago mob in his book "The Outfit," noted that the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act has helped crime-busting prosecutors make progress against the mob. "But, regretfully, greed is such a part of our culture that you're always going to have a criminal element and it will organize," Russo said. "This will hurt the mob but it won't end it."

The trial is expected to take four months. Among the security precautions, jurors' names are being kept secret and prosecutors say they have nine potential witnesses whose names have been kept secret out of concern for their safety.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Monday, May 28, 2007

More Information on Mob Driver and Hit Man Gerry Carusiello?

Recently, I have been emailing with one of my readers regarding Gerry Carusiello. The reader included a link from Alan May over at American Mafia. In particular, he wanted to know more about Carusiello who is mentioned in the following excerpt.

September 18, 1976 – Gerald Carusiello was found shot seven times in the back in an apartment development in Addison, Illinois. Carusiello had served as a driver for Chicago Outfit boss Joey Aiuppa. Carusiello was believed to have been one of the torture slayers involved in the execution of several burglars who had the temerity to rob the home of Anthony Accardo.

The only thing that I could add is that I do not believe that the date above is correct. My understanding is that Carusiello was found dead in 1979. Earlier that year, the body of John Borsellino was found in a farm field near the Will-Cook Border. Both Borsellino and Carusiello were believed to have worked together on the burglar executions. Outside of that, I am not aware of much more regarding Carusiello.

Can anybody add any new information on Carusiello? Feel free to drop me a line.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Who Robbed Joe Batters?

It's the stuff of Chicago mob lore, cloaked in mystery.

Thieves 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.

Mendell 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

Friday, April 20, 2007

Chicago Outfit Hits from Four Decades Detailed in Court Papers

Friends of mine: Tony "The Big Tuna" Accardo, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Nick Calabrese
Friends of ours: John Ambrose

A newly released court document details four decades of alleged Chicago mob killings, including the slayings of six men accused of robbing the vault of the Mafia's biggest boss.

The 63-page document was submitted by federal prosecutors to U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel. He is to preside over the trial of 14 men accused in an indictment that blames the mafia for 18 long-unsolved murders. Jury selection is scheduled to begin June 1.

The trial is the result of the FBI's long-running Operation Family Secrets investigation.

In the robbery case, mob bosses wanted to send a message that they would not tolerate the theft of jewelry and other items from the basement vault of fellow boss Tony Accardo's house, according to the document unveiled Thursday.

"The Outfit wanted to find out which burglars were actually involved in the Accardo burglary so they could be killed to enforce the message," the document says.

Eventually, six men were blamed. The alleged organizer of the vault burglary, John Mendell, was last heard from January 16, 1978, the prosecutors said.

Among the list of 18 unsolved murders is the killing of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, the Chicago mob's longtime man in Las Vegas, who inspired the Joe Pesci character in the 1995 movie "Casino." His body was buried in an Indiana cornfield.

The document seeks to convince Zagel that a conspiracy existed and that third-party testimony that would ordinarily be hearsay should be allowed.

Among those expected to testify is Nicholas Calabrese, a self-described "made guy" in the Chicago mob who now is helping the government. The document says Calabrese's account of mob bookmaking, loan sharking, extortion, arson and murder has resulted in an FBI report more than 100 pages long that points the finger at organized crime leaders.

The version of the document made public Thursday is heavily redacted with prosecutors saying their witnesses are afraid of mob reprisals and would be even more terrified if their names got out before trial.

Federal deputy marshal John Ambrose is charged with leaking information about Calabrese's whereabouts to the mob. He has pleaded not guilty and claims he was not read his Miranda warning when arrested.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mobster's Granddauther, "Not Qualified", "Not Recommended", Still a Judge

Friends of ours: Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini

Jill Cerone Marisie, the granddaughter of the late convicted mobster Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, is about to be elected a Cook County judge from the 13th Subcircuit. A Republican from Inverness, she has no opposition in next week's election and will proceed directly to the bench.

Although the Chicago Council of Lawyers found her "not qualified" and the Chicago Bar Association, citing insufficient legal experience, said she was "not recommended," Marisie won the primary anyway against four other male opponents.

Her grandfather was a major mob henchman for the late Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo and an associate of mobster Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini. No one suggests Marisie or her father, Jack P. Cerone, is an operative of organized crime. There is, however, a certain family pride in the patriarch. Photos of Jackie the Lackey are prominently featured at his son's suburban restaurants.

Mob connections have been an issue in the November election. Alexi Giannoulias, Democratic candidate for state treasurer, has been grilled about loans his family's Broadway Bank has given to convicted mob associates though the loans were not illegal. Giannoulias' brother George is a donor to the Marisie campaign.

State Sen. Wendell Jones (R-Palatine) also supports Marisie, saying he checked her out and found her "outstanding."

Being a judge in Illinois is virtually a job for life. Not one judge in 10 years has lost a bid for retention, so Marisie could have a long career. Though I never succeeded in reaching her, I was curious about a couple of things. Among her campaign donors are individuals with familiar last names. One of them is "Accardo." Another is "Angelini."

I'd love to know more.

