organized crime in central illinois - background

Organized crime – Rockford – zito et al





See esp. steil - caruso - durako "garbage"




Roti family tree – chart,

(shows LCN status, hired truck, etc.)

see esp. links to locals: zito, nudo and caruso







Rockford Mob

by icegoodbarbPresident on Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:24 pm

The Rockford Family
Although less than 100 miles west of Chicago, the city of Rockford often mirrored the big city of blues and jazz with their penchant for violence and organized crime. Just as Al Capone and the earliest signs of The Outfit grabbed control of the Windy City rackets under threats of murder, the Rockford crime family would emerge in the same fashion and despite the FBI labeling the crime family 'dormant' or 'extinct'; they are anything but that and remain active to this day.

Like many other cities and especially Chicago, Rockford suddenly became active with bootleggers during the Prohibition era. Two gangsters on opposing sides of the fence would emerge on the scene at the same time and their war would bring about the Rockford crime family.

Paul Giovingo (right) was considered the bootlegger's bootlegger. His rival was Antonio Musso, who had arrived from Madison, WI and had designs for controlling the stills and speakeasies surrounding Rockford. Italian gangsters from Chicago and Milwaukee were also in on the action. One local native Tony Reila, a future New Jersey capo for the Bonanno crime family, would factor heavily during the Prohibition days.

While both factions went back and forth and bullet riddled bodies were common in 1930 and Musso got the biggest blow when Giovingo's brother Joe was murdered in August of that year. Just before Paul Giovingo would have been next a sweeping bootlegging federal (known as the Freeport Liquor Case) case against him and Musso took many of their loyal out of action in what resulted in two year sentence with the convicted housed at the Leavenworth Federal Prison. Most were released in 1932, including Musso and this would be the only time most (including Musso) would ever serve. While Musso and Giovingo were away, a syndicate of stills and transporters that covered the area Springfield, Peoria, southern Wisconsin and Rockford had already been forming. In short Musso was in; Giovingo was out.

Upon his release Paul Giovingo had been warned numerous times to get out of town. He did not take it seriously or was unaware that his army of thugs was dwindling. Many had been murdered, relocated far away or had simply crossed sides realizing that Musso held the power, which surely meant the backing of the Milwaukee and Chicago crime families.

Nearly a year before Giovingo's release one of his loyalist, Jack DeMarco, had returned from a stint in Leavenworth. While in the comforts of his own residence and having a homecoming celebration masked gunmen barged in, ordered his family into another room and shot DeMarco dead.

On February 13, 1933 Giovingo was driving his Chevrolet Coupe through Rockford when he was ambushed and sprayed with multiple shotgun and revolver bullets. He was very much dead and in a final symbol of defiance was found clutching his pistol. The ironic twist was that in March of that year President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Volstead Act effectively ending Prohibition and legalizing the production of alcohol. No one was ever charged for the murders of Joe or Paul Giovingo.

A noteworthy post-Giovingo gangster was Paul 'Peachy' Picchioni, who was a local fixture in the rackets and married into the powerful Capriola family, had sided with the Giovingo brothers. He was considered a powerful ally and when Paul Giovingo was murdered, he quickly switched sides and became Musso's personal driver. Later he would relocate to Dallas and become affiliated with their local crime family paving the way for the likes of Rockford mobsters Sam Ginestra and Anthony Zacharia, who married into the Civello crime family, which enabled Musso to form alliances outside of the midwest and into Texas.

Prior to Volstead Act Musso and company had already began to place gambling under their belt. Numbers peddlers, back alley craps dealers and bookmakers gladly paid their tribute to Musso. Those who didn't were given a warning and if they failed ultimately their life. One bookmaker refused to go along with the program.

Charles Kalb (left) had long been considered Rockford's top guy in bookmaking and horse racing. Strangely enough Kalb operated with independence throughout the bloody era surrounding Prohibition and did not take the rise of the Musso crew seriously. Kalb built a gambling racket that included a good 30-50 mile radius surrounding Rockford.

The Musso crew had been warning Kalb and his associates for some time. Musso thought mob soldier Filippo 'Phil' Caltagerone was better suited to control the gambling action. Caltagerone was an associate to the fast upstart Joe Zammuto, who later became crime boss of Rockford and was making a name for himself. Caltagerone had fought alongside Musso during the Prohibition years. On December 21, 1937 Kalb, his wife and his bodyguard Harry Dunn were blocks away from the Kalb's home when gunmen sprayed Kalb's car. Dunn and Kalb's wife was spared but Kalb himself was dead. No one was ever charged for the murder.

From the multiple bootlegging related murders in particular the Giovingo brothers and the drive-by of Charles Kalb the Rockford crime family was born. Often referred by some as a crew of the Chicago Outfit, this is hardly the case and a clear crime family has been identified by the FBI, although as stated previously their official status is 'extinct'. The Rockford crime family has regularly engaged with the Dallas, Bonnano, Kansas City, Milwaukee and the Chicago syndicates. The Rockford crime family remains nestled between the well known syndicates of Milwaukee and Chicago. This criminal group has never had one of their own offer testimony and cooperate with the federal government. And for a crime family that has since been considered dead the names of their members were written about in midwestern newspapers as recent as 2006 when the federal government charged several in an illegal gambling case. An extinct crime family that supposedly was once a crew for the powerful Chicago Outfit? Hardly.






Antonio "Tony" Musso

Born in 1893 in Partinico, Sicily by the time he was in his early 20s Antonio Musso had traveled across the Atlantic and settled in Madison, Wisc. While in Madison Musso operated a pool hall and was said to be involved in the murder of Madison racketeer Anton Navarra in April 1924. During the early days of Prohibition Musso made a name for himself as the bootlegging king operating out of the 'Bush' section of Madison. By the mid 1920s he had moved in on the territory of Rockford, IL.

Determined to control the most profitable racket-bootlegging, transportation and stills-Musso systematically set about eliminating or controlling the competition. It was said that by the late 1920s he along with Jasper Calo, Tony Riela, Joe Zammuto and others he had fullfilled his goal. With the exception of Giovingo brothers all bootleggers, speakeasy operators and whiskey haulers answered to Musso and company. When the Giovingo refused to comply the first one, Joe, was murdered in 1930.

Zammuto's rise to the top was briefly stalled when he was convicted in a sweeping federal against the gangsters for violating the laws prohibiting the production and sell of alcohol. Zammuto served a brief two year hitch from 1930-1932. This would be the only noticeable time he served behind bars.

Upon his return from prison it was evident that the more established criminal outfits in Milwaukee and Chicago along with the Zito brothers of Springfield, IL and their counterparts in St. Louis had backed Musso to be the crown prince. His final opponent in the bootlegging racket was the last Giovingo brother, Paul, who Musso had murdered in 1933.

After eliminating the Giovingo brothers, Musso had only one more hurdle and that was local bookmaker Charles Kalb. It was said that Kalb was the top gambler and lay off bookie around Rockford. Every vice peddler within the Rockford area by now was paying the Musso crime family with the exception of Kalb. After failing to heed several warnings Kalb was murdered in December 1937. Following this Musso would have a twenty year run at the top and rarely came under the scrutiny of law enforcement.

An item of noteworthy regarding Musso was his ability to pave the way for relocating gangsters. One in particular was Sam Oliveri who was born in Palermo, Sicily in 1895. Oliveri had first relocated to Chicago and became involved with what was called the Calumet City Cheese War. On the lam and looking for a home Musso invited Oliveri to Rockford. When the gangster arrived he quickly decided he wanted to go into the funeral business and proceeded to pressure John Gasparini, a well known and establish funeral parlor operator. When he refused Musso intervened and Gasparini had a new partner. Oliveri would remain an active soldier until his death in 1969. The funeral home would often be used for a meeting spot to iron out differences. The funeral home is still in operation today.

As the 1950s began the Rockford crime family continued to prosper. Now an elder and in poor health Musso did not attend the mob summit held in Apalachin, NY in November 1957. The historic meeting that was raided by local police ended up being a disaster. It was noted that Musso's longtime underboss Gaspare Calo was not in attendance either. Musso had sent capo Joe Zammuto to represent the Rockford regime. Zammuto, along with others, was picked up during the raid. The following year in May, Antonio Musso died.


Gaspare "Jasper" Calo


Gaspare 'Jasper' Calo was born on September 13, 1891 in Casteldaccia, Sicily. Calo left for America in 1923 and eventually found himself in Springfield, IL. While there he teamed up with the Zito brothers. Joe Zito would eventually become a key figure in the Rockford rackets while his brother Frank became the untouchable crime boss of Springfield and an important ally to the Rockford crime family and the Chicago Outfit. Joe Zito would also become Calo's brother in law. While in Springfield Calo was arrested for violating the Prohibition Act and was said to be one of the top bootleggers and engaged in white slavery, which in short means he along with the Zito brothers were pimps.

By the mid 1920s Calo and Zito ventured to Rockford and formed alliances with Tony Musso and Anthony Riela, the latter eventually becoming a legender Bonanno LCN Family capo in New Jersey. The relationship between Riela, Zalo and Zito would endure forty years and into the late 1960s.

During the early days of their tenure Calo and Zito established the Sunlite Dairy, which later became Devon Products, Inc. In 1961 Devon was purchased by Muller-Pinehurst Dairy, Inc. By the time Antonio Musso became boss Calo was already well-established and well-respected. Musso made him his underboss, a spot Calo would enjoy for 20 years.

When Musso passed away in May 1958 Calo assumed the seat as boss. However one of Musso's top capos, Joe Zammuto, thought differently and he had the majority of Rockford's rank and file members supporting him. Calo was well respected and was pressured to step down as boss. Reminicsent of the warning shot fired at Manhattan kingpin Frank Costello in 1957, Calo received similar treatment following Musso's death when his personal residence was fired upon. Calo got the picture and relinquished his throne within months of proclaiming it to Zammuto. It was believed that Tony Riela, evidenced by phone calls placed to Calo and the Zito brothers, had a hand in smoothing out bad feelings and any further acts of violence against his longtime friend.

By now Calo had grown very wealthy through property holdings, which were obviously purchased through illicit funds. Calo had also made a habit of sending monies back to Sicily to be invested on his and his family's behalf. It was believed to be at the urging of his wife that he retire from the Rockford crime family and in October 1961 both returned to Sicily. Gaspare 'Jasper' Calo lived in luxury for over ten years, free from any hassles or cosa nostra politics. He died in July 1973 while residing in Casteldaccia, Sicily.


Joseph Zammuto


Joe Zammuto was born in Aragona, Sicily in 1897; Joe Zammuto had immigrated into the America during the early 1920s and quickly found a home in Chicago and then Rockford. He teamed up and successfully defeated the Giovingo brothers during the violent bootlegging wars working alongside crime boss Tony Musso. Following the aftermath Zammuto was awarded capo status. When it was time for mob leaders to meet at the ill-fated 1957 Apalachin, NY summit it was Zammuto who represented Rockford's illicit interest and was embarrassed with the rest of the gangsters when their bbq was raided by local police.

Following the Apalachin debacle and subsequent death of Musso in 1958 Zammuto convinced Jasper Calo to step down as boss when he employed some friendly fire on his residence. Zammuto would then assume the post as crime boss and hold the position until 1973.

Zammuto enjoyed a carefree run as top rackets boss and was considered a close associate to both Frank Balistrieri of Milwaukee and Joey Aiuppa of the Chicago Outfit, both top national crime bosses. In place was Zammuto as boss, either Charlie Vince or Frank Buscemi as underboss, Joe Zito as consigliere with high ranking members such as Sebastian 'Knobby' Gulotta and Phil Cannella at his side.

Zammuto invested heavily in an off the books fashions with regards to to restaurants. At one time Zammuto held significant interest in at least three Italian restaurants, several are still in operation today. In comparison to Milwaukee or Chicago the Rockford crime family was much smaller and at their height under Zammuto the FBI could only document 30 made members at best. In 1965 he showed he was as cold as any cosa nostra boss when he approved of the murder of Rockford mobster Charles LaFranka. The murdered mob soldier was found beaten and strangled left in the trunk of his car, which was parked in Elgin, IL. His murder has never been solved and no one has ever been charged. It is quite possible that LaFranka refused to come to one of the regular meetings held at the Aragona Social Club, Zammuto's primary office during the 1960s-70s, which was located on Kent Street in Rockford.

In December 1968 a grand jury convened to question members of the Rockford syndicate regarding their illicit activities. The investigation specifically was interested in the crime family's influence over liquor license violations (at the time most lounges were in some way connected to Zammuto's crime family). Zammuto, Zito, Buscemi and mob soldier Joe Maggio were called. Other members were later called as well but little came from the effort. Later Zammuto would play a critical role in the eventual outcome of Maggio.

The Rockford crime family has always been low key and this was never more apparent than in 1972. In August of that year John Alioto legendary crime figure and father in law to Milwaukee crime boss Frank Balistriei passed away. Rockford mob capo Phil Priola, owner of Towne and Country Motel, placed a call that was probably ordered by Zammuto regarding their attendance at the Alioto funeral. Priola relayed a message to the Milwaukee synidcate that no one from Rockford would be attending the service. This was not an issue of respect but rather based on fear that FBI would have a surveillance team on hand.

In 1973 Zammuto eased out of the boss's seat. The FBI reports that during this year that Buscemi had wrestled control of the Rockford rackets but this wasn't really the case. Zammuto merely preferred spending long winters in Ft. Lauderdale and would assume a role as a dual consigliere alongside Joe Zito. Zammuto would permanently fill this role following the death of Zito in 1981. The Zito funeral is noteworthy because the FBI clearly photographed Buscemi, Zammuto and Joey Aiuppa of the Chicago Outfit in attendance.

Although semi-retired Zammuto was not far from the action nor the politics. In December 1972 Joe Maggio was convicted in a bizarre case involving mail fraud and boat registration. Along with James F. Schwartz of Rockford and William E. Blake of Michigan City, IN, Maggio had attempted to form a scheme under the name United States Merchant Marine that involved boat owners submitting a fee for registration. The case was largely built on an informer's testimony. The informer then provided proof that Maggio somehow was under the belief that a national agency would allow him to access FBI records. Maggio was ultimately convicted of seven counts of mail fraud. This brazen attempt to access secret national records quickly came to the attention of the Rockford crime family.

Beginning in the 1970s Sicilian immigrants started showing up in southern Michigan, Rockford and the surrounding areas. What the authorities would not know until nearly 12 years later and following a marathon federal trial known as the 'Pizza Connection Case' was that a massive heroin pipeline that flowed from Sicily to the northeastern United States and into the midwest starting taking root. The immigrants or 'zips' as they were called laundered the illegal dollars through pizza shops from heroin trafficking and sent them back to Sicily. One zip in particular, Pietro Alfano, operated a pizzeria out of Oregon, IL and was the nephew to Gaetano Badalamenti, mafia boss from Cinisi, Sicily.

Joe Maggio had seen the massive profits that were being funneled back and forth. A theory exists that Maggio began to complain since American cosa nostra were prohibited in dealing in narcotics, a rule that has been proven to be hypocritical. A likely scenario would have been Maggio was jealous and wanted in on the action. There was speculation by the FBI and the Rockford police that Maggio had also begun dealing in large quantities of cocaine. Whatever the case, Zammuto was relaxing in Ft. Lauderdale in the fall and winter of 1979 and the FBI noted several Rockford mobsters began visiting him in February 1980. On April 6, 1980 Winnebago County deputies found Maggio dead in the backseat of his car. He had been executed with one bullet to the head shot at close range. Authorities believe that the Ft. Lauderdale meetings with Zammuto were for his approval to murder Maggio. On an interesting note, deputies found $25,000 on Maggio. It was believed to have been left there on purpose for his grieving widow to claim. To date there has never been a suspect named in the Maggio case.

Zammuto would continue on as consigliere. Later in life he held the position in name only and in May 1990 passed away from natural causes while in living in Rockford.


Frank Buscemi


Born in 1911, Frank Buscemi like so many other Rockford mobsters was born in the Aragona region of Sicily. His entry into the city of Rockford was rather late. He was originally aligned with the Chicago Outfit before relocating to Rockford in 1959. However two cousins that were involved Tony Musso's bootlegging war (Angelo and Frank J. Buscemi) were already considered underworld legends.

One of Buscemi's closest associates was Joey Aiuppa of the Chicago Syndicate. In 1981 federal agents photographed Joe Zammuto, Frank Buscemi and Aiuppa attending the wake for longtime Rockford crime family consigliere Joe Zito. Remarkably by the early 1960s Buscemi was often credited with the role of underboss in particular following the departure of mob member Gaspare Calo. Buscemi was more of a businessman than a thug. Shortly after settling in Rockford he set up his vending machine operation (State Line Vending) in the Aragona Social Club, which was located on Kent Street. The club had been used by prior boss Joe Zammuto for regular meetings with the Rockford crew. At the time it was thought that the Rockford mob held secret interest in most lounges in the area. This would later be brought to light during a grand jury investigation where Buscemi was called to testify. He provide little information and the investigation fizzled. Many of the jukeboxes, pinball and cigarette machines housed in the taverns were undoubtedly supplied by Buscemi.

Beginning in the 1960s Buscemi established Rondinella Foods, Inc. that specalized in pizza ingredients to supply to local Italian restaurants. Buscemi was also known to have secretly financed at least three of these restaurants then arrange several cousins from Sicily to operate them on his behalf. These restuarants still exist today and are operated by distant Buscemi relatives. Rondinella would later be loosely connected to an internation heroin trafficking case appropriately dubbed The Pizza Connection. In 1981 citing pressure from IRS Buscemi sold Rondinella. However by then the company had made him very wealthy.

Beginning in the 1970s with his burgeoning business interests Buscemi began to sponsor working visas for several cousins from Sicily. One relative in particular was Pietro Alfano. At the time a wave of Sicilian gangsters were already entrenched in New York and surrounding states, all of them running Italian restaurants or pizza shops. What would take authorities a decade to prove and a landmark federal case was that this elaborate scheme involved money laundering of heroin sales. The heroin would be produced in Sicily, having had the poppy ingredients shipped in from Turkey, then the narcotic would be shipped to the United States, Canada and much of Europe. With so much supply the American cosa nostra of New York and Sicilian mafia had a lock on the deadly product. Following it being sold at the wholesale and street levels the profits were then dumped into these restuarants and the funds eventually made their way back across the Atlantic.

The imported midwest pizza shop operators included Pietro Alfano of Alfano's Pizzeria in Oregon, IL (still in operation today), Emmanuel Palazzolo (Alfano's brother in law) of Milton, WI; Giuseppe Trupiano of Olney, IL and Giuseppe Vitale of Paris, IL. All three were related to one another and considered nephews to Gaetano 'Don Tano' Badalamenti, a top level Cinisi, Sicily mafia boss and lead figure in the Pizza Connection case. Samuel Evola, operating out of Temperance, MI was another cog in this wheel but was considered an associate of the Detroit mob.

Authorities could never directly link Rondinella and Buscemi to the case but it would stand to reason that selling his products to the Illinois Sicilians could have been a tool to wash the illicit funds. His cousin Pietro Alfano was later ambushed and fired upon in Greenwich Village, Manhattan in February 1987 but survived. He would later be sentenced to 15 years (serving 7) in prison and is reportedly retired and living in Sicily.

Frank Buscemi, yet another untouchable Rockford crime boss, died of natural causes on December 7, 1987. By 1988 his remaining business interests had been sold.


Charles "Vinci" Vince


Charlie Vince was born in New Orleans in 1907. His exact move to Rockford is unknown but in September 1932 his name made the papers. Vince, along with Frank Giardono and Anthony Calcione were arrested for a string of robberies and burglaries in northern Illinois. By all accounts Vince and the others served very little time.

During the 1950s Vince was thought to have been promoted over the Rockford syndicate's gambling interest. A position he would share with fellow mobster Phil Emordeno. Also Frank Giardono would pass away and his widow would marry Vince who would also become a stepfather to Frank Giardono, Jr. Vince's stepson is considered a present day active made member of the Rockford crime family.

In 1966 Vince, Emordeno and Sebastian Gulotta were arrested for running a policy wheel. That same year all three were again arrested for running a high stakes card game out of a social club that was reported to have existed well over a year and grossing $25,000 a month. The card game was also linked to several high ranking Chicago Outfit members.

Beginning in the mid 1970s the FBI had placed Agent Joe Pistone in the undercover role of 'Donnie Brasco'. Pistone had used his street smarts and under the image of a jewel thief had begun to build a case against the Bonanno crime family of Brooklyn. In 1977 the FBI had also placed undercover Agent Gail Cobb under the alias Tony Conte in Milwaukee in attempt to infiltrate the insular mob boss Frank Balistrieri. Cobb was using the image as a vending machine operator in attempt to gain a better understanding of Balistrieri's influence in the city's rackets. Cobb's attempts begin to falter and Pistone was called in to assist.

Authorities would find out that Bonanno New Jersey capo and longtime associate to the Rockford crime family Tony Riela called Charles Vince to arrange a meeting between the crime families. Vince was a known close associate to Balistrieri. So on July 28, 1978 Bonanno members Benny Ruggiero (one of the mobsters that Pistone had been focusing on), Ruggiero's capo Mike Sabella, Frank Balistrieri, his two sons, Vince, Emordeno and Rockford's longtime elder consigliere Joe Zito had a sitdown with undercover agent. Additionally there appears to have been bad blood between Emodeno and Balistrieri and the Chicago Outfit thought that the two could work out their difference from a decades old beef. Balistrieri later suspected Cobb (Conte) was an agent and called off the arrangements. It did not matter because he along with the Bonanno gangsters would be indicted for extortion. The Rockford trio were labeled as 'unindicted conspirators' but never charged. This would be the closest the FBI would ever get to catching Charlie Vince.

Both Buscemi and Vince as well as future Rockford kingpins would get a big boost during the mid 1980s when interim police chief Dominic Isaparro, who previously headed the city's narcotics investigation unit, purged many records on the Rockford crime family and destroyed them. His role was merely apart of a nationwide effort going on at the time. This act would stifle future efforts against the gangsters.

Charlie Vince passed away while residing in Rockford in January 1994.


Sebastian "Knobby" Gulotta

Sebastian 'Knobby' Gulotta was a Rockford native born in 1930. He first gained attention in 1959 when he was called to testify before a grand jury. The jury pool was investigating the Rockford crime family's interest in illegal gambling. The court was also interested in finding out suspect(s) behind the double murders of Rockford gamblers Joe Greco and Donald Burton. Gulotta kept quiet and the investigation dried up. During the 1960s Gulotta along with Charlie Vince found themselves in several gambling raids but little in the way of prosecution came from the effort. Also in 1967 Gulotta was labeled a 'made' soldier in the Rockford crime family by the FBI.

By the 1970s Gulotta was thought to have been co-managing much of Charlie Vince's gambling interest. By 1981, with the death of mob soldier Phil Emordeno, Gulotta took over most of the syndicate's gambling racket and was promoted to capo status. It was only logical that he later served as underboss to Vince and like so many Rockford gangsters operated well below the radar. In 1984 the local Rockford newspaper, The Rockford Register, briefly ran a piece on the town's criminal history and labeled Gulotta as an important member.

Following the purge and destroy mechanism employed by the Rockford police department regarding criminal records of organized crime figures many investigations were grounded and any future investigations would have little to go on. Between this and the average Rockford gangster appearing to be Joe Citizen, Gulotta and others operated freely. When Charlie Vince passed away in 1994 the only remaining relevant mid-west crime family associated with the Rockford organization was the Chicago Outfit. They hardly batted an eye when Gulotta assumed the rank of boss. He would serve in such capacity until his death on March 15, 2000.


Frank "Gumba" Saladino
(heart attack guy at hotel)


Frank 'Gumba' Saladino was born in Rockford in December 1945 and would be raised in the crime family. His father was Giorgio Saladino, a made member of the Rockford crime family and rumored to have been behind the hit that ended the life of bookmaker Charles Kalb. Frank Saladino's brother in law was Rockford crew leader Phil Cannella who was suspected of firing the 'warning' shots that informed Jasper Calo to give up his boss's seat to Joe Zammuto in 1958.

Saladino received his first arrest for a charge of rape in 1964. Alongside him Joe Saladino (no relation) was also charged. Following a two year prison sentence for the crime Saladino began working full time for the Rockford crime family as an enforcer and was also listed on Frank Buscemi's payroll while employed at Rondinella Foods, Inc. By the early 1970s law enforcement intelligence had confirmed he was a 'made member'. Then Saladino took untraditional route when he began to spend more time in Chicago.

