The Chicago Syndicate: William Hanhardt
Showing posts with label William Hanhardt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Hanhardt. Show all posts

Monday, July 16, 2012

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to John Kass.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oscar D'Angelo, "Mayor of Little Italy", on Mob Trial Witness List

Two weeks from now Chicago's latest Outfit trial is scheduled to start in federal court. A trio of aging Chicago mobsters face racketeering/burglary charges.

In this Intelligence Report: We've learned that the government witnesses may include one of the city's most controversial businessmen, the man known as "the Mayor of Little Italy."

He is Oscar D'Angelo, whose Chicago political influence began in the 1950s with Richard J. Daley, yielded him millions as a well-connected developer and rainmaker, and ended in a feud with Richard M. Daley almost 10 years ago. D'Angelo is the flamboyant, self-styled "mayor of Little Italy."

Now, at age 79, D'Angelo finds himself on the prosecution's list of potential witnesses in the city's next big mob trial.

Next month, in the trial of three Chicago hoodlums, D'Angelo may have to speak publicly from the witness stand in federal court.

Jerry Scalise, Art Rachel and Robert Pullia are charged with plotting to hold-up suburban banks and with scheming a break-in at the home of deceased South Side rackets boss Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra.

Scalise and Rachel are best known for stealing the famous 40-carat Marlborough diamond in 1980, a daring daylight robbery from a popular jewelry store in London, England. The men did long prison stretches in the UK and returned to Chicago, authorities say, to resume their careers as Outfit burglars.

While it is not clear why the government would want D'Angelo to testify against them, it would be an unusual and potentially uncomfortable position for him.

First, D'Angelo is a defrocked attorney himself, in 1989 having been disbarred for giving rental cars as gifts to city officials, judges and other politicians. In 2000 he then scarred his three-decade long relationship with the Daley family by loaning money interest to a top Daley official and working as an unregistered lobbyist.

Federal authorities aren't talking about why D'Angelo is on the witness list, although with a park along the Eisenhower Expressway named after him and with his historical perspective of Taylor Street where the gangland thugs operated, perhaps D'Angelo will merely be a foundation witness for the prosecution.

It is not unusual for the government to put people on the witness list who don't end up being called to testify just to cover their bases. But D'Angelo's name certainly attracts attention. And, there is another well-known name on the prosecutor's list, former Chicago police chief of detectives William Hanhardt, who is in prison for his own role in an Outfit jewel theft racket.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Did Jerry Scalise Target Oscar D'Angelo?


Mobbed-up thief Joseph Jerry “The Monk” Scalise allegedly targeted Daley mayoral pal and controversial lobbyist Oscar D’Angelo for a robbery and corresponded with imprisoned Chicago cop William Hanhardt, writing that “Oft times, defendants forget that they DID do the crime,” according to a federal court document filed Tuesday.

Scalise, who is in his early 70s, has a storied criminal career that most recently found him charged last year with two alleged accomplices with conspiring to knock off an armored car at a La Grange bank and rob the home of the late, brutal Chicago mob boss Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra.

The court document, filed by federal prosecutors, lays out the case against Scalise and two other senior citizens, Arthur “The Genius” Rachel and Robert Pullia. The men go to trial next month.

Scalise stole the 45-carat Marlborough diamond in London in 1980, was a reputed member of an Outfit crew of killers called “The Wild Bunch” and more recently was a consultant to famed Hollywood director Michael Mann on his film “Public Enemies.”

The court document is heavily redacted in parts and does not reveal any detail about the men allegedly conspiring to rob D’Angelo, but the criminal deed was never done. D’Angelo, who was involved in scandals in the Richard M. Daley administration, is expected to be called as a prosecution witness at trial against the three men.

The court document does quote at length a letter that Scalise allegedly sent to Hanhardt after Scalise was arrested last year. Federal prosecutor Amarjeet Bhachu contends in the government filing that Scalise admits his guilt in the letter.

Hanhardt, a former Chicago chief of detectives, was sentenced to nearly 12 years behind bars after pleading guilty in 2001 to running a sophisticated theft ring that stole more than $5 million in diamonds and gems from jewelry salesmen across the country. The FBI has contended that Hanhardt was on the take from the mob early in his police career.

“Since I am soon to be out of time (but with, maybe a lot of ‘time’) I am getting as much done . . . while I am out (on bond),” Scalise writes in one letter to Hanhardt, according to the court filing.

“I am finally going through everything with a fine tooth comb and conferring with Eddie G. on a plan of attack,” Scalise wrote, apparently referring to his legendary defense attorney, Edward Genson.

“Oft times, defendants forget that they DID do the crime. So, what do we do to mitigate the charges? The only approach I can see is to attempt to move the goal posts — to make something else the issue. My contention is that the ‘evidence’ is just not good enough. Yes, these culprits were up to something, but the ‘problem’ is in the technological evidence.”

Hanhardt is listed as a prosecution witness. Genson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Monday, April 05, 2010

Will Calabrese Family Secret Stash Provide Insight into the Mob?

Nearly $730,000 in cash, about 1,000 pieces of jewelry and loaded handguns found hidden alongside recording devices in a mobster's suburban home show there are still plenty of mysteries to unravel about the notorious Chicago Outfit.

The discovery in a secret compartment behind a family portrait in Frank Calabrese Sr.'s home — a year after the massive Operation Family Secrets trial sent Calabrese and several others to prison — may trigger a fresh look at everything from unsolved shootings to a jewel theft ring once run by the former Chicago Police chief of detectives.