Thanks to Carol Marin

Monday, October 23, 2006

Brewer Shadowed by Mob Heritage

A ceramic bust of a Windy City mobster stares from behind the candlelit bar at Aldente Cafe and Lounge. His hollow gaze is cast in the direction of a black-and-white photograph of himself stirring a pot of sauce. Below the likeness of the late Jackie "the Lackey" Cerone, rows of bottles stamped with Iron City Beer's red label glisten in a cooler.

The connection between the beer and the bust might seem obscure, but the link is Jack P. Cerone, 66, of Des Plaines, Ill., the publicity-shy mobster's son. His family owns the Lincoln Park restaurant and he might soon own a major stake in the bankrupt Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

By all accounts, Jack P. Cerone is not a member of La Cosa Nostra. Some critics, however, contend he has done little to distance himself from the fearsome reputation his father earned as a protege of Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo, one of the powerful bosses of the Chicago Outfit in the 1950s.

Jackie "the Lackey" Cerone ran the Chicagoland mob in the late 1960s, six steps removed from the immortal Al Capone. His term ended in 1986 when he was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in skimming more than $2 million from Las Vegas casinos. The scam was the basis for the blockbuster motion picture "Casino."

"His father's name would still carry weight in Chicago," said John Flood, a former Chicago-area law enforcement official and organized crime expert. "Everybody knew Jackie Cerone. He was a big-time Chicago mobster."

Jack P. Cerone denied repeated attempts to be interviewed for this article. Pittsburgh Brewing President Joseph R. Piccirilli has said he hired Cerone in the late 1990s to negotiate a labor contract, but he has declined to detail their relationship. "He heard of him because he's a labor lawyer? Maybe," said Jim Wagner, president of the Chicago Crime Commission. "But he probably more heard of him because of his father and the mob connection."

Stake in Iron City

Details about Jack P. Cerone's transformation from labor lawyer to financial stakeholder in the brewery are emerging in Pittsburgh Brewing's ongoing bankruptcy. Court records show Jack P. Cerone holds the lucrative trademark rights to Iron City, IC Light and Augustiner brands as well as minority ownership in the company.

Jack P. Cerone's financial involvement began three years ago, when he paid $1.5 million to purchase two brewery loans worth about $6 million. Collateral on the loans included 20 percent ownership in Pittsburgh Brewing and the trademark rights. But his stake in the 145-year-old Lawrenceville brewery could increase substantially. The company filed a recovery plan last week that could increase Jack P. Cerone's ownership stake to 40 percent and his claim against Pittsburgh Brewing to $8 million.

Brewing in Greater Pittsburgh (Images of America).

The brewery now must persuade its creditors and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough to accept the plan for Jack P. Cerone to maximize his investment. "The company would have to succeed with the current ownership in place for him to get all of his money," said George Sharkey, business agent for the International Union of Electrical Workers of America Local 144b, which represents Pittsburgh Brewing's bottlers.

Should the brewery fail, Jack P. Cerone might be in position to sell the brands to recoup his money. The value of the three flagship brews has been bandied about between $3 million and $4 million, said attorney Michael Healey, who represents Pittsburgh Brewery's unions. He said he is not aware of any formal appraisal of the trademark rights. Selling trademarks is an option, said Carol Horton Tremblay, an economics professor at Oregon State University and co-author of "The U.S. Brewing Industry: Data and Economic Analysis."

In May, Anheuser-Busch Cos. bought the rights to brew Rolling Rock beer for $82 million. The pride of Latrobe, Westmoreland County, is now brewed in New Jersey. "But Pittsburgh Brewing CoPittsburgh Brewing Co.. today isn't even Pittsburgh Brewing Co.." of old, said Robert S. Weinberg, 79, a St. Louis-based beer industry consultant, "much less a Latrobe. ... There's always a renaissance, but I think there's a point beyond which brands can be resurrected -- and I think they're beyond that."

Kenneth Elzinga, a University of Virginia economics professor and beer industry expert, agreed. "The odds for the economic redemption of a medium-size, regional brewery producing a mainstream lager beer are not good," Elzinga said. "Most brewing firms in the United States that survive or prosper are either very large, and can exploit economies of scale, or small, and can tap into the market for special tastes and preferences. Pittsburgh Brewing is not well positioned to do either."

A private family man

While his involvement in Pittsburgh Brewing has raised Jack P. Cerone's public profile, he apparently prefers to stay out of the limelight. He graduated from Illinois Benedictine College in Lisle, Ill., then earned a law degree from DePaul University in Chicago in 1964. He joined the Chicago Bar Association in 1965 and once served as president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers of Illinois, a Chicago-based association of Italian-American attorneys.

Friends and colleagues refused to comment.

Jack P. Cerone and his wife, Judy, have five children.

Daughter Jill C. Marisie, a Republican, is running uncontested in November for a Cook County, Ill., circuit judgeship. She was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1990 and has worked as a state prosecutor.

Son Jack runs two restaurants in Chicago -- the Rat Pack-themed II Jack's, named after father and son, and Aldente, which is replete with large photos plucked from the family album. The late Jackie Cerone is included in many of the oversized, black-and-white images -- either cooking or posing with family and friends.

Some people consider Jack P. Cerone as the real owner of the restaurants, which he has called "his" when inviting people to dine there.