Beginning in the late 1970s Saladino became affiliated with the Southside/26th Street and Northside crews of the Chicago Outfit. In 1981 he was arrested for his part in a burglarly ring that involved several Outfit members and associates. He would serve three years. Upon his release he was seen more frequently in Rockford and often in the company of mob boss Frank Buscemi and Buscemi's cousin Salvatore Galluzzo. Along with the same 1984 article published by the Rockford Register Star newspaper that identified Sebastian Gullota as a capo it also pointed out Saladino as a mob soldier. Additionally rumors have circulated that Saladino may have been behind the 1980 murder of Rockford mob soldier Joe Maggio.

When Saladino took over as boss of a crime family that the FBI by then had referred to as 'extinct', illegal gambling and loansharking was pouring money into the gangsters' coffers. Joe Saladino and John 'Tiger' Frisella were raking in $100,000s from a myriad of wire rooms later raided by federal authorities that were scattered throughout Rockford. No doubt much of it made it's way to Saladino's pockets who was by now regularly cutting in Chicago due to the partnership between the two crime families. The mob boss was also invested in several of the strip clubs in and around Rockford. By now Saladino was already showing his girth and tipping his scales at over 300 lbs.

On April 24, 2005 federal authorities levied a crushing blow against the powerful Chicago Outfit. The case known as 'Family Secrets' would rock the city's top gangsters as such notables as Joey Lombardo and Jimmy Marcello were indicted and eventually handed life sentences. The RICO case focused on illegal gambling but specifically on 18 unsolved murders dating back to the early 1970s. Frank Saladino was suspected of participating in five of them and was on the list to face the music. Prior to the indictment Saladino, who had long made it a habit to have several addresses, had taken refuge at a Motel 6 in Hampshire, IL. The staff described his room to be a pig pen and he would reside their for several weeks prior to the indictment. As federal agents entered his room they found Frank Saladino dead from natural causes. Most likely his weight factored into his early demise. Agents found close to $100,000 between checks and cash on him. From a legal standpoint due to his death the Rockford syndicate and their connection to the Chicago Outfit was severed from the Secrets trial.






Joseph Zito


Joe Zito was born in 1906 in San Giuseppe, Sicily and by the early 1920s had made his home in nearby Springfield, IL. Along with his brother Frank and Jasper Calo, Joe Zito set about organizing the Springfield rackets. The trio engaged in bootlegging, illegal gambling and prostitution rings. In 1930 Zito along with Calo, who was now the latter's brother in law, relocated to Rockford. Brother Joe stayed behind and became the untouchable cosa nostra boss for Springfield.

When Calo and Zito arrived in Rockford mobster Tony Musso was already tried to gain complete control of the rackets especially bootlegging. The duo sided with Musso. Musso was engaged in a long running violent war with the two Giovingo brothers. In August 1930 the first Giovingo went down from a gunshot. In broad daylight while on South Main Street Joe Giovingo was riddled from gunfire. Zito was picked up and endured a lengthy questioning by police. No charges were ever filed.

From the 1930s-40s Zito and Calo would operate out of the Sunlite Dairy, Inc. Prior to establishing the business Zito claimed employment with Blatz Brewery as a salesman. Blatz Brewery later was purchased by Pabst Brewery. Joe Zito was thought to have been appointed consigliere in the 1950s and was certainly holding the position when Joe Zammuto became top crime boss in 1958.

While illegal gambling and jukeboxe rackets were longtime cash cows for the Rockford mob, Zito's role was to be the grease on the political machine. Beginning in the late 1960s the City of Rockford garbage hauling went through contract changes. Previously garbage was disposed at the municipality owned People Avenue landfill. In 1972 garbage disposal was routed to the privately owned Pagel Pit. Zito was suspected having a secret but significant interest. Additionally the previously garbage hauler contracted by the city, Rockford Disposal Service Co., was owned by Zito. The Rockford consigliere was able to use his influence and possibly bribery with the Rockford city council in order to obtain these lucrative contracts.

The last foray for Zito was in the late 1970s when he along with Charles Vince and Phil Emordeno became entangled with an attempted FBI sting involving Milwaukee mob boss Frank Balistrieri and the Bonanno crime family. Balistrieri and the Bonanno mobsters would eventually be convicted of extortion; the three Rockford gangsters would be labeled as 'unindicted conspirators'. Zito by now was long in the tooth and was sharing the consigliere role with semi retired Rockford mob boss Joe Zammuto.

After a five decade run as a top crime boss of Rockford, Joe Zito died in June 1981. The funeral for the longtime Balistrieri ally was attended by many midwest gangland racketeers, most notably Joey Aiuppa of the Chicago Outfit.






Peter Schifo


(1940s-1969) Born in 1904, Peter Schifo was considered a bit of a political fixer in the Rockford area. His expertise appear to be loansharking and representing the Rockford crime family's criminal interest in lounges. Schifo would only see himself in court for a serious crime once in his life. In 1956 he was indicted for bribery involving an attempt to obtain a liquor license for a store he held a secret interest in. Very little came in the way of punishment and Schifo died of natural causes in 1969.



Phillip "Philly" Canella


(1950s-1971) Born in Rockford in 1914, Phil Cannella first came to the attention of Rockford authorities in 1937 when he was arrested for bootlegging along with Salvatore 'John Alto' DiBenedetto. The duo garnered less than a year behind bars. By the time Tony Musso was in the twilight of his career as mob boss Cannella was already an established capo. When Gaspare Calo refused to step down as boss following Musso's death it was thought that Cannella fired shots at Calo's residence, which was located at 1308 Victoria Avenue. Calo got the message and relinquished his attempts, eventually retiring back to Sicily. In an ironic twist Calo sold his home to Cannella. Phil Cannella was married to Connie Saladino, daughter of Rockford mob soldier Giorgio Saladino and half sister to Frank 'Gumba' Saladino. By the time he was a teenager Saladino's mentor was Cannella. The mob capo would pass away from natural causes in 1971 and leave his interest to his brother in law.


Frank Giardano


(1980s-Present) Born in 1936 , Frank Giardono is the son of deceased mob soldier Frank Sr. and stepson to prior boss Charlie Vince. He is assumed to have been promoted to capo status with the rise of Vince as Rockford's rackets boss. In 1989 he was arrested for illegal gambling. In 1994 Giardono along with his brother Sam, John “Tiger” Frisella, Louis Labella, Frank Vargas and Azmi Radwan were arrested for possessing gaming supplies (craps table, dice, card table, etc). Authorities also found $2400 on Frank Giardono. He and others received little in the way of sentencing and mainly paid fines.

In February 2006 Giardono along with John “Tiger” Frisella, Joe “Pep” Fiorenza, John “Johnny Finooch” Salamone, Rick Fiorenza, Nick Fiorenza, Joe Saladino, Charles Purin and Nick Provenzano were arrested for running a large scale bookmaking operation. The racket had gone back as far as the early 1980s and at times generated daily profits of $2000. The operation was managed out of several locations and multiple phone lines were tied to it. All of those indicted, with the exception of Saladino, received fines and probation. Currently Giardono is considered one of the top players in the Rockford syndicate.


Joseph Saladino


(1990s-Present) Joseph Saladino, no relation to Frank Saladino, is considered one of the top players currently operating in the Rockford underground. In February 1997 Illinois State Police stopped Saladino for speeding a found a trunk filled with several handguns. Additionally the officers found two books on how to make silencers, a book on machine lathes, a billy club, two ‘slim jims,’ two bolt cutters, a tree trimming saw, one butcher knife, a pipe wrench, a stocking cap, and two face masks. Previous arrests had been in 1983 for battery on law enforcement and rape in 1964 where he was the codefendent with Frank Saladino. In 2003 Saladino worked out a plea agreement that called for 27 months. It is noteworthy to mention that the Rockford Assistant Attorney was Michael Iasparro, son of former police chief Dominic Iasparro. Saladino was in prison during the February 2006 gambling that resulted in several Rockford mob members to received probation and fines. Saladino was given an additional 3 months to his sentence and was released in 2007.






Angelo Buscemi


(1934) Born in Aragona, Sicily in 1912 and reared in Rockford, Angelo Buscemi was the cousin to future Rockford crime boss Frank Buscemi. Angelo Buscemi was considered an enforcer under mob boss Tony Musso and was thought to have 'convinced' tavern owners to sell Musso's booze. In 1934 he was pressing bar owner Louis DalCollo to sell the syndicate's product. Gunfire was exchanged and both DalCollo and Buscemi were slain. Following his death the surname Buscemi would forever be etched into the Rockford mob's fabric.


Frank J. Buscemi


(1930s-1977) Older brother to Angelo Buscemi, Frank J. Buscemi was born in Aragona, Sicily in 1904. He was consider a sleeper and little is known about him other than authorities labeled him as 'being involved in all illegal activities'. His only time behind bars stemmed from a 1930 bootlegging case that took many Rockford gangsters off the streets for 12-18 months. However with the arrival of his cousin who shared his name, the lesser known Frank J. Buscemi's profile was raised. By the early 1970s he had retired and died in 1977 while living in Delray Beach, FL.


Lorenzo "Larry" Buttice


(1920s-1967) Larry Buttice was considered a legend in Rockford mob circles with a four decade criminal career. He had plenty of arrests for bootlegging during the 1920s. He served 366 days at the Leavenworth federal prison following a conviction for bootlegging in 1930. The same case would send an estimated 40-45 Rockford gangsters away for terms of 12-18 months. In 1938 Buttice was arrested again for failure to provide valid alcohol stamps. By now Buttice was considered the overseer for the crime family's booze and lounge operations. During the mid 1940s he was thought to have been promoted to the rank of caporegime and oversaw many of the syndicate's gambling rackets. Buttice was further underground then most Rockford mobsters, all of them operating well below any radar, when his name was misspelled as "Lawrence Buttita" when the FBI attempted to create a chart on the crime family in 1967. The FBI could only state that Buttice was a member of the Aragona Social Club in Rockford and was 75 years old. He died in October 1967.


Joseph Capriola


(1930s-1992) Born in Rockford in 1905, Joseph Capriola came from a family well entrenched in Rockford. It was through marriage and the Capriola surname that many early Rockford gangsters shared ties. During the Prohibition Era Capriola was considered a top transporter of illegal booze. After serving a brief hitch in the early 1930s for bootlegging Capriola set back and managed many legitament assets. Other Rockford mob soldiers married into his family include John Domino and Paul Picchiono. Capriola died in 1992.


Giacamo "Jack" Demarco


(1920s-1932) Jack DeMarco was considered an early blackhander and top bootlegger in Rockford. He is seen as a fence straddler in the war that pitted Tony Musso against the Giovingo brothers for control of the illegal stills and speakeasies. Following an 18 month hitch at Leavenworth for his role in a major crackdown of Rockford bootleggers, DeMarco was at home enjoying his release from prison. On February 13, 1933, less than 24 hours after his release, three mobsters bursted into his home and rounded his family in one room. Following this they promptly shot DeMarco multiple times. The motivation may have stemmed from DeMarco apparently being 'too talkative' to prison officials while he was away or a cold message for Paul Giovingo.


John J. Domino


(1920s-1977) Born in New Orleans in 1899, John Domino was already a major player in the bootlegging rackets around Rockford by the late 1920s. He was known to operate multiple illegal stills in southern Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and surrounding areas close to Rockford. Domino also was a capable hijacker and used this criminal talent to seize trucks hauling the important ingredient of sugar in order to produce his own whiskey. Domino's wife was a Capriola, an early Rockford blackhand family with political ties. Besides his wife Domino's brother in laws consisted of men from the Ginestra, Ingrassia and Cuccia families, all well connected in the Rockford criminal underground. He was well retired from the action when he passed away in 1977 while residing in Tucson, AZ.


Phillip "The Tailor" Emordeno


(1920s-1974) Philip 'The Tailor' Emordeno was born in April 1911 in Frankfort, NY. By the early 1930s the Emordeno family had relocated to Madison. In April 1934 he was arrested along with his father Sam for burglarly. The duo was also suspected of running at least two whiskey stills near Milwaukee at the time. Phil Emordeno was again arrested in October 1936 for running a gambling racket in Madison. By the late 1930s Emordeno was crisscrossing between Madison and Milwaukee operating several more gambling rackets and it was then he was thought to have crossed paths with furture mob heavyweight Frank Balistrieri. It was then that the two began a decades long feud where Balistrieri would claim that he was ripped off by Emordeno.

By 1944 Emordeno was clearly residing in Rockford and overseeing an extensive gambling racket, quite possibly some of the remnants acquired by the Rockford syndicate following the murder of Charles Kalb. By the early 1960s he was thought to managing all of the Rockford gambling action in dual role with Charlie Vince. In 1967 the FBI identified him as a made member possibly holding caporegime status. During the 1960s he along with Vince and Sebastian Gulotta were picked up several times following gambling raids. Little came in the way of prosecution's effort.

Emordeno then is found in the middle of an FBI attempt that had undercover agents Gail Cobb and Joe Pistone attempting to bring the Milwaukee and Bonanno crime families together in order to secure rights over jukeboxe and vending machine rackets in 1978. When the undercover operation was wrapped up Emordeno, Joe Zito and Vince were labeled as an unindicted conspirators. Oddly enough Emordeno's role was thought to be at the urging of the Chicago Outfit and Rockford syndicate bosses in attempt to patch up the grudge between him and then Milwaukee crime boss Frank Balistrieri. For his part Balistieri was handed a decade long sentence. However by the time Balistrieri and the Bonanno gangsters were arrested Emordeno had died. He passed away on May 6, 1981 while still living in Rockford.


John "Tiger" Frisella

(1900s-Present) John 'Tiger' Frisella is considered one of the most active members of the Rockford crime family. Authorities believe he is in regular contact with the syndicate's Chicago Outfit counterparts. In 1984 the city's newspaper, The Rockford Register, identified him as a 'made' member. In 1994 Frisella was arrested with Frank Giardono and others for conspiracy to operate an illegal casino and possessing items such as a craps and blackjack table. In 2006 Frisella and a host of Rockford gangsters were charged with running a wide scale bookmaking operation. Frisella and Joe Saladino were charged as being the ringleaders in the racket. Frisella received probation and fines. Despite his criminal status Frisella remains an active member of the Rockford community. He is currently serving as president of the Saint Ambriogo Society, a local civic organization affiliated with the Saint Anthony of Padua Church.


Natale Galluzzo


(1970s-Present) Natale Galluzzo and his brother Sam are the first cousins to former Rockford mob boss Frank Buscemi. He is currently the owner of Gerry's Pizza in Rockford. In 1982 Galluzzo was charged with arson. Investigators believed he set fire to his home in order to collect insurance proceeds. A year later the Winnebago County State's Attorney office tossed out the charges.

By 2004 local investigators claimed that Galluzzo and his brother Sam were the leaders in high stake card games. They referred to the racket as the 'soccer club'. The soccer club was thought to have existed since the mid 1980s. One of their associates was Vaughn 'Curly' Fitzgerald. In October 2007 Fitzgerald, an 80 year old World War II veteran, was hosting one of the games at Mike's Motorcycle Shop in Rockford. Sometime in the evening the game was robbed and shots were fired prompting local police to convene on the crime. In the midst of it all the police accidentally shot and killed Fitzgerald. It was alleged but never proven that several high ranking police officers were also attending the game. Currently there are two suspects awaiting trial.

Along with his brother Sam, Natale Galluzzo is suspected of having strong ties to the Chicago Outfit.


Salvatore "Sam" Galluzzo


(1970s-Present) Identified as a 'made' member of the Rockford crime family by a local newspaper article, Sam Galluzzo was considered the right hand man to Frank Saladino, eventual leader of the syndicate. Since the late 1980s the FBI gathered evidence linking the two with the Chicago Outfit. Following the death of Saladino authorities believe Galluzzo is the primary contact with the larger crime family located in the Windy City. He also may hold the rank of capo and is seen as a possible successor to the deceased Saladino.


Theodore "Teddy" Ingrassia

(1920s-1974) Teddy Ingrassia served as an important cog in Tony Musso's control over bootlegging in Rockford. Ingrassia was born in New Orleans in 1901 and by the late 1920s was seen as the middle man routing liquour trucks to stills and back to speakeasies for a thirsty public. He would serve time following a crackdown by federal prosecutors for bootlegging in 1930s. His wife was related to the powerful Civello crime family of Dallas. He died in Rockford in 1974.


Joseph Maggio

(1960s-1980s) Born in 1936, Joe Maggio came to the attention of the Rockford syndicate by the time he graduated high school. Maggio was known to frequent dice games and gambling dens. He became an associate to two Rockford gamblers-Joe Greco and Donald Burton. When both of them ended up murdered Maggio was called before a grand jury in 1959 to testify. He gave little and their murders remain a mystery.

In February 1965, at the age of 28, Maggio was inducted as a made member of the Rockford crime family. The next year he was called before a grand jury to testify about the crime family's influence over liquour licensing and secret ownership in various lounges. The investigation fizzled. Then in 1972 Maggio was indicted on several counts of mail fraud involving a bizarre scam focused around boat registration (see Zammuto bio). By the late 1970s the Rockford crime family was playing a behind the scenes role in an international heroin trafficking racket that would be dubbed 'The Pizza Connection' case. Maggio was also suspected in dealing in large quanities of cocaine. It was suspected that Maggio voiced opposition to being shut out of the heroin ring and law enforcement were heavily investigating Maggio for cocaine dealing. On April 9, 1980 Maggio was found dead in the backseat of his car, which was located on the westside of Rockford. He had been shot at close range. Allegedly deputies located $25,000 on him and it was thought to be left there intentionally for his widow to claim and probably for her to keep quiet. His murder remains unsolved.


Salvaroe "Sam"Mera

(1920s-1964) Born in Siculiana, Sicily in 1881, Sam Mera was considered a top enforcer and hijacker for the Musso bootlegging syndicate. Like so many from his timeframe he too would serve a brief hitch at Leavenworth federal prison alongside Musso for bootlegging following a federal crackdown. Mera was well placed in the Rockford crime family tree when his son Pasquale married then boss Joe Zammuto's niece. He died in Rockford in 1964.


Paul "Peachy" Picchioni

(1920s-1974) Paul 'Peachy' Picchioni was originally alligned with the Giovingo during a bootlegging war that gripped Rockford during the early 1930s. The Giovingo may have been with Thomas 'Tommy Abbot' Abbate of the Chicago Outfit but the upstart rebellion led by Tony Musso had a much larger backing from Wisconsin and several other Outfit players that outweighed Abbate. In August 1930 Picchioni was an eyewitness of the shooting death of Joe Giovingo. He quickly jumped sides and eventually became a driver for Musso. Married into the Capriola family, Picchioni later relocated to Dallas and forged ties with the local Civello crime family. He died of natural causes in 1974.


Nicholas "Nick" Provenzano

(1980s-Present) Nick Provenzano has been identified as associating with the Rockford syndicate since the 1980s. On February 1, 2006 he was arrested along with John 'Tiger”'Frisella, Frank Giardono, John 'Johnny Finooch' Salamone, Joseph 'Joe Pep' Fiorenza, Nick Fiorenza, Rick Fiorenza and Charles Purin for operating a large-scale bookmaking operation that had existed since the early 1980s. Like the others Provenzano received fines and probation. This was his first known arrest. He is considered an active member of the Rockford crime family.


Frank Rumore

(1920s-1954) Born in Contessa Entellina, Sicily in 1898 Frank Rumore chaulked up plenty of arrests for bootlegging and hijacking during the 1920s. A well respected member of the Musso's syndicate his resolve was tested twice. The first being when he along with many of the top players were convicted for producing alcohol during Prohibition in 1930. He quietly served just over a year at Leavenworth. Then in 1936 when his cousin Tommy Rumore was murdered by Musso's henchmen after falling out of favor. Rumore died in 1954 from natural causes.


Peter Sanfilippo

(1920s-1940s) Born in 1882, Peter Sanfilippo like most in the Rockford syndicate was an active bootlegger. However he chaulked a few incidences involving kidnapping, which would be his claim to criminal infamy. In October 1927 Sanfilippo along with several others kidnapped bootlegger Ezra Duffy, a bootlegger from Sterling, IL. Duffy had failed to paid the Rockford crime family. Oddly enough it was in a Dixon, IL speakeasy that gangsters were holding Duffy when the local sheriff happened to visit the illegal establishment. The sheriff quickly recognized Duffy and arrested Sanfilippo's conspirators Giuseppe Stassi and Anthony 'Tony Carlino' Catalano. In the late 1920s Sanfilippo was questioned for his role in the kidnapping a figure only known as a 'wealthy businessman residing Spring Valley, IL'. No charges were ever filed. By the 1940s Sanfilippo had relocated to San Diego. He was thought to have joined Catalano who had been recently released from prison. Peter Sanfilippo died in January 1963.


Ignatzio "Iggy" Seminerio

(1960s-2001) When Rockford mob boss Frank Buscemi became a real estate investor he began sponsoring several cousins to work in his Rockford business establishment. One of those was Ignazio Seminero, who was born in Aragona, Sicily in 1941 and relocated to the United States in 1966. Seminero was thought to have been christened a made member shortly after his arrival and oversaw Buscemi's loansharking interests. In 1979 Buscemi supplied $80,000 in financing for Seminerio to purchase Little Italy Restaurant in Rockford. Seminerio operated the establishment well and became wealthy. He died of natural causes in 1961.

Copyright @ (OCS)2009

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mob Murder Suggests Link to International Drug Ring

FBI file on Rockford Mobster Joseph J. Maggio shows likely motive for his 1980 killing and Mob efforts to gain access to FBI files - By Jeff Havens

Friends of ours: Joseph J. Maggio, Joseph Zammuto, Pietro Alfano, Gaetano Badalamenti, Frank J. Buscemi, Jasper Calo, Joseph Zito, Frank G. Saladino, Charles Vince, Phillip J. Emordeno, Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero, Michael Sa Bella, Tony Riela, J. Peter Balisrieri, Bonanno Crime Family, Carmine "Lilo" Galante, Gambino Crime Family, Carlos Gambino, Pasquale Conte Sr., Tommaso Buscetta, Frank Zito, Vito Genovese, Genovese Crime Family, Paul Castellano, Joe Bonanno, John Gotti
Friends of mine: John S. Leombruni, "Donnie Brasco"

He was found dead in the back seat of his car along Safford Road by two Winnebago County Sheriff's deputies on April, 6, 1980. The victim, Rockford Mob member Joseph J. Maggio, was shot once in the side of the head at close range with 6.35mm bullet, which was made in Austria.

His killer has never been charged, and the shooting remains an open and unsolved case. However, according to Maggio's extensive FBI file, a "prime suspect" was identified by unknown sources, and the motive for his killing was "a result of his objection to LCN [La Cosa Nostra or Mafia] entry into the narcotics business in Rockford." And according to an October 1984 FBI document, an unknown informant "was instructed by his 'associates' in either Las Vegas or Los Angeles that Maggio had to be killed. [Redacted] 'associates' are members of the LCN."

Maggio's murder and FBI file provides another piece to the puzzle that may one day directly link Rockford to the Mafia-run heroin and cocaine smuggling conspiracy of the 1970s and 1980s, which was known as the "Pizza Connection."

Of the nearly 1,500 pages The Rock River Times requested from Maggio's FBI file, only 90 pages were released by the U.S. Justice Department. Most of the 90 pages released were heavily redacted or censored for content.

However, the information that was released shows the Mob's determination to not only scam ordinary citizens out of money through businesses that appear completely legitimate, but also gain access to FBI files.


Less than two months before Maggio was killed, he and other Mafia members met "several times" in February 1980 with Rockford Mob boss Joseph Zammuto in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. — where Zammuto vacationed during the winter each year.

Exactly what was discussed at the meeting is not known. However, Maggio's heavily redacted file indicates an unknown individual or group "began dealing narcotics in Rockford in August 1980, with Zammuto's sanction."

As to who began dealing drugs with Zammuto's approval is not known due to Maggio's redacted FBI file. However, what is known is John S. Leombruni was convicted in 1983 for trafficking cocaine in Rockford and the surrounding area.

According to a March 4, 1984 article in the Rockford Register Star, "There were indications in 1982 that a six-month investigation by the FBI of cocaine traffic in Rockford had turned up Mob connections. Twelve persons were indicted, including John S. Leombruni, who was described as the city's biggest cocaine dealer. ...Leombruni had lived in Las Vegas the year before his arrest." And according to the Register Star article, an FBI affidavit indicated, Leombruni "was run out of town by 'the Mafia chief in Las Vegas.' Court approved wiretaps showed Mob involvement in the Rockford cocaine case FBI agents said, but were not allowed as evidence in Leombruni’s trial." He was tried in federal court in Rockford.

The sequence of incidents, from published sources, suggests a strong link between the Rockford Mob and other participants in the Pizza Connection, whose second in command for Midwest operations was Oregon, Ill., pizza maker Pietro Alfano.