"I would say it's a treasure trove, really," James Wagner, one-time head of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago and the Chicago Crime Commission.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice would not comment extensively on the investigation or search of Calabrese's home in Oak Brook, which was revealed in documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court. But he said investigators would run ballistics tests on the weapons and attempt to trace the jewelry and track down owners.

Calabrese, 71, was one of several reputed mobsters convicted last year in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 decades-old murders. He was blamed for 13, sentenced to life in prison and was one of four defendants ordered to pay more than $24 million, including millions in restitution to the families of murder victims. Tuesday's search was tied to that order. But the discovery could mean learning even more about the inner workings of the Chicago Outfit.
Wagner said investigators will try to determine ownership of the seven loaded guns by tracking serial numbers and testing for ballistics matches on homicides and shootings nationwide.

As for the jewelry, some pieces still in display boxes or bearing store tags, Wagner suggested several likely investigative avenues. The first could be the Outfit-connected jewelry-heist ring run by William Hanhardt, the former Chicago Police chief of detectives. Hanhardt is in prison after pleading guilty to leading a band of thieves that stole $5 million in jewelry and fine watches in the 1980s and 90s. One of Calabrese's co-defendants, Paul Schiro, was sentenced to prison in 2002 for being part of Hanhardt's ring. And a witness at the Family Secrets trial testified that Hanhardt collected $1,000 a week and a new car every two years in return for making sure mobsters were not caught.

Wagner also said that before the murdered body of Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro was found buried in a shallow grave in an Indiana cornfield, he was not only the Chicago mob's man in Las Vegas but also operated a jewelry store there. At the time of his death, he was under investigation for a number of jewelry thefts, Wagner said. Investigators may try to determine if any jewelry from those thefts found their way to Calabrese's home, Wagner said. But he also noted that tracing the diamonds, particularly the loose ones, is a long shot. "I'm not aware of any ability to trace those," he said.

Still, the newly found recording devices — suction cups use to "tap" into telephone conversations and several microcassettes — could prove particularly intriguing. One had the name of a convicted Outfit member written on it.

"This could be important evidence for them, evidence against other people involved in some of the same activities" as Calabrese and the others who were convicted last year, said former assistant U.S. attorney Joel Levin.

The tapes could contain the kind of code words that came out during the Family Secret trial, Wagner said.

During the trial, Calabrese's son, Frank Calabrese Jr., acted almost as an interpreter for jurors listening to secretly recorded tapes of conversations between the two. He told jurors, for example, that when his father was telling him to pick up "recipes" he was telling him to collect money and when he told him to "keep 10 boxes of Spam ham," he was instructing his son to keep $1,000 for himself.

Wagner does not know what is on the tapes. But if they feature Calabrese Sr.'s voice, "The possibility exists that he used code terminology on the tapes and I would expect them to reach out for (Frank Calabrese Jr.) for interpretation again," he said.

Calabrese's attorney, Joseph Lopez, said he doesn't know who stashed the items, saying Calabrese has not lived in the home since the mid-1990s when he was sent to prison for another conviction. Nor, he said, did he have any idea who was on the recordings.


Thanks to Don Babwin

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rudy Fratto Sentenced to One Year and One Day in Federal Prison

Rudy Fratto, a reputed lieutenant in the Elmwood Park street crew of the Chicago Outfit, was sentenced in federal court today to a year and one day in prison for tax evasion.

Fratto, 65, of Darien, pleaded guilty last year to failing to report nearly $200,000 in income in 2005. Fratto, 65, admitted he had employers issue his checks to a defunct company that had an account he used for his expenses. Fratto said he did this between 2001 and 2007.

Fratto has been identified by authorities as an Outfit figure, and his name came up in recent years at the sentencing of corrupt Chicago police chief of detectives William Hanhardt and at the trial of former U.S. Marshal John Ambrose.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Family Secrets Mob Prosecutor, John J. Sully, Now Serves on the Bench

For John J. Scully, who closed out his 25 years of fighting organized crime as a federal prosecutor in Chicago with the Operation Family Secrets trial before ascending to the bench last year as an associate judge in Lake County, some boasting may be in order. But Scully — a retired U.S. Navy captain who served on a destroyer off the coast of Vietnam in combat operations and later as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve — isn't one to toot his own horn, according to his current and former colleagues.

"He's accomplished a lot in his lifetime, and you wouldn't know it. … He's very humble," said fellow Lake County Associate Judge Jorge L. Ortiz.

Some highlights of Scully's career in the U.S. Department of Justice include the investigation and prosecution of former Chicago Police chief of detectives William Hanhardt, who pleaded guilty to running a Chicago Outfit interstate jewelry theft crew, and the prosecution of the On Leong gambling ring based in South Side Chinatown, a complex case that exposed payoffs to the mob, Chicago police and a Cook County judge.

His achievements were recognized by the U.S. attorney general in 2008, when Scully, along with two fellow prosecutors, was honored with a top national award, the DOJ's John Marshall Award, for his work in the Family Secrets case. The case targeted members of the Chicago Outfit and resulted in convictions involving 18 unsolved organized crime murders dating to 1970.

"He didn't even tell any of his friends about it [the top national award]. I found out about it by reading about it in the newspaper," Ortiz said. "That's just how he is."

Aside from practicing as an in-house attorney for Illinois Bell for three years in the late 1970s and early '80s, Scully, 62, has spent his professional life in public service.

