Calabrese, Frank (1937-2012)

b. Chicago, IL, March 17, 1937.
d. Butner, NC, Dec. 25, 2012.

An administrator, loan shark and hit man for the Chicago Outfit for many years, Frank J. "Frankie Breeze" Calabrese was put permanently behind bars following the "Family Secrets" case of 2007.

Calabrese was born on Chicago's West Side to James and Sophia Calabrese on March 17, 1937. His early childhood was spent on Chicago's West Erie Street.

Beginning his criminal career as a teenager, Calabrese was convicted and imprisoned for possession of stolen cars in 1954. Calabrese was back in the streets and running a lucrative loan sharking enterprise by the early 1960s. In that period, he became a protege of the Chicago Outfit's South Side boss Angelo "the Hook" LaPietra. His loan sharking operation continued into the 1990s, as Calabrese grew in importance within the Outfit.

On July 28, 1995, Calabrese and eight members of his underworld crew - including several relatives - were indicted for racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, mail fraud, witness tampering and impeding the IRS. Federal prosecutors said the group operated an extensive loan sharking racket in the Chicago area, using threats and violence in the course of business. Calabrese pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a long term in federal prison.

Calabrese's son, Frank Jr. also pleaded guilty and went to prison in the loan sharking case. During their time in prison, Frank Jr. began cooperating with federal authorities and helped assemble evidence that was used against Calabrese and other Outfit leaders in the Family Secrets trial of 2007. Frank Jr. wore a "wire" during some prison conversations with his father.

Calabrese was convicted of racketeering and racketeering murders in the 2007 trial. Witnesses against him included his son Frank Jr. and his brother Nick. Calabrese took the stand in his own defense, admitting to loan sharking but denying membership in the Outfit and participation in killings.

The jury found him guilty of involvement in seven killings. His victims were racketeer Michael Albergo (disappeared in 1970), trucking executive Michael P. Cagnoni (car bomb 1981), informant ex-mobster William E. Dauber and his wife Charlotte Dauber (shotgunned 1980), racketeer and former union business agent John Fecarotta (shot 1986), bar owner Richard Ortiz and his friend Arthur Morawski (shotgunned 1983). The jury could not reach a decision on six other killings Calabrese was accused of taking part in.

Two other Outfit leaders, James Marcello and Joseph Lombardo, along with codefendants Paul Schiro and Anthony Doyle also were convicted of racketeering conspiracy in the case. Marcello and Lombardo were convicted of racketeering murders.

Calabrese was sentenced January 30, 2009, to life in prison.

In early April, Calabrese and three others convicted in the "Family Secrets" case were ordered to pay more than $24 million in fines and restitution to the families of their victims. Part of Calabrese's debt was paid in March of the following year, when FBI agents executed a search warrant at the former Calabrese home in Oak Brook and discovered a secret compartment in the wall behind a framed collection of family photographs. Envelopes in the compartment were found to contain $728,000 in cash. The compartment also held one thousand pieces of jewelry (many still in store display boxes or with price tags still attached), seven firearms, twelve audio microcassettes and a collection of handwritten notes and ledgers.

Frank Calabrese, Sr. died December 25, 2012, at the Federal Medical Center of Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina. He was seventy-five.

Prison officials said he had been in poor health, with heart disease and other afflictions. Calabrese, himself, outlined an assortment of medical problems, including an enlarged heart, during his 2009 sentencing hearing.

There were reports that Calabrese had been seriously ill for more than a year. His attorney told the Chicago Tribune that Calabrese had been taking seventeen different medications for a variety of health problems.

The attorney, Joseph Lopez, recalled Calabrese as "quick-witted, smart and street-savvy." He said his client was "difficult at times because he was used to getting his way."

Lopez said Calabrese's Christmas Day death felt "odd" because that day was Calabrese's favorite holiday: "He always talked about how much he loved spending Christmas with his family."