According to a source for The Rock River Times, Alfano, now 70, "retired" and returned to Sicily shortly after his release from federal prison in 1992. As of 2004, Alfano's son operated the restaurant, which was still in business in Oregon.

Ralph Blumenthal, reporter for The New York Times and author of the 1988 book Last Days of the Sicilians, wrote that Alfano immigrated to the United States between 1963 and 1967 from Cinisi, Sicily, a town about 8 miles west of Palermo near the Mediterranean Sea.

Cinisi was also the hometown of former Sicilian Mob boss Gaetano Badalamenti, who was born in 1923, and died in 2004. Badalamenti became head of the Sicilian Mafia in 1969, but fled for his life to Brazil in November 1978 in the wake of the "Mafia wars" in Sicily.

Alfano and other Mob members born in Sicily, but working in United States, were referred to as "Zips" by their American-born counterparts. According to Selwyn Raab, former New York Times reporter and author of the 2005 book Five Families: The rise, decline and resurgence of America's most powerful Mafia empires, the term "Zip" may be Sicilian slang for "hicks" or "primitives."


On April 8, 1984, Alfano and Badalamenti were apprehended by police in Madrid, Spain. Authorities charged that they, along with 29 others overseas and in the United States, participated in a multinational, $1.65 billion heroin/cocaine smuggling and money laundering conspiracy.

The conspiracy stretched from poppy fields in Afghanistan to banks in Switzerland, ships in Bulgaria and Turkey, pay phones in Brazil, and pizza restaurants in New York, Oregon, Ill., and Milton, Wis. The conspiracy would become known as the "Pizza Connection," the successor to the 1950s' and 1960s' "French Connection."

Interim Chief of the Rockford Police Department Dominic Iasparro, head of the Rockford area Metro Narcotics task force, has been with the agency for about 32 years. Iasparro recalled area drug trafficking during the time of the Pizza Connection.

"As I understand it, the drugs weren't coming out here—they were staying in New York," Iasparro said during an April 12, 2004 interview.

In addition to being head of the local narcotics unit, Iasparro was also responsible for destroying police intelligence files concerning Rockford Mob members in the mid-1980s that Iasparro said was part of a nationwide effort to purge such information. Maggio's dossier was among the files requested by The Rock River Times last year, but apparently destroyed during the purge.


Under what circumstances Alfano arrived in the United States is not clear. However, what is clear is Alfano and other Zips in the Midwest and on the East Coast were employed in the pizza business. Also apparent is former Rockford Mob boss Frank J. Buscemi was reported by the Register Star to have facilitated the immigration of "several cousins to Rockford from Sicily and set them up in business."

What is not certain is whether Buscemi, a Chicago native, sponsored Alfano's move to Illinois. Buscemi was owner of Stateline Vending Co., Inc., and Rondinella Foods Co., before his death in Rockford on Dec. 7, 1987. Rondinella was a wholesale cheese, food and pizza ingredient distributor.

Stateline Vending began operating from the basement of the Aragona Club on Kent Street before moving to 1128 S. Winnebago St., which was owned by former Mafia Advisor Joseph Zito and Mobster Jasper Calo. The vending business eventually settled at 326 W. Jefferson St., in Rockford, before it was dissolved in 1988, after Buscemi’s death.

Winnebago County court documents from 1988 indicate alleged Rockford Mob hit man Frank G. Saladino worked for Rondinella in the 1980s when Buscemi owned the business. Saladino was found dead April 25, 2005 in Hampshire, Ill., by federal agents that went to arrest him on charges of murder and other illegal Mob-related activities.

According to Buscemi's recently released FBI file, Buscemi was also the target of a federal investigators from 1981 to 1986 in connection with Maggio's murder and "extortionate business practices."

"These allegations involved Buscemi's cheese distribution business, RONDINELLA FOODS, and his vending machine operation, STATE-LINE VENDING." Buscemi's also indicates that the investigation produced "numerous leads of extreme value, including contacts between Frank J. Buscemi and the subject of an ongoing Boston drug task force investigation."

Despite the years of investigations, Buscemi was never charged with any crime before his death in 1987. Also unknown is whether Zammuto's only sister, whose married name is Alfano, was related to Pietro Alfano through marriage.


The Mob's historic ties to the vending machine business is significant in establishing an indirect link between the Rockford Mob and the Pizza connection because of a meeting that took place in July 1978 in Milwaukee between Mob members from New York, Milwaukee and Rockford.

In July 1978, federal court documents show Rockford Mafia Advisor Joseph Zito, Mob Underboss Charles Vince, and Phillip J. Emordeno along with other members of the Milwaukee and New York Mafia were alleged to have tried to extort money from a competing upstart vending machine company owner. The owner of the company the Mob members tried to shakedown, was actually an undercover federal agent named Gail T. Cobb who was masquerading as Tony Conte, owner of Best Vending Co.

According to page 229 of Raab's book, legendary FBI agent Donnie Brasco, whose real name was Joseph P Pistone, was "used" by Bonanno Mob soldier Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero "on cooperative ventures with other families in New York, Florida and Milwaukee."

Blumnenthal wrote on page 42 of his book that in 1978 Pistone traveled to Milwaukee to vouch for Cobb, and "Pistone helped Cobb cement an alliance between the Bonanno and [Milwaukee Mob boss Frank P.] Balistrieri clans."

Actor Johnny Depp portrayed Pistone in the 1997 movie Donnie Brasco, during the time in the late 1970s when Pistone infiltrated organized crime. ("Lefty Guns" Ruggiero was played by Al Pacino.)

The Register Star described the 1978 meeting in their March 1984 article as being partly arranged by Rockford Mob members. The article concluded the meeting "confirmed long-held intelligence information that...[the Rockford Mob] possessed the influence to deal directly with the Milwaukee and New York organized crime families." The meeting was set to quash a possible violent conflict between Cobb and Mafia members.

Ruggerio's Mob captain, Michael Sa Bella contacted Tony Riela—a New Jersey Mob member with ties to the Rockford Mafia. Riela called Rockford to schedule the meeting, and Ruggiero called Zito several times. Vince also called Balistrieri’s son J. Peter Balisrieri shortly before the meeting.

According to the Register Star article, "on July 29, 1978 Cobb met the three Rockford men and Ruggiero at the Centre Stage Restaurant in Milwaukee. ....Ruggiero told Cobb that the vending machine business in Milwaukee was controlled by the mob," and if Cobb wanted to enter the business he would have to share his profits with the Mafia or be killed. Since the New York and Milwaukee crime families worked together, "Cobb also was told he would have to pay a portion of his profits to the Bonanno family," which was headed at that time by Carmine "Lilo" Galante.


Blumenthal wrote that the shotgun assignation of Galante in the mid-afternoon on July 12, 1979 while he was dining on the patio of a restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y., marked a tipping point in the power struggle to control drug trafficking in America. Pizza Connection prosecutors believed Galante’s murder "cleared the way for Sicilian Mafia rivals in America to set up the Pizza Connection."

Raab said on page 207 that Galante attempted to injure the other four New York Mob family's interests in the drug trade, especially the Gambino crime family. "Perhaps even more grievous, after Carlo Gambino's death [Galante] had openly predicted that he would be crowned boss of bosses."

Although Frank Balistrieri and others would be sent to prison as a result of Cobb and Pistone's efforts, no Rockford Mob members were indicted in the Milwaukee case. The same may also be said about the Pizza Connection conspiracy.


Unlike Galante, Alfano survived a Mob attempt on his life.

After emerging from a Balducci's delicatessen in Greenwhich Village N.Y. the evening of Feb. 11, 1987, Alfano was shot three times in the back by two men who emerged from a red car. The shooting occurred during the October 1985 to March 1987 Pizza Connection trial.

Blumenthal wrote the failed assassination attempt was allegedly arranged by Gambino family associates, which left Alfano paralyzed below the waist and confined to a wheel chair.

Blumenthal alleged Salvatore Spatola, a convicted heroin and cocaine smuggler, said the attempted killing of Alfano had been arranged by Pasquale Conte, Sr.— a captain in the Gambino family.

The exact motive for Alfano's shooting appears to be a mystery. However, Blumenthal wrote that convicted New Jersey bank robber Frank Bavosa told the FBI and New York police he and two other men were paid $40,000 to kill Alfano "allegedly because of his continuing drug-trafficking activities."


Even though the Rockford Mob has historically been considered part of the Chicago Mafia, which is known as "The Outfit," Tommaso Buscetta, Sicilian Mafia turncoat and lead witness in the Pizza Connection trial testified that Italian-based Mobsters based throughout the world acted as one in achieving their objectives.

Supporting that claim is a statement from Thomas V. Fuentes, special agent in the organized crime section for the FBI. During a 2003 broadcast on the History Channel, Fuentes said a Nov. 14, 1957 meeting of Mafia bosses from throughout the United States in Apalachin, N.Y., was in part to decide whether American Mob members would act cohesively to cash in on the drug trade.

Specifically, Fuentes said: "We believe that the main purpose was for the bosses of the American families to decide whether or not they would engage jointly in heroin trafficking with their cousins in Sicily."

Rockford Mob Consuleri Joseph Zito's brother, Frank Zito, boss of the Springfield, Ill., Mob was one of those who attended the Apalachin conference, according Joseph Zito's FBI file.

Also in attendance at the Apalachin meeting with Zito were at least 58 other Mob members, which included Carlo Gambino; Vito Genovese, boss of the New York Genovese crime family; Gambino’s brother-in-law Paul Castellano; and Joe Bonanno. Castellano would be Gambino’s successor after Gambino’s death in 1976. Castellano was murdered in 1986, and was succeeded by John Gotti, who died in a Missouri prison medical center June 10, 2002.


In addition to a probable motive for Maggio's killing, Maggio's FBI file shows Mob's determination to not only steal money from citizens, but gain access to FBI files.

Maggio was convicted on Dec. 6, 1972 on seven counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy. The conviction was obtained after an unidentified male informant said the conspiracy involved a "boat registration scheme", wherein the name United States Merchant Marine was used to collect funds for a national boat registration service.

"He said they planned to circulate a letter to all boat owners for a $10 contribution, which would then be used as a registration fee for a registry to be maintained by the company [United States Merchant Marine Service, Inc.]. ...

"[Redact] had asked him if he had any idea how the United States Merchant Marine Service could patch into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC)."

Maggio was born Aug. 30, 1936 in Rockford, where he lived his entire life, until his death at age 43. Maggio married in 1959, and had three sons and one daughter. He became a made Mob member in approximately February 1965.

About the author: Jeff Havens is a former award-winning reporter for the weekly newspaper The Rock River Times in Rockford, Ill. Havens lived most of his life in the Rockford area, and wrote dozens of news articles about the Mob in Rockford and Chicago.

 blago gives cellini ISP in return for political support in gov race against JBT (trent from argosy as ISP dir) 

















State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Tuesday, October 15, 1996

Caruso-50th Mr. and Mrs. Anthony J. Caruso of Springfield recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. A trip is planned for a later date.

Caruso and the former Edith Durako were married Oct. 12, 1946, at St.

Aloysius Church by Monsignor A.J. Bertman.

Mr. Caruso was employed for 22 years by the Springfield Fire Department, retiring in 1974 as chief of the Fire Prevention Bureau. He later was employed by the secretary of state, retiring from there in 1984 as supervisor of grounds at the Motor Vehicle Services Building. Mrs. Caruso retired in 1984 from the state Department of Public Health after 40 years of service.


Business calendar

Beacon News, The (Aurora, IL) - Thursday, September 27, 2001

Independent Contractors/Worker's Compensation Seminars: Wessels & Pautsch will host "Understand and Strengthen the Independent Contractor Status of Your Truck Drivers!" presented by attorneys Nancy E. Joerg and Anthony J. Caruso Jr., from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fishermen's Inn, Elburn.

Appropriate for trucking company owners, managers, and office staff.

To register, call Doris Baxter with W & P at (630) 377-1554.

The business calendar is published throughout the week and on Sundays.

Send your calendar items to Business Editor, The Beacon News, 101 S. River St., Aurora, IL 60506. Items may be sent by fax: (630) 844-1043; or by e-mail: jfaber@scn1.com. Items should be received 10 days prior to the desired date of publication.




State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Saturday, July 27, 1996

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 17

May L. Caruso May L. Caruso, 77, of Springfield died Friday at St. John's Hospital.

She was born Aug. 18, 1918, in Calvin, the daughter of John Joseph and Hazel Irene Combs Boren. In 1950, she married Anthony J. Caruso ; he died in 1995. A resident of Springfield since 1946, she was a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Church.

Mrs. Caruso worked as a clerk for Thrifty Drug Store, retiring in 1980. Survivors: three sons, Robert L. Ashley of Scottsvalley, Calif., Anthony J. Caruso of Springfield and Carl C. Caruso of Athens; 11 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; two sisters, Wanda Shoulders of Bridgeport and Eleanor Peton of Willows, Calif.; four brothers, John W. Boren of Lawrenceville, Noble M. Boren of Michigan, Alvin L. Boren of Robinson and Marshall Boren of Sumner; an aunt; several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services: 10 a.m. Monday at Staab Funeral Home, the Rev. Frank J. O'Hara officiating. Burial: Camp Butler National Cemetery.

Patricia A. Page Patricia A. Page, 74, of Springfield died Thursday at St. John's Hospice.

She was born Nov. 3, 1921, in Springfield, the daughter of Patrick A. and Eda Harris Murphy. She married Creadford Opal Page; he died in 1983. Mrs. Page worked for 15 years as a housekeeper at Lincoln Towers.

Survivors: five sons, Charles Padget and Kenneth and David Page, all of Springfield, and Lawrence and Hugh Landreth, both of Clinton; five daughters, June Ann Landreth of Clinton, and Penny Jones, Christine Sullivan, Gail Williams and Pamela Mikeilonis, all of Springfield; several grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; two sisters, Frances Synder of Dallas, and Helen Murphy of South Bend, Ind; several nieces and nephews.



State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Monday, August 28, 1995

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 18

Anthony J. Caruso Anthony J. Caruso , 77, of Springfield died Sunday at St. John's Hospital.

He was born June 13, 1918, in Riverton, the son of Benny and Mary Evangilista Caruso. He married May L. Boren in 1950. Mr. Caruso was a resident of Springfield for most of his life. He worked at Hummer Manufacturing Co. as a fireman. He also worked at Concordia Seminary as a custodian.

He was a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Church. He was an Army veteran of World War II. Survivors: wife, May L. Caruso; three sons, Robert L. Ashley of Scotts Valley, Calif., Anthony J. Caruso Jr. of Springfield and Carl C. Caruso of Athens; 12 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; one sister, Jessie Alessandrini of Springfield; two brothers, Armand Caruso of Tucson, Ariz., and Gene Caruso of Baton Rouge, La.; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Staab Funeral Home, Rev. Tom Hagstrom officiating. Burial: Camp Butler National Cemetery.

Rose Giacometti Rose Giacometti, 92, of Springfield died Thursday at Heritage Manor Nursing and Convalescent Home.

She was born May 16, 1903, in Marseilles, France, the daughter of Felice and Amabele Qualandi Rossi. She married Arthur Giacometti.

Mrs. Giacometti was a homemaker and a member of Church of the Little Flower.

Survivors: two grandsons.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Kirlin-Egan and Butler Funeral Home.




Chicago Tribune - Sunday, January 13, 1991

Henry C. Szesny, Richard A. Sirus and Anthony J. Caruso Jr. were named

directors of Pope, Ballard, Shepard & Fowle Ltd., a Chicago-based law firm.


Running a union, ruling the alley

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Author/Byline: Tim Novak and Robert Herguth, The Chicago Sun-Times
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 26

For years, the City of Chicago's garbage collectors and pothole patchers served two masters:

Mayor Richard M. Daley. And the Roti family.

For decades, the Roti family has held extraordinary sway at City Hall. A key part of that clout was its control of a union that represents the city's unskilled laborers and had a long history of mob ties.

Bruno F. Caruso -- a grandson of family patriarch Bruno Roti Sr., identified by the FBI as an associate of Al Capone's -- ran Laborers' International Union Local 1001, which represented 3,500 city workers while Caruso was in power, mostly in two city departments -- Streets and Sanitation, and Transportation. They empty garbage cans, pave streets, fix potholes.

When Caruso left the union leadership, his cousin Nicholas Gironda took over.

Caruso 's brother Frank " Toots " Caruso headed another Laborers' local that represented city workers. When he left, his cousin Leo Caruso took over.

Together, the four Roti family members controlled thousands of unionized city jobs, as well as pension funds and other union assets that once topped a billion dollars. Often, they decided who got unskilled laborers' jobs with the city and who got promoted into supervisory positions in those areas, sources said.

They had that power until they were forced out of or resigned their leadership posts over allegations of corruption and mob ties that had been pursued for years by the international union's in-house prosecutor. As part of that effort, the international union filed a complaint in 2003 that accused Gironda of taking bribes from city job-seekers "on behalf of" his cousins Bruno Caruso and " Toots " Caruso . By 2004, all were gone from the union.

"I haven't been involved in running things for many years," Bruno Caruso , forced out in 2001, said in a recent interview.


The Roti family's union power goes back to two late organized-crime figures, Ald. Fred B. Roti and Chicago Outfit boss Anthony Accardo, according to union investigators.

Bruno and " Toots '' Caruso are nephews of Roti. The three were among 47 men identified by the FBI in 1999 as "made'' members of the mob. "Made'' mobsters, according to the report, pledge loyalty to the Outfit "and would carry this oath of commitment and silence to the grave.''

Bruno Caruso denies having organized-crime ties. " Toots " Caruso declined to comment.

Accardo was once a Capone bodyguard and a suspect in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. He wound up in charge of the Outfit, which he helped run for more than five decades. In a 2003 filing, union investigators said "Accardo used his influence" to ensure his son-in-law Ernest Kumerow became Chicago's top Laborers' official in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1982, Kumerow appointed Bruno Caruso secretary-treasurer of Local 1001. After Accardo died, Kumerow left, and Caruso took over Local 1001 and the Laborers' Chicago District Council, a larger consortium of 19,000 union members. He ran the council until 1998 and the local until 2001.

Bruno Caruso and " Toots " Caruso are the third generation of the Roti family linked to the mob, according to FBI reports. The allegations began with their grandfather, Bruno Roti Sr., who ran the mob's South Side operations, and continued with their father, Frank "Skid" Caruso , who took over when Roti died in 1957, according to a 1966 FBI report.

"Skid" Caruso married Roti's daughter Catherine. They raised four children -- daughter Frances and sons Peter, Bruno and " Toots " -- in a house on 23rd Street at the center of both Chinatown and Roti family life.


Bruno Caruso became one of the most powerful labor bosses in Chicago. But he started out cutting hair and drumming up votes in the 1960s for Democrats in the 1st Ward, the mob's historical political power base. "I gave outstanding haircuts," Caruso boasted in a 1997 deposition.

This son of Chinatown, who now lives in Darien, soon traded his scissors for a jackhammer. Caruso , 62, went to work for the city in 1966 as an asphalt laborer. He became a steward for Laborers' Local 1001 in his first year on the job. Caruso moved from foreman to supervisor to superintendent of pavement repair. As a city superintendent, Caruso was paid $39,072 in 1982 to oversee as many as 400 workers -- who belonged to his union. He was their boss -- and their union leader.

Caruso -- who married Mary Ann Rizza, whose family owns five car dealerships -- was a Department of Streets and Sanitation superintendent when he joined the executive board of Laborers' Local 1001 in 1981. A year later, Kumerow made Caruso the union's secretary-treasurer, a full-time job, and Caruso left his city job.

A labor leader, speaking on the condition he not be named, said of Caruso : "Bruno cared about his membership, very family-orientated. But evidently other people thought different things."


As the mob dominated the Laborers' Union nationwide into the mid-1990s, the Justice Department agreed to let the international union clean house. The union hired investigators to ferret out crime and corruption. In 1997, the Laborers' International Union went after the powerful Chicago District Council, filing a complaint that ultimately booted its officers. The international union's in-house prosecutor, Robert Luskin, later filed charges against Bruno Caruso , as well as " Toots " Caruso and Leo Caruso , who ran Laborers' Local 1006, also representing city workers. The Carusos, accused of having links to organized crime, were kicked out of the union forever in 2001.

Bruno Caruso was replaced by Gironda, his cousin. Gironda "was placed in Local 1001 to continue organized crime influence over Local 1001," according to the 2003 complaint Luskin filed. Gironda quit in 2004, agreeing to leave the union forever.

Last summer, Local 1001 held its first contested election in decades.


During the proceedings to oust Bruno Caruso , a Chicago Police detective testified he'd seen him and " Toots " Caruso with two mob bosses in 1994 -- a meeting Bruno Caruso said was to organize festivities for St. Joseph's Day, an important holiday for Italians. On other occasions, Bruno Caruso was spotted with other reputed mob bosses.

These days, Caruso owns Maxwell Street Depot, a 24-hour, fast-food joint near Sox Park.

"I go to church every morning," Caruso said during the proceedings that led to his ouster from the union. "In the circles of nightlife and that nature, I am known as a very dull person, yes."

Hoodlum-turned-informant Charles "Guy" Bills recalled once seeing Caruso at a card game.

"He was walking around like a little prince," Bills said in a July 1997 deposition. "But ' Toots ' was the biggest prince."


" Toots " Caruso had nothing to say in 1995 when union investigators wanted to ask about the mob. He had plenty to say three years later, when only son Frank Jr. faced prison for beating a black teen, Lenard Clark, who'd ventured into the Carusos' neighborhood. " Toots " Caruso pleaded for leniency, telling the judge: "The area in which we live has set up standards that are so archaic, out of a 'B' movie, that I would have moved eight to 10 years ago, but did not want to leave my mother. (God, I wish I had)."

Caruso , 60, also discussed personal moments with his son, who ended up spending more than four years in prison. "I can recall watching scary movies with him," he told the judge. "We would put on all the lights in the basement because we were both frightened, then run up to our rooms. My wife would say, 'If the both of you are scared, don't watch them.' Frank would say, 'Dad is scared,' and I would say he was."

Caruso said he advised his son: "Tell me who you hang with, and I'll tell you who you are."

After the trial, Caruso moved to Lemont.


" Toots " Caruso grew up next door to his maternal grandfather, the reputed mob boss who, according to the FBI, turned over his criminal operations to his son-in-law "Skid" Caruso . The youngest son of a mob boss, " Toots " Caruso wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, according to a 1997 deposition from onetime friend Bills. " Toots always wanted to be a boss," Bills testified. "That was his goal. He told me."

" Toots " Caruso hung around with relatives and friends who were under orders to protect him, Bills said, explaining that he heard this from Caruso 's cousin Leo, 62. "Leo told me, 'My uncle will kill everybody if anything happens to Toots or he gets in any kind of trouble," Bills said.

In 1982, " Toots " Caruso was arrested with his cousin Fred Bruno Barbara and two reputed mobsters, accused of trying to collect an illegal, high-interest "juice" loan from an undercover FBI agent in a bar at Lake Point Tower. Caruso told authorities he'd just been dropped off there by his uncle, Ald. Fred Roti. A jury found all four not guilty.

Nine days after his arrest, Caruso -- then a Laborers' Local 1006 business representative and delegate to the Chicago District Council -- got a promotion. He went on to become the local's top officer, a post he quit in 1995, a day after getting a subpoena from union investigators.

Caruso then got a job running a multimillion-dollar pension fund for the Laborers'. He was fired in 1998. Soon after, Caruso had another job, union records show -- driving a truck for Schadt's Inc., one of the biggest companies in the city's Hired Truck Program.

Caption: Photo: Frank " Toots " Caruso (left) -- a grandson of Bruno Roti Sr. -- has been identified by the FBI as a "made" member of the mob. The former union boss was permanently barred from the Laborers' union in 2001.
Photo: Left to right, City transportation official Al Conner, former union officials Leo Caruso , Sam De Christopher, and Bruno Caruso , Ex-Ald. Ambrosio Medrano, ex-city commissioner Jeff Boyle, former city official Anthony Pucillo, and former union official Nick Gironda in an undated photo.


The Rotis: a Force Behind 'Hired Truck,' Much More

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Monday, May 22, 2006

Author/Byline: Tim Novak, Robert Herguth and Steve Warmbir ; Staff Reporters , The Chicago Sun-Times
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 17

For decades, one of Chicago's most powerful families dominated the city's truck-leasing operation that came to be known as the Hired Truck Program.

The name's not Daley. It's Roti -- a large family whose members have been at the crossroads of Chicago politics and organized crime for generations.

The Roti family's trucks have rolled for the city under mayor after mayor -- Richard J. Daley, Michael A. Bilandic, Jane Byrne, Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer and Richard M. Daley.