His judicial service began in February 2009, when he was appointed to an associate judgeship in the 19th Judicial Circuit. He started out in the traffic division at Lake County's Park City branch court and is carrying out an assignment in misdemeanor court in the county's main courthouse in Waukegan.

"He's taken an amazing path to get to where he is," said Lake County Associate Judge Michael J. Fusz, a longtime friend. "It's incredible firepower on the bench, having somebody with his experience."

That path was carved out from Chicago's South Side, where Scully grew up in an Irish household as the eldest of seven children. The son of a World War II Navy veteran who worked as a steel estimator in Chicago factories, Scully attended De La Salle High School and became the first member of his family to attend college when he was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy.

"I always assumed, when I was in high school, that I would, one way or another, be in the service. It's something that one should do if you can — serve your country," Scully said.

If the military or college weren't an option, Scully said, he had thought that "maybe I'd be a police officer or a firefighter."

"I figured I was going to go into the service and try to get an education," he said.

After graduating from the academy in 1969, he married his high school prom date, Pat, whom he had met when the two were teenagers working at a National Tea grocery store on the city's Southwest Side. He was a stock boy; she was a cashier.

As a newly commissioned naval officer, Scully asked to be assigned to a destroyer out of San Diego. He served on the USS Hull, off the coast of Vietnam from May 1970 to August 1971, providing assistance to carriers in the South China Sea, and providing naval gunfire support in close proximity to the shore, assisting either Army or Marine Corps spotters.

After his Western Pacific deployment, he headed for law school at the University of San Diego School of Law.

"I had always been the kind that read the paper, front page to the last page, and realized that so much of what was part of American life dealt in one way or another with the law," Scully said.

After nine years of active duty, which included prosecuting and defending sailors and Marines as an officer in the JAG Corps, Scully served an additional 20 years in the Navy Reserve, most of that time as an intelligence officer. He was ultimately in charge of about 170 intelligence officers and specialists in the Midwest.

Scully's career as a civilian prosecutor began in Lake County, as an assistant state's attorney prosecuting felonies for 14 months in the early 1980s. By 1982, he joined the Department of Justice as a special attorney with the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force, which merged with the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1990.

"Growing up in Chicago, I think I had a fair sense of how much influence the Chicago Outfit had on various aspects of life in and around Chicago, and I felt I wanted to assist in investigating and prosecuting," Scully said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Markus Funk worked alongside Scully as part of the three-prosecutor trial team in the Family Secrets case.

Funk described his former colleague as "unflappable," and "comfortable in his own skin," with a strong sense of empathy and a knack for gaining the trust of people from all walks of life — from the victims of violent crimes to a "murdering mobster."

"I've never seen him come unraveled, never seen him lose his cool," Funk said.

"He's not a guy who needs to talk tough or get accolades from other people," Funk said. "He's not a political being; he doesn't strive for some sort of public acclaim. He just wants to do the right thing. That seems to be what has been guiding him, and that's a great thing for a judge."

Criminal defense attorney Edward M. Genson opposed Scully in numerous cases during the judge's years with the DOJ.

"He was an extraordinarily good lawyer, an extraordinarily principled lawyer," Genson said. "His word was his bond.

"A fair prosecutor is going to be a fair judge," he said. "I'm sure he'll be fair."

Scully's colleagues on the bench say the judge's life experience, coupled with his personality traits, make for an "ideal" judge.

"He's a person of compassion, humility, industriousness, patience. And he is a grinder, someone who just keeps working at it," Ortiz said. "I think he's a perfect combination for a judge."

After 25 years of making the long commute from his home in Lake County to the federal courthouse in Chicago, Scully retired from the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2007.

"I had done most aspects of what I set out to do — to combat the Chicago Outfit," he said.

Around Christmas 2008, he submitted his bid for a judgeship.

"I've always enjoyed being in court, and I missed being in court from '07," Scully said.

For Scully, a father of four grown children and the grandfather of four whose name has followed the titles of captain, assistant U.S. attorney and now judge, "I'm a husband, dad and a grandpa first."

Looking back on the path that led him to the bench, Scully is quick to mention his high school sweetheart and wife of 40 years.

"I've had experiences that a lot of other people are not able to have, and that's mainly been made as a result of going to the Naval Academy. A lot of it flowed from there," Scully said. "But so much of it is as a result of having a wife who was supportive."

Thanks to Maria Kantzavelos

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rudy Fratto Seeks to Delay Federal Sentencing

Chicago Outfit bosses have devised some shrewd excuses to stall justice, from feigning heart attacks and strokes to babbling incoherently as if possessed by an evil spirit.

About the time most people were starting to thaw the Thanksgiving bird last week, Rudolph C. "Rudy" Fratto of Darien was filing a motion to put off his federal court sentencing for a while.

The reason?

His lawyer needs a vacation in a sunny place. And then after the vacation his lawyer needs eye surgery.

Most people would take a break after an operation, but maybe the attorney needs to rest up for the surgery.

Regardless, by syndicate standards Fratto's delay tactic - laying it off on his lawyer - deserves a C at best. But as lame as the motion may be, the occasion allows me to revisit Mr. Fratto, whose well-cleansed and affluent suburban lifestyle has allowed him rapid upward movement in the Outfit, according to mob investigators.

As the omnipotent overseer of Outfit rackets in Elmwood Park, according to mobologists, for years Fratto has flown just below the fed's radar. Then, the lanky and birdlike Fratto committed the same mistake that eventually brings down all crooks: tax charges.

The feds finally got Al Capone that way. They caught Rudy Fratto when he neglected to ante up more than $141,000 in taxes on about $835,000 in income. So, the government got him indicted by a federal grand jury.

