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Frank Balistrieri was college educated and attended law school for six months. He married Antonina (Nina) Alioto and soon his father-in-law and Milwaukee boss, John Alioto, was grooming Balistrieri as his successor. Balistieri had already established a sizable loan shark book, monopolistic control over illegal sports betting and large-scale influence over vending machines. He would launch the criminal organization based in Milwaukee to greater illegal heights.
In 1961, John Alioto retired and Balistrieri took control of the Milwaukee family after campaigning for the role in Chicago. Alioto, despite being his father-in-law, apparently opposed Balistrieri’s leadership because he was so young and because Balistrieri was having an affair with his wife’s cousin. Balistrieri eventually referred to himself as “the most powerful man in Milwaukee.” Balistrieri conducted his business at a table at Snug’s restaurant in Milwaukee’s Shorecrest Hotel, giving orders over a red telephone.
Jennie Alioto testified in January 1962 that on occasion she kept some records of the Hotel Roosevelt and The Pub at her home and worked thereon.
Frank Balistrieri was in Chicago on January 6, 1962 in a meeting with Felix Alderisio and Sam Giancana.
On January 9, 1962, an informant told the FBI that Sam Ferrara was still connected to Jim DeGeorge, a Chicago hoodlum with land holdings in Adams County (north of Madison). The source also believed that Ferrara might have political influence through (redacted).
From January 22-24, 1962, three Italian hoodlums from Cleveland were in Milwaukee and spent a considerable amount of time at Gallagher’s with Frank Balistrieri.
Rocco Fischetti, Chicago mobster, visited Frank Balistrieri on January 25, 1962 to discuss the Homestead gambling operation at Half Day or Antioch, Illinois. Balistrieri had previously held an interest in this operation, but handed it over to Fischetti a month prior when newspaper publicity started. The Chicago Tribune had named Balistrieri as connected to the game in December.
On Friday, January 26, 1962, several Milwaukee gamblers met at the Belmont Hotel and carpooled to Kenosha for the craps game there.
An informant told the FBI on February 12, 1962 that an East Side Italian (redacted) was handling the basketball pool formerly run by Sam Librizzi and Sam Cefalu, as they considered it too hot. This man was receiving his tickets from the printing firm in the Great Lakes Building in Chicago.
Special Agents observed the residence of Buster Balistrere (1634 North Jackson) on February 14, 1962. They saw Balistrere, Steve DeSalvo and Joseph Gurera enter DeSalvo’s 1961 Pontiac at 12:20pm and go to the Western Union office, where Balistrere sent a telegram. From there, they went to Gallagher’s and met Frank Balistrieri. At 3:05pm, all four men left Gallagher’s in DeSalvo’s car and went to the Para Corporation. This was the first time Gurera was observed in Milwaukee. He had a long history in Kansas City, where he was the nephew of mobster John Mangiaracina and a prime suspect in the murder of Kansas City boss Charles Binaggio. (Ironically, Gurera was one of Binaggio’s top hatchet men and his successor — Tony Gizzo — did not offer him the same level of respect.) Gurera was also related to the Balestrere family through marriage.
Milwaukee Police Department Special Squad detectives overheard Joseph Gurera, Frank Balistrieri and Buster Balestrere at the Holiday House on February 15, 1962. Gurera was talking about opening up an asphalt paving business in Milwaukee.
A bettor (redacted, possibly Herman Welter but not sure) placed $1500 worth of bets with Sam Cefalu on February 24, 1962, including a $300 bet on the Illinois-Ohio State basketball game. He lost all his bets, and now owed $2,040 (including prior losses). The bettor went into Sammy’s 808 Club on February 27 and met Sam Cefalu in person for the first time, saying he did not have all the money he owed but would pay up the following week. Cefalu said that if he did not pay within three days, “somebody’s gonna get hurt”. (Three days later, Cefalu called the man at the Northway Bar — 5566 North Port Washington Road, now a Taco Bell — and demanded the money, and the man said he needed one more day.)
Jasper Pellicane was interviewed at the Albion Grille (6548 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago) on February 27, 1962 by Special Agent Edward Nehls. He said he had purchased a federal gaming stamp from the IRS the past year for himself and Angelo Germinaro so they could book horses, but decided not to get one this year because there was too much heat from law enforcement. He pointed out a man in the restaurant who he said was a sheriff’s deputy. Pellicane said he never received any gambling information from a wire, but rather he tuned into the radio. He said he considered Rocco Potenza a personal acquaintance but was not engaged in any business with him. He further said he had not seen Germinaro since he closed down the horse room.
A dinner party was held at the home of Louis Fazio in late February or early March 1962. In attendance was Steve DeSalvo with a “good looking blonde woman” as his date. After dinner, the party continued at Fazio’s on Fifth.
A member of the Milwaukee Vice Squad called Sam Librizzi at his tavern and Sam Cefalu at home around 5:00pm on March 5, 1962 to warn them of a raid and advised them to clean up their gambling materials. A few things were missed and the Vice Squad found them and brought both men to the police station. While there, Sergeant (redacted) allegedly “bawled both of them out” for not having cleaned better. Apparently no charges were brought.
Also on March 5, 1962, August Palmisano continued to operate his end of the gambling at American Motors, taking in a $50 bet on Loyola and another $50 on Tulane, both of whom lost, bringing in $110 for Palmisano. The same bettor bet (and won) $25 on Holy Cross the next day, and lost $110 the day after that for placing $50 bets on Marquette and Western Kentucky. (When you won with Palmisano, you won what you bet. But if you lost, you owed an extra 10%)
A federal grand jury investigating gambling in Milwaukee commenced March 6.
District Attorney Hugh O’Connell called Special Agent in Charge Joseph L. Kissiah on March 7, 1962 and informed him that he had gambling items from raids that may be of interest to the Bureau. He further advised that a grand jury would be investigating gambling and that both Sam Librizzi and Sam Cefalu were subpoenaed.
Salvatore Cefalu and Sam Librizzi were subpoenaed and testified before the federal grand jury on March 8.
Joseph Gurera was interviewed by two Milwaukee police detectives on March 9, 1962 to determine why he was in Milwaukee. The meeting was arranged after the police called Frank Balistrieri and the setting was the Lakeview Restaurant, 823 East Wisconsin Avenue. Balistrieri told the police that Gurera should be treated like a gentleman and not have to come to the police station. Gurera was asked if he knew why the gamblers had stopped booking after his arrival and he claimed to know nothing about it. He told the officers he was looking to go into the asphalt business in Milwaukee so his children could attend school there.
The FBI was provided with the Librizzi and Cefalu betting books from the past week on March 10, 1962. A captain from the Vice Squad (redacted) was there when the books were handed over, and he said he was unable to decipher them.
On March 12 or 13, 1962, a co-worker of August Palmisano’s made a bet with him on the Seattle-Oregon State game. Palmisano told him that the “line” was 9 points, but after receiving the bet made a phone call to the 808 Club during a coffee break. Palmisano returned and said the “line” was now 8 points. Later, the co-worker called the 808 Club and asked about the line, and was told it was 9 points. The co-worker had suspected for a while that Palmisano was “shaving” points on various games to increase the house odds, but this confirmed it.
A bettor met with August Palmisano on March 18, 1962 at the coffee shop/bar in Milshore Bowling Alleys on West Capitol. Palmisano was collecting money for the bets that a man named Eisler lost. The man said he could not pay, and Palmisano suggested that the man’s mother had money. The man told Palmisano to leave his mother out of it. Palmisano then said, “You have friends in the police department. We have friends, too. I am not threatening you, but someone else could take care of you.” Palmisano then met up with Sam Librizzi at the other end of the bar, and they drove off in Librizzi’s Pontiac.
On March 20, 1962, August Palmisano pulled a co-worker aside and said, “Sammy wants you to pay off.” The co-worker owed $621 for gambling, a debt he could not afford to pay.
Special Agent Richard Thompson came to American Motors on the evening of March 21, 1962 to interview August Palmisano. Palmisano did not want to answer questions about how long he had been booking. He was then warned that the Bureau had received complaints of him threatening people who could not pay gambling debts, and since those people were now under federal subpoena, any further threat would be obstruction of justice. Thompson also talked to another employment and was given two college basketball schedules printed by the Angel-Kaplan Sports News Service.
Around 9:00pm, Thursday, March 22, 1962 the IRS arrested tavern operator Sam Cefalu, 49; bartender Sam Librizzi, 51; and American Motors employee August Palmisano, 33. Cefalu was picked up at his tavern (Sammy’s 808 Club) at 808 East Center Street, and Librizzi was picked up from his residence in the rear of the tavern. Palmisano was at work. The law required gamblers to register and pay a tax, which these three had not done and were charged with engaging in the business of accepting wagers without having paid tax. On the raid were four deputy marshals, six tax agents, US Attorney James Brennan, and Brennan’s assistant William Mulligan. The arrested men asked for attorney Dominic Frinzi, but he was out of town and attorney Norman Schatz appeared in his place. U.S. Commissioner John McBride set bail at $5,000 each. Schatz asked to have bail lowered, pointing out “the charge these men are facing doesn’t even carry a prison sentence, but merely calls for a fine.” Schatz was told by Brennan that “several of our citizens who gambled with them have been threatened.” Albert Steinlieb of the Bal-Fran Bonding Company paid their bail.
Steve DeSalvo, Buster Balistrere and Joe Gurera were allegedly in Hot Springs, Arkansas on March 24, 1962 through March 28 meeting with other hoodlums from throughout the country. This was to get the okay from higher-ups to organize and shake down the independent gamblers in Milwaukee. The okay was granted.
On Saturday, March 24, 1962, US Marshal James H. Dillon criticized the use of armed IRS agents in the gambling raid two days prior. He ordered that in the future, only trained men should have firearms when accompanying his four permanent deputies. He also asked that there be no more appointments of temporary deputy marshals; the tax agents in the raid were deputized by Robert Flaig, Dillon’s assistant, on the orders of James Brennan (who was not armed). Dillon had been out of town, attending a federal marshals conference in Chillicothe, Ohio. He said, “There was no need to deputize anyone. We can conduct those raids ourselves. We don’t need to use anyone who isn’t completely familiar with firearms. We have a lot of people who like to play cops and robbers, you know.” Paul T. Rheaume, head of the intelligence division of the IRS, admitted his men had not been armed since November 1960, but assured the press that they were legally allowed to have guns and were required to take an annual test. “They have the privilege to go down to the range whenever they want to. I did myself two weeks ago,” said Rheaume. Brennan told the press that Dillon was worried because he was responsible for raids, but had nothing to fear from the IRS and their guns. “They had them snapped in their holsters so tight they could not have gotten them out in five minutes,” Brennan said.
On Wednesday, March 28, 1962, Judge Kenneth P. Grubb lowered the bail for Sam Cefalu, Sam Librizzi and August Palmisano from $5000 to $1000 on a motion from Attorney Dominic Frinzi. Frinzi argued that a man recently convicted under the anti-Communist Smith Act was released on $5000 bond pending appeal, which would therefore making the same bond for misdemeanor gambling the “excessive bail” barred by the Eighth Amendment. Frinzi further chastised the arrests, pointing out, “Eleven people arrested these three people on a misdemeanor. I would have willingly helped save taxes by producing these men. And 9 o’clock at night was no time to make such an arrest. If you wanted evidence, it would be better to make such an arrest between 11 and 12 when gambling activities are at their height.” (Horse books close at noon.) Grubb asked Frinzi, “Were these violent characters? Are you sure there wasn’t a Dillinger in the group?” Frinzi said he had grown up with the men and they had lived their entire lives in Milwaukee, not presenting a flight risk.
Various gamblers held a meeting at Maniaci’s tavern on North Avenue on March 29, 1962 to discuss what they would do about the new rule saying they had to pay 33% of their earnings to the syndicate. No decision was reached, but they feared if they refused that one of them — most likely Frank Sansone — would get killed.
On Friday, March 30, 1962, a federal grand jury (in session since March 6) indicted Cefalu, Librizzi and Palmisano for the same charge as earlier in the month: failure to pay a gambling tax. This was following Friday’s testimony of five witnesses: Sam Schmerling of Kenosha; Theodore Azzarrella, 57, 509 West Keefe Avenue; Allis-Chalmers timekeeper Eugene Bristow, 33, 2571 South Superior Street; Helen Kotecki, 1831 North Cambridge Avenue; and an unnamed FBI agent.
August Palmisano called a female friend of his (redacted) in the middle of the night on April 3, 1962 and said he wanted to talk to her about a clothes dryer she had wanted him to get at a discount. He then showed up at her house at 2:30am with three other men who had been drinking and asked her if she would have sex with these men. She declined and the men left. Palmisano said if she needed a job, he could set her up in Chicago as a prostitute. This made the woman angry and she threatened to call the police. Palmisano then left.
A phone line was installed at Unity Cleaners (1012 South 1st Street) on April 3, 1962. This business, which had recently been put in receivership, was now occupied by Joe Gurera and Buster Balestrere to collect pay-offs from Milwaukee bookies. The business was renamed Acino Cleaners.
The Milwaukee Special Squad observed Gallagher’s around midnight on April 5, 1962. Steve DeSalvo arrived with Buster Balestrere, Joseph Gurera and an attorney in the back seat of his car. They picked up Frank Balistrieri and from there went to 1833 North Prospect, the home of Julian G. Orlandini, where they stayed fifteen minutes before returning downtown. (Orlandini was a well-known plaster artist who operated Orlandini Studios. His nephew Eugene Orlandini operates the studio today.)
An informant told the FBI that he had been to John Rizzo’s craps game in Kenosha on April 10, 1962. He saw Rizzo watching the games, William Covelli handling the money, and at one point he thought there was $10,000 on the craps table. Twenty men were at the table. He did not recognize the man handling the dice, who was 50 years old, small and wore glasses.
The FBI interviewed a captain of the Vice Squad on April 19, 1962 concerning Thomas Machi. The captain said Thomas and his brother Tony were co-owners of the Riviera Bar and that Thomas worked nights there. He believed that Thomas was a gambler, but only on the side and not as a profession. He was not known to associate with other gamblers other than Isadore Tocco, who was his long-time friend. Thomas Machi was said to play golf frequently at the Brown Deer Golf Course.
Angelo V. Guardalabene, 3021 North Holton Street, was beaten on April 20, 1962 by Joseph Gurera, Buster Balestrere and Steve DeSalvo. He was apparently taken for a ride and then assaulted.
At 3:00pm on April 27, 1962, Charles Piscuine was observed bringing laundry into Unity Cleaners.
Special Agent Arthur Gran interviewed a friend of William Covelli’s in Waukegan on May 8, 1962. The friend said that he had known Covelli for five or six years and they used to play gin rummy. He recalled at one point that Covelli wanted to get his vending machines into the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, and wanted the man to help him make a connection. They never succeeded. The man said he used to own soem race horses and had an interest in racing, but he no longer did and did not gamble. He still considered Covelli a friend, and would sometimes call him to get tickets to various sporting events.
On May 9, 1962, Assistant US Attorney William Mulligan called the FBI and told them he had just received a call saying that Thomas Machi and Isadore Tocco were running a horse book. One of their drop-off locations was said to be Garland’s Dry Cleaners (530 East Juneau) and the owner, Garland M. Akers, was said to accept bets on their behalf. (Akers was born in Abington, Virginia in 1899 and married his wife, Rose Checkel, in St. Paul in 1924. He lived next door to his shop at 528 Juneau. His only arrest was in 1948 for being the inmate of a gambling house.)
The FBI pulled Thomas Machi’s phone out-of-state phone records to see if he was receiving interstate wagering information. They found he had received a collect call from Las Vegas on May 12, called Room 658 of the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago on May 15, and called the Wagon Wheel Hotel of Rockton, Illinois (across the border from Beloit) on May 16, 1962.
Milwaukee police observed a white over blue Impala with out of state plates at Gallagher’s on May 28, 1962. The car traced to Anthony Mangiaracina, uncle of Joseph Gurera. Mangiaracina was a well-known member of the Syndicate in Kansas City and also had a history of narcotics trafficking in Chicago.
Special Agent John Holtzman stopped by Wyngate Tower at 3014 West Pierce on June 4, 1962. He noticed that apartment 414 was listed to “A. Cefalu” (Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu) in the building’s directory. Holtzman again stopped by on June 26 and found Richard Milcarek’s 1960 Thunderbird parked nearby. He noticed the car had an extra antenna and a short wave radio.
Special Agent Higgins interviewed Gene Thomas (4708 22nd Avenue) on June 8, 1962 concerning Angelo Germinaro. Thomas said he had known Germinaro since childhood, as they had grown up in the same neighborhood. Germinaro visited Thomas’ Vagabond Club roughly three times per month, but Thomas said he was never a regular employee and never operated gambling from the club.
August Maniaci and another hoodlum (Joseph Angeli?) set up a $45,000 jewel theft from Earle J. Parisey on Wednesday, June 27, 1962. Parisey, a salesman for Kor-Rect Jewelry Manufacturing Company of Green Bay had the jewels in his car, which was stolen around 12:30pm from South 7th Street. The men who pulled the job were Thomas Sterger from Toledo, Ohio and Louis Klein from Columbus, Ohio and not close associates of Maniaci. The two men were arrested the following day in Detroit while checking their car into the airport. Somehow during the course of this investigation, Joseph Angeli, 28, was arrested on Thursday morning for being in possession of a gambling device (a slot machine hidden in a clothes hamper). Angeli had rented the car the Ohio men used and a witness to the theft wrote down the license number — this came back to Angeli.
On June 28, 1962, Mequon Police Chief Robert Milke was ordered to appear the next day in Milwaukee County for the trial of Frank Stelloh against Merle Liban and others. Stelloh lost his $105,000 civil suit against six Milwaukee and West Allis police officers on Friday, July 6, 1962 after a jury deliberated 6 hours.
Vito Seidita was naturalized on July 7, 1962. His sponsors were someone (redacted) from the local Teamsters union and someone (redacted) from Alioto’s restaurant on Bluemound Road.
On July 12, 1962, cars belonging to Joseph Gurera and Buster Balistrere were seen behind Balistrere’s residence at 1634 North Jackson. Also present was a light blue Chevrolet that traced to John E. Adney of 9911 Blue Ridge, Kansas City. As Adney, a career Navy man stationed at Naval Air Station Olathe, had died two years previously, it would seem the car was being driven by his wife, Lillian Marchese Adney. Lillian’s brothers were Joe and Jack Marchese and sisters were Mary Mangiaracina and Theresa Amador. Gurera’s mother was a Mangiaracina, and his wife was Nancy Kay Marchese… but the exact connection is unclear to me. Another Chevrolet traced to Wilbur H. Wright, a former Beloit man who was known to be an alcoholic and dope addict. He had worked at the Cyprus Restaurant in Beloit before being put in a Chicago hospital and then ending up living on skid row in Chicago. Wright had an ex-wife in Indiana. He was not known to be a gambler.
Special Agents Holtzman and Knickrehm wrote down the license plates on four cars parked near Joseph Gurera’s residence at 12:30am on July 17, 1962. One was traced to the Wheels Inc, 6200 Northwestern Avenue in Chicago. Further investigation revealed that the Wheels Inc car was leased to someone who worked for the Chicago and North Western Railroad. (The other cars are redacted.)
On July 18, 1962, the Chicago Office of the FBI contacted the Milwaukee Office to inform them that they had recently interviewed (redacted). The man denied involvement in gambling other than the occasional poker game in the basement of the Misty Lounge among the 150 members of the Misty Lounge Hunters Club. He said the only interstate activity he was aware of concerned Peter Zocchi of (5013 25th Avenue) Kenosha, who ran the Tip-Z-Top Tavern (4426 Sheridan Road) and took layoff bets from Chicagoland people in Winthrop Harbor. (While technically interstate, this was barely more than a local issue — Winthrop Harbor lies on the Illinois side of the Wisconsin border.)
Joseph Gurera went to Kansas City on July 30, 1962 and brought back money from the syndicate there. The exact amount is unknown, but it was enough to pay off a $13,000 gambling debt he had in Milwaukee.
The two Ohio hoodlums who stole the $45,000 worth of jewels were in contact with August Chiaverotti on July 31, 1962 and it was one informant’s belief that Chiaverotti was hiding the jewels inside the warehouse of the Para Corporation on the corner of 6th Street and Florida.
Thomas Machi called Las Vegas number DU4-6675 on August 6, 1962. The phone number traced to a man who was the brother-in-law of a Las Vegas police officer who was living with a woman of loose morals that worked in the showroom of the Flamingo Hotel. When the police later interviewed the woman, they determined she was a former employee of Machi’s, but said she knew nothing of gambling and was not “smart enough” to know about gambling activities.
Joseph Gurera met with two men on the afternoon of August 8, 1962. The exact meeting place is unknown, but it was a tavern on Highway 41 in southern Milwaukee County. One of the men was from Las Vegas, and was bringing the Chicago Outfit their money from gambling there. This man was described as living at the Desert Inn. (The file is redacted… not sure who it would be.)
Two Milwaukee detectives observed Frank Balistrieri in the Red Lion Room at the Knickerbocker Hotel on August 9, 1962, meeting with Felix Alderisio, Joseph Gurera, Buster Balestrere, Steve DeSalvo and John Molle. After the meeting broke up, Alderisio and Molle continued on to the Holiday House.
Thomas Machi called Muskegon, Michigan number PR3-1786 on August 9, 1962. Later investigation found this number belonged to a woman who claimed that Machi had called her on accident.
A phone call came in from the Fifth Jack Club (owned by Sam and Charles English) to Halan’s Super Market (7629 West Bluemound) on August 13, 1962. Further investigation on January 21 showed the owner did not know the English brothers nor did he spend much time in Chicago or have any involvement in gambling. He told the FBI that the call probably came fro ma representative of the wholesale grocery company he orders from in River Grove, Illinois. When asked about phonograph records, he said a sales representative had stopped by in August from Mid-American Specialty Distributors of Chicago. The deal seemed too good to be true, though, so he passed on it.
On August 15, 1962, a family (four men, two women) from Pittsburgh came to live with John Alito at 2500 North Booth Street.
A Milwaukee police officer (possibly captain of the Vice Squad) called various bookies on August 20, 1962 and warned them that there might be a raid. He had heard that the John Doe hearing had search warrants, but did not know for who.
On August 22, 1962, at 2:05pm, a 1951 Studebaker with a pinball machine arrived in the back of 1634 North Jackson. Buster Balestrere’s Chevrolet was also present. This same day, Steve DeSalvo and Joseph Gurera met John Rizzo at the Arlington Heights Race Track. Rizzo allegedly had a season box seat there.
A craps game was held by Jewish gamblers on August 24, 1962 at Pappy’s Restaurant at the Bay Shore Shopping Center. Profits from the game allegedly went to Joe Gurera and Steve DeSalvo, who were not present, as the game was being run by someone on their behalf.
The annual Italian Invitational Golf Tournament was held at the Tuckaway Country Club in Franklin (southwest of Milwaukee) on Monday, August 27, 1962. Numerous Chicago hoodlums were believed to be there, including Rocco Fischetti.
A stag party was held on August 28, 1962 at Alioto’s Restaurant on Bluemound for the purpose of a craps game. Although approximately 40-60 gamblers showed up, the game never happened because strangers were present and suspected of being police. In fact, Waukesha County deputies were observing the premises from 9:00pm to 2:00am after being tipped off. Instead, the men played poker for bottle caps. Steve DeSalvo and Joe Gurera had organized the game and were expected to take a cut. Among those present were August Maniaci, Joseph Gagliano, Walter Brocca, Anthony Cefalu and Donald H. Heiliger of Cambridge. An informant told the FBI that Waukesha County District Attorney Roger P. Murphy had warned someone from Campbell’s Tap (618 East State Street) about a proposed raid and he passed the word on to Alioto’s.
Anthony Machi was interviewed by Special Agent Richard C. Thompson at his home (5553 West Andover Drive) on August 31, 1962 around noon. Thompson had specifically timed the visit to coincide with peak horse-betting time and noted that no phone calls came in while they were there. Anthony said his brother Peter was the licensee on the Riviera (401 North Plankinton), but all three Machi brothers had a stake in it and worked there. The tavern opened daily at 5:00pm. Machi told Thompson that he had lived his whole life in Milwaukee and had never been shaken down by anyone or by any syndicate. Regarding the robbery of his brother a while back, he said he did not know who was responsible, but did not believe it was any syndicate.
On the morning of September 5, 1962, Deputy Edwin Marlowe of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office was at Lloyd’s Restaurant (3514 West National) where around 11:00am he overheard Richard Milcarek receiving the “line” on a baseball game from a pay phone and then calling another local person with the line. From there, Milcarek left and went to Anthony Cefalu’s apartment.
The gambling operation of Anthony Cefalu at 3014 West Pierce was raided at 11:20am on September 5, 1962 by the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Sheriff’s Department, armed with a search warrant from Judge John Coffey. They found two telephones, a short wave radio and a variety of betting information. The apartment itself was a one-room kitchenette and did not appear to be used for a residence. $2514 was found in a cardboard box. During the raid, around 1:30pm, Steve DeSalvo entered the back door with a passkey unaware and Joe Gurera was found in parked car outside by Deputy Edward Michalski. Along with DeSalvo, Anthony Cefalu, Joseph Alioto and Richard Milcarek (known as “Dick the Polack”) were arrested at this time. Milcarek was found to have a variety of notes with names in his car. Alioto had a number of notes on his person, including a business card for Nick Tarantino of Star Bright Cleaners. They were immediately arraigned before Judge Christ Seraphim on charges of commercial gambling and released on $500 bond each. Gurera was arrested but not charged. An informant overheard DeSalvo and Gurera say they were “peeved” for not being warned by the police about the raid. He further said they were getting their line from Mankato, Minnesota, and would probably be back in business within a day or two because the Outfit could not afford to miss out on football season.
Joseph Gurera was in Kansas City from September 7 through 10, 1962 to attend a meeting there. On the evening of September 10, he was back in Milwaukee at a meeting at Gallagher’s. At the Milwaukee meeting were Steve DeSalvo, Buster Balestrere, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Dr. Vito Guardalabene and three men from out of town.
On Tuesday, September 11, 1962 at 2:00pm there was a meeting at Star Brite Cleaners, 2501 North Holton, with Joe Gurera, Steve DeSalvo and Buster Balestrere present. With them were Rocco Fischetti and two men from out of town. (Sadly, these names are all redacted.)
Thomas Machi called Racine number (redacted) on September 14, 1962. Later investigation determined this number belonged to someone with an office in the Mayfair Shopping Center who denied knowing the Machi brothers.
A detective from the Milwaukee Police Department Special Squad spoke with the FBI on September 17, 1962 concerning the Machi brothers. He said he had some “mental reservations” about one of the bartenders (redacted) at the Riviera, because this bartender hangs out with the sons of Joseph Gurera, Peter Balistrieri and Frank Balistrieri. The detective said that years ago Isadore Tocco and the Machis ran a book above the Produce Building on Broadway, but no longer work together. Tocco did, however, associate with Antonio Machi (a cousin) and claimed to be a salesman for Jennaro Trucking Center. The detective said the Machis deny that they pay off Joseph Gurera and the syndicate, but he was confident that they did.
There was a meeting at the Para Corporation on September 18, 1962 between Frank Balistrieri, Joe Gurera and Steve DeSalvo.
A search warrant was issued and executed on September 26, 1962, by Ernest G. Johannes, Special Agent, Intelligence Division, Internal Revenue Service, and other Special Agents of said division. The warrant authorized the search of Apartment 406, 1609 North Prospect Avenue, occupied by Jennie Alioto under the alias of Lorretta Fischer. The warrant gave permission to search for: books and records of the Hotel Roosevelt; The Pub; Ben Kay; Tower Tavern; Melody Lane; Bonfire; Badger State Boxing Club; and Frank Peter Balistrieri.
Three Vice Squad officers were witnessed on Thursday, September 27, 1962 taking $50 from the bartender as a payoff to allow gambling to continue there.
$40,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from a Milwaukee home on September 28, 1962.
Police put an around-the-clock guard on the apartment of Clarence Casper, 58, 1609 North Prospect, on Saturday, September 29, 1962. Casper had received a threatening phone call after helping authorities find Frank Balistrieri’s financial records in Room 406 of his apartment complex.
Kansas City mobster John Molle was in Milwaukee on September 29 and met with Peter Balistrieri.
At some point in October 1962, Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo allegedly “put the bite” on the Magestro brothers, who were trash dealers.
On the evening of October 1, 1962, Joseph Gurera, Frank Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo were at the Holiday House. After midnight, Gurera used the pay phone to make a long distance call. A check revealed that at 1:03am (October 2), he had called the Leonard Produce Company of St. Louis, which was owned by John Joseph Vitale. Vitale was a top-ranking mobster in St. Louis, possibly the boss at this time (I do not know much about St. Louis). He was also distantly related to the Cianciolo, Sansone and Palmisano families.
On October 2, 1962, Joe Gurera and Steve DeSalvo purchased a transistor radio for $400. The radio was set to 159.15MHz, the frequency used by the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department. This same day, they made a long distance call to John Joseph Vitale in St. Louis.
A doctor from Milwaukee was at the Vernon Hills Country Club gambling operation (connected with Chicago Outfit member Leslie Kruse) on October 6, 1962. He was said to cash six checks there in exchange for chips, and the checks had been from the government as some sort of relief aid payment. The checks, in turn, were endorsed at the Drovers Bank in southern Chicago.
Librizzi, Cefalu and Palmisano pleaded not guilty on October 8, 1962. After denying motions for dismissal, Judge F. Ryan Duffy set a trial date of February 15.
Joseph Gurera was arrested at 2:00am on October 11, 1962 for making an illegal U-turn. At first, they thought they found football pool tickets in his possession. Upon closer examination, it turned out they were weekly football schedules that could be purchased at any news stand. They did not have any notes on them and could not be proven to be connected to gambling. Regardless, Gurera was taken to the Bureau of Identification for a photograph and a handwriting sample. He refused to consent to an interview.
Thomas Machi called Chicago phone number WE9-4222 on October 11, 1962.
The Milwaukee FBI received an anonymous, typewritten letter on October 22, 1962. It said: “I want you to know that Frank Balistrieri of Gallagher’s and his friend [redacted] and two other men from Kansas City have been demanding 30% protection money from people in business. I hear they already asked [redacted] of Amato and Guardalabene funeral parlor.” (The redacted person was questioned about this and denied having been shaken down.)
On Thursday, October 25, 1962, Peter Sciortino’s Bakery (1101 East Brady) was the target of a bomb attack. The explosion tore a small hole through the rear wall of the bakery around 11:50pm and firefighters were called to the scene. A neighboring apartment at 1115 East Brady also had its windows blown out on three floors, and garbage cans were damaged. Charles Buran, 13, who lived in the apartment, said the bomb “shook the whole house.” Detective Inspector Harold Breier did not immediately know what type of explosives were used and had to call in a chemical expert. Police did not know what the motive was and stressed that Peter Sciortino — who lived upstairs and was watching television — had no history of trouble. The explosion may have been a warning, as Breier pointed out that the culprit “could have put the explosive compound in a different place and caused a lot more damage.”
Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo visited Anthony Biernat in November 1962 and offered to buy his jukebox business. Biernat turned them down.
A self-admitted gambler was interviewed in the Kenosha County Jail on November 9, 1962. He named several people who took horse bets, including Bill Covelli through Greco’s and Frank Cicchini at Chick’s Bar (505 58th Street).
The same gambler was interviewed again on November 14, 1962. He admitted having personally designed and established layouts for craps, poker and horse bet parlors, along with electrical systems for such places of business. He said he had done such work for John Rizzo and Frank Cicchini.
The Milwaukee Police Department set up a Special Surveillance Squad on November 14, 1962. From November 14 through the 20, they witnessed a hoodlum (possibly Walter Brocca?) make daily visits to Acino Cleaners (1012 South First).
An informant told Special Agent William Higgins on November 16, 1962 that if John Rizzo and William Covelli were planning to expand their gambling operation to Racine, the man to watch would be Dave Sheft. Sheft, the proprietor of the Odds and Ends Tavern, had a history of gambling and receiving stolen property, and had worked for Rizzo at one time in Kenosha.
A Milwaukee informant tried to go to the Vernon Hills Country Club on November 17 ,1962 but when he arrived he was told the game had moved to the Old Homestead.
An informant visited the Old Homestead (on the Wisconsin/Illinois line) on November 19, 1962. He witnessed a roulette table, blackjack and a craps table. They were also auctioning or raffling off 25-pound turkeys. The place was “jammed” with men and women and the Homestead was believed to have taken in $30,000 that night.
The Milwaukee police turned over a report to the FBI on November 19, 1962. The report said that business suspected of paying “insurance” were: the Holiday House, Sardino’s, the Riviera and Fazio’s. The Scaffidi Brothers Bakery on East Brady Street was also said to have recently been shot up by some men, and the bakery did not report the incident to police, but instead decided to go out of business.
An informant spoke with Steve DeSalvo on November 20, 1962, who said he had to meet with two “torpedo men” from Las Vegas.
On November 20, 1962, two cars with Illinois plates were observed at Gallagher’s: a 1956 Chevy and a 1961 Thunderbird. Also seen was a 1962 gray Pontiac registered to S&W Leasing of Michigan City, Indiana.
The FBI contacted Circuit Judge John Coffey on November 21, 1962. Coffey relayed a story to them that back in May he had been at a tavern in Milwaukee’s “tenderloin district” to see the world of prostitution firsthand. While there, he ran into an attorney. The next day, that attorney told him that one of the prostitutes had claimed that she had evidence she had been with Coffey three times. Coffey assured the FBI this was not true and was probably made up by the attorney to intimidate him during the John Doe hearings.
Coffey further advised that he had interviewed over 60 witnesses for the John Doe hearings, and was of the opinion that at least two police officers of the Vice Squad were being paid off. He had gone to Chief Howard Johnson and suggested having the men transferred. At first Johnson seemed amenable, but he never actually followed through. Coffey suggested the transfer again, and Johnson declined to do so. Coffey then told the FBI that he felt this decision had come from higher up, possibly with Mayor Maier. He understood that Maier had received a “substantial campaign contribution” from people associated with Dominic Frinzi and Frank Balistrieri. Coffey said Maier was “an empire builder” and wanted an “open town”. He further believed that Maier wanted to replace Johnson with a corrupt police captain, but the authority to do so belonged to the Police and Fire Commission, not Maier. Coffey said that Maier had allegedly appointed three people to the Commission, and in two cases required them to offer an undated letter of resignation to him so that they could be discharged at any time if they went against Maier. Coffey pointed out he had felt 95% of the Milwaukee police were excellent and that two officers who were under investigation (an inspector of detectives and a detective captain) had already resigned, prompting no further action.
Still further, Coffey said there had been an attempt by Milwaukee hoodlums to give between $5000 and $11,000 to both candidates running for governor (John W. Reynolds and ???). He had found out in advance, and both candidates refused to take the money. Instead, it went into Governor Gaylord Nelson’s campaign funds for senator. Coffey believed that Nelson would pardon Louis Fazio before his last day in office as a “thank you” for the contribution.
On November 23, 1962, Dominic Frinzi threatened the Milwaukee Special Surveillance Squad with a lawsuit to stop harassing Steve DeSalvo. Earlier that day, DeSalvo had approached the surveillance officers as they were changing shifts.
Steve DeSalvo attended a meeting at Gallagher’s on November 24, 1962 with Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Gurera.
On November 27, 1962, the Surveillance Squad followed Steve DeSalvo and Gus Marzullo on Highway 41 in the direction of Waterford (west of Racine). Once the hoodlums noticed the police, they sped off at 100mph across the state line.
On November 28, 1962, the squad saw Joseph Gurera enter an office building at 1840 North Farwell for an unknown reason.
Thomas Machi was interviewed by Special Agent Richard C. Thompson on December 3, 1962 at his residence (1938 Oakland Avenue) to see if he had been the victim of a shakedown from Joseph Gurera. Machi acknowledged that he knew Gurera, saying they had met at a tavern a while back, and have seen each other occasionally at Gallagher’s. Machi said they had even played golf together once, but denied knowing what Gurera did for a living and said he had not threatened Machi in any way. Machi denied making payoffs to any syndicate and said if he would be approached, he would inform the authorities. He told the FBI that when he had been robbed by three men, they had taken $1000 from his pockets and another $2500 from his home. He said his parents were home at the time, and they were tied up, too. Machi suspected that the robbery was ordered by a local man and was committed by three men from out of town, but he claimed not to know who. He admitted knowing (redacted), who he believed was a “horse tramp” from Cicero, and said that the man was frequently mentioned in the Chicago newspapers as a hoodlum associate.
Cosimo Marzullo, 58, 1915A South 5th Street, was charged on Thursday, December 6, 1962 with commercial gambling. He admitted to police he had been interested in horse racing all his life, had been studying them for 14 years and found a way to win at horse racing 97% of the time and had pooled $4500 from six Racine businessmen to gamble on the horses. He was first picked up Wednesday night by Patrolman Rocky Todd after running a red light and being unable to prove that the car he was driving belonged to him (he had not yet transferred his title from his old Chrysler to his new Lincoln). Todd found a racing form and betting slips on Marzullo. He told Assistant District Attorney Hugh O’Connell that he had bet $850 on the horses that very day, but police only found $4 in his pockets. He gave his employer as Acino Cleaners, 1012 South 1st Street.
A man was interviewed at the US Marshal’s office on December 7, 1962 concerning Cosimo Marzullo. He said he had known Marzullo for many years, and that Marzullo had a successful cleaning business. One day, roughly five months ago, Marzullo approached the man and said “he had a sure way of beating the horses”, so the man gave him $300 and soon $700 more. Since that time, Marzullo had returned $320 to the man. A second man was interviewed who said he gave Marzullo $1000 and had since received $254 back.
An informant spoke with the FBI about Cosimo Marzullo on December 7, 1962. He said Marzullo was originally from Chicago, but had gotten in too much trouble with the Outfit about 15 years ago and was going to be killed. Marzullo moved to Racine for a while and then finally to Milwaukee. He had been friends with Steve DeSalvo for 30 years, and this was why Marzullo was put up as the front man for Acino Cleaners. The informant said Marzullo had terrible credit and most bookies would not work with him. He believed that Marzullo was playing a con game on the Racine businessmen and slowly paying them back only the money they paid in, as there was no way Marzullo could win at horse racing.
Frank Balistrieri held meetings at Gallagher’s on December 12, 15 and 18th with Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo. Buster Balestrere also sat in on the 18th.
At the request of the FBI, Benny DiSalvo appeared at the Bureau Office on December 13, 1962. DiSalvo told them he grew up in Milwaukee but left for Brooklyn in August 1952 because construction jobs had dried up. While in Brooklyn, he worked for the Dic Concrete Company on Long Island and lived at 2816 Bath Childer Street. He had marital difficulties with his wife because of religious differences (she was Jewish, he was Catholic). She obtained a “Mexican divorce” in August 1962 and DiSalvo returned to Milwaukee in September 1962. He said he was a close friend of Carlo DiMaggio and the uncle of Michael Albano. He also knew the Balistrieris, Steve DeSalvo, Walter Brocca and August Maniaci. He said he was not related to Steve DeSalvo (something he would have to tell the Bureau again twenty-five years later). He denied any knowledge of the Mafia and denied having ever been to Las Vegas. He said he was just a “working man” trying to get by.
Frank Stelloh was released from Wisconsin State Prison at Waupun on December 19, 1962 and he was picked up from the prison by Dominic Frinzi and Steve DeSalvo. A party was given for him at Joseph Gurera’s residence where Stelloh lived for about a week. Attending the party were Frank Balistrieri and his girlfriend, Joe Gurera, Buster Balestrere and Steve DeSalvo.
Frank Balistrieri was pulled over on December 20, 1962 by the State Patrol for speeding on I-94. (The exact location is unclear, but it seems to have been in Kenosha County.)