  • Coen, Jeff, Liam Ford and Michael Higgins, "10 murders laid at feet of 3 in mob," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 28, 2007.
  • Donato, Marla, "Cicero revisits '83 double slaying," Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2000.
  • Koziol, Ronald, and John O'Brien, "A deadly trick for mob figure," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 16, 1986, p. 19.
  • O'Brien, John, and Lynn Emmerman, "Mob violence: Bullets riddle hit man, wife," Chicago Tribune, July 3, 1980, p. 1.
  • Unger, Rudolph, and Philip Wattley, "Radio-control bomb kills suburbanite," Chicago Tribune, June 25, 1981, p. 1.
  • United States Census of 1940, Illinois, Cook County, Chicago, Ward 28, Enumeration District 103-1767.
  • Weber, Bruce, "Frank Calabrese, 75, hit man for the mob in Chicago," New York Times, Dec. 27, 2012, p. 22.
  • "A look at 18 murders detailed in mob case," Rock Island Dispatch-Argus, Sept. 11, 2007.
  • "Chicago Crime Commission calls FBI raid on Calabrese home major blow to organized crime,", March 28, 2010.
  • "Frank Calabrese, notorious Chicago mob hit man, dies in prison, authorities, say," CBS News, Dec. 27, 2012.
  • "Members of 'street crew' indicted Norther District of Illinois," United States Attorneys' Bulletin, September 1995, p. 304.
  • "Mob hitman Frank Calabrese Sr. dies in prison," Chicago Tribune, Dec. 26, 2012.

Giannola, Salvatore (1887-1919)

Born Terrasini, Sicily, June 2, 1887.
Killed Detroit, MI, Oct. 2, 1919.

Sam Giannola succeeded as boss of a Detroit-area Mafia following the assassination of his brother Tony. Sam Giannola's brief reign included a continuation of his brother's gang wars followed by an apparent effort to establish peace. Sam was murdered nine months after Tony.

During Tony's reign, Sam appeared to be the organization's most active racketeer and top enforcer. Sam was arrested in 1911 for stealing a quantity of olive oil and wine from the D&C steamship line, misrepresenting himself at the D&C warehouse as the legitimate owner of the commodities. Law enforcement found the stolen oil and wine at a Ford City grocery run by Sam and Tony. The D&C line refused to prosecute.

During the 1910s, Sam ensured that the Giannolas had a monopoly on produce in the Wyandotte area by terrorizing competitors. When a fruit merchant named Cohen was stubborn about remaining in business, he found that his horse was badly burned by acid. Cohen filed charges against Sam Giannola but then suddenly disappeared.

Harry Paul and Morris Harris were shot to death in 1916 after opening a competing store. Sam Giannola first agreed to buy out their business and put $200 down on a sale price of $7,000 but then failed to make required payments. The sellers confronted Giannola, insisting he pay the remaining $6,800. Soon after, Paul and Harris were found dead. Sam was arrested but soon released due to a lack of evidence against him.

Around the time of brother Tony's death in January 1919, the Giannolas appeared to be preparing to move out of the Detroit area. One report suggested they intended to open a macaroni factory in Cincinnati. But Sam remained too long after burying his brother.

In February, he was nearly killed in a shooting that took the life of his brother-in-law Pasquale Danni. Sam apparently figured that rival John Vitale was behind that shooting. At the time of Danni's funeral, a drive-by shooting but numerous holes in the front of a Vitale grocery in Wyandotte. Vitale was subsequently jailed for opening on police officers investigating the incident, believing them to be Giannola gunmen.

When Vitale visitors - Vito Renda, Salvatore Evola and Vitale's teenage son Joseph - showed up at county jail on February 26, they were met by two Giannola men. Renda was shot more than 20 times. Before he died, he told authorities that his killer was Sam Giannola. Evola and Joseph Vitale were wounded but recovered.

In the early afternoon of October 2, Sam Giannola visited a bank at Russell Street and Monroe Avenue to cash a $200 check. As he exited the building, gunmen opened fire on him. Giannola managed to get back inside the bank but then fell dead with more than two dozen bullet wounds in his body.