The family's trucks were rolling for the city in 2004 when the Hired Truck Program erupted into one of the biggest scandals in Chicago history after the Chicago Sun-Times reported the Daley administration often paid for trucks that did nothing under a program that cost taxpayers $40 million a year. The stories led to the ongoing federal investigation, with criminal charges against 44 people, including two members of the Roti family. Ultimately, Mayor Daley fired every trucking company in the program, including those owned by the Rotis.

But the Roti family and its business partners were much more involved in the Hired Truck Program than has previously been revealed:

-They owned at least 17 trucking companies in the program, many of them owned by relatives, usually women, with last names other than Roti. They were among the biggest companies in the program, paid more than $5 million in 2003, at the program's peak.

-Those Roti trucks often were hired by, assigned city work by and supervised on-site by other family members who were employed by the city Department of Transportation, which used the trucks on paving projects.

-The city workers doing the paving work, and those supervising the jobs, belong to a union that for decades was under the control of the mob, including members of the Roti family, according to union investigators who forced four Roti relatives from power since 1995 because of alleged mob ties.

-Two other Roti family members -- Nick LoCoco and Bruno A. Bertucci -- were among the 26 city employees charged in the federal investigation of the Hired Truck Program.

LoCoco, a retired foreman of truck drivers and reputed mob bookie, was awaiting trial when he died of head injuries from a horseback-riding accident in 2004. Three trucking-company owners convicted in the Hired Truck investigation admitted bribing LoCoco to get work with the city.

Bertucci, a retired city of Chicago forestry supervisor, pleaded guilty in February to obstructing justice. His sentencing has been delayed because he has agreed to testify for the prosecution in the current corruption trial of Mayor Daley's former patronage chief and three other former city officials.

Another Roti relative, Mary Ann Ciaravino, is also a potential witness. She has been a top official at the city Buildings Department.


The Rotis have weathered many scandals over a span of nearly a century, beginning with patriarch Bruno Roti Sr., who came to Chicago in 1909. A grocer and beer distributor, Roti Sr. hooked up with Al Capone. Organized-crime allegations have followed the Rotis through three generations, beginning with Roti Sr. and continuing with four close family members who have been identified by the FBI as mobsters -- his son, Ald. Fred B. Roti; Roti Sr.'s son-in-law, Frank "Skid" Caruso; and grandsons Bruno Caruso and Frank "Toots" Caruso.

Few Roti family members would talk with reporters about their relatives.

"The press hasn't been very kind to the family,'' said Michael F. Roti, a Loop attorney who is a great-grandson of Bruno Roti Sr. "There's 100 years of that. I don't think there's anything you can do about that."

The Rotis grew up in the shadow of Sox Park, like the Daleys did. The Daleys, a few blocks west in Bridgeport. The Rotis, a few blocks north in Chinatown. Their kids went to the same Catholic high school -- De La Salle Institute.

The Daleys' power base has been the 11th Ward, birthplace of five Chicago mayors; the Rotis' power base, the 1st Ward, longtime stronghold for the Chicago mob.

Those worlds merged when the city's ward boundaries were redrawn a few years back. Now, the Daleys and Rotis operate in the same ward, working side-by-side in the 11th Ward Regular Democratic Organization that the Daleys have run for decades.

Daley is close friends with one Roti family member -- longtime trucking mogul Fred Bruno Barbara, a Bruno Roti Sr. grandson who was once charged, and found not guilty, in an organized-crime case.

Barbara also has been a city contractor, making a fortune off city business, including the mayor's much-criticized Blue Bag recycling program.


The Chicago Sun-Times tried to interview Mayor Daley for this series.

His press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, asked that questions be submitted in writing. After receiving the questions, Heard said she decided not to present them to the mayor.


A little red dump truck that the City of Chicago had leased for years sparked a Chicago Sun-Times investigation of the city's Hired Truck Program that found the city often paid trucks to do nothing.

After the stories were published in 2004, federal agents began investigating the program. To date, 44 people -- including 26 city workers -- have been charged with bribery and other crimes.

During that investigation, agents were told city officials also rigged hiring to award jobs and promotions to political workers. That system is now on trial in federal court. Two Roti relatives might testify.

Caption: Photo: (Dump Truck)
Photo: Mayor Daley
Memo: Ran with fact boxes "Mayor Daley: No Comment" and "Clout on Wheels: The investigation that started it all", which have been appended to the story.


Mob issues raised about gov's pal // Onetime Teamsters official got IDOT post from Blagojevich

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Monday, April 25, 2005

Author/Byline: Robert Herguth Steve Warmbir
Section: News
Page: 6

A former union leader who was hired for a six-figure-salary state job by his boyhood friend, Gov. Blagojevich, has ties to reputed organized crime figures and once was a bookie, informants have told Teamsters Union anti-corruption investigators.

Daniel E. Stefanski ran Teamsters Local 726, representing hundreds of city truck drivers, from the mid-1990s until landing a top job with the Illinois Department of Transportation in April 2003, several months after Blagojevich took office.

A report authored by the anti-corruption unit last year -- and recently obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times -- contains allegations that Stefanski:

**Lunched a few times a year with mob bookie Nick "The Stick" LoCoco.

LoCoco was a onetime Local 726 member and city transportation foreman who was suspected of taking bribes from Teamsters wanting full-time city employment or plum assignments. LoCoco died late last year after falling from a horse.

**Worked in an illegal bookmaking operation in the late 1980s with Robert Abbinanti, described as a "close friend." Abbinanti, once active in Local 726, was identified by the Chicago Crime Commission as a reputed mobster.

The report hinges the bookmaking allegation on mob attorney-turned-government informant Robert Cooley. The report said former law enforcement officials corroborated that the men were friends.

**Met at least two or three times with former Laborers union boss Bruno Caruso after Caruso was ousted for alleged mob ties.

**While in a tavern, offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who could provide the address of a mob informant whom the Outfit reportedly wants dead.

**Maintained "close ties" to the Coalition for Better Government, a controversial political fund-raising group that once was run by ex-con John "Quarters" Boyle. Boyle is described in the Teamsters report as a mob "associate," a characterization his lawyer disputes.

'Casual contact'?

Stefanski, a Mundelein resident, describes the accusations as half truths, distortions and outright falsehoods. As a union leader, he had to deal with some of these people because they were involved in the labor movement, he said.

"You understand, all that was casual contact or a business relationship," he said, adding that he has no idea what people do "after 4 p.m.," when work is through.

While with the Teamsters, Stefanski said he knew Boyle and donated to his group because dozens of Local 726 members belonged.

As for the mob informant, Stefanski said he knew him as a younger man and doesn't like him. He indeed did talk about him at a tavern one day, but "in no way was I offering money to find this guy," Stefanski said. "I might have said, 'Somebody would offer a lot of money to find that a------.' "

Stefanski used to be on a negotiating team with Caruso, but Stefanski insists he has not associated with him since the Laborers boss was ousted.

Thomas Clair, who succeeded Stefanski as head of Local 726, told investigators otherwise in a sworn statement, according to the report. And Clair even relayed how he had warned Stefanski to "stay away from" Caruso, the report says.

In a recent interview, though, Clair backed away from those statements, calling Stefanski "an honest guy."

As for Abbinanti and LoCoco, Stefanski said he knew them because they were Teamsters, but he said he was not close to them -- and certainly wasn't a bookie. "I'm not a gambler; I'll play an office pool or something," Stefanski said.

The unit that wrote the report, which outlined alleged troubles in Local 726 and various other Chicago Teamster groups, disbanded in 2004 as its lead investigator, former federal prosecutor Ed Stier, accused the Teamsters of blocking scrutiny.

Blagojevich an old chum

Aides to Teamsters national President James P. Hoffa have denied anything underhanded and said Stier's findings were sloppy, driven less by facts and more by the prospect of higher legal fees.

A subsequent report commissioned by the Teamsters to look into Stier's allegations discounts some findings unrelated to Stefanski -- but it cites a Hoffa aide as saying he believes the troubles in Local 726 left with Stefanski's departure, according to a copy viewed by the Sun-Times.

That same document notes the union could have pursued internal charges against Stefanski even after he left, but didn't for several reasons, including political ones.

"The leadership also discussed the bald political reality that Stefanski was now a member of the administration of the Governor of Illinois and that the state was a large [Teamsters] employer," the union report said. "There was a concern that the interests of the [Teamsters] membership would not be advanced by pursuing charges against a former principal officer and running the risk of creating ill-will with the Governor's office."

Stefanski is paid $105,000 a year by IDOT and was hired after campaigning and raising money for Blagojevich. Their closeness was evident at a campaign celebration at the A. Finkl & Sons steel plant in 2002. A Sun-Times reporter watched Stefanski thread his way through Blagojevich's security detail. The two men then bear-hugged.

Stefanski said he has known the governor since they were boys in Little League on the North Side.

A spokeswoman for the governor said: "We have never seen the report you were referring to; we weren't aware of the things that you raised. If there's any truth to those things, we'll look into them."

She praised Stefanski for his knowledge of labor issues, however, saying that's one of his professional attributes.

Spotty history

Stefanski has a small tattoo of a cross on one of his hands. Asked about it, he acknowledged being part of a neighborhood gang as a youth, but said it wasn't a street gang that dealt in drugs and violence. "We were like 16, and we got the India ink to put on our hands with a little needle," Stefanski said. "I would describe it as neighborhood guys, that's what we were ... we hung out at the schoolyard and the park."

He has had two drunken-driving arrests in recent years. One charge ultimately was thrown out, and the other resulted in supervision, Stefanski said.

His agency promotes safe and responsible driving.

He has been known to exercise caution, though.

A year and a half ago, another political group was planning an "annual cocktail party" at a Grand Avenue restaurant that caters to some -- in Stefanski's words -- questionable characters. The event was "honoring" Stefanski and called for a $50 donation. Stefanski, though, decided not to show.

"When I seen where they're having it, I declined to go," he explained. "I think some people hang out there I shouldn't be near."



5 leaders step down from mob-tainted Laborers union // Local 1001 reformers 'not finished' cleaning house

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Monday, July 26, 2004

Author/Byline: Robert Herguth Steve Warmbir
Section: News
Page: 12

A mob-tainted union that represents city sanitation workers has been cleansed of many of its leaders, five of whom resigned in recent weeks amid internal investigations into their conduct, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The resignations are tied to the March takeover of Laborers Local 1001 by the group's parent organization, which installed a trustee to run day-to-day affairs after a union hearing officer found Local 1001 "continues to be infiltrated" by the mob and has engaged in allegedly shady practices.

Nicholas Gironda, Sam DeChristopher, Michael Palermo, Floyd Grogan and James Capasso were among Local 1001's higher-ups put in a holding pattern after the takeover. Since early June, one by one, they agreed to leave and never again seek office or membership with the Laborers, documents show.

In return, the internal investigators agreed to not pursue disciplinary charges -- which can lead to banishment from the Laborers and, perhaps more importantly, stepped-up interest by federal authorities.

The five men -- who either couldn't be reached for comment or didn't return phone calls -- admitted no wrongdoing in their settlement agreements and will get to keep their pensions.

Other resignations may be forthcoming. "There are five remaining officers/executive board members, and all I can say is we're not finished," said Robert Luskin, who served as an in-house prosecutor in this case.

"The plan was to first initiate a trusteeship and ensure the affairs of the local were conducted in accordance with the constitution and for the benefit of the members," Luskin said. "The second phase . . . was to go back and review the conduct that formed the basis for the trusteeship and see if individual members and executives were personally culpable."

The union's hearing officer, former federal prosecutor Peter Vaira, called two former Local 1001 officials, Ernest Kumerow and Bruno Caruso , "recognized organized crime associates" in his trusteeship report. Vaira noted that Gironda "was brought to power and promoted" by Kumerow, who resigned years ago, and Caruso, who was booted from office in a previous purge.

Vaira also found the union was paying health and pension contributions for more than 30 people who had no right to benefits. Some of those folks may have had organized crime ties. And Capasso, the union's auditor, "was not and is not qualified to hold the position," Vaira found.

For decades, Local 1001 has been in the grip of the mob, according to critics, who hailed the latest reform efforts. Jim McGough, director of a reform group of Laborers, called the resignations "good news" but said "this does not necessarily eliminate the influence of organized crime in 1001."




Belleville News-Democrat, The (IL) - Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Section: Regional/Business
Page: 4B

Associated Press


CHICAGO --- Relatives of top state transportation worker Daniel Stefanski insist the former union official, a friend of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's since childhood, is clean despite a published report that a Teamsters faction investigated him and found he had ties to organized crime.

The report by Teamsters Union anti-corruption investigators contained allegations that Stefanski, who ran Teamsters Local 726 before he worked for the state, has ties to reputed organized crime figures and once was a bookie, according to Monday editions of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"He never was a bookie," Daniel Stefanski's mother, Lorraine, told The Associated Press. "When he went into the union, he was one of them that got in on his own. He was not connected in no way, shape or form with the mob."

His older brother, Ed Stefanski, told The AP Daniel Stefanski fought against the influence of alleged organized crime with the union.

"He ran against that faction when he was working for the union," Ed Stefanski said. "This bookmaking and all that stuff is totally out of left field ... He's in no way involved with any mob action or any of this other stuff."

Ed Stefanski described his brother as a "regular working guy" who earned a master's in business and lives in a modest house in Mundelein.

Stefanski, who played Little League with Blagojevich and campaigned for him, earns $105,000 annually as deputy director of public and intermodal transportation for the Illinois Department of Transportation. He was hired in April 2003.

"We've never heard these allegations before and we'll review it and if there's truth to them, then we'll take appropriate action," Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.

IDOT spokesman Matt Vanover said IDOT Secretary Tim Martin asked the executive inspector general to get a copy of the report and look into the matter.

The report, a copy of which the Sun-Times said it obtained, said Stefanski ate lunch a few times a year with former city official Nick LoCoco, who was accused in a criminal complaint of camouflaging his ownership of a truck that did hauling work for the city.

LoCoco, a retired supervisor in the Transportation Department who the Sun-Times identified as a "mob bookie," died Dec. 9 of injuries. Officials say he fell from a horse.

The report, according to the paper, said Stefanski worked in an illegal bookmaking operation in the late 1980s with Robert Abbinanti, described as a "close friend." Abbinanti, once active in Local 726, was identified by the Chicago Crime Commission as a reputed mobster, the paper said.

The report also said Stefanski met at least two or three times with former Laborers union boss Bruno Caruso after Caruso was ousted for alleged mob ties, the paper said.

According to the report, Stefanski offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who could provide the address of a mob informant whom the Chicago mob reportedly wants dead, the paper said.

The report also said Stefanski maintained "close ties" to the Coalition for Better Government, a political fund-raising group that once was run by John "Quarters" Boyle. Boyle is described in the Teamsters report as a mob "associate," a characterization his lawyer disputes, the Sun-Times said.

Boyle is a former city employee who went to prison in the 1990s for stealing $4 million from the Illinois tollway. He pleaded guilty earlier this month to taking payoffs from truckers who wanted city business and failing to report the bribe money on his federal taxes.

Stefanski, who did not return calls for comment to The AP, told the Sun-Times the accusations were half truths, distortions and falsehoods. As a union leader, he said he had to deal with some of those people because they were involved in the labor movement.

"You understand, all that was casual contact or a business relationship," he said, adding he has no idea what people do "after 4 p.m.," when work is through.

Stefanski told the paper he knew Boyle and donated to his political group because dozens of Local 726 members belonged.

As for the mob informant, Stefanski told the paper he knew him as a younger man and doesn't like him. He said he talked about him at a tavern one day, but "in no way was I offering money to find this guy."

Stefanski was on a negotiating team with Caruso, but told the paper he has not associated with him since the Laborers boss was ousted.

Stefanski told the paper he knew Abbinanti and LoCoco because they were Teamsters, but he said he was not close to them and he was not a bookie.

Thomas Clair, who succeeded Stefanski as head of Local 726, did not return calls to The AP.

The unit that wrote the report, which outlined alleged troubles in Local 726 and various other Chicago Teamster groups, disbanded in 2004 when its lead investigator, former federal prosecutor Ed Stier, accused the Teamsters of blocking scrutiny.

Stier declined comment to The AP.


Who killed Michael Cutler?

Chicago Sun-Times - Sunday, May 11, 2003

Author/Byline: Abdon M. Pallasch
Section: NEWS
Page: 12

In 1997, a black teen, Lenard Clark, wandered into Bridgeport and was brutally attacked by three white youths. The only eyewitness willing to testify against the accused was killed six weeks before the trial. Police said he was a random victim of a robbery. New, five years later, the FBI is taking a look at the murder, which, according to one former state legislator, had the characteristics of a 'classic mob hit.'


They got away with murder.

Whoever killed 18-year-old Michael Cutler five years ago this week has never been charged.

The "official" police word at the time was that he was shot dead in a "random robbery" in Austin.

But was it a robbery? Or was it a mob hit on a key witness in a high-profile case six weeks before trial?

Cutler was scheduled to testify against a mob guy's son who had been accused of beating a black teenager, Lenard Clark, into a coma in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood.

Some detectives who investigated the shooting, as well as the prosecutors in the Clark case and even the judge, now say they strongly suspect Cutler's murder was a mob hit, done to make sure he could never take the witness stand.

Cutler knew that the young man he was scheduled to testify against--his former friend--was part of a mob family, and as the trial approached, he was negotiating with the Cook County state's attorney's office to move his family for their safety, his mother now says.

A year after the shooting, state Rep. Jim Durkin cited Cutler's murder when he passed a bill in Springfield allowing grand jury testimony to be admitted at trial even if the witness is murdered before trial.

"The circumstances led everyone to believe this was just not a random act of violence," Durkin said. "They even took his class ring. That's a classic mob hit tactic. You tell them to bring back the class ring to make sure they got the right guy."

"The circumstances surrounding the murder of Michael Cutler concerned us at the time and remain suspicious," said State's Attorney Dick Devine.

The FBI has opened its own investigation of Cutler's murder, and some Chicago police detectives who worked the case five years ago say they would welcome the chance to reinvestigate it.

But would Cutler's eyewitness testimony have mattered? Would it have made a difference in the trial of the three young men accused of beating Clark almost to the point of death?

The main defendant, Frank Caruso--whose father is described in federal documents as "at least an associate of the Chicago Outfit"--spent only two years in prison. Had he been convicted on all counts, he could have been put behind bars for as long as 30 years.

The other two white teens who beat up Clark got off with community service.

Insider or outsider?

Chicago suffered national shame in 1997 when Frank Caruso, Victor Jasas and Michael Kwidzinski beat Clark within an inch of his life for being a black kid in a white neighborhood.

Riding in the car with those three that day was Cutler.

Cutler had been a quiet, smiling, running back at De La Salle High School, alma mater of both Mayors Daley. He won a football scholarship to Union College in Kentucky. He studied criminal justice and hoped to be a pro football player.

"He'd be on the Chicago Bears right now if he'd lived," said his mother, who is still waiting for answers about her son's death and organizing a fund-raiser to create a reward for information about the murder. "We thought we'd have an answer by now. Every year on his birthday, on the anniversary of his death, I call police. They say the case is still open."

But the family never thought police tried hard enough. Police reports show that four days after police searched Cutler's girlfriend's car, where he was shot, his girlfriend's mother found a 9mm shell casing.

"They didn't even find the casing in the car--how good an investigation could they have done?" Cutler's sister Nicole asked.

Unlike the three teens who beat Clark, and two other teens police hoped would be witnesses, Cutler was part black. His father, whom he never knew, was black, though Cutler was raised in a white world and accepted by Caruso and the other white teens so much that they felt comfortable using the "N" word around him.

Cutler told a grand jury--and said he would testify in court--that Caruso said in the car that day when he saw Clark and his friend Clevan Nicholson riding their bikes into Armour Square: "Do you want to beat the f - - - out of these n - - - - - -? They shouldn't be in the neighborhood."

The jurors never got to hear Cutler testify that he heard Clark shouting, "Help me, help me," as Caruso knocked him from his bike and chased him, or that Caruso and the other two young men returned to the car bragging about beating Clark.

There were two other key witnesses: Richard DeSantis and Tom Simpson. DeSantis, who police say is from a mob-linked family himself, skipped town and lost himself in Arizona and Nevada, where prosecutors could not find him for seven months during the trial.

Simpson, whose family was linked to the Carusos through marriage, answered, "I don't recall," to more than 100 questions from prosecutors--often to questions he had answered thoroughly months earlier.

That left Cutler.

"They're not going to kill DeSantis' kid, but Cutler's a threat," said one of the detectives who worked on the case.

"They knew Simpson was going to be up there saying, 'I don't recall,' " said former Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Bob Berlin. "From my knowledge, Cutler was basically an outsider. There might have been some concern he was going to get up there and tell the truth."

Judge Dan Locallo imposed a longer-than-expected eight-year sentence on Caruso. A friend of the Carusos called Locallo and said he "feared the consequences" if Locallo did not shorten the sentence. Locallo said he took that as a threat.

In 1999, the FBI warned Locallo that an informant reported a contract had been taken out on the judge's life. The judge was put on 24-hour protection.

And Locallo now says he never believed Cutler's murder was a "robbery."

"The publicity surrounding this case was causing some problems [for the mob.] I don't think they wanted all that information being put in the newspaper. There were some concerns about publicity," Locallo said.

A new start

Cutler was quiet as a mouse but strong as an ox on the football and baseball fields and in wrestling tournaments.

"This is all steel," he used to boast as he pounded his fists against his muscular chest, his uncle John said, smiling.

"He was probably the most gifted athlete I ever met in my life," said his wrestling coach, Dennis Callinan. "The first match he ever had, he was against a state champion. He took him into double overtime, then lost a tie breaker, just from sheer determination. He was so exhausted, we had to take him to the hospital."

Football coach Jim Gannon said, "If he was 6 feet 3 inches or 6 feet 4 inches, he could have played for the Big Ten, but being 5 feet 11 inches like he was . . . he was that good. He didn't back down from anybody."

Cutler came home from his freshman year of college in Kentucky in 1998 and worked at a Bridgeview factory with his aunt.

Thursday, May 14, was a warm night that started out bad.

"He got bit by a dog that night--apit bull," his mother said. "It ripped his clothes."

Cutler's new girlfriend, Vanessa, pulled up in her Oldsmobile. His mother and sister were surprised to see this was Cutler's first black girlfriend. They had met each other a month earlier on the Internet, though Vanessa couldn't recall what they had corresponded about.

"He was a great guy, nice and friendly," she said.

Asked if her son looked white or black, Mary Cutler-Kaminsky said, "He looked Puerto Rican."

Cutler talked like a kid from Bridgeport. His mother, stepfather and three siblings were white. But leaving Bridgeport to go to college in Kentucky may have prompted Cutler to re-evaluate his identity.

Now he was listening to rap music, dating a black girl, thinking about transferring to her college in Downstate Illinois and preparing to testify against his former white friends for beating up a black kid.

Vanessa said they were going to see a movie, but first there was a detour, to pick up Vanessa's friend Brianna, and then stop and visit the girls' former high school classmate Kevin. (The Chicago Sun-Times is using pseudonyms for the three witnesses to Cutler's murder.)

'A gun in my face'

Austin is a high-crime area, but the 5900 block of West Erie, on the border of upscale, integrated Oak Park, is one of the nicer streets. Turn-of-the-century homes in the shadow of West Suburban Hospital sell for up to $200,000. A U.S. congressman and a county commissioner live on the next block.

It's not a block where you'd expects to encounter two hooded men with a gun. But in one of those only-in-Chicago coincidences, a crime spree struck Erie Street just after midnight.

"It was unusual in that neighborhood," one of the detectives who worked the case said.

Vanessa pulled her car into the driveway of Kevin's house. Kevin shook hands with Cutler, who stayed in the car.

"He was a really pleasant guy, soft-spoken," Kevin said. "We said, 'How you doin'?' That was about it. He went back to his music."

Kevin, Vanessa and Brianna "goofed around by the curb" as two men wearing shorts with hoods covering their faces walked by. One of them had cornrows, Vanessa said.

It was too warm for anyone to be wearing a hood, Brianna told police. The two men in hoods stared at the four teens, but no words were exchanged.

Kevin and Brianna sat down on the steps of the house, while Vanessa went inside to get a drink of water.

The two men reappeared, walked up to Kevin and Brianna, and the taller man pointed a handgun he held in his left hand at them at a side angle and told them, "Give up all your money."

Kevin threw his wallet to them, and the man with the gun asked his shorter companion to search the two, Kevin told police.

"They actually turned around and walked toward the street, while the other guy was assigned to quote-unquote 'check us.' I grabbed [Brianna] and tried to get upstairs," Kevin said.