Now I know that federal prosecutors could get a hamburger indicted, as Joey "the Clown" Lombardo said recently in the Family Secrets mob murders case. But after they are indicted, nobody makes them plead guilty as Fratto, 65, did last month.

The kindly U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly set sentencing for Jan. 12, which allowed Fratto to spend the holidays with his family.

Last Thursday Mr. Fratto no doubt gave extra thanks for his timely fortunes and took an extra helping of mashed potatoes. And he will be able to enjoy a very merry Christmas and a blissful New Year with his loved ones before the judge considers handing him 12 to 18 months, which is the term called for in his plea bargain.

A year and a half isn't the kind of stay at the Crossbar Hotel that "Scarface" was given for breaking federal tax laws, but it no doubt is an unwelcome cold spell for a late-budding mob boss.

Now though, Mr. Fratto's sentencing may be delayed even further due to his lawyer's vacation plans and untimely cataract surgery.

The Fratto motion, to be heard on Wednesday morning in federal court, asks for a delay in sentencing to Feb. 12 for the convenience and pleasure of Fratto's attorney, Arthur N. Nasser.

"The defendant's attorney had made plans to visit with his family during Thanksgiving weekend in McLean, Va., and Christmas in Charleston, W.V." states the motion. "Thereafter, he has reservations to travel to Palm Springs, Calif., for 12 days departing Dec. 28, 2009 and returning to Chicago on Jan. 9, 2010. Upon his return to Chicago he is scheduled to have a cataract removed from his right eye ... on Jan. 14, 2010."

Such an excuse might have been better suited for Fratto's dearly-departed crime syndicate relative, Luigi Tomaso Giuseppi Fratto, who was a gangland boss and labor racketeer from the 1930s into the '60s.

Fratto was also known as "Cockeyed Louie" due to his off-kilter eyeball. Modern surgery could have fixed the problem.

"Cockeyed" is just one of Fratto's blood relatives who toiled in the trenches of the mob when it was in its infancy during the 1920s.

Rudy's public behavior certainly befits that of a smart-aleck Outfit boss. Federal records first reported by the ABC 7 I-Team revealed that Fratto was considered a major threat to major mob witness Nicholas Calabrese, a reformed hitman.

Calabrese' compelling testimony helped put away top hoodlums during the Family Secrets trial. Fratto was not charged in that case. Also, he was photographed over the years by federal surveillance teams during meetings with mob leaders. In 2001, he was seen at a secret Outfit summit where the takeover of video-poker turf in the suburbs was being hatched.

On another occasion, Fratto was observed meeting with former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt. The duo was plotting of a proposed gangland hit, according to testimony in 2002 during a sentencing hearing in Hanhardt's jewel theft case. The hit did not occur and Hanhardt is serving a federal prison sentence. But getting a sentencing extension because your lawyer needs a Palm Springs vacation? Wimping out like that surely will not earn Rudy Fratto a place in the Outfit's Hall of Famous Ploys, Tricks and Tactics.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guilty Plea to Tax Evasion by Reputed Mobster, Rudy Fratto

Reputed suburban Chicago mobster Rudy Fratto pleaded guilty Tuesday to evading thousands of dollars in federal income taxes.

Fratto, 65, of suburban Darien, pleaded guilty to a single charge of evading $30,052 in taxes on income of $199,595 for 2005. But he admitted in a signed plea agreement that he actually evaded $141,192 in taxes on $835,641 in income over seven years starting in 2001.

The maximum sentence on the charge is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The plea agreement, however, said the sentence could be more like 12 to 18 months under federal sentencing guidelines.

Fratto remained free on $4,500 bond pending sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly set for Jan. 12.

Fratto admitted in his plea agreement that he had arranged to have income funneled into the bank account of a defunct company in an effort to evade the scrutiny of the Internal Revenue Service. He received income in 2005 from jobs ranging from handyman to pasta salesman, according to the document.

Fratto's name has come up at least twice in connection with organized crime in recent federal cases.

Prosecutors introduced evidence that he was an associate of the Chicago police department's former chief of detectives, William Hanhardt, who is now serving a federal prison sentence as the leader of a mob-related jewel theft ring.

Fratto's name also came up in connection with the landmark 2007 Operation Family Secrets case -- the biggest Chicago mob trial in decades. He was listed on papers prepared by the FBI as a serious threat to the safety of the government's star witness in the case, admitted mobster and hit man Nicholas Calabrese.

Fratto's name also appears on a chart published by the Chicago Crime Commission in 1997, showing the structure of the so-called Chicago Outfit.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Sunday, July 12, 2009

City of Chicago Squeezes Widow of Man Squeezed by The Chicago Outfit

Whether the name of Richie Urso ever makes it into the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich next June is anybody's guess.

You've probably never heard of Richie Urso. But the FBI sure has heard of him.

His is a classic Chicago story, about a beefy yet charming guy born on Grand Avenue, who got in trouble with the law as a kid, only to make political friends and become extremely wealthy.

He was arrested once for jewelry theft in the '60s by the Outfit's top Chicago police detective, William Hanhardt. Urso's alleged partner in the theft was the mob enforcer Frankie Cullotta, who later became the technical adviser for the movie "Casino." The charges against Urso went away. Like I said, it's a Chicago story.

Richie went from the trucking business into real estate, dropping thousands of dollars in contributions to politicians like Mayor Richard Daley and former Gov. Dead Meat. He hung around with bankers, real estate players, insiders at the Cook County Board of (Tax) Review, at Mart Anthony's Restaurant on Randolph Street.

