Accardo, Anthony Joseph (1906-1992)

Born April 28, 1906.
Died Chicago, IL, May 27, 1992.

Tony Accardo, also known as "Joe Batters" and "Big Tuna," was Chicago Outfit boss for about a dozen years beginning near the end of World War II, when Frank Nitti apparently committed suicide and Paul Ricca was imprisoned.

Accardo became prominent in the mob during Al Capone's reign. He served for a time as Capone's bodyguard. His arrest record began in 1923 and included a number of criminal convictions. However, Accardo is known to have spent only one day inside a prison.

In 1931, Accardo was named as a suspect in the killing of Capone rival Joe Aiello. Upon Capone's imprisonment for tax evasion, Accardo remained close to new boss Frank Nitti and took the reins of the Outfit in 1943 or 1944. He helped guide the Chicago family into gambling ventures, entertainment industry rackets and trucking. 

Accardo's only day in prison occurred on Lincoln's Birthday in 1945. He was taken into custody for questioning in connection with a gambling case. Due to the holiday closing of the courts, Accardo remained in custody until the next day.

Accardo allowed Sam Giancana to take over day-to-day mob operations in 1956. Accardo remained influential in the crime family. Federal authorities succeeded in winning a tax evasion conviction against Accardo in November 1960. The Chicago boss was sentenced to three two-year terms, running consecutively, and a $15,000 fine. An appeals court found errors in the case and ordered a new trial, and Accardo was acquitted at retrial.

Accardo returned to a visible leadership role when Giancana fled the country in 1966. He was repeatedly called before government investigation panels. Accardo remained at the helm when Giancana returned to Chicago in 1974. Giancana was shot to death a year later.

Accardo retired in the 1980s, spending much of his time at Palm Springs, Calif. Federal investigators continued to link him to union racketeering. He died of congestive heart failure and acute respiratory failure at Chicago's  St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital on May 27, 1992.