Kevin, Brianna and Vanessa were upstairs when they heard a shot. They called police, came out and found Cutler on the driveway next to the car, bleeding. Police told the teens not to approach Cutler, who was not moving, Kevin said.

" 'I just want to hold his hand,' " Vanessa pleaded with police, Kevin said. "It was 15 to 25 minutes before an ambulance arrived. At the time, it seemed like forever, considering there is a hospital right there."

Rather than carry Cutler down the block to West Suburban, which is not a trauma center, police waited for an ambulance to take him to Mount Sinai Hospital five miles away, where he was pronounced dead one hour later.

The teens described the two killers as black men, 5 feet 8 to 6 feet, 150 to 170 pounds, dressed in black, both wearing hoods, one with a mask from the bridge of his nose down.

"I was the only person to even remotely see anything, and I couldn't see anything except a gun in my face," Kevin admitted.

Within an hour, police found a 9mm gun in a car a mile away and arrested three men on a weapons charge. Police reports don't say whether the gun matched the bullet found in Cutler's body or the casing found in Vanessa's car four days later.

Three theories

After interviewing the teens and neighbors--nobody saw much--police discussed three theories to explain Cutler's death: a random robbery, a mob hit or a setup by the new girlfriend. Police officers interviewed for this story all thought the mob hit was most likely.

But to this day, officers have never interviewed any members of the Caruso family or the families of the other two defendants in connection with Cutler's death.

Three months before Cutler's murder, a U.S. Justice Department hearing officer probing mob infiltration at the Caruso-run Laborers International Union of North America ruled that "there is proof by a preponderance of the evidence that [Frank] Toots Caruso [Sr.--the defendant's father] is at least an associate of the Chicago Outfit."

"Toots Caruso is the son of Skids Caruso, his uncle is former [convicted] Ald. Fred Roti, and his brother is Bruno Caruso . . . . Skids Caruso was the boss of the 26th Street Crew from the 1950s to the 1970s," the hearing officer wrote. "Other mobsters said Toots Caruso often sat at First Ward mafia/political boss Pat Marcy's table at Counsellor's Row restaurant and that [Toots] Caruso participated in a burglary, set up robberies and operated a juice loan and bookmaking operation at the Hungry Hound Restaurant that he co-owned."

Toots Caruso was publicly identified as a member of the Chicago mob in a 1983 U.S. Senate hearing on organized crime.

But the police point out that all the mob ties and motive in the world don't add up to evidence. How can they confront the Carusos or other mob families if they don't have the goods on them?

On Friday, the Carusos sent word through the guard at their gated suburban subdivision that they did not want to comment for this article.

Police say they would first like to find out who the shooters were, then persuade the shooters to give up whoever ordered the shooting.

"They were smarter than most. They covered their faces. That hurt us," the detective said.

"They had somebody," Cutler's uncle Bill said. "They had [three] guys in custody, and they let 'em go. Why weren't any charges pressed? It's a high-crime area. The cops know all these people."

By the Sunday after the shooting, detectives appeared resigned.

"It's a robbery, it's a robbery," one detective said, waving a reporter away with his left hand and never taking his eyes off a television as pitcher Kerry Wood propelled the Cubs to a 10-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

"It kind of died on the vine--nobody picked it up," one detective said of the investigation, adding, "No one laid down on this."

Sometimes, murders are solved years later when one of the shooters gets mad at the other. That hasn't happened here.

But Cutler's family didn't wait for evidence. At Cutler's wake, one of his cousins confronted Vanessa, demanding to know if she was "in on it."

Mob using gangs

Officers rejecting the "mob hit" theory and favoring the armed robbery thesis noted that Cutler was shot just once in the chest, not several times or once to the head, execution-style, as the mob favors.

But the government has charged several mobsters in recent years with trying to "outsource" hits by hiring gang members, sometimes making the call from prison.

In one recent case, prosecutors said, a mob-linked defendant tried to hire El Rukn street gang members to kill a witness in his murder trial "and make it appear as if the killing was a robbery or a random shooting."

They have also raised that theory in the slayings of Anthony "The Hatch" Chiaramonti, shot to death outside a Brown's Chicken & Pasta in south suburban Lyons two years ago, and mob lieutenant Ronald Jarrett, shot and killed outside his Bridgeport home four years ago.

Wallace "Gator" Bradley, a former high-ranking Gangster Disciples enforcer who appeared with the Caruso family after the verdict, said he does not believe Cutler's death was the result of any mob hit or any mob-hires-gang hit.

"If [the mob] wanted to kill him, they would have killed him and gotten rid of the whole body, not left him," Bradley said.

Chicago police have asked that anybody with information on Cutler's shooting call (312) 746-8282.

Contributing: Frank Main

Caption: Michael Cutler was a standout on the high school football and baseball fields and in wrestling tournaments, two former coaches say. Richard DeSantis (left) and Michael Cutler celebrate at their senior prom at De La Salle High School. DeSantis disappeared rather than testify. He later returned to Chicago and regularly visits Cutler's grave, Cutler's mom says. "We once found a wet letter he left out there telling Michael how much he misses him," she said. See also related sotry page 13.



Killer can't hold union post - Wanted to head mob-linked group

Chicago Sun-Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Author/Byline: FRANK MAIN
Section: NEWS
Page: 8

A man convicted of shooting a woman in the heart in 1985 has been banned from holding office in the Laborers' union, which is under federal scrutiny in Chicago because of reputed mob ties.

Kenneth E. Bates, 38, an employee of National Power Rodding Co., was nominated to run for executive board member of Local 2, which represents about 1,500 active sewer and tunnel workers. The union's independent hearing officer, Peter Vaira, ruled Friday that Bates is disqualified as a candidate because of his murder conviction.

"I have no choice but to challenge it," Bates said Monday. "I don't think my background has a bearing on this. I have served my union well. I paid my debt to society. We are trying to bring the local back to the members. It was previously mob-run."

Bates was sentenced to prison in 1986 and released in 1997.

Federal law bars anyone convicted of murder and certain other felonies from holding union office for 13 years after being released from prison. But the sentencing judge can drop the restriction, which Bates said he'll try to get done.

For more than five years, the Justice Department has been working to drive mob influence from the Laborers' union. The 21 locals of the Chicago district council voted to cooperate with the Justice Department and the international union in 1999.

In January, Vaira banned Bruno Caruso , his brother Frank Caruso and cousin Leon Caruso from membership in the Laborers' union after ruling they participated in organized crime and controlled elections to ensure mob control.

Local 2 will hold elections March 10. Bates was vying to become one of the local's two executive board members. Jim McGough of Laborers for Justice, a small dissident group, challenged Bates' nomination because of his conviction.

McGough is pushing for John Burke to become business manager of Local 2 and claims the opposing slate of candidates is under mob influence.

Bates was convicted of killing Maxine Matthews, 28, with a .357-caliber pistol April 7, 1985_on Easter Sunday_at the Banner Lounge in the 1800 block of West Lake. He told police he was looking for Matthews' boyfriend, who beat him up the previous day. Matthews allegedly pushed Bates and he shot her.


Chicago Tribune - Sunday, January 21, 2001

Author/Byline: Ellen Warren and Terry Armour.
Edition: Chicagoland Final
Section: News
Page: 2
Column: The INC. Column.

Strange and silly stories from here, there and ... the You Must Be Kidding Department:

Ald. Bernard Stone (50th), a veteran member of the City Council and Chicago's vice mayor, testified as a character witness for Chicago union leader Bruno Caruso --and the independent hearing officer seemed flabbergasted at what Stone said.

In a decision tossing Caruso and two others out of the union because of their alleged mob ties, ex-Chicago prosecutor Peter Vaira said he "finds it difficult to believe that a person who has served as a Chicago alderman for 27 years can state that he does not know whether organized crime exists."

Stone probably never heard of Al Capone or Sam Giancana.


Chicago Tribune - Friday, January 12, 2001

Author/Byline: Maurice Possley, Tribune Staff Writer.
Edition: Chicago Sports Final
Section: Metro Chicago
Page: 1

The rough-and-tumble Laborers International Union of North America, which represents 800,000 workers nationwide, has ordered the ouster of three men whose family has held sway over Chicago's nearly 20,000 members for more than a decade, citing their ties to organized crime.

The men--brothers Frank and Bruno Caruso and their cousin Leo--were under the control of organized crime bosses who used them to manipulate union affairs, an independent hearing officer for the union concluded in a 122-page order released Thursday.

The decision permanently revoked the memberships of Bruno Caruso , business manager of Local 1001; Leo Caruso, business manager of Local 1006; and Frank Caruso, a member of Local 1006. Hearing officer Peter Vaira declared that all three have been "deeply involved with organized crime figures in a substantial manner" and that evidence showed the mob had influenced the union for more than three decades.

The three, along with organized crime figures, rigged union elections to put control in their hands and in the hands of mob figures, according to the decision, which was signed Wednesday.

The ruling, which will be stayed pending an appeal by the three men, is the latest in a seven-year, double-barreled crackdown by the union and the U.S. Justice Department on allegations of mob influence.

Vaira, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago who is now an attorney in Philadelphia, said the three men were "trusted associates" of organized crime who followed the dictates of mob bosses.

Allan Ackerman, attorney for Bruno Caruso , said: " Bruno Caruso is an outstanding citizen in our labor community. He is respected by both union members and management, and he is not nor has he ever been a member or associate of organized crime.

"I think [Vaira's] decision was decidedly unfair. It's our intention to appeal the order because we find it totally conflicts with the facts that were produced during the lengthy hearings."

Frank Caruso, who did not attend the hearing that resulted in Vaira's decision, declined through his attorney to comment on the ruling. Efforts to reach Stanley Kravit, a labor arbitrator who represented Leo Caruso, were unsuccessful.

For years, the name Caruso has garnered respect among some members of the laborers union, which began in Chicago in 1903. Members work mostly in construction, environmental cleanup and maintenance industries.

Bruno Caruso at one time headed the Chicago District Council, which represents 21 local labor unions in the Chicago area such as locals that represent garbage haulers--including workers with the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation--and street pavers.

A year ago, the Justice Department agreed to loosen its oversight of Laborers International and in return the union agreed to continue federally mandated anti-corruption reforms for at least six years. That agreement averted the threat of a federal takeover of the international.

At the same time, the Chicago District Council was put under the control of a federal trustee for two years. Vaira's ruling was the result of a lengthy inquiry into charges brought against the Carusos as well as former union official James DiForti, who died last year while awaiting trial on a charge of murder. DiForti had been secretary-treasurer of the Chicago Heights-based Local 5 before stepping down when he was arrested and accused of killing a man who refused to repay a $100,000 loan.

Bruno Caruso testified before Vaira and denied he associated with organized crime members, an assertion that Vaira, in his decision, found "incredible."

Vaira pointed to testimony that Bruno Caruso had dined at an Oak Lawn restaurant with his brother, Frank, and two reputed mobsters, John Monteleone and Joseph "Shorty" Lamantia. Bruno Caruso testified the dinner was close to St. Joseph's Day--a day of festive activities in the Italian community--and they were probably planning activities for the Italian-American club to which they all belonged.

"Mob leaders do not hold such dinners casually or without issuing specific invitations," Vaira's decision said. "It is incredible that ... the Chicago mob would invite a major union leader to dine with him for three hours to discuss the St. Joseph's Day festival."

During Vaira's hearing, which was conducted intermittently over a period of months, a wide range of witnesses testified, including Robert Cooley, a former mob lawyer who became an undercover operative for the FBI. Cooley ultimately provided crucial evidence leading to dozens of convictions of top mob figures, including former 1st Ward Ald. Fred Roti and former Democratic state Sen. John D'Arco Jr.

Also testifying was Michael Corbitt, a former Willow Springs police chief, who has admitted to a longtime involvement with the mob, dating as far back as the 1970s when Sam "Momo" Giancana was in power. Bruno and Frank Caruso are sons of the late Frank "Skids" Caruso, a reputed gambling boss in Chinatown, and nephews of Roti, who was convicted of racketeering and bribery charges in a scheme that prosecutors said involved the fixing of a murder case. Frank Caruso is also the father of Frank Caruso Jr., who was sentenced to 8 years in prison for the racially-motivated beating of Lenard Clark in Armour Square.

Other witnesses included former mobsters and law enforcement officials, including former FBI agent John O'Rourke, who detailed dozens of meetings and activities--including juice loan shakedowns, dice games and other gambling activities--that Vaira said tied the Carusos to the "Chicago Outfit."

Vaira found the Carusos were associated with the division of the mob known as the 26th Street Crew, a group of organized crime members who controlled the rackets along 26th Street near Chinatown.

"Frank Caruso, Bruno Caruso and Leo Caruso were involved in the illegal gambling activities of organized crime in Chicago," the ruling states.

Frank Caruso's association, Vaira declared, "is of a long duration and it is that association that accounts for his position of leadership in the Laborers Union organization." Bruno Caruso 's mob ties "led him through the ranks of the Laborers Union in increasing positions of power," and Leo Caruso's mob associations "promoted his rise through the ranks and protected him ..." the ruling states.

Ex-Ald. Fred Roti dies at 78 - Earns praise despite prison time

Chicago Sun-Times - Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Author/Byline: FRAN SPIELMAN
Section: NEWS
Page: 9

Former Ald. Fred B. Roti (1st) was described in a federal lawsuit unsealed last month as a "made" member of the mob, but that's not how his City Council colleagues choose to remember him.

To them, Ald. Roti was a good friend and an even better alderman who counseled mayors, encouraged downtown development and helped shape the Chicago skyline before being captured on videotape rigging a zoning matter and fixing a civil court case.

Ald. Roti, 78, died of cancer Monday. In 1996, Ald. Roti completed a four-year sentence for extortion and racketeering_crimes engineered from Booth One at the now-defunct Counselor's Row Restaurant.

Unbeknownst to Ald. Roti, mob boss Pat Marcy and other 1st Ward cronies, the booth was wired by the federal government.

"Freddy was my pal before he went in, and he was my pal when he came out," said Ald. Bernard Stone (50th), Roti's constant companion.

"I know what a kind, considerate person he was. I know the love he had for his family and community. I know him as the one person whom anybody in the Council could turn to for help. Our skyline should say, `Roti' on it. If not for Fred Roti, half the buildings in the Loop would never have been built."

Former Mayor Jane M. Byrne said Ald. Roti was "like somebody walking a tightrope all the time between the people he was alleged to have been close to (in organized crime) and doing the right thing. For me, he always did the right thing."

Byrne said she would never forget the day she asked Ald. Roti to "carry a message back" to the Chicago mob about the drug trafficking that had touched off another bloody round of gang warfare at Cabrini-Green.

At the time, Byrne was contemplating a move to Cabrini that would earn her national headlines. She wanted the drugs to stop flowing before the move.

"Fred said, `We're not into drugs.' And I said, `Yeah, but you may know some people who know some people who could make it very clear to them that the drugs are going to stop at Cabrini.' That's when he put both of his hands on his head and said, `Ay, ay, ay. What are you doing? I've taken more Gelusil since you've been mayor than any of them,' " Byrne said.

Fred B. Roti was the ninth of 10 children born to natives of southern Italy. His father, Bruno Roti, was a small-time Prohibition-era gangster under Al Capone.

In a lawsuit filed recently against the Chicago Laborers District Council, the Justice Department alleged for the first time what many had long suspected about the alderman: that he was a "made member" of the Chicago "Outfit."

The government also accused him of packing the Department of Streets and Sanitation with mob members and associates. Ald. Roti was the uncle of reputed mobster Frank "Toots" Caruso and reputed mob associate Bruno Caruso , both of whom were top officials with the laborers union.

He served as 1st Ward alderman from 1968 until 1991, when his indictment in Operation Gambat forced him to retire prematurely from a job he adored.

"City Hall was like oxygen for Fred," said Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th).

Former Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak (10th) said he visited Ald. Roti on his deathbed last week and found "his spirits were still up, even though he knew he was going to die. . . . He wanted to die at home. I told him when I left, I was going to go out and have a Crown Royal Perfect Manhattan straight up just for him."

Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, 544 W. 31st St. Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Therese Chinese Church, 218 W. Alexander.

Contributing: Cam Simpson


Chicago Tribune - Friday, August 13, 1999

Author/Byline: Matt O'Connor, Tribune Staff Writer.
Section: NEWS
Page: 1

A civil racketeering lawsuit unsealed by federal authorities Thursday alleges the Laborers Union's Chicago District Council has been dominated for three decades by the Chicago Outfit and lists a veritable who's who of mobsters--Tony Accardo, Joey Aiuppa and Joey Lombardo Sr. among them--who corrupted the union.

The filing lays out in unusual detail the roles played by nearly two dozen organized crime members, their associates and close relatives who served as officers of the district council or who supervised some of the union's $1.5 billion in pension and benefit funds. The council is an umbrella group of 21 Chicago-area laborers locals, with members ranging from construction workers to stonecutters to asbestos removers.

Among the revelations was an allegation that Fred Roti, a former Chicago alderman who was convicted of racketeering and extortion in 1993, is a full-fledged member of the mob.

On the same day the lawsuit was publicly unveiled, union and government officials disclosed they have agreed to settle it under a consent decree that calls for the appointment of a court-approved monitor with expanded powers to continue the effort to rid the organization of mob influence. A federal judge must still approve the arrangement.

U.S. Atty. Scott Lassar called the agreement an unprecedented cooperative effort between the government and one of the nation's largest unions.

Delegates representing the 21 locals and 19,000 members in the Chicago district council voted by a 3-to-1 ratio Wednesday to approve the consent decree, joining the Laborers' International Union of North America and the Justice Department in the mob-busting efforts, Lassar said.

Robert Bloch, trustee of the district council and a Chicago labor lawyer, applauded the vote and said it showed the district council's "commitment to democratic practices."

The announcement came in a conference room in the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in the midst of an electrical power shutdown.

As a result of the union's long-term, endemic mob influence, officials said the rights of rank-and-file union members were subverted, democratic practices were ignored and charges of organized crime control went uninvestigated.

Since 1995, the Justice Department has been overseeing internal efforts by the international union to ferret out mob power. A year and a half ago, as part of that effort, the international took over control of the district council.

But under federal law, that trusteeship could have faced a legal challenge. To avoid a possible legal morass, government and union officials agreed to the consent decree to extend the trusteeship under court authority.

The cleanup of the laborers union has dragged on longer than expected, but officials said it is important to make sure mob influence is eradicated from the union's leadership.

"When we started this process five years ago, we probably hoped that we were going to be fighting the Persian Gulf War, and instead we're fighting World War I," said Robert Luskin, a Washington attorney who is overseeing reform efforts within the laborers union. "Progress is slow."

"The people who have controlled elements of this union for a long time have not given up and walked away without a fight," Luskin told reporters. But "the object here is to guarantee long-term change."

The civil racketeering lawsuit alleges that reform efforts largely have removed mob influence from the district council but that the Outfit still controls key positions in several of the union's locals.

Under the consent decree, the court-appointed monitor would be given expanded powers to investigate mob influence and corruption in the union, including authority to subpoena records and compel testimony from witnesses.

In addition, the FBI would be free to share confidential information about mobsters and suspected criminal activities with the monitor. Currently, grand jury secrecy rules and privacy prohibitions bar the FBI from releasing such sensitive details, officials said.

At hearings held by the laborers union in 1997, evidence clearly established that for at least 30 years leaders of the Chicago district council had "strong, pervasive ties" to mob bosses, according to the lawsuit.

The district council "was proven to be a `safe haven' for the employment of organized crime figures, associates and their relatives," the lawsuit said.

Since the mid-1970s, not a single contested election of officers has been held, authorities said, and all principal officers of the district council have been members or associates of the Chicago Outfit or their relatives.

The lawsuit describes in detail the roles of 21 Outfit members or associates over the years in the affairs of the international union and the district council.

It refers to them as "co-conspirators," and none was charged in the suit with criminal activity.

Among them, the lawsuit states, are four alleged mobsters who held district council offices when the trusteeship took effect last year: vice president John Matassa Jr., reputed boss of the Outfit's North Side Crew; president Bruno Caruso , son of the late Frank Caruso, boss of the mob's 26th Street crew; secretary-treasurer Joseph A. Lombardo Jr., son of Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo Sr., a former mob street crew boss; and sergeant-at-arms Leo Caruso, an alleged mob associate and Bruno Caruso 'scousin.

Also listed as influential in the union were Accardo and Aiuppa, both longtime bosses of the Chicago Outfit, and Lombardo Sr.

In Roti's 1993 trial, prosecutors had alleged the 1st Ward alderman worked closely with Pat Marcy, a mob powerbroker who died before he could be brought to trial. But no one accused Roti of being a "made" member of the mob--until this week in the lawsuit.

Roti was sentenced to 4 years in prison. He was released from prison in 1997.

According to the lawsuit, Roti was a key patronage boss and a "fixer" for the Chicago Outfit. Roti could not be reached Thursday.

It also alleged that John Serpico, a former powerful figure in the laborers union who was indicted last week in federal court on racketeering and fraud charges, was a longtime organized crime associate.

Near the end of his union duties, Thursday's suit alleged, Serpico, president of Local 8 in Chicago, "transferred" 85 percent of the local's membership to Central States Joint Board, which authorities described as organized-crime influenced.

Since taking over as trustee of the Chicago district council in February 1998, Bloch has removed all of the council's former officers, worked closely with locals to institute reform policies and, for the first time with the direct participation of all the locals, negotiated a three-year labor contract for the 21 locals, authorities said.

The union has adopted an ethics and disciplinary code, instituted reforms in how it assigns members to work and changed its contracting procedures.

The union also has placed locals in Chicago, Buffalo and New York City under trusteeship, and a number of local and international union officers have been hit with internal misconduct charges.

"We feel the international has made great strides in reforming itself," Lassar said.

But the lawyers brought in to help carry out the reforms emphasized that the key to success is winning the cooperation of the union leadership in the effort to rid it of mob influence.

The consent decree is a key step in that direction, they said.

"In the end you can prosecute as many people as you want but that does not change the culture of an organization," Bloch said.

Caption: PHOTO
PHOTO (color): Ex-alderman Fred Roti (right) talks with Ald. Bernie Stone at a funeral this year. A federal suit says Roti is in the Chicago mob. Tribune file photo


Chicago Tribune - Tuesday, February 10, 1998

Author/Byline: John O'Brien, Tribune Staff Writer.
Page: 1

Describing the Chicago lodge as a front for criminal activity and its officials as mob members or their associates, the Laborers International Union of North America moved forward Monday in its attempt to seize control of the local unit and oust its leaders.

The union is trying to safeguard the $1.5 billion in pension and health and welfare funds of its beleaguered Chicago District Council. And on Monday it gained the support of a hearing officer, who in a 91-page ruling agreed that the laborers district council is closely linked to organized crime here.

The district council, which represents 21 local unions in the Chicago area, is led by Bruno Caruso , whose dual salaries as council chief and head of Local 1001 total $172,000-a-year. He is the son of the late Frank Caruso, a reputed mob boss in Chicago's Chinatown area.

Caruso has steadfastly denied allegations of being a puppet of mobsters, instead blaming union President Arthur Coia for fabricating charges to consolidate power. Caruso had opposed Coia's re-election in 1996, pledging higher wages and safer working conditions.

Within hours of the takeover decision by hearing officer Peter Vaira, there were these developments in an unprecedented tug of war between factions of the 450,000-member laborers union:

- Officials of the Schaumburg-based investigative firm of Quest Consultants International, acting as union inspectors, appeared at the Northwest Side office of the district council demanding the surrender of door keys and financial records. They were denied admission following a brief confrontation outside the office at 6121 W. Diversey Ave.

- Lawyers for the international went into U.S. District Court seeking an order of enforcement to place the Chicago District Council under trusteeship, headed by labor lawyer Robert Bloch. A hearing on their request is expected Tuesday.

The district's 19,000 laborers--including some City of Chicago employees--haul trash, sweep streets, dig sewers and perform dozens of other gritty construction jobs.

The release of Vaira's takeover decision, coupled with eviction efforts by the international, follows 19 days of closed-door hearings last year into charges by Robert Luskin, the union's general executive board attorney, that the Chicago council is mob dominated and serves as a hiring hall for shady characters.

Luskin, a Washington lawyer, was named to the post in an agreement between the union and the U.S. Justice Department that calls for the union to clean house or face a government takeover.

In Chicago on Monday, Luskin aide and attorney Dwight Bostwick issued a statement denouncing the Chicago District Council, branding it as corrupt and contending its leaders are chosen in "little more than a game of mob musical chairs."

Legal papers filed in federal court identified Caruso as "at least an associate" of mobsters while portraying several district delegates as either pals of or, in one instance, as a "made member" of the Chicago Outfit.