Joseph Gurera was observed at Fazio’s on 5th at noon on December 27, 1962.
There was a meeting at Para Corporation on December 28, 1962 with Frank Stelloh, Walter Brocca, Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo. There was also a white Lincoln there with license plate number J46265, registered to Missionary Exchange (414 South Third).
John Rizzo’s craps game lost $6000, a sizable amount of money, on Sunday, December 30, 1962. One Milwaukee man had won $3000 and another won $1800.
Fred Klancnik, 4603 South 61st Street, was interviewed by Special Agents Knickrehm and Holtzman on January 2, 1963 concerning Gus Marzullo. He said he had known Marzullo for many years because they were both in the dry cleaning business. Klancnik said he was unemployed for a while when Marzullo invited him to work for Acino Cleaners. While there, the pay checks have always been signed by Steve DeSalvo. He has heard that Buster Balestrere and Joseph Gurera had an interest, but they did not sign the checks. Klancnik said the business was completely legitimate as far as he knew and it was rather successful, because it had primarily commercial accounts. They had one Ford Econoline van, which was registered in Klancnik’s name. He had never seen anything related to gambling on the property.
John Rizzo, Albert Albana and William Covelli attended a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game on January 3, 1963. After this, they went to Gallagher’s Steak House and the Pfister Hotel. They met with Steve DeSalvo and Joseph Gurera for a new “bank loan” to keep their craps game running.
On January 4, 1963, after being out of prison for only three weeks, Francis Stelloh was arrested for deviating from his lane and cutting off another motorist while driving his white sports car on the 27th Street viaduct. Stelloh faced a $10 fine and was eventually acquitted.
An informant told the FBI on January 4, 1963, that bookmaker Milo Lalich, who operated the Green Bay Restaurant on 4th Street, was now paying the Outfit in order to operate his gambling business. Booking with him was Earl Louis Appelt.
After interviewing several of Steve DeSalvo’s neighbors, the police submitted the following report to the FBI on January 4, 1963. The neighbors report that DeSalvo has plenty of money despite not being gainfully employed. Steve gave his children and friends Polaroid Land Cameras, and his wife Dorothy has remarked that Steve gets many things for free. Steve had a large short wave radio upstairs, but this was removed the day after the Pierce raid. On weekends, Steve burns things in his outdoor incinerator and then rakes the ashes. Out of state cars are often seen at the home late at night. Allegedly, Dorothy was an alcoholic and at least two of the neighbor men had sexual relations with her while Steve was not home.
Special Agents Knickrehm and Holtzman interviewed Al Reinhardt on January 7, 1963 regarding the Para Corporation. He said he was brought in to the company through Gus Chiaverotti, but that Chiaverotti is rarely around now because he is trying to get new contacts. Walter Brocca was around daily and was in charge of manufacturing. Chiaverotti had a salary of $150 per week, and Brocca was paid $130. Reinhardt said the business was not successful, and he had acquired 2/3 of the stock, with 1/3 in the possession of Frank Balistrieri. He did not know Balistrieri, who had no active part in the company, other than that Balistrieri told him that Joseph Gurera would be looking after his interest for him. Reinhardt had not seen Gurera around Para either. Reinhardt said he would be willing to sell the company at a loss.
The Murder of Anthony Biernat
Chicago-born Kenosha jukebox and vending machine distributor Anthony J. Biernat, 46, ate his last meal at 6pm on January 7, 1963. This was pork chops, raw onions, rye bread and coffee. Around 7pm, he left in his wife’s 1961 Buick Invicta (with license plate J83-735), presumably to go to his office. He arrived at the office around 8:50pm and met attorney Chris Juliani. Biernat called Stanley Miller at 9:10pm, telling him not to come over tomorrow as they had previously planned. Biernat left the office at 9:20pm, and with close friend William Korbel at 10pm, Biernat purchased a Chicago newspaper from the North Shore Station, and the two men separated. Walking back to his car, Biernat was assaulted and abducted from the parking lot on North Shore Road by three young men, with six witnesses present. None of the witnesses bothered to assist Biernat or even called police. Biernat was brought to the Richard Bong Air Force Base and was struck four times with a tire iron. He was dumped in a shallow grave with his wrists bound with orange electrical wire, in the basement of an abandoned farmhouse (known as the Rutledge farm). His corpse was urinated on, and covered with approximately 100 pounds of quick lime.
At 11:30pm that evening, Dominic Frinzi and Tony Fazio were with a hoodlum at Fazio’s on 5th, clearing them of any wrongdoing.
The next morning at 7:30, Irene Therese Satko Biernat called her husband’s office, the Lakeside Music Company, but no one answered. She brought their son to school at St. Thomas Aquinas Grade School and returned home. Shortly after 9am, Irene received a call from Tony’s niece (Barbara Jean Biernat, Joe’s daughter) at the Kenosha National Bank. Barbara told Irene, “They found Uncle Tony’s keys at the North Shore Station.” In fact, Biernat’s blood-stained car was found in the lot along with broken eyeglasses, his corduroy coat and a hat. Police retrieved the coat and found keys inside, which in turn was what caused them to alert Barbara Biernat.
Irene went to the North Shore station and found the Invicta with blood stains on the trunk, and inside were her husband’s leather gloves and a six-pack of Sprite. She was alarmed and immediately went home and called Tony’s co-worker. Also at the office was Stanley Miller. The co-worker and Miller came to the Biernat home and the Kenosha Police Department arrived soon after, around 11am.
William Korbel had left that morning to Madison, from where he was planning to fly to Washington, DC for the swearing-in of Senator Gaylord Nelson. Before taking off for Washington, he was contacted by a captain from the Kenosha Police Department and immediately returned.
Biernat’s business partner, Edward John Griffin, began searching roads and buildings around Kenosha on January 9. He even went so far as to check the building that Biernat’s body was in around 4pm, but found no indication that Tony had been there (though he told the FBI that the basement was dark and he did not have a flashlight).
Abe Zetley, 2608 East Newport, was interviewed by Special Agents Holtzman and Knickrehm on January 10, 1963. Zetley said he rented an upstairs area to Joseph Gurera. The original agreement was that Gurera would have the area for $210 per month if he would mow the lawn and shovel the snow. He had done neither of these things, and Zetley sent him a letter that his rent would go up to $240 in February. Rent payments had been late, checks had been received with insufficient funds, and Mrs. Gurera was a “sloppy housekeeper”. Zetley was told that Gurera was in the asphalt business and had moved from Kansas City to Milwaukee because there were more business opportunities. Zetley doubted this story, because he noticed Gurera’s habit was to leave the house at 10pm and not return until morning or the next afternoon. He was only active at night. (The agents noted that the Zetleys were “quite ancient and unwilling to have any unpleasantness”.)
An FBI informant overheard a conversation January 14 at the Cricket Club (224 West Michigan) related to the Biernat murder. August Maniaci was in the conversation and the informant believed that what he heard suggested that three people knew about the murder: gambler John Rizzo of Racine, an unidentified Jewish gambler in Racine and Louis Greco of Kenosha.
An anonymous letter from a man who claimed to be a Navy veteran and gambling addict was mailed to the FBI on January 19 from Milwaukee. The letter spoke of the gambling run by John Rizzo and claimed that payoffs were made to Kenosha Chief of Police Stanley Haukedahl and his “right had man” Dominic Mattioli.
Former Special Agent Clark E. Lovrien was hired by the Attorney General’s office on January 17 to act as a private detective in the Biernat case. He attended a meeting on January 21 with Governor Reynolds and Attorney General George Thompson, but then resigned as he did not feel he would be able to accomplish anything in the matter.
An Informant found out on January 21 that Biernat’s body was in an abandoned house in Kenosha County just outside of Kenosha. He believed that John Rizzo had been there during the murder, and with him were three other men, including someone who had just arrived in Milwaukee from New York City. (The informant may have been mistaken, as it seems more likely the killer would be from Kansas City.) The informant further believed that the death order actually came from Chicago, not Balistrieri.
A captain of the Kenosha Police Department received a postcard on January 21. I read, “(redacted) and (redacted) on the loose again? No friend of Biernat.”
All hell broke loose on January 25 when Governor John Reynolds released a statement concerning the FBI’s assistance in the Biernat case. Internal FBI memos expressed dismay at the governor’s words, saying he was “freewheeling” and not repeating at all the statement that was given to him. A quick investigation of the governor’s “knuckle-headed stupidity” revealed that a young press agent was overwhelmed by dealing with the Attorney General’s office in Washington and made a factually incorrect report to the governor. Reynolds quickly went on to damage control by clarifying the original statement. (A press release of the governor’s statement in FBI file 79-28647 has a handwritten comment on it saying, “The blabber-mouth had to spout!” signed by “K.”)
At 5:00pm, the Governor’s officer released a revised statement to all news media: “The FBI has joined in the investigation of the disappearance of Anthony Biernat of Kenosha, Governor John W. Reynolds announced Friday. The Governor had requested the FBI’s aid in the case. The Governor made his request Thursday of U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The Governor’s request was confined to the Biernat case. It was previously erroneously reported that the FBI would investigate ‘crime in Wisconsin’. The FBI investigation will be related to the overall crime picture in the state only as it involves the Biernat case. In this investigation, the FBI will look into any possible Federal law violation in connection with the Biernat case.”
Wisconsin Republicans responded to Reynolds’ claims that organized crime was in Milwaukee, Kenosha and Fond du Lac as “pure political gobbledygook”.
John Rizzo hosted a big craps game in Kenosha on January 26. A Kenosha police captain was there and a man from Milwaukee won a lot of money. Around this time, it came out that a man lost $3000 at a game in August. He was a cousin of Frank Balistrieri who had Americanized his last name. His wife went first to Louis Greco, who brought her to Rizzo. Rizzo said “on his mother’s grave” that her husband exaggerated and only lost $20. She then went to Balistrieri and tried to get the money back, but was not successful.
Special Agents interviewed William Korbel, the last man to see Biernat alive, on January 28. While he told them little they had not already gathered, Korbel did advise them that Biernat was known to visit prostitutes in Milwaukee and had once been “friendly” with a woman in Hot Springs, Arkansas. That woman was from Lawton, Oklahoma and managed a motel there. These revelations, if true, shattered the image of Biernat as a church-going family man.
Sam Iaquinta, 4604 65th Street, was interviewed by Special Agents Francis Mullen and Charles Austin on January 28. He said he had known Anthony Biernat since 1947 and was associated with him in the Lakeside Music Company. Iaquinta’s job was maintenance of the machines and was paid $70 per week for this work. He said he had been with Biernat the day he disappeared, having lunch with him from 1:00pm until 1:45pm. He said he had been home all evening other than a service call her made in Silver Lake from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
The body of Anthony Biernat was found on the evening of January 28, with his bound hands and leg partially exposed. On the scene were Sheriff Leland Chartier, Chief Stanley Haukedahl, Special Agent Joseph Kriofske and Coroner Edward Wavro. Sheriff Chartier soon delegated Special Agent Holtzman to be in charge of the crime scene, and agents William Higgins and Warren Kenney stayed with the body during the autopsy. The body was identified at 9:50pm but could not be fully excavated and given to the coroner until 11:15pm. In the room were found many old newspapers and magazines, and part of a paper bag from Milwaukee’s Western Lime and Cement Company that had contained pressure-hydrated lime.
On January 29, Kenosha Police Chief Stanley Haukedahl told the FBI that he was given the getaway route by an informant, but refused to divulge the identity of the informant. The route was: Highway K, 60th Street west, north to JB, west on X through Brighton to where Biernat was found. From there, highway N to highway D to an old bridge that crosses the Des Plaines River. Police searched this area for an abandoned car, clothing or weapons and found nothing.
Also this day, a chief investigator from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department received a phone call from Blackmon Trucking Company, reporting that two 50-pound bags of Miracle Lime had been stolen from the back of a trailer around Christmas 1962. The thieves left the trailer doors open. For an unexplained reason, the trucking employee suspected an unidentified man who had just been released from Waupun. About this time, an employee explained that quick lime acts as a sealer and would actually preserve a body rather than speed up decomposition as is commonly believed.
Special Agent John Gassaway interviewed Judge Urban Zievers on January 29, 1963. Zievers said he had known Anthony Biernat for roughly twenty years, as they were both members of the Kenosha Yacht Club. Zievers said he had been in Hot Springs in Spring 1961, where he enjoyed steam baths and horse races, but no business was transacted. He had run into Biernat in September or October outside of a building Biernat had just bought and was renovating. Biernat said he had been approached by a “Joey G”, a “Steve Salvano” and Jeff Covelli about buying an interest in his business, and wondered if there was a way he could find out more about these men. Zievers suggested getting in touch with Special Agent William Higgins. Zievers said he considered Biernat a good man with no hoodlum connections, though he did have a habit of carrying large sums of money on him and paying for other people’s drinks.
Special Agent John Gassaway also interviewed attorney Chris Juliani on January 29, 1963. Juliani said he had known Biernat for twenty years through the Kenosha Yacht Club and had handled his legal affairs for the last fifteen years. As far as he knew, Biernat never executed a will. Juliani said that Biernat had told him in November that “the hoods are trying to buy me out” and he named William Covelli, as well as a man from Milwaukee and another from Kansas City. Biernat had started drinking heavily after that. Juliani said on the night of Biernat’s disappearance, he had been in Biernat’s office from 8:00pm until 9:30pm and that Biernat had been there from 8:50pm to 9:20pm, when he left for a cup of coffee. Juliani said that Biernat earned probably $12,000 each year, and he bought his jukeboxes from London Music Company on Lisbon Avenue in Milwaukee, and most of them were paid for.
Muriel Albana traded in her 1954 Ford to Hiller Chevrolet for a 1961 Rambler on January 30, 1963. The next day, the Ford was wholesaled to Yidding Motors in Dorsey, Mississippi.
During an interview with the FBI on January 30, 1963, an informant told them that he believed the Kenosha Police Department was “crooked from the Chief of Police, Stanley Haukedahl, all the way down to the lowest Private.” The informant believed that pay-offs must have been taking place because gambling was so open in Kenosha, but he believed the Biernat murder would turn the citizens against the police.
The same day, Special Agents John Gassoway and John Schaller made contact with the following people: Mickey Covelli, Gino’s Tap; Ray Zucca, Mid-Town Tap; and Dick Randle, Alibi Tavern. None of them was able to supply any useful information.
Agents also questioned Stanley Miller, a friend of Biernat’s. Miller told the agents he had formerly operated a horse book with Tom Williams of Illinois in 1950, and this gambling operation came under the suspicions of the Kefauver Committee. Miller did not know if Williams was connected to any crime syndicate, but he did know that at the time their doorman was Albert “Cadillac Al” Albana, a former bootlegger. Miller paid a $300 fine when the book was raided. Miller told the agents that just before Thanksgiving 1962, Biernat had been visited by two men who wanted to buy half his business — one from Milwaukee, the other from Kansas City. He declined, saying he was barely making a living as it was. Miller said the two men returned shortly after Thanksgiving, and this time Biernat told him that he had been visited by “the Mafia”. The agents asked Miller about John Rizzo, and Miller said he had met Rizzo once at the Flamingo in 1948 and played gin rummy with him. Rizzo was a regular at the Flamingo and would come in with Jim Buckley, who owned a gravel pit. Rizzo was running a craps game at the time near Greco’s Restaurant, but Miller had never personally been there. Miller was not aware of any interest Frank Balistrieri may have had in the gambling operation.
Special Agent Warren J. Kenney and a chief investigator of the Kenosha Police Department interviewed Joseph J. “Poker Joe” Yukas on January 31. Yukas informed them that he had worked for Biernat since 1942 and was a repairman, though he declined to tell them what his income was. Yukas told the men that he was nearly run down on January 9 or 10 by a Ford or Buick with the license plate 59700. After being shown photographs of various subjects, Yucas was able to identify some of the men as people from around town, but not as individuals connected to Biernat.
This same day, Governor Reynolds telephoned Special Agent in Charge Paul H. Stoddard and told him to look into Laddie Henry Steinhoff. Steinhoff had previously been a subject of a John Doe investigation, was a competitor of Biernat’s in the jukebox business, and formerly lived on a farm across the road from the house where Biernat’s body was found. When questioned, Steinhoff said he considered Biernat a friendly competitor, had not seen him in six or seven months, and had not lived at the farm in question since 1928. In fact, the family sold the farm in 1930 or 1931 following the death of his mother.
On Friday, February 1, 1963, Edward Griffin received an anonymous phone call telling him there had been a meeting of jukebox operators on the north side of Kenosha earlier in the week. Griffin was not told who was at the meeting or where it was, but was told it was hosted by a man from Lake Geneva who wanted to cut tavern owners out of the profits and skim 10% off the top.
Also on February 1, Chief Haukedahl requested sixteen reputed gamblers, including John Rizzo and William Covelli, to appear at City Hall at 10:00am to discuss the Biernat case. He told them that there would be no media coverage (due to the meeting being at City Hall rather than the police department) and the FBI was not invited to attend. Nine men showed up, but Rizzo was not one of them. Regardless, Rizzo did not host his craps game the following two weekends.
The FBI attempted to interview Albert Albana at his home on February 1, but when they knocked on his door, his wife answered and said that he was out of town visiting a sick friend.
Kenosha Police Chief Stanley Haukedahl and a Kenosha Lieutenant visited Dominic Principe on February 2, 1963 at his Lake Zurich, Illinois restaurant. Special Agent John W. Schaller was in the restaurant, Edith’s Pizza Cafe, with another agent when they saw the three men enter at 3:45pm. Principe was wearing dark blue pin-striped overalls and a maroon jacket. The police appeared to be “visibly shaken” when they saw the agents there, but they proceeded to a table and had a ten minute conversation. After this, the agents met a third agent, James H. Brewster, outside in a waiting automobile.
An informant told Special Agent Gassaway on February 3, 1963 that Biernat had been involved in bookmaking and this may have been why he was killed. He may have been refusing to make weekly payments. (Whether or not Biernat was booking seems to be debatable — the vending machine angle makes more sense.)
Special Agents Albert Knickrehm and John Gassaway spoke with a representative from London Music Company, 3130 West Lisbon Avenue, on February 4. The man told them that he was the only distributor of Seeburg jukeboxes in Wisconsin, and that Biernat had been a customer of his for 17 years. He said that Biernat’s route was not large, but was profitable enough that Biernat was able to handle his account with London Music in cash. Biernat still owed the man $1950 for jukeboxes purchased in December 1962.
An informant told the FBI on February 4, 1963 that someone was in debt to the Chicago Outfit for $100,000 from a gambling operation in Antioch. They had retained August Maniaci to collect the money, and on two occasions the debt was repaid by check but the payment was stopped and the checks bounced.
An informant spoke with Agent John A. Holtzman on February 5, 1963 and told him that August Maniaci and John Aiello were the nucleus of a faction of the Mafia that was trying to “bust up” the faction with Frank Balistrieri. The informant further stressed that the Biernat murder was ordered by Chicago. He did not understand why Chicago would care about Biernat enough to kill him, but this was what his sources insisted. An informant also advised that Mike Lombardi, the ex-sheriff of Waukesha County, was getting in trouble for serving minors at the White Sails Tavern on Pewaukee Lake and would be moving to California.
Sam Iaquinta was re-interviewed on February 6, 1963 by Special Agent Charles Austin. This time he admitted that he was not home of the evening of the murder because he was having an extra-marital affair and was on a date that evening.
The FBI observed Albert Albana visit Dominic Principe from 2:25pm to 2:48pm on February 9 at his home. Albana was driving a two-door gray Pontiac.
The Vernon Hills Country Club was raided on Saturday, February 9, 1963. Lake County police raided the game and rounded up 60 gamblers and 12 employees, including a former police officer. $2500 in cash was confiscated. The on-site manager was identified as Thomas Griffin of Antioch, and loan sharks Morris Goldstein and Morris Saletko were said to be on staff to “help” gamblers who ran out of cash.
In an interview published in the Sunday, February 10, 1963 Milwaukee Journal, Frank Balistrieri told the newspaper that he would like his police record opened to the newspaper to clear up the ongoing allegations against him. “I would like to get them off my back,” he said. “If the police can prove any of their allegations, I’ll be willing to get out of business immediately.”
A 1957 grey Pontiac belonging to Albert Albana was seen parked in front of Dominic Principe’s house in the early morning hours of Sunday, February 10, 1963 by a neighbor. The neighbor saw the car again around 2:00 or 3:00pm, and saw Albana leaving the house, calling out to someone upstairs, “Don’t worry about anything.”
On Wednesday, February 13, Chief Johnson replied to Balistrieri’s statements concerning the police. Johnson said the police would continue to watch Balistrieri closely as long as he “associate with undesirable characters and allows strip teasers to mingle with male patrons and hustle drinks” at the Downtowner. But, he wanted to make clear that, “We have no racket problem in Milwaukee. Therefore, calling Balistrieri or anyone else in Milwaukee ‘the king of rackets’ as Sandy Smith did (in a January 24 Chicago Tribune article), was unjustified. I don’t know of any complaint of anyone being muscled or paying extortion in Milwaukee. Relative to gambling, I haven’t known Balistrieri as having ever been in a gambling house or being a gambler. Our policemen never observed Balistrieri’s car at any place alleged to be a gambling house.” Johnson answered a number of other questions for the Journal, acknowledging that intelligence files exist on Balistrieri and that they cannot be released. He denied any underworld or organized crime presence in Milwaukee, and maintained that Balistrieri has always been “courteous” and a “gentleman” when the two had met.
Johnson continued, “We have no information of any Chicago crime syndicate operating here or having any influence on Milwaukee activities. Neither do we have any knowledge of a Milwaukee underworld or about any bonds between Balistrieri and the crime chiefs of Kansas City and Chicago. We conducted an intensive investigation in 1957 and again in 1961 and found nothing to indicate a financial tie-up, on record, between Balistrieri and out of state interests. There likewise is no police evidence that Chicago gangsters linked to Balistrieri have established themselves here as loan sharks and jukebox racketeers, as reported by Sandy Smith.”
Dominic Principe visited the home of an informant on Saturday, February 16, 1963.
Virgil Peterson, head of the Chicago Crime Commission, appeared on the WISN television program “Milwaukee Reports” on February 17, 1963 with attorneys Dominic Frinzi, James Shellow, Matthew Corry and Nelson Ward. The attorneys were highly critical of Peterson and Corry accused him of wanting to abolish the 5th Amendment. He denied this. Frinzi asked Peterson how his organization could call Tony Accardo a “hoodlum” when he had never been convicted of a crime. Shellow pointedly said to him, “You are a lawyer. Why don’t you act like one?” Frinzi agreed with Shellow, saying, “We practice in court all the time and you don’t. You are a do-gooder.”
A detective from the Milwaukee Police Department observed a meeting on February 18, 1963 around 5:00pm at the Para Corporation between Frank Balistrieri, Buster Balistrere, Walter Brocca, Steve DeSalvo, Joseph Gurera and Frank Stelloh.
The IRS padlocked Checker Cleaners (run by Steve DeSalvo and Buster Balistrere) on February 20, 1963 for failure to pay withholding tax. The tax was paid the next day and the doors were reopened. Checker Cleaners is the same store as Acino Cleaners was, and Unity before that.
A Captain with the West Allis Police Department told the FBI on February 21, 1963 that Frank Stelloh would be an “excellent suspect” in both the murders of Anthony Biernat and Isadore Pogrob. He was noted to be “extremely vicious” and “capable of committing any type of crime”.
Rizzo and Covelli met with Frank Balistrieri on February 23, 1963. Balistrieri informed them that the Outfit would be laying low for the next six months because too much heat was coming down from the Biernat murder.
Albert Albana’s Pontiac was seen parked at Dominic Principe’s house again on Sunday, February 24. On Monday, February 25, Principe left his home in a Mercury with Illinois plates.
An informant reported on February 25, 1963 that Frank Sansone was running his bookmaking operation out of Room 16 at the Blue Crest Motel on Bluemound Road.
John Rizzo and William Covelli spent the evening of February 26, 1963 with Frank Balistrieri in Milwaukee.
On February 27, 1963, a police captain from Milwaukee’s 6th District told the FBI that Joe Gurera had called the LoDuca Organ Company two or three weeks prior, and since then someone (the owner?) had left for Italy.
Special Agent Francis Mullen interviewed Winifred Pohl, 1554A West Odell Avenue, on February 27, 1963. Pohl was Frank Stelloh’s aunt and West Allis police records said Stelloh was living with Pohl. She said Stelloh was not living with her. She further said she felt the police were harassing her nephew and not giving him the opportunity to become a regular citizen. She said he had not seen him associating with any hoodlums other than Steve DeSalvo.
Captain Harry Kuszewski, head of the Vice Squad, was suspended on March 1, 1963 after being charged with a variety of offenses: tax evasion, misconduct, false swearing and failing to report gambling devices. Kuszewski had been paid off by gamblers and also had improper relationships with various prostitutes. The Police Chief, Howard Johnson, said only positive things about him to the press: “He has had a highly successful career in the suppression of vice, gambling and prostitution. I attribute the fact that there are no policy wheels (numbers rackets) in Milwaukee largely because of Kuszewski’s work.” Detective Sergeant Louis Strzyzewski took over running the vice squad.
Also on March 1, the FBI interviewed Dominic Principe in Kenosha. He denied knowing anything about the Anthony Biernat murder, saying he was in Lake Zurich at the time, and denied knowing Steve DeSalvo, Joseph Gurera, Frank Balistrieri and August Maniaci. Principe said he had no connection with the hoodlum element in Milwaukee. He also refused to discuss his relationship with Kenosha Chief of Police Stanley G. Haukedahl. Principe would not discuss Kenosha criminals, saying he did not want to become involved, and would not consent to a polygraph. When asked about the 1959 4-door blue Ford that he was seen driving, he said it was his sister’s. She had purchased it and later sold it for parts after the cylinder block cracked. Principe said only his sister could tell the agents where she bought it and who she sold it to.
Principe would not furnish information about his history saying, “You guys know all about me anyhow.” Principe consented to having his photo taken and explained the origin of his nickname “Popeye” — as a kid, he had an abscessed tooth that caused his jaw to swell up. Principe claimed not to have seen John Rizzo in 12 years, and again denied knowing any Milwaukee hoodlums — even after being shown a series of photographs. The agents further took a urine sample from Principe and confiscated his used cigarette butts (he smoked Salems) after he left. Principe refused to give them hair samples or a palm print.
There was a party at Gallagher’s Steak House on March 3, 1963 for a singer (name redacted). Tickets were $10 and included cocktails, dinner and entertainment. Most of the guests were Italians, many from the old Third Ward. Steve DeSalvo, Joe Gurera and Buster Balestrere were conspicuously absent.
William Covelli, a Racine man, and their wives stayed at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs from March 4 through March 13, 1963. They had rooms 542, 543 and 544. Once during their stay, Covelli called his home from the hotel (presumably to check in on his kids).
The FBI interviewed August Maniaci at Maniaci Bar and Restaurant, 1902 East North Avenue, on March 6, 1963. He said that the restaurant was his only employment and he was not involved in the criminal syndicate. He further clarified that the restaurant had belonged to his father and was now owned by other members of his family — he just worked there.
Special Agents Albert B. Knickrehm, William J. Higgins and John A. Holtzman interviewed Albert Albana on March 7, 1963. Albana denied any knowledge of the Biernat murder and would not talk about John Rizzo or William Covelli. He did admit he knew Tony Biernat, but only as a jukebox operator. He said he knew Rizzo, but only from Greco’s restaurant, and he was not involved in a gambling operation with Rizzo and did not know how he made his living. Albana would not say how he (Albana) made his living, either. He denied knowing Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Joseph Gurera, Peter Balistrieri or Buster Balestrere. He did acknowledge that Dominic Principe was a good friend and that he (Alabana) was a godfather to one of Principe’s kids. He declined to take a polygraph test and when the agents pointed out to him his inconsistencies, he said that he was poorly educated, did not express himself well, and that the agents probably misunderstood him. He did say he was born in New York and came to Kenosha and ran a mink farm in Benton, Illinois. During World War II, he worked at a defense plant at the Kaiser Shipyards in Portland, Oregon. He further acknowledged he had served 13 months in the Milwaukee House of Correction for a bootleg conviction in 1929. He said his wife was going through menopause and was difficult to live with. They asked where he spent his time away from home and he declined to answer. They asked if it was above Dante’s Restaurant, to which he responded, “If you knew the answer, why did you ask?” The agents then took a photograph of Albana.
Agents interviewed Edith Salemi on March 7, 1963 in the presence of Dominic Principe. She confirmed that she had owned the blue Ford with Illinois license LJ9728, but had sold it in early February.
Albert Albana and John Rizzo were in Hot Springs, Arkansas on or about March 11, 1963.
On Tuesday, March 12, 1963, assistant city attorney George A. Bowman accused Dominic Frinzi of “inexcusable delay and neglect” for his part in filing an appeal regarding Frank Stelloh’s lawsuit against the police department. Frinzi had filed a notice of appeal January 4 but may have missed the deadline for filing a bill of exceptions. Frinzi said his delay was due to his client not being available and resented the attack on his personal integrity. Later the same day, Stelloh was in court for a $10 fine for deviating in traffic. He had a jury trial, and the jury deliberated for 25 minutes, with the verdict to be read at 9:30am the next morning before Judge John Krueger. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict, accepting Frinzi’s argument that his client was the victim o police harassment.
Sam Iaquinta was interviewed a third time on March 12, 1963, this time by Special Agent Albert Knickrehm. He said he had worked for Biernat as a maintenance man and occasionally did collections. He was also in business for himself with pinball machines, pool tables and two jukeboxes.
Someone (maybe Sam Librizzi) took Delta Airlines Flight 845 from Chicago at 8:20am on March 13, 1963, transferred at Memphis, and landed via Delta flight 495 in Hot Springs, Arkansas at 12:45pm. He was suspected of meeting up with William Covelli and booking at Oaklawn Park Race Track. Covelli and John Rizzo were in Hot Springs “wining and dining” Judge Christ Seraphim, who was presently the judge on Balistrieri’s B-girl case.
A Greyhound moving van was loading all of Joseph Gurera’s furniture up on March 14, 1963 in order to move it back to Overland Park, Kansas. Gurera’s year in Milwaukee had reached the end.
(When?) After being informed that Benny DiSalvo had the reputation of being a hit man and was not seen around the time of the Biernat murder, the Bureau compared DiSalvo’s fingerprints with those found during the Biernat investigation — there was no match.
An informant told the FBI on March 15, 1963 that Albert Albana was now employed at Dante’s Restaurant (3029 52nd Street, Kenosha). The informant said that Albana liked to give people the impression that he was someone important, but the criminal syndicate would only give him positions such as “runner” or “lookout”.
Racine Police Chief LeRoy C. Jenkins advised the FBI on March 15, 1963 that one of his men, Detective Ronald Konicek, had made a pretext call to Rizzo’s daughter, Helene Niebauer, to determine the location of John Rizzo. The police learned that Rizzo was in Amarillo, Texas and was planning to be in Las Vegas shortly. Rizzo was traveling with William and Eleanor Covelli. The FBI speculated that Rizzo may have lied and they were still in Hot Springs.
Agent William Bailey spoke with Edith Salemi again on March 15, 1963 in Lake Zurich. She again said she sold her car to a “hillbilly” after Dominick told her the car had transmission problems and the block was probably cracked. The man (possibly named Don Wilson) paid her $450. She signed the car over on February 8. The man was supposed to mail her the license plate back, but up to now had not done so. She said Dominick used to be involved with the family plumbing business, but he did not get along well with the rest of the family. After he suffered a heart attack, she asked him to come to Lake Zurich and be a partner in her business. Now she maintained the restaurant and motel units while Dominick did repairs and other outdoor work. Because of his heart problems, he can only work a few hours at a time before resting.
Francis Stelloh was in court for a traffic violation again on Saturday, March 16, 1963 — driving too fast for conditions in West Allis. He collided into another car driven by Vincent Rubino, 1029 East Knapp Street, at the intersection of National and Oklahoma. The passenger, Marie Rubino, received slight injuries to her face and mouth. Stelloh, 50, was living at 1315 North 59th Street.
John Rizzo and William Covelli, both in Hot Springs, were allegedly betting on a fixed horse race at Oakland Park on March 18, 1963.
FBI agents interviewed Muriel Albana at her place of business, American Motors Corporation, on March 20, 1963. She said she was separated from her husband Albert, and that he lived with a friend above Dante’s Restaurant. She did not know the friend’s name. She said that Albert returned home almost every day to see his son, and that he was good friends with Dominic Principe. Albert was Principe’s daughter’s godfather. When shown photographs of Steve DeSalvo, she said she did not know him. Muriel acknowledged trading in her old car, a 1954 blue and white Ford, for a new Rambler at Hiller Chevrolet.
Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo were seen having lunch at Alioto’s on Bluemound on March 22, 1963. (While Gurera was apparently moved at this point, he may have been going back and forth between Kansas City and Milwaukee to finalize things.)
Kenosha police made a raid on March 23, 1963 at 2:10am and arrested several Kenosha men and a man from Zion. A Kenosha lieutenant described it as a “neighborhood” game, with the biggest loser being out $100.
The FBI interviewed one of the Riviera’s bartenders on March 27, 1963. The man said he earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert’s and a master’s degree from Marquette University, but now worked Saturday nights at the Riviera from 10:30pm until 3:30am. He knew nothing of gambling, was not a gambler himself, and denied having seen any gambling activities at the Riviera. He said he knew (redacted), but only because the man was well-known as an athlete at Lincoln High School in the 1930s. (This might be Santo Curro.)
Steve DeSalvo met Joseph Alioto in the latter’s hospital room on Wednesday, March 27, 1963. Even from the Misericordia hospital on West Juneau Avenue, suffering from heart trouble and pneumonia, Alioto was seen as the replacement for Joseph Gurera and was “calling the shots” with local gambling.
William Covelli spent the evening of March 29, 1963 in Geronimo’s Tavern (2201 56th Street, Kenosha) with a Kenosha police officer (name redacted). They were drinking between 7:30pm and 10:00pm. No one else was involved in the meeting.
Helen Haukedahl, Kenosha Chief Stanley Haukedahl’s wife, shot and killed alleged mistress Dorothy A. Bitautis in downtown Kenosha on April 1, 1963. She was charged with first-degree murder the next day. Chief Haukedahl was suspended and resigned a week later. Bitautis, incidentally, was the daughter of former police officer George Francis O’Hare and granddaughter of former Kenosha police chief Owen O’Hare.
Special Agent Gassaway asked an informant on April 1, 1963 what he thought of Anthony Biernat’s shirt being soaked in urine. The informant said that this would indicate to him that it was a gangland murder because Italians have the saying “I’ll live long enough to piss on your grave.” (I do not think this is a distinctly Italian phrase.)
Milwaukee police detectives were served notice on April 2, 1963 that Dominic Frinzi had appealed Frank Stelloh’s civil suit for false arrest.
Nick Gentile was wanted for questioning on April 3, 1963. He was picked up in Wauwatosa and brought to Milwaukee, then released. It is unclear what he was questioned about. The same day, Anthony Pipito was arrested for burglary but he was released.
Albert Albana left for Florida on April 5, 1963 in order to pick up his stepson and bring him home.
A former “stick man” of Rizzo and Covelli’s craps game was approved by the Racine Licensing Committee for a bartenders license on April 9, 1963. He still had to pass the Racine Common Council. Chief Jenkins thought he would probably get the license, because even though he had a history of gambling and prostitution, such charges were thrown out. (With the files redacted, it is hard to say for sure, but it looks like he went to work as a bartender for the Marine Bar at 11th and Lafayette.)
Frank Balistrieri was acquitted by a jury on Wednesday, April 10, 1963 of allowing female dancers to sit on the laps of male patrons at the Downtowner. Also acquitted were bartender Joseph Enea and two dancers. Balistrieri was represented by James Shellow.
FBI agents were at Postl’s Health Service (188 West Randolph Street) on April 11, 1963. They observed a man on a treatment table. When the man saw them, he remarked, “I don’t want to talk to you. See my attorney.” He then got off the table and walked away. While leaving the office, Felix Alderisio was seen standing in the entrance. The agents greeted him, and Alderisio told them he did not wish to talk as he walked away.
Agents went to Apex Amusement in Niles on April 11, 1963 and talked to someone (name redacted, possibly Edward Vogel). He said he had met Anthony Biernat years ago through game operator Tom Williams, who worked in the Kenosha area. He said that about a decade ago, Biernat would visit Apex and discuss which machines were doing well and which phonographs were getting the most play. However, he had not seen Biernat in the past two years, at which time they had a few drinks at a jukebox convention. He said he did not know why Biernat would be killed, as his route was not very big and hardly worth taking over. He said there was no muscle in Chicago related to the jukebox business other than the recent bombing of George Mueller and Sons, and he did not know anything about that. The man then said, “You know I would cooperate if I had any information pertaining to this murder or bombing.” Then he laughed. When asked if Gus Alex was in town, he said he did not know. When asked if Alex worked at Apex, he said, “Yes, he works here, but he may have been here when you arrived and went out the other door unless you have someone watching the outside.”
Gus Alex was found at a service station at the corner of Milwaukee and Devon. He repeatedly asked the agents to tell him his rights and would not answer any questions about Tony Biernat or anyone else. He then clarified his attitude was nothing personal and told the agents they were doing a good job. He carefully backed his car out of the station and left.
On April 13, 1963, the court made the following decision: the warrant issued regarding the property in Jennie Alioto’s apartment was not valid because it lacked sufficiency of designation of the objects of the search and seizure. The search and seizure conducted pursuant to the invalid warrant was illegal, and the objects obtained thereby must be returned to the movants.
Helen Haukedahl was arraigned on April 16, 1963.
Louis John Tarantino was paroled on April 17, 1963.
The FBI interviewed Dominic Principe yet again on April 19, 1963 and Principe informed them that he would still not take a polygraph and did not want to get involved in the Biernat investigation in “any way, shape or form.” He said he thinks his sister’s car was now involved in stock car racing, but he did not know for sure.
Agents spoke with Sam Iaquinta on April 19, 1963 and he told them that Dominic Principe was a good friend of his and was probably not involved in the Biernat murder. He said at one time Principe told him he had the opportunity of getting 15 jukeboxes, and he asked Iaquinta of what the prospect would be for the machines in Kenosha. Iaquinta told him that he would “starve” with only 15 machines, and the subject never came up again.
An informant told the FBI on April 19, 1963 that some gamblers in Kenosha had begun opening up, but were only doing so on horse betting and baseball. Furthermore, they were allegedly using pay phones and rotating which ones so as not to form a routine. Craps and poker had not yet returned.
The FBI began to wiretap the law office (rooms 7144, 7148 and 7150 at 161 West Wisconsin Avenue) of Dominic H. Frinzi on April 22, 1963 and kept the bug there until October 2. When later challenged about the tap, the Feds contended that they were trying to find information on the murder of Anthony Biernat. The bug was a small microphone inserted within a ceiling panel so as not to be detected. Wires from the bug went to a terminal box located in the building’s hallway. The box was operated by the Wisconsin Telephone Company, who were aware of the line running from the microphone to a private FBI line they could use to listen in and record the office.
An informant told the FBI on April 23, 1963 that Frank Balistrieri had invested some money into Gallagher’s to fix the plumbing and other things, but had not invested enough to improve business there. He was also cutting corners by telling the bartenders to put cheap whiskey into the mixed drinks, and customers were not returning because of this.