In August, eight employees of a former Frank Sinatra tribute music venue, Rizzo's Live in downtown Chicago, filed a lawsuit that claimed Jack P. Cerone owes them almost $100,000 in back wages. The federal lawsuit claims he was the sole financier and controlled the business -- even though he is not listed on paper as the club owner.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported notable visitors of the popular Chicago nightspot included Dean Martin's daughter, Gail, and Federico Castelluccio, who played hit-man Furio Giunta on "The Sopranos."

"I don't know of any information received that put him in business with any (mobsters) here in Chicago, other than associating with his father and friends of his father," said Wagner, of the Crime Commission. "But there's a difference between just associating and trading off the reputation -- and I think for a while that's what he was doing."

Jack P. Cerone will not publicly discuss his father. His only published comments came in a newspaper article following Jackie Cerone's death in 1996 -- six days after being released from federal prison in Florida due to bad health. "He was a gambler, a bookmaker all his life and he ran a tavern," Jack P. Cerone told the Chicago Tribune. "He loved to be around people. He was my best friend. Whatever he did he did and kept that to himself."

Fighting for unions

Jack P. Cerone earned a reputation as a labor lawyer, fighting for union workers in numerous contract fights with Chicago city officials -- from the 1980s when he fought for Laborer garbage collectors and seasonal street cleaners to the late 1990s when he salvaged victory for the Decorators Union in a trade show row.

When Piccirilli brought him in, even union representatives said his presence helped. "He certainly knows more about the bargaining process than Joe Piccirilli, and that's no shot at Joe," said Ken Ream, international representative of the International Union of Electrical Workers.

Ream and others describe Jack P. Cerone as professional but tough. "You can tell he's been around the negotiation table before," said Sharkey, the union business agent. "He's worked both sides of the fence. He's worked for the unions, for companies and as an arbitrator."

Cutting ties

A 1986 report by the President's Commission on Organized Crime identified Jack P. Cerone as one of three sons of well-known mobsters working for Laborers-International Local 8 in Chicago. "You're talking about the old Chicago mob and their sons," said former FBI Special Agent Peter J. Wacks, who investigated the Chicago mob for 30 years and helped convict the late Jackie Cerone. "They all end up working for the same union. Doesn't that seem odd?"

Court-ordered sanctions forced labor unions to cut ties with people connected to organized crime. One casualty was Jack P. Cerone, who had business dealings with Teamsters and Laborers unions. His company, Marble Insurance Agency, lost union contracts in 1993 because of his ties to organized crime, according to a 2004 Teamsters report.

In 1995, Jack P. Cerone, saying he was not a mobster, filed a federal lawsuit claiming he'd been improperly severed from his business relationships. A district court judge rejected the claim a year later, saying Jack P. Cerone "knowingly associated with his father." The court said the union's actions "were not only appropriate, but were mandated by (an) obligation ... to rid itself of the corruption influence of organized crime," the report stated. "There's no release from that," said Wagner of the Crime Commission. "It's a permanent ban." But Jack P. Cerone's associations with organized crime figures weren't limited to his father, investigators say. Wagner said Jack P. Cerone socialized with mobsters. Wacks, of the FBI, said surveillance showed Jack P. Cerone arranging and sometimes attending meetings with "made men and top guys."

Members of the Chicago mob met at the Brookwood Country Club. According to an affidavit of a former FBI agent, some of these meetings involved the late Jackie Cerone.

At one time, the country club was owned -- in part -- by Jack P. Cerone. A jury in 1989 ordered DuPage County officials to pay Jack P. Cerone and other owners more than $10 million for the 116-acre golf course and driving range. The county took the property through condemnation because nearly a quarter of it was flood plain.

Until Jack P. Cerone's name surfaced this year in connection with the Pittsburgh Brewing bankruptcy, Chicago investigators said they hadn't heard his name in years. "His profile here has been very, very low key," Wagner said, "perhaps by choice."

Thanks to Jason Cato

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Trying to Fix an Award for Sidney Korshak

I received an e-mail from the Wisconsin Alumni Association this week seeking nominations for its annual "Badger of the Year" awards.

The release noted: "The criteria for the Badger of the Year awards are simple - recipients are alumni who are making a difference, whether by developing a successful business, serving as an educational leader, being a philanthropist or publicly supporting UW-Madison." I knew immediately who I wanted to nominate. He's a former UW-Madison student and athlete who definitely made a difference, while developing a most successful business.

Unfortunately, when I contacted the Wisconsin Alumni Association Friday, it turned out my nominee failed to meet certain other criteria for being named Badger of the Year. He's dead, for one thing, and he didn't graduate from UW-Madison for another. The rules require a recipient to be alive and to have graduated from here. Still, I went ahead and filled out the e-mail nomination form anyway, thinking perhaps an exception could be made.

So exceptional is my nominee that a major new book about him has just been published. The book, written by the esteemed investigative journalist Gus Russo, is titled "Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Power Brokers."

Korshak attended UW-Madison for two years in the 1920s and won the campus intramural boxing championship in 1927 at 158 pounds.

He then left Madison (transferring to DePaul) and became, in the words of the "Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Power Brokers" jacket copy, "the Chicago Outfit's fair-haired boy, Sidney Korshak, a.k.a. 'The Fixer,' who from the 1940s until his death in 1996 was not only the most powerful lawyer in the world, according to the FBI, but also the most enigmatic, almost vaporous player behind some of the shadiest deals of the twentieth century."