He was worth millions in real estate. He was also the victim of an Outfit shakedown that figured in the FBI's landmark Family Secrets case against top mob bosses.

Now the FBI is going through his business, interested in his associates, including former Mutual Bank of Harvey boss Amrish Mahajan, who has dropped off the political map. Though not charged, Uncle Amrish is under investigation as a top Blagojevich fundraiser. "My husband was excited because he was supposed to go with Amrish and Daley on a trip to India," said Richie's wife, Joanne Urso, recalling what she told federal investigators. "They were all going to go together. But then he died."

Daley and his wife, Maggie, made the trip with a Chicago business delegation.

Amrish Mahajan was a political connection for Daley, Blagojevich and other politicians to the Indian community. His wife, Anita, said, "He did not go on the trip with the mayor."

Anita -- charged with bilking the state out of millions of dollars in phony drug tests -- said her husband was in India, and unreachable.

After Richie's death in 2003, lenders called in their notes. Lawyers demanded big fees. The will that he told Joanne was stashed in a Mutual Bank safe deposit box was never found. And Daley's City Hall, which had never given Richie much trouble, suddenly slapped Joanne with a series of citations on their properties.

City Hall is also demanding she sell Richie's prized 24-acre site just west of the Cook County Jail for millions less than she says it's worth. Ald. George Cardenas (12th) is demanding the site for a park. "I'm getting ripped off by everybody. By everybody," Joanne Urso said.

She told me Richie died of a heart attack on the kitchen floor of a girlfriend's home, on April 15, 2003. "You should call her," she said.

So we did. The woman is Mary Ann Dinovo, who works in human resources for the county tax review board, which handles tax appeals for every parcel of real estate in the county.

"He said, 'What do you got to eat?' " recalled Dinovo. "I'd just made a big tuna salad. He said, 'Can I have some?' The TV was on in the kitchen. The fork dropped out of his hand. He said he felt sick and went to the bathroom."

Minutes later, Richie Urso, his mouth full of tuna salad, was dead at age 61.

"It was karma that we met," Dinovo said. "We loved to do things together, go to shows, go to Navy Pier. ... He'd always play like he was poor. 'I'm just a poor truck driver,' he'd say. Sometimes we'd drive by a piece of property and he'd ask me who owned it."

Did you help him find out who owned it? "Absolutely not," said Dinovo, who said she has not been contacted by federal authorities. "I never knew what the hell he had. I didn't ask. But how do you think I felt when after he died, his friends told me that he was worth, like, $50 million? I said, 'What?' "

In late November of last year, Blagojevich hadn't yet been arrested. But the noose was tightening.

About a week before the FBI knocked on the governor's door, they knocked on Joanne Urso's door. FBI agents and a lawyer from the U.S. attorney's office wanted to chat.

"They asked about everything that was going on with the banks, the lawyers, our properties," Joanne Urso said. "... They asked about Amrish Mahajan and the governor. Oh, and [state Sen.] Jimmy DeLeo, they asked about him."

Only Blagojevich has been charged with a crime, and it's not illegal to know a guy like Richie Urso.

The FBI didn't have to ask about Richie and the Outfit. Without Richie, there may not have been a Family Secrets case that sent three mob bosses to prison.

That's because in 1986, just three months after gangsters Tony and Michael Spilotro were murdered, Richie Urso was the victim of an Outfit shakedown.

It all came out in testimony by mob turncoat Nicholas Calabrese, and chronicled in the book "Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob" by my colleague Jeff Coen.

Nick's brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., and fellow mobster John Fecarotta were competing to squeeze Urso for payments on a juice loan from the 1960s. It wasn't even Urso who borrowed the money. The father of an Urso partner owed the juice.

Urso was growing wealthy by the 1980s, and the mob wanted a piece. Fecarotta demanded that Urso make Fecarotta's house payments. Frank Calabrese Sr. held a knife to Urso's crotch, also demanding cash, according to trial testimony.

By then, Fecarotta had botched the burial of the Spilotro bodies, leaving them in a shallow grave in an Indiana cornfield, allowing them to be found. Fecarotta's shakedown of Richie Urso gave Frank Sr. another reason to lobby Outfit bosses for a Fecarotta solution. "And that sort of put the nail in the coffin," Nick Calabrese testified.

Nick and Frank helped kill Fecarotta on Belmont Avenue, but Nick lost a bloody glove at the scene. Years later, the FBI used DNA from that glove to turn Nick Calabrese into a star government witness.

The Outfit usually doesn't shake down legitimate squares, but targets people who can't run to the government.

"My husband helped all of them," Joanne Urso said. "When people borrowed money, he paid for that. He was paying and paying all his life."

At the time of his death Richie Urso controlled a string of properties, including a South Loop building housing the Pink Monkey strip club, a Cicero property housing the adult bookstore Bare Assets and a Chicago Chinatown neighborhood shopping complex. But the crown jewel was the land near the jail complex.

Now City Hall has moved to take the property. According to public records, Joanne Urso owes Mutual Bank more than $9 million on that property and another huge lot at 6501 W. 51st St.

The city has offered her $7.1 million for the Little Village parcel. Her appraisers say it's worth $13 million. It would be worth much more if Cook County expands the jail.

"They [City Hall] thought I would sell it right away," she said. "But I wasn't going to just give it away. Now it feels they've decided to try and just take it."