At 4:40pm on April 23, 1963, Dominic Frinzi spoke with someone on the phone concerning the ongoing John Doe investigation. The man told Frinzi he admitted to the probe that he had paid off (presumably to police) on coin machines in his tavern. He told them he had paid off the Vice Squad a few years ago but not anymore. Frinzi said he would take the man’s case and told him not to answer any more questions but only refer them to his attorney. He also gets an incoming call from an unknown party (FBI files say “probably LD”) and Frinzi tells the person that he received notice that the IRS was auditing the man’s 60-61 returns. Frinzi tells the man that he thinks this is bad and that the IRS is actually aiming at “our friends” and only using this man to get to others. He then told the man to come to Milwaukee on Monday and bring “the other party with him”. (Who is LD? I think this may mean “long distance”.) Frinzi called a man and told him that he wanted a photo back and also a key — in person, not through the mail — or he would send out a warrant. Talking to another person on the same call, Frinzi says they are going to get in trouble with a “broad”. Frinzi called Omaha and told the person there that the IRS was looking through 60-61 returns and were going after “the other guy”. Frinzi says it is not just money they are looking into, but getting really nosy — “know what I mean?”
On Wednesday, April 24, 1963, Northway Tavern bartender Otto Ocepek, 49, was granted immunity by Judge Robert E. Tehan (granting a motion by prosecutor Philip Padden) to testify about his gambling dealings with Cefalu, Librizzi and Palmisano. Ocepek said that Palmisano had given him the phone number to place bets, Cefalu took the bets from his phone at his tavern, and Librizzi made the payoffs.
On Friday, April 26, 1963, attorney Frinzi suggested that the court had not proved that the men had residences in the court’s jurisdiction. Witnesses were produced to show that they did. Frinzi then asked that the jury be set aside and that Judge Tehan made the ruling on the case. Tehan agreed, and found the three men guilty and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
Dominic Frinzi received a call on Saturday, April 27, 1963 from Chicago telling him to make reservations for six at the Milwaukee Inn on May 4. After that, a 61-year old “whiskey-voiced Italian” named Rocco came in to Frinzi’s office on the recommendation of people on Produce Row. Rocco was told that Frinzi could help him get a job — he had formerly worked for DeLuca but was kicked out when the administration changed. If he did not find work soon, he would have to return to Ohio. Frinzi said if he gave Rocco money he could lose his license, but if Rocco called back Tuesday he could see about helping him with a job.
An FBI agent (redacted, but formerly with ATF) observed Ralph Masaro receive a small package or roll, slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes, from a man in a gray Buick in front of Car’s Delicatessen on April 30, 1963 at 10:35am.
The FBI conducted surveillance on Wednesday, May 1, 1963 at the intersection of 64th Street and 14th Avenue in Kenosha. At 9:12am, a red Buick belonging to Ralph A. Masaro (C82-586), a yellowish green Oldsmobile (C99-424) and an unidentified car (Y24-242) were parked near Frankie’s Tap, Mac’s Lunch and Carl’s Delicatessen. At 10:10am, Masaro is seen bringing coffee out of Mac’s Lunch and then meeting up with Captain Dominic Mattioli of the Kenosha Police Department in Carl’s. They go into a back room. At 10:20am, Dominic Principe leaves a car parked in front of Smith’s Grocery and walks into Carl’s. Principe leaves at 10:39am in a tan Mercury with Illinois plates (790-936). At 11:02am, Masaro, Mattioli and a young man leave Carl’s and enter Mac’s Lunch. At 11:07am, a man parks a gray Buick (G77-364) in front of Carl’s. Masaro walks over to Carl’s and brings the man to Mac’s Lunch. Mattioli leaves at 11:14am in a white and maroon Rambler (H38-037). The man driving G77-364 leaves, and is with a man wearing a brown suit. At 11:26am, Masaro leaves in the red Buick.
An informant told the FBI on May 2, 1963 that Dominic Principe was definitely involved in burglaries in Northern Illinois, but he did not know if he was involved in the Biernat abduction.
Special Agent Sam H. Allen, Jr. stopped by Yielding Motors in Mantachie, Mississippi on May 2, 1963, to inquire about the 1954 blue and white Ford sold to them from Hiller Chevrolet in Kenosha. The company owner said the car was sold through North Mississippi Automobile Auction in Baldwyn, Mississippi but did not recall to whom it was sold. He did recall cleaning the car up before selling it, but said it had no stains in the front or rear seats, and he found no buttons, wallet or anything else.
On May 3, 1963, North Mississippi Automobile Auction was consulted, and their records said the 1954 Ford was sold at the end of March to Curt Spencer Used Cars in Calhoun City for $225.
A man who was out on probation for burglary from Judge Coffey tried to get Dominic Frinzi to take a statutory rape case on May 4, 1963. Frinzi did not want it.
On Saturday, May 4, 1963, twelve IRS agents led by Paul Pheaume raided Charles Piscuine’s residence at 1517 North VanBuren. Piscuine tried to run into the basement, but was stopped. While there, seven phone calls came in to place bets, including from Joseph Piscione and Martin Azzolina. Piscuine’s attorneys, Dominic Frinzi and James Shellow, declined to comment.
An informant told Special Agent Knickrehm on May 6, 1963 that Joseph Gagliano was not involved in gambling at the present time and only played gin. He was said to have a cabin on a lake near Milwaukee, and might host poker games when the temperatures warmed up.
Information was received by the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department that five cigarette vending machines were stolen on May 6, 1963 from Dependable Vendors in Downers Grove (Cook County). They were allegedly brought to Kenosha and stored in J. V. Auto Body Company (39th Avenue and 60th Street), where they were worked on by William Covelli. (Another report named the shop as Jay Bee Auto Body at 3902 Wilson Road.)
Special Agents were conducting surveillance on Greco’s Restaurant in Kenosha on May 7, 1963 and saw Albert Albana’s car outside.
Dominic Frinzi was in his office the evening of May 7, 1963 with a theatrical booking agent working on contracts. Frinzi and the agent were planning to go to Chicago the next day.
Special Agents were conducting surveillance at Dante’s Restaurant on May 8, 1963 when they observed Albert Albana leave at 2:00pm and they followed him. He took evasive action, but they were able to follow Albana to St. Catherine’s Hospital, where he visited someone in Room 44. At the hospital, Albana coughed frequently and walked with a noticeable limp.
Also on May 8, 1963, William Covelli was observed going north on Highway 38 in his white Dodge Dart. He was followed to the Metropolitan Block Building at 1012 North Third Street in Milwaukee. Once there, he gave a folder, books and papers to a small woman with auburn hair. Covelli then returned south on Highway 38 and went home.
On May 13, 1963, an anonymous black man called the US Marshals office in Milwaukee and told them that he was an employee on the construction site of the VA Center in Wood, Wisconsin. The man said that the foreman, John Triliegi, was “shaking down” employees and demanding 30% of their paychecks in order to keep working for him. Triliegi had 12 men working under him, building the 1264-bed hospital. This information was passed on to the FBI, who consulted with US Attorney James Brennan. Brennan declined to start an investigation saying that investigating this “non-specific allegation” could interfere with investigating a more specific allegation that could come later.
On May 14, 1963, and informant told Special Agent Gassaway that the Milwaukee crew was looking for someone local to replace Joseph Gurera as the strong-arm man. Gurera had been disappointing, but the Family realized this was not his fault and that it was making too many waves to have an outsider come in and try to pressure people. The informant suggested the best replacement would be to have August Maniaci and John Aiello working as a pair. He said they were “feared among the Italian element” and that Aiello was broke, so he could use the work.
Special agents waited outside the Albana residence for three hours on May 15, 1963, for Albert Albana to come out. When he did not, they knocked on his door, and he opened a second story window, calling down that he had nothing to say to them. Albana told them if they had anything to say, they could say it to his attorney. The agents asked Albana if he could get his attorney’s permission to talk to them. He left the window, came back a few minutes later, and said his attorney was out of town.
John Rizzo was picked up at his house before noon on May 15, 1963 by Sylvester Jaragoski, 52, and they drove south on Highway 41 (presumably to Chicago). Jaragoski was not known by the Racine Police to be a gambler. His only arrest was for operating an unregistered vehicle, and he had worked at Walker Manufacturing for over 30 years, presently as a foreman earning $600 per month. He was at this time in talks to take over the 12th Street Tap, formerly owned by Pete Cepakunas, with the deal expected to close in July.
William Covelli was followed on May 15, 1963. He went from his home, to a delicatessen at 2300 75th Street, to Buratti’s Tap on Roosevelt Road and finally to Greco’s Restaurant. At Greco’s, he helped a few workmen attach a new door.
A police officer (redacted) was interviewed by Agent Francis Mullen on May 15, 1963. He said Principe had been a “rough kid” but was now trying to make an honest living. He had been a plumber before his health declined and he moved to Illinois. When told about the disposal of Edith Salemi’s car, the officer agreed that the story sounded funny.
An elderly man named James or Jimmy was in Dominic Frinzi’s office on May 15, 1963. The FBI described him as “intelligent” and “with an accent” and said Frinzi “let his hair down” around James, whom he respected. Frinzi talked to the man about his trouble with a woman who was going to Turkey and how he had to borrow $3000 to pay a man and is still paying this man $200 each month. Frinzi said he gave the girl. $1700 and now she wants $1100 more in order to ship her possessions to Turkey. He says he will pay it and then be done with her. This woman was apparently part of an acting troupe and was in an accident in the Dakotas — Frinzi was handling her lawsuit.
James Shellow was in Frinzi’s office on May 16, 1963 and Frinzi talked with him about where he was going to get the money to pay off the woman (his mistress).
The FBI interviewed a former employee of Rizzo and Covelli on May 17, 1963. He characterized the games there as “small” and “friendly” and said he knew nothing concerning Anthony Biernat.
Dominic Frinzi spoke with another attorney in his office on May 20, 1963. Frinzi said he had charges against him from the Bar Association for violating attorney-client privilege.
On May 21, 1963, Frinzi instructed his secretary not to answer any questions from the IRS and to lock up all records at night. They were apparently looking into checks between Frinzi, Balistrieri and LaGalbo that were possibly related to bookmaking.
On May 21, 1963, John Alioto’s son, Joseph, died at the age of 41 of cancer. Among others attending the funeral was Angelo Marino, a San Jose hoodlum and relative of Santo Marino. Angelo Marino also had $40 worth of flowers sent to La Matto Funeral Home. (Angelo would later be the head of the San Jose family from 1978-1983.) The FBI wrote down license plate numbers at Alioto’s funeral, with many of them being from Illinois. They also used 4 rolls of movie film and 6 rolls of 35mm film. Others present were from Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland. An informant said that Angelo Alioto was expected to step into his brother’s role, but this is uncertain (I have no record of Angelo being involved in criminal activities whatsoever). Peter Balistrieri told an informant that it was the biggest funeral Milwaukee had ever seen, and that he had witnessed known killers crying.
Frank and Peter Balistrieri were gone much of the evening on May 23, 1963 and therefore missed several long distance calls for them from San Francisco. Also looking for them was a man who was going to Florida on May 29. Frank came in just before closing time and made the comment to his attorney that he knew he was going to “get out of it”.
Mrs. Johnnie Mae Jackson, 48, took (and passed) a lie detector test on May 27, 1963. She alleged that she had paid Vice Squad Captain Harry Kuszewski $100 a month for seven years to leave her brothel (at 1717 North 4th Street) alone. She also paid off fifteen other vice squad officers; detective Alfred Kaczkowski admitted to receiving a bottle of Napoleon brandy from Jackson.
A man at Jay Bee Auto Body was interviewed on May 28, 1963. He confirmed that several cigarette vending machines had been brought in for reconditioning and repainting. He did not think they had any connection to William Covelli, though.
Agents conducted surveillance on Greco’s restaurant on the evening of May 29, 1963. They observed Albert Albana leave, drive into town, buy a newspaper, and then return to Greco’s. He was in the company of a few other men and was playing cards.
Albert Albana’s wife was interviewed on May 29, 1963 by Agent Francis Mullen and said she was in the process of divorcing him. She did not think he was an important person in the criminal world, but did think he dealt in stolen merchandise and had heard him say in the past that certain items were “hot”. As an example, she showed the agents three musical cigarette lighters.
FBI agents were conducting more night time surveillance in Milwaukee than usual the week of May 29 through June 4, 1963 and were not focused on Kenosha at all.
Frank Stelloh met Steve DeSalvo on May 30, 1963 at Checker Cleaners, where they had coffee.
Dominic Principe was in Kenosha on June 6, 1963 to attend graduation exercises at 6pm, but left for Illinois by 10:30pm.
Kenosha Vending Company president William “Wheezer” Covelli, 43, was abducted from his car late on the evening of Thursday, June 6, 1963, handcuffed and taken to the burial site of his friend Anthony Biernat. He had left Greco’s restaurant around 10:30pm and drove down Roosevelt Road, turning on 36th. According to five witnesses, the abductors’ car looked like a “police” car and had Illinois license plates. Covelli said it pulled alongside him with a siren and flashing red lights and was a 1957 or ’58 Plymouth. He also had a hood — that he described as being like a wool sweater — pulled over his head. After taking off, another car pulled up and dropped a man off who drove Covelli’s station wagon to the parking lot of the County Garage on 60th Street.
At the burial site, the kidnappers claimed to be FBI agents, they put a gun to Covelli’s head, held him by his belt over the hole, and asked him about the murder. When Covelli said he did not know who killed Biernat, they threatened to harm his mother, his wife and his children. Covelli told them, “Our marriage has not been blessed with children.” Four times they put a dark snub-nosed revolver to his head, pulled the trigger and the gun clicked. The men said if he would not say who killed Biernat, he would have to write down the names of Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo. Covelli told them he would not write those names if he could not prove it. The men accused him of introducing those two to Biernat, and Covelli denied it. One of the men said he knew Covelli was lying because Tony had told him so. Covelli said, “I didn’t think the FBI treated people like this.” The man responded by saying they were “friends of the FBI”. The men then went through Covelli’s pockets and took two business cards. One man said they now had a sampel of his handwriting and would frame him. When they eventually dropped him off at 2:15am two blocks from his car, they took his drivers license and several strands of hair. Covelli contacted his attorney, James M. Shellow of Milwaukee. Shellow contacted the FBI, who knew nothing of the incident. Covelli immediately made a written statement for Special Agents Richard Thompson and Alexander LeGrand. Covelli was questioned for three hours by Detective Captain Arthur J. Riley, who offered Covelli police protection; it was turned down.
Also on June 7, 1963, the FBI collected Covelli’s soiled clothes: one pair of blue Botany 500 trousers; one white, short-sleeved size 15 1/2 Penney’s shirt; one pair of black Florsheim shoes, sized 8 1/2.
US Attorney James Brennan’s office received a letter on June 7, 1963 from the Department of Justice informing him that more specific information had been received concerning John Triliegi’s alleged shakedown attempts and that an investigation was being opened. The first witness was called to Brennan’s office on June 13 and spoke of his experiences with Triliegi and Sam DiMaggio.
Dominic Principe returned to Kenosha on June 8 to bring his wife to Madison for the graduation of his son on June 10. He returned to Lake Zurich on June 11.
The Bureau in Washington called ASAC Wallace LaPrade at 11:10am on June 8, 1963 concerning the Covelli situation. Assistant Director Courtney Allen Evans suggested that not only should they not lay off the pressure on the hoodlum element, but they should consider interviewing Frank Balistrieri, and possibly using a polygraph test on him.
Special Agent Paul H. Stoddard spoke to the press on Sunday, June 9, 1963 concerning the Covelli incident. He said, “I categorically deny any involvement of FBI personnel in connection with this complaint. The Milwaukee office of the FBI is investigating this case as it concerns the impersonation of FBI agents which is a violation of the federal impersonation statute.”
At 12:10pm on June 10, 1963, the FBI received notice that William Covelli’s attorney had filed a complaint against the FBI. The complaint was filed with Judge Coffey, who said he would have nothing to do with it.
Agents Thompson and LeGrand spoke to Frank Balistrieri at 5:30pm on June 10, 1963 concerning rumors they had heard from William Covelli’s attorney that Balistrieri had assaulted an FBI agent who might have been surveilling him. Balistrieri said a few weeks ago, he thought he was being followed. He pulled over near Maniaci’s Bar on North Avenue. He was with Walter Brocca, who said it was the police. Balistrieri asked for the man’s badge number, and he would not give it. Then Brocca suggested the man was FBI. Since the man would not identify himself, Balistrieri wrote down his license plate number. Balistrieri told the interviewing agent that he was quite aware hat striking an officer would be illegal and it “was farthest from his mind.” Balistrieri told the agents that after four years of surveilling him, the FBI had ruined his business and his reputation. He conceded that he was houdned by the press because he was allegedly the head of the Milwaukee Syndicate, but denied that Milwaukee had any such syndicate. Strangely, he admitted he knew that such a syndicate existed in Chicago.
At 8:15am on June 11, 1963, Special Agent Alexander Manson, based in Madison, called the Milwaukee office to tell them a check had been run on license plate Q-9131 by the Milwaukee Police Department. The plate was an FBI registration that traced to the fake name of James Hart in Fern, Wisconsin.
On June 11, 1963, Judge Coffey spoke with the FBI and said that he had been brought a license plate number from William Covelli’s attorney, and was told this might have been the car that abducted him ,as it was following him around town. Upon running the plate through the DMV, it came back to the Milwaukee Office of the FBI. Coffey suggested that the attorney was trying to embarrass the FBI and may possibly be trying to seek a lawsuit with civil damages, especially if they could “prove” the FBI or police had abducted Covelli.
Roughly June 11, 1963, (FNU) Piscitello was granted a limited bartender license, allowing him to only tend bar at Antonio’s (3418 North Green Bay Avenue). Antonio’s was owned by Tony Machi (not the same one known as Tony Petrolle).
On the evening of June 11, 1963, the FBI tried to interview Walter Brocca, Steve DeSalvo, Buster Balestrere and Frank LaGalbo. They all declined to be interviewed. Mike Albano said he did not know William Covelli and had not been to Kenosha in over a year. August Maniaci also said he did not know Covelli but thought the FBI abduction story was “ridiculous”. He said he knew Covelli’s father, Red Covelli, and it was possible he had met William when he was a child, but the Covelli kids were sent off to Italy for school. Frank Stelloh was sought but could not be found.
Special Agent Albert MacDonald looked for Peter Barca on June 12, 1963 at the Flamingo Club (1240 Sheridan Road) and the Maple Crest Gold Club, where he was rumored to be playing golf. Barca was found at his home, 1230 Sheridan Road. He told the agent that he sold the Flamingo Club about two years ago and now owned and operated the Barca Belting Company, a dealer in new and used converted belts and equipment. Barca said this gives him plenty of free time, and in the last week he was golfing, including a tournament at Oshkosh, and had attended the races at Washington Park in Illinois. Barca said he had no idea who could have been responsible for the Covelli abduction, but sincerely doubted that the FBI was involved. Barca further said he was a close friend of Anthony Biernat’s, had known Biernat since he was a young man, and had seen him on the afternoon he died. He thought the murder was senseless and did not prove anything to anyone, as Biernat’s route was hardly lucrative. Barca speculated that the Syndicate — if such a syndicate existed — had not approved of Biernat’s killing, and they sent men after Covelli to determine who had been behind it. Barca said he did not know if a syndicate actually existed, and if it did, he did not know who might be members. He said he was born in Italy and had a brother in Kenosha named Alphonse who was retired and lived at the Kenosha Youth Foundation. He had another brother, Tony, who had returned to Italy a decade ago to visit family and died there from a burst appendix. Barca said he only met Frank Balistrieri once, about two years ago, at the Italian golf tournament in Milwaukee.
The FBI questioned Peter Barca’s nephew Frank L. Barca (2413 34th Avenue) on June 12, 1963 at 5:00pm concerning the Covelli abduction. He operated the Advance Novelty Company (5227 13th Avenue) and said Covelli had offered to buy his route the prior fall. Barca said he was interested in selling because he now worked full-time driving a truck for American Motors for $9000 annually and with the hours he worked (early mornings) he had no time to service his jukeboxes. Barca had not sold Covelli the route yet because he had not determined a price he could live with after building the business up for twenty years. He did not know who killed Anthony Biernat and had not heard any names, but suspected it must have been someone he owed money to. He also did not know who kidnapped Covelli but said they had a “warped mind” and that fact did not indicate anyone to him. Barca said he had been born in Newark, New York in 1909, and both his parents were deceased. He had three uncles in Kenosha — Peter and Alphonse, still alive, and Tony, who had died in Italy about ten years ago.
A reporter with the Milwaukee Sentinel called the Milwaukee Office on June 12, 1963 at 6:30pm concerning license plate number Q-9131. He was informed that the FBI’s official position was “no comment” in relation to the Covelli investigation. The reporter was “obnoxiously persistent” but the agent was firm in saying no comment would be made.
Later in the evening of June 12, around 9:45pm, Special Agent Reed was picked up by the Kenosha Police Department while running surveillance on William Covelli’s residence. He identified himself as an agent, but was brought back to the police station to prove his credentials. He was recognized by an officer there and the matter was dropped. The police stressed, however, that they would like to know when the FBI was running investigations because the police were offering protection to the Covelli family and were suspicious of the FBI given recent events. They also asked about license plate Q-9131 but were not given any answers. The incident ended with the Bureau berating the Kenosha Police for not recognizing FBI identification when they see it. The police were further informed that the Bureau’s official position was not to tell local police when and where investigations were being conducted and this would remain the case.
Special Agent MacDonald caught Carlo DiMaggio on June 13, 1963 as he was leaving his home (1526 North Franklin Place) to go to the county hospital to get more medicine. DiMaggio said he formerly operated a butcher shop at 901 East Center but had a heart attack last year and had to close down the business. DiMaggio said his wife had died about seven years ago (it was actually nine years) and he had not been in the best of health, so he usually stayed home. DiMaggio said he lived off his $83 Social Security and had not been to Kenosha in over thirty years. He knew nothing about the Covelli abduction or the Biernat murder. He said he knew Frank Balistrieri since Frank was a boy who came to his butcher shop, but had no dealings with him.
Agents spoke with Frank Collura, 78, 2005 West Orchard Street on the afternoon of June 13, 1963 while looking for Nick Collura. Frank told them Nick was out driving a truck and to come back later. They stopped back at 4:00pm and then again at 5:30pm, when they found Nick. He advised them he actually lived at 737 North 10th Street, but still stopped by his father’s house after work to prepare dinner. He said he worked for the Rite-Way Tool and Die Company at 1212 South 1st Street each day from 7:00am until 4:30pm. He said he drove a green Pontiac and only he drove it. Collura could not recall his whereabouts on the evening that Covelli was abducted, but was quite certain he was not in Kenosha or anywhere near the Bong Air Force Base. He had never been to the base at all. Collura was visibly upset by the presence of the agents, but insisted he did not know William Covelli, Anthony Biernat or anyone else in the vending machine business.
Special Agents Reed and Ahern spoke to Dominic Principe in Palatine, Illinois on June 13 and he denied knowing anything about the alleged abduction of William Covelli. He said he now spends most of his time in Illinois, but maintains a residence in Kenosha so his kids can go to good schools, as Palatine was very rural. He said he makes every effort to avoid Kenosha’s West Side Gang. On the evening of the Covelli abduction, he was at St. George’s school for his daughter’s eighth grade graduation ceremony. At 10:30pm that evening, he left Kenosha for Lake Zurich in a white Mercury Monterey. Principe said that he used to be involved with Jeff Covelli, but was not a close associate of William Covelli, despite Covelli having married Eleanor Venci, Principe’s niece. (Principe’s wife was questioned by Agent Reed the day before and gave the same information. She said Dominic was required to be in Lake Zurich constantly because Edith’s Pizza was a 24-hour restaurant.)
Section Chief Thomas McAndrews called the Milwaukee Office at 4:30pm on June 13, 1963 to inquire if the Bureau had a car with license plate Q-9131. The ASAC replied that they did. McAndrews said that he had received a call from Senator Proxmire concerning the license plate and wondered if it had been involved in surveilling William Covelli. McAndrews was told that the car had followed Covelli to Milwaukee and back, but the license plate had since been removed and the car was not currently in use.
An editorial in the Friday, June 14, 1963 Kenosha News said, “Kenoshans must concentrate on the knowledge that the Department of Justice and the police and sheriff departments are working in concert toward the solution of the Anthony Biernat murder, and also toward the solution of the William Covelli snatch. It’s no secret that the investigation is being vigorously pursued by all law enforcement agencies.” The editorial went on to say that Milwaukee and Chicago were trying to move the spotlight from their crime to Kenosha.
Fred “Jeff” Covelli, 7544 Sheridan Road, was awakened by agents on June 14, 1963. He now worked the night shift for a local manufacturing plant. Covelli said he knew nothing about the abduction of his brother. His sister-in-law (Eleanor) had called him and told him about it, but he knew of no one who would “pull” the job.
Anthony Pipito was arrested for burglary on June 14, 1963 but the charge was dismissed.
Joseph Spera, 3023 North Cramer Avenue, was interviewed by Agent Reed on June 15, 1963. He said he had lived at his present address for four years and worked as a garbage collector for the city. As a side job, he purchased three jukeboxes one year ago and had them in the Sportsmen’s Bar on 7th Street, Ben’s (Bond’s?) Bar on North Avenue and Maniaci’s on North Avenue. Spera said he made roughly $36 a week doing this, and it would supplement his pension when he retires. He had not been pressured to sell his business or make protection payments. Spera said he did not know Covelli or Biernat and had actually never visited Kenosha. He also said he was not a gambler, and only knew the Balistrieri family as a result of having grown up with them. His only interaction was at weddings and funerals.
On June 17, 1963, the Milwaukee FBI reported to the Kansas City FBI that a Chevrolet sedan registered to Nicaragua-born Joe Solomon Amador, 54, of 4109 Blue Ridge, Kansas City had been visiting Frank Balistrieri the last few days. They requested information on Amador and the whereabouts of Joseph Gurera. They could not determine where Gurera was, and Amador’s name came back clean — he was a stationary engineer for Southwest Bell Telephone Company and had no criminal record. Amador had been naturalized in Galveston, Texas, had served in the military during World War II and prior to the phone company worked for the Kansas City Macaroni Company. Agents considered the possibility that Amador was in town to help with tapping a phone line. The phone company said it was doubtful that Amador knew how to tap a phone line, but acknowledged he was on vacation and could have traveled to Milwaukee in June.
Senator Proxmire received a letter from J. Edgar Hoover on Monday, June 17, 1963 concerning the William Covelli abduction that he shared with the press. The letter said, “I have checked into this situation and have determined that no personnel of this bureau were involved. I want to assure you that this bureau is conducting an unbiased, thorough, aggressive investigation of this matter in order to fully resolve the conflicting statements allegedly made to Covelli by the persons involved who claimed they were FBI agents.” Proxmire told the press, “I am satisfied that this matter is being investigated very closely.”
On June 18, 1963, Dominic Frinzi vented about his frustrations with James Shellow. Shellow had apparently told the IRS that Frinzi had books and records when Frinzi was hoping to settle his tax problems by simply using check stubs. Frinzi said he left work early the day before and got files back from Shellow before the “damn fool” turned them over to the IRS.
Attorney James Shellow called the Milwaukee Office at 3:45pm on June 18, 1963. He spoke with SAC Paul Stoddard and told Stoddard that he knew the FBI was looking into his background and connections, as a number of his clients had been interviewed. Shellow said he would be very happy to be interviewed if the FBI liked, and Stoddard told him they would let him know if such a desire arose. Shellow asked how the Covelli investigation was going, and he was told this was confidential.
The FBI spoke with Sheriff Charles Larson of Lake County concerning the Covelli abduction on June 18, 1963. Larson said the car reminded him of a private detective he used to utilize who drove a Cadillac with a red light on top. The man had been employed to help look into fires at the Hawthorne Melody Farms. Larson described the detective as a “weirdo” who got mixed up in a slum realty fiasco with some major league baseball players.
Special Agents went to the home of Muriel Albana on June 19, 1963. She said she hardly knew Anthony Biernat and then said, “I don’t know anything about anything.” She appeared scared, and agents believed this might be because Albert — who was in the backyard — may have threatened her about talking to law enforcement.
The FBI interviewed John Rizzo in Milwaukee on June 19, 1963. Rizzo said his attorney, Dominic Frinzi, advised him to only answer questions concerning the abduction of William Covelli. Rizzo said he knew nothing of the incident beyond what he read in the newspapers. When asked about his gambling and business relationship with Covelli, he declined to answer. Rizzo did acknowledge that he was close friends with Covelli, had known him twelve or fifteen years, and had visited him on June 16 with his wife Josephine. Rizzo said in the winter he liked to play pinochle and gin rummy with Covelli. He also said he had known Jeff Covelli roughly the same amount of time, and believed that the Covelli brothers used to operate vending machines together. He said he used to play cards at the Elks Club in Racine, but had not for many years. He admitted to knowing Frank Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo, and said that DeSalvo was never in Kenosha. When shown a photo of Joseph Gurera, he would not confirm if he knew Gurera or not, but merely stated, “He looks like a Mexican.” When asked questions not related to Covelli’s abduction, he would repeatedly answer either “You’re getting off the track” or “Who do you like in the third race?”
On June 19, 1963, detectives Alfred Kaczkowski and Joseph Niedziejko were suspended by Milwaukee Police Chief Howard O. Johnson for five alleged counts of violations of police department rules. The violations principally concerned accepting money from Mrs. Johnnie Mae Jackson. A police department board of inquiry met, found Kaczkowski guilty on all five charges and Niedziejko guilty on three charges, and recommended discharge. On August 27, 1963, Chief Johnson ordered both detectives discharged.
The Milwaukee Office sent a message to the FBI on June 19, 1963 that it would pursue a limited grand jury concerning Anthony Biernat and William Covelli. They proposed having the grand jury work one or two days a month rather than for days on end, on the theory that if they did it too much at once, it would bring a lot of media publicity. And then they would run the risk of putting themselves in a poor light if they were not able to come up with answers. (This may be a wise decision, as the case remains officially unsolved 50 years later.)
On June 20, 1963, the Special Agent Warren J. Kenney interviewed the manager of the Merritt, Chapman and Scott Corporation who had hired John Triliegi, and the man said he considered Triliegi to be an “excellent foreman” and received “no complaints whatsoever” about his job performance. In fact, Triliegi was the only foreman of the five on site with the authority to hire workers (after they were referred from the local labor union).
On June 20, 1963, Special Agents Reed and Holtzman knocked on the door of an apartment building in West Allis that had Frank Stelloh’s white Thunderbird parked out front. The woman who answered the door said she had a “lady guest” and this was not a good time. The agents said they wanted to talk to the “male guest”, and she refused them entry. The agents knocked again, and this time Stelloh came to the door. He said, “I don’t want to talk to you guys.” The agents responded that he did not know who they were. Stelloh asked, “Do you have a warrant?” The agents responded that they were FBI agents and only wanted to talk. At this point, Stelloh closed and locked the door.
At 4:25pm on June 20, 1963, James Shellow called SAC Stoddard and told him that William Covelli would be taking a polygraph test from an independent source in Chicago the next day and he would like the FBI’s presence. Stoddard said that the FBI would not be there, as they would not want to be restricted to the boundaries that Shellow had set for questioning. The next morning at 9:10am, Shellow called again and said the test had been canceled and he was seriously considering withdrawing as Covelli’s attorney.
On June 24, 1963, Dominic Frinzi and James Shellow were working on Frinzi’s tax case. Frinzi wanted to throw away and destroy some records, while Shellow wanted to save them. Frinzi asked why Shellow wanted to save them, but he would not say. Frinzi feared the IRS would find the records with a search warrant. There was also discussion about Frinzi buying half of Shellow’s property on North Prospect.
On June 24, 1963, Special Agent John T. Dunn interviewed Salvatore Balistreri, 3426 North Downer, a laborer on the site. Balistreri said he was born in Sicily on April 14, 1899. He was hired on to the job by waiting in line every morning to be picked and was hired on in October 1962. Prior to that, he had worked for Seisel Construction for 17 years. He said he knew Sam DiMaggio and John Triliegi, but was never asked to pay for his position. Special Agent Warren Kenney interviewed Ernest Anthony Christian, 1023 West National Avenue, the same day. Christian said he was born November 19, 1905 in Rhinelander, worked for the union and was hired by Triliegi through a union agent. He had not made any payoffs or heard of anyone else who had either. Furthermore, he said he was an Army veteran who would not allow anyone to shake him down. Dunn also interviewed Manuel Duarte, 719 East Knapp Street, who had been employed on the hospital site since November. He said he had been born January 1, 1903 in Ponta Delgada, Portugal, and became a citizen in 1942. He said he knew Triliegi well, and carpooled to work with him. Duarte said he knew of no kickback scheme and had not paid anything for his job. Numerous other employees told the agents that they had heard “rumors” of kickbacks, but not one of them admitted that they personally paid anything.
A man named Joe came into Dominic Frinzi’s law office on June 25, 1963 and asked how he could get an abortion. Frinzi said he could not advise Joe on how to break the law, but said it was better to not be “penny wise and pound foolish” and that a $400-500 abortion might be a better investment than $4000 per year child support. Joe said the woman had another man who she wanted to marry and just wanted the money — he would not actually have to join her for the procedure. (The FBI speculated that this was Baby Joe Balistrieri, son of Peter Balistrieri.) He was then interrupted by a phone call concerning 20 prostitutes that had been picked up. After this call, he called the INS in Reno to see about a visa for a Turkish entertainer.
On June 26, 1963, Frinzi received a call from someone named SI. He told SI not to come into the office, but instead arranged to meet hi mat 8:30pm. Frinzi also called the INS in San Francisco concerning the Turkish visa. He was told he had to get approval from the American Guild of Variety Artists. Frinzi suggested getting the entertainer a job at one of Frank Balistrieri’s clubs so he could work with the Milwaukee INS.
An informant told the FBI on June 27, 1963 that Frank Stelloh was the new owner of Carmelo “Melo” Curro’s night club next to Gallagher’s. (This seems highly unlikely.)
The Milwaukee Journal broke the story of John Triliegi’s shakedown attempts on June 27, 1963 (though they did not mention him by name). Inspector Harold Breier told the newspaper that the police had received information that an ex-convict was working on the job site, but had not heard about any payoffs. He said, “We conducted an investigation and found no violation of the law. We turned the matter over to the FBI.” The next day, H. R. Erickson, the industrial relations manager for Merritt, Chapman and Scott Corporation told the newspaper, “We are not aware of anything of the sort, nor has it ever been brought to our attention. We would certainly be favorable toward cooperating with the FBI to the fullest extent to clear this matter up. We will be just as interested in it as the FBI until it is either proven or disproven.” Peter Poberezny, the outgoing president of Laborers Union Local 113, also said he was not aware of any incidents. “If there had been any such payment,” he said, “the man who received it should be in the penitentiary. Our union does not allow such a thing. I’m sure our new regime will look into it.”
Following the newspaper coverage, Representative Clement J. Zablocki wrote a letter to J. Edgar Hoover asking to be kept abreast of the investigation, as he was “deeply interested in knowing the facts” of the matter. Interestingly, the VA Hospital was later named for Zablocki (who also had a school and library named for him after his death).
Frank Balistrieri, through his adviser Joseph Caminiti and the Teamsters Union, began supplying local politicians, including Mayor Henry W. Maier, with postage stamps in mid-1963. Rather than use cash or check, which may be easier traced, they decided this was a good way to influence the people who grant licenses. When questioned years later, Maier told reporters, “Balistrieri never asked me to do a damn thing for him — and I never did a damn thing for him.” He acknowledged that they had met, but never offered each other more than a greeting.
Helen Haukedahl was taken to the Winnebago State Hospital for the Criminally Insane on June 28, 1963 after being found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Her husband tried to regain his position as Kenosha police chief, but the city had moved on to their new chief, J. Leo Buchmann.
Around July 1963, Dominic Mandella bought a tavern with an expired license for his brother Anthony. Because each ward was only allowed so many licenses, the brothers paid off District Attorney William McCauley, Assistant District Attorney David Mozila and Alderman Alfred C. Hass (of the Third Ward) to issue the license.
Special agents John A. Holtzman and Carlyle N. Reed spoke with the chief investigator of Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office on July 1, 1963. They were curious about an alleged incident from 1949 involving the kidnapping of the wife and daughter of either Carl “Cookie” Scola or his gambling partner. Allegedly, the women were kidnapped and held at gunpoint until Scola’s gambling operation was turned over to William Covelli. The investigator said he was not familiar with the incident.
An informant told the FBI on July 5, 1963 that the Bang-Bang Bar at 3rd and Port Washington was run by “an Italian gang” and had some prostitutes working out of there. (Yes, the “Bang-Bang”… I didn’t make that up. However, 3rd and Port run parallel, so the address is clearly wrong. Another informant said a tavern called Antonio’s was Italian-run and had prostitutes, and was located at Port and Green Bay. Perhaps this was the same place.)
On Monday, July 8, 1963, there was a party at Gallagher’s Steak House for someone “going into the service”, which meant joining the Family. Approximately 58 people, including Walter Brocca, attended.
Steve DeSalvo helped Buster Balistrere move back to Kansas City on July 10, 1963.
In the July 10, 1963 Milwaukee Journal, Commissioner of Internal Revenue Mortimer Maxwell Caplin was quoted as saying that within six years, John Rizzo had made $96,611 from gambling, but had only reported $39,594. (How he came up with these numbers is beyond me, as I doubt Rizzo kept records.) The IRS was trying where local police and the FBI had failed…
The grand jury investigating the William Covelli abduction began on the morning of Tuesday, July 16, 1963. The first witness was Covelli himself, who only testified for five minutes. He was expected to return for further questioning later.
Special Agent Warren Kenney interviewed John Triliegi on July 16, 1963 concerning the kickback rumors. Triliegi said he was born May 29, 1914 in Omaha and lived at 2933 North Maryland with his wife and children. He had worked on the construction site for the past year in the capacity of foreman, and only hired people with the union’s approval. He openly admitted that he got his sons and sons-in-law hired on to the job, but they had to be approved by the union just like anyone else. He denied collecting any payments or having Sam DiMaggio collect payments for him and said that maybe the rumor started because of the $50 fee to join the union.
Kenney interviewed Sam DiMaggio the same day. DiMaggio freely admitted to being a safe burglar, and said that he was released from Waupun in August 1962 and was hired on to the hospital job through Triliegi and the union. He said he was a devoted union member and even paid his dues while in prison. He said he “would never stoop to taking payoffs” and did not believe Triliegi did either. He said with eight years left on his parole it would be foolish to involve himself in such a trivial criminal move. He did admit that two of his cousins were given jobs at his suggestion, but they went through the same process as everyone else.
Steve DeSalvo returned to Milwaukee on July 17. The absence of Balistrere and Gurera now put Steve DeSalvo firmly in the “underboss” position in Milwaukee, with Frank Stelloh also holding considerable power (though not officially a member due to his ethnicity). (Note: the Milwaukee Mafia operated as a satellite of the Chicago Outfit. While New York is very strict about its Italian blood policy, Chicago has been more lenient and at times may not have even had an official oath. New York was born out of Sicilian tradition, while Chicago evolved from the multi-ethnic Capone gang, with any Sicilian opposition crushed. While Milwaukee had “made” members, it is not clear that any oath existed, so the difference between Stelloh and a high-ranking member may not amount to much.)
On July 20, 1963, agents from the Memphis Division of the FBI tracked down Muriel Albana’s former car (a 1954 blue and white Ford with VIN U4GV171855), and the owner allowed them to examine it. Special Agent James M. Stockton found no bloodstains in the front or rear seat and the car still had the original floor mats. No wallet or coat buttons were found.
On Sunday, July 21, 1963, the house where Anthony Biernat’s body was found was burned to the ground. The fire was reported at 5:00pm by two teenage girls who were bicycling. The girls said that before they saw the fire, they saw five teenage boys in a car with Illinois license plates. The fire was contained by the Kansasville and Burlington Fire Departments, but the house could not be saved.
An informant told the FBI on July 24, 1963 that Joe Alioto had a forgery warrant quashed by Assistant District Attorney Aladin DeBrozzo.
An informant told the FBI on July 26, 1963 that William Covelli had recently been in Buffalo, New York to attend the funeral of his uncle, 70-year old Fred Covelli.