To which I would say: Who's perfect?

It all began for Korshak in Chicago, where he knew mobsters like Al Capone, and, later, Tony Accardo, who regarded Korshak almost as a son. From the outset Korshak was groomed to be organized crime's intermediary with legitimate business and politics - "the underworld liaison to the upperworld," in Russo's words.

Korshak moved easily from Chicago to Beverly Hills, where he mixed with stars like Frank Sinatra and moguls like Lew Wasserman and survivors like Robert Evans. Evans - who for years has been trying to make a movie about Korshak - was the source of the anecdote that kicks off Russo's first chapter on Korshak in California, a chapter that begins: "Sid Korshak's life in Beverly Hills was developing into a contradictory combination of sphinx-like mysteriousness and high-profile socializing with the world's most famous celebrities."

Korshak's new bride learned early that her charming husband conducted his business on a need-to-know basis, and among the things she was not to know were the names of his friends. Returning from their honeymoon, Bernice Korshak checked for messages and found that the following people had tried to reach her husband: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

"Your friends sure have a strange sense of humor," Bernice said. "Who are they?"

"Exactly who they said they are," Sidney replied. "Any other questions?"

Evans, told the story by Bernice, noted, "Fifty years later, Bernice has never asked another question."

Hollywood historian Dennis McDougal would note that by 1960, "Korshak's influence surged beneath the surface of Hollywood like an underground river." He could start or stop labor strikes; get an actor a role or prevent it from happening; he was everywhere and nowhere. Korshak's photo was never to be taken, his name never included when a press agent puffed a list of party-goers to a gossip columnist. He lived in the shadows and it was from the shadows that Korshak and his supermob identified their next target, an arid land fit for growing nothing, nothing except money - Las Vegas.

So it went - a lucrative land grab here, a tax dodge there, somewhere else a quiet favor for a friend of a friend. Gus Russo's digging gets as close to the real Sidney Korshak as anyone ever has, and yet some mystery remains. It could not be otherwise.

As for that Badger of the Year award, I'll admit it's a long shot. But reading Russo, it seems Korshak's true vocation - fixing - might have got its start in Madison. Russo, quoting a UW student newspaper, says that in his championship campus boxing match, Korshak was out-punched and badly beaten by his opponent. "Consequently," the paper noted, "when the judges awarded the fight to Korshak, there was a great deal of surprise in the crowd."

It was a fitting beginning for "The Fixer."

Thanks to Doug Moe

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Induction Nominees for Las Vegas Mob Museum

Friends of ours: Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Bugsy Siegel, Tony Accardo

Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro

Known as the Chicago mob's overseer in Las Vegas, Spilotro, 48, was brutally slain in 1986 along with his brother, Michael. Their bodies were found in an Indiana cornfield and the slayings were part of the movie "Casino."

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel

The boss of West Coast gambling for the crime syndicate and an original member of Murder Inc., he came to Las Vegas in 1945. A year later, Siegel opened the Flamingo hotel on a dusty stretch of highway that soon would become known as the Strip. A shrewd businessman with an explosive temper, Siegel was executed in 1947 in Beverly Hills before he could see his Las Vegas dream come to fruition. More than 40 years later, Warren Beatty brought the gangster back to life in "Bugsy."

Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo

Accardo rose from Al Capone's bodyguard to become the reputed boss of the Chicago crime syndicate. Under his leadership, the Chicago mob was the secret power behind Las Vegas casinos, skimming millions. He also was known as "Joe Batters," apparently a reference to his prowess as a mob enforcer. Though he had a long arrest record, he was never convicted of a felony and boasted that he had never spent a night in jail. Accardo died in 1992 at age 86.

Proposed by Michael Martinez

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, February 12, 2006

Pittsburgh Brewing Investor is Son of Chicago Mob Boss

Friends of ours: John "Jackie the Lackey" Cerone, Tony Accardo

A Chicago attorney who owns a 20 percent interest in bankrupt Pittsburgh Brewing is the son of former Chicago mafia underboss John "Jackie the Lackey" Cerone.

Attorney Jack P. Cerone's ownership was disclosed in papers filed by the brewery in federal bankruptcy court. Creditors believe that Mr. Cerone acquired a minority stake in 2003 by helping Pittsburgh Brewing pay off bank lenders. The Lawrenceville-based brewer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, previously disclosed that a bank accepted $500,000 as payment for a $5.1 million loan in 2003, forgiving the remaining balance of $4.6 million.

Court documents indicate Mr. Cerone is a secured lender with a $6 million claim against the company.

They list President Joseph Piccirilli as owning a 44 percent interest in the brewery. Two other investors, Thomas Gephart, of San Diego, and Steven Sands, of New York, are listed as owning less than 5 percent each. The other investor or investors, who own about 30 percent of the brewery, are not named.

Mr. Cerone did not return calls. Pittsburgh Brewing spokesman Jeff Vavro declined comment.Mr. Cerone's involvement has raised concerns among union workers, who said the attorney was the company's top negotiator in contract talks last spring. In Chicago, Mr. Cerone has represented unions in labor negotiations. His involvement also has attracted the interest of attorneys for other creditors. They have asked for copies of documents detailing terms of his loan to the brewery.