Joanne Urso is a woman alone. Her clout died six years ago, on another woman's kitchen floor, with tuna salad in his mouth.

Once, Richie Urso was squeezed by the Outfit. Now his widow is getting squeezed by City Hall. It's a classic Chicago story.

The central theme is that there's nothing deader than dead clout. And now Joanne Urso has to pay for it.

Thanks to John Kass

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chicago's Crooked Chief of Detectives

On a gloomy winter day in 1983, two gunmen ambushed a businessman named Allen Dorfman as he walked across a hotel parking lot in suburban Chicago.

The city's infamous Outfit mob might as well have left a calling card. The killers pumped seven shots into Dorfman's head. It was a classic gangland whacking.

Dorfman, 60, had been a lieutenant of International Brotherhood of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. He got rich as proprietor of the union's murky pension funds but had been convicted of bribery a month before his murder. Facing life in prison, he was rumored to be cutting a deal to implicate both Teamsters and gangsters.

Chicago gumshoes stifled a yawn over the rubout. It was an occupational hazard murder, like a drug deal gone bad. But one detail stopped cops cold. In Dorfman's little black book, investigators found the name of Bill Hanhardt, chief of detectives of the Chicago Police Department.

Hanhardt was a Windy City legend for his devilish ability to think like a criminal. He had collared dozens of hard-to-find perps, including several cop killers.

A Chicago cop since 1953, Hanhardt was seen as a bridge between old-school, sap-carrying policing and more enlightened modern methods. By reputation, he was as brainy as Inspector Morse, as leathery as Kojak, as passionate as Detective Sipowicz.

But was he honest?

Questions about mob connections had dogged Hanhardt for much of his career, even as he was being promoted to sensitive command positions.

In 1979, Hanhardt was booted down to the traffic squad after he was accused of playing footsy with mobsters who ruled the city's corrupt downtown ward.

Yet, just months later, he was promoted to being chief of detectives by Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek after the election of Mayor Jane Byrne.

Even after his name turned up in Dorfman's black book, Hanhardt was allowed to enjoy the twilight of his police career as a district commander.

In 1986, while still on the job, he acted as a defense witness in the Nevada conspiracy trial of Anthony Spilotro, the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas. Hanhardt's testimony helped discredit one of the mobster's key accusers.

A few months later, he was feted by Byrne and hundreds of others at an elaborate retirement banquet. Hanhardt seemed to ride off into the sunset with a wink and a snicker. He was hired as a consultant to the TV drama "Crime Story."

In 1995, author Richard Lindberg asked him to ruminate on his career as a cop. His reply dripped with cynicism.

"You knew that you're going to get screwed over eventually, so you went into the game with that thought in mind," Hanhardt said. "You got a wife. You got kids. So you got to think about the future, right? But I never liked thinking about the future. I liked to live for the moment."

Hanhardt retired to a handsome home in the suburbs, but he stayed busy in his dotage.

In October 2000, he was indicted as the leader of a band of thieves who stole $5 million in jewelry over 12 years beginning in 1984, while he was still a top cop. Hanhardt fenced the goods through friends in the outfit.

His gang "surpasses in duration and sophistication just about any other jewelry theft ring we've seen," said prosecutor Scott Lassar.

It seemed Hanhardt was able to think like a criminal because he was one.

He used techniques he learned as commander of the police burglary squad to devise diabolically clever thefts.

He tapped active cop friends and private detectives for leads on potential victims, targeting gem salesmen traveling with valises of valuable samples.
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In some cases they simply tailed a salesman and broke into his vehicle: such jobs included a $300,000 gem theft in Wisconsin in 1984, $500,000 worth of Rolex watches in California in 1986, and jewelry thefts of $125,000 in Ohio in 1989, and $1 million in Michigan and $240,000 in Minnesota in 1993.

The gang sometimes used the old spy scam of swapping identical bags with a salesman - a trick that netted $1 million worth of diamonds in Dallas in 1992 from a representative of J. Schliff and Son, a W. 48th St. jeweler.

Hanhardt's biggest score came in 1994. For two months before a gem wholesalers show at a hotel in Columbus, Ohio, a gang member checked in under the name Sol Gold and asked to store valuables in the hotel's safe-deposit boxes, which were in a secure room behind the front desk.

He systematically copied the keys until Hanhardt was able to create a master passkey. One night during the gem show, a desk clerk allowed "Mrs. Sol Gold" unsupervised access to the room. The safe-deposit boxes of eight gem dealers were relieved of some $2 million in valuables.

The jig was up when the woman went from accomplice to spurned wife and informed on the gang to the FBI.

City officials stammered to explain how Hanhardt managed to prosper as a cop and crook.

"The only thing I ever heard about him was good things," ex-Mayor Byrne told reporters.

"I know that he had an illustrious career," said his ex-police boss Brzeczek. "A lot of people knew him. He knew a lot of people. But I don't have any evidence whatsoever of him being mob-connected."

But the federal government had plenty of evidence, including 1,307 incriminating phone calls collected during a yearlong wiretap on his home phone.

For two years, cops and mobsters wondered whether Hanhardt would go to trial and give a public airing to his double life. But he pleaded guilty in 2002. He was ordered to pay $5 million in restitution and packed away to a Minnesota prison for a 12-year sentence.

As they waved goodbye, Hanhardt's kin still viewed him as his good-cop mirage.

His son-in-law, Michael Kertez, called Hanhardt "probably the most wonderful detective in the history of Chicago."