Nick Gentile was brought in for questioning on July 29, 1963. He was released. What was asked of him is unknown.
An informant spoke with the FBI on July 29, 1963. He was not able to say much about the Biernat killing other than that he had previously said a man named Wiseman was involved, and he now knew the man was William “Weezer” Covelli. He did not know how Covelli was involved, though. The informant said that Joseph Gurera would never move back to Milwaukee, and if he tried, the “local boys” would furnish information on him to the authorities. The “boys” were upset that an outsider was brought in when they were more than capable of handling things themselves.
By August 1963, Walter Brocca had begun buying used Seeburg jukeboxes for $125 and putting them in new cabinets to be passed off as new in Milwaukee and northern Illinois. Brocca would transfer the old machines to new cabinets on the grounds of the Para Corporation.
An informant told the FBI on August 2, 1963 that Ralph Masaro’s gambling operations were upstairs from Dante’s Tavern (3009 52nd Avenue). He further advised that Albert Albana and Carl “Cookie” Scola had some part in the operation. (As Albana was living about Dante’s, his involvement is not a surprise.)
On August 2, 1963, an informant said that the Milwaukee Outfit had a new attorney who had been training under Dominic Frinzi and was now operating as a go-between for the Milwaukee and Kenosha hoodlums. This attorney was said to have a weakness for strippers, and apparently dated one or two. (The name is redacted, but would seem to be James Shellow.)
Special Agents Richard C. Thompson and Alexander P. LeGrand interviewed night club owner Frank Monreal on August 6, 1963. Monreal told them that he had been approached a few weeks ago by August Chiaverotti, Walter Brocca and Joseph Balistrieri and told that if he sold “new” jukeboxes for them, he would be paid $150 each for them. After selling five, Monreal opened one up and found that the “new” jukebox contained old mechanisms. He informed the customers to return the jukeboxes to him.
Roughly 15 members of the Milwaukee Family met at the Rafters on August 6, 1963 to discuss the “Saturday Evening Post” article on Joseph Valachi. Among those present were Frank Balistrieri, Vito Aiello and August Maniaci.
Dominic Principe attended a funeral in Kenosha on August 12, 1963 but then returned to Lake Zurich.
The FHA case against August Maniaci and John Aiello was dropped on August 19, 1963 by Hugh O’Connell. O’Connell said that there was not enough evidence to prove they had “guilty knowledge” and also told the FBI that some of the paperwork had been stolen. Rumors persisted that O’Connell had been paid $5500 to drop the case.
Roughly August 19, 1963, dancer Mary White was arrested for sitting with bar patrons at Antonio’s. Owner Anthony T. Machi was also arrested for permitting entertainment outside of legal hours.
Albert Albana met up with a man driving a light-colored Cadillac with Illinois plates on the evening of August 21, 1963. Albana entered the vehicle and they drove north.
On August 22, 1963, gambler Charles Piscuine paid police detective August Knueppel $200 for inside information about when he might get raided.
On Thursday, August 22, 1963, government attorneys filed additional information about John Rizzo’s tax delinquency, pointing out he had operated a gambling establishment at 1240 North Astor in Milwaukee in 1957. The newspapers said Rizzo was the older brother of “Sam Rizzo, Racine labor leader”. Rizzo’s attorney, Floyd John Marenda, filed a motion that the case be tried in Milwaukee. Judge Norman Orwig Tietjens allowed it.
A man named “John Manfried” from the Falstaff Brewery in San Antonio, Texas was in Milwaukee on August 22 and 23, 1963. He spent his afternoons with Frank Balistrieri and spent the evenings in Italian nightclubs where Balistrieri picked up the tab. He was noticeably driving a car with New York license plates despite being from Texas.
Carlo DiMaggio was interviewed at his residence (1536 North Franklin Place) by the FBI on August 23, 1963. He denied any knowledge of the Mafia and said that while such an organization might exist in Chicago or New York, it did not exist in Milwaukee. He acknowledged knowing people who were alleged members, but did not think they were. He also acknowledged that his sons had extensive criminal records, but said they were not directed by any organization to commit the crimes they have done.
William Covelli’s station wagon was seen in John Rizzo’s driveway at 11:30am on Tuesday, August 27, 1963.
On August 30, 1963, US Attorney James Brennan advised the FBI that he was not going to file any charges against John Triliegi or Sam DiMaggio. In his opinion, the kickback story could not be corroborated as the only person who claimed they had to pay was an ex-convict who was deemed unreliable.
In early September 1963, Catherine Covelli became suspicious of her husband Jeff’s activities (he did, in fact, have a girlfriend). She began calling Greco’s Restaurant multiple times a day looking for him.
Sam Iaquinta and several other Italians left for Italy on September 7, 1963.
Agents witnessed Albert Albana driving south on Route 38 from Milwaukee to Kenosha on Friday, September 13, 1963. This same day, his wife was granted a divorce in Kenosha by Judge Urban J. Zievers. She turned down alimony, but kept the Rambler and custody of the children. They were to split the money following the sale of their home. She said that Albert was an abusive husband who choked her, threatened her, threw things at her, and called her “vile and obscene names”.
A 5th Congressional District Republican meeting was held on the evening of September 19, 1963. Vincent Mercurio, 820 East Mason Street, was voted to be chairman of the Republican Party in that district. Mercurio was president of Palmerson Inc, a produce business at 338 North Broadway. The 5th District was heavily Democratic, but Mercurio told the others he believed they could defeat Representative Henry Schoellkopf Reuss. (He was wrong, as Reuss stayed in office another twenty years.)
William Covelli was at Fazio’s on 5th on September 20, 1963.
An informant told the FBI on September 23, 1963 that Tony Bellant was not a member of the Outfit, but knew many of the members and knew about their activities. He said the Bellant family used to live next to the Holiday House in the Third Ward. Craps games were held at Bellant’s house, but he did not take part in them. At this point, he was a salesman for Pabst.
On September 26, 1963, an informant told the FBI that football pool cards were coming in to Kenosha and Racine from Waukegan on Tuesday nights. The informant knew the cards were coming to Angelo Germinaro and Eugene Thomas at the Office Lounge, but at this point did not name Germinaro (or anyone else) as the source of the cards.
Frank Balistrieri and William Covelli had dinner together at the Char-Col House in Waukegan on September 26, 1963.
Based on testimony in federal court back in April, Sam Cefalu and August Palmisano were charged with commercial gambling on Saturday, September 27, 1963.
On October 2, 1963, Special Agent Daniel E. Brandt attended a meeting at the office of US Attorney James Brennan for the purpose of (among other things) starting investigations on Joseph Caminiti and Joseph Madrigrano. Also attending were representatives of the Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service, INS, Department of Labor, ATF, IRS and the Chicago FBI office. None of the agencies knew anything about Caminiti other than that he was a Teamsters secretary and they did not know if he was involved in anything illegal.
Frank Balistrieri and John Rizzo were observed on October 10, 1963 sitting together at Fazio’s on Fifth from 4:30 to 5:15pm. They were still there when the agent left on other business.
Frank Balistrieri returned a car to Hertz Rent-a-Car on October 11, 1963 after using it for two weeks and driving 1,960 miles. He paid or it with another man’s credit card.
The Kenosha police raided the Office Lounge (518 58th Street) in Kenosha on October 11, 1963. The search warrant was read to the bartender on duty, Angelo Germinaro, and the first floor and basement were searched. While they did find a police scanner, there was nothing whatsoever related to gambling on the premises. A few days later, an informant told the FBI that the police had screwed up the raid — Eugene Thomas could see them preparing and destroyed or removed any evidence he could before they entered the tavern. Thomas had actually loaded some of the records into a briefcase, stuffed it with dirty linen, and then walked out the back right past some of the officers who paid no attention to him, apparently thinking he was a customer.
The FBI observed a meeting at Tony and Dotie’s Bar (3478 North 2nd Street) on October 15, 1963. Present were August Maniaci, Joseph Alioto (nephew of John, not his son) and two men from Rockford.
An informant told the FBI on October 16, 1963 that Angelo Germinato of Zion, Illinois was the source of football pool tickets in Kenosha and Racine. The cards were usually distributed on Tuesdays.
Angelo Germinaro was observed at Poodles, Inc. (60th Street and 22nd Avenue) on October 21, 1963. (This business was operated by either Ralph Masaro or Alfred DeCesaro.)
Special Agents Richard Thompson and Alexander LeGrand interviewed baker Peter Sciortino on October 24, 1963 in relation to rumors that he was paying the Outfit $20-30 per week in order to operate. He said he knew Steve DeSalvo, who occasionally would stop by the bakery, but denied knowing Frank Stelloh. He also said he had not paid any money, and that he did not know who had detonated a small bomb near his home in 1962. The same day, the agents interviewed Frank Dimiceli, the owner of the Rafters Steakhouse (7228 South 27th Street). Dimiceli also denied knowledge of any shakedowns. (Dimiceli would later be investigated for prostitution.)
On October 27, 1963, Frank Balistrieri was overheard at Gallagher’s telling Walter Brocca, “When I say push him, you know what I mean… If you can’t do it, I can find somebody who can. He’s alive, isn’t he?” The conversation was presumed to be in relation to the jukebox business and getting the refurbished machines placed in taverns.
On October 29, 1963 Angelo Marino sent flowers to Maria Marino, deceased, the former wife of his father’s cousin in Milwaukee. Her body was at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Angelo told the man on the phone (the flower guy) to make the flowers to Maria Marino, although he did not know her current name because she had been remarried. Angelo also reserved a room in the Schroeder Hotel in Milwaukee for his father, with plans to be in Milwaukee on Wednesday and return to San Jose on Monday.
Frank Stelloh’s appeal for a new trial in his false arrest lawsuit was rejected on October 29, 1963. He had argued that he should get to know the names of the police informants in the case so as to question their credibility. Justice E. Harold Hallows rejected that, saying, “True, a man’s purse is important but his liberty and innocence command greater recognition on the scale when balancing the various elements of public policy in a given case. In exercising its discretion, a trial court should not require the police to breach a confidence upon which the information was given.”
William Covelli and John Rizzo attended a party at Fazio’s on Fifth on November 4, 1963.
Thomas Machi’s fiance was interviewed on November 6, 1963. She said she had been married once before and had an 8-year old son from this marriage. She did not wish to discuss anything concerning the Machi brothers other than to say they operated the Riviera. She said she knew nothing of Thomas’ business affairs and even if she did, she did not think it would be appropriate for her to divulge anything to the authorities. She said that while gambling may be illegal, she did not personally find it to be morally wrong. The woman admitted to being friends with Isadore Tocco and his wife.
Buster Balestrere was interviewed by the FBI at Peppino’s Pizzeria in Kansas City on November 7, 1963. He said he had been harassed by the police in Milwaukee and things were published about him being involved in criminal activity that were not true. Balistrere appeared to be bitter.
A John Doe hearing was held at Kenosha County on November 8, 1963 in front of County Judge Harry V. Carlson. The only testimony taken was from a tape recording made by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office.
John Rizzo was observed making a call from a pay phone at the abandoned North Shore Depot at 1126 West Boulevard in Racine on November 8, 1963. (He may have called the General Insurance Company at 740 North Plankinton.)
(When?) Salvatore DiMaggio transported more than $5000 (and possibly as much as $300,000) in stolen securities checks from Milwaukee to Reno, Nevada.
The Seven-Up Bottling Company of Kenosha, Racine and Walworth incorporated on November 11, 1963. Sam Iaquinta was one of the directors and would later be promoted to vice president.
An informant told the FBI on November 13, 1963 that John Rizzo was going to sell his gambling operation and move to Las Vegas. He said the buyers were three “big boys” who would make the current Racine and Kenosha operation look like “peanuts”.
An informant told the FBI on November 14, 1963 that a big gambling game happened every Friday night over the Highlander in Racine. The cost was $10 just to get in the door, and on the night the informant was there, he had to wait in line to play. He saw over a dozen men there and did not know any of them.
A captain of the Milwaukee Vice Squad was interviewed by the FBI on November 15, 1963. He said prostitution in general was not organized in Milwaukee, but a group of “lower class Italian hoodlums” might be trying to organize it. He said he knew of six houses of prostitution, and four had recently been raided. More often, the prostitutes would hang out at bars and then take the men they pick up to nearby motels. He knew prostitutes hung out as the Clock Bar and Casino, both located at Fifth and Wells. Other taverns that had prostitutes were the Moonglow, the Polka Dot, the Alteristic, Tina’s, the Rancho, Vine Street Tap, Mr. Yancey’s, the Wisconsin House and the Elite bar. During conventions, prostitutes came in from Kenosha, Green Bay, Chicago and Hurley. There was recently a teachers convention where this was known to happen. Some prostitutes worked through Apex Cabs and Big K Cab Company, both located on North 12th. He said upper class prostitutes could charge anywhere from $100 to $300, and he heard that one had received $10,000 from a client over a 6-month period. The higher class prostitutes hung out at Henry’s and the Brass Rail, and possibly at Frank Balistrieri’s Downtowner.
The captain said that gambling was largely craps and cards, and mostly happened after hours among the African-American community. Horse race betting seemed to be largely handled by Sam Cefalu and his brother “Sheriff” Cefalu. Baseball and football pools were popular in the breweries and at American Motors, with pool cards being brought in from Chicago. He had tried to get an undercover officer into American Motors, but the union would not let him. The Puerto Ricans had a policy game (bolita) running out of somewhere near 900 South 5th Street.
Angelo Germinaro met with Ralph Masaro at Greco’s Restaurant on November 17, 1963. They did not converse with anyone else.
An informant told Special Agent William Higgins on November 19, 1963 that the football pool cards were coming from an Outfit-controlled restaurant on Grand Avenue in Chicago. They were brought to Waukegan, where they were picked up by an AMC employee who lived in Waukegan but worked in Kenosha. The informant did not think Germinaro was directly involved in the transfer of the cards because his specialty was horse racing and not football. He further said that although Peter Zocchi was involved in football pools the year before he was not involved this time, even though his business was failing. Zocchi was too afraid of losing his license.
Frank Januzzi was seen on November 23, 1963 with a tall, lanky man with black hair and mustache and also another man in his mid-20s. He had not generally been seen around Kenosha since February.
A big party was held at 3203 45th Street, Kenosha on November 29, 1963. The residence was suspected of being a dropoff point for gambling money and was usually vacant. (This is a large house, with a total of six bedrooms.)
On Tuesday, December 10, 1963, Federal Judge Robert Tehan sentenced six gamblers for failing to purchase a $50 gambling tax stamp. They were William F. “Buddy” Werner, William “Red” Becker, William W. Goldmann, Salvatore Cefalu, Sam Librizzi and Augut Palmisano. Each was given a fine between $1000 and $3000, with Werner receiving the harshest penalty: a fine and a year of probation. Werner, although not Mafia-connected, was well-known in Milwaukee as both a gambler and a former high school basketball star. When he died seven years later from cancer, the local press mourned his passing. Becker’s home at 3949 North 15th Street was Werner’s base of operations. Sentences had not yet been handed down to two other gamblers, Raymond C. Hobert and Raymond L. Mirr. Mirr was accused of running a bookmaking operation out of his business, the Supreme Dental Laboratory.
A man in Shaler, Pennsylvania was interviewed on December 13, 1963 because one of the Machi brothers had called his home. He said this was because his wife was the sister of the Machi brothers’ father. The man himself was a huckster and did not know very much about the Machi brothers, other than that they operated a tavern and that he had visited them once while in Milwaukee for a funeral. (Based on my information, this would imply that the man’s wife was Catherine Machi. It is unclear, though, as she was married to someone with the name Balistreri-Sendik and lived in Milwaukee. Andrew Machi, the brothers’ father, had died in January 1962, which was probably the funeral in question.)
The Assistant US Attorney considered charging Angelo Germinaro with interstate transportation in aid of racketeering on December 30, 1963. He had learned that Germinaro had formerly lived in Kenosha while operating a horse book at the Albion Grille (where he was a short-order cook) at 6548 North Milwaukee Avenue in Niles for Rocco Potenza and Jasper Pellicane. However, he said for the charge to stick he would have to show that Potenza and Pellicane knew that Germinaro lived out of state. (As Kenosha is nowhere near Niles, I am unclear how he could live in one city and work in the other.)
Albert Albana was alone with Frank Balistrieri at Gallagher’s on December 30, 1963 around 10:00pm. An informant saw them in conversation but did not know the nature of the conversation.
Special Agents Logan Pickerl and William Herrmann interviewed Gladys Vogel at her residence (7704 West Palatine, Chicago) on December 31, 1963 at 10:55am. She denied knowing Angelo Germinaro, but did recall a man by his description who worked at the Albion Grille. She declined to say anything about her involvement with horse gambling and Rocco Potenza, other than to say she knows Potenza, because, “I don’t want my house blown up.” She then added, “I am glad I quit playing the horses.”
Special Agents Logan Pickerl and William Herrmann interviewed Anthony Green on January 2, 1964 at the Slinglander Drum Company (6633 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago). Green was shown photos of Angelo Germinaro and Rocco Potenza, and said he recognized Germinaro from when he used to eat dinner at the Albion Grille. He thought (incorrectly) that Germinaro was the proprietor. He said he had seen Potenza around, but did not know his occupation. Green freely admitted he played the horses, but said he only did so at the track and never tried to place a bet at the Albion Grille or anywhere else.
Special Agent Richard Thompson interviewed Leo J. Teshner, 61, at his restaurant, the Blue Dahlia Supper Club (5700 West Bluemound) on January 6, 1964. Teshner said that a few weeks prior, Frank Balistrieri had approached him about leasing the Blue Dahlia and installing the sales manager of the Edison Liquor Company as the new operator. Teshner said Balistrieri made no effort to shake him down, but the money he offered was inadequate and nothing came of the deal. (Other sources said Balistrieri offered $190,000 and Teshner wanted $250,000.) When asked about John DiTrapani, Tesner said they had been friends and thought DiTrapani was a “nice individual”, but did not know he had criminal connections and did not know why he was killed. Teshner further said he was friends with former Chief of Police Polcyn and former SA James Poster. He said Polcyn and Poster used to have outings at Kangaroo Lake in Door County.
The owner of the Teutonia Beer Depot (2232 West Capitol, also known as Teutonia Wine and Liquor) was interviewed on January 7, 1964. He said he knew Frank Balistrieri and many of the Italians, but did not find this surprising as he had been a part of the Italian community his entire life. He knew of no shakedowns, though he said such things happened prior to World War I.
Frank Stelloh was arrested on Tuesday, January 7, 1964 at Kohl’s Food Store, 10707 West Cleveland Avenue, West Allis. He had gone through the checkout counter without paying for two packages of red clothes dye, razor blades, transistor radio batteries and a candy bar — a total value of $3.09. The manager, Terrance Anadell, held Stelloh and his female companion until police arrived. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released on $115 bail. A week later, attorney Dominic Frinzi appeared in court for him and pleaded no contest, resulting in a $61 fine.
Salvatore DiMaggio stole mail bags containing securities checks on January 11, 1964 along with John and Earl Cassel.
On January 11, 1964, John Rizzo was observed using a pay phone from 11:10am until 11:49am. The booth was on North Main in Racine near High Street, and Rizzo had a slip of paper in his hand.
Agents LeGrand and Thompson spoke with Carlo DiMaggio again on January 13, 1964 at his residence (1536 North Franklin). DiMaggio said he was losing his house to Harry Kaminsky on a land contract, and he was going broke on legal expenses for his son Sam, who was unemployed and living upstairs. DiMaggio said he had known both John DiTrapani and Jack Enea, but did not know why they were killed. He said he knew Frank LaGalbo and Frank Balistrieri since they were boys, and that Frank LaGalbo had started out a bum and later became successful — he was now “too rich” to be concerned with “poor people” like DiMaggio. He admitted to knowing Joseph Vallone, Sam Ferrara and John Alioto very well, but did not know anything about the Mafia in Milwaukee. When statements made by Joseph Valachi were brought to his attention, he said he assumed that Valachi knew what he was talking about. DiMaggio said he did not know Steve DeSalvo, though he had heard of him. He also denied knowing Frank Stelloh, though had read about his shoplifting in the newspaper. He said he knew Benny DiSalvo, and he believed that DiSalvo’s wife was somehow important in Washington, DC.
On January 14, 1964, there was a “social gathering” at Gallagher’s, with 30-40 people present, including Walter Brocca.
On Friday, January 17, 1964 at 12:30pm, forty-five police and IRS agents lead by Agent Delbert Skeens simultaneously raided the Tip-Z-Top Lounge (4426 Sheridan Road, Kenosha) and a boardinghouse at 721 Center Street in Racine. United States Attorney James Brennan said, “This concludes about two months of intensive investigation in the Kenosha-Racine area.” In Kenosha, they arrested tavern owner and former high school basketball star Peter Zocchi, 43, and his janitor, John C. Buttera, 56. Zocchi was charged with accepting wagers without a gambling stamp and a failure to pay excise taxes on the wagers. Buttera was released due to improper wording on the warrant but was told to go to the district attorney’s office on Monday. At the Racine house, resident Leah Molgaard, 44, was arrested and charged the same as Zocchi. Zocchi was found with $233 in cash and gambling paraphernalia in his possession, with a preliminary hearing set for January 31. Molgaard had $3700 in cash and paraphernalia.
An informant told the FBI on January 17, 1964 that Club 32 at Highway 32 and Sheridan Road in Zion, Illinois hosted craps, bingo, poker and dice. The owner of the club appeared to be a swarthy Italian with a “protruding stomach”. Gambling was also available at an unknown tavern on Highway 131 adjacent to a barber shop and the Canales Restaurant in Winthrop Harbor. A buzzer was outside the tavern, and if pressed, you could be let in to the gambling area without having to go through the tavern.
Special Agent Alexander LeGrand observed a black Dodge 4-door at the residence of Sam Cefalu on January 23, 1964. The driver was a young Italian (name redacted).
Sam J. Cefalu (1606 North Jackson) incorporated the Commercial Sales Corporation on January 28, 1964 with an address of 2559 North Downer (the site of Balistrieri’s new Continental Music Company). This company was created to help finance Continental’s sales.
Someone was arrested on January 30, 1964 for possessing counterfeit coins and held in the Milwaukee County Jail. He was questioned by the Secret Service.
An informant told the FBI on January 31, 1964 that the owner of Tommy’s Tavern on 38th Avenue in Kenosha was providing prostitutes for truck drivers at the Kenosha Auto Transport. He would allegedly bring them in from Chicago and had rooms in the back of the tavern where the girls could turn tricks.
On January 31, 1964, there was another “social get-together” at Gallagher’s, this time with about 60 people. A man was there from Kenosha, but no Chicago guests were noticed. An informant speculated that this gathering was intended to smooth over differences between the Balistrieri and Maniaci factions of the Milwaukee family.
In February 1964, the Zarne brothers leased Joe’s Spaghetti House (519 West Wells) to Joseph Enea for two years. He was to pay $175 per month for six month, $200 for the second six months and $225 the whole second year. The hired cook was Edward Roman Slawinkowsi, 54, who was not known to have any criminal history beyond being drunk and disorderly.
Frank Stelloh was arrested for fornication on February 4, 1964.
On Friday afternoon, February 7, 1964, Treasury agents arrested Ralph Masaro, 50, and Alfred DeCesaro, 41, for accepting bets without having purchased a federal wagering stamp. The agents raided DeCesaro’s home, an apartment leased to both men and Masaro’s delicatessen, and seized $1984. They also confiscated DeCesaro’s automobile. Hearings were set for February 20.
An informant told the FBI on February 7, 1964 that when Frank Balistrieri had recently been at a motel in Hawthorne, California, there were a total of about twenty men from around the country also meeting there. One of them had an interest in the Hawthorne Bank. Further, the motel switchboard operator kept a log of phone calls and Balistrieri had called someone in Chicago.
The Seven-Up Bottling Company of Kenosha merged with Kohlman’s on February 10, 1964 (with Kohlman’s being the dissolving party).
Agents observed Albert Albana traveling south from Racine to Kenosha on Highway 32 on February 13, 1964.
Special Agents interviewed Vito Aiello at his residence (3038 North Maryland) on February 26, 1964. He admitted knowing Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, John Triliegi, Walter Brocca, Carlo DiMaggio and August Maniaci. Denied being a “muscle man” for Balistrieri, and said he did not think Milwaukee had a Mafia or Syndicate and such things were confined to Chicago and New York. He did say he had formerly been a bartender for Balistrieri but now worked for the Eagles Club and no longer associated with that group of people and was not invited to several social functions in January.
An informant was shown arrest photos of Ralph Masaro and Alfred DeCesaro on February 28, 1964. Masaro was identified as a card dealer at a place called Chim and Eddie’s on Highway 131 in Illinois. DeCesaro looked familiar, but the informant was not sure how.
In March 1964, Tony Petrolle’s Riviera burned down. The FBI noted that although the cause appeared to be arson, Petrolle was probably not behind it, as the tavern was under-insured and a money-making “fag joint”.
Nick Gentile was arrested March 4, 1964 for tax evasion.
On Thursday, March 5, 1964, the IRS made simultaneous raids in New York, Los Angeles and Milwaukee. In Milwaukee they arrested five men for failure to purchase a gambling stamp: Steve Halmo, Robert Pick, Charles Piscuine, Joseph Reder and Harvey Wachs. Also arrested for aiding and abetting was Alfred Prey. At Halmo’s apartment, agents seized $1674 and various gambling information. At the Pick home, Pick told the agents he had to tie up his dog and then quickly ran inside to cut two of his four telephone lines and ignited some flash paper that contained gambling records. Prey showed up at Pick’s home during the raid and got in a scuffle with an agent on the porch. Piscuine’s home had $570, various gambling sheets and three pink telephones. An agent answered a phone while there and took $1300 in bets from the caller — when asked if he was talking to Charlie, the agent (whose name was Charles) said yes.
On March 9, 1964, FBI agents installed a microphone (646-C) at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the site of Frank Balistrieri’s new Continental Music Company. The company did not have routes of its own, but instead bought AMI jukeboxes and pool tables from Pioneer Vending (formerly owned by Herman Paster). The sales were financed through Allied Building Credit Company (2100 West Atkinson). The jukebox license was under (redacted) name, and he had purchased the license from Cortese Phonograph Company (1633 West Juneau), whose license was inactive.
On March 12, 1964, at William Cole’s preliminary hearing before Judge Christ Seraphim, Neil Nelson testified that he made bets as high as $1000 with Cole, the operator of the Taxi Inn Tavern (113 East Juneau). Nelson said he had gambled through Cole for the past five years. Nelson said he had known Cole since 1938, and when he (Nelson) became a bookmaker, he made layoff bets through Cole by telephone. The money between them was delivered by cab drivers and other “runners”. Cole was on trial for false swearing — he claimed during the John Doe hearings to never have been a bookmaker.
On Wednesday, March 18, 1964, Judge Coffey’s John Doe probe issued warrants for thirteen people: Charles Piscuine (commercial gambling), Raymond Mirr (commercial gambling), Archie Lewis (commercial gambling), Raymond Hobart (commercial gambling), Harry Edison aka Earl Appelt (commercial gambling), William Wisniewski (commercial gambling), Bernard Karrer (commercial gambling), Frank DeFacende (commercial gambling), Mike Palmisano (commercial gambling), Dorothy Byrd (false swearing), Mary Johnson (keeping a house of prostitution), Marilyn Donald aka Billie Morris (keeping a house of prostitution), William “Thunderbird Bill” Davis (pimping).
Giuseppe Sciortino died on March 19, 1964.
On Friday, March 20, 1964, prosecutors said there was a loosely-knit gang of 30 burglars who had done 50-100 jobs and had hauled off $50,000 in loot. District Attorney William McCauley issued warrants for eight members of this alleged gang: Dr. F. E. Nolting, a Kewaskum dentist, accused of receiving stolen goods in Milwaukee and selling them in Minneapolis; Samuel DiMaggio, accused on four counts of burglary; John Triliegi, accused of receiving stolen goods; Harold Vick, four counts of burglary; Edward Kretlow, one count of burglary; Jerome Morrison, one count of burglary; Larry Arndt, one count of burglary; and John Forbes, named in the warrant but not specifically charged. Triliegi was said to be the one who directed the burglars to Dr. Nolting. Some of their burglary targets were: Edward Weber Construction, the Iron Workers union, Hi-Fi Fo-Fum, attorney Donald Jacobsen, the Skylark tavern and Humphrey Chevrolet.
On Friday, March 20, 1964, Judge Coffey closed his John Doe probe after 21 months. The final seven people to be charged were: Clarence Smith (commercial gambling), Martin Azzolina (commercial gambling), Steve Halmo (commercial gambling and false swearing), Morris Fuhrmann (setting up pinball machines for gambling), James Stecher (setting up pinball machines for gambling), John Piscuine (accepting bets), Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu (accepting bets).
Benny DiSalvo was hired on as a laborer for Hunzinger Construction on March 21, 1964. He would be laid off in under three months.
On March 24, 1964, an informant told the FBI that he had been at the Club 32 on a Thursday night roughly two weeks ago and saw two “stick men” there that he recognized as former employees of William Covelli. The men were short and believed to be Italian. The craps table would usually have $200-$250 in play at any time. He said he was under the impression that the Kenosha gamblers felt the heat was dying down following the arrests of Masaro and DeCesaro and games might pick back up again.
On March 25, 1964, Joseph Enea, Walter Brocca and Augie Aiello (of the Mint Bar) at at the Tasty Restaurant (507 West Wells).
Salvatore DiMaggio turned himself in on March 27, 1964 regarding four counts of burglary.
The FBI approved the Milwaukee office’s request to hide a microphone at 519 West Wells Street (Walter Brocca’s restaurant, Joe’s Spaghetti House) on March 31, 1964. The purpose was to overhear conversations from Walter Brocca and August Maniaci, who the agents suspected knew about the Anthony Biernat murder and other violent crimes. The bug was not installed until June 3, as Milwaukee needed to call in “expert lock men from the Chicago Office” to break in to the restaurant. (While the surveillance seems to have only been audio, the office also ordered a Beseler Topcon camera with a Topcor 58mm f1.8 lens at this time.) The building housing Joe’s was owned by Alfred and Leon Zarne of Zarne Custom Tailors, and also housed Pabst bar and Kahn Outfitting Company.
Around April 1964 (but possibly as early as September 1961), Frank Balistrieri was employing girls at the Downtowner cocktail lounge (340 West Wells Street) and at Henri’s restaurant (730 North 5th Street) to be prostitutes. The FBI brought in and identified either 38 or 83 of these girls, 13 of whom had prior vice arrests. One girl was Silia O. Pichs-Martin, who had actually been deported from Miami after getting arrested on June 16, 1960.
On April 3, 1964, Frank Balistrieri spoke with Teamsters secretary Joseph Caminiti about their $100 contributions to various candidates for alderman (Allen Calhoun, Vel Phillips and Charlie Quirk). Caminiti told Balistrieri that “next time you can tell these people you’ve got the Teamsters backing you 100%” Money was also paid to Senator Morse and Congressman Alvin O’Konski. Mayor Maier was given $100 worth of stamps, and Balistrieri said he gave Maier’s opponent, Art Else, some money because he was an economics professor at UW-Milwaukee and “you never know” what he might do in the future. Else had apparently come into Gallagher’s asking for donations, and Balistrieri gave him some money in cash so it would not have to be declared. Balistrieri boasted that he helped get Harold Breier the job of police chief, which seems to have no basis in reality.
Caminiti also spoke of his dislike for Bobby Kennedy and believed that under President Johnson, the wiretaps would decrease. He feared, however, that Johnson could pick Kennedy as his new running mate. Caminiti also expressed his desire to raise $34,000 in Wisconsin alone for Jimmy Hoffa’s defense fund. By Caminiti’s calculation, if all the states did this, they could raise $1.3 million. He believed that Hoffa was being persecuted by the Justice Department, and said that thing were no different now than “in Hitler’s day”. He related that he had heard that during Hoffa’s trial, U.S. Marshals were getting drunk with the jurors. Caminiti said O’Konski had recently made a speech favorable to Hoffa and that there was the possibility of a congressional investigation into Kennedy’s infringement on civil liberties. This was overheard on the microphone planted at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the Continental Music Company.
Balistrieri was recorded telling August Chiaverotti that he had paid $15,000 to Pioneer Sales and Service and still owed $5000 more, with purchases going towards the Continental Music Company. The goal was to sell jukeboxes and pool tables. They said they would both travel to Chicago to see the “finance guy”. Balistrieri complained about rival jukebox man Joe Beck: “This Beck keeps going on — and we’re getting bombed out.”
August Maniaci was overheard telling Balistrieri that he found an attorney that could fix his fraudulent mortgage case. Maniaci said he had already talked it over with Vito Aiello, and they both agreed that John Aiello was the one who was at fault, but Maniaci said he would be willing to take the fall if everyone else pitched in to support his family. Balistrieri said that was foolish, and they should both try to get out of it. Maniaci said he had also spoken with attorney Jack L. Goodsitt who was “connected real good”.
During the conversation, Frank Balistrieri berated Walter Brocca. Balistrieri accused Brocca of always whining and saying how broke he is, but then Brocca was able to come up with enough money ($400) to go into business with Joe Enea running Joe’s Spaghetti House. Balistrieri told Brocca that he should have been told in advance. Balistrieri also told Brocca that he (Brocca) would have been killed in California if Balistrieri had not intervened. Balistrieri further said that when Brocca returned to Wisconsin after failing in California, Balistrieri felt sorry for him and hired him at Para Corporation — and then Brocca stole tools from the job. Chiaverotti told Balistrieri he was not aware of Brocca’s stealing (which is true, since it was Chiaverotti who had done the stealing).
Balistrieri then also berated Carlo DiMaggio, saying he was foolish for letting his son Salvatore getting messed up in a burglary ring. Balistrieri said he had warned Carlo that the other guys would turn on Salvatore, and sure enough, they got caught and had to be set up with Dominic Frinzi. Balistrieri then claimed that Frinzi would take the case of the person he was told to, even if someone else offered ten times as much. Regarding Carlo, Balistrieri said, “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t even know that he’s living anymore.” Carlo DiMaggio was also said to be selling meat to Holiday House at an inflated price, and one of the owners talked to Balistrieri about it. He, in turn, told them to keep buying from DiMaggio because he did not want DiMaggio to feel “small”.
After August Maniaci left, the conversation turned to his uncle, Vincent Mercurio, who had allegedly already fixed the case for Maniaci, and that is why the first warrants were thrown out. Balistrieri then said John Aiello was an envious guy, and it would hurt him real good to see Maniaci go free while he takes the fall.
Frank Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo traveled to Fond du Lac on April 9, 1964. They visited the Top Hat Club (24 North Main) and the Rathskeller (63 South Mason) and checked to see who supplied these taverns with jukeboxes and vending machines.
An informant spoke with the FBI on April 9, 1964 about Peter Zocchi. He said that Zocchi had gone out of business and started leasing his property to two “young fellows” recently. Zocchi had been in financial trouble for a while and with the lack of gambling income he could not make ends meet.
A grand jury indicted Samuel DiMaggio and John Triliegi on April 13, 1964 with the crime of stealing over $300,000 worth of checks from a mail train, and transporting $180,000 of the checks to Reno. The US attorney involved in prosecuting the case said he did not know why the checks were sent to Reno.
Ralph Masaro and Alfred DeCesaro pleaded not guilty to failing to purchase a federal wagering stamp on April 13, 1964.
On April 14, 1964 at 10:00am, a special agent accompanied Captain Fred Reinke of the Fire Department on an inspection of Joe’s Spaghetti House.
A meeting was held at Como’s Restaurant on April 17, 1964.
Peter Balistrieri’s daughter Benedetta married Leonard J. Drewek on April 18, 1964 in Milwaukee. There was a reception at Alioto’s Restaurant in Wauwatosa. Attending the reception were Dominic Principe, Albert Albana, Buster Balestrere, Murray “The Camel” Humphreys, John Rizzo, John Molle and Jimmy Balestrere. Joseph Gurera had recently suffered a heart attack and could not attend. (While the name “Drewek” is obviously not Italian or Sicilian, Leonard’s mother was a Geracie.)
Around April 20, 1964, state prostitution charges were dropped against Noelle Marie DeMazelier, who went by the stage name of Darbi Wilde at the Downtowner. The prosecutor, Donald Steinmetz, reduced the charge to a city fine of $25 when it was learned that DeMazieler was in San Francisco undergoing surgery for an automobile accident.
A stag party was held on April 20, 1964 at Fazio’s on 5th. A big craps game was played.
An informant told the FBI on April 22, 1964 that William Covelli had recently been in Milwaukee and discussed the possibility of horse racing becoming legal in Wisconsin. Covelli said the gamblers would welcome that and that he would try to get a job working at the race track if it was near Milwaukee. The informant also said “the West Side doesn’t even want to hear the name of Pops Principe” and one woman “goes into a tirade” when she hears it. This was because her father was involved with the Principe family in some illegal venture many years ago (possibly during Prohibition).
An informant told Special Agents LeGrand and Thompson on April 23, 1964 that Albert Albana had become a “made” member of he Milwaukee Family shortly after the murder of Anthony Biernat. An informant (presumably the same one) also told the two agents that Giuseppe Balistrieri was an LCN member. Salvatore DiMaggio was said to be a member, as were Vito Seidita and Benny DiSalvo.
An informant told Special Agent William Higgins on April 23, 1964 that Angelo Germinaro was still tending bar at the Office every day after 6:00pm, and he was sure that there was horse booking going on because Eugene Thomas could not afford his new Lincoln Continental and bathroom remodeling from bar income alone. He also said that William Covelli and Louis Greco Jr had joined together to purchase the Tropic Club tavern on 22nd Avenue and had renamed it Mr. G’s.
The FBI interviewed Tony Machi on April 28, 1964 at his residence (5553 West Jackson Park Drive). He said that the Riviera had been a financial success and that the loss of this tavern was a setback because they were not insured and this was a loss of $19,000. The brothers were trying to lease the Royal Hotel Bar to start again. Tony said he did not like Thomas Machi’s girlfriend, and personally believed that Thomas was too old to be getting married anyway. When asked about gambling or payoffs, Tony said he knew nothing about such activities and then wished to end the interview.
Dominic Principe and Albert Albana were spotted together in Kenosha on April 30, 1964 at 2:50pm. They were at Dawn’s Doughnut Shop (3914 52nd Street) and left in a car with Illinois plates as soon as they saw Agent Higgins.
Tensions between John Alioto and his son-in-law Frank Balistrieri grew in May 1964, according to an informant. Apparently Alioto did not like the way Frank treated his daughter, and further that Frank wanted in on the Alioto restaurant following the death of John’s son Joe. The informant also claimed that the assumption that Balistrieri was picked to head the LCN by Alioto was false; Balistrieri had actually been hand-picked by Felix “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio.
On May 11, 1964, Dominic Frinzi filed a motion to dismiss charges against six men for failure to purchase a gambling stamp, citing insufficient evidence: Steve Halmo, Robert Pick, Charles Piscuine, Joseph Reder, Harvey Wachs and Alfred Prey.
Frank Balistrieri was observed just sitting in his car at 1:00pm on May 18, 1964 at the corner of Wells and Van Buren.
Angelo and Salvatore Marino traveled to Milwaukee on May 22, 1964. They first took United Airlines flight 120 from San Francisco to Chicago and then flew to Milwaukee via flight 612. The round trip tickets cost $506.52 and were billed to the California Cheese Company. The men were looking into a cheese factory they were thinking about purchasing. While in Wisconsin, they purchased cheese from factories in Marinette and Monroe, and expressed displeasure at the quality of milk in California. The Marinos were forced to return to San Jose early when they heard that Joseph Marino, a diabetic and heart patient, became ill. Salvatore returned to California on June 2 and Angelo returned on June 5 via Chicago.