The Chicago media dubbed Mr. Cerone's father "The Lackey" because of his close association to his mentor, Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo, according to former FBI agent William F. Roemer Jr., who wrote a book on the Chicago mob. The elder Mr. Cerone was sentenced in 1986 to 28 1/2 years for skimming $2 million in unreported gambling profits from Las Vegas casinos. He died in 1996 at the age of 82.

The year before, his son's law firm sued the federal government for discrimination. The firm was contesting a 1989 federal court decree prohibiting the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from associating with organized crime.

Mr. Cerone charged that the decree unfairly caused Teamsters union locals in Chicago to stop using his law firm, Erbacci Cerone & Moriarty. Mr. Cerone also said one of the locals stopped dealing with the insurance company he owned, Marble Insurance Agency. A federal judge upheld the Teamsters decision because the younger Mr. Cerone admitted associating with his father.

Pittsburgh Brewing's bankruptcy papers list Erbacci Cerone and Marble Insurance as unsecured creditors. They are owed a total of $43,700.

Creditor attorneys and others familiar with Mr. Cerone said he did not have a criminal record.

Mr. Cerone's stake in Pittsburgh Brewing has not been reported to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. PLCB spokeswoman Molly McGowan said breweries were supposed to report ownership changes involving stakes of 10 percent or more within 15 days. The last time Pittsburgh Brewing provided ownership information to the agency, Mr. Piccirilli and Mr. Gephart were the only owners listed. Each had the same amount of stock, Ms. McGowan said.

Thanks to Len Boselovic

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Anthony "Joe Batters" Accardo Index

Anthony Accardo (1906-1992): mob boss, The Genuine Godfather Joe Batters

He had the longest career of any U.S. mobster. Tony Accardo, aka "Joe Batters" or "Big Tuna," served as the boss or chairman of the board of the Chicago Outfit from 1944 until his death in 1992.

Accardo was born in Chicago, the son of Sicilian immigrants. His father was a shoemaker. He grew up at Grand and Ashland avenues and started as a common street burglar, involved mostly in petty larceny. This caught the eye of "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn. Accardo joined the Circus Gang, working his way up the ladder of minor league organized crime. Gradually he progressed from muggings and pocket picking to armed robbery and aggravated assault. He became a member of Capone's Gang after he successfully planned and executed the Hanlon Hellcat shootout in which he led the killing of 3 rivals. As a teenage hood with the Al Capone mob in the 1920s, he participated in lots of Prohibition-era violence. By age 16 he was a high-ranking bodyguard, gunman and "enforcer." In 1929 he participated in the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre of Capone rival Bugs Moran's gang on Clark Street.

Accardo received his nickname from his reputation for swinging a ball bat to mete out violence to rivals and others who'd displeased his bosses by failing to make their weekly loan-shark payments. After he killed two of those men, Capone is to said to have commented "This kid is a real Joe Batters".

By the '30s, with the end of bootlegging, the Mob turned its attention to even nastier stuff, like narcotics. During that era the Chicago Syndicate drove all the non-Italian gangs out of business until the Mafia was in complete control of the city's illegal activities. Accardo became Paul "The Waiter" Ricca's second in command. When Ricca went to prison from the Hollywood Extortion Case, Accardo stepped into the position of acting boss of the Outfit in 1944. He often visited Ricca in the federal penitentiary masquerading as his lawyer to obtain direction.

Eventually, around 1947, Accardo became the boss himself. Under Accardo's leadership, the Chicago Outfit expanded its dominion, taking Las Vegas away from the New York mob. This was first done through the Stardust Casino (which yours truly just visited as documented at the Vegas Syndicate and it is was I use the Stardust Odds for my NFL picks at the Sport Syndicate) and later expanded to several other casinos. Joe Batters also aggressively enforced a city-wide street tax, which ordered that the Outfit get a percentage of any money made illegally.

Around 1957, Accardo passed the leadership over to Sam Giancana. As consiglieri, Accardo removed Giancana in 1966 and named Sam "Teets" Battaglia top guy. This was the start of a "boss" merry-go-around that eventually led to Joe Batters assuming the role of boss again in 1971 and had him ordering the hit of Giancana in 1975 as he was cooking dinner in his basement after returning from Mexico.

Despite everything that went on in his empire, Accardo never spent a single night in jail. In the 1950-'51 Kefauver hearings, Accardo took the Fifth Amendment 172 times. In 1960 he was sentenced to six years in prison for income tax evasion but the conviction was later overturned by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because of "prejudicial" newspaper publicity during his trial.

Accardo ran the Chicago Outfit for 40 years as boss and/or consiglieri until he died in his sleep due to heart problems at 86 in 1992.

In the past, I used to list all of the articles below in which Tony Accardo appeared. However, by clicking on the label with his name, you can find the same results.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

American Justice: The Chicago Mob

Though they have been glorified to no end, Chicago gangsters have a violent and often unbelievable history. Theirs is a tale of power, wealth, and betrayal. A&E documents the many incarnations of this criminal clan in American Justice: The Chicago Mob.