See also:


  • Salvatore Giannola Death Certificate, State of Michigan Department of State Division of Vital Statistics, reg. no. 9756, Oct. 2, 1919.
  • "Arrested often fined twice, is Sam's record," Detroit Free Press, Oct. 3, 1919, p. 3.
  • "Auto bandits kill two men," Lansing MI State Journal, Nov. 16, 1916, p. 1.
  • "Fruit dealer arrested," Detroit Free Press, Oct. 15, 1911, p. 16.
  • "Gunmen murder 'Tony' Giannola, fuedist leader," Detroit Free Press, Jan. 4, 1919, p. 1.
  • "Men in disguise of women shoot down Italians," Port Huron MI Times-Herald, Nov. 16, 1916, p. 1.
  • "Murdered men suspected as German spies," Detroit Free Press, Nov. 17, 1916, p. 1.
  • "Trial of 4 for Peter Bosco murder begun," Detroit Free Press, Dec. 30, 1919, p. B1.
  • "Sam Giannola, feudist, slain; shot 28 times," Detroit Free Press, Oct. 3, 1919, p. 1.
  • "Victim of feud gasps name of Sam Giannola," Detroit Free Press, Feb. 27, 1919, p. 1
  • "Vitale, Giannola foe, builds alibi in advance," Detroit Free Press, Oct. 3, 1919, p. 3.
  • "Wyandotte murder suspect released," Lansing MI State Journal, Nov. 23, 1916, p. 13.
  • Murray, Riley, "Sicilian gang guns blazed in city feud," Detroit Free Press, Aug. 27, 1950, p. E8.
  • Rice, Dennis, "Salvatore Giannola," Find A Grave,, memorial no. 7814145, Sept. 1, 2003, accessed Nov. 24, 1018.

Giannola, Antonino (1878-1919)

Born Terrasini, Sicily, Nov. 15, 1878.
Killed Detroit, MI, Jan. 3, 1919.

Tony Giannola was an early Mafia boss in the Detroit area. He and his younger brother Salvatore "Sam" built a produce monopoly in Wyandotte, extorted payments from successful Italian businessmen in Wyandotte and Detroit and engaged in a series of gang wars that eventually claimed both of their lives.

First noted in Ford City in the early 1900s, Tony Giannola established a successful produce business there. He was later connected with grocery and macaroni businesses. He also built up a Mafia organization that included many of the later leaders of Detroit's underworld.

Around 1910, Giannola pushed into Detroit's East Side business district, conducting Black Hand extortion rackets in that area. Local businessmen embraced rival underworld leader Vito Adamo as their protector and organized a vigilante White Hand Society. Giannola and Adamo fought each other for years. The Giannola brothers were arrested after a September 1913 exchange of gunfire with rivals that seriously wounded a passerby. They were charged with minor offenses and released.

The Giannola Gang lost some of its more powerful members when Tony Giannola and his business partner Peter Bosco parted ways. Giannola apparently believed that Bosco was cheating him. When Bosco was murdered in October 1918, Bosco lieutenant John Vitale and Bosco's entire underworld faction broke with the Giannolas.

Bosco followers were believed to be behind the Jan. 3, 1919, murder of Tony Giannola. That evening, Giannola was visiting the family of a just-murdered friend. As he approached the house, a gunman emerged from a dark alley and shot him in the head and body. Police found the dead Mafia boss outside of 189 Rivard Street.

See also:


  • Tony Giannola Death Certificate, State of Michigan Department of State Division of Vital Statistics, reg. no. 205, Jan. 3, 1919.
  • "Alleged assassins sued by innocent bystander," Detroit Free Press, May 14, 1915, p. 5.
  • "Gunmen murder 'Tony' Giannola, fuedist leader," Detroit Free Press, Jan. 4, 1919, p. 1.
  • "Murdered men suspected as German spies," Detroit Free Press, Nov. 17, 1916, p. 1.
  • "Trial of 4 for Peter Bosco murder begun," Detroit Free Press, Dec. 30, 1919, p. B1.
  • Rice, Dennis, "Antonio Giannola, Jr.," Find A Grave,, memorial no. 7814142, Sept. 1, 2003, accessed Nov. 24, 2018.
  • Murray, Riley, "Sicilian gang guns blazed in city feud," Detroit Free Press, Aug. 27, 1950, p. E8.