An informant told agents LeGrand and Thompson on May 25, 1964 that Joseph Rizzo was a member of the LCN, and was brought in to the organization by Sam Ferrara. Rizzo was formerly a bartender for Ferrara.
On May 25, 1964 Steve DeSalvo and Frank Balistrieri were at Fazio’s at some point. From noon to 4:30pm, they were at Gallagher’s with Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Caminiti and two California men in the company of Santo Marino.
The Milwaukee Sentinel speculated on May 26, 1964 that Dominic Frinzi was not serious about his gubernatorial run against John Reynolds and was only trying to stir up trouble. They said “observers” believed he was upset for not getting the county judge seat that was instead awarded to Elliot N. Walstead (an expert on real estate law). Judge Harvey Neelen was said to have a Frinzi bumper sticker on his car and called the attorney “capable and honest”.
Albert Albana was observed driving north on Sheridan Road in Kenosha on May 28, 1964. He was seen pulling over at a cemetery to watch a funeral. (Presumably, it was St. George Cemetery, but it could have been B’Nai Zek Cemetery.)
Sam Iaquinta purchased property at 930-32 Washington Road, Kenosha on May 28, 1964.
Sam Ferrara was interviewed on May 28 and June 1, 1964 by Special Agent John Holtzman. He advised that he had been in Milwaukee since the early 1900s (which is debatably true) and was now planning to sell his liquor store at the corner of VanBuren and Lyon.
Family tensions continued in June 1964, when Balistrieri found that Peter Sciortino had returned to Milwaukee from Tucson, Arizona. Sciortino, an alleged member of the Joe Bonanno crime family, spoke with John Alioto and Balistrieri was not informed. According to the LCN’s protocol, Balistrieri should have been informed of Sciortino’s presence.
In early June 1964, Angelo Marino of San Jose was visiting his cousin Santo Marino in Milwaukee for the purpose of business — Angelo owned the California Cheese Company, and hoped to buy some Italian-type cheese. Angelo would return in July and August, with the idea that he would buy, store and age cheese in Wisconsin before having it shipped to California. At one point, the California Cheese Company controlled 85% of the cheese distribution in California.
Sometime around June 1964, an informant told the FBI that Salvatore Seidita was hosting hoodlums in the basement of his restaurant, Mr. Tony’s, at 3120 North Downer, across the street from the University of Milwaukee. After the funeral of Benny DeSalvo (mob boss in Madison), the hoodlums gathered and spoke about their frustration concerning the FBI taking photos at the funeral.
Frank Balistrieri and August Chiaverotti were in Chicago during the day on June 2, 1964 concerning their jukebox business.
An informant told the FBI on June 2, 1964 that Walter Brocca had two Greek cooks, both named John. One of them was John Argeris, 69. Assistant District Attorney Ben Weiner and his brother Louis were eating lunch there almost every day, and former assistant district attorney Peter Wills was also a frequent diner.
A female informant told the FBI on June 4, 1964 that William Covelli was taking bets from people in Kenosha and then driving to Sportsman’s Park in Cicero to place those bets. He was also allegedly booking at the track.
An informant told the FBI on June 5, 1964 that a black pimp (who whored out his white wife) was hanging around 519 West Wells (Brocca’s restaurant) because he was campaigning for Dominic Frinzi for governor on behalf of the black hoodlums. (It is hard to tell due to redactions, but it seems that there was also a black drug dealer named Arthur Pace who hung out at Brocca’s, who may or may not be the same man.)
Toma, Inc was incorporated on June 9, 1964 by William J. Calvano. The registering agent was Thomas Machi, who also served as president. His brother, Tony Machi, was the company’s treasurer.
The funeral for car accident victim Bernard Caputo, son of Madison boss Carlo Caputo, was held June 10-11, 1964 at the Fitch-Lawrence Funeral Home and Blessed Sacrament Church in Madison. Attending from Milwaukee were Sam Ferrara (on the 10th), Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Mike Albano, Nick Fucarino and Benny DiSalvo (on the 11th).
The funeral for Rockford mobster George Saladino was held on June 10, 1964. Attending from Milwaukee were Peter Balistrieri, Harry D’Angelo, August Maniaci, Steve DeSalvo and Michael Albano.
Joseph Caminiti’s father was buried on June 10, 1964 in Chicago.
A microphone (648-C) was installed at Joe’s Spaghetti House (519 West Wells) on June 10,1964.
On June 11, 1964, August Maniaci called John Aiello and told him that he found an attorney that would represent them for $1000 (or $200 a piece) for the mortgage case.
An informant told the FBI on June 11, 1964 that Dr. Anthony Verdone was spending a fair amount of time around Joe’s Spaghetti House.
On June 12, 1964, a man stopped by Joe’s Spaghetti House and showed Walter Brocca a gun that impressed him. The man tells Brocca that he has three such guns.
On June 16, 1964, John Aiello was in the hospital.
Following up on a tip that a Missouri man had visited Kenosha and was talking about the Biernat murder, the FBI traced the license plate to Ed R. Martin of Fulton, Missouri on June 16, 1964. The local police said that Martin was formerly a police officer in Wisconsin and had a good local reputation, though he had suffered a head injury and his mind was affected. The FBI visited Martin at a car wash he operated and started a conversation without saying exactly why they were there. Martin said he was formerly an officer with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department. He suffered a head injury and was forced to resign. He said he did not know what caused the injury and that the police told him that they would not tell him until he recovered. Martin believed he was beaten. He had tried to hire attorneys to investigate, but they would not accept the case. He had tried to contact the Wisconsin governor though the chief investigator of the attorney general, but with no luck. He was now living off an $118 per month compensation.
Hidden microphone 646-C (at 2559 North Downer Avenue) caught an Outfit “chair” meeting on June 18, 1964 where one member of the group was castigated for not functioning properly. Balistrieri was upset that Peter Sciortino came from Tucson and was entertained without him (Balistrieri) being notified by John Alioto. Also, he was not notified of a member’s father’s death, and was thus not able to pay the proper respects. The names of Joe Bonanno, Salvatore Giancana and Felix Alderisio were frequently mentioned.
Balistrieri said that Joseph Gurera and Buster Balestrere still belonged to Milwaukee despite living in Kansas City, and that Kansas City boss Nick Civella should leave them alone until Balistrieri decided what he wanted done with them. Balistrieri said he might take a while to decide. Incidentally, he also made the remark that Kansas City had a piece of Omaha, Nebraska, but did not elaborate. (The Mafia’s presence in Omaha has a very strange history, with any number of groups claiming ownership here… although I am unclear why anyone would want Omaha.)
After the formal meeting was over, Joseph Caminiti and Frank Balistrieri had a discussion on how to make money. They said they did not want to be like New York where everyone muscles each other because they would soon end up shooting each other. It was better to be respected. Balistrieri said he did not prefer getting collection money from businesses because they would then hate him and not respect him. He said he would rather be respected and then be able to make better deals. He specifically mentioned Sardino’s, Fazio’s and Nino’s Steak House.
Caminiti said Balistrieri had more authority than the bosses of Rockford or Madison because he had been appointed by Chicago rather than by his own people, and Chicago would not let him fail. He further said he did not think John Alioto showed Balistrieri much respect, and contrasted him with Vito Seidita, who he said was respectful and sincere.
Walter Brocca and another individual were discussing how to “knock off” businesses on June 21, 1964. The men decided that cash was a better heist than furs or jewelry. Brocca said more than any other palce he wanted to burglarize the Belmont Hotel, “except that they wouldn’t have more than $40 in there” and it would have to be at least $2000 to be worthwhile.
Brocca spent June 23 looking for a truck for his nephew, a building contractor, and also a window pane for his nephew’s garage. The next day, a truck is found at a business on South 3rd.
On June 24 at 9:21pm, Brocca called someone in Bel Aire, California. Then at 9:36pm, he called Dominic Frinzi and told him that he knew a guy in Cudahy that ran an asphalt business and the man wanted to help raise funds for Frinzi’s campaign. Brocca offered to set u pa meeting.
A meeting was called on June 30, 1964 and Peter Sciortino of Tucson was called to the meeting. Balistrieri tried to talk to Sciortino about the Bonanno Family, but Sciortino said he was just a soldier and was not authorized to say anything without clearance from his superior, Charles Battaglia. Balistrieri conceded that this would be the proper procedure and no further discussion was carried out.
Frank Balistrieri was in downtown Chicago on July 6, meeting Felix Alderisio at Nino’s Spaghetti House. Coincidentally, earlier that same night, Rockford LCN members Frank Buscemi and Joseph Zammuto were there for unrelated reasons.
John Rizzo was surveilled on July 6, 1964 from his residence (1906 Emmertsen Road, Racine) at 11:00am and into Illinois. Agents lost track of him at 12:15pm and gave up trying at 1:30pm. He was at the Arlington Race Track this day and the next, and allegedly made a lot of money from two fixed races.
Rizzo was surveilled at the Arlington Race Track on July 10, 1964 with two other men. He had been followed in his dark green 1963 Lincoln Continental from County Highway C in Racine at 2:00pm, to Interstate 94, through the toll at Waukegan Plaza (Plaza 21) and on to the race track. Agents did not witness him do any booking, although he did make at least three bets at the $50/$100 window. He was there again on July 13 and believed to be booking. Booking at Arlington was allegedly controlled by Rocco Fischetti and the Milwaukee bookmakers had to get clearance through Felix Alderisio to work there. Bookies were charged $25 per day by the Outfit.
At 1:43am July 12, 1964, Walter Brocca called San Diego from Joe’s Spaghetti House. He asked to speak to a man and was told that the man was fired. Brocca briefly spoke to the person on the other end and said it was “real bad up here” in Milwaukee. He then, at 1:52am, called another number (presumably the man’s residence) and left a message saying that Blackey in Milwaukee had called. Brocca then returned to a table and told another man that the man in San Diego was fired.
On July 15, 1964, Walter Brocca was overheard on the phone, “Let’s see, Hard Luck — 25, no money at 50, another 50, 25, another 25, another 25, and I got a 30, a 30, about 240 altogether. The gal gets $30. I talked to Al — you don’t want to get to gambling tonight — stick to a $2 bet. (redacted) takes bets, too. Oh, the big horse has been fixed? Well, that’s what you’ve been looking for, fellow.”
Angelo Marino again flew to Milwaukee on July 15, 1964 accompanied by a banker from the Bank of America in San Jose who handled the California Cheese account. They had flown on United Airlines flight 122 from San Francisco to Chicago, and then North Central Airlines Flight 21 to Milwaukee and then stayed in room 521 at the Milwaukee Inn, 916 East State Street. The California Cheese Company had decided to purchase a warehouse in Manitowoc from the Harbor Terminal Company with the intent to age cheese in Wisconsin and then have it shipped to California. The banker checked out on July 18, with Marino staying on until July 20, paying for the bill with California Cheese’s American Express credit card.
Rockford LCN member Phil Priola and Milwaukee member Mike Albano met with an informant in Milwaukee on July 16, 1964. (That this man was an informant was unknown to them — it was possibly one of the Maniaci brothers.) With them was Sebastian “Knobby” Gulatta of Rockford, a candidate for membership. There was talk of a big meeting on August 2, with someone from San Francisco attending. Priola spoke in vague terms because Gulatta was not yet privy to such discussions.
Special Agent William J. Higgins witnessed Albert Albana leave the First National Bank of Kenosha (56th at 6th) at 2:30pm on July 27, 1964 with the type of brown leather container usually used for currency. Albana walked across the street to the Mayer drug store where Dominic Principe was sitting at the counter, drinking a cup of coffee. Another cup was sitting there, waiting for Albana, who proceeded to drink it. Higgins entered the drug store and despite the many customers there (15-20), both men quickly left, walking away westward down 56th talking excitedly. Two minutes after this, a young unidentified Italian also left and entered a red Rambler convertible (license plate G4559) and drove off north on 6th Avenue.
On July 28, 1964, Walter Brocca went over his scratch sheets and told another person he had lost $80.
On July 29, 1964, Walter Brocca talked to another man about money and then said, “When did you talk to the guy, Chicago? I don’t want no part of nothing, believe me.”
(when?) Federal Judge Kenneth P. Grubb found Salvatore DiMaggio, John Triliegi, Jerome W. Morrison and Larry V. Arndt guilty of stealing mail bags containing $300,000 in securities checks from the Northwestern Depot. Edward H. Kretlow (apparently DiMaggio’s cousin) was found not guilty.
On August 1, 1964, Walter Brocca spoke on the phone with a woman and told her he could sell her a chrome kitchen set for $35 that was worth $350. He received a phone call from a man who had brought a truckload of furniture and TVs from Chicago and the man told Brocca he did not want to be around the truck. Brocca told the man to go away and he would handle it himself.
A conference was scheduled for August 2, 1964 at Sam Battaglia’s farm outside of Chicago. Frank Balistrieri was scheduled to attend, as were various people from California and New York. Whether it went down or not is unclear, as the only cars entering the farm had Illinois license plates, with the exception of a light-colored Ford station wagon belonging to Dominick Panzica, 105 East Ohio Street in Milwaukee.
Special Agents LeGrand and Thompson were contacted by an informant on August 4 and were told that Sam Ferrara had run a still with Jim DeGeorge in North Chicago during Prohibition days. The still was never raided, and they moved their operation to Racine County with another man (name redacted). When this still stopped operating, DeGeorge went to Chicago where he became a “big wheel” before being kicked out and exiled to Adams County, Wisconsin. Ferrara and DeGeorge maintained a close friendship and their families had a “godfather relationship”.
Special Agent Albert Knickrehm spoke with an informant on August 6, 1964 and asked him about a man named “Fred” who was a runner between Milwaukee and Chicago. The informant said Fred was probably Alfio “Fred” Aveni, who had previously tended bar for Tony Machi at Mr. Mackey’s at Port and Green Bay until its closing on July 1. Aveni was a soap salesman who provided cheap liquid soap for filling stations and pharmacies. The soap quality was so poor that he never sells to the same place twice. Aveni’s wife, Mildred, was the head waitress at Billings on North Oakland. The informant did not think that Aveni was a bookie, but he did spend a lot of money at the track in Chicago.
Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri, Benedetto DiSalvo, Mike Albano, August Maniaci and Nick Fucarino were in Rockford on August 8, 1964 for a wedding. They went to Phil Priola’s home ahead of time, were at the reception at St. Mary’s hall from 7:00 to 9:00pm and returned to Milwaukee the same evening.
Racine police witnessed John Rizzo make a phone call from a booth at 1500 Douglas Avenue on August 11, 1964 from 11:05 to 11:18am.
Nick Gentile was arrested on August 16 for issuing worthless checks, but the charge was dismissed.
On Tuesday, August 18, 1964, Walter Brocca and another man talked about their day at the horse races where they had lost. The man, a well-known prolific gambler, had loaned August Maniaci $2400 and was upset with Maniaci about something. He was recorded saying, “That fucking Augie. He ever pulls that shit on me again, I’m gonna bomb him. I’ll kill him.”
Albert Albana went alone to New York to see the Worlds Fair on August 18, 1964. He tried to get people to go with him and even tried to car pool with someone going to Buffalo, but as Albana was generally disliked, no one would join him.
Special agents made an observation of Giuseppe Balistrieri’s home on August 19, 1964. They saw a 1963 Chevrolet registered to Peter Balistrieri and a 1958 Chevrolet two-door sedan registered to (redacted). An agent wrote, “This location is in an area of opulent homes and is locally regarded as among the most desirable residential locations in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.”
On August 23, 1964, there was a meeting with Chicago mobster Gus Giovenco. Attending were Frank Balistrieri, John Aiello, Tony Machi, Izzy Tocco and Jerry DiMaggio.
On August 23, 1964, the FBI got word of a craps game being set up on North Milwaukee Street that was to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. It would be run by Harry DeAngelo and Mike Albano, with Walter Percente and another man representing the Italian syndicate.
John Rizzo and Albert Albana were observed on the night of August 24, 1964 in the Belmont Hotel Coffee Shop. Despite being in Milwaukee, no Milwaukee men were with them.
A gathering was held at the Holiday House on August 28, 1964 with hoodlums from Milwaukee and Chicago. Frank Balistrieri arrived just after midnight, stayed a short time, and then left alone.
Special Agent Charles F. Ahern, who had been investigating Giuseppe Balistrieri (among others), was on annual leave from August 24 through September 4, 1964.
Frank Balistrieri was in San Diego on September 2, 1964 for the Funeral of his aunt, Loretta Balistrieri (wife of Frank E. Balistrieri). He was apparently back the next day.
Carlo Caputo and five Madison men were at Gallagher’s on September 3, 1964 in a private conversation with Frank Balistrieri.
John Rizzo made a phone call from the booth at Spring Street and Highway 31 in Racine on September 8, 1964 from 11:11 to 11:13am.
Sidney Brodson was overheard on the hidden microphone (648-C) at Joe’s Spaghetti House on September 10, 1964. What he was saying is unknown.
Four calls were made by John Rizzo from a telephone at the Clayton House in Racine to Milwaukee number HOpkins 3-2284 at 11:15am on September 10, 1964. Only the fourth made it through. A special agent followed him south out of town. Albert Albana and Rizzo were observed by a Chicago Special Agent at the Arlington Race Track. Rizzo was seen making $50 wagers.
John Rizzo made a phone call from the booth at Spring Street and Highway 31 in Racine on September 11, 1964 at 12:03pm. He called the Losers Lounge in Kenosha. Shortly before this call, he was seen at phone booths in Caledonia and Franksville. He was later witnessed at the Arlington Race Track by Special Agents Carlyle Reed and Albert Knickrehm with attorney Dominic Frinzi and William Covelli.
Walter Brocca called a San Diego residence on September 13, 1964 and asked the man when he would be in Milwaukee. The man told him within a week. (The man’s name is redacted in Brocca’s FBI file, though he already had a racketeering investigation against him… worth looking into more.)
On September 27, 1964, a man spoke with Walter Brocca about the murder of Roger Touhy in Chicago. The man said, “too many big people were involved — and now he is dead.” (Why this was a topic in 1964 is unclear — Touhy was gunned down by the mob on December 16, 1959, and his killers were never identified.)
Federal Judge Grubb sentenced Salvatore DiMaggio to two years in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary on September 28, 1964.
A secret John Doe hearing was held in Kenosha on September 28, 1964. Refusing to testify at this hearing were Ralph Greco, a Kenosha Vending employee; Eugene Alfano, co-owner of the LaStrada; Nat Gingerelli, an employee at American Motors; Gene Thomas, a bartender at the Office Lounge; and William Covelli of the Kenosha Vending Company.
On September 29, 1964, a man named “Little Frank” requested his commission from Walter Brocca. The man was apparently bookmaking on Brocca’s behalf. The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation believed that “Little Frank” was actually Pasquale Scalici, a midget clown who performed under the name Frank Little, and ran a newsstand at the corner of 3rd and Wisconsin when not a clown. Scalici lived with his sister Josephine, who was married to Joseph Piscione (one of the gamblers connected to the Ogden Social Club).
In October 1964, John Rizzo appeared in federal court for failing to pay $15,679 of taxes on gambling income between 1956 and 1961. He agreed to pay $12,964.
An informant was interviewed about Charles Zarcone on October 2, 1964. He said Zarcone was close to Sam Ferrara and John Alioto. He had formerly been a good friend of Joseph Sciortino, who ran a bakery in the Third Ward.
Tony and Tommy Machi were allegedly backing a crap game on October 4, 1964 in the back room of the Doll House Tavern on Humboldt Avenue. The event was a stag party for a young man.
Angelo Marino was in Milwaukee on October 5, 1964 for further business with cheese factories in Monroe and Manitowoc. His brother-in-law, Philadephia mobster Peter Maggio, was in Chicago for a cheese and milk producers convention and met up with Marino at the end of the day at a Milwaukee residence (name redacted, but it was at the corner of 75th and Maple Terrace and the man was a sales manager for radio station WEMP). Also at this residence was Santo Marino and his sister. Angelo Marino went to the convention on October 7. Also on this trip, he ended up purchasing cheese from the Long Grove Cheese Factory in Platteville.
On October 7, 1964, the John Doe hearing in Kenosha called back the following men: Ralph Greco, a Kenosha Vending employee; Eugene Alfano, co-owner of the LaStrada; Nat Gingerelli, an employee at American Motors; Gene Thomas, a bartender at the Office Lounge; and William Covelli of the Kenosha Vending Company. When asked by Assistant Attorney General LeRoy Dalton if they had refused to testify, they each said yes and were granted immunity by Judge Harry Carlson. The probe was to cover both gambling and the murder of Anthony Biernat.
John C. Rizzo testified before Kenosha County Judge Harry V. Carlson on October 13, 1964 for a John Doe hearing concerning illegal gambling. Rizzo told the judge that he “used to play dice and cards for money at the Ogden Social Club in Milwaukee”, but that he had not been there in years. He said he was never involved in the management of the club, but a man named “Maurie” was. He also thought “Joe Gags” (Rosario Gagliano) might have been. He said he used to go there with William “Wheezer” Covelli. Rizzo denied any connection to Frank Balistrieri, but did say he “met Phil Alderisio in Milwaukee” a long time ago. He did not believe Balistrieri was connected to the club or that any police were bought off by members, and he denied having any knowledge of the murder of Tony Biernat.
Nick Gentile was arrested October 13 for failing to file his taxes.
The Milwaukee City Clerk’s officer published the annual list of persons licensed to operate amusement devices on October 14, 1964. Joseph Spero appeared on there for the first time (as Spera Amusement Company). Informants speculated that Spero was a front man for Frank Balistrieri because his business used the same address as Carl Dentice’s business — 610 East Pleasant Street — and Dentice was a known front man.
On October 20, 1964 at 12:42pm, Special Agents James Brewster and Albert Knickrehm observed Joseph Caminiti meeting with Frank Balistrieri at Sally’s Steak House, 431 West Michigan. They had lunch and appeared to be having a businesslike discussion.
Around October 20 or 22, 1964, a Milwaukee couple was in Philadelphia visiting mobster Peter Maggio. Unfortunately, the file is redacted.
On October 23, 1964, Walter Brocca spoke on the phone and asked, “Who did they kill?” He then said, “Oh, I heard about that, too.” The FBI interpreted this to be a conversation about the kidnapping of Joe Bonanno. Brocca made another call and told a man that someone had come in from California. He then said, “They took a shot at him, you know.” The FBI interpreted this as a reference to the attorney who accompanied Bonanno.
The FBI went to John Alioto’s residence at 10424 West Concordia, Wauwatosa, on October 23, 1964 and personally interviewed him about the LCN. Alioto denied any involvement in organized crime, though he did admit he had once met Joe Bonanno while Bonanno was in Wisconsin to meet up with John DiBella, a cheese producer from Fond du Lac. (DiBella died in September 1964.) Alioto said he tried to help out in his community when he could, such as with Red Cross drives, and was friends with former United States attorney Timothy Cronin and Assistant United States Attorney Jack Kelser. He had recently sold his grocery store and apartment house at 2500 North Booth Street for $30,000. Alioto said he once bought as tavern in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, but his wife refused to move, so he sold it to his cousin, Frank Alioto.
Agents LeGrand and Thompson also visited Sam Ferrara on October 23 at the Peacock Bar, 1447 North VanBuren. He, too, was asked about Joe Bonanno but said he knew nothing about Bonanno’s affairs. Ferrara did volunteer that Frank Balistrieri has “little use” for Ferrara. As the agents left, Ferrara advised them, “Don’t believe everything I say.”
Albert Albana was seen at the Milwaukee airport on the night of October 29, 1964 but the reason for his being there was unknown.
On October 29, 1964, Joseph Caminiti was overheard on the microphone at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the site of Continental Music Company. A meeting was being held there and Balistrieri said the local gamblers were getting out of line again, and one should be killed every two years or so just to keep them on their toes. He said, “Everybody knows they die, and they’ll die, that’s all there is to it.”
By October 29, 1964, the Machi brothers opened a new tavern called The Riv on Third Street just south of State Street.
John Triliegi entered Leavenworth Prison on November 3, 1964. He would serve less than a year.
The FBI interviewed Tony Albano at his residence (1538 North Milwaukee Street) on November 3, 1964. He denied knowing whether or not the Mafia exists in Milwaukee or elsewhere and denied being a member of any such organization. He freely admitted knowing Frank Balistrieri and said that Frank’s father had been a lifelong friend of his. He said he had known both Sam Ferrara and Nick Fucarino a long time, had heard of Steve DeSalvo, but did not know Joseph Gurera.
Angelo Marino was in Milwaukee in early November 1965 (1964?). He ended up being away longer than planned, as he was involved in an automobile accident in Ohio and had to hospitalized for internal injuries and broken ribs. He was back in Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Inn around December 10, and did make it back to San Jose by December 15.
Sam Ferrara was interviewed again on November 4, this time at his home (2429 East Wyoming Place) by Special Agents Carlyle Reed and Albert Knickrehm. Ferrara told them that he knew nothing about shakedowns or the Italian hoodlums and was never associated with them. He said he was naturalized in 1917 at Camp Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan while serving in the Army. The agents asked about his “somewhat old but stately home”, and Ferrara advised that he purchased the home for $30,000 using a $20,000 mortgage. He paid the mortgage by renting out the upstairs. (The neighborhood is, indeed, a very classy neighborhood.)
On November 10, 1964, Walter Brocca and another man contacted Airoldi Brothers, Inc (907 West Wind Lake Avenue) about a building they had for rent. Brocca feared the building would be too small, and he needed either a hoist or an elevator for heavy equipment.
Special Agents interviewed Michael Albano at his home (4144 North 17th Street) on November 10, 1964. He said he had known Frank Balistrieri all his life, as they both grew up on Milwaukee’s East Side. He also admitted knowing Walter Brocca, John and Vito Aiello and August Maniaci for many years. He further said he knew Sam Ferrara, Santo Marino and John Alioto. Albano said as far as he knew, these people were all legitimate businessmen. He said he knew nothing of a Mafia or syndicate beyond what he read in the newspapers and certainly was not a member of it. He said he operated Angelo’s Pizza every day from 3pm until 3am, and before he opened the restaurant he had owned a tavern.
November 13, 1964 — a sergeant with the Milwaukee Vice Squad informed the FBI that on at least three occasions he has seen a well-known gambler and pimp in the Downtowner or Gallagher’s with Balistrieri. He suspects that the prostitution may have gone “underground”, but that Balistrieri might be referring clients to the pimp.
On November 13 or 14, 1964, William Covelli went to Chicago to watch the last horse race of the season. He came back a winner.
On November 18, 1964, Sam Ferrara was interviewed at his place of business (Ferrara’s Liquor Store, 1443 North VanBuren) by Special Agents Alexander LeGrand and Richard Thompson. He told them that he had come to America in 1914 and served in World War I in the US Army. He operated the Peacock Luncheon for 20 years and then sold it in the 1950s. He now operated the liquor store, which did only moderate business compared to supermarket liquor stores. When asked about the criminal underworld, Ferrara said he could not say anything because if he acknowledged it, he could not prove what he said and if he denied it, he would be lying.
On November 18, 1964, Frank Balistrieri was with Felix Alderisio, John Aiello and Jerry DiMaggio at the Lotus Restaurant.
On November 20, 1964, an unknown man asked a waitress at Joe’s Spaghetti House where his .38 revolver was that he loaned out. She told him that she sold it.
William Covelli went alone to Milwaukee on Sunday, November 22, 1964. He had dinner with unknown individuals and then went to a supper club featuring go-go girls.
An informant told the FBI on November 25, 1964 that relations between Frank Balistrieri and Michael Albano had become very strained.
Michele Mineo retired from Schlitz Brewing Company on November 30, 1964 after 20 years of service.
August Chiaverotti was interviewed by Special Agents Alexander LeGrand and Richard Thompson on December 1, 1964 (presumably at his home at 3018 West Ruskin). Chiaverotti said he was no longer associated with Frank Balistrieri and was instead developing portable and collapsible barricades for highways. He had recently been to California to drum up interest in the project, and stopped by to visit Louis Simon in Las Vegas on his way back through. Chiaverotti said his family was from northern Italy, not Sicily, though he had a checkered past — he was a “boy bootlegger” and at 24 years old was involved in a gambling operation in Cudahy with Louis Simon and someone named O’Malley. He admitted to knowing August Maniaci and John Aiello. He further said he knew Steve DeSalvo, but did not like him.
Chiaverotti said he only became associated with Balistrieri around 1956, when the two (along with Chicagoan Mel Vaci) operated the Corsica Club in Hales Corners. A gambling operation was to be run upstairs by Joe Gagliano and another man, but police found out. Balistrieri then helped Chiaverotti finance the bubble gun idea, and when that went bust the business was turned into Para Corporation with Balistrieri’s backing. Para then folded, and Chiaverotti went to Continental Music on Downer Avenue, along with Walter Brocca. Chiaverotti and Brocca (who were old friends) believed this business was going nowhere and left.
An informant told the FBI on December 2, 1964 that Charles Zarcone was retired but occasionally helped cut meat at the New Deal Market at 1715 North Farwell, owned by the Seidita family.
On December 2, 1964, Park City, Illinois mayor Bruce Dunbar met with Dominic Frinzi, Frank Balistrieri, John Rizzo and William Covelli concerning a key club that Dunbar owned. The business was failing, and the Milwaukee men said they operated seven supper clubs and knew how to manage such a place, and could rotate the entertainment that appeared at their other clubs. Frinzi told Dunbar that he wanted him (Dunbar) to remain the owner on paper and have the other men run it for him.
A captain with the Waukegan Police informed the FBI on December 7, 1964 that he heard from a reliable source that Frank Balistrieri, John Rizzo and William Covelli had met on December 4 and “consummated a deal” that involved them buying a 50% interest in the Key Club of Park City, Illinois (just west of Waukegan). The men were offered a lease at $1200 a month with an option to buy for $160,000. The deal was negotiated through Dominic Frinzi, but fell through in January.
A Kenosha informant told Special Agent Higgins on December 18, 1964 that the only West Side gambling happening was a horse book, and there had not even been talk of craps or poker. All the hoodlums hung out at Greco’s and only there. The past weekend, two men from Racine (one named Frank Januzzi) came to Greco’s and met with William Covelli. Covelli said he planned to retire from his cigarette route soon. Covelli had patched up his differences with Ralph Greco, and Greco was now a bartender at LaStrada. Louis Greco was talking about getting out of business with the Loser’s Lounge.
Special Agent Richard C. Thompson spoke with a redacted man on December 24, 1964 about a possible “shakedown” attempt from Frank Alioto. The man clarified that there was no shakedown, but simply that Harry DeAngelo and Benny DeSalvo approached him and asked why he had “stolen” the produce account at Fox and Hounds Restaurant from Alioto.
The funeral of LCN member Vito Balestrere was on December 28, 1964 at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home at 2001 North Holton Street. Among others present were John Rizzo, Angelo DiGiorgio, Joseph Piscuine, Cono Librizzi, John Picciurro, William Covelli, Walter Brocca, Louis Fazio, Carlo and Jerome DiMaggio, Dominic Gullo, August Maniaci, John Aiello, Frank, Joseph and Peter Balistrieri, John Alioto, Harry DeAngelo, Joseph Caminiti, Michele Mineo, Santo Marino, Charles Zarcone, Joseph Spero, Sam Ferrara, Steve DeSalvo, Michael and Tony Albano, Jimmy and Buster Balestrere, John Molle (Vito’s brother-in-law), John Battista Blando, and Salvatore “Ted” and Vito Seidita. Nick Fucarino’s car, a 1960 Studebaker station wagon with license plate Q51-411 was observed parked nearby. Notably absent was John Pernice. Joseph Gurera was absent, allegedly because he was sick. Frank Balistrieri sat by Joseph Caminiti and was said to be “cold and aloof” towards everyone else. Sam Ferrara commented to an informant that the leadership needed to be replaced in Milwaukee, but it would cost too much. He referred to Balistrieri derisively as “camorista”. Tony Albano told the same informant that he had recently been contacted by the FBI and he found that very strange, not having been approached by law enforcement in 30 years.
The funeral for former bootlegger Jack Ainnello (or more likely Iannello) was held January 3, 1965 at the Strouf-Sheffield Funeral Home at 1101 High Street in Racine. Visitors included Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Benny DiSalvo, Steve DeSalvo, Dominic Principe, Albert Albana, John Aiello, William Covelli, John Rizzo and August Maniaci. An informant identified Iannello as a Racine member of the Milwaukee Family, although he had not been active for a long time. He had been a bootlegger, but after Prohibition worked for a foundry. His wife had already died, one son worked for Chrysler in California and the other two worked in Racine. An informant also said that Albert Albana and Benny DiSalvo were good friends and that Albana’s connection to Racine was counterfeiter Marty King, now deceased. At the funeral home Albana and DiSalvo embraced.
Walter Brocca spoke with Frank Balistrieri the first week of January 1965 to see if he was in any trouble with the family before he moved to 1006 21st Street, Santa Monica, California to live with his father-in-law, Frank Italiano. Balistrieri informed him that he was not.
January 1965 — Frank Balistrieri and his bookkeeper Jennie Alioto (2440 North Dousman Street) were indicted on charges of tax evasion (conspiracy to defraud the government).
Joseph Caminiti had his automobile under surveillance on January 11, 1965 by Special Agents Carlyle Reed and James Brewster. At 7:30pm, Caminiti left his house and drove to 3428 North 48th Street, the home of Vito Seidita. He may have been visiting Vito, or possibly Salvatore Seidita, who lived at 3430 North 48th (the home was a duplex). Caminiti left at 9:21pm.
By January 13, 1965, the Milwaukee Vice Squad became slightly less concerned with Balistrieri’s prostitution involvement, as they believed he would most certainly get sentenced for his tax evasion, and either rat out his friends or end up getting offed to prevent him from talking. In the words of one officer, he may “wind up in the river before he has a chance to say very much.”
On January 13, the FBI received approval to install a microphone (671-C) at the Teamsters Local 257 office at 5600 West Center Street. They successfully did so on the 20th.
An informant in Kenosha spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on January 15, 1965. He said that Angelo Cerminaro comes into town several nights a week from Zion, Illinois and meets up with Gene Thomas at the Office Lounge where horse booking was taking place. The man handling horse bets on the West Side was James “Skeins” Salerno. Pete Zocchi had not been seen much lately and was not known to be involved in gambling, but was working as a bartender at the Parkside restaurant. The other gamblers were laying low because of the ongoing John Doe probe.
Angeline Principe Venci, sister of Dominic Principe, mother-in-law of William Covelli and wife of Antonio Venci, died of a heart attack on Sunday, January 24, 1965. Her death came as a surprise as she was only in her early 60s. A funeral was held on January 27 and was attended by Steve DeSalvo, Albert Albana and John Rizzo of Racine. Most of the Kenosha hoodlums were also there.
An informant told the FBI on January 27, 1965 that Sam Ferrara was a long-time friend of Santo Trafficante, boss of the Tampa, Florida LCN family. (Note: I know nothing further about this, but would love to. I personally do not see a strong connection between Milwaukee and Tampa, but there may be more there.)
John Rizzo met with Frank Balistrieri in Milwaukee on January 29, 1965.
The microphone (671-C) at the Teamsters Local 257 office at 5600 West Center Street was activated on February 5, 1965 at 4:15pm (two weeks after installation). This same day, the microphone (648-C) at Joe’s Spaghetti House was discontinued.
A Kenosha County sheriff’s deputy advised the FBI on February 8, 1965 that Raymond James Matera was involved in a horse book at American Motors in Kenosha. Matera had formerly been a steward but was now employed in department 842 (receiving). The deputy also said Gene Thomas was somehow connected in horse booking with Alfred DeCesaro and tavern owner Dante Cardinali.
Attorney James Shellow was at the LaStrada with William Covelli on February 17 or 18, 1965 and they talked for over an hour. Those present said they were drinking and were “loaded”.
An informant told the FBI on February 19, 1965 that Louis Greco still operated the Loser’s Lougne but was trying to get out. He had become partners with others in a new teenage pool hall at the corner of 56th Street and 22nd Avenue, a former drug store.
The last week of February 1965, an informant met with Sam Ferrara, and Sam told him that he wanted dynamite put under Frank Balistrieri’s car while he was at work downtown. The dynamite was to be supplied by Ferrara and was to run to the ignition. Ferrara specified the job must be done downtown because he did not wish to hurt Balistrieri’s family. Ferrara told the informant that he could offer him Santo Marino to assist with the job.
Frank Stelloh was a suspect in the bank robbery of the Robbinsdale State Bank in Robbinsdale, Hennepin County, Minnesota on February 28, 1965. The Minneapolis FBI office did follow-up with the Milwaukee Office and told them that they need not spend too much time on this, as their source was a “pathological liar”.
In March 1965 (and for the remainder of the year), Nick Gentile was working in Appleton as a siding salesman for Bilt-Rite Construction Company. While there, he also was working on a business enterprise with a man in Oshkosh. He lived at 8 Embrey Court in Appleton, near the Valley Fair Mall.
A Kenosha County deputy went into LaStrada A-Go-Go on the early evening of March 1, 1965 and briefly spoke with Albert Albana. He also saw John Rizzo, though Rizzo grabbed his hat and left when he saw the officer.
On March 2, 1965, and informant told the FBI that he had informed Walter Brocca that Frank Balistrieri was upset with him over debts left from Joe’s Spaghetti House. Brocca responded “to Hell with them”. This may have been the last straw between Brocca and Balistrieri. Brocca’s disagreements with Balistrieri went back a long time, and he had also once got into an argument with Felix Alderisio which allegedly was the reason Brocca was never made a member of the LCN.
Santo Marino confided in other members of the Milwaukee family in March 1965 that he had spoken with the FBI about his California relatives. He said he actually did not mind knowing that the FBI was watching him, because this would be his best form of protection. Marino and Frank Balistrieri were not getting along, and it would not be unlikely if one killed the other.
William Covelli was in Milwaukee with attorney James Shellow on March 15, 1965.
An informant told the FBI on March 16, 1965 that Frank Balistrieri had become a “made” member during Sam Ferrara’s reign, and that his sponsor had been Andrew DiSalvo, now deceased. DiSalvo was the head of the Racine faction of the Milwaukee LCN, and the uncle of Benny DiSalvo. He said DiSalvo had two brothers — Tom and Benedetto, a son who died, and a son who works in Florida. Andrew married Anna Enea, sister of Jack Enea. An informant (probably the same one) told Special Agents Richard Thompson and Alexander LeGrand that Mike Olivero had been a member of the Milwaukee Family before moving to San Diego. He had allegedly been made in Italy. (Olivero was the man involved in the Masina / Zizzo bootlegging operation in Racine.) Another San Diego member with Milwaukee ties was named as Philip Damiano, who was born in Italy circa 1902.
Peter Sciortino (1107 East Brady Street) was interviewed by Thompson and LeGrand on March 19, 1965. (What was discussed is redacted.)
William Covelli, John Rizzo, a member of the Kenosha Police Department and other gamblers met on the evening of March 19, 1965.
An informant told the FBI on March 26, 1965 that the LaStrada seemed to be doing very good business. On any given night, 4-5 girls performed modern “teen” dances there on a raised platform in a cage and wearing “brief outfits”. The girls were “just out of high school”, approximately 18-20 years of age. The informant said the place was a “money-maker” but did not know how Covelli had managed to serve hard liquor at a place catering to a teenage crowd. The girls danced for 4-5 hours each night and were paid $60-75 each week.
On April 8, 1965, August Maniaci and Joseph A. Angeli, 30, testified before a John Doe hearing in Kenosha. Two weeks prior, Frank C. Stelloh, Nick Tarantino and Carl J. Dentice testified before the same hearing.
On the evening of Thursday, April 14, 1965, Dominic Principe, Albert Albana, John Rizzo and Bill Covelli were seated together at the LaStrada.