Al Capone is the most famous of faces to inhabit the Windy City. His absolute control over the streets was typified by the St. Valentine's Day massacre and a seemingly impenetrable legal defense. Under him, Tony Accardo and Sam "Mooney" Giancana learned the ropes, eventually becoming dominant bosses themselves. Accardo earned the nickname "Joe Batters" because of his supposed skill with a baseball bat. At one time, Accardo ran over 10,000 gambling dens throughout the city. Using expert interviews and FBI accounts, A&E also pieces together the ups and downs of the lowly henchmen. Gus Alex, a wise guy serving under Giancana, was ratted out by fellow gangster Lenny Patrick in 1992. The trial caused a sensation because Patrick was the highest-ranking mobster to ever provide testimony for the government. The case also signaled the sputtering end of the golden days for the high-profile organization. ~ Sarah Ing, All Movie Guide

Saturday, September 10, 2005

From Al Capone to a Mayor Richard Daley Special #Chicago

The other big city with questionable alliances between the underworld, and the men who officially run things, is of course Chicago.

When I think of the Chicago mob, I think of Al Capone, as would anyone. As far as big hitters are concerned, he was definitely right up there at the top of the mafia tree, along with his old New York pal, Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano.

Post-Capone, there is the legacy of The Big Tuna himself, Tony Accardo, aka Joe Batters - allegedly handed the moniker by Capone after he bludgeoned a man to death with a baseball bat upon his boss's order.

From streetwise young hoodlum to boss of arguably one of the most powerful La Cosa Nostra families in the United States, the Chicago 'Outfit', Accardo, up until his death in the early nineties, controlled organized crime in 'The Windy City' for the best part of four decades. He was a man adversely disposed towards publicity. Certainly no John Gotti, he. Accardo preferred the shadows, and is considered one of the most astute, and organized of all mafia chieftains. A legend in mobdom, the Carlo Gambino of the Midwest.

Accardo, with his top lieutenants, saw to it that Las Vegas, a gambling mecca launched by New York mobster, Bugsy Siegel, in the fifties, would over the next several decades, become almost exclusively controlled by Chicago, with other mafia families like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Kansas City, operating under Chicago's solid umbrella.

Though capable of ordering the most vicious of murders - I recall a bunch of thieves whom had made the mistake of robbing the Accardo home in plush Forest Hills, Illinois, and who were later found horrifically murdered all across the city, stabbed, and beaten, shot and strangled (all mercillesly tortured, naturally) - Accardo, having worked his way up in the organization as a proficient hitman himself, often allowed those close to him to assume the ultimate mantle of boss, at least superficially, but it was always Accardo as the man behind the scenes, running the show, the real power.

When the brash, and high-profile Sam Giancana rose to the top spot in the late 50‘s, and his much-publicized exploits with Marilyn Monroe and JFK (many believe that Sam put Kennedy in the Whitehouse, by securing votes in Chicago) elevated his status, particularly with the federal government, exponentially, came and went with several bullets in his head, he was replaced with a succession of other bosses, from Joe Ferriola - believed to be the man whom sanctioned the hit on Tony Spilotro, one-time Vegas enforcer for the mob - to Joey 'The Clown' Lombardo, whom despite a recent arrest on murder and racketeering charges (what else) is suspected today of occupying the top spot.

Only in the city of Chicago has organized crime enjoyed such strong relationships with law enforcement and upper echelon politicians, for so many years. It is a city that has long been associated with unprecedented corruption, stemming back to before even Al Capone, when Big Jim Colossimo ran the scene, with more crooked politicians in his back pocket than he knew what to do with.

SoBoss Richard J Daley of Chicago, moving away from these more overtly unsavoury characters, and onto City Hall, we come to the mayor of that fair city, Richard Daley, whom was questioned last week by none other than the U.S attorney's office. The two hour grilling session revolved around various scandals, alleged to have taken place in Daley's offices. Daley is likely to have been the first Chicago mayor to face this kind of questioning. Going back over the last half a century, to when Daley’s father was mayor, none have come under such scrutiny by the FBI. Now, they have.

Daley was questioned on Friday by the U.S. Attorney's office in a two-hour session about the alleged scandals that surround him. Talking sparingly with the predicted throng of reporters outside his offices, Daley commented that he would be avoiding specifics pertaining to the matter, though he did concede to answering his questioners in a frank, and honest fashion. Would we expect anything less, one is bound to ask?

Describing questions posed to him as: "very serious," Mayor Daley reinforced that his current predicament would not impact upon his responsibilities in running his city. And contrary to recent speculation that he might not run for re-election, Daley remained more than optimistic about continuing in his role as mayor, all this despite the fact that two city officials have been charged last month with allegedly rigging the city's hiring system to flout a court order that bars City Hall from considering politics when filling most city jobs. The ensuing federal investigation encompasses bribery also.

Well, at least ostensibly, the mayor of Chicago's empire is a respectable, and of course, law-abiding one.

Excerpted with thanks to Steven Morris at New Criminologist

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mob Charges Tell a Story, but More isn't Told: How can the Outfit survive without the help of crooked politicians, judges and cops?

How could the Chicago Outfit prosper and survive without the help of corrupt local police, politicians and judges? U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald didn't answer me Monday.

"All I'll say is that the indictment alleges that the Outfit, as part of its method of doing business, corrupted law enforcement," Fitzgerald said in his news conference about the FBI's Operation Family Secrets, which led to indictment of mob bosses allegedly responsible for 18 mob hits and the indictment of two cops.

