Monday, June 1, 2009

Chicago West Sider Tornabene dies at 86

Alfonso "Pizza Man" Tornabene, reportedly a high-ranking member of the Chicago Outfit, died May 17 at the age of 86, according to a story by Bon Goldsborough printed in today's Chicago Tribune. The story indicated that Tornabene died at MacNeal Hospital in Berywyn of complications related to peptic ulcer disease.

Authorities say Tornabene (right), once owner of Villa Nova Pizzeria, was a member of the Outfit for decades. A 1997 book by the Chicago Crime Commission identified him as a lieutenant within the leadership of the Outfit's West Side Crew, then reportedly run by Anthony Centracchio.

Court documents show that he and Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa presided over a 1983 induction ceremony for the criminal society. Among those inducted were Frank Calabrese Sr. and his brother Nick, both of whom figured prominently in the recent Family Secrets case. During the Family Secrets trial, a mob informant testified that Tornabene helped run the Outfit while boss James Marcello was in prison between 1992 and 2003.
In the summer of 2007, a news report by Chuck Goudie of WLS-TV in Chicago suggested that Tornabene might have risen to the position of consigliere in the crime family. The Chicago Sun-Times boosted him still further, speculating he might have taken over the position of boss.
Tornabene was the cousin of Sam "Wings" Carlisi, a former influential member of the Outfit. Authorities believe Tornabene's late brother Frank was also affiliated with the organization.

67-year-old Gambino deported

U.S. officials deported Rosario Gambino, 67, to Italy on May 23. Gambino, a cousin of former crime family boss Carlo Gambino, was linked to Pizza Connection heroin and cocaine smuggling rackets in the 1970s and 1980s.

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.