An informant in Kenosha spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on April 15, 1965. He said Ray Matera had been spending his evening hours on Kenosha’s west side at Greco’s restaurant and (despite being married) had a girlfriend (name redacted). Albert Albana had moved above the LaStrada, which had 14 rooms divided into four apartments on the second floor. One of Louis Greco’s waitresses also lived there. Albana was allegedly a close friend with District Attorney Joe Molinaro and had one time gone fishing with him. (Molinaro was also a brother to Albert Molinaro, star of “Happy Days”.) The informant again stressed that Louis Greco and the West Side crew hated Dominic Principe “with a passion”, and there was speculation that Principe was involved in Red Covelli’s murder (though William Covelli associated with Principe anyway). Louis Greco, Jr. sold the Loser’s Lounge to a former Deputy Sheriff from Racine County who lived in Burlington. Greco was considering moving his family to Fort Lauderdale. A poker game had recently started up above the Dog House tavern at the corner of 24th Avenue and 25th Street. Ralph Masaro had been going to the University of Madison Hospital for cobalt treatments, but was not expected to recover.
Around April 23, 1965, a Rockford man (redacted) visited Joseph Caminiti’s office.
April 25, 1965, Anthony Cefalu’s residence was raided and he was charged with commercial gambling.
On April 27, 1965, an informant told the FBI that Frank Balistrieri was ready to “give it to (Walter) Brocca” and another man in California and would feel no remorse about it. The informant said that such a job would have to be taken up by Chicago, as he could think of no one in Milwaukee who would go to California.
Nick Gentile and Kenneth Weiss (real name Wasniewski) entered the Siesta Club in the Town of Menasha at 1:00am on April 28, 1965. The two men ordered a drink, and then became loud and were asked to leave by manager Richard Schaefer. The men left, but returned at 2:15am and badly beat Schaefer until he passed out. A female bartender heard the commotion and saw the men drive off, noting the license plate number — the car was registered to Weiss’ wife Rita (who was the sister of gambler Raymond Mirr). Gentile was charged with battery and his attorney, Henry Hughes of Oshkosh, entered a plea of not guilty and asked for a jury trial.
On Wednesday, April 28, 1965, Joseph Caminiti and another man were recorded in his Teamsters Local 257 office at 5600 West Center Street discussing the John Doe hearing appearance in Kenosha of Steve DeSalvo. They spoke in Sicilian, in “a very low guttural tone and quite rapidly.”
On April 29, 1965 at 9:15am, the FBI discontinued the use of a hidden microphone (671-C) that had been monitoring Joseph Caminiti’s office. The recordings were translated and the original tape was destroyed.
Steve John DeSalvo’s son was married on May 1, 1965 with the reception being at the Red Carpet Inn in Milwaukee. Among other attendees were Nick Fucarino, Albert Albana, Frank LaGalbo, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Spero.
Four Rockford LCN members visited Milwaukee on May 11, 1965 — Phil Priola, Charlie Vince, Sebastian “Knobby” Gulatta and Frank Corrente. With them was Joe DiGerolamo of Beloit. They met with an informant (possibly a Maniaci brother), whom they told that Gulatta and Corrente had just been “made” within the last week. They were in search of Peter Balistrieri, but he was out playing golf. After dinner, they did eventually meet up with Peter Balistrieri as well as Frank Balistrieri. At this meeting, the informant was told of the mob murder of Charlie LaFranca committed in Elgin, Illinois in mid-January 1965 by Rockford members.
Ralph Masaro died of cancer on May 15, 1965 after wasting away to 60 pounds. Not even morphine was said to ease his suffering. He sold his interest in his grocery store at 63rd Street and 14th Avenue to Carl “Cookie” Scola.
August Chiaverotti was interviewed at his home (3018 West Ruskin) on May 17, 1965 while he was recovering from an operation (he had a tumor removed). Agent Richard Thompson told him they had received vague information that his life was in danger. Chiaverotti said that if the rumor was going around in order to scare him back into working for free, it was not going to work — he had worked for Balistrieri for years and had nothing to show for it. He said when his health improved, he was returning to California in order to promote a plastic nursing bottle. A man named Kennedy had invested $150,000 in the design of the bottle and now owned one-third of it. Chiaverotti owned another third and Frank Carlo of Northridge, California owned the final third. Carlo was said to have worked with guerrillas “during the war”.
Frank’s son Joseph Balistrieri earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965.
Special Agent Emmett B. Doherty contacted Walter Brocca on May 25, 1965 at his residence at 1006 21st Street, Santa Monica, California. Doherty explained to Brocca that the FBI believed his life was in danger. Brocca was a bit hostile at first but calmed down once he understood the FBI was not there to harass him. Doherty offered him protection from the Santa Monica Police Department, but Brocca asked the agent not to inform the police because he did not want any activity from law enforcement in the neighborhood that might upset his family.
A Kenosha informant spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on May 28, 1965. The informant said that ownership of the Senate Club Tavern (1210 56th Street) was unknown. Louis Greco, Jr was definitely going to Fort Lauderdale to be a bartender for a Milwaukee man just as soon as his kids finished school for the year. Dominic Principe was believed to have signed papers taking over Hank’s Supper Club, northwest of Waukegan on Highway 41. A few doors down from Hank’s was the Chez, where “Piano Joe” Nikolas was a bartender. Nikolas was a friend of Anthony Biernat’s and was banned from returning to Kenosha County or would be arrested. William Covelli and John Charles Rizzo were going to the Illinois race tracks on Mondays and Saturdays. Frank Januzzi was possibly with them. A man known as “Doc”, a dentist from Waukegan and former gambler with Covelli, had recently been arrested for counterfeiting. The informant also said that Gene Thomas had recently installed expensive air conditioning in his tavern, and did not believe that he had the kind of business that could support such an expense and must still be horse booking.
Mrs. Gracia Zingale Maniaci, Nick Fucarino’s mother-in-law, had her funeral on May 31, 1965 at Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Several Milwaukee hoodlums, including Frank and Peter Balistrieri, John Pernice, Michael and Tony Albano, Charles Zarcone and Sam Ferrara, attended the funeral. Balistrieri was walking around during the funeral, telling the members there that Sam Giancana had made an example for “all you guys” by not talking when he was called before a grand jury. John Pernice also told the informant that he wanted to speak in private. Peter Balistrieri chewed out John Aiello for going to Chicago a few months back and accidentally running into Frank Balistrieri and Felix Alderisio at LaMantia’s restaurant there in “Old Chicago”. Aiello told Balistrieri that since he had not gone for the purpose of meeting anyone, he saw no reason to clear it up with the higher-ups.
An informant spoke with the FBI on June 2, 1965 about Ralph Capone. The informant told the agents that he had met Capone many years ago and was introduced to him as an LCN member by another old-timer, either Sam Ferrara or Pete Guardalabene. The informant said that Capone was still friendly with two men in Milwaukee (both names redacted). He further said that Capone “was not a rough guy, but more of a gentleman” and had no importance in the hoodlum world anymore.
An informant spoke with the FBI on June 2, 1965 and said he received a call from Walter Brocca in California that the FBI had recently visited him and said his life might be in danger. The informant had also spoken with Joseph Enea, who wanted Brocca to pay the money he had borrowed from Joe’s Spaghetti House, because the restaurant was in his (Enea’s) name.
The microphone (646-C) at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the site of Continental Music Company, was discontinued on June 3, 1965.
The Milwaukee funeral of Vita Enea, wife of the deceased Joseph Enea and mother of Jack Enea, was held on June 7, 1965. Among other attendees were Salvatore “Ted” Seidita, Michele Mineo, Steve DeSalvo and Frank LaGalbo. At the funeral, Mineo was heard to express an opinion that he was not in favor of Balistrieri’s activities, although he was generally considered neutral in the ongoing dispute.
Joseph and Frances Maniaci, both of 3326 North Richards Street, signed the articles of incorporation for Mando Enterprises on June 8, 1965 in front of notary public Henry G. Piano. Joseph was president, Frances was vice president and Ann Porath (1821 North Marshall) was secretary-treasurer. For a brief time, James Jennaro (855 North Brenner) was also a director. (Ann Porath seems to be the married name of Ann DiGiorgio, the sister of Angelo DiGiorgio.)
An informant (possibly August Maniaci) told Special Agent LeGrand on June 15, 1965 that John Aiello had still not returned Frank Balistrieri’s calls. Balistrieri had offered Aiello a job as a salesman for Grande Cheese, which Balistrieri now claimed to have a piece of. Aiello said he did not want Balistrieri as a boss because he was too demanding. The informant also said that Carlo DiMaggio was pushing for the next boss (if Balistrieri went to prison) to be someone without connections to the Chicago Outfit. DiMaggio was not suggesting himself.
An informant told the FBI on June 16, 1965 that Ray Matera’s horse book operations were independent and he had no connection to one specific hoodlum. Any layoff bets he did would be through anyone who would take them and not a specific person (such as John Rizzo).
A meeting was held at the home of Joseph Balistrieri on June 20, 1965. In attendance was Vito Seidita.
John Aiello, 49, (2761 South Herman) and Kenneth J. Weiss, 42, (3701 South Griffin) were arrested June 21, 1965 on federal tax charges. Aiello was found at home and Weiss was in Toledo. Both were released on recognizance bonds. Weiss allegedly failed to pay taxes on $48,000 and Aiello allegedly owed $10,000.
An informant (possibly Maniaci) told Special Agent LeGrand on June 22, 1965 that he expected Joseph Enea and Louis Fazio to be “made” any day now…
Joseph Balistrieri (son of Peter) and Mary Balistrieri, both of 1634 North Jackson Street, signed the articles of incorporation for Bals, Inc (the corporation that owned the Scene night club) in front of notary public Henry G. Piano on June 24, 1965. Throughout its existence, Bals, Inc was a three person corporation — Peter served as president, Mary as vice president and Joseph as secretary-treasurer. The real owner of the Scene (formerly the Swan Theatre and Supper Club) was, of course, Frank Balistrieri.
Around June 28, 1965, Santo Marino was at Angelo’s Pizza restaurant talking to Mike Albano. Albano told Marino to tell Sam Ferrara to “stop setting up trouble” in Milwaukee, referring to the plan to kill Balistrieri.
In July 1965, Steve DeSalvo was allegedly on the payroll of Paul Bogosian despite not actually working for him.
Santo Marino was home recovering from an operation for varicose veins on July 12, 1965.
Frank Balistrieri was at Gallagher’s for three hours on July 15, 1965 with Jimmy Jennaro and Sam Cefalu (of 1611 North Jackson, not to be confused with the other Sam Cefalu).
The funeral for Josephine Aiello LaMantia (sister of John and Vito Aiello) was held on July 17, 1965 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Among other attendees were Joseph Spero, Michael Albano, Charles Zarcone and Steve DeSalvo. Also attending was Joseph Romano, an alleged cousin of Angelo LaMantia who may have had a part in the murder of Frank Aiello. The LaMantia family lived at 1025 East Oakton in Arlington Heights, and had two children: John and Isadore.
A Kenosha informant spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on July 20, 1965. He said he no longer knew where local gamblers were getting their odds from. They had been getting “the line” from Pejack’s Tavern on Grand Avenue in Chicago, west of Halsted Street. However, Pejack had fallen into debt to the Syndicate and committed suicide recently to avoid them.
Benny DiSalvo was in the hospital on August 2, 1965 for an operation related to possible stomach cancer.
The Bureau sent a letter to the Milwaukee Field Office on August 5, 1965 stressing the importance of keeping the “hoodlum album” up to date. At that point, sixteen suspected racketeers did not have photos in the album — the Bureau wanted one negative and two images for each suspect. The Bureau wanted this job completed by October 1, and put Special Agent Richard Thompson in charge of the task. (Thompson and Alex LeGrand seem to have been the primary organized crime investigators.) Each new racketeering file opened from then on out had thirty days to submit a photograph.
Retired Judge Harry V. Carlson issued 11 warrants in Kenosha on August 5, 1965, as a result of the two-year old John Doe gambling probe. Those named in the warrant and arrested were Vito “Buster” Balistrere, Harry Siegal, Sam Gerolmo, Albert Albana, tavern keeper Dante Joseph Cardinali, Frank Joe Jannuzzi, Raymond James “Squeaky Ray” Matera, Joseph Sam Pfieffer, John C. Rizzo, bartender William Sanek and Carl “Cookie” Scola. After being held a couple hours, Matera, Rizzo and Jannuzzi posted $1000 bond while the others were released for $500. Rizzo had been charged with commercial gambling on the basis of being seen counting money with William Covelli at a cigar store at 2207 56th Street, Kenosha (next to Sam Gerolmo’s liquor store). Gerolmo was vacationing in northern Wisconsin and could not be immediately arrested; Balistrere had moved to Kansas City, and Harry Siegal had moved to Las Vegas.
Ray Matera appeared before Judge Urban Zievers on August 6 and requested a preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for August 16 before Judge Earl Morton.
One alleged prostitute being hunted by the FBI was Marilyn Shelton, who was very elusive. In August of 1965, the FBI searched credit bureau records and did not find her, and when interviewing the property manager (Olive Forrester) of the apartment where she may have lived (915 North 24th Street), Forrester claimed to never have heard of anyone named Shelton in the years that she was the manager.
Buster Balistrere was arrested in Kansas City on Monday, August 9, 1965. He refused to waive extradition and a hearing was set for September 7.
John Aiello (2761 South Herman) and Kenneth J. Weiss, 42, (3701 South Griffin) pleaded not guilty on August 9, 1965 to the tax evasion charges against them. Aiello’s trial was set for mid-October by Judge Kenneth Grubb. Weiss’ trial date was not set.
On August 11, 1965, there was a funeral for Joseph Zammuto’s wife Lena in Rockford (she died in Rochester, Minnesota on August 7). Attending from Milwaukee were Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri and Mike Albano. Nick Fucarino was supposed to pick up James Schiavo on the way to the funeral, but Carlo Caputo said Schiavo could not go because the FBI would be monitoring the event. When Frank Balistrieri heard that Schiavo was banned from going, he told an informant, “Who the hell is Caputo to say that?” Fucarino drove everybody down to Rockford. When they got there, Fucarino parked away from the funeral home and they took two cabs there to avoid FBI detection.
Harry Siegel, 48, former employee of the Rite Spot tavern, was picked up by the Clark County, Nevada sheriff’s office on Thursday, August 12, 1965. He refused to waive extradition for his trial in Kenosha for operating a gambling house.
The Balistrieri Brothers (Giuseppe and Frank E.) applied to the Public Service Commission on August 16, 1965 to have their public service license transferred to the Lee-An Trucking Company, a legitimate construction company.
John Triliegi was released from federal prison on August 16, 1965 after serving less than a year.
Sam Gerolmo surrendered to Kenosha County police on Monday, August 16, 1965 and posted $500 bond.
12th Ward constable and AMC employee Raymond Matera had his preliminary hearing on August 16, 1965 for commercial gambling, with Dominic Frinzi appearing as his attorney. Prosecutor Donald W. Steinmetz called four witnesses who testified that they had played poker for money in Carl Scola’s apartment over Dante’s Tavern. Barber John L. Seggiaro, 36, said he started his gambling nights at the Eagles Club, but if he was “hooked” (not winning), he would venture over to the apartment. Seggiaro said the Eagles game would have a $50 pot and they would rotate dealers, whereas the apartment had a $35 pot, but the dealer remained constant. Restaurant operator Frank Tenuta said he would occasionally sit in as dealer, and when the pot became too big, he would take money from it to buy food for everyone present. He said at no time did anyone make bets directly with the dealer. Herbert Brandes, 46, an American Motors employee, described the game as friendly and said he never lost more than $40 or won more than $50. Matera was identified by Janesville resident Gerald Huber, 21, as the dealer. The hearing was continued to August 24.
A Kenosha informant met with Special Agent William Higgins on August 17, 1965. He said that he doubted Carl Scola was handling pool tickets from his delicatessen because the business was doing really well and Scola was on probation and would not risk jail. He did say the two biggest operators in Kenosha were Gene Thomas and James “Skeins” Salerno. Local gamblers were surprised that Thomas had evaded indictment up to this point, as he appeared to operate openly without fear of law enforcement.
Sam Ferrara met with Peter Balistrieri at Le Bistro shortly before August 23, 1965.
An informant told Special Agent Alexander LeGrand on August 27, 1965 that Giuseppe Balistrieri was “a very nice type of individual but is married to a very domineering woman… who more or less rules the entire Balistrieri family.” The informant further said Giuseppe had a brother in Wausau named Dominic who ran a pizza place there, but Dominic was not suspected of being involved in organized crime.
Former Kenosha Police Chief Stanley Haukedahl (who had since moved to Battle Creek, Michigan and became an insurance salesman) testified at the preliminary hearing for Sam Gerolmo on Monday, August 30, 1965. He told prosecutor Donald Steinmetz that he had asked Gerolmo, whom he considered a friend, to set up a meeting with John Rizzo and William Covelli back in Mayor June 1961 (shortly after Robert Kennedy publicly declared a link between Kenosha and Antioch gambling). Haukedahl asked them if the “syndicate” was involved in Kenosha gambling, and the two men told them that while Buster Balistrere had been an important man in Kenosha, he was not acting on behalf of any organized crime interests. The two men convinced Haukedahl that the dice game was not as large as law enforcement believed it to be. Haukedahl categorized Covelli and Rizzo as “informants” for the Kenosha Police Department.
At a party for Frank’s son Joseph Balistrieri in honor of his entering the practice of law at The Scene (formerly the Swan Theatre) on September 5, 1965, attendees included Rockford LCN members Phil Priola, Sebastian “Knobby” Gulatta and Frank Buscemi. There were approximately 500 guests in all, including many Milwaukee hoodlums. Peter Sciortino was there with his wife and a son-in-law, dentist Dr. Maglio.
Checking into Raymond Matera’s phone records, they had found he was in contact with a William Burton Hull of Las Vegas. A check of records on September 7, 1965 disclosed that Hull was a “box man” and dealer at the Horseshoe in Vegas. He was 58 and originally from Patterson, Louisiana. His exact connection to Matera is unclear.
A group of men (names redacted) met at the Country Motel in Waukesha County and then had lunch at Alioto’s Restaurant on September 11, 1965. After lunch, they played a game of gin rummy and one of the men, the millionaire owner of Great Lakes Homes who lived in Waukesha, lost $60,000. The other men were connected to Sam Battaglia. The man could not pay at that time.
Buster Balestrere called the home of Peter Balistrieri on September 13, 1965.
The preliminary hearing for city constable Raymond J. Matera, Dante J. Cardinali and storekeeper Carl Scola wrapped up on September 15, 1965 with defense attorneys Dominic Frinzi and Jay Schwartz and prosecutor Donald Steinmetz making their closing arguments before Judge Earl D. Morton (the defendants were not present). Frinzi argued that “because a few fellows from American Motors couldn’t afford to join the Eagles, Elks or Country Club, they went to this place to play cards and got hit with felony counts.” He questioned the John Doe investigation, saying it “tried to get at City Hall and wound up getting some poor, broken-down gambling charges.” He further said the charges amounted to misdemeanors “at best” and pursuing these men was “wasting the state’s money”, with the John Doe being nothing more than a “coverup for some reckless statements made by reckless politicians.” Morton set the Matera and Scola cases for trial and dismissed Cardinali, saying he did not think the prosecution proved the tavern owner knew what was going on in the upstairs apartment.
There was a 25th anniversary party at Alioto’s in Wauwatosa on September 19, 1965. The guests of honor were Joseph and Frances Dentice. Attendees included Nick Fucarino, James Schiavo, Joseph Caminiti, Joseph Gumina, Vito Seidita and Charles Zarcone. Frank Balistrieri was invited but did not attend because he did not get along with Joseph Dentice.
An informant told the FBI on September 20, 1965 that John Triliegi told him that he met Vito Genovese in prison, and was supposed to deliver a message to Genovese’s daughter when he got out. (Note: I do not know why Genovese could not write a letter to his daughter, and also, to my knowledge, Gnovese was in prison in Atlanta, not Terre Haute or Leavenworth.)
Carlo Dimaggio was interviewed by Agents LeGrand and Thompson yet again on September 27, 1965. He said he was not a member of the Mafia, and his poverty should be proof of that. He said he was friendly with former police chiefs, district attorneys and local politicians. As for Balistrieri being “boss”, it was DiMaggio’s opinion that in America everyone was his own boss. He said he had been attending recent debates concerning a proposed law to try 16-year olds as adults. He said he was in favor of this and cited a recent incident where a black youth killed a white youth without provocation and was being tried as a juvenile. DiMaggio then brought out photos of his deceased wife and three daughters, of whom he was very proud.
Raymond Mirr was sentenced to a year’s probation on Thursday, September 30, 1965 for commercial gambling. He had plead no contest and his sentence was handed down in Mount Sinai Hospital where Mirr was undergoing treatment for an intestinal disorder.
John Rizzo was to appear before Judge Earl Morton on September 30, 1965 for his commercial gambling charge, but attorney Dominic Frinzi filed a writ of prohibition. Frinzi argued that since Rizzo had been granted immunity during the John Doe hearings, he should not have been charged with gambling as a result of the hearings. A review of the writ was set for October 15.
Albert Albana, Frank Jannuzzi, William Sanek and Joseph S. Pfeiffer appeared before Judge Earl Morton in Kenosha on their John Doe gambling charges on September 30. Attorney Frinzi moved for dismissal on the grounds that all the men were lumped together under the same charge despite not being involved in the same acts. Frinzi argued that each man should have had an original complaint. Morton, however, rejected the dismissal and set the cases for a preliminary hearing on October 6 based on the testimony of two witnesses: Robert Radykowski and Gerald Cox. These men identified Albana as the doorman of a few gambling joints (though they said he would alternate with Frank Jannuzzi and Jeff Covelli). They further identified the “bankers” of these games as John Rizzo and William Covelli. Attorney Joseph Balistrieri sat in on the trial proceedings as an observer.
James Schiavo was interviewed at the Continental Club, 4214 East Washington Boulevard, Madison on September 30, 1965 by Special Agents Alexander LeGrand and Richard Thompson. When asked if he thought there was a Mafia in Madison, he declined to answer the question directly but said that organized crime could not exist in Madison because the police department was not corrupt. He said there might be prostitution or gambling on a small scale, but nothing major. Schiavo said he lived in Madison all his life, except briefly in 1955 when he owned the Three Dolls with Joseph Alioto at Third and Wells in Milwaukee.
Joseph Gumina retired from International Harvester on October 1, 1965.
Albert Albana, Frank Jannuzzi, William Sanek and Joseph S. Pfeiffer appeared before Judge Earl Morton again on October 6. Attorney Frinzi argued that the state was prosecuting “small fries” while granting the principal offenders immunity. All four were bound over for trial.
An informant told the FBI on October 6, 1965 that Sam Clementi had been in Milwaukee a few days prior. He said Clementi was in his 60s, operated a tavern in Madison, and was a current or former member of the Mafia.
Mariano Megna was buried on October 12, 1965. The funeral was attended the night before by August Maniaci, John Aiello, Joseph Caminiti, John Alioto and Nick Fucarino.
An informant told the FBI on October 12, 1965 that Sam Ferrara and Peter Balistrieri (uncle of Frank Balistrieri) were responsible for the murder of Pasquale Caruso in 1934. Ferrara was said to do the actual shooting. (To my knowledge, this information was not passed on to the Milwaukee Police, despite Ferrara still being alive.)
John Rizzo’s writ of prohibition hearing was postponed from October 15 to November 1.
Around October 19, 1965, Michele Mineo suffered a stroke and ended up in St. Michael’s Hospital. Within a week he was recovered, but was left with a bad leg and was partial paralyzed on his left side.
Frank Balistrieri filed a mortgage on October 25, 1965 conveying the property at 3043 North Shepard Avenue to Frank Ranney for the consideration of $10,000. The mortgage was prepared by attorney Henry G. Piano.
Sam Iaquinta purchased property at 517 56th Street, Kenosha from Verna L. Lencione on November 2, 1965.
On November 6, 1965, the three men who played gin rummy with a Waukesha man on September 11 returned to collect the money he lost at 11:30am. The police were called and they stationed themselves outside where they could overhear the conversation. Although no threats were heard, the men did indeed try to get the money and a .22 with ammunition was found in their car. All three were brought in for photographs and fingerprints, and the police kept the gun. All three men were described as having brown eyes, dark hair and a ruddy complexion.
Buster Balestrere called the home of Peter Balistrieri on November 7, 1965.
There was a bridal shower for Rosemarie Fucarino at Alioto’s Restaurant on November 7, 1965. Roughly 200 women attended, and 20 men had gathered in another room. The men there included Cosmo DiSalvo, James Schiavo and Joseph Aiello.
Mariano “Mike” Sciortino died November 9, 1965 at the age of 73. The funeral was handled by the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home.
The pre-trial conference for Badger Construction Company’s lawsuit against the Milwaukee Cinder Company was on November 10, 1965. The Balistrieris owed Badger Construction $7293.50 in unpaid rent.
John Rizzo and William Covelli went to the Arlington Race Track on November 11, 1965.
After watching since January, the IRS raided a bolita gambling establishment in Milwaukee on November 23, 1965 said to have earned $500,000 that year alone. (Bolita is a game where a gambler picks a three-digit number and bets $1. In this version, if his number is picked he pockets $500. The game existed in Milwaukee at least as early as 1947 and games were still being busted as late as the 1980s.) Those arrested were: Louis D. Lugo, 34, 2025 North Holton Street; Hector Mercado, 31, 1023 North 15th Street; Cirilio Ortiz, 34, 110 East Garfield Avenue; and Ariosto Vazquez, 36, 3315 West St. Paul Avenue (where the lottery was based). They each signed a $1000 bail bond before Commissioner John C. McBride. The men running the game informed the IRS that the game was set up by Ken Eto of Chicago, who was given 90% of the profits. Tax agent Fortino Gutierrez, posing as a gambler, once had $20 withheld from his winnings that he was told went towards an annual drawing.
Salvatore Albano’s funeral was on November 25, 1965 at Guardalabene and Amato funeral home. Salvatore was the brother of Tony Albano. Among other attendees was Salvatore Seidita.
The evening of December 5, 1965, wedding guests from Madison stayed at the Mayfair Motel. Frank Balistrieri stopped by the motel for a while. James Schiavo told the people there that the FBI was outside writing down license plates, although this was not true.
On December 6, 1965 there was a wedding between Milwaukee LCN member Nick Fucarino’s daughter Rosemarie and Madison LCN member James Schiavo’s son Anthony. At least eight Rockford LCN members showed up, though some of the more prominent could not attend due to illness and one was in Omaha. Many Madison and Milwaukee hoodlums attended the wedding and reception, including Frank LaGalbo, Filippo Candela and Michael Albano. The wedding took place at St. Catherine’s in Milwaukee followed by a breakfast at Alioto’s restaurant. That evening, a reception was held at the Eagle’s Club from 6pm until midnight, with as many as 1000 guests present. Attendants were John Balistrieri, Joseph Balistrieri, Baby Joey Balistrieri, a relative of Filippo Candela and a relative of Sam Ferrara, as well as a cousin of the bride from Chicago and the daughter of Racine bootlegger Jack Iannello. Felix Alderisio showed up briefly, gave an envelope to the couple, congratulated Nick Fucarino and then held a private conference with Frank Balistrieri and John Alioto. According to Tony’s obituary, “Tony and Rose Marie’s ‘chance meeting’ occurred through the providence of two foresighted fathers.” Tony and Rose would have two children, James and Nick.
William Covelli was arrested December 8, 1965 at 3:20pm on two perjury charges stemming from his John Doe testimony. The next day, he appeared with attorney Dominic Frinzi and Judge Earl Morton released Covelli on $500 recognizance bond.
The FBI asked Appleton City Inspector Charles Magnette on December 13, 1965 if they had any contact with Nick Gentile. He said no, but he indicated that Vincent Maniaci had come in a few days earlier to apply for a liquor license for 512 West College Avenue, a building owned by L. H. Chudacoff Real Estate. Maniaci returned to Magnette’s office on December 15, this time with Gentile, and proposed the idea of an Italian restaurant and cocktail lounge called the Roman House. The buildings next to 512 were a typewriter shop and a tile shop. Maniaci, who did all the talking, said he hoped to have the restaurant up and running as soon as January or February. Magnette called the FBI back and said that although Maniaci was clearly in charge, he was under the impression from Gentile’s presence that he would have some sort of financial interest.
Frank Balistrieri threw a Christmas party at Fazio’s restaurant on Jackson on December 24, 1965. Attendees included Joseph Spero, Steve DeSalvo, Michael Albano, Jerry DiMaggio, Peter Balistrieri and Harry DeAngelo.
As a result of a John Doe investigation, Steve Halmo, 44, of 716 South 7th Street, was fined $250 in December 1965 for commercial gambling.
At a sheriff’s sale on December 29, 1965, Sam Iaquinta purchased the Good Luck Bar (2308 57th Street) for $12,222.06.
Vincent Maniaci wrote an open letter to the Appleton Post-Crescent that was published on January 12, 1966. The newspaper had recently published a series of articles concerning Maniaci, and particularly his association with Nick Gentile. The Appleton police chief had publicly opposed the granting of a license to Maniaci. He cited his Appleton roots, saying his mother was born in Appleton on Thanksgiving and was baptized at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Maniaci pointed out that he had no criminal record and had held a Milwaukee bartenders license for 25 years. He specifically said that Gentile would “have no interest, financial or otherwise” in the restaurant, and pleaded that he had already invested thousands of dollars into remodeling the building.
On Thursday, January 13, 1966, Appleton’s welfare and ordinance committee decided to delay a decision on Vincent Maniaci’s license. Police Chief Earl Wolff attended the meeting and presented his written opposition. Mark Catlin, an Appleton attorney, and Max Goldsmith, Milwaukee attorney, appeared on Maniaci’s behalf and questioned why Maniaci should be denied because of guilt by association. They had heard that 13 aldermen had signed a resolution to oppose the license and demanded to know why. Alderman Glenn Thompson made a motion to hold the license in abeyance until the remodeling and inspections were done at 512 West College. He was seconded by Alderman Richard Huisman.
On January 18, 1966, Vincent Maniaci withdrew his license request. He was refunded his $275 license deposit. I believe it would be fair to say that the Appleton Post-Crescent, through the considerable coverage it gave the matter, was the reason behind the license’s controversy and ultimate dismissal.
The Bureau informed Milwaukee’s Special Agent in Charge Paul H. Fields on January 31, 1966 that they were attempting to streamline their files on LCN membership. Fields instructed his agents that they needed to fill out forms for the Automatic Data Process (ADP) by February 21. The forms were summaries of each member containing twelve sections, with such items as FBI number, LCN rank, birth info, places frequented, and family members in the Mafia. Files in closed status were to be looked over by Special Agent (redacted) with Special Agent Carlyle N. Reed assisting.
Anthony Pipito was arrested on February 4, 1966 on two counts of burglary and one count of forgery. The charges were dismissed.
Special Agent Charles Ahern ran physical surveillance on the Office Lounge (518 58th Street) in Kenosha on February 8, 1966. He watched the tavern from 11:40am until 6:30pm, writing down descriptions of people and automobiles.
John Joseph “Pitch” Picciurro’s funeral was held on February 16, 1966 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home on Holton. Picciurro was Giuseppe Balistrieri’s brother-in-law, and an uncle to Frank and Peter Balistrieri. Attending the funeral was Frank LaGalbo. William Covelli and John Rizzo attended together, bringing with them a third man.
Nicky Covelli and a woman went to the 3021 Club on February 22, 1966 and the woman got up on the pool table and began to strip while go-go dancing. After this, they went to the Fireside Restaurant and attempted to do it again, but were stopped by the management.
When the Milwaukee Office returned their summary of Giuseppe Balistrieri to the Bureau on February 24, 1966, they referred to him as “formerly head of the Milwaukee family.” I have no idea where this idea came from — there is no evidence to show that he was ever boss, underboss or even consigliere.
Benedetto DiSalvo was hired on at Pabst in the bottle house in March 1966.
Special Agent Eldon Mueller interviewed James Schiavo at the Continental Club on March 8, 1966. Schiavo told Mueller what he had told LeGrand and Thompson, that organized crime did not exist in the Italian community of Madison and that this could not happen because Madison police were honest. He insisted that the FBI should investigate “the Jews” because they were “more organized” and “basically crooked”.
Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Balistrieri (his nephew) went to Kansas City on March 10, 1966. Joseph returned first and Peter returned a few days later. They were gone about a week.
Steve Dalmo was bound over for trial on Saturday, March 12, 1966 after bartender Robert Rauch, 32, testified that Dalmo had accepted over $5000 in bets from Rauch between September and February. The bets were on football, baseball and basketball games, as well as horse racing, and not all the bets were Rauch’s but simply called in to Dalmo by Rauch. Rauch was reluctant to testify until granted immunity by Judge Christ T. Seraphim on motion of the district attorney’s office. Dalmo filed an affidavit of prejudice on Tuesday, April 5, 1966 against Circuit Court Judge John L. Coffey, who had previously conducted a John Doe investigation that resulted in Dalmo’s being charged with a prior gambling offense.
Vincent Maniaci and Nick Gentile met Frank Balistrieri at The Scene on March 22, 1966.
An informant told the FBI on March 24, 1966 that Sam Iaquinta hung out at the Midtown Bar. Iaquinta and Joseph Madrigrano were said to be part of a group buying up real estate in Kenosha, including Emil’s Bar at Roosevelt Road and 23rd Avenue. Iaquinta was allegedly showing signs of wealth that were inconsistent with his former status in the community. This changed roughly two years prior when he joined Madrigrano and Dan Cerminara on a tour of Europe.
On March 31, 1966, an employee at the Tri-Clover Company in Kenosha reported to the FBI that another employee was booking horses and also received sports parlay cards from a man driving a blue or black Cadillac. The employee was said to be a loud mouth and had said on multiple occasions that William Covelli and Sam Iaquinta were behind the murder of Anthony Biernat.
Dominic Frinzi filed motions to dismiss the gambling cases against Ray Matera, William Sanek, Frank Jannuzzi, Joseph Pfeiffer and Albert Albana at their arraignment on April 4, 1966. However, the court stenographer had not yet transcribed her 150 pages of notes and the motion hearings were rescheduled for June 6.
Anthony Pipito was arrested for threat to injure on April 10, 1966. The charge was dismissed.
When Rose Mercurio Maniaci (mother of August and Vincent Maniaci) died on April 17, 1966, at least three Rockford LCN members attended the wake on the 19th: Phil Priola, Charlie Vince and Frank Corrente. These men parked their car at Mike Albano’s restaurant and rode to the funeral with Albano to avoid having their license plate numbers written down by police. Phil Cannella and his wife were also there. After the funeral, they met up with Frank Balistrieri at The Scene night club. James Schiavo of Madison was also there.
The LaStrada Club began a free bingo game on April 19, 1966. John Rizzo operated the game, which offered prizes.
A Racine Police detective called the Christensen Agency on May 6 to ask about John Rizzo’s house, which was listed for sale. They informed him that Rizzo was asking $35,000 and wanted to sell because he could not afford the maintenance. The realtor said that Rizzo intended to live with his daughter and son-in-law in Racine.
An informant told the FBI on May 6, 1966 that Roland Libonati may try to sell his Wisconsin property because he owed $3900 in back taxes on it and was not making any money. He further said Mark (?) Castelli reopened his factory in Plainfield for cheese novelties, known as the House of Cheese Petite. Another man in Plainfield (name redacted) was in the business of selling equipment to cheese factories.
William Covelli’s preliminary hearing on two perjury charges was on the morning of May 9, 1966. He was accused of lying about his gambling activities and about a visit he made to Anthony Biernat prior to his death.
The FBI learned on May 16, 1966 that Frank LaGalbo was now a member of the South Chicago LCN, with boss Frank LaPorte based in Chicago Heights. As such, LaGalbo could not involve himself in Milwaukee’s affairs without LaPorte’s permission. This same day, an informant (likely the same one) said that Vito Seidita had taken the role of Milwaukee’s consigliere, presumably replacing Charles Zarcone, despite not being actively involved in the Family’s affairs.
Walter Brocca had a party for his granddaughter’s first communion on May 16, 1966 at the Paradise Gardens in the Bayside neighborhood of Milwaukee.
Roughly May 19, 1966, Frank Balistrieri (living at 3043 North Shepard Avenue) filed to have his federal tax evasion case moved to the Southern District of Illinois, on the grounds that the newspapers of Madison and Milwaukee have given his case too much negative publicity.
Frank Balistrieri hosted a dinner at Alioto’s on May 25 or 26, 1966 in honor of Andrew Lococo, who was in town because of Restaurant Convention in Chicago, and picked up the check for the meal. Attending the dinner was William Covelli, Tony and Tommy Machi, and others.
Kenosha’s ongoing John Doe gambling probe brought forth five charges on Wednesday, June 1, 1966, bringing the total men involved to 16 (others had been charged the prior August). Detective Joseph Smolinski, a Kenosha police officer for 20 years, was charged with perjury for his statements under oath the previous April. Eugene Francis Thomas, owner of the Office Lounge, was also charged with perjury. Three bartenders were charged with commercial gambling: Peter Zocchi, Sammy Macy, and Angelo Germinaro. William Covelli told an FBI informant that he was worried that he was being saved for last, and feared he might end up with a five year prison sentence.
Dominic Frinzi was scheduled to argue motions to dismiss the gambling cases against Ray Matera, William Sanek, Frank Jannuzzi, Joseph Pfeiffer and Albert Albana on Monday, June 6, 1966. However, Frinzi failed to appear for any of these men and the cases were bound over for trial.
An informant spoke with Special Agent Charles Ahern on June 7, 1966 concerning Sam Iaquinta. He said Iaquinta was no longer seen around Greco’s Restaurant, but instead was “highfalutin” and had no time for “peons”. He was now believed to hang out at he Miltown Restaurant (2112 52nd Street) and the Uptown Bar and Restaurant (6216 22nd Avenue)
The Ad Lib night club (323-327 West Wells) opened on June 10, 1966. The registered agent for the business was James Jennaro, and the owner was Mando Enterprises (Joseph and Frances Maniaci).
Felix Alderisio was in Milwaukee on June 12, 1966.
Salvatore Giancana was in Milwaukee on June 15, 1966 and met with Frank Balistrieri at the Scene. Around this time, the Shags were performing five nights a week at the Scene and were being paid $1000 per week to do so. They were not happy with the job; despite being paid well, they did not like the way Balistrieri managed the place and their manager was punched by an employee of Balistrieri’s at Le Bistro. (The FBI categorized the Shags as a band that caters to “the coffee house-student crowd” and “long hair eccentrics”. The FBI said all the band members attended Layton Art School on North Prospect.)
Carlo Caputo’s son was married on June 18, 1966. James Schiavo brought a member of the Milwaukee Family (redacted) with him as a guest. No other Milwaukee members were there, but Rockford members Charlie Vince and Frank Buscemi were there. So was Jim DeGeorge.
Albert Albana and others finally had their day in court on John Doe gambling charges on June 22, 1966. Albana entered a plea of guilty to commercial gambling and was fined $1250. Raymond Matera pleaded guilty and was fined $500.
A funeral was held for John Spero, who died of a heart attack while visiting Palermo, Sicily, on June 24, 1966. Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, brother Joseph Spero and many other hoodlums attended this funeral at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home.
On June 27, 1966, Frank Bompensiero picked up Chicago LCN capo Frank LaPorte from the San Diego airport and from there went to the Palomar Inn just off Highway 101 at Chula Vista and had dinner with Francesco “Frank” Balistrieri, a former Milwaukee LCN member. (I am unclear how this Frank relates to the more common Frank Balistrieri.) Special agents from the FBI talked to Balistrieri shortly after this and he said that he had met the two men years ago when he lived in Milwaukee, and they were catching up with old times. No business was conducted.
