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, chicagotribune.com.
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, chicagotribune.com.
"Deaths last week," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 2, 1998, Sec. 4, p. 8.