"The day has long passed when unions can regard investigations . . . by the government or the media as `us against them' or as attacks against the solidarity of the labor movement," Vaira, a former federal prosecutor, said in his decision. "If labor is to remain a viable force in the marketplace today, it cannot rely on government . . . to effect a cleanup. The labor movement can no longer close its eyes to corruption."

Transcripts of the internal union hearings obtained by the Tribune show questionable alliances between Chicago District Council officials and people identified as mob figures. The witnesses at these hearings included former federal agents, police investigators and turncoat mobsters.

Chief among them were Michael Corbitt, a former police chief in suburban Willow Springs, and Robert Cooley, a former criminal defense lawyer. They told of witnessing Bruno Caruso and others meeting with crime figures away from union job sites, in restaurants and nightclubs or at suburban parking lots and golf courses.

Corbitt is serving a 20-year sentence for bribery, extortion and racketeering. Among the crimes for which he remains behind bars was his role in the cover-up of the 1982 murder of Dianne Masters, a suburban college trustee. Cooley helped expose judicial corruption in Cook County Circuit Court a decade ago.

Corbitt recounted how one-time Chicago mob chieftain Sam Giancana put in the word that enabled him to become a police officer in Willow Springs.

"He just told me one thing," Corbitt said of his benefactor, Giancana, whom he got to know while servicing slot machines. "Just remember your friends," he quoted the mobster as telling him. "Just remember who put you in this position."

As a money courier for the mob, Corbitt said he had access to top mob bosses and officials of the laborers union such as Al Pilotto of Local 5 in Chicago Heights and Vincent Solano of Local 1 in Chicago.

He told of seeing Bruno Caruso and Bruno's brother, Frank, a power in the union's health and welfare fund, in the company of the late Pat Marcy, a 1st Ward political fixer and known associate of rackets bosses. He said he saw Bruno Caruso give Marcy an envelope that investigators say contained mob street tax.

It's unclear whether Corbitt and Cooley will be summoned by the federal judge to whom the trusteeship bid now goes for review. But three union inspectors from the staff of Quest Consultants--former FBI agents Joseph Griffin, Robert Scigalski and Jack O'Rourke--are listed as available to testify if Caruso's lawyers wage a fight at Tuesday's scheduled court hearing.


Chicago Tribune - Wednesday, December 10, 1997

Author/Byline: John Kass.
Section: NEWS
Page: 3

Some of our most cherished traditions are being abandoned.

Chestnuts aren't roasting on an the open fire. Department store Santas don't need whiskey to survive greed-crazed children now that Prozac is available. The Christmas windows at Marshall Field's now look like they belong in a dime store.

But through all the chaos and culture wars, there was always one institution you could count on to uphold tradition.

Our own Chicago Outfit. An organization full of men with interesting nicknames like Jimmy "Big Nose Hairs" and Tommy "Tiny Feet" and Pete "I'll Kill You." They were the tradition holders that helped give Chicago and Cook County its special charm.

They stole political elections, dominated labor unions and created the game of "Who's that in the trunk?". They helped the White House plan assassinations of Fidel Castro and passed at least one chippy to a U.S. president in a token of friendship. They understood the tensile strength of meat hooks and why ice picks should be thoroughly cleaned before and after play.

They were tough.They took care of their own business. And they didn't rely on lawyers to handle their public relations.

But things change.

Now the Chicago Crime Commission, the do-good group that tracks organized crime, is under attack from several lawyers who are threatening to sue if some reported wise-guy names aren't removed from its latest mob guidebook: "New Faces of Organized Crime 1997."

The report adds some new names as either members or associates of Outfit figures. But the bosses still retain their charming monikers, including Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Angelo "The Hook" La Pietra and the top guy, John "No Nose" DiFronzo.

Actually, DiFronzo has a nose, but it's a thin one. He got his nickname by stopping a bullet with his skinny proboscis years ago, but his nose is still there.

In a memo to Crime Commission members, commission chairman Don Mulak warns that lawyers for some of the people listed in the report are ready to go to court unless the commission changes the report. Mulak says the commission will fight any lawsuits.

Those who want their names stricken include several Laborers Union officials who are sons of mobsters. Their union is under pressure from the federal government these days. Also upset is Betty Loren-Maltese, who is the town president of Cicero, not a union member, under an FBI investigation and the widow of a mobster.

Now there was a time when those who had even the slightest connection with the outfit would keep news clippings in their wallets out of pride. Some would complain to reporters if their nicknames weren't tough enough.

But these are modern times.

"We have been contacted by attorneys who represent individuals named in our new report," Mulak's memo reads. " . . . They demand a retraction. Short of a retraction, they threaten legal action on behalf of the following named individuals:

"John A. Matassa Jr, Bruno Caruso , Betty Loren-Maltese.

"We have also received inquiries from attorneys representing Joe Lombardo Jr. and Joseph Spano," Mulak writes of the other union leaders, but adds that "they have not complained."

Spano and Lombardo should get some credit for not complaining. Everyone knows it's a sin.

But that got me wondering. How far are these gentlemen and the lady prepared to go in court? Things could become embarrassing if they push it.

The Laborers Union, for example, which represents construction laborers and garbage workers, has a time-honored connection to our Outfit. It has a great pension plan and has allowed wise guys to collect a regular paycheck and get health coverage.

It's now under pressure from the federal government and locked in an internal power struggle with its international president, which could result in the local bosses getting tossed out of the union their fathers and uncles built.

Bruno Caruso , for example, is the local Laborers Union boss. He's the son of a Bruno "Skids" Caruso. And Lombardo, son of Clown, is also a top union official. Would they want to sit through several depositions? I tried to reach them, but they wouldn't talk.

But their lawyer, Vincent Connolly did.

"You want to put a family tree up there, I'm not going to quarrel with it," Connolly said. "But I am unaware of any credible evidence that they ever countenanced or engaged in anything that would be considered organized criminal activity. We'll decide on legal action after we hear from the crime commission."

Perhaps the one with the weakest case is John "Pudge" Matassa of Park Ridge. He's president of the Laborers Union Local 2. In a 1995 deposition before a committee investigating union ties to the mob, he lists all his friends, killed and living, and talks abut where they had lunch and who they were with, including DiFronzo the boss.

"I bought a used Chrysler Fury car from him in the early 1980s," he said.

If that car had trouble starting on a cold morning, do you think he used a lawyer to complain?


Chicago Sun-Times - Sunday, July 13, 1997

Author/Byline: Tom McNamee
Page: 17

The executive officers of the Chicago District Council of the Laborers Union International of North America:

Bruno Caruso , president and business manager. Gross salary: $171,641.

Both his father, Frank "Skid" Caruso, and his brother, Frank Jr., are described by the U.S. Justice Department as formally initiated members of the Chicago mob. Bruno Caruso 's predecessor as president was Ernest Kumerow, a son-in-law of the late Anthony Accardo, the Chicago mob's top boss. Caruso also is paid $100,218 as president and business manager of Local 1001.

Joseph Lombardo Jr., secretary-treasurer. Gross salary: $155,314.

Lombardo is the son of Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, a convicted racketeer who once was - and still may be - among two or three most powerful mob bosses in Chicago.

John Matassa Jr., vice president. Gross salary: $23,424.

Described by the Justice Department as "an associate and suspected member of the Chicago La Cosa Nostra family." Matassa is a reputed North Side lieutenant of mob boss Joseph Andriacchi. Matassa also is paid $119,852 as president of Local 2.

Leo Caruso, sergeant at arms. Gross salary: $8,000.

Cousin of Bruno Caruso . Leo Caruso was named sergeant at arms two years after his cousin Frank Caruso - Bruno's brother - was dismissed from the job because he was a known mobster. Caruso also is paid in excess of $33,000 as president of Local 1006.

Caption: SEE Related Stories on Page 1, 16

Illinois Labor Leaders Sell Out to GOP

Chicago Sun-Times - Monday, July 31, 1995

Author/Byline: Steve Neal
Page: 25

Organized labor is sleeping with the enemy.

Gov. Edgar collected $146,300 from the political action committees of labor unions. Illinois Senate President James "Pate" Philip and House Speaker Lee A. Daniels received more than $156,000 from organized labor for their Republican campaign funds.

But the working people of Illinois haven't gotten many benefits from the union chieftains who are playing footsie with the GOP.

Indeed, the 1995 session of the Illinois General Assembly was a disaster for organized labor. Edgar signed a bill passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate that repealed the Illinois Scaffolding Act, a law that protected workers from unsafe working conditions. The repeal of the worker-safety law was co-sponsored by Daniels. The General Assembly also passed legislation that limits the liability in injury cases.

Other legislation passed by the Republican General Assembly included revisions in the workers compensation act and a proposal to exempt an employer from liability for providing "truthful" information about an employee to a third party. GOP legislators also passed a bill that would limit the access that workers have to their own personnel records.

The faculty union at Sangamon State University was eliminated by GOP legislators as part of the higher education reorganization act.

Among the Republican goals is the elimination of the prevailing wage law that requires the state to pay the same rates as the private sector to construction workers and building tradesmen.

Senate Minority Leader Emil Jones has lamented that pro-Republican union officials have in effect sold out their rank-and-file. Jones noted that the union defections have serious consequences. The working people of Illinois are getting short shrift from some union chieftains who seem to be more interested in obtaining state patronage than in protecting their members. Relatives and friends of pro-Edgar union officials have been generously rewarded for their support.

Union officials who have been particularly good to GOP candidates include former Illinois AFL-CIO president Bob Gibson; former Chicago Federation of Labor president Robert Healey; William Dugan, the business manager of Local 150 of the Operating Engineers Union; William T. Hogan, the head of the Teamsters Joint Council in Chicago; Thomas Hanley, president of the Chicago local of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union; Bruno Caruso , the head of the Laborers Union in Chicago; Eugene Mo ats, president of the District Council of the Service Employees International Union, and John Serpico, a former official of the laborers union.

The Illinois labor movement hasn't done a very good job of standing by its friends. Former State Treasurer Patrick Quinn was the only statewide official to join forces with organized labor in opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. Quinn ran for secretary of state last year against Republican George H. Ryan. As House speaker in the early 1980s, Ryan was hostile to labor. But Ryan got labor's nod over Quinn in the '94 Republican landslide.

Steve Neal is the Chicago Sun-Times political columnist.

City probe finds 2-hr-a-day jobs - 37 1st Ward sanitation workers accused of cheating

Chicago Sun-Times - Thursday, May 23, 1991

Author/Byline: Fran Spielman
Section: NEWS
Page: 1

Most 1st Ward sanitation employees averaged just two hours a day at their city jobs, spending the rest of their work time going to the racetrack, moonlighting or, in one case, allegedly committing a robbery, an undercover investigation has concluded.

City Inspector General Alexander Vroustouris said his four-month investigation uncovered evidence that all 37 employees under surveillance either padded timesheets or overlooked the fraud.

The employees, who make up 88 percent of the work force at 1st Ward sanitation headquarters, 50 E. Wacker, averaged just two hours a day on their 7 1/2-hour-a-day sanitation jobs, costing the city up to $500,000 a year, Vroustouris said.

The alleged fraud by laborers, earning $13.87 an hour, may have been going on for years and may extend to other sanitation facilities, he said.

"The only thing they did for the city was disgrace the city. That's the only thing they did. . . . They didn't even break a sweat," Vroustouris said.

"They would show up to sign in and, if they weren't too busy, they would come back and sign out. But that was only if they weren't too busy and didn't have too many errands to run. . . . They didn't do their job cleaning up the city. If they did their job, the city would be cleaner, that's for sure. Hopefully, it'll be cleaner once they're terminated from city employment."

One of the five accused supervisors was repeatedly followed to a Chicago area racetrack, where he bet on horses during his shift, Vroustouris said. Another is ward Supt. Peter Caruso. Caruso's brother, Bruno, is secretary-treasurer of Laborers Union Local 1001. Bruno Caruso accused the city of employing "Gestapo tactics" during a pre-dawn raid on headquarters Tuesday.

All 37 employees are expected to be placed on administrative leave, pending termination proceedings.

Vroustouris said he has moved to fire these four laborers: Charles Miller, who allegedly committed a $250,000 jewelry robbery in Fond du Lac, Wis., when he was supposed to be sweeping streets in the Loop. A warrant for Miller's arrest was issued in Wisconsin Feb. 22. He is fighting extradition proceedings.

Frank Munizzi, who allegedly signed in at the ward offices at 6 a.m. each morning, then went to a hot dog stand, where he worked until 2:30 p.m., when his city shift was over.

Ambrose Esposito, who allegedly worked at two flower shops while he was supposed to be working for the city.

Michael Mategrano, who allegedly sold insurance from 1st Ward sanitation headquarters.

Vroustouris said he is outraged by the widespread nature and brazenness of the alleged cheating.

During the surveillance, launched after an allegation about ghost payrollers was made to Vroustouris' office, city investigators followed employees and saw them working second jobs, he said.

"This was a random sampling of people, and yet every individual that we looked at across the board was engaged in falsifying of time records in some manor or some form," Vroustouris said.

"I can't begin to indicate how outraged I am at the level of complicity that there has to be with the supervisory personnel. That's the reason I'm seeking termination of all personnel who are in a supervisory position at that ward yard - everybody."

He said the investigation is "absolutely no reflection" on the performance of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Raymond Cachares. Cachares is rumored to be one of several city department heads whose jobs are "on the bubble" in a pending post-election shakeup of Mayor Daley's cabinet.

The alleged cheating "does say something about the supervisory personnel in the 1st Ward that he (Cachares) relies on," Vroustouris said. "For such a widespread, corrupt ward yard to exist makes me think there ought to be some revamping of the ward system in the Department of Streets and Sanitation. The commissioner can't be responsible for thousands of employees. But they should have better control of what goes on and that starts with the supervisors at each ward yard."

Cachares, who was at home Wednesday with a bad back, could not be reached for comment. In a press release, he said he had cooperated fully with the investigation and applauded its results.

"The taxpayers of Chicago deserve a full day's work for a full day's pay," Cachares said in the statement. "The fact that supervisory personnel gave tacit approval to these activities is particularly outrageous."

The investigation came as a shock to the 1st Ward's newly elected alderman, Ted Mazola. Mazola was miffed that he was not warned about the inspector general's blitz.

"It would have been a little different if I had been standing next to (Vroustouris) when he announced it," Mazola said. "Now its going to look to people in my ward like I don't know what's happening in my own ward office."

Mazola said he, too, was outraged by the alleged cheating, but has not noticed any decline in the cleanliness of Loop streets. Asked if the investigation proves the city's sanitation payroll is padded, Mazola said, "That would be my impression. It seems to me we could get it done for a lot less or use our resources in other areas.













Video gambling in SPI

See also - Kramzar Amusement







State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Friday, July 22, 1994

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 1

A Springfield businessman and seven others were indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges of operating an illegal gambling business.

The indictment alleges that Howard "Ted" Furkin, 57, and others used electronic video poker and electronic video slot machine games in a scheme that has been been in operation since the early 1980s.

Furkin, whom authorities argued might flee, was arrested soon after the indictment was filed at about 11:45 a.m. Thursday at Capital Airport. Furkin was reportedly about to board a plane.

The testimony of an Internal Revenue Service agent indicated the alleged operation may have collected $2 million per year.

After a government prosecutor argued that Furkin may have vast stashes of cash in Mexico and that he has threatened the life of a former girlfriend who has cooperated with the government against him, U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Evans ordered Furkin held without bond.

Furkin also is charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, unregistered transactions in gambling devices, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

"We plan to plead not guilty to all charges when the arraignment is held," said defense attorney Gregory Harris. "We plan to vigorously defend him."

Furkin is the owner of Allstar Music Inc., 3441 S. Park St. The business supplies coin-operated amusement machines and jukeboxes.

Video poker and slot machines are not illegal, but must be properly registered with the government.

Players typically insert up to $20 in currency and play against the machine , Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Chesley said. Players who win receive a number of credits or points.

The indictment indicates that winners were paid, for instance by a bartender or bar owner in the establishment where the machine was located. The defendants in this case then split the money in the machines after taking payoffs into account.

Vonnie Hinesley, an IRS special agent who worked on the case, testified Thursday that she was told Furkin had 200 gambling machines in March 1993. Since that time, the number reportedly has increased. It was estimated that each machine should generate $10,000 to $12,000 per year, she said.

Furkin reportedly bragged that he had $2 million in currency within easy access.

Hinesley's testimony also indicated that Furkin was ruthless in protecting his business.

She said competitors reported he was vindictive and intimidating. Others reportedly told her of threats and displays of weapons.

Shackled and wearing casual clothes, Furkin sat quietly through Thursday's court appearance, occasionally talking with Harris.

Hinesley said that at one time authorities found six to eight guns in a closet at his business, including a sawed-off shotgun and a Street Sweeper, an assault-type weapon.

A former girlfriend allegedly told authorities that he threatened to kill her and leave her body in a cornfield if she didn't do as he requested and told her he had dreamed he had to strangle her.

A former employee of Furkin's reported finding an open coffee can of gasoline and newspapers near his furnace after he argued with Furkin.

Another man said Furkin threatened to have him raped in a gay bar in Chicago if he testified against Furkin, Hinesley said.

Hinesley also painted a picture of a man about to flee. She said Furkin has sold or was in the process of selling his Springfield home, car, business and other assets. He has updated his passport and made about a dozen trips to Mexico in the last year, she said.

About one hour after the grand jury returned its indictment against Furkin in open court, he was arrested shortly after arriving at Springfield's Capital Airport.

Evans heard Hinesley's testimony before deciding to hold Furkin without bond.

When Harris cross-examined Hinesley, he suggested that the reports of threats came from disgruntled former employees, questioned who owned the guns and pointed out that no one knows who placed the can of gasoline in the man's home.

He said Furkin did not have a passport and indicated the Mexico trips were for legitimate business reasons. Furkin has recently moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., but maintains a local residence at the Springfield Hilton, Harris said.

He also noted that those alleging threats by Furkin have not been injured and he has not fled during the four years that the case has been under investigation .

Harris asked that Furkin be released on a recognizance bond.

The indictment alleges Furkin worked to conceal his activities from the IRS by using fictitious business names, creating backdated documents, and dealing in cash.

"The defendants did not report on any tax returns the vast majority of the income that Allstar and they derived from the gaming machine ," the indictment says.

As the investigation progressed, Furkin allegedly failed to turn over all documents subpoenaed by authorities, provided incomplete information and told employees to lie to the grand jury.

Also indicted were Allstar, and Furkin's employee, David J. Lanzotti, 48, of Hollybrook Drive. He allegedly was primarily responsible for collecting money and "customer relations," the indictment says.

Other defendants are: Connie L. Hughes, 37, of the 3100 block of South First Street; Kenneth W. Smith, 51, R.R. 7, Springfield; Mary Freeman, 61, of the 2600 block of Burton Drive.

Harry "Bud" Kelly, 52, and his wife, Carolyn "Connie" J. Kelly, 47, both of Bloomington; and George Johnson, 62, of Country Place.

The indictment does not spell out their role, but each is charged with operation of an illegal gambling business.

Bond was set for those defendants, and they will be sent summons to appear in court.










State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Saturday, July 30, 1994

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 9

The federal government took John Bohan's flashing lights and spinning cherries away months ago. A church pew now sits where patrons used to line

up to plug coins into the video slot machines .

But Bohan's bar, the Forty-Niner Bye-Bye, 518 N. Bruns Lane, isn't the only one locally to lose the devices. Fifteen Springfield taverns had video slot machines belonging to Howard "Ted" Furkin seized earlier this year.

Furkin, owner of Allstar Music Inc., 3441 S. Park St., was indicted last week for allegedly running an illegal gambling operation since the early 1980s.

Loss of the machines hasn't hurt business at the Forty-Niner, according to Bohan. And the fact that his establishment had them doesn't mean he's done anything wrong. "(The government) hasn't implicated my business in any way," said Bohan Tuesday. "They took them to penalize Furkin, not because we did anything wrong."

Although seven others were indicted along with Furkin, their role in his operation remains unclear. Assistant U.S. attorney Pat Chesley wouldn't say Tuesday whether any more arrests or indictments are pending, only that "the investigation is not over."

A trial date of Sept. 6 has been set for Furkin, who pleaded not guilty. He is being held without bond by federal authorities.

Furkin also is charged with conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, unregistered transactions in gambling devices, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Esteban Sanchez said his office is trying to keep the 68 machines that were seized through a forfeiture complaint, a separate civil matter. If the government wins that case, Sanchez said the machines -- which were taken from establishments in Springfield and elsewhere -- will be sold someplace where gambling is legal and the government will keep the proceeds.

Springfield Liquor Commission business manager Bob Slagle said his office couldn't take action against any local bar that used the machines for gambling purposes unless they were first convicted of wrongdoing by another agency.

The Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association says the odds of winning on a video gambling machine -- currently legal in Illinois for amusement purposes only -- can be changed at will.

In its illegal form, patrons play the game, try to accumulate points, and then turn in points to the bartender for cash.

Currently, machine operators contract their games to bar and restaurant owners, often sharing the proceeds equally.

Furkin's business, meanwhile, which also leases other coin-operated entertainment equipment such as jukeboxes and pinball machines , on Tuesday was "running just like nothing happened," according to manager Terry Montgomery. "That's all I can say."

But business isn't all it could be for the owner of Louie's, 3110 Stanton St.

"We have some people who just came in to play those ( video gambling machines ). They went someplace else," said Louie, who refused to give his last name or comment further.

Rick Acord, a manager at Whitey's Place, 1100 S. 11th St., said the owner replaced Furkin's machines with similar ones from a different company.

The other local establishments that had Furkin-owned video machines confiscated were:



Bootlegger's, 1220 Toronto Road;

the Eagles Club, 922 S. Ninth St.;

Grif's Place, 1510 Melrose St.;

Illinois Tap, 715 North Grand Ave.;

Jail House Tavern, 125 Mayden St.;

Kie Richards Tavern, 2031 North Grand Ave.;

Lake Club II, 500 Toronto Road;

Lake Springfield Tavern, 1221 Stevenson Drive;

Mr. J's, 1033 Wabash Ave.;

Ollie's Saloon, 300 E. Washington St.;

Swede's, 215 N. Second St.; and the

VFW, 2211 Old Jacksonville Road.







State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Monday, September 5, 1994

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 1

A Springfield man facing federal gambling charges marshaled an impressive list of friends and acquaintances, including former county Sheriff Bill

DeMarco, in support of an unsuccessful attempt to win release on bond.

More than a dozen people, including several well-known political figures, submitted letters or affidavits to the federal court on behalf of Howard "Ted" Furkin.

Like the others, DeMarco wrote in an affidavit that he did not believe Furkin was a "risk of flight or danger to any person."

However, DeMarco testified on the witness stand that he had been unaware of four investigations -- two conducted by his own former subordinates -- in which Furkin was allegedly implicated in criminal activity.

In a later interview, DeMarco denied any connection between his affidavit supporting Furkin and $1,425 in political contributions Furkin gave DeMarco over a seven-year period beginning in 1986. Furkin, 57, the owner of Allstar Music Inc., is accused of using electronic video poker and electronic video slot machine games since the early 1980s in a scheme that, at some points, may have collected $2 million per year.

After an almost four-year investigation , Furkin stands charged with operating an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, unregistered transactions in gambling devices, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

He pleaded not guilty.

Federal authorities and Furkin's friends and longtime acquaintances paint sharply contrasting pictures of the man.

An Internal Revenue Service special agent testified that Furkin threatened to kill a former girlfriend who is cooperating with the IRS and that he threatened to have a man raped in a gay bar in Chicago if the man testified against Furkin. The agent, Vonnie Hinesley, also said a former employee found an open coffee can of gasoline near his furnace after he argued with Furkin.

Witnesses reportedly told the government Furkin used guns to intimidate government witnesses and business competitors and that he was involved in four or five arson fires.

The government also argued that Furkin may possess a large stash of cash in Mexico.

Furkin denies the allegations.

On July 21, U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Evans ordered Furkin held in jail without bond pending trial.

Furkin's attorneys asked U.S. Judge Richard Mills to review that order. As part of that process, they collected letters and affidavits from Furkin's friends and acquaintances.

Among those writing were DeMarco, Sangamon County Board Chairman Larry Bomke, attorney Mark Rabin, Tim McAnarney (who was an aide to former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon), Prairie Capital Convention Center general manager Judy Meiron, car dealer Charles Sattler, oral surgeon Robert Clark, and real estate executive John B. Clark.

They speak of Furkin as a loving family man, law-abiding businessman and giving community resident. The man they know is fair, considerate, decent and moral.