Adamo, Vito (1883-1913)

Born Sicily, Aug. 18, 1883.
Killed Detroit, MI, Nov. 24, 1913.

Vito Adamo was an early Mafia leader in the Detroit business district. He and his younger brother Salvatore were killed during a war with the Giannola Gang.

The Adamo birthplace is not entirely certain, though some sources indicate it was Salemi, an inland Sicilian municipality in the western Province of Trapani. (Appropriate age Adamos named Vito and Salvatore and originating in Salemi can be found in the immigration records from the early 1900s, but those Adamos were heading to Boston rather than Detroit.) The Adamo brothers likely led a small Mafia organization in Detroit in the early 1900s, when local Italian businessmen sought their protection from Black Hand extortionists.

Vito Adamo became the champion of a "White Hand Society" formed to eradicate the Black Handers of the Giannola Gang, who were encroaching on the business district from downriver bases in Ford City and Wyandotte.

Black Hander Carlo Caleca was shot and seriously wounded in August 1913. He lived long enough to accuse Vito Adamo and Filippo Buccellato of being his assailants. He succumbed to sepsis on August 8. Adamo and Buccellato were tried for murder. They were acquitted in October 1913 after Caleca's wife and a boarder at their home testified that Caleca told them he did not recognize the men who shot him.

Early in November, Vito and Salvatore were arrested following the shooting of former city police detective Ferdinand Palma. Palma had been forced out of the police department in 1905 after being connected with a human trafficking ring. He became a banker and padrone (labor agent). The Adamos were released after convincing authorities that they had a friendly relationship with Palma. Some considered the shooting of Palma to be an attempt by the Giannola brothers to remove a helpful Adamo ally.

At about five o'clock in the afternoon of November 24, the Adamos finished up work as traveling peddlers of wine and liquor and left the business establishment of their partner Pietro Mirabile at Mullett (close to current Nicolet Place) and Rivard Streets. They walked along Mullett toward their home on Champlain Street (now East Lafayette).

A short distance up the street, two men drew sawed-off shotguns from their coats and fired into the brothers. The gunmen fled. When police arrived, the found the Adamos in the gutter in front of 170 Mullett Street. Vito Adamo died on the way to St. Mary's Hospital. Salvatore died at the hospital a half hour later. Both were buried November 27 at Mount Olivet Cemetery.

See also:


  • Carlo Calego Death Certificate, State of Michigan Department of State Division of Vital Statistics, no. 6327, Aug. 8, 1913.
  • Michigan Death Records, Nov. 24, 1913,
  • Salvatore Adamo Death Certificate, State of Michigan Department of State Division of Vital Statistics, no. 9030, Nov. 24, 1913.
  • Vito Adamo Death Certificate, State of Michigan Department of State Division of Vital Statistics, no. 9029, Nov. 24, 1913.
  • "Dying statement may convict two," Detroit Free Press, Oct. 10, 1913, p. 8.
  • "Ten killed, six wounded; Black Hand record in Detroit in eleven months," Detroit Free Press, Nov. 25, 1913, p. 1.
  • "Two exonerated in murder case," Detroit Free Press, Oct. 14, 1913, p. 5.
  • "Two Italians, brothers, are fiend victims," Port Huron MI Times-Herald, Nov. 25, 1913, p. 6.
  • "Two more marked for death in blood-feud of Detroit Sicilians," Detroit Free Press, Nov. 26, 1913, p. 1.
  • "Two more slain in Detroit streets in bitter Italian feud," Lansing MI State Journal, Nov. 25, 1913, p. 14.
  • "Two Sicilians slain in Italian colony of Detroit; feud result," Detroit Free Press, Nov. 25, 1913, p. 1.
  • "Widow's oath is blamed for bomb deaths," Detroit Free Press, April 13, 1914, p. 1.
  • Rice, Dennis, "Vito Adamo," Find A Grave,, Memorial no. 7319067, March 31, 2003, accessed Nov. 19, 2018.

