Future of the mob in question

Friday, September 28, 2007

The verdicts in the trial of four Chicago mobsters are in. Three of them have been tied to several gangland murders. Is Operation Family Secrets the end of the Chicago outfit or just a new beginning?

After years of relative calm in the ranks of the Chicago outfit, the FBI is concerned that there could be a bloody power struggle for control of the mob.

With top bosses Joe Lombardo, Jimmy Marcello and Frank Calabrese looking at what amounts to death sentences following yesterday's murder convictions. Mob investigators say the deck is being shuffled.

"We will assess whether there is going to be a struggle and what that will mean in terms of increased violent activity possibly," said Robert Grant, FBI.

The outfit has no bill of rights or "orderly succession." Sometimes in the mob, your next position is face down in the trunk of a car. But for now, the power vacuum left by the convictions of these five men and six others who have pleaded guilty is being filled by a roster of experienced hoodlums.

Atop the heap, are these three gangland figures according to mob experts: John "No Nose" Difronzo and brothers Peter and Joe "The Builder" Andriacchi.

Although the Chicago crime commission's new outfit family tree isn't due out until next year, the I-Team has learned that this is how it currently shapes up:

Seventy-eight-year old No Nose John Difronzo is the boss; Difronzo's major domo is his brother Peter, whom mobwatchers say acts as an errand boy, delivering orders to outfit associates.

The current underboss: Joseph "The Builder" Andriacchi, a convicted burglar. Andriacchi is said to control the daily operation of four criminal crews:

  • his own Elmwood Park crew;
  • the lucrative 26th Street/Chinatown crew assigned to Frank "Toots" Caruso who has deep political and labor union ties;
  • south suburbs, overseen by outfit octogenarian al "The Pizza Man" Tornabene.
  • finally, Cicero, managed by John "Pudge" Matassa.

    "We have 28 made members of the Chicago Outfit roaming in the Chicagoland area. We have over 100 associates of the Chicago Outfit," Grant said.

    Regardless of how few Chicago mobsters are actually the blood-oath members glorified by Hollywood, that small leadership group has a history of penetrating deep into society.

    "One hundred years or so of building up connections among politicians, cops, judges and businessmen; every time of the old timers is convicted and locked up forever, he takes those connections with him. Organized crime is damaged," said Gary Shapiro, first assistant U.S. Attorney.

    The pursuit of Outfit rackets such as illegal gambling, loan sharking, prostitution and health care fraud would be further damaged if there was a second round of indictments and a sequel to Family Secrets is expected.

    Who would be charged?

    The names of many of the newly installed mob leaders came up several times during this summer's trial. So maybe they shouldn't bother putting their names on the doors at outfit headquarters.

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