They relate acts of kindness and note that service on the board of directors of Hope School, a residential facility for multiply disabled children.

"He enjoyed helping others," wrote Dr. Clark.

In his affidavit, DeMarco said he has been acquainted with Furkin for about 25 years and "knows him generally to be a peaceful, law-abiding and positively contributing citizen."

The former sheriff noted that in his 30-year law enforcement career he had "routine daily access to background information developed by law enforcement, generally known as `police intelligence.' " "At no time . . . did such police intelligence disclose any information, however remote and vaguely sourced, which would have in any sense suggested that Howard (Ted) Furkin was involved in anything which might countenance violence or unlawful activity," DeMarco said in the affidavit.

DeMarco reaffirmed that stance when he was called as the defense's only witness during the Aug. 12 hearing before Mills.

On cross-examination, assistant U.S. attorney Byron Cudmore asked DeMarco if he had been aware of a 1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigation that resulted in an unregistered firearm being seized from Furkin. DeMarco said he knew, after the fact, that a search warrant had been served, but he did not know what had been confiscated.

Cudmore asked DeMarco if he knew of an almost yearlong Illinois State Police probe in 1985 involving Furkin and racketeering. "No, sir," said DeMarco.

DeMarco also testified that he was not aware that in 1990, two members of the Sangamon County sheriff's office possessed information implicating Furkin as a drug-trafficking financier and had information concerning alleged witness intimidation.

Likewise, DeMarco said he was unaware that a Sangamon County sheriff's detective opened a case in 1993 concerning drug allegations and Furkin.

DeMarco left the sheriff's office in July to become assistant director of the state Department of Financial Institutions.

Contacted last week, DeMarco said his affidavit was based on information he had when he gave it. "No one has a handle on all police information," DeMarco said.

He also said he still believes Furkin is not a threat to anyone and would not flee if released on bond.

In none of the cases cited by Cudmore was Furkin charged. Until an allegation is proven, DeMarco noted, it is only an accusation.

DeMarco called Furkin an acquaintance, not a friend.

DeMarco said his affidavit was not prompted by gratitude for the campaign contributions.

Records in the Sangamon County clerk's office show that Furkin or his business, Allstar Music, 3441 S. Park Ave., made contributions totaling $1,425 to Citizens for DeMarco between February 1986 and June 30, 1993. When those contributions were made, Furkin was not a subject of any investigation of which DeMarco was aware, DeMarco said.

In the past, DeMarco added, he has returned contributions made by people with criminal records. And if he were running for office now and Furkin contributed, "I'd return it," DeMarco said.

Like the former sheriff, many who wrote letters or signed affidavits for Furkin said last week that their opinion still stands. Among them were McAnarney, Bomke, Dr. Clark and Meiron.

Rabin was out of his office late last week. Messages were left with Sattler and John B. Clark, but weren't returned.

Despite the letters and affidavits, Mills refused to release Furkin from jail pending trial.

In fact, it is not clear whether Mills even used the endorsements in making his decision. He wrote in the order that he would not consider any evidence that was available but not presented during the original hearing before Evans.

The government regarded the letters and affidavits as such evidence.

Furkin and a number of co-defendants, who also have pleaded not guilty, are scheduled to stand trial in Springfield's federal court Nov. 1. However, the trial is likely to be delayed.






State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Thursday, December 8, 1994

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 10

A federal court jury began hearing evidence Wednesday against Springfield businessman Howard "Ted" Furkin and others accused of participating in what

a prosecutor called a large-scale, extremely profitable illegal gambling business.

Assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Chesley said Furkin's business, Allstar Music Inc., supplied restaurants and bars with video poker and slot machines , and divided gambling proceeds with the owners of those businesses.

Furkin's lawyer said there is little question that gambling was going on in some establishments, but he said that was the decision of the bar and club owners, not Furkin.

Chesley noted that when Furkin started Allstar Music in the late 1970s, it supplied amusement devices, such as juke boxes and pool tables to businesses. In the early 1980s, Chesley said, Furkin's co-defendant, David Lanzotti, joined the business.

He allegedly told Furkin that he was "missing the boat" by not carrying video poker machines . Competitors were supplying the devices and Furkin was losing business to them.

Chesley showed jurors a video poker machine and a slot machine , which had been wheeled into the courtroom. With both machines , he said, bar or restaurant customers put money in the machines , received so many credits, and played the machine . Customers who won points on the machine collected money from the bartender or owner, Chesley said.

The machines kept track of the money inserted and of the points won by players. Furkin's employees, Chesley alleged, paid off the bartender for money doled out to winning customers and then divided with them the machines ' proceeds.

Because such use of the machines , which were licensed by the state and municipal authorities, involved consideration, chance and reward, they were gambling devices, Chesley said.

If a major component of such machines travels in interstate commerce, it must be registered with the attorney general, he added. Furkin and Allstar did not do so, Chesley charged.

By 1991 or 1992, Furkin allegedly had hundreds of the machines . Various government witnesses are expected to testify that they turned over thousands of dollars by the week and month to Furkin from the machines .

At the same time, Chesley said, Furkin kept scant records on that aspect of his business, in an attempt to hide income from the Internal Revenue Service. After his business came under investigation in late 1990, Furkin obstructed justice, Chesley said, instructing one witness to lie and tried to influence what another said to authorities.

Also on trial with Furkin are: Lanzotti; Connie Hughes of the 3000 block of South First Street; Kenneth W. Smith of R.R. 7, Springfield; and Mary Freeman of the 2600 block of Burton Drive.

Lanzotti and Hughes allegedly collected money from the bartenders and owners. Smith is accused of working on the machines and teaching collectors how to read them. Freeman worked as a bookkeeper for Allstar and kept track of the money, Chesley said.

Authorities seized documents, secretly tape recorded conversations, used an undercover agent and made bargains with employees connected to Allstar to build their case.

Lee Smith, attorney for Furkin and Allstar, said Furkin was a small-business man and a "graduate of the school of hard knocks." Allstar, he said, is operated out of an old house.

Juke boxes and other amusement machines are more profitable, but Allstar supplied the poker and slot machines because businesses wanted them, Smith said. Without them, Furkin would have lost business to competitors.

Records were not kept on some of the machines , he said, because they were leased to the businesses for a flat fee. Since Furkin wasn't receiving a share of the profits, there was no need to keep detailed records on the machines , he suggested.

"If there is gambling going on, it is gambling done by the taverns," Smith said.

Lanzotti's attorney, Michael Metnick, said Lanzotti was only an employee and had no control over tax preparations, employee decisions or acquiring machines .

Metnick charged that the government's case was built around disgruntled employees and tavern owners who were promised that their own statements would not be used against them.

There is "a lot of innuendo, inference and imagination" in the case, Metnick said.

Attorneys Robert Weiner for Hughes, Jim Shadid for Smith and Ron Hamm for Freeman likewise indicated their clients were not guilty.

Jurors were told that it could take a month to complete the case





State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Thursday, January 19, 1995

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 1

After deliberating about 26 hours over four days, a federal court jury Wednesday convicted a Springfield businessman and four others of

participating in what prosecutors called a large-scale illegal gambling business.

Howard "Ted" Furkin, 57, also was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and unregistered transactions in gambling devices.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on one count of witness tampering against Furkin.

"I'm ecstatic over the verdicts," said assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Chesley. Although the jury was hung on one count, he said, it clearly was "convinced the defendants were guilty." "All of the defendants and counsel are deeply disappointed," said defense attorney Michael Metnick, who represented Furkin's co-defendant, David J. Lanzotti.

Some family members of defendants were visibly upset after the verdicts were read.

"I'm expecting every other operator to be indicted and found guilty of the same charges," said Furkin's daughter, Dianna Ross, who had been weeping and appeared angry.

Lanzotti's wife, Joann Lanzotti called the case "selective prosecution."

While U.S. District Judge Richard Mills ordered that defense attorneys could not argue that "everyone" gambles and the defendants had been singled out for prosecution, hints of that surfaced in the trial.

Metnick said that sentiment was strong outside the courtroom.

"I had more people coming up to me on the street telling me they are troubled by this prosecution because this (gambling) is so widespread," he said. Metnick pointed to the type of gambling allegedly involved in this case -- video poker and slot machines in bars and clubs -- and to legalized forms such as on riverboats around the state.

Chesley said the defendants violated federal law. While some discretion is involved in deciding who is prosecuted, he noted, the evidence in this case pointed to a large-scale illegal business that took in hundreds of thousands of dollars that went untaxed.

"It wasn't something we felt we could ignore," he said.

Chesley also noted that the government's investigation is continuing and there is a possibility that others could be charged.

In addition to Furkin and Lanzotti, the jury convicted: Furkin's business, Allstar Music Inc., of 3441 S. Park Ave.; Connie Hughes, 37, of the 3000 block of South First Street; Kenneth W. Smith, 52, of R.R. 7, Springfield; and Mary Freeman, 61, of the 2600 block of Burton Drive.

According to evidence in the trial, Allstar Music, which supplied entertainment devices such as pool tables and jukeboxes to bars and restaurants, began offering the video poker machines in the early 1980s.

Later, video slot machines were added.

Prosecutors said Furkin and his associates knew that the bar and club owners and operators paid off patrons who played the machines and won. Proceeds were split between the owners and Furkin, the government alleged.

Lanzotti, 48, of Hollybrook Drive, and Hughes collected money; Smith worked onthe machines ; and Freeman worked in the Allstar Office, according to trial testimony.

Chesley charged that Furkin and Lanzotti operated in ways to make it impossible for the IRS to compute taxes on the gambling proceeds. Transactions were made in cash, and records were not kept on the gaming machines or proceeds, he said.

After authorities began investigating, Furkin allegedly instructed one employee, who secretly tape-recorded the conversation for the government, to lie to a grand jury.

According to the government, over the years, Furkin and the bar owners took in millions of dollars that was not reported to the IRS. Furkin allegedly had at least 160 gaming machines in 60 to 70 locations in Springfield and central Illinois.

Based on the testimony of bar owners and others, 39 machines generated about $188,000 for Allstar in 1991, and the same amount for bar owners.

The prosecution of Furkin and his co-defendants was the result of a four-year IRS investigation . That probe, assisted by Springfield police and the FBI, culminated in a five-week trial, which featured about 50 witnesses and approximately 20 boxes of evidence.

The defendants are set to be sentenced April 24. Federal guidelines will determine maximum and minimum sentences for each one. However, Chesley said, all of the defendants will be eligible for a prison term.

All of the defendants will remain free on bond until their sentencing hearing, except Furkin who has been held in jail since his arrest in July.






State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Thursday, January 26, 1995

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 11

A Springfield bar manager pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal perjury charge that grew out of an investigation of illegal gambling.

David Hampsten, 49, of Springfield admitting lying to a grand jury in May 1992 about how he paid for video poker and slot machines in Whitey's Place, 1100 S. 11th St.

Hampsten told the grand jurors that he paid a flat fee to Allstar Music Inc. for the rental of the machines . In fact, assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Chesley said, Hampsten, for a time, split the money in the machine with Allstar, after reimbursement for money paid to bar patrons who played the machines and won.

Hampsten later agreed to cooperate with authorities and testified against Allstar owner Howard "Ted" Furkin and four others.

Hampsten testified about the collection of money by Furkin's employee, David Lanzotti, and Lanzotti's friend, Connie Hughes. He also described signing an undated lease for the gaming machines that said he would pay a flat fee.

Prosecutors contended that bar and club owners were asked to sign such leases after investigators began probing the business.

Furkin, Lanzotti, Hughes and two other employees, Ken Smith and Mary Freeman, were convicted last week of engaging in an illegal gambling business and await sentencing.

Perjury carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Under the terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence for Hampsten at the lower end of federal sentencing guidelines.




State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Tuesday, February 28, 1995

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 6

Two bar owners who admitted allowing illegal gambling in their taverns were sentenced Monday to probation and home confinement and ordered to pay


George Johnson, 62, of Country Place and Louis Manci Jr., 58, of the 800 block of Bryn Mawr Boulevard were charged in connection with a local and federal probe of area gambling.

That investigation also resulted in the conviction of Springfield businessman Howard "Ted" Furkin and others connected to his business, Allstar Music Inc. of 3441 S. Park Ave.

Prosecutors said Furkin and his co-defendants were involved in a large-scale, highly successful illegal gambling business that dated from the early 1980s.

According to evidence presented in federal court during a five-week trial, Allstar Music supplied video slot and poker machines to area clubs, restaurants and taverns. Employees and owners of those businesses paid patrons who played the machines and won, and split the proceeds from losing players with Allstar, the government said.

Authorities believe that over the years Furkin and the bar owners took in millions of dollars that were not reported to the IRS. Both Johnson, owner of Mr. J's, 1033 Wabash Ave.; and Manci, owner of Louie's, 3110 Stanton St., had Allstar's machines in their taverns and allowed the illegal gambling.

Both men -- at Furkin's request -- also lied in May 1992 to a federal grand jury about their arrangements with Furkin, said assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Chesley. They told the grand jury they paid a flat fee for rental of the machines , when in fact, they split proceeds from the illegal gambling with Furkin.

Johnson pleaded guilty to participating in an illegal gambling business. Manci admitted his guilt to a perjury charge.

Chesley said the cases against the men were "fairly tragic."

Military veterans, neither man had a prior criminal record.

Manci's attorney, Joseph Miller, suggested that his client lied to the grand jury because he was afraid of Furkin.

Before sentencing Johnson, U.S. District Judge Richard Mills seemed concerned about the possibility of a jail sentence for Johnson when he was the only bar owner -- out of about 60 area bar and club owners identified by the government as involved -- who was charged and convicted of participating in an illegal gambling business.

Chesley said those who lied to the grand jury were charged. He also said he would recommend probation, home confinement and a fine.

Because both men cooperated with the government and testified against Furkin, Chesley recommended lighter sentences than they would have otherwise faced under federal sentencing guidelines.

In separate hearings, each man was sentenced to three years probation. The first four months of the term must be served under home confinement.

Johnson was fined $1,000. Manci, whose financial picture reportedly was stronger than Johnson's, was fined $5,000. Between 1988 and 1993, Johnson allegedly made $136,000 from gambling and other amusement machines in his bar. He reportedly paid taxes on that income.

Johnson's attorney, Patrick Lond-rigan, said Johnson may lose his liquor license for some period of time.

The Sangamon County Liquor Commission has delayed acting on the license, waiting to see what assistance he offered prosecutors and what sentence he received in court.

No calculation was available for the money made by Manci through the machines . He did not originally report the income, but filed amended tax returns.

Chesley said he has informed the Springfield Liquor Commission about Manci's cooperation and has not heard of any action being taken against his license.

Furkin is scheduled to be sentenced April 24.




State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Wednesday, December 6, 1995

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 1

A Springfield businessman accused of hiding millions of dollars in income from his gambling and entertainment company was sentenced to 12 years in

prison Tuesday and ordered to pay more than $2 million in taxes and fines.

Howard "Ted" Furkin, 58, formerly owned Allstar Music Inc., which supplied video poker and other gambling devices to dozens of clubs, restaurants and taverns throughout central Illinois.

Prosecutors said Furkin earned millions from the machines over the past decade and used an extensive network of bank accounts, real estate holdings and fictitious companies to hide the money from the Internal Revenue Service.

"We don't have an exact amount, and we're never going to have an exact amount," assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Chesley said during a two-day hearing before U.S. District Judge Richard Mills.

Though the gambling devices supposedly were intended only as entertainment, prosecutors said patrons who won were paid off by bar and club owners and proceeds were split with Furkin.

Chesley said the government used "conservative" estimates of Furkin's income to determine that he owed at least $2.1 million in restitution to the IRS. Defense attorneys, who plan to appeal, said the government relied on inaccurate assumptions and unreliable witnesses.

"They shook some numbers out of a magic box to come up with a tax loss," said Phil Hamilton, one of three attorneys who represented Furkin. He also said a four-year IRS investigation ruined Furkin's business.

"This man doesn't have that much money now," Hamilton said.

Financial records showed Furkin's worth at $375,000, compared to the $5.5 million net worth given on a 1993 financial statement.

Before he was sentenced, Furkin insisted he had earned his money through hard work and that he had given back to the community by donating to senior citizens and youth groups.

"I shined shoes, I pumped gas, I delivered newspapers, anything I could do that was legal to live the American dream," Furkin said. "Whatever the government may say about me, I stand here proud."

Pointing to a stack of letters written by area residents on Furkin's behalf, Mills agreed Furkin had helped others.

But he said Furkin had "squirreled away" millions of dollars and then attempted to obstruct an IRS investigation of his company and personal finances.

"You may well have given back to the community that you have taken from, but you didn't give it to the IRS," Mills said.

In addition to the $2.1 million in back taxes, Furkin was fined $250,000 and ordered to spend three years on supervised release following his prison term. He will get credit for 16 months already spent in jail and can earn up to 54 days a year off his prison sentence for good behavior.

Furkin was convicted in January of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and unregistered transactions in gambling devices.

In a separate trial, he was found guilty of possession of an unlicensed sawed-off shotgun.

January convictions of Furkin and four co-defendants on a charge that they conducted an illegal gambling business were thrown out by Mills in June.

Prosecutors decided against seeking a new trial for Furkin on that charge, while a federal appeals court is considering whether his co-defendants will be tried again.





State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Friday, February 6, 1998

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 15

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has accused a former Edgar administration attorney of making false statements and not

disqualifying himself from a criminal case involving illegal video gambling.

Phillip Montalvo, former legal counsel to the state Department of Natural Resources, also is alleged to have issued a false letter to the commission. In the letter, Montalvo lied about his knowledge of involvement with a company operating an illegal video -poker gambling operation out of a bar he owned, the commission charged.

Neither Montalvo, of Springfield, nor his Chicago attorney could be reached for comment Thursday.

The complaint contends Montalvo once had a 75 percent ownership in a St.

Clair County bar that was conducting illegal video -poker gambling. In 1994, Montalvo became involved in a business venture to bring a land-based casino to Illinois. One of his partners was Thomas Venezia, the owner of the company that installed the video -poker machines .

In December 1994, federal authorities raided the bar and seized the machines . In 1995, Venezia was indicted on racketeering and illegal gambling charges, and later convicted.

The commission complaint says Montalvo became involved during a grand-jury appearance by a witness in the Venezia investigation , in an attempt to force the judge to disqualify himself. The judge's son was a partner in Montalvo's law firm. At the time, Montalvo knew he was a business partner with Venezia and had once kept Venezia gambling machines in his bar, the complaint says.

Montalvo, a former Belleville city attorney, later testified in the obstruction-of-justice trial of lawyer Amiel Cueto. He said he signed an affidavit Cueto had prepared as part of his effort to get the judge removed from the Venezia case.

The commission says Montalvo knew or should have known that the affidavit contained a lie about whether his bar had video -gambling machines at the time he owned a stake in it. Montalvo testified that he had not read the affidavit.

Montalvo should have a hearing before a three-judge panel within the next several months, according to a commission spokesman. That panel will make a recommendation to the Illinois Supreme Court on any disciplinary action.

The sanctions range from censure to disbarment.

Montalvo resigned from his state job late last summer. At the time, he said he was taking a job in private business.



3 arrested following gambling raid at bars

State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Saturday, January 8, 2005

Page: 6

TAYLORVILLE - Three Taylorville residents have been arrested on gambling charges after state officials raided four Christian County taverns.

The Illinois Department of Revenue and state attorney general's office on Friday identified those arrested as: Jinnie Etheridge, 25, Ramona "Mona" Foreman, 50, and David "Walt" Wingler, 53.

They're accused of making illegal cash payouts on video slot and poker machines .

The investigation was based primarily on undercover activities by special agents of Revenue's Bureau of Criminal Investigations over a four-month period beginning in August, according to a news release.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office will prosecute the case.

"While these activities may seem harmless to some, making payouts based on video poker games and slot machines is against the law, no matter who is doing it. Anti-gambling laws apply to all Illinoisans," Madigan said in the release.

The taverns targeted are: Major Leagues, 105 N. Walnut St., The Dugout, 116 E. Main St., and The Patch, 1212 W. Taylor St., all in Taylorville; and HT's Tavern, 501 Midland Blvd. in Tovey.

Etheridge, a bartender/manager at HT's, is charged with two counts of gambling and two counts of keeping a gambling place. Foreman, a bartender/manager at Major Leagues, is charged with two counts of gambling and one count of keeping a gambling place. Wingler, a bartender/manager at The Dugout, is charged with two counts of gambling and one count of keeping a gambling place.

The alleged crimes took place in August and November.

Each charge is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. Also, any conviction for keeping a gambling place could result in revocation of a bar's liquor license for up to one year.

People who answered the phone at Major Leagues and The Patch Friday night declined comment. Directory assistance had no number listed for HT's, and calls to The Dugout went unanswered.

Madigan's office also will bring complaints for forfeiture of the alleged gambling machines and any gambling proceeds.

During the raids, Revenue agents seized the following items:

* Five video slot and poker machines and $840 from Major Leagues.

* Nine video slot and poker machines and $1,292 from The Dugout.

* Nine video slot and poker machines and $228 from HT's Tavern.

* Eight video slot and poker machines and $1,542 from The Patch.

"These machines are illegal, and the owners are not paying tax on the significant amount of money that they make from this illegal activity," Revenue Director Brian Hamer said in the release. "The raids, arrests and seizures send a strong message that this activity will not be tolerated."














Video gambling in SPI – manci




State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, September 27, 1987



Lisa Renee Templeton


of Calvert City, Ky., and Bryan Scot Tate of Springfield were married at 6 p.m. Aug. 22. Judge Mike Miller officiated the ceremony at the residence of John Woitke in Calvert City, Ky.

The bride is the daughter of Charles W. and Carolyn S. Templeton of Calvert City, Ky. The bridegroom is the son of William L. and Sonia J. Tate, 2619 S. 9th St.

Maid of honor was Leslie J. Dees, with Dawn Tate, Karen Cannella, Lisa Bruce, Karen Jennings and Sonja Burton serving as bridesmaids. Flower girl was Emily Carol Ford.

Best man was James John Riba, and groomsmen were Chuck Templeton, Tony Cundari, Tim Elliott,


John Hayes



and Steve Ryan. Ushers were Tim Balderson, Ronnie Bowling, Kevin Elliott and

Nick Manci , with Brandon Brackett serving as ringbearer.

A reception was at the home of the bride in Calvert City, Ky.

The bride, a graduate of Marshall County High School,


is employed by Hi Diddle Kiddle Day Care in Chatham.


The bridegroom, a graduate of Southeast High School, is a student at Sangamon State University. He is employed by WMAY/WNNS radio stations.

The couple will live in Springfield.



State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, April 30, 1989

Manci -- 25th Mr. and Mrs. Louie Manci , 804 Bryn Mawr, will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

Manci and the former Jean Reichert were united in marriage on May 2, 1964, by the Rev. Joseph O'Connor at Church of the Little Flower.

Mr. and Mrs. Manci are the owners and operators of Louie's tavern.

They are the parents of three children, Gina Marie of Chicago, and Nick Manci and Angela Manci , both of Springfield.





State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, September 20, 1992

Manci -Moffitt Jodi Moffitt of Springfield and

Jeff Manci of

Camp Pendleton, Calif., were married at 4 p.m. Sept. 5. The Rev. Roger Daniels performed the ceremony at Eastview Baptist Church.

The bride is the daughter of Jerry and Chris Moffitt of Springfield. The groom is the son of Louie and Lois Villamonte of Venice, Fla. and Angelo Manci Jr. of Springfield.

Serving as maid of honor was

Shawn Burge. Bridesmaids were

Dawn Burge and Jami Fuess. Flower girl was Paige McMann.

Best man was Jason Harms. Groomsmen were Michael Abel and Steven Collins. Ringbearer was Kyle Fuess. Ushers were Tom Combs and

Brian Burge.

The bride is a graduate of Riverton High School and Lincoln Land Community College. The groom is a graduate of Riverton High School and is serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The couple will reside in Vista, Calif.




State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, October 24, 1999

Moriconi-Theobald Lisa L. Theobald of Chatham and

Shane D. Moriconi of Springfield exchanged wedding vows at 2 p.m. Sept. 11 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Chatham. The Rev. Robert Franzen performed the ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Trudy and Ronald Theobald of Chatham.

The groom is the son of Gilda and Paul Moriconi of Springfield.

Serving as matron of honor was Michele Strong. Bridesmaids were Kelley Sloper, Ari Curtis, Ashley Huddleston, Jill Zellers and Angie Heer. Flower girl was Payton Guinan.

Best men were


Paul D. Moriconi and


Brandon Moriconi.