Altamura, Thomas (1913-1967)

Born New York, Nov. 3, 1913.
Killed North Bay Village, FL, Oct. 31, 1967

Altamura, sometimes called "the Enforcer," was a lifelong criminal who became supervisor of Gambino Crime Family loan sharking in the south Florida area. He was murdered as a result of a turf war with Anthony "Big Tony" Esperti, linked with the Bonanno Crime Family.[1]

Altamura was a native of New York City, the second of nine children born to immigrant parents. His father, Vincent, from Taranto in the southern Italian mainland, worked as a tailor. His mother, Rose, was from Sicily. He grew up in the borough of Queens. His formal education ended shortly after he reached high school. He worked for a time at his father's tailor shop and briefly held truck driving and sales jobs as he moved full time into a career on the wrong side of the law.[2]

His criminal record in New York dated back to 1931. As a minor, he was acquitted following an automobile theft arrest and sentenced to probation unlawful entry after the burglary of a Bronx speakeasy. He later served three long terms in Sing Sing Prison.[3]

He was sentenced in Queens County in April 1932 to serve three to six years on a robbery conviction. (Then eighteen, Altamura of Corona, Queens, also known as Thomas Melba, and accomplice Peter Nastasi, nineteen, of the Bronx, were initially charged with first degree robbery, petit larceny and second degree assault after holding up the owner of a Roulston Grocery store in Corona. They pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery.) Soon after his release from that term, he was convicted of a robbery in the Bronx and sentenced to ten to twenty years.[4]

While on parole in the summer of 1944, he was charged with attempted robbery of a tavern in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York.[5] He and two other men entered the tavern on 37th Avenue after hours. During the attempted robbery, the men became frightened and fled. Altamura reportedly dropped his wallet on the way out of the tavern.[6]

In the 1960s, Altamura was involved in Gambino Crime Family loan sharking rackets in south Florida. In this period, authorities noted his ownership of Sonny's Restaurant in Miami Beach and his close working relationship with Tampa-area Mafia boss Santo Trafficante.[7]

At two o'clock in the morning on October 31, 1967, fifty-three-year-old Altamura entered the Harbor Lounge, attached to the Place for Steak restaurant, on the 79th Street Causeway in North Bay Village, Florida. He was immediately struck by bullets. Two .38-caliber slugs hit him in the back of the head and three others penetrated his back and his side as he turned. There were about a half dozen witnesses to the shooting in the well-lit establishment. As Altamura fell to the floor dead, his killer and a woman companion left the lounge. The woman, Audrey Fowler, girlfriend of underworld-connected former boxer Anthony "Big Tony" Esperti, left her purse behind at the bar.[8]

Police found $800 in cash and a $10,000 cashier's check in Altamura's possession. Hours later, thirty-seven-year-old Esperti surrendered to police after hearing that he was wanted for first-degree murder. He claimed to know nothing of the Altamura killing. Esperti, originally from Brownsville, Brooklyn, was at the time free on bond awaiting his appeal of an extortion conviction.[9]

Esperti was indicted in mid-January, 1968, for the Altamura murder.[10] His first trial, in Miami, resulted in a March 1968 hung jury.[11] He once again came to trial in autumn 1971, this time at Bartow, Florida. Esperti was already serving his extortion sentence in Atlanta Federal Prison.