Now 79, the disgraced top snoop faces a life behind bars until at least 2012

Thanks to David J. Krajicek

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Despite Recent Success in Fighting "The Outfit", Federal Prosecutors' Mob Focus Decreases

The ranks of the Chicago mob have taken some serious hits in recent years.

So have the ranks of federal prosecutors specializing in Outfit prosecutions.

The number of federal prosecutors dedicated solely to prosecuting Outfit cases has dwindled to an all-time low -- two attorneys -- just after one of the most significant victories ever by the U.S. attorney's office against the mob, the Family Secrets case.

Some prosecutors have been transferred out of the group over the years. Others have retired. And in the biggest blow to the group, its highly regarded chief, Mitchell Mars, died recently after battling cancer.

It's a fact that's causing great worry among some mob busters.

In interviews with the Chicago Sun-Times, six current or former law enforcement officials familiar with the situation said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is making a mistake by not beefing up the unit.

The Outfit may be battered, but it is far from dead, they say. It's getting more sophisticated in how it carries out and covers up its crimes.

"The lessons learned from the Family Secrets trial should tell everybody that the Outfit is alive and active in the city," said James Wagner, a retired FBI agent who battled the mob in Chicago and is now the head of the Chicago Crime Commission.

The crime commission will send a letter to Fitzgerald this week asking him to increase the number of attorneys in the group, Wagner said.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago had no comment on the matter.

The organized-crime group of prosecutors doesn't need the dozen or so lawyers it had in the early 1990s, officials say, with some suggesting that five or six attorneys would be enough these days.

"I think it's a strategic mistake," said Ken Holt, a retired FBI agent who worked on several high-profile Outfit cases.

Holt and others point to the fact that the organized-crime group has lost a great deal of institutional memory with the death of Mars and the retirement of prosecutor John Scully last year.

Mars led the prosecution of the Family Secrets case, which resulted in the convictions of Chicago mob boss James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and top mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, among others.

Scully, another prosecutor on Family Secrets, also worked on the case of former Chicago Police chief of detectives William Hanhardt, who led a mobbed-up jewelry theft ring before being sent to prison.

Law enforcement officials say the group needs veteran attorneys who know the history of and the players in various Outfit street crews, attorneys who can understand, for instance, the significance of an obscure reference from a wiretapped conversation between two mobsters.

The cases are long and complex -- Family Secrets spanned activities covering nearly 40 years -- and they build upon one another, yet another reason to have dedicated attorneys there for the long haul, officials say. And even with some top mobsters behind bars, it's not going away.

"When one guy gets locked up, another guy replaces him," Holt said.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Puritan Pride's Discount Codes

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Mob

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

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

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

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

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



The SPECIAL JANUARY 1999-1 GRAND JURY charges:



1. At all times material to this indictment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cammon and Remy Murder Cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your favorable consideration of this resolution will be appreciated.

Very truly yours,
(Signed) Richard M.Daley

Mayor.

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

The following is said proposed resolution:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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



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

Thanks to Steve Bartin

Friday, March 07, 2008

Defining "The Chicago Way"

The Chicago Way.

What is it? Is it easily abused? Is it dangerous in the wrong hands?

This is critical, as the nation's eyes turn toward Chicago's federal building, where Barack Obama's personal real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, stands trial on federal corruption charges.

The phrase must be put in context, something the national media fails to do when they portray Obama as the boy king drawing the sword from the stone, ready to change America's politics of influence and lobbyists, ignoring the fact that Chicago ain't Camelot.

With opening statements expected Thursday, the court will be packed with journalists foreign to our idiom. In the past, a few reporters have applied "The Chicago Way" to our pizza, theater and opera, thereby embarrassing themselves beyond redemption.

To prevent such outrage, I've enlisted the help of George Washington, father of our country, crooner Dean Martin and aged action star Sean Connery in a cutting-edge video premiering now at chicagotribune.com/kass.

You know the movie "The Untouchables" in which Connery played the only Chicago cop in city history with a Scottish accent? "He [ Al Capone] puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue..." says Connery's cop. "That's the Chicago Way."

Perhaps.

Chicago's mob -- we call it the Outfit -- was slapped last summer by federal prosecutors in the Operation Family Secrets trial that convicted Outfit bosses, and cops and put political figures in with them. We've had our chief of detectives (William Hanhardt) sent to prison for running the Outfit's jewelry-heist ring. And we've had white guys with Outfit connections get $100 million in affirmative action contracts from their drinking buddy, Mayor Richard Daley, who must have seen them pink and white and male at some point.

That's the Chicago Way.

"This country was built on taxes," said a Democratic machine hack, Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims, as she and other Democrats prepared to slap Chicago with the highest sales tax of any major city in the country.

Her belief, that America was built on taxes, is one of the unique features of our own city's history, which reportedly began in 1776, when the Daleys boldly declared our independence from the English king.

"There's not that many political hacks in Cook County," Sims insisted after the tax hike.

Not that many hacks? The only one reporters need to bother about is also involved at the same federal building: the mayor's own Duke of Patronage, Robert Sorich.

Sorich has been found guilty by a jury, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals above the Rezko courtroom is still deciding whether to redeem the jury or redeem the mayor, who'd much rather have Sorich happy than Obama in the White House.

Sorich was convicted two years ago of running the mayor's massive and illegal patronage operation, and he's still not in prison. Thugs, morons, idiots, and convicts were put on the city payroll to work the precincts so that Daley could keep getting elected. Obama's spokesman, David Axelrod, defended Daley patronage in a Tribune op-ed piece.