Groomsmen were Scott Votava, Scott Oglesby, Kevin Fleming and Jim Barton. Ushers were Andrew Strong,

Michael Guinan and John Hammond. Ringbearer was


Dalton Manci .

A reception was held at Crowne Plaza.

The bride is a graduate of Chatham Glenwood High School and attended Lincoln Land Community College. She is employed as office manager for Dr.

David J. Brandis. The groom is a graduate of Chatham Glenwood High School and attended Lincoln Land Community College.

He is employed as a union carpenter for H&H Construction.

The couple will reside in Springfield.





State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, July 16, 1989

Manci -Connor Melissa Mae Connor of Springfield and Steven Albert Manci were united in marriage at 2 p.m. June 17. The Rev. John Spreen officiated the ceremony at Church of the Little Flower.

The bride is the daughter of David M. Connor Jr. of St. Claire, Mich., and Marcine McAfee of New Berlin. Parents of the bridegroom are Albert Manci and Alone Manci of Springfield.

Maid of honor was Jeanette Shutz, with Sabrina Manci serving as bridesmaid. Flower girl was Emily Jensen.

Robert Sayre was best man, with Paul Moriconi and Arthur Machino serving as ushers. Travis Shutz was the ringbearer.

A reception was held at the Elks Lodge.

The bride, a graduate of Lanphier High School, and the bridegroom, a graduate of Southeast High School,


are both employed by the state Department of Revenue.

The couple will live in Springfield.






State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, June 22, 1986

Monkman-Pelser Debora Lynn Pelser and Robert E. Monkman, both of Springfield, were united in marriage on May 31. The Rev. John Spreen officiated the ceremony at Church of The Little Flower.

The bride is the daughter of Merril and Mary Jane Gray of Springfield. The bridegroom is the son of Robert and Ada Monkman, both now deceased.

Serving as maid of honor was

Sabrina Manci , with


Gilda Moriconi, Rhea Colonius and Donna Greenwood serving as bridesmaids. Tiffiny Pelser served as flower girl.

Best man was Brad Monkman. Groomsmen were Dennis Eichholz, Tom Bartlett and Dale Rowden.

Steve Manci and Edward Pelser Jr. served as ushers, with Peter Eichholz serving as ringbearer.

A reception was held at the Grandview Municipal Building.

The bride, a graduate of Southeast High School, is employed by the Department of Revenue. The bridegroom is a graduate of Barry Community College.

The couple will reside in Springfield.





State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, October 6, 1985

Edition: M1,M2,E1
Section: LOCAL
Page: 33

Lantz-O'Connor Karen Marie O'Connor of Chatham and Mark Alan Lantz of Springfield were

united in marriage at 2 p.m. Sept. 14. The Rev. David Lantz officiated the ceremony at Church of The Little Flower in Springfield.

The bride is the daughter of Fred and Reginia O'Connor of Chatham. The bridegroom is the son of Scott and Wanda Lantz, 1100 S. Livingston.

Serving as matron of honor was Kathy Hymer, with

Debbie Manci , Mary and Melinda O'Connor,

Monica Cimarossa and Tammy Scofield serving as bridesmaids.

Karen Manci and Karen Hymer served as flower girls.

Best man was

John Mohn, and serving as groomsmen were Mike Miller, Mike and Steve Lantz, Brad Lane and Dan O'Connor. Don O'Connor, Jeff and Tim Lantz served as ushers, and Jay O'Connor was ringbearer.

The reception was held at the Knights of Columbus.

The bride, a graduate of Glenwood High School, is currently employed by O'Connor Mailing Service, Inc. The bridegroom, a graduate of Southeast High School, is employed by Ferris and Lantz Construction.

The couple will reside in Springfield.







State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Tuesday, February 28, 1995

Edition: M1,M2
Section: LOCAL
Page: 6

Two bar owners who admitted allowing illegal gambling in their taverns were sentenced Monday to probation and home confinement and ordered to pay


George Johnson, 62, of Country Place and Louis Manci Jr., 58, of the 800 block of Bryn Mawr Boulevard were charged in connection with a local and federal probe of area gambling.

That investigation also resulted in the conviction of Springfield businessman Howard "Ted" Furkin and others connected to his business, Allstar Music Inc. of 3441 S. Park Ave.

Prosecutors said Furkin and his co-defendants were involved in a large-scale, highly successful illegal gambling business that dated from the early 1980s.

According to evidence presented in federal court during a five-week trial, Allstar Music supplied video slot and poker machines to area clubs, restaurants and taverns. Employees and owners of those businesses paid patrons who played the machines and won, and split the proceeds from losing players with Allstar, the government said.

Authorities believe that over the years Furkin and the bar owners took in millions of dollars that were not reported to the IRS. Both Johnson, owner of Mr. J's, 1033 Wabash Ave.; and Manci, owner of Louie's, 3110 Stanton St., had Allstar's machines in their taverns and allowed the illegal gambling.

Both men -- at Furkin's request -- also lied in May 1992 to a federal grand jury about their arrangements with Furkin, said assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Chesley. They told the grand jury they paid a flat fee for rental of the machines , when in fact, they split proceeds from the illegal gambling with Furkin.

Johnson pleaded guilty to participating in an illegal gambling business. Manci admitted his guilt to a perjury charge.

Chesley said the cases against the men were "fairly tragic."

Military veterans, neither man had a prior criminal record.

Manci's attorney, Joseph Miller, suggested that his client lied to the grand jury because he was afraid of Furkin.

Before sentencing Johnson, U.S. District Judge Richard Mills seemed concerned about the possibility of a jail sentence for Johnson when he was the only bar owner -- out of about 60 area bar and club owners identified by the government as involved -- who was charged and convicted of participating in an illegal gambling business.

Chesley said those who lied to the grand jury were charged. He also said he would recommend probation, home confinement and a fine.

Because both men cooperated with the government and testified against Furkin, Chesley recommended lighter sentences than they would have otherwise faced under federal sentencing guidelines.

In separate hearings, each man was sentenced to three years probation. The first four months of the term must be served under home confinement.

Johnson was fined $1,000. Manci, whose financial picture reportedly was stronger than Johnson's, was fined $5,000. Between 1988 and 1993, Johnson allegedly made $136,000 from gambling and other amusement machines in his bar. He reportedly paid taxes on that income.

Johnson's attorney, Patrick Lond-rigan, said Johnson may lose his liquor license for some period of time.

The Sangamon County Liquor Commission has delayed acting on the license, waiting to see what assistance he offered prosecutors and what sentence he received in court.

No calculation was available for the money made by Manci through the machines . He did not originally report the income, but filed amended tax returns.

Chesley said he has informed the Springfield Liquor Commission about Manci's cooperation and has not heard of any action being taken against his license.

Furkin is scheduled to be sentenced April 24.



State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, July 13, 1997

Huffstedtler- Manci

Melissa Anne Manci and Eric Ryan Huffstedtler, both of Springfield, were married at 2 p.m. May 17 at Christ the King Church by the Rev. David S. Lantz.

The bride is the daughter of Debra and Henry Manci , both of Springfield. The groom is the son of Vicki Huffstedtler of Springfield.

Serving as maid of honor was Karen Manci . Bridesmaids were Jennifer Vest, Leah Ghesquiere, Christa Budny and Lori Harlan-Huffstedtler. Flower girls were Allison and Sophie Lantz.

Best man was Chris Sunderland. Groomsmen were Jeremy Huffstedtler, Jason Bosie, Ron Wilson and Jay Harmony. Ushers were Nate Ruggless and Pat Barry. Ringbearers were Garrett and John Lantz.

A reception was held at the Springfield Hilton.

The bride is a graduate of Sangamon State University and attends the University of Illinois.

She is employed by Sojourn Shelter and Service.

The groom is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is employed by Landmark Chrysler.

The couple will reside in Springfield.


ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOD? / Sacred Heart-Griffin fans bond over pre-game feasts

State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, October 12, 2003

Author/Byline: KATHRYN REM Staff Writer
Page: 13

Although it's common practice for fans to feast on brats and barbecue in stadium parking lots before pro and college football games, tailgating hasn't been a part of game day at most high school competitions. But that's changing.

At Springfield's Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, parents and supporters of the state-ranked Cyclones plan their pre-game galas - down to each menu item for home and road games - before the season ever begins.

"It started out as a way to make money for the football team," said Gary Nevins, who heads the Tailgaters Association, a group of SHG gridiron regulars who arrive about an hour before each game to share a meal and chat with friends. "Now it seems to be getting bigger every season."

The Tailgaters Association, an informal group not officially affiliated with the Catholic school, was started four years ago by Rob Miller when his son Justin played for the Cyclones.

"There were eight or nine couples who we were close to, and we talked about getting together before the games. I bought a tent and assigned people to do the cooking. Then we put out a coffee can for donations and other people started pitching in," said Miller, a sales manager for phone book publisher DonTech.

"Every week, more and more people started coming and soon we raised enough money for the tunnel," he said, referring to the 20-foot portable black entrance tunnel through which the Cyclones take the field when playing home games at Memorial Stadium. Corporate sponsors helped raise the $3,700 price of the tunnel.

"We didn't start the group to make money, but if we do, we put it back into the team," said Miller. Donations are used to rent a storage shed for the tunnel, purchase paper goods and extra food for the meals and feed the cheerleaders and pom squad before the games.

It's believed that American tailgating began in the 19th century, when fans who traveled long distances to football games took to cooking near their carriages out of necessity. Its popularity took a leap in the late 1970s when college alumni hosted parking-lot parties as a way to socialize with old friends.

National Football League fans embraced the concept, as did major companies like Coca-Cola, Masterfoods USA (M&M's, Snickers), Sara Lee and Jack Daniels, which reach millions of Americans with tailgating-themed advertising and promotions.

At last weekend's game against the Lanphier Lions, about 250 SHG tailgaters dined on a menu of mostaccioli, sloppy joes, sausage and sauerkraut, meatball sandwiches, chili, baked beans, potato chips, cookies, cupcakes and soft drinks.

On other days, entrees have included fried chicken, red beans and rice, shredded pork, barbecued beef, ham and beans, jambalaya, deep-fried turkeys and linguine with clams.

"Each entree feeds 40 to 50 people," said Nevins, a manager at parking lot management company System Parking Inc. "People often bring food that we didn't anticipate. We don't refuse anything."

Prior to the start of the football season, the tailgaters meet to plan their activities. A sign-up sheet is posted; volunteers fill in game dates with the foods they plan to provide.

"Some people bring food; some throw a few coins in the can," said Nevins. "Everyone is welcome to come and pick up a plate. There is no real membership and no dues."

Most of the tailgaters prepare the food at home, but some fire up in the parking lot.


Joe Maggio and Henry Manci are among a group of alumni


 who occasionally haul a Weber grill and roasters to the stadium to cook up some on-site Italian sausage.

"Not just any sausage will do," said Maggio, who buys it at a meat shop in the Chicago area. "It's the best there is. I took vacation time to go up there and get it."

The buddies arrive about four hours before the game to cook the sausage with green peppers, onions and red sauce.

High school tailgating is becoming more popular, said P.J. O'Neil, vice president of sales and marketing for Chicago-based American Tailgater Co. (www.americantailgater.com), a firm that sells tailgating supplies and equipment.

"Usually you see it in areas where teams travel hundreds of miles for Friday-night games, places like Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma." He added that tailgating has branched out beyond football. Some baseball stadiums - including U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox - allow it, as do facilities that host events such as NASCAR races and figure skating and Little League finals.

O'Neil estimates that more than 20 million Americans tailgate at least once a year. A survey sponsored by Ragu found that more than half prefer the party to the actual game.

"It's getting a little more notoriety because a lot of companies are beginning to recognize tailgating as a marketing tool. Companies want products associated with an activity that is fun. You never hear about people going to a bad tailgating party," said O'Neil about the increasing number of businesses that sponsor pre-game bashes.

His company sells football-shaped grills, one-minute beverage coolers, beer-can chicken racks, Buffalo wing pots, team-logo steak branding irons, turkey fryers, college team flags, portable toilets, two-way radios, pickup truck dog ramps, NFL logo flasks and helmet-shaped snack bowls.

The $6,000 "ultimate tailgating system" includes a 50,000 BTU Ducane gas grill, refrigerator, freezer, stainless steel sink, city hose connection and hand pump, locking drawers, food prep area, patio umbrella, electric lift system and power inverter to accommodate a slow cooker, blender and TV.

You can save $200 if you choose the model with only one, instead of two, beer taps.

"There's a very large competition between tailgaters," said O'Neil. "We see people who have been tailgating next to each other for 20 years and everyone wants to one-up each other. If one guy has a blender, the next guy has a gas-powered blender."

The Sacred Heart-Griffin tailgate parties are more about connecting with friends and alumni.

"There's something about SHG football that brings people together. It's a long tradition," said Michele Nevins, who helps her husband, Gary, with the Tailgaters Association.

The couple's son A.J., now at Lincoln Land Community College, played for the Cyclones; their son, Tony, is on the roster now. Daughter Cristina, an eighth-grader at Little Flower School who will be an SHG freshman next year, helps her parents set up the tables, tent and school flag before each game. After the meal, she hauls the black-and-gold flag into the stadium so the team can carry it onto the field.

Michele Nevins, a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy with brothers who played football for Griffin High School, didn't attend her alma mater's games after graduation until 1995.

"It was like old home week. It was so much fun seeing everyone again." She couldn't get her husband, a graduate of Springfield High School, to attend the games until A.J. started playing.

"He didn't convert till the last possible moment," said Michele, who works for the Illinois Department of Public Aid.

Tailgating regulars include parents of students and graduates, alumni and people who simply enjoy SHG football.

"Everyone likes a winner, and at Sacred Heart-Griffin, they expect to win," said tailgater Terry Montalbano, a Southeast grad whose daughter went to SHG. "Most games we go to on the road, we have a bigger crowd than the home team."

Said Manci : "When we went to school at Griffin, it was all guys and we've kept up those friendships for 30 and 40 years. Tailgating has given me a chance to meet people who were there before me and after me."

Karen Sronce is new to SHG tailgating. Her son John, a Cyclones player, transferred to the school this year from Springfield High.

"There was a dinner for varsity moms and there was a (tailgate party) sign-up sheet. I'm sitting there in total awe by the number of mothers there. The amount of parental involvement at this school is amazing. I was an outsider, but they were so welcoming."

Like other parents of players, she wears a big button with a color photo of her son in uniform to the tailgating party and game.

"About 10 percent of the SHG people who go to the games are in the parking lot with us," said Gary Nevins. "It's turned into quite an extravaganza."

Caption: Jim Van Leer, right, and other Sacred Heart-Griffin football fans enjoy the offerings while tailgating before the game against Lanphier. The menu included mostaccioli, sloppy joes, sausages and sauerkraut, meatball sandwiches, chili, baked beans, potato chips, cookies, cupcakes and soft drinks (top of page).







Here's who wants to be on a board

State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sanitary District

Andy Alvey, Warren Atherton, Bobbie Baker, Richard Berning, Harish Bhatt, Matthew Bilinsky, Palmer Blevins, Kenneth Bollin, Richard Borus, Philip Chiles, R. Dean Collins, Louise Constant, Eric Dailey, Stephen Davis (Rochester), Scott DeStasio, Joseph Dorman, Paul Duiker, Danny Faulkner, Joe Feagans, James Flemming*, Stephanie Fuller (Rochester), Stan Givens (Sherman), John Greene, Scott Hanauer, Eric Hansen, Jim Harrington, Darryl Harris*, Richard Herndon, Jerald Jacobs, Tim Kell (Rochester), Jeremy Kirk, Kyle Kirts (Chatham), John Kolaz, R. Dale Laningham (Rochester), Dan Long, Bradley Loscher, Lee Malany, Brian Manci , Liam McDonnell, Mario Moore, Robert Moore, Jan Nelle, Kenneth Page, John Pasko, Michael Plog, Casey Pratt, Douglas Purnell, Kitty Ramirez, James Reinhart, Bruce Rimbey, Bill Schulenburg, Thomas Shafer, Irv Smith, Kenneth Springs, Bruce Strom, Richard Turner, Louis Van Hoos, Chris Walcher, Daniel Wavering, Robert Wire, William Womack (Sherman), Elvin Wooden






State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, December 31, 2006


Heather Jeanne Henning and

Roger Eugene DeHart, both of St. Louis, were married at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 3, 2006, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Sherman by the Rev. James Stuenkel.

The bride is the daughter of Lawrence and Holly Buhr of Athens and the late Robert Henning. The groom is the son of Roger and Linda DeHart of Chatham.

Serving as maid of honor was Heidi Henning. Bridesmaids were Heather Milstead, Kristy Brown and Sarah Hohm. Flower girl was Kari Kiefer.

Best man was Brian Manci .

Groomsmen were Robert DeHart, Garrick Williams and Robert Briney. Usher was Jason Traughber.

A reception was held at the Crown Plaza.

The bride is a 1996 graduate of Athens High School and received her Bachelor of Science in 2000 and Master of Science in 2002 from Illinois State University. She is employed with O'Connor and Partners Inc. The groom is a 1998 graduate of Chatham Glenwood High School and received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2003.


He is employed with Harrah's St. Louis Hotel and Casino.

The couple resides in St. Louis.



State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, December 17, 2006


Angela Dawn Pearce of Pawnee and

Brian Carl McMillen of Pana were married at 2 p.m. July 22, 2006, at St. Aloysius Church by the Rev. Donald Meehling.

The bride is the daughter of Danny and Jackie Pearce of Pawnee. The groom is the son _of Terry and Jane McMillen of Pana.

Serving as maid of honor was Danielle Pearce. Bridesmaids were Hayle Wendling, Melanie Dyson, Scarlett Dunham, Tammi McCurry, Julianne McMillen, Kelly McMillen and Jenny McMillen. Flower girls were Lauryn and Kaylan Schinzler.

Best men were Kevin Mullins and Adam McMillen. Groomsmen were Andy McMillen, Jeremy McMillen, Eric McMillen, Fred Ausmus, Brian Crolly and Ryan Pearce. Ring bearers were Wade and Nick McMillen. Ushers were Aaron Beyers, Austin Vits, Zack Pearce, Dillon Pearce, Jared McMillen and

Dalton Manci .

A reception was held at Oak Terrace Golf Course.

The bride is employed in the Emergency Room at Memorial Medical Center and with the
183rd Fighter Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard. The groom is employed with the


Illinois State Police and with the


183rd Fighter Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard.

The couple resides in Springfield.





State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, November 10, 2002

Manci -Truax

Lindsay Anne Truax and Brian Anthony Manci , both of Gurnee, were married Sept. 1, 2002, at Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church by the Rev. Jean Hembrough and the Rev. Jim Ozier.

The bride is the daughter of Linda Truax of Springfield and the late Paul L. Truax.


The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Manci of Williamsville.

Serving as matron of honor was Betsy Briney. Bridesmaids were Mindy Manci , Sara Manci , Christina Manci , Jodi York and Stacy Shipman. Flower girl was Lauren Briney.

Best man was Rob Briney. Groomsmen were Roger DeHart, Paul Truax,

Ken Teubner, Mike Hopkins and Allen Shipman. Ring bearer was Gage Briney. Ushers were Kevin Boughter, Mike Greenfield and Donald Tournear.

A reception was held at the Springfield Renaissance Hotel.

The bride and groom both are graduates of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and both are employed by Abbott Laboratory in North Chicago.

The couple will live in Gurnee.




*Terry petty – shriner potentate is at bisch


State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, June 6, 1999

Edition: M1,M2
Section: NEWS
Page: 4

The Springfield city block bordered by Jefferson, Washington, Sixth and Seventh streets is a likely candidate for a Lincoln presidential library

site. The north half of the block is a set of city-owned parking lots, while the southern portion contains some buildings with rich histories. What follows is a list of the private properties on that block, the businesses they house, and their owners. o 114 N. Sixth St.: Coney Island Restaurant. Built around 1880, the building first housed the Miller Restaurant before becoming one of two Coney Island locations in Springfield. Owner: Marine Bank. o 112 N. Sixth St.: Club JT's.


Philip Bisch started a funeral home at this location in the mid-1800s, and his son opened the family-owned funeral home there in 1896. Owner: Albert Manci . o 110-108 N. Sixth St.:


Parking lot. These lots once housed the Monarch nightclub among other businesses, but were demolished to make way for added parking. Owner: Louis Kerasotes estate. o 104 N. Sixth St.: Kerasotes Building. Built in 1926 to house the company with a foundation designed to support an eight-story building rather than the three stories. The Kerasotes Theater group keeps its offices on the upper floors. Owner: Louis Kerasotes estate. o 617 E. Washington St.: The Brewhaus. The building dates to at least 1884, and housed the Burkin & Fagan Saloon in 1890. Owner: Dennis Polk. o 623 E. Washington St.: Springfield Children's Museum. Originally the Hub Clothing store, remodeled in 1950 from a structure built in 1880. Owner: Charles Robbins. o 629 E. Washington St.: Vacant. Built in 1885 as the Gaffigan Building and once home of the Central Illinois Tourism Council. Owner: Charles Robbins. o 631 E. Washington St.: Vacant. Built in 1880, the earliest known use was as a saloon run by Thomas O'Brien. Owner: Charles Robbins. o 109 N. Seventh St.: Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. Built in 1907 as the Grand Hotel, the structure was once a candidate for the National Register of Historic Places, but the remodeling of its windows disqualified it from the list. Owner: Charles Robbins.




State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - Sunday, February 26, 1989

Author/Byline: Mike Matulis
Edition: M1,M2,S1
Section: LOCAL
Page: 5

A fire about 1 p.m. Saturday did extensive damage to the Port Hole Lounge, 1537 E. Moffat Ave., leaving four people who lived above the east side

tavern homeless and injuring one firefighter.

The fire spread quickly and the upper floor and attic of the two-story building were engulfed when the first firetrucks arrived. Firefighters responding to the blaze reported they could see smoke from several blocks away.

Firefighter Jim Serra was admitted to St. John's Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. Battalion Chief Matt Helms said Serra would be held for 24 hours for observation.

Two residents of the second-floor apartments were home when the fire broke out; three were in the Port Hole Lounge below. All five escaped without assistance.

"I ran out right away when I saw the smoke," said Dorothy Kelley, a resident of the building. Kelley alerted the bartender about the fire and he called the fire department.

Kelley said she believes the fire started in the second-story apartment in front of hers on the west side of the building. Helms said a cause has not been determined, but he confirmed that the blaze started on the building's second floor.

Helms placed the total damage at $47,000. He said the attic and second floor of the building were destroyed, and lounge itself received extensive smoke and water damage.

Angelo Manci , 2221 Trowbridge Road, was listed as the building's owner on fire reports.

Firefighters battling the blaze from inside were forced by intense flames to retreat after about an hour.

Helms said plywood nailed over plaster between the second floor and the attic made it difficult to break through the ceiling and fight the attic fire from inside the building.

The fire was brought under control in about two hours. A total of 23 firefighters and eight vehicles battled the blaze.

The Sangamon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross was lining up temporary quarters, food and clothing for the victims.

Scott Clarke, the local Red Cross chairman for disaster services, said the recent rash of fires in Springfield and Sangamon County has taken its toll on his agency's budget.

The local chapter already has exceeded the $8,000 it budgeted for financial aid to disaster victims for fiscal 1989. Clarke said his agency expended 75 percent of that budget in the past 90 days due to fires.

"We could definitely use any cash contributions to the Red Cross disaster relief fund," said Clarke.

Caption: Springfield firefighters battle a blaze at the Port Hole Lounge Saturday.





























And see lanzotti:


Dennis Delaney

show details Nov 6 (6 days ago) Reply


borski=petersburg pd, LHS coach/schmidt/dist 186, cover-up, see coaches ie. wharton

note: timeline, unexpected resignation, shg baseball w/ minder dvm

borski=shg baseball 1986 with rich minder, also football



Diana Lynn Constantino and James Richard Minder, both of Chatham, were united in marriage at 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at Christ the King Church by the Rev. David Lantz.

The bride is the daughter of David Constantino of Nashville, Tenn., and Carol Shelton of Bethalto. The groom is the son of James and Sandra Minder of Springfield.

Serving as matron of honor was Deana McDonough. Bridesmaids were Michelle Lohr, Jennifer Fanter and Andrea Minder. Junior bridesmaid was Kayla McDonough.

Serving as best man was Jeff Torricelli. Groomsmen were Chris Steil, Vic Lanzotti and Myron McDonough. Ushers were Jason and Jeremy Minder. Ringbearer was Keith McDonough.

A reception was held at the Knights of Columbus.

The bride is a graduate of Alton High School and Sangamon State University. The groom is a graduate of Griffin High School and Greenville College. Both are employed at Franklin Life Insurance Company.

The couple will reside in Chatham.