Witnesses stated that they saw Esperti shoot Altamura.[12] A prison cellmate of Esperti, Joseph Delino, testified that Esperti told him about killing Altamura. According to Delino, the two gangsters had quarreled about rackets territories and Altamura warned Esperti to stay away from the 79th Street Causeway, a busy thoroughfare connecting the city of Miami with North Bay Village. (Informant William Dara told the FBI that other Mafiosi attempted to mediate the quarrel between Altamura and Esperti. During this time, Altamura threatened to kill Esperti if he ever saw him at the 79th Street Causeway.) Esperti responded to the warning by murdering Altamura.[13] That second trial resulted in Esperti's conviction.[14]

Discussed in:

  1.  Doerner, Fred W. Jr., "La Cosa Nostra Miami Division," FBI report, file no. 92-6054-2110, NARA no. 124-10293-10346, Sept. 11, 1967, p. 21.
  2.  Sing Sing Prison Admission Register, Inmate no. 85935, received April 18, 1932; Sing Sing Prison Admission Register, Inmate no. 92799, received Dec. 11, 1936; New York State Census of 1925, Queens County, Assembly District 3, Election District 33.
  3.  "2 youths given Sing Sing terms on robbery pleas," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 16, 1932, p. 4; "Mobster slain in Miami; suspect surrenders," New York Daily News, Nov. 1, 1967, p. 3.
  4.  Sing Sing Prison Admission Registers; "2 youths given Sing Sing terms on robbery pleas"; "Dropped wallet nets parolee as thief foiled in tavern raid," Brooklyn Eagle, June 19, 1944, p. 11.
  5.  "Tavern stickup suspect is held," New York Daily News, July 2, 1944, p. B3.
  6.  "Dropped wallet nets parolee as thief foiled in tavern raid."
  7.  "High exposes Miami hoods," Miami News, Aug. 7, 1963, p. 1; "Tampa detective describes how Trafficante tied in," Tampa Tribune, Oct. 16, 1963, p. 13.
  8.  Florida Death Index, Dade County, October 1967; U.S. Social Security Death Index, 081-20-1222, October 1967; "Mobster slain in Miami; suspect surrenders"; Roderus, Frank, "Retrial elements bizarre," Tampa Tribune, Sept. 6, 1971, p. B1.
  9.  "Mobster slain in Miami; suspect surrenders."
  10.  "Esperti indicted in killing," Miami News, Jan. 17, 1968, p. 3.
  11.  Sosin, Milt, "Esperti asks murder charge be dismissed," Miami News, Oct. 30, 1970, p. 5.
  12.  "Two testify they saw Altamura gunned down," Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 14, 1971, p. B1.
  13.  "Second Esperti trial will go to jury today," Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 15, 1971, p. B1; SAC Miami, "La Cosa Nostra AR-Conspiracy," FBI Airtel, file no. 92-6054-2178, NARA no. 124-10289-10186, Nov. 14, 1967, p. 2.
  14.  "Esperti attorney seek new trial," Orlando Sentinel, Nov. 9, 1971, p. 6.

Dara, William (1905-1982)

Born Sicily, July, 1905
Died Kenner, LA, July, 9, 1982.

A longtime member of the Bonanno Crime Family, William Dara is believed to have become an informant for the FBI later in his life.

William was born in Sicily in 1905 and arrived in the United States with his mother and two younger brothers about 1910. His father Nicholas traveled to the U.S. several years earlier. The family settled on Pitkin Avenue, near Vermont Street, in the East New York section of Brooklyn, where Nicholas worked as a barber. The Daras changed addresses through the years - to New Jersey Avenue and then to Crescent Street - but always remained within the East New York neighborhood. As a young adult, William began working as a tile setter. He was known from then on as "Willie the Tile Maker."

William and several of his siblings got into trouble with the law. Crime became a second career for William. His arrest record dates back at least to 1931, when he, his brother Michael and teenager John Cimino were arrested for stealing a slot machine from a candy store on Saratoga Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. (The store owner did not appear for arraignment, and the three were discharged.) William Dara and Anthony Rizzo were captured in December 1934 as they attempted to rob a tire store on Brooklyn's Lafayette Avenue near Ashland Place. Dara appears to have been well known to police by 1940, when he and some Brooklyn associates were arrested for vagrancy.

