Monday, June 18, 2007

Speculating on the Outfit's current boss

Law enforcement sources are unsure who currently commands the Chicago Outfit, but they point to two possibilities, according to a story by Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Al "Pizza Man" Tornabene, 84, could be running the organization, they say. Tornabene (above), former owner of a pizza restaurant, is believed to be a longtime bigshot in the Outfit. The FBI revealed that his name came up in recorded prison conversations between brothers James and Michael Marcello. The FBI has never arrested Tornabene.

John "No Nose" DiFronzo might be calling the shots, authorities say. In his late 70s, DiFronzo is believed to be a rival of the Marcellos, and, so, not particularly unhappy about the federal Family Secrets case.

Schweihs severed from 'Secrets' trial

Ferriola, Venezia reach plea deals on eve of trial
Frank "the German" Schweihs will not be with his Family Secrets case codefendants when trial begins in Chicago tomorrow, according to a story by Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times. Due to Schweihs' poor health - he reportedly has cancer - he was severed from the case and could eventually stand trial separately.

In Family Secrets, Schweihs (left) was charged with the 1974 killing of Daniel Seifert. Prosecutors also suspect him of involvement in the 1985 murder of Pasquale Ricciardi and other killings.

The Sun-Times also noted that Family Secrets defendants Nicholas Ferriola, 32, and Joseph Venezia, 64, reached plea deals removing them from the case today. They pleaded guilty to gambling-related charges. That leaves five defendants for trial starting tomorrow. Four other defendants have already entered guilty pleas.

Fourteen men were indicted in April 2005 in connection with the federal Family Secrets investigation. Last week, Michael Marcello and Thomas and Dennis Johnson pleaded guilty to paying hush money to a murder witness. In May, Nicholas W. Calabrese, 64, admitted involvement with 14 killings. He is expected to testify against the remaining defendants, including his brother Frank Calabrese Sr.

The remaining defendants are:
- Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, reputed former boss of the Outfit.
- James Marcello, who prosecutors say was the reigning Chicago boss at the time of his arrest.
- Frank Calabrese Sr., an alleged member of the Outfit's 26th Street crew.
- Paul "the Indian" Schiro, alleged loan shark.
- Anthony Doyle, former Chicago police officer.

Related MobNews posts:

Chicago mobster paid hush money

Michael Marcello, 56, pleaded guilty last week to paying a murder witness $4,000 a month to keep silent, according to an Associated Press story published in the International Herald Tribune.

Marcello and two other men admitted to racketeering and other charges in connection with the hush money payments. The other defendants were Thomas Johnson and Dennis Johnson. Marcello faces up to 35 years in prison. Thomas Johnson could be sentenced to 10 years. Dennis Johnson faces up to five years. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Former Chicago Mafioso Nicholas Calabrese (right) received the payments for not linking Michael Marcello's brother James to a series of unsolved underworld murders. James Marcello is one of eight defendants in the Family Secrets trial scheduled to start in Chicago tomorrow (June 19). Prosecutors say James has led the Melrose Park crew of the Chicago crime family.

Calabrese is to testify for the prosecution in that case.

Related MobNews posts:

Hit target DeCicco won't cooperate

from New York Post

Though he was targeted in a recent botched mob hit, Robert DeCicco isn't cooperating with authorities, according to a story by Alison Gendar and John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

DeCicco (right), an alleged Gambino Crime Family associate and the son of former John Gotti ally George DeCicco, was shot three times on June 5 outside his father's social club in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

A law enforcement source told the Daily News, "It's fair to say he's not being very cooperative."

According to the news story, the DeCicco family is no longer as important to the Gambino organization as it was during the "Teflon Don's" reign. George DeCicco has since been demoted from capo to soldier. Robert DeCicco has never been formally inducted into the crime family.

Related MobNews post:

Polish police bust arms ring

The Justice Ministry in Poland has announced the arrest of 23 suspected members of an international weapons smuggling ring, according to a story published on The alleged arms dealers were rounded up on June 2 in central and southern Poland. Weapons and explosives were seized in police raids.

About Me

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.