Rockford LCN member Phil Priola called an FBI informant (possibly a Maniaci brother) on June 29, 1966 in search of Peter Balistrieri’s phone number. The informant was not home, but his wife did relay that information to Priola. Priola was looking for Balistrieri to inform him that Sebastian “Knobby” Gulotta had been kicked out of the Rockford LCN, and if he should come to Milwaukee, they should have nothing to do with him. The Rockford LCN suspected that Gulotta was telling too much to his girlfriend, though whether these suspicions were accurate is unclear.
Frank Balistrieri’s motion to have his tax case heard in Springfield rather than Milwaukee was granted on June 30, 1966 by Judge Omer Poos.
FBI agents visited Albert Albana at his home on July 1, 1966 but he refused to answer the door. He called down to them that he was caused too much trouble in the past and did not wish to discuss anything with them.
An informant reported on July 17, 1966 that Joseph Madrigrano was selling beer to Illinois buyers at $2000-3000 per load. This maneuver allowed the buyers to avoid paying the Illinois tax.
Kenneth Weiss was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years probation by Judge John Reynolds for his tax evasion on July 20, 1966. He was only convicted of one charge, with the remaining being dropped on the condition he would file his old returns and pay his back taxes.
John Rizzo and William Covelli met with Frank Balistrieri at the Ad Lib on July 21, 1966. They spoke for 90 minutes to two hours.
The Twin Lakes State Bank was chartered on July 27, 1966. Holding 25 shares of stock in the new bank was Sam Iaquinta, 4604 65th Street, Kenosha. (He already had 165 shares in the American State Bank of Kenosha.)
An informant told the FBI on July 27, 1966 about Nick Covelli. Covelli was said to be a distant relative of William Covelli and a member of the family that owned S. Covelli and Sons produce. Nick was said to gamble for his own amusement, but was not involved in promoting or operating a gambling business. He was not seen as a capable business man, despite running several Kenosha taverns. The informant also said the West Side Gang was supporting Ed Polansky for Kenosha sheriff and Dominic Frinzi for governor.
Steve DeSalvo was working for Herman “the German” Sosnay’s Greenfield Development Company in August 1966. Sosnay was known to be a crooked gambler and especially good at gin rummy. This association continued for some time, though it is not known what role DeSalvo had in the company, if any (he may have just been collecting checks).
Michael Albano, apparently along with his wife and daughter, traveled to Sicily in August 1966. He ended up cutting his visit one month short because of “too much heat” — the government was cracking down on the Sicilian Mafia. (How this would affect an American is unclear.)
Charles Zarcone was interviewed at his residence (2604 North Murray Street, Apartment 105) by Special Agent Carlyle Reed on August 4, 1966. He said he was a butcher, but was now retired. His high blood pressure and rheumatism prevented him from being very active. He said in his spare time he liked to visit with the Seidita brothers at their butcher shop on Farwell. He said he knew nothing of the Mafia beyond what he read in the newspapers, but was familiar with various Italians in Milwaukee, having grown up in the Third Ward after coming to America in 1905.
Frank Balistrieri was in Chicago on August 9-10, 1966. The purpose is unknown, but he likely met with Felix Alderisio.
An informant spoke with the FBI on August 17, 1966. He said that while Sam DiMaggio was in Leavenworth Prison, he had met New York boss Vito Genovese in the infirmary. DiMaggio asked Genovese if he could do any favors for him, and Genovese said, “No. Just say hello to the boys in Milwaukee.”
With a $30,000 loan from the American State Bank, Sam Iaquinta purchased Wright’s State Line Inn on August 30, 1966. The tavern was a two-story stucco building at the corner of Sheridan and Owen in Pleasant Prairie, within a block of the Illinois border. (I cannot find an “Owen”, so I suspect it was renamed at some point.)
The LaStrada Club went up for sale in September 1966 through Salerno Realty.
An informant in Kenosha spoke with the FBI concerning the primary elections (apparently in September 1966). He said the Italians were disappointed that their pick — Deputy Edwin Polansky — had lost the Democratic primary to Undersheriff William P. Schmitt. They also disliked District Attorney Joseph Molinaro — despite his connections to Louis Greco, having appeared prominently in Greco’s wedding photos — but would “oppose with all their resources” his Republican opponent, former Special Agent William J. Higgins.
Steve DeSalvo’s father, Vincent DeSalvo of West Allis, died on September 5, 1966 with the funeral being on September 7. Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Joseph Spero, Sam Ferrara, Vito Aiello, Michael Albano and several other hoodlums attended this funeral at the Schoff funeral home in West Allis. Anyone of any importance was there, including the local Italian gamblers and Vincent Mercurio. No one from out of town was recognized.
Kenosha County’s chief investigator checked with his confidential sources and then reported to the FBI on September 9, 1966. He said that Alfred DeCesaro was “far more important” than he was given credit for and “plays things down intentionally”. This attempt to stay in the background put him at odds with Ralph Masaro before Masaro’s death because he (Masaro) was talking too much, especially when drinking. The investigator said that DeCesaro was “wired into” the Chicago Outfit, and therefore did not have to pay a cut of his booking to William Covelli. Covelli was the top man for the Milwaukee Family in Kenosha, but the city was coordinated between the Milwaukee and Chicago mobs. “Detchy” Greco was leasing a farm house on I-94 and also had an apartment for card games at 56th Street and 10th Avenue. Greco had also allegedly offered $1000 to a sheriff candidate to “look the other way” if he got elected. Greco and Covelli did not get along, and had apparently shot each other’s windows out at one point.
Ray Charles appeared at the Scene night club from September 9 through the 14, 1966. The cost for these six nights was $20,000.
John Rizzo and William Covelli were surveilled in Kenosha on September 14, 1966. From 11:40 to 11:43am, Covelli was in Becker’s Cigar Store (609 56th Street) while Rizzo waited in the car. Then, from 11:44 to 11:46am, Covelli went into the Hotel Dayton. Covelli was dropped off at 77th Street and Pershing Boulevard, while Rizzo went to a telephone booth at the Sears Roebuck store in the Pershing Plaza shopping center and made a seven minute phone call.
Milwaukee LCN member Michael Albano died September 21, 1966 of heart failure. His funeral was on September 24, and was attended by virtually all the Milwaukee members. Only one Rockford member, Phil Priola, was there. No one from Chicago was present, aside from relatives of Albano’s with no mob connections. Albano’s death created a bit of a rupture in the Milwaukee LCN, as he was considered to be close to Harry DeAngelo, Benny DeSalvo and Joseph Spero. Of the four, it was Albano who had Frank Balistrieri’s “ear”, leaving the other two now without a strong connection.
Angelo Germinaro and Sammy Marcy were arraigned on Friday, September 23, 1966 in Kenosha County. Both men pleaded not guilty to conspiring with Gene Thomas to receive bets at the Office Lounge, and Judge Harold Bode scheduled their trial for October 26. Germinaro also claimed indigence and Judge Bode appointed an attorney for him. The same day, William Covelli was arraigned before Judge Eugene Baker on two counts of perjury. His attorney filed a motion for dismissal and a motion hearing was set for October 17. Peter Zocchi also appeared before Judge Baker (separately) and pleaded not guilty to a charge of receiving bets. His trial was set for October 24.
Chico’s Restaurant (owned by Frank LaGalbo) suffered an extensive fire that completely gutted the interior in October 1966.
Steve DeSalvo and Frank Stelloh were seen together at Gallagher’s on October 13, 1966. Stelloh had been hired on by Balistrieri to supervise the custodians at his night clubs.
On October 17, 1966, William Covelli argued a motion to dismis his perjury charges. The motion was denied.
On Friday, October 21, 1966, the two charges of perjury were dropped against Gene Thomas. A charge of commercial gambling was put in its place. Thomas pleaded no contest and was fined $600 by Judge Earl Morton.
Office Lounge bartenders Angelo Germinaro, 48, and Sammy Macy, 37, pleaded guilty to charges of gambling (reduced from commercial gambling) on October 26, 1966. Germinaro was fined $300 and Macy was fined $200. Special prosecutor Francis Croak decided their taking bets was “an incidental part of their employment” by Gene Thomas.
Santo Marino was recovering from surgery on November 8, 1966. He had a cyst removed from the base of his spine and polyps removed from his rectum.
Theodore Azzarella, 62, died on November 16 and was buried on Saturday, November 19, 1966. He was a small-time gambler who took bets at his home at 509 West Keefe Street. The FBI speculated that some of his profits may have been sent up. Guardalabene and Amato handled the funeral and burial was in Holy Cross. He left behind his wife Mary and siblings Charles, Joseph and Mary.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously rejected John Rizzo’s claim of immunity from prosecution on November 29, 1966. Justice Leo Hanley wrote the opinion and expressed his belief that Rizzo’s testimony focused on gambling pre-1959 and he was therefore not immune to post-1959 gambling charges. Granting a “general amnesty” would “defeat the very purpose” of the hearing, “which is to aid in the prosecution of criminals”. Rizzo appealed to the US Supreme Court.
Dominic Frinzi asked that evidence against William Covelli be suppressed on Thursday, December 1, 1966. He told Judge Eugene Baker that Covelli had been one of his clients around the time his office was bugged, and questions asked during a John Doe hearing could have come from those illegal bugs. Frinzi had as his witnesses Agent Joseph E. O’Connell and former agent Clark Lovrien (who had since transferred to the attorney general’s office). A hearing was set for December 28.
The Mat Corporation of America (7514 West Appleton Avenue) was incorporated on January 10, 1967 with Steve DeSalvo as vice president, treasurer and secretary. The business places mats at the entrances of industrial and commercial buildings. The office was shared with Herman Sosnay’s Greenfield Development.
Also on January 10, 1967, there was a meeting of Milwaukee, Kenosha and Chicago mobsters to discuss gambling in Lake County. Attending the meeting was Anthony “Tony Mack” DeMonte. (This may have been held at the Charcoal Restaurant and Dominick DiBella may have attended.)
After a complete remodeling, Chico’s restaurant re-opened on January 12, 1967.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal from John Rizzo on January 31, 1967 asking them to review their decision. The commercial gambling charge — now years old — would go forward.
In January and February 1967, Walter Brocca was in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area (possibly Williamsport) doing salvage work for an unidentified Milwaukee hoodlum and was reportedly making good money. The unidentified hoodlum may have owned Machinery Exchange, Inc.
A Kenosha informant was interviewed on February 11, 1967. He said the preceding Friday night, Greco’s was like a hoodlum “who’s who”. Bill Covelli and John Rizzo were there, as was Albert Albana. Informant said Albana was a pain in the “posterior” and a “crashing bore”.
A party was held for Louis Fazio on March 8, 1967 in honor of his being pardoned at Fazio’s on 5th. Steve DeSalvo, Dominic Principe and Herman Sosnay were in attendance.
On March 13, 1967, Special Agent Carlyle Reed reported to Alexander LeGrand, now an administrative assistant to the mayor, that he heard from an informant that Gallagher’s was filthy and the toilets were always plugged. LeGrand passed this information on to City Health Department. The story was confirmed.
In March 1967, Frank Balistrieri was convicted for felony income tax evasion.
On March 17, 1967, the Tumblebrook Country Club in Delafield came into the possession of the Central States Pension Fund. The Teamsters bought the property for $665,000 at a sheriff’s sale after it was foreclosed on. The previous owner was Carl A. Hoff, president of the Tumblebrook Corporation. One week later, the land was sold to Investors Group, Inc for $710,000. (Interestingly, two years later, part of the property was sold to Wau-Kee, Inc — run by Carl Hoff — for $1,075,000.)
Andrew Maniscalco, the chef at Chico’s, was arrested for being in a gambling house at 3044 North Stowell Avenue on March 26, 1967. Anthony Pipito was also arrested. They were fined $25 each. (Maniscalco was a known gambler and usually placed his bets through Tony Machi.)
Steve DeSalvo’s daughter was married on April 8, 1967. The reception was held at the Plankinton House Hotel with an open bar.
The US Supreme Court declined to hear John Rizzo’s appeal on May 8, 1967.
Gordon Gottlieb wrote in the May 9, 1967 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel that 1967 could go down in history as the “year of awakening” with regards to organized crime in Wisconsin. A national crime commission named Wisconsin one of 16 states with a mob presence, while the government of Milwaukee had a hard time accepting it. Police Chief Harold Breier wanted to see “the facts” that the commission used. District Attorney Hugh O’Connell saw “no indication” that organized crime was in Milwaukee, and Sheriff Edwin Purtell did not know of “any evidence”.
Nick Gentile was arrested on May 10 in Wauwatosa for issuing worthless checks. The charge was dropped when he agreed to pay restitution.
Joseph Spero spoke to an informant in May 1967 about what he felt should be done about the leadership of the Milwaukee LCN. Spero said that a meeting should be called to find a replacement for Frank Balistrieri and to ease Balistrieri out of power. Spero feared that Balistrieri was at risk of losing his power due to his tax problems and loss of connection with Chicago. Balistrieri’s biggest supporters in Chicago were Sam Giancana (who had fled the country), Teets Battaglia (in prison) and Felix Alderisio (in prison).
William Covelli was found guilty of perjury by Judge Eugene Baker on May 18, 1967.
A California gambler who had formerly been from Milwaukee was in town from May 22-28, 1967 to visit his old gambling friends.
John Rizzo finally pleaded no contest to his commercial gambling charge on May 23, 1967 and was fined $1800. (I wonder how much he had to pay his attorney!) Buster Balistrere was fined $500 and $287 in court costs when he pleaded to a reduced charge of gambling.
According to an informant, Sam DeStefano was in Milwaukee the first week of June 1967 to meet with John Triliegi.
Two men were arrested in Milwaukee on June 5, 1967 and police found two pistols under their car seats.
William Covelli was fined $5000 on June 5, 1967 for his perjury conviction. It was the highest fine resulting from the John Doe hearings. (An informant suggested to the FBI that the fine was paid by people in Chicago, but there seems to be nothing backing up this rumor.)
Frank Buscemi’s son, Vincent A. Buscemi, married Patricia Louise Ping on June 10, 1967 in Rockford. Frank Balistrieri was in charge of delivering invitations to Milwaukee LCN members. Nick Fucarino, among other old-timers, became upset with Balistrieri when they did not receive invitations. Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo and Peter Balistrieri were believed to have attended the event without telling the other Milwaukee members, according to Jerry DiMaggio (who worked for Balistrieri).
There was a birthday party in Chicago for Joseph Priola, father of Rockford LCN member Phil Priola, on July 9, 1967 at the Chateau Royal. The elder Priola turned 100, and a few Milwaukee members attended, including Jerry DiMaggio, Nick Fucarino and Peter Balistrieri. Frank Balistrieri did not attend because he was in Madison seeing his acquaintance Frank Sinatra perform.
A “lawn party” was held in Greendale for Tony Maniaci on July 16, 1967. Among other attendees was Sam Ferrara.
The FBI’s investigation of the Milwaukee family was put on hold from July through October 1967 due to an ongoing riot and civil unrest.
In August 1967, Frank Balistrieri purchased the building at 722 North Water Street for $80,000 with the intent of turning it into a 3-story English pub. The down payment was $24,000 and the deed was in his son Joseph’s name.
(When?) Santo Marino told other Milwaukee family members of his delight that Frank Balistrieri was being sentenced to prison time. This conviction helped quell unrest among the family and prevented a planned “hit” from Marino and Sam Ferrara.
On August 25 or 26, 1967 there was a stag party at the Brown Derby (corner of VanBuren and Brady) for someone getting married. There was a private poker and craps game. Vincent Maniaci was there, and another man was accepting $100 bets for the Packer-Cowboy game.
Nick Collura attended the wake for Tom Priola on August 27, 1967 in Chicago. Priola was an “old timer” in the Chicago Outfit.
Knobby Gulotta was in Milwaukee on September 12, 1967 in the downtown area. He may have been in touch with Frank Balistrieri, though there is no solid confirmation of this.
Frank Balistrieri was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Springfield on September 18, 1967 to two years in prison. He was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $4600 in court costs. An informant told the FBI that if Balistrieri’s appeal failed and he went to prison, Joe Caminiti would take over as boss, with Peter Balistrieri as underboss and John Aiello as capodecina. The FBI believed Caminiti taking over “may not be logical” due to his age and reluctance to risk his union position.
A few Milwaukee LCN members, including Nick Fucarino and August Maniaci, went to Rockford on October 5, 1967 to attend the funeral of Rockford member Lawrence Buttice.
The Ad Lib night club held a “sending off” party for Dr. Vito Guardalabene on November 9, 1967. Guardalabene was going to visit his daughter Carla in Spain and also planned to stop in Italy. At the party were numerous hoodlums and gamblers, including Dominic Principe, Steve DeSalvo, Joe Caminiti, John Alioto, Frank and Peter Balistrieri, and Albert Albana.
An informant told the FBI on November 16, 1967 that John Triliegi’s two sons were dealing marijuana that they acquired from “the Negro element” in Milwaukee.
Gene Thomas was arrested on November 21, 1967 for receiving bets. The charge resulted from multiple raids in Kenosha and Raine that netted eight arrests on gambling, alcohol and pornography charges. Thomas requested a preliminary hearing and Judge Morton set the bond at $500. The hearing was scheduled for February.
Kenosha County Sheriff William Schmitt told the FBI on December 4, 1967 that he heard William Covelli was going to buy the Badger Cheese Market at the corner of I-94 and K. He believed that Covelli was attempting to get money from Frank Balistrieri (the asking price was $65,000) and would put the liquor license in the name of his wife, Eleanor. In fact, on December 6, a liquor license application for this location was received from Eleanor. Schmitt said the license could not be denied, but he would do anything in his power to prevent gambling from occurring on the property.
Frank Balistrieri visited his son Joseph’s law office on December 5, 1967.
Around December 7, 1967, Joseph Enea and another man were operating a poker game at 1764 Windsor Place.
Milwaukee Police Captain George H. Sprague was named the police chief in Chicago Heights, Illinois around December 11, 1967 with his new position to start on the first of the year. He was chosen for the $15,000 post by the Chicago Heights City Council. Sprague had been on a disability pension from Milwaukee because of a back injury, receiving 55% of his former pay, plus $40 per month for his 11-year old daughter Joan. On March 4, 1959 he endured whiplash as his car was rear-ended at 6th and Wells. The disability was not granted until June 20 of this year — when Sprague was serving as the pension board’s president. Sprague had also come under fire from the black community for racial insensitivity and had been singled out by black ministers.
On December 16, during the lunch hour, Captain Sprague met with Frank Balistrieri and Augie Collura at the Golden Ox Restaurant in Milwaukee. An informant believed that Collura was going to move to Chicago Heights and be the go-between for Sprague and the Outfit. (Sprague would step down a year later and be replaced by Henry Pilotto, brother of Chicago Heights LCN member — and future boss — Al Pilotto. Sprague’s tenure was seen by some informants as allowing the Outfit to conduct their business, particularly gambling. Other informants believed he was trying to reduce Outfit control over his officers. There seems to be no clear evidence either way.)
Steve DeSalvo and Jimmy Jennaro were possibly at the Super Bowl in Miami on January 14, 1968. The National Football League champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League champion Oakland Raiders by a score of 33–14.
Carlo DiMaggio died January 17, 1968 of a heart attack at Milwaukee County General Hospital. His funeral was January 20-21 at Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home on Holton, and was attended by Nick Fucarino, Dominic Principe, Steve DeSalvo, Cosmo DiSalvo, James Schiavo, Frank Sansone, Anthony Pipito and Joseph Spero among others. Sam Ferrara, Joseph Gumina, Vito Aiello, August Maniaci, Tony Seidita and Nick Fucarino were pallbearers. Principe was notably using two canes to help him walk.
Steve DeSalvo was in Kansas City from January 22 through 26, 1968 in order to pick up a 1968 Cadillac for Frank Balistrieri.
William Covelli’s vehicle was seen at the Badger Cheese Market on January 22, 1968.
Special Agent Daniel Brandt interviewed Herman Sosnay on January 23, 1968 concerning his relationship with Steve DeSalvo. Sosnay said he had known DeSalvo for 25 years, and that DeSalvo had earned $7500 in commissions in 1966 for appraisals on behalf of Greenfield Development. He earned nothing in 1967, and moved to his own business, the Mat Corporation of America. Sosnay was asked about Fran kbalistrieri, and he said he knew him since “he used to play the saxophone when he was a kid.” He said that he did not believe all he read in the newspapers, as Balistrieri would not “hurt a fly”. Sosnay denied being a gambler, but did admit he liked to shoot craps.
In February 1968, Tony Machi and his wife left for a month’s trip to Hawaii, California and Nevada.
On February 4, 1968 Knobby Gulotta was seen in Milwaukee with Peter Balistrieri. Peter called an informant and said Knobby wanted to talk with him. The informant talked to Knobby and invited him to his place of business, but Knobby said he could not make it and stayed in downtown Milwaukee.
Thomas Machi was interviewed on February 26, 1968. He said he worked full-time for the Nationwide Development Corporation (2411 West Capitol Drive). He said he had no interest in The Barn (a lounge on the 1400 block of North Oakland), where his brother Tony worked. He declined to discuss gambling and would not say who he was currently dating.
Santo Marino attended a birthday party for his brother-in-law, Sam Ferrara, on February 26, 1968. The party was at the One Plus One Tavern on North Van Buren Street. Approximately 100 people were there, including Nick Fucarino, Joseph Gumina, Mike Mineo, Joseph Rizzo, August Maniaci, John Aiello, Charles Zarcone, Frank Sansone, Joseph Spero and other Milwaukee LCN members. Food and wine were free, though additional drinks from the bar were not. Notably, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo did not attend. Vito Aiello was invited but had to work as a bartender for the Eagles Club that night.
Frank Balistrieri held a party at his nightclub, The Scene, on March 20, 1968. Between 100 and 150 people were there, including almost all of the Milwaukee LCN. Two people were noticeably absent: Santo Marino and Al Albana. The party was a fundraiser for mob attorney Dominic Frinzi, who was running for Milwaukee County Judge. At this party, Balistrieri told an informant that he would be putting old-timers Sam Ferrara, Vito Aiello and Santo Marino under the leadership of Steve DeSalvo. Ferrara especially resented this decision, believing that DeSalvo did not show him (as a former boss) enough respect. Other old-timers such as Michele Mineo were put under John Alioto. Harry DeAngelo, Benny DiSalvo and an informant were put under Peter Balistrieri. Louis Fazio was collecting donations, looking for $100 per person if possible. Frank Balistrieri paid for the wine and dinner, with other drinks available for purchase. No speeches were made. Vito Seidita, the consiglieri, told the informant (probably August Maniaci) that he would be under Peter Balistrieri now and would no longer be marginalized in Milwaukee. Seidita mentioned that there was at least one member of the Milwaukee Family they knew they could not trust, but he did not say who it was. Non-members present included Frank Ranney, Harold Klein and Dr. Joe Regan. Vito Guardalabene and Phil Valley were present.
Charlie Vince and Phil Priola visited Milwaukee on March 25, 1968 and met with Peter Balistrieri. They said that Rockford boss Joseph Zammuto had recently been in Florida meeting with Santo Trafficante. Further, it was explained that Vince’s nephew, known as “Black Willy”, was interested in a Milwaukee girl.
Around April 1968, an informant learned that Joseph Spero was the sponsor for a new LCN member. (Files have the new member redacted.) Another informant believed that three new members were “made” in mid-April 1968, including possibly Walter Brocca (which is odd considering the bad blood between Brocca and Balistrieri — Brocca as recently as January 1968 told an informant they “hate each other’s guts”). Another informant said as late as June that Brocca was not yet made but would be soon — though this was still not the case as late as December.
Raymond Ramazini was released from Waupun on April 4, 1968 after serving several years for assault and attempted robbery.
A new Kenosha informant walked into the FBI’s resident agency on April 24, 1968. He said he was clean since his arrest and lost touch with local gamblers, but could get back in and try to determine bookie phone numbers. The agents informed him never to come into the office again, that his work was strictly confidential and he was not an employee. Informant said that Sam Iaquinta had taken over (or “stole”) Tony Biernat’s vending route after the murder. He said William Covelli was one of the “big boys” in the Kenosha gambling scene, but would not be as powerful without help from his friends in Milwaukee. For example, Covelli recently purchased Badger Cheese Mart on Highway 41, but informant believed without Milwaukee’s backing that Covelli would never have had the money. He said Dominic Principe is “old and sick” but was once a “muscle man” and “extremely mean”. He said he knew at least one Kenosha police officer who was “in” with the gamblers, and said Kenosha County Sheriff William Schmitt “would not be above taking a handout.”
An informant (same one?) said on April 24 that Joseph Madrigrano runs Kenosha “more or less” because he “owns about 60 taverns in Kenosha” but puts the licenses in other names. He then has Iaquinta’s machines put in, and sells beer from his Triangle business to the new “owner”. Madrigrano further makes loans to the owners through American State Bank, but withholds funds if the owners do not follow his orders.
Tony LaRosa of Prize Steak Supply House and an informant went to Cleveland on April 24, 1968 to meet with an employee of Miceli Dairy Products Company, owned by John Miceli. LaRosa was furnished with a list of potential cheese customers.
On April 29, 1968, there was a theft of $18,000 worth of cigarettes car #ACL35563 from the Terminal Storage Company warehouse. (Somehow both John Triliegi and Sam Cefalu were connected to this theft.)
August Chiaverotti was arrested on April 30, 1968 for threatening phone calls, but the charge was dismissed.
An informant told the FBI on May 3, 1968 that John Triliegi was selling Winston and Camel cigarettes at $1.25 per carton, and said these cigarettes came from the Terminal Storage Company heist.
An informant told Agent Brandt on May 14, 1968 that Sam Ferrara had been visiting him on an almost daily basis, and said the FBI had asked him about the Terminal cigarette theft, of which he knew nothing. Ferrara was trying to finance his son Thomas in a business of selling cheese with August Maniaci and Tony LaRosa. Thomas presently owned a tavern and his father wanted him to leave the business. Informant believed that LaRosa was trying to negotiate a deal with the Morese brothers, who owned two cheese factories in Washington County.
Special Agent Daniel E. Brandt had been trying to get Sam Cefalu’s phone records from Wisconsin Telephone Company, but was told on June 5, 1968 that there would be a delay because of the recent phone strike by the Communication Workers of America. (The 18-day strike resulted in a $6 million settlement.) The records were finally retrieved over three weeks later.
On June 5, 1968, Frank Balistrieri and the head of the Teamsters Union in Milwaukee (Caminiti? Ranney?) visited the Gaylur Mercantile Company offices in Chicago. They had intended to meet with Allen Dorfman, but were stood up. Instead, they went and spoke with Felix Alderisio.
Biaggio Joseph Jennaro (father of James Jennaro) died June 15, 1968. The funeral was held at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home on June 17. Attendees included the Balistrieri brothers, Joseph Spero, Steve DeSalvo, Dominic Principe and Jerry DiMaggio. At the funeral, Balistrieri told an informant that he still wanted to “make” Joseph Enea and Walter Brocca but he had been so busy making repairs to his night clubs and working on his tax appeal that there had been no time to schedule the initiation.
By June 20, 1968, Walter Brocca and Harry DeAngelo were running a high-stakes poker game at 840 North 24th Street, Apartment 115 on the weekends. A percentage of the money was given to Frank Balistrieri.
The first week of July 1968, Frank Balistrieri and Felix Alderisio traveled to Reno, Nevada.
Alderisio met Balistrieri at the Ad Lib Club on July 15, 1968.
Mary Mercurio Picciurro died on July 19 and her wake was held on July 21, 1968. Those present were Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Frank Sansone and August Maniaci.
Steve DeSalvo was rumored to be involved in the construction of a 114-unit apartment complex in Mundelein, Illinois in August 1968.
On August 4, 1968, there was a stag dinner honoring the son of Vito Aiello, who was getting married. Nick Fucarino, August Maniaci, Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri, John Aiello, Sam Ferrara, Charles Zarcone, Nick Collura, Sam Cefalu, Sheriff Cefalu, Joseph Enea, Frank Sansone, Tony Machi, Vito Seidita, Walter Brocca, Joseph Spero and other hoodlums were in attendance. The dinner was held at Vitucci’s, 1832 East North Avenue. Attendees were charged $10 a plate, with the profits going as a wedding gift. Frank Balistrieri was noticeably absent. The dinner broke up at 9:30pm, and a car containing Steve DeSalvo and Sam Cefalu was pulled over as they left.
In August 1968, Walter Brocca along with a few other men (including two from the rescue mission) were remodeling the building at 722 North Water Street (formerly the Wayside Inn) for Frank Balistrieri to turn it into The Pub, which would be a three-story night spot: first floor English pub, second floor cocktail lounge and third floor rock and roll discotheque. Brocca was the project foreman and paid his workers in cash. Work was said to be progressing slowly due to the inexperience of the workers, and many days they would work 4am to noon and then quit. Brocca’s company, WB Construction, was known for doing poor quality work.
Jennie D’Angelo Alioto died on August 12, 1968 and her funeral was on August 16. Attending the wake were Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri, Frank Balistrieri, Joseph Caminiti, Vito Seidita, August Maniaci, John Alioto and Joseph Enea. A man was mugged by two black men outside of the funeral home.
Disgraced Milwaukee police officer Harry R. Kuszewski, 57, died on August 16, 1968. He was driving his Volkswagen in Franklin and went off the road, over a ditch and finally striking a high-tension wire. When pronounced dead at the hospital, he had only a cut on his forehead, leading the doctors to suspect a heart attack. He was survived by wife Angeline and son Robert Allen Kuszewski.
Special Agents stopped by the Brass Rail at 8:45pm on August 20, 1968 and saw Steve DeSalvo speaking with the bartender. He left shortly after the agents arrived, and returned twenty minutes later with a paper bag containing toilet paper. A bartender named John told the agents he heard the Brass Rail had been sold and would be moved, though he did not know who bought it or where it was moving.
The agents next went to the Downtowner and noticed nothing of interest. Finally, they went to the Ad Lib and saw James Jennaro sitting at the far west end of the bar. The bartender was Joseph Enea.
On the evening of August 23, 1968, Paul Ricca’s Cadillac was stolen from a parking lot at 626 North 5th Street between 11pm and 3:15am. Ricca was in town to attend the Italian-American Gold Tournament at the Tuckaway Club. He was staying at the Red Carpet Inn under the name Doren. Ricca was in Fazio’s with Jack Cerone when the car was taken. The car was recovered briefly on August 29 — but was stolen from the police garage! Later that day it turned up again, and inside police found business cards from Joseph Balistrieri and Dominic Frinzi. There was also a letter from the Illinois State Bank.
On Saturday, August 24, 1968, Vito Aiello’s son Isadore John Aiello married Marianna Monica Maretti (daughter of Angelo J. Maretti) at St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church. The reception was held at the Holiday Inn. The bride and groom had both attended UW-Milwaukee and intended to honeymoon in Miami Beach before settling done at 2192 North 52nd Street.
On August 31, 1968, there was a wedding reception for Cheryl Marie Principe, the daughter of Dominic Principe in Kenosha. Cheryl married James Reynold Gemignani, son of Roger Gemignani, at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Kenosha. Nick Fucarino, Joseph Spero, Jimmy Jennaro, Walter Brocca, Albert Albana and most of the Milwaukee LCN attended the reception. Steve DeSalvo was in charge of invitations and declined to invite either Vito Aiello or John Aiello. August Maniaci, Santo Marino and Sam Ferrara also did not attend. This was yet another example of the old-timers being snubbed by the younger members.
Dr. Vito Guardalabene, 59, of 6826 West Wisconsin Avenue, Wauwatosa, died on Tuesday, September 3, 1968. He had suffered his second stroke in June and was in the hospital for a gall bladder ailment at the time of his death.
FBI agents stopped in front of Salvatore DiMaggio’s home at 1538 North Franklin Place on September 6, 1968 to check up on him. They wrote down the license plate number (H25-644) of an automobile parked there and drove off.
Attorney Joseph P. Balistrieri tried to secure a $125,000 loan from Continental Bank and Trust in September 1968, but was turned down. Family friend Frank Ranney, of Teamster Local 200, called the bank and said a large deposit from the Teamsters would arrive if the bank granted the loan. On September 10, 1968, the Teamsters deposited $500,000 and Balistrieri’s $125,000 loan was granted. Two weeks later, Balistrieri was granted an additional $63,000 loan.
William Covelli called an informant on September 12, 1968 and asked if he wanted to be involved in taking football bets for him (Covelli). The set-up was going to be simple, with Covelli calling for the “line” in Milwaukee at noon on Saturdays or Sundays and then accepting bets within a half hour. The informant declined, and Covelli told him to keep him (Covelli) in mind if he changes his mind.
Steve DeSalvo told an informant (probably August Maniaci) on September 23, 1968 that the Milwaukee Police Department had began a 24-hour surveillance on him the day before. He said he did not know the reason for the surveillance, but suspected it was somehow related to Bronson LaFollette running for governor.
Steve DeSalvo drove to Gary, Indiana and then to western Illinois on October 1, 1968, for no apparent reason. The police believed that since DeSalvo was aware of being surveilled, he was trying to frustrate the police.
Following a tip from the FBI, the vice squad raided a poker game at 1527A North Jackson at 3:15am on October 5, 1968. The man in charge of the game, Joseph Enea, was not there, but they arrested eight gamblers.
A wedding reception for the daughter of Rockford LCN member Phil Cannella was held at the Faust Hotel in Rockford on October 5, 1968. Milwaukee members attending included August Maniaci and Nick Fucarino. Almost all Rockford members attended, and no one from Chicago was there.
Some time in mid-October 1968, Sally Papia went to Fazio’s on 5th and bragged of her Mafia connections and how she could open a restaurant on 5th Street and put Fazio’s out of business. Papia was thrown out of the restaurant, but soon told her boyfriend, who came back and broke someone’s jaw in three pieces. (Presumably one of the Fazio brothers.)
Also in mid-October, Walter Brocca and two men went to a concrete block manufacturing company and crossed the picket lines to get blocks for The Pub. The concrete truck drivers were on strike, and when the men exited the building, Brocca and another man were beaten up by 20 strikers near Broadway and St. Paul. The third man ran away.
Agents interviewed Herman Sosnay again on October 21, 1968. He told them he “didn’t need this” and said he had high blood pressure and diabetes. Sosnay indicated that working with Steve DeSalvo was not worth the hassle of being harassed by law enforcement.
Special agents spot checked known LCN hangouts on October 22, 1968. At 10:15pm they went to the Downtowner (340 West Wells) and saw Jerry DiMaggio and another man tending bar. They then went across the street to the Ad Lib Club (323 West Wells) where Joseph Spero was collecting cover charges. They also observed various hoodlums inside the club, including manager James Jennaro and bartender Joseph Enea. Next, they went to the Brass Rail (744 North Third) and saw a hoodlum sitting at the bar. One of the agents asked if “Stevie D” was in, and she said she had not seen him in several days. The agents went to the Clock Bar (715 North Fifth) and saw a hoodlum with Salvatore Cefalu. They found no hoodlums at The Scene (624 North Second) or The Attic (641 North Second).
Steve DeSalvo stopped by Danny’s Snack Bar at the corner of highways 45 and 175 in Mundelein, Illinois on October 23, 1968. (It was probably highway 176, actually.)
Julius and Martha Theilacker
On the morning of October 24, 1968, at about 8:00am, Julius Theilacker and his wife Martha were in the kitchen of their home (5924 West Washington Boulevard) having breakfast. William T. Swan, the Theilacker’s next door neighbor at 1722 North 60th Street, was standing in the sunroom of his home making a telephone call and staring out of the window, facing south to the Theilacker’s residence.
Bernice Chopp was standing in front of the Theilacker residence on the corner of North 60th and Washington Boulevard, waiting for a bus. Milwaukee policemen James Hutchinson and Richard Retzer had just finished working the night shift and were heading home in Retzer’s private car when it ran out of gas at 60th Street and Washington Boulevard. Retzer had gone on foot for gas and when he returned, he and Hutchinson raised the hood of his car to put some gas in the carburetor. William Swan noted these uniformed policemen as he looked out the window of his home.
Upon finishing his breakfast, Julius C. Theilacker, 78, walked out to his garage and started to raise the overhead door. He never finished that task for in the next instant he was struck from behind. He was hauled into his garage as two masked men, Anthony Pipito and Salvatore “Sam” DiMaggio, forced a sack over his head and tied it tightly about his neck. He was then shoved to the floor of the garage and, as his hands were tied behind him, he was told, “All we want is your money.” Martha, 75, was locked in a closet.
Julius managed to untie himself, and Martha called out from the closet, “Julius, are they gone?” As Julius rounded the corner leading to the front hall, he saw Pipito ten to fifteen feet away with a nickel-plated revolver leveled at him. Pipito said, “You take another step and I’ll shoot you.” Julius replied, “Shoot, you son of a bitch” and he rushed the defendant with a claw hammer raised. Pipito ran out the front door.
Officer Retzer was alerted by Swan and told that masked men were assaulting his neighbor and had forced him into his garage. This was confirmed by Retzer’s own observation when he saw a masked man appear in a doorway of the Theilacker home. Upon seeing uniformed officers outside, the man leaped back into the home and slammed the door.
Officer Hutchinson approached the garage and could hear a radio listing police calls. He then circled the garage and saw a man, only a few feet from the garage window, starting to flee the scene. He pursued DiMaggio, and DiMaggio was eventually detained “breathing heavily,” after having run in first an easterly direction and then a westerly direction. Upon being detained, DiMaggio told Officer Hutchinson that he “lived on the East side” and was “working for some people.” A search of DiMaggio revealed nothing.
Officer Retzer caught Pipito shortly after, and a blackjack was visible on Pipito’s person. A quick search also revealed a .38 pistol. Pipito was brought, handcuffed, to the door of the patrol wagon and was identified by neighbor Mr. Swan as the man fleeing the Theilacker residence in a red ski mask. (Julius Theilacker, president of the J. C. Theilacker bridge-building company, would coincidentally end up dying of a heart attack during a burglary of his home in October 1971. He left an estate valued at $569,605.)
By October 25, 1968, Harry DeAngelo was raising money for the defense of someone close to him, who had been involved in an armed robbery with an LCN member and a well-known Milwaukee hoodlum. This may have been the Theilacker incident, but it is unclear.
James Jennaro was called in to the city attorney’s office on November 4, 1968. He arrived with attorney Joseph Balistrieri and was told that he could not have a liquor license for the Ad Lib because he was not a resident of the city. Balistrieri told the city it was okay and a few days later submitted Jerome DiMaggio’s name to the City Licensing Commission.
On November 5, 1968, Anthony Pipito was caught by Glendale patrolman Thomas Reynolds while trying to steal a car from the Phil Tolkan Pontiac dealership at 2301 West Silver Spring Drive. Pipito escaped by vaulting a seven foot fence.
An unidentified LCN member (possibly Anthony Pipito) and another man were involved in an armed robbery, possibly in late November or early December 1968. This upset Santo Marino, as the Milwaukee family was supposed to be keeping things quiet. (This may actually be referring to the October home invasion.)
Salvatore DiMaggio and Anthony Pipito appeared in court on November 19, 1968. The district attorney requested that their bond be raised, in light of the news that the Theilacker family had been receiving threatening letters. John Triliegi tried to get bail bonding company Meiroff and Kahn to bail the two men out, but they would not. Frank Balistrieri allegedly paid the bail of $10,000 using money he acquired in Chicago. The Chicago money, in turn, apparently came from the Atlas Bonding Company in Newark, New Jersey.
An informant spoke with Special Agent Daniel Brandt on November 19, 1968. He said that Joseph Enea was “disgusted” with Frank Balistrieri’s treatment of him and the low wages he earned as a bartender. He was afraid to leave Balistrieri, though, because he was offered a position within the Milwaukee Family and did not want Balistrieri to renege on this offer.
John Joseph Aiello died of natural causes on December 5, 1968 in the Veterans Hospital at age 53. Joseph Spero, Walter Brocca and many others attended his funeral at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home on December 6. An informant met up with Vito Aiello and Vincent Mercurio there. Charles Zarcone was notably absent; he had a blood disease and was too ill to attend. Aiello’s widow, Helen Murawski Aiello, was given an envelope of cash by Frank Balistrieri, who in turn had received it from Felix Alderisio.