He became an inducted member of the Bonanno Crime Family about 1950, serving for a time under his cousin, capodecina Mike Sabella. Dara later relocated to the Miami, Florida, area, where he ran a night club and conducted gambling rackets that were coordinated with Michael Coppola's Genovese Crime Family crew in South Florida.

In the 1960s, Dara appears to have provided information to the FBI on Tampa-based Mafia boss Santo Trafficante, Jr., other members of the Trafficante organization, and members of New York-based and Chicago-based mobs with operations in South Florida. Some of the FBI's information on the "Banana War" struggle within the Bonanno Family seems to have come from Dara.

Dara died in a plane crash at Kenner, Louisiana, a few days before his seventy-seventh birthday. He and his wife were taking a commercial Pan American flight to Las Vegas. All 145 people on the Boeing 727 and eight people on the ground were killed.

Read more:

Other sources:
  • New York State Census of 1925, Kings County, Assembly District 22, Ward 15, Election District 29, no. 2125 Pitkin Avenue.
  • United States Census of 1920, New York State, Kings County, Enumeration District 1416, no. 2125 Pitkin Avenue.
  • United States Census of 1930, NeW York State, Kings County, Enumeration District 24-492, no. 321 New Jersey Avenue. 
  • United States Census of 1940, New York State, Kings County, Enumeration District 24-2677, no. 584 Crescent Street.
  • "3 hold-up suspects freed when victim dodges court," New York Daily News, Oct. 14, 1931, Brooklyn section, p. 14.
  • "Thugs escape with $1,300 in bold robbery," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Dec. 17, 1934, p. 2.
  • "Three men were arrested...," New York Times, April 14, 1940, p. 24.
  • "149 killed in Orleans crash," Shreveport LA Times, July 10, 1982, p. 1.

Alex, Gus (1916-1998)

Born Chicago, IL, April 1, 1916.
Died Lexington, KY, July 24, 1998.

Gus Alex, the son of Greek immigrants, became a key figure in the Italian-dominated Chicago Outfit. He was a longtime gambling rackets boss for the Outfit and became a part of a 1970s Outfit leadership panel that included Anthony Accardo and Joseph Aiuppa.

In his youth, Alex became familiar with Chicago crime figures. His father's restaurant at 26th Street and Wentworth Avenue was reportedly popular with bosses Al Capone and Frank Nitti. Early in Alex's underworld career, he is believed to have served as an Outfit hit man. He became a trusted aide to Accardo during the 1940s.

He was once arrested in connection with the murder of a gambler shotgunned to death in 1947. Though the victim's deathbed statement indicated Alex was his killer, Alex was no convicted of the murder.

Alex worked closely with underworld financial wizard Jake Guzik and political "fixer" Murray Humphries. In the 1950s, he rose to command rackets within Chicago's Loop. He became the Outfit's top "fixer" after Humphreys' death in 1965, commanding the "connection guys," who established and maintained underworld connections to legislators and judges.

He reluctantly joined the mob's leadership group for several years in the 1970s, before retreating back to less visible roles.

He was charged in December 1991 with sanctioning violent extortion schemes against legitimate business enterprises. With the assistance of turncoat racketeer Lenny Patrick, an Alex underling and supervisor of a North Side street crew, federal prosecutors won a conviction against Alex in October 1992. He was sentenced in February 1993 to fifteen years and eight months in prison and $823,000 in fines and restitution.

Alex died July 24, 1998, while held in federal prison medical center at Lexington, Kentucky.

O'Connor, Matt, "Old 'pals' face off in mob case," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 8, 1992,
O'Connor, Matt, "Gus Alex faces prison, big fines for extortion," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 20, 1993, p. 5.
O'Connor, Matt, "Patrick back in hot water," Chicago Tribune, April 15, 1993, Sec. 2, p. 4.
O'Brien, John, "Gus Alex, 82, syndicate boss for nearly 50 years," Chicago Tribune, July 30, 1998, Sec. 2, p. 9,
"Deaths last week," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 2, 1998, Sec. 4, p. 8.