The Daley family's parish priest in Bridgeport, Rev. Dan Brandt, lovingly compared Sorich to Jesus Christ as both had troubles with the law.

"People often say, what would Jesus do?" he said, loyal not only to his faith but to the 11th Ward's place at the head of Chicago Way. "I put a twist on it and say, 'What would I do for Jesus?' With whom Robert has a lot in common as far as legal problems ... [The Lord] was a convicted felon. And Robert was convicted, and so he may have a lot in common with Jesus."

When the parish priest does right by the patronage boss to protect the mayor who gets endorsed by that great reformer Sir Barack of O'bama, that's the Chicago Way.

Naturally, there are some squares who don't think taxpayers should pave the Chicago Way to make it easy for Rezko to help purchase the senator's dream house in a kinky deal exposed by the Tribune and still not fully explained.

"It's really the Old Chicago Way," said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association. "In the old days they would pretty much admit it up front, and now they deny it. It's essentially about power, access to government jobs, government contracts and taking care of your own."

One secret DaVinci Code-type sign for the Chicago Way is in the back room of the Chicago City Council chambers at City Hall, where a portrait of George Washington looks down at the crookedness below, and extends his own hand, palm up, itchy, needing that special grease. But some strangers to our lands have used the Chicago Way with perfect pitch. Rezko's buddy, former Iraqi electricity minister, Aiham Alsammarae, escaped an Iraqi prison where he was being investigated for corruption.

A reporter asked -- How did you escape?

"The Chicago Way," he said.

Amazing Discounts and Deals for J&R Computer/Music World

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Fed's Secret Weapon to Bust the Mob

The end of the Operation Family Secrets trial in Chicago has also brought an end to one of the government's secret weapons against the mob.

The secret weapon has a name: John Scully.

For 25 years, Mr. Scully has been a gangbuster for the United States attorney in Chicago, a workhorse prosecutor who put away dozens of organized crime figures with piercing arguments, a devotion to justice and a gentlemanly style.

Scully timed his retirement for the end of the Family Secrets trial last week. He talked with the I-Team about the case and his career.

"The family secrets trail that just ended, was that the highlight of your career, would you say?" ABC7's Chuck Goudie asked.

"Yes," Scully answered. John Scully is a man of few words, maybe because those he does speak carry so much weight.

Just ask Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Frank "The Breeze" Calabrese and "Little Jimmy" Marcello, three of the Chicago Outfit bosses who Scully helped to convict last month of their roles in decades of criminal rackets and eleven long-unsolved gangland murders.

"There have been very few mob murders solved over the years," Scully said. "This is the result of the work of an awful a lot of people for an awful long period of time, resulted in basically in the solving of a number of cases."

After the Family Secrets victory last week, Scully's retirement was one of the first things they noted. "I can't think of retiring on a higher note," said Pat fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney.

Sixty-year old Scully is a South Sider who graduated from De LaSalle High School. He attended the Naval Academy and was assigned to ship duty during the Vietnam War aboard the U.S.S. Hull, a destroyer that put Captain Scully right off the coast of Vietnam for months.

When Scully received his law degree from the University of San Diego after the war, his enemies changed, from the North Vietnamese to North Side Chicago mobsters and their outfit brethren on 26th Street, from Grand Avenue, Cicero and Elmwood Park.

In 1993, Scully prosecuted the On Leong gambling ring based in Chinatown, a major case that exposed payoffs to the mob, Chicago police and even a Cook County judge.

Five years ago, he took down William Hanhardt, the once-successful chief of detectives for the Chicago police. Hanhardt was sentenced to 15 years for operating a nationwide jewelry theft ring, and he was an outfit operative with a badge.

"A perfect cop in the mind of an awful amount of people. He cleared so many cases and did police work that resulted in a number of people being prosecuted and being prosecuted legitimately," Scully said. "He just never took his skills against the Chicago Outfit."

At the time Hanhardt went to prison, Scully was already working on a cloak-and-dagger investigation targeting the upper crust of the outfit.

It began with a letter from Frank Calabrese Jr., son of mob boss "Frank the Breeze." It was a letter so secret that Scully's long-time trial partner, Mitch Mars, didn't reveal it to others in the office for months.

"What was the danger at that point?" Goudie asked.

"Frank Jr. was cooperating, and it was going to be against his father who was a killer in the Chicago mob," Scully answered.

In 2002, with Frank Jr. still undercover, his uncle Nick Calabrese stunned prosecutors by offering to cooperate as well, admitting that he had committed at least 14 mob hits. "There was not the realization on the part on our office or the FBI that he had been involved with murders," Scully said.

Scully said he is amazed that murderer Joey "the Clown" Lombardo took the witness stand and tried to talk his way out of the charges.

"As you sat there and looked at him, could you get the clown image out of your head?" Goudie asked. "No, I didn't have the image of Joey 'The Clown,' I had the image of Danny Seifert," Scully said.

Seifert was the Bensenville business owner that Lombardo murdered in 1974 to prevent him from testifying in a case that Scully had assisted.

"Did you feel threatened by these people?" Goudie asked.

" No, that has never been a part of the Chicago outfit's background, at least in recent years, over the last 30 or 40 years& going after agents, going after prosecutors, going after police officers," Scully said.

Scully's retirement became effective while the jury was deliberating. He was given special permission to remain at the government table. Then when the verdicts came in, he packed up and went home.

Scully said he has no plans for the big salaries that some of his colleagues receive after retiring to private practice. He plans to spend time with his grandchildren.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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