"The indictment doesn't say anything beyond that, and I'm not going to comment about that," Fitzgerald said.

Afterward, I ran into a man who knows him well. "Why did you ask him that? You know he can't answer. It wasn't in the indictment.

"Do you really need an answer to that one?" he asked.

The investigation started when Outfit hit man Nick Calabrese thought he was a target for murder and began talking to the FBI about unsolved hits, taking them on tours around the city, including to a parking lot at Sox Park where enforcer Michael "Bones" Albergo was dumped in 1970.

Fitzgerald wasn't dodging my question. He could only discuss the indictment. Surely, he knows the answer. You do too.

It is why former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (no relation) was right to bring Patrick Fitzgerald here, when the bosses of the Illinois political combine and their simpering mouthpieces called the senator crazy for insisting we needed an independent outsider as the federal hammer in Chicago.

With all the praise being larded on City Hall lately, consider this: The Hired Truck scandal at City Hall was crawling with Outfit-connected truckers from the 11th Ward. And the Duffs, some of whom boasted of their Outfit connections, drank with Mayor Richard Daley at the Como Inn. Then, for a nightcap, they got $100 million in affirmative-action contracts.

Mob politicians have been pinched. The late Alderman Fred Roti (1st) went to prison. Roti's boss, mob fixer Pat Marcy, died before trial. The mayor broke up the old 1st Ward, called it the 42nd Ward, but that didn't fool anybody. The Outfit political office simply moved West.

Other experts insist there is no Outfit in Chicago. One was the late FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. He liked to win at the track yet refused to believe in the existence of the Chicago Outfit.

Recently, other politicians insisted the Outfit is dead. One is State Senator Jimmy DeLeo (D-Chicago), sage adviser to Govenor Rod Blagojevich. When he started in politics, DeLeo once kept tens of thousands of dollars in his freezer. He probably didn't want it to spoil. "What does that mean, `mob associated?'" DeLeo asked rhetorically, in a 2001 Sun-Times story. "In the year 2001, is there really a mob in Chicago?"

Another political expert is state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano (R-Elmwood Park), who echoed DeLeo. "The Italian Mafia is gone," Saviano was quoted as saying. "I don't see it happening around here." He probably meant on Grand Avenue in Elmwood Park. Outfit? What Outfit?

Then there are the county judges, such as the late Frank Wilson and others, who fixed Outfit murder cases. We've had more than 1,000 mob murders here since the 1920s, and few were solved. That can't happen without the judges.

Let's not forget the police brass. Former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt was sentenced a few years ago for running an Outfit sanctioned nationwide jewelry theft ring, along with his colleague, the reputed hit man Paulie "The Indian" Schiro.

On Tuesday, Schiro was also indicted as part of the FBI's Family Secrets investigation. Other crooked Outfit-connected cops in other investigations include a former lieutenant in the Chicago Police Department's organized crime division who helped another top cop, James O'Grady, become Cook County sheriff in 1986. The Outfit-buster was James Dvorak, known as "The Bohemian," who was made undersheriff and was later convicted of taking bribes from then-Outfit boss Ernest "Rocco" Infelice to protect gambling.

Lt. James Keating, of the Cook County sheriff's office, was sentenced to 40 years on federal racketeering charges. He, like Hanhardt, had been smooched by the media as a hero cop while on the force. Later, Keating was found to have killed the investigation of the 1978 murders of thieves Donald Renno and Vincent Moretti, in Cicero, according to a 1989 Tribune review of the case.

Renno and Moretti were suspected of burglarizing the home of mob boss Anthony "Joe Batters" Accardo. The murders of Moretti and Renno were solved, according to Monday's indictments.

When I first wrote about Nick Calabrese in February 2003, I told you we'd wait for indictments, and they arrived Monday.

You already know the general outline. But the story isn't over. The main question hasn't been answered, specifically, with names on indictments. How can the Outfit survive without the help of crooked politicians, judges and cops?

Thanks to John Kass

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."


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

Monday, December 23, 2002

Did Feds Kill Off the Mob?

A mere decade ago, the Chicago Outfit's political wing still had an address: Room 2306 of the Bismarck Hotel, at Randolph and LaSalle, the 1st Ward offices of Committeeman John D'Arco Sr. and Ald. Fred Roti, a made member of the mob. Downstairs at Counsellors Row Restaurant, D'Arco and Roti held court with mob-friendly aldermen, judges and state legislators like John D'Arco Jr. The feds installed a hidden camera at Counsellors Row and wired lawyer Bob Cooley (When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down). They caught D'Arco and Roti discussing mob business such as rigging elections, bribing judges to fix cases and greasing zoning and license deals.

"Yes sir," the judges and aldermen--some still in office--told ward Secretary Pat Marcy, and rushed off to get him a liquor license or whatever he asked for.

Roti and D'Arco Sr. went to jail and have since died. Counsellors Row was torn down and the old 1st Ward mapped out of existence. Even the Bismarck has a new name: Hotel Allegro. At the same time, the feds took over some of the most mobbed-up unions to try to clean them.

So did the feds kill the mob? Are local pols right to call mob influence in Chicago "ancient history?" Have the mobsters gone straight and quit trying to cultivate friends in government? Mob-watchers and cops say, "No."

The mob has always wanted friendly judges on the bench for help on cases and cops on the force to keep some crimes unsolved. Controlling unions provides jobs for flunkies and money for pols. Friendships with legislators prevent bills cracking down on video poker, which some say nets $100 million a year for the mob.

Most of all, the mob wants friends in government for jobs and contracts. The mob doesn't offer health insurance--mob lackeys need day jobs for that. "It used to be you'd give him $200 a week to get the [illegal betting] books--now you get him a city job," a city worker said at a Northwest Side coffee shop as he looked around cautiously and sipped coffee on his 11 a.m. break. "There's a lot of power with jobs," said Terrance Norton, the Better Government Association executive director.

A slew of convictions this year shows the downsized mob has just diversified and moved west. And the video poker games stay in the bars.

Stone Park Mayor Robert Natale went to prison this year for taking mob bribes to allow illegal video poker gambling at mob-linked bars.

Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, widow of convicted mobster Frank Maltese, will be sentenced next month for an insurance scam that skimmed $4 million from employee policies. The firm behind the scam gave $21,000 to Gov. Ryan, state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) and others.

Union boss John Serpico--appointed and reappointed by Gov. Jim Thompson and Gov. Jim Edgar to head the state port authority even though Serpico testified in 1985 he regularly met with mob boss Joe Ferriola--was sentenced this year on a loan scheme. Serpico showered union money on pols.

Still, elected officials whose campaigns benefit most from the generosity of businesses the state Gaming Board or the Chicago Crime Commission call mob-tied say the mob is dead: "I don't think there's a mob around anyway to run anything," said state Rep. Ralph Capparelli (D-Chicago). "They're still talking about 1924 and 1930. I think you use the word 'mob' because some guy has an Italian name." Saviano and state Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago) have made similar statements.

If a mob-linked legitimate business does good work and offers the low bid, why shouldn't it get the contract, one west suburban mayor asked.

With no official address or go-to guy in local government, it's hard to know the mob's legislative agenda. Mob-watchers say a new casino in Rosemont, or better yet, downtown Chicago, tops the list, along with more video poker.

The state Gaming Board refused to allow a casino in Rosemont, finding mob-linked firms already working on the site. Former Crime Commission chief investigator Wayne Johnson blasted twice-indicted, never-convicted Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens for ties to men the commission says are associated with organized crime, such as Sam Giancana and Bill Daddano.

Stephens sued Johnson for libel but admitted the ties to Giancana and Daddano in court filings. Stephens' suit silenced Johnson, the most vocal mob-watcher in town. Johnson left the commission and has been advised by attorneys not to discuss Stephens' alleged mob ties.

Mayor Daley has not cut all ties to the mob-linked Duff family, which donated $8,875 to his campaigns and reaped $100 million in local government contracts. Patriarch John F. Duff Jr. was a character witness for mob boss Tony Accardo. "I just know them. That's all," Daley said. "I'm not personal friends with them. I know them. So what?" A federal grand jury subpoenaed records of Duff contracts with local governments.

Daley's main ally in pushing a downtown casino in the early '90s was Ed Hanley, who had to give up control of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers union amid a federal probe of mob ties.

William Hanhardt was convicted this year of running a jewelry theft ring that stole more than $5 million while Hanhardt climbed the ranks of the Chicago Police Department to deputy superintendent. Cooley warned officials more than a decade ago that Hanhardt was the mob's main plant on the force, getting mob lackeys hired and promoted.

Police Supt. Matt Rodriguez quit five years ago after admitting a close friendship with a mob-linked felon questioned in an oil executive's murder.

Chicago police have watched as powerful ward committeemen still in office today huddled with mob higher-ups such as Vincent "Jimmy" Cozzo.

"What does the mob want from government? No. 1, money, and No. 2, power," Cooley said. "Nobody could ever get a city job or a promotion without the approval of the 1st Ward. They had all the jobs in McCormick Place, all the city jobs, police, sheriff's, state's attorney."

Mobbed-up unions provide an entree for mob types to get jobs in departments like Transportation and Streets and Sanitation that hire union members. A raid at Streets and Sanitation found 37 employees AWOL, including Chucky Miller, who was robbing a Wisconsin jewelry store of $250,000 on city time.

Transportation Department 'worker' James Vondruska, whom the commission calls a mob associate, pleaded guilty this year to playing the horses on city time. WBBM-TV reporter Pam Zekman taped him and other mob-linked workers playing hooky.

Mob-watchers say the mob wants to unionize workers at any new casino that opens in Rosemont or Chicago to work their way into the operation there. "John Serpico was out there with John Matassa 'cause they were going to unionize all the workers at the casino," one mob-watcher said.

The feds have taken over one union after another, from the Teamsters to the Laborers and Hotel and Restaurant Workers' locals, to try to purge them. Serpico was kicked out of the Laborers Union, then committed his loan fraud at Central States.

"The attraction of a union to a mob organization is the union's pension fund investments and medical plans, which are supposed to go to benefit union rank and file, most of whom could never enter the same restaurants ... as Hanley and his syndicate friends," said Combined Counties Police Association President John Flood. "And the main attraction of a union like that controlled by Hanley to the politicians also is the ability to dish out cash contributions."



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