On the evening of December 5, 1968, Special Agent Eugene Sather made spot checks at various downtown nightclubs. He went to the Downtowner at 9:45pm and saw Mike Oliva tending bar. He went to the Ad Lib at 10:20pm and asked a waitress about James Jennaro and Joseph Enea. He was told that Jennaro was still the manager (despite losing his liquor license) but Enea had left and was now working at Alfie’s on Teutonia. The MC on duty was A. J. Jankowski. He also found that the Brass Rail had closed when he reached it at 10:45pm.
On December 15, 1968, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 28-27 at Wrigley Field. The game was so close that it left many Milwaukee bookmakers scrambling for money.
Frank Balistrieri was at Sally’s Steakhouse until very late in the evening Christmas Eve 1968, causing his wife to get very upset. She called Sally Papia and told her to stay away from Frank.
By January 10, 1969, Harry DeAngelo and Joseph Balistrieri (Peter’s son) were running a poker game at 1855 East Cambridge Avenue. It would continue for at least two months.
An informant told the FBI on January 15, 1969 that Joseph Madrigrano “is in with” state legislator George Molinaro and gets inside information from him.
An article appeared in the Milwaukee Sentinel on January 23, 1969 concerning the Vice Squad’s crackdown on the downtown strip clubs. Apparently the city only allowed dancers to strip to their underwear, but at the Ad Lib they found some dancers stripping to nothing more than a G-string. One dancer, female impersonator Brooks Walter Woodsman (performing as Teri Tyler), was caught inappropriately touching an undercover officer and was fired and fined $50.
The funeral for Milwaukee consigliere Charles Zarcone (died January 30) was held January 31 and February 1, 1969 at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home. Among attendees were Salvatore Seidita, Nick Fucarino, Joseph Spero, John Pernice and Santo Marino. Pernice was noted to be especially close to Zarcone.
Nunzio A. Maniaci, 6912 North 37th Street, submitted his name to be the agent for the Ad Lib on Friday, January 31, 1969. Maniaci, a real estate agent and bank teller, was replacing Jerome DiMaggio, whose application had been rejected after police said he had made a false statement in his application. DiMaggio had failed to report an arrest for petty theft in South Montello, Florida.
Around February 26, Harry DeAngelo and another man threw several Army MPs out of Gallaghers who had been in there looking for a deserter.
Former Milwaukee captain George Sprague submitted his resignation as chief of police for Chicago Heights, effective February 27, 1969.
In March 1969, Rockford associate Joe Roberts was working for a siding business in Beloit and Nick Gentile, a Milwaukee associate, was working for a different company also in Beloit. Roberts phoned Gentile and told him he had a week to get out of town and that he “may have Balistrieri in Milwaukee, but he had more powerful friends in Rockford.” Buscemi being fully aware of Rockford having just gotten done with a December 1968 gambling and liquor inquiry did not want this type of attention. He told Charlie Vince and Knobby Gulotta to take care of the problem, which they somehow did.
Jerry DiMaggio was transferred from St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee to Madison General Hospital on March 21, 1969. He was suffering from a bowel obstruction and needed diagnostic testing.
Death of Raymond Ramazini
On the night of Saturday, March 22, 1969, Raymond J. Ramazini of Milwaukee and Harold L. Simpson of Calumet City, Illinois tried to rob John Nauracy, 79, in East Chicago, Indiana. Nauracy and his wife Marie were sprayed in the face with a chemical compound, apparently in order to knock them out while the robbers went to work on the safe next door at the Roxana Supermarket. Nauracy’s son-in-law George Almason shot at the robbers in self-defense with a shotgun. A minor firefight broke out and Almason was hit in the face and hand. Simpson stumbled into Nauracy’s basement and died there. Ramazini fled the scene and his corpse was found the next day by children in Hammond. A third robber escaped by car.
The funeral for Raymond Ramazini was held on March 26, 1969. Attending the funeral were August Maniaci and Alvin Schontube.
Frank Balistrieri and his two daughters were out east from March 28, 1969 through April 2. He met with his attorney in Washington, DC and then toured New York City with his daughters. He returned to Milwaukee with a $300 suede coat for his wife.
An informant was contacted on March 27, 1969. He said he believed Covelli was out of the gambling business altogether, and Kenosha gambling was completely in the hands of Alfred DeCesaro. The informant said DeCesaro received two “lines” — the Northern line, which came in through Eau Claire from Minnesota, and the Southern line from Chicago.
William Covelli was contacted by the FBI at the Badger Cheese market in Bristol on March 28, 1969. He was friendly, and although he denied any knowledge of gambling, was very open to talking about his business. He said he had been the owner for roughly 14 months and “enjoyed the type of life it provides”. He was open every day from 8 to 8. He said being open later could result in problems, and said that Sheriff William Schmitt was delaying the granting of his wife’s liquor license. (After this meeting, the agent sent a referral to the Bureau that Covelli be considered as a possible top echelon informant in the future. I suspect any attempts at this failed, although there are indications that his wife was talking.)
Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu had a fatal heart attack on April 13, 1969. His wake was attended by Steve DeSalvo, Frank Stelloh, Frank Sansone, Sam Cefalu, Fred Aveni and Tony Petrolle.
Two special agents went to the Ad Lib on April 15, 1969 from 10:00pm until 10:35pm. While there, they saw James Jennaro at the far right side of the bar in conversation. An agent asked a waitress if Jimmy was still in charge. She said, “Yes, but you’d never know it because he doesn’t do anything.”
The FBI added Joseph Enea to its potential informant program (TECIP) on April 17, 1969. They believed with his father’s murder and his dissatisfaction with Balistrieri as an employer, he would make a perfect informant. He was also well-placed, as he had connections to many top Milwaukee mobsters and Alfie’s (where he was tending bar) was a known hangout for black burglars. To the best of my knowledge, they were never able to get anything of value from Enea.
An employee at the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department spoke to the FBI on April 25, 1969. He said Joseph Madrigrano’s business activities have always been questionable and it was considered common knowledge that he had a hidden interest in a large number of taverns. Of his many real estate holdings, he was currently believed to be involved in the new Washington Manor Nursing Home. He further said Alfred DeCesaro had been a gambler all his life and was close with the owner of Tenuta’s. In the past, the owner had been observed passing an envelope of cash to a Kenosha policeman. He said there was “a good deal of corruption” in local law enforcement and in City Hall.
Gambler Charlie Piscuine died on May 7, 1969 at age 52. His funeral was on May 9, 1969 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Many Kenosha and Milwaukee people attended the wake, but no one from Madison did. His death was a complete shock, as he had been scheduled to be married the following week.
Two agents took a position on Brown Deer Road at 5:37pm on May 19, 1969 to run surveillance on the home of Frank Sansone, 8676 North Manor Court in Fox Point. He was seen in the front of his house in a black business suit. At 6:20pm he was mowing his lawn with a riding lawn mower. At 7:35pm, Sansone left his home and agents followed him to the Sheraton-Schroeder Hotel on Fifth where he gave his keys to a valet and then walked into Fazio’s on Fifth. Sansone talked to various people around the bar until 8:45pm, when he joined Louis Fazio for dinner in the dining room. The agents took a seat in the dining room and watched various people come up and talk to Fazio and Sansone until 10:15pm. Also in the dining room was Philadelphia-based comedian Anthony Santoro.
Around 10:15pm, the agents left and went to the Ad Lib Club. Minutes later, James Jennaro sat down at their table and struck up casual conversation. Jennaro said the club stopped using female impersonators and was now strictly female strippers. He had also fired a comedian that he considered “too raw”. The bartender Jerry was currently in the hospital undergoing tests — he was grossly overweight and had stomach problems. Jennaro said Joseph Enea was still working at Alfie’s on Teutonia. He said he liked living in Brookfield, though he missed Milwaukee’s East Side. But having a wife and three children, he thought Brookfield was a better environment to raise a family. Jennaro said he barred [redacted] from the Ad Lib because of his notoriety as a thief. Jennaro said he was a “dumbbell” and would always be a thief. Walter Brocca stopped by for a moment to say hello to Jennaro, and after he left Jennaro said Brocca was a “clever craftsman” and “capable carpenter”, having built the Kings IV almost single-handedly. The agents left the Ad Lib at 11:15pm.
Around June 1, 1969 an informant (presumably August Maniaci) was approached by Nick Fucarino and James Schiavo, who wanted the informant to talk to Vincent Mercurio. Schiavo wanted help with a potential tax case being prepared against him. The informant said he would not talk to Mercurio, because there was no way he (Mercurio) would attempt to change the tax officials’ thinking.
Anthony F. Pipito was convicted of armed robbery and burglary on June 5, 1969. Judge R. C. Cannon sentenced him to twenty-seven years in Waupun State Prison. Salvatore DiMaggio was convicted of attempted armed robbery and armed burglary the same day. Cannon sentenced him to thirty-five years.
A “victory party” was held for Frank Balistrieri at Sally’s Steak House in the Knickerbocker Hotel on June 8, 1969. The Wisconsin Supreme Court had sent his case back to the district level for additional hearings. Nick Fucarino, among other older members, did not receive an invitation to this party… causing them to become upset.
An informant talked to Joseph Enea on June 15, 1969. Enea said that Frank Balistrieri was in poor financial shape — he owed $7000 in liquor bills, $4000 in rent and taxes for Alfie’s and $2000 rent for the Ad Lib.
Two special agents went to Alfie’s Tavern on June 24, 1969 at 8:00pm. Joseph Enea was tending bar. Over the next 45 minutes, only one other customer was briefly in the bar. The agents showed Enea a selection of photographs of black burglars and he said he did not recognize any of them. He insisted the bar was a high-class establishment and did not welcome troublemakers. He said if he did not throw out the troublemakers, his customers (who were primarily black) would. Enea expressed displeasure with the way law enforcement and politicians had been handling the race riots and Black Panthers. He also said he was feeling the pinch of the brewery strike and only had Miller beer to serve and was dealing primarily in liquor.
The agents went to the Kings IV from 9:00pm until 10:00pm and saw a few people, including a liquor salesman and someone very intoxicated. They spoke to no one. At 10:00pm, they went to the Ad Lib, where they saw James Jennaro, Sally Papia and Walter Brocca. The agents spoke with Jennaro, who said that business had gone down $500 each week since they discontinued using female impersonators, but it was worth the money loss to keep the police off their backs and keep the “excess number of homosexual customers” away. (Note: it is unclear from this whether Jennaro disliked homosexuals or simply disliked the police harassment of homosexuals, so not too much should be assumed here. As he was running a drag show, it may well be the latter.) He said Jerry the bartender had cancer and was receiving cobalt treatments in Madison five days a week.
On June 26, 1969, Andrew Lococo appeared before a grand jury in Los Angeles. He was initially informed that the grand jury was investigating “possible violations of the Federal laws relating to interstate wagering activity, interstate transportation and aid of racketeering, bribery and sporting contests, and possible other Federal offenses.” After Lococo recited his name, address, and occupation, the grand jury explained that it was “concerned with a series of fixed horse races that were run in the State of California during the past year.” Lococo denied any knowledge of or profit from the races. Lococo was later asked if he knew several different people. He admitted friendship with Ray Mirr whom he had known since his childhood in Milwaukee, but he said that he had not spoken to Mirr within the past year. Part of the questioning went as follows:
Q. Do you talk to him [Mirr] frequently?
Q. When was the last time you talked to him?
A. Gosh, I don’t remember. Quite some time ago.
Q. What would be your reason for talking to Mr. Mirr by telephone?
A. Well, I haven’t talked to him.
Q. You have not talked to Mr. Mirr?
A. You mean the last time I spoke to him?
A. Could have been that—I really don’t remember now. I don’t even remember when I spoke to Ray last, it’s so long.
Q. All right. Would you have spoken to Ray Mirr within the past year?
Dominic Alderisio, father of Felix Alderisio, died in early July 1969. Among others attending the funeral were Frank LaGalbo.
On July 20, 1969, Jain Syler of Chicago faked car trouble at the Holiday Inn Central. A man from Madison came to help her, and then later went to her hotel room. As he went to the room, he was jumped by Raymond Ramazini. Syler and Ramazini escaped with a diamond ring, a $500 watch and $200 in cash.
Mundelein, Illinois police had their first contact with Dominic Principe on July 27, 1969. Principe, working as an apartment manager for a 34-unit complex, reported an air conditioner stolen.
Carlo Marchese, 5121 West Wisconsin Avenue, was arrested by the Vice Squad on August 7, 1969 for commercial gambling. Marchese was the manager of V. Marchese, Inc. Apparently, a police officer gave Marchese money in order to place a bet at an Illinois race track.
Alfies, Inc (the corporation that owned Alfie’s, 4126 North Teutonia) was charged on Friday, August 8, 1969 with six counts of buying liquor while in debt more than 30 days. A summons was served to Jon A. Berta, president of Alfies. A check to Cream City Liquor from June 12 bounced, effectively making the tavern’s license void (because they had claimed during renewal not to be in debt).
Mayor Joseph Alioto of San Francisco, nephew of former mob boss John Alioto, threatened to sue Look magazine for $12.5 million on September 5, 1969 for an article they wrote claiming he had mob ties. The article said Alioto had provided Mafia leaders “with bank loans, legal services, business counsel and the protective mantle of his respectability. In return he has earned fees, profits, political support and campaign contributions.” They further alleged that when Alioto ran for mayor in 1967, “the Cosa Nostra did its part”. The magazine claims that Alioto, as board chairman for the First San Francisco Bank, “personally arranged” loans totaling $105,000 for Mafia hitman Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno. Alioto did not deny this claim. And regardless of his connections to the mob in San Diego, his connections to Milwaukee are quite clear.
Joseph Enea applied for a tavern license for Alfie’s (North Teutonia) on September 9, 1969. The license was granted on September 12. He was said to take bets at the bar which he then passed on to Sam Cefalu. Within a month he was transferred to tend bar at Kings IV.
Bookmaker Isadore Phillip “Izzy” Tocco died on October 17, 1969 at age 56. His funeral was attended by Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Enea and Tony Machi.
Also on October 17, attorney Dominic Frinzi filed a lawsuit for $1,000,000 alleging that federal agents had conspired with the phone company to wiretap his downtown office. He sued Alexander LeGrand (former agent, now deputy city housing inspector), Clark Lovrien (former agent, now head of the state crime laboratory), John Holzman (former agent, now a magistrate in Peoria), former agent Joseph O’Connell, and telephone employees Herbert Stein, Monroe Teske and David Nelson.
On October 20, Frank Balistrieri followed Frinzi’s lead. His attorney (and son) Joseph Balistrieri filed a $1,750,000 lawsuit against the same people in Frinzi’s lawsuit regarding a bug that was at his Continental Music office at 2559-2561 North Downer Avenue. His bookkeeper, Jennie Alioto, filed a separate $1,000,000 lawsuit for the bugging in her apartment at 1609 North Prospect. Alioto also named Ogden Realty, claiming they allowed agents to rent an apartment and drill a peephole in order to see who was coming and going from her apartment.
Special Agent Clark Lovrien filed a motion on October 30, 1969 to have himself removed from the wiretapping lawsuit of Dominic Frinzi. He claimed to not be involved in the incident and have no knowledge of it. In fact, he had resigned in July 1962 before the bug was ever placed. Special Agents John Holzman and Alexander LeGrand also asked to be removed. Both had since resigned from the Bureau, with Holzman moving to Illinois and LeGrand becoming an assistant to the mayor of Milwaukee. They contended their actions were as federal employees at the request of their superiors, thereby not making them the responsible parties.
Around September and October 1969, Sam Ferrara was quietly going around seeking older members of the Milwaukee family to join him in contacting Chicago boss Tony Accardo. Ferrara’s goal was to convince Accardo that Frank Balistrieri was appointed Milwaukee boss by John Alioto without the rest of the family’s support, and that a meeting should be held to replace Balistrieri and possibly have Milwaukee separate from Chicago. Ferrara believed that Balistrieri was causing friction by giving too much power to Steve DeSalvo. Ferrara was able to gain the support of Joseph Rizzo, Santo Marino, Jerry DiMaggio, Nick Fucarino and August Maniaci. Joseph Spero was on the fence, but could probably have been convinced.
Nick Fucarino contacted Carlo Caputo in Madison and had Caputo talk to Tony Accardo and Jack Cerone. A meeting was set up for November 3, 1969, that would have included Fucarino, Vito Aiello, August Maniaci and would have been in Chicago. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Frank Balistrieri. Before it happened, though, Cerone called Caputo and had him relay the message that the meeting should be postponed, as Balistrieri was soon going to prison and matters could be taken up with the new underboss of Milwaukee.
On Thursday, November 6, 1969, the city building inspector’s office shut down the remodeling of a building at 1135 East Ogden Avenue that was being converted into a liquor store and corned beef delicatessen without the city’s knowledge and without a remodeling permit. The work was being done by Walter Brocca. The building was owned by Esdras “Bill” Baker and was being rented by Sue Bartfield, 29, a waitress at Frank Balistrieri’s Kings IV tavern. The license for the liquor store was made out to Dominic Gullo, who claimed to have a lease from Baker. Baker, however, denied ever meeting Gullo. The city had an even bigger issue with the fact that the building was scheduled to be torn down for an expressway — so why invest in remodeling it?
Joseph Enea, 37, got in a bar fight early Sunday, November 23, 1969 while tending bar at the Scene (624 North 2nd). Also involved were Reginald Oitzinger, 25, and Walter Ellis, 20. The two patrons had previously brought in a 17-year old boy on Wednesday who was served beer, and when found loitering by police later was caught with marijuana. When the men returned Saturday night, Enea asked them to testify in the case against the youth and they refused. Enea slapped one man in the face and gave another a black eye, and was charged on Monday with two counts of battery.
Enea appeared in court three times on Monday for the charges — first with attorney Dominic Frinzi before Magistrate Herbert J. Schultz, where District Attorney E. Michael McCann said, “These people have said they are in fear of their lives. Justice should not be frustrated by fear and terror in Milwaukee County.” That afternoon, he returned before Schultz with attorney Roland Steinle after Oitzinger and Ellis reluctantly signed affidavits. Finally, during arraignment in front of Judge Christ Seraphim with attorney Joseph Balistrieri. Enea was released without bond and told to return December 12.
The home of Frank Sansone (8676 North Manor Court) was raided on November 24, 1969 by FBI agents posing as delivery men. After a brief struggle, Sansone let the men (including agents John L. Duffy and John Markey) confiscate football records and gambling paraphernalia. Also, while the agents were searching the home, approximately 150 phone calls came in asking for “Frank” or “Hogan” (Sansone’s alias) for the purpose of gambling on football. The FBI was also interested to see if anything found could be connected to the Machi brothers.
On November 28, 1969, fourteen agents (ten from the Attorney General’s office) participated in a raid on the Scene, a nightclub which the press described as linked to Frank Balistrieri.
Judge Harvey L. Neelen ordered the Ad Lib night club temporarily closed on December 1, 1969 until the corporation that operates it, Mando Enterprises, could provide proof of workers compensation insurance. The attorney general wanted the club closed permanently.
On December 4, 1969, Tony Machi was fishing off the coast of Baja, California.
Teamsters Local 200 held their Christmas party at the Kings IV on December 7, 1969. Present were Judge Christ Seraphim, Frank Ranney, Alderman Allen Calhoun, Judge Michael Sullivan and Judge Robert Hansen. Ranney and Calhoun sat at a table with Frank Balistrieri all evening.
On Friday December 12, 1969, District Attorney E. Michael McCann filed more charges against Bals, Inc and the Scene — serving an underage woman (20) a Tom Collins and two beers, failure to keep invoices for two years, and failure to deface tax stamps on empty liquor bottles. These charges stemmed from an inspection on November 28.
The FBI interviewed Carlo Marchese on December 15, 1969. When he acknowledged going to the race tracks for gambling in Illinois, and would occasionally bring bets with him from other people, he said he was not a gambler beyond that.
Frank Balistrieri threw a Christmas party on December 21, 1969 at the Kings IV Tavern (722 North Water Street). Approximately 150 guests were there, including Walter Brocca, Sally Papia, Harry DeAngelo, Albert Albana, Frank Buccieri, Dominic Frinzi, Frank Stelloh, Steve DeSalvo, Benny DiSalvo, Jerry DiMaggio, John Rizzo, William Covelli, Dominic Gullo, Joseph Enea and the majority of the Milwaukee LCN. An informant told the FBI that Frank Balistrieri was telling people at this party that he would step down as boss of the Milwaukee Family because of his tax problems. He also heard at this party that Jerry DiMaggio had been laid off from the Schlitz Brewery and tried to go work for Vincent Maniaic, but Maniaci told him to see Frank Balistrieri first. DiMaggio was then hired on as a bartender at the Downtowner.
Peter Balistrieri was denied a liquor license for Kings IV on December 22, 1969 due to pending charges against him, and because he already owned licenses for The Scene and Gallaghers (the city had a two license limit). Balistrieri was attempting to take over the tavern from Angelo DiGiorgio, who would have to surrender his license if convicted of pending gambling charges.
1970 started a shift in federal law enforcement away from crackdowns on gambling, a focus that had clearly been evident in Kenosha. Electronic surveillance orders for gambling cases went down from 251 nationwide in 1971 to 68 in 1974. 83,000 people were arrested for gambling in 1970, a figure that would drop to 65,000 by 1980. The reason for the shift was two-fold: the increase in legal gambling, and the passage of the RICO laws that allowed agents to look go after more serious offenses.
Frank Buccieri’s blue Ford Thunderbird was seen in Milwaukee on January 14, 1970.
Manager of the Ad Lib James Jennaro, 39, of Waukesha, and female impersonator Misty Dawn, 25, of Chicago, were charged with prohibiting indecent performances on January 20, 1970. Apparently while dancing, Dawn exposed her breasts and buttocks. The incident was witnessed by Patrolman Roger Cortez. The city attorneys ran into complications with the ordinance when they were unable to determine if Misty displayed male or female breasts — he had underwent surgery to be transformed into a woman.
Albert Albana called Dominic Principe in Mundelein on January 25, 1970.
Chicago mobster Frank Buccieri was seen by the Milwaukee police having lunch with Sally Papia at her restaurant on January 26, 1970. An informant told the FBI that there was a rumor that Papia or Buccieri would be taking over Balistrieri’s King’s IV tavern on Water Street.
Tony Machi left for Florida on January 28, 1970.
Salvatore Seidita was fired from his position as salesman for J.C. Penney in Brookfield on January 29, 1970. He was insubordinate, smoked in the alteration room and voided a purchase without management’s consent. He soon became employed at Berther Brothers, a business that sold new and used restaurant equipment.
Agents contacted Dominic Principe on February 4, 1970 at 555 Deepwoods Road, Apartment 20, Mundelein, Illinois where he was now working as an apartment manager for a 34-unit complex. Principe advised that his employers were the Deepwoods of Mundelein Corporation and Superior Construction, both companies based out of Milwaukee with connections to Steve DeSalvo. Principe further told the agents he was soon going to have major surgery where both hips were to be removed and he did not know his plans beyond that.
Rent was picked up by Steve DeSalvo and Herman Sosnay, and they were seen in the Mundelin office of Damako Realty (840 South Lake Street) picking up money on February 4. Monthly receipts were $18,125 with the total 114 units sitting at 90% capacity. There is also a chance that two attorneys, a Goldman and a Pump, were fronting for DeSalvo and falsely acquired FHA loans… but the records are too redacted to be sure.
Peter Machi, a fermenter at Miller Brewery, was arrested for being an inmate of a gambling house on February 6, 1970. Machi had been a Miller employee since 1950 and his supervisor informed the FBI that he was a troublemaker, causing disturbances and complaining about factory conditions.
John Charles Gagliano (brother of Teddy Capp and brother-in-law of Frank Sansone) died on February 7, 1970. Attending his funeral were Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Tommy Machi.
A meeting was held at the Scene on February 8, 1970 and Joseph Enea was given authority over the personnel there. He was explicitly cautioned to be more careful with employees and avoid physical force.
Attorney General Robert Warren filed a lawsuit forcing The Scene to keep minors out on Thursday, February 26, 1970. Judge William O’Neill ordered the club closed and gave the operators until Monday morning to show why a restraining order should not be issued. The lawsuit targeted Bals, Inc and named Peter F. Balistrieri, his wife Mary and his son Joseph. The papers also named Joseph Enea and John Rizzo as keepers of the premises. District Attorney E. Michael McCann filed a summons the same day against 44 minors who were said to be caught loitering at the Scene. Peter Balistrieri counter-sued for $200,000 saying that when Warren and his men raided the building on November 28, they did not have warrants and forced over 100 customers out. Representing Balistrieri was Madison attorney Donald S. Eisenberg.
FBI investigations of the Milwaukee family slowed again around March 1970 due to some agents being called away to investigate the “Wisbom” case, where four Madison residents had blown up a building at the University of Madison.
The Cheaters wrapped up their six-week stint at the Scene on March 1, 1970. The FBI described them as “a Negro band operating in the Milwaukee area”. Their next stops were in Southern Wisconsin and Iowa.
The home of Thomas Machi was burglarized on the night of March 9, 1970. The Machi brothers spread the word around town that they believed the FBI was responsible for the burglary.
A party was held at the Kings IV on the evening of March 15, 1970. Police wrote down the license plates and found the following attendees: Frank Balistrieri, Lando Enterprises (4702 West Vliet), Carl J. Dentice (8210 West New Jersey), Glenbrook Corporation (6925 North Port Washington Road), Vincent Maniaci, Harry D’Angelo, Schaub Buick (237 South Street in Waukesha), Frank C. LaVora (3120 South 51st Street), Salvatore Dentice (1611 North Jackson), Sam J. Cefalu, Salvatore A. Librizzi, Joseph Caminiti and Albert Albana.
Frank Buccieri called Milwaukee from the Canyon Hotel in Palm Springs on April 2, 1970. (The number is redacted.)
Thomas and Tony Machi were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 12, 1970 for interstate transfer of wagering information.
Joseph Spero died April 17, 1970 of a stroke and the funeral was held on April 19 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Attendees included Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Albert Albana, Steve DeSalvo and Dominic Principe.
Antonio “Tony” Albano died April 24, 1970. Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, August Maniaci, Sam Ferrara, Steve DeSalvo and Harry DeAngelo, among others, attended the wake at Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home.
On April 25, 1970, Dominic Principe’s address was changed from Mundelein to 10861 41st Avenue, Pleasant Prairie (Kenosha). He was also believed to be spending time at 301 North Farrell Drive in Palm Springs.
A black Fleetwood Cadillac with Wisconsin plates was seen in front of Frank Buccieri’s apartment in Forest Park, Illinois on the morning of April 27, 1970. This was Sally Papia’s car.
Milwaukee police officers interviewed Frank Buccieri on May 6, 1970 and he told them he was engaged to be married to Sally Papia and was in the process of getting a divorce from his current wife.
Special Agent Dennis Condon went to the Clock Bar (715 North 5th Street) at 11:00pm. He next went to Eddie Carroll’s Steak House (formerly Fazio’s on Fifth) at 11:30pm and saw various men, including Sam Cefalu, in conversation. At 12:12am, Condon went to the Ad Lib Club (323 West Wells) and made small talk with people. Frank Balistrieri was at the bar there and then was seen joining a table with three men and two women. Peter Balistrieri was also at he bar.
In early June 1970, Santo Marino was hospitalized due to a slight stroke.
In June 1970 Warren objected to the Milwaukee Common Council’s granting of liquor licenses to taverns associated with Frank Balistrieri.
On June 29, 1970, gamblers were observed making bets and collecting payoffs at Libby’s Tavern at the corner of Broadway and St. Paul. The gamblers were both white and black.
Some point in 1970, convicted felon Joseph Alioto sold Alioto Distributing to his sister, Jane Alioto, for $500 because Joseph could not own a license. John Balistrieri was appointed manager.
By July 7, 1970, Sam Ferrara had renamed his tavern at 1447 North VanBuren the “One Plus One” and opened a second tavern, the Peacock Lounge, at the corner of Lyon and Jackson. The Peacock was operated by Ferrara’s son.
The wake for Salvatore Anthony Librizzi, 50, was held on July 10, 1970 at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home. He was the brother of Cono Librizzi. Those present included Steve DeSalvo, Frank Balistrieri, Thomas Machi, August Palmisano, Sam Cefalu, Frank Sansone, Walter Brocca, Joseph Enea, and Peter Balistrieri.
Russell LaGalbo, brother of Frank LaGalbo, died July 20, 1970. Attending the wake was Tony Machi.
An informant was at August Chiaverotti’s warehouse (in the old Lincoln Theater) on July 23, 1970. The informant had previously seen Chiaverotti pay a man $2000 to buy a load of 500 pairs of “hot” Florsheim shoes in Chicago. Chiaverotti now said the FBI had taken pictures of him unloading the shoes from his car, so he hid them in a garage. The informant offered to buy the shoes.
Frank Balistrieri threw a party at the Kings IV on July 26, 1970. He charged $15 a plate and roughly 100 people attended, including Vincent Maniaci and Steve DeSalvo.
On July 28, 29 and 30, 1970, (redacted, probably Andrew Machi) made telephone calls from public telephone booths between 11:30am and 11:50am to Sonny’s Sports Service in Los Angeles. While making the calls, which were under two minutes, he was seen taking notes believed to be “the line”. This business was involved in bookmaking, and was connected to Andrew Lococo and his Cockatoo Hotel.
On August 13, 1970, Joseph Enea and Peter Gaudesi were charged with operating without a seller’s permit. Tax agent George Long bought a drink from each of them.
Casey Maniaci died on August 18, and his funeral was on August 20, 1970. Harry DeAngelo, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, John Pernice, Vito Aiello and “virtually the entire Milwaukee LCN family” were present.
Two FBI special agents entered the Brass Rail (744 North 3rd) at 9:07pm on August 19, 1970 and spoke with the man tending bar, who said he was the manager. At 9:40pm, the agents entered the Downtowner (340 West Wells) and talked the bartender, who told them he was still receiving treatment at the university hospital in Madison for his cancer. At 10:15pm, the agents went to the Ad Lib (323 West Wells) and observed numerous hoodlums in conversation, including Walter Brocca and Joseph Enea.
Tony Machi was observed at Rocco Lembo’s Barber Shop (408 East Clybourn) on September 19, 1970 from 11:19am until 11:53am. At that time, surveillance was discontinued and Machi was still in the barber shop.
On Friday, September 25, 1970, FBI agents raided the homes of Thomas James Machi (1938 North Oakland) and his nephew Andrew Joseph Machi (660 South 60th). Gambling paraphernalia was taken from both homes, including water soluble paper, $22,000 in cash and two handguns with ammunition.
A search warrant was issued and executed at 11:47am for the residence of Thomas Machi (1938 North Oakland) on Friday, September 25, 1970. Agents found four issues of Weekly Basketball Forecasts and two issues of Sportscasters Weekly Basketball Bulletin. Also found was a loaded C&H .38 revolver, a book titled “Voltaire” with notes on the cover, a blue West Side Bank zipper bag with .38 bullets inside, an envelope with numbers written all over it. Various envelopes were found with figures and phone numbers on them, and there were multiple copies of the Angel and Kaplan scratch sheets. A bank statement from the Banca Commerciale Italiana was found, as was various currency. Multiple $100 checks from the American Building Supply Company were found. A check for $4086 for New Galaxie A-Go-Go at 3876 East Squire Avenue in Cudahy made out to cash. A promissory note for $4000 made out to Joseph Alioto. When the search started, Machi was not home, but he soon came home (12:29pm) and sat near the front of his house with Special Agent Eugene Sather, who took inventory. Soon, Machi’s attorney arrived (1:23pm) and was handed the search warrant and affidavit. Machi asked the attorney if he could see in the affidavit how the FBI had been monitoring him.
That same day, Jennie Alioto was subpoenaed to appear before a government attorney on October 2 to provide a sworn statement, and also to turn over the records of 11 firms and 20 individuals, including herself. The subpoena was connected to Frank Balistrieri’s $175,000 lawsuit against federal agents and the Wisconsin Telephone Company. Subpoenas were also served on Peter F. Picciurro of De Lish Us Distributors, Carl J. Dentice of the Dentice Amusement Company, August Chiaverotti of Factory Close-Out, Rudolph Porchetta of the Brass Rail, Santo N. Marino of Marino’s Corner, and Joseph Caminiti (secretary-treasurer of Local 257 Teamsters Union).
Authorities tried to go into a locked basement area of the Kings IV tavern on Tuesday, October 6, 1970, but were blocked by licensee Peter Gaudesi, saying they needed a search warrant. The same evening, the authorities returned and read a notice to Sue Bartfield (the tavern’s representative in Gaudesi’s absence) informing her that the tavern’s license was revoked on suspicion of violating liquor laws. Bartfield and the bartender on duty asked the patrons to leave.
John Piscuine was interviewed at the Towne Room Restaurant (723 North 3rd) on October 6, 1970 concerning the Machi brothers. Piscuine said he knew the Machi family and that Tony was a frequent visitor at his restaurant, and Tom had been there once. He had heard rumors that the Machis were gamblers, but had not personally made any bets with them. He said he had known Tony Machi for many years, but would not consider him a personal friend. He said the Machis may have called the restaurant to make reservations, but not to gamble, and he was not aware of them being in the restaurant for gambling purposes — only for eating dinner.
Rocco Lembo was also interviewed October 6 at his place of business (408 Clybourn Street). Lembo said he knew Tony Machi, but only as a customer. Machi had come in to his barber shop every week for a shave and had been a customer for ten years. He said he knew nothing about gambling and he had not personally ever gambled. (For what it is worth, Lembo’s wife was Mary Dentice and his daughter Rose was married to Arthur Maniaci.)
FBI agents interviewed William Kabb on October 7, 1970 concerning gambling. Kabb said he made bets on occasion, but would not talk with agents further without his attorney present. Kabb was born in Vilna, Russia, and was the president of the Drapery Workroom.
Also on October 7, Cyril E. Werner (vice president of Wisconsin Bearing Company) was interviewed and acknowledged he had met a man named Tommy or Tony at the North Hills Country Club, and this man gave him a telephone number for placing bets. Werner said he had not made any bets, but had called the phone number to find out the odds on various football games. Thomas John Carrao (2900 North 74th) was also interviewed October 7 at his place of business, Adelman Laundry at 76th and Center. He acknowledged placing bets, but said it was not often and only for a couple dollars here and there.
Joseph Maniaci was found in contempt of court October 7, 1970 after failing to show his corporate books to state tax authorities. Maniaci was the president of Mando Enterprises, which operated the Ad Lib night club.
Lt. Thomas Thelen received information from a police operator on October 24, 1970 at 9:30pm that there was a man on the phone named Robert Charles Greenman, age 36, who wanted to confess to a murder. When the call was transferred to Thelen, Greenman had already hung up. As the man had called from Mequon, Thelen called the Mequon Police Department and asked Lt. Richard Burgard to check for this man. Burgard called back around 10:00pm and said they had Greenman in custody and he was asking to confess to Milwaukee Police for the murder of John DiTrapani. They had found him across the street from his home at the Old Car Bar, where his wife was a bartender. Thelen, along with Detectives Vince Partipilo and Gerald Tomaszewski, arrived at the Mequon station around 11:15pm where they met Greenman’s attorney, Bernard J. Lepgold. Lepgold took his client into a private room until 11:55pm. When they emerged, Lepgold told the police that his client had been drinking and that he would not answer any questions. As the police had no evidence to hold Greenman, he was released. The police did do a quick check on Greenman, and found he was married to Loretta White Greenman, 31, and suffered for cirrhosis of the liver and would die if he kept drinking as heavily as he did.
Andrew Lococo was indicted on October 29, 1970 for four counts of violating the Gun Control Act, which prohibited interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers. He would later be sentenced to five years probation.
Frank LaPorte called Chico’s restaurant in November 1970.
Madison LCN underboss Joseph Aiello died on November 7, 1970 and his funeral was in Milwaukee on November 9. Many Milwaukee members attended the funeral, including Nick Fucarino, Steve DeSalvo and John Pernice.
A federal grand jury investigating gambling in Milwaukee convened on November 10, 1970. Numerous bettors and other witnesses were subpoenaed.
There was a wedding reception held for Jerome DiMaggio’s step-daughter on November 28, 1970 at The Scene. Among other attendees were Salvatore Seidita, Harry DeAngelo, Albert Albana and “nearly all” the Milwaukee Family.
The engagement of Milwaukee restauranteur Sally Papia and Chicago hoodlum Frank Buccieri (brother of another hoodlum, Fiore Buccieri) was announced in December 1970. The engagement was called off soon after.
On December 3, 1970, an informant brought in football parlay cards to Special Agent Daniel Brandt that he had obtained from Joseph Enea at the Ad Lib Lounge. The cards were believed to come from Las Vegas, but how they came to Milwaukee was not known.
At 12:33pm on December 4, 1970, Tony Machi was arrested by the FBI in the parking lot of Fazio’s and had $1613 on him at the time. Thomas James Machi was arrested by the FBI at the American Building Supply Corporation (4821 North 32nd Street) at 12:35pm and had $343 on him. He told the agent, “There must be some mistake. You better call my lawyer.” The agent asked why and Machi said they had arranged a deal that once charges came down he would turn himself in rather than be publicly arrested. “Why did you guys do it this way when I would have come down?” he asked. The agent told Machi he was not aware of any deal. When brought to the US Marshal’s office, the Machis’ attorney told the special agent he was “very disappointed”, as he had worked out a surrender deal with US Attorney Cannon. The Machis were released on $5000 recognizance bond each.
Salvatore Anthony Librizzi was also arrested on December 4, and police found a note reading “AUG WO2-9933″ on him. This was the phone number for August Palmisano.
Dominic Principe died in his sleep on December 19, 1970 in Palm Springs, California — a city he had moved to in only the recent past due to ailing health. His body was returned to Kenosha where a funeral was held at the Crossin-Proko Funeral Home and burial took place in St. James Cemetery. Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Nick Collura, Steve DeSalvo and Albert Albana attended the funeral at Mount Carmel Catholic Church on December 23.
Louis Fazio went golfing in Palm Springs, California in January 1971.
Sally Papia and Frank Buccieri went to Acapulco, Mexico on January 9, 1971, allegedly to be married. There is no evidence that any ceremony ever took place.
Fifth District Republican Chairman Vincent Mercurio died from a heart attack in Lutheran Hospital on Sunday, January 31, 1971. He had just had ulcer surgery two days earlier.
John Alioto, John Pernice and Sam Ferrara attended the wake of Vincent Mercurio on Tuesday, February 2, 1971 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Mercurio had been active in Italian-American affairs for many years.
By February 18, 1971, Giuseppe Balistrieri was in Mount Sinai Hospital with a bad heart after suffering a heart attack. Doctors did not feel it was worthwhile to open him up, but did attach an external pacemaker. He was not expected to live.
Some time in February, Sam Cefalu and Steve DeSalvo attended the wake for someone’s mother.
Giuseppe Balistrieri (Frank and Peter’s father) died of a heart attack at Mount Sinai Hospital on Wednesday, March 3, 1971. He was 76 years old. Attendees at the funeral and/or wake (held at Guardalabene and Amato on March 4-5) included Salvatore Seidita, Nick Collura, Frank LaGalbo, Nick Fucarino, Harry DeAngelo, Sam Ferrara, August Maniaci, John Rizzo, Albert Albana, John Pernice, Joseph Gumina, Joseph Caminiti, Buster Balestrere, Vito Aiello, Salvatore J. Cefalu, James Schiavo and Santo Marino. Anthony Spilotro of Chicago also attended. John Alioto was nowhere to be found. Sources say he was confined to his home due to poor health. Around the time of the funeral, Knobby Gulotta spoke with James Schiavo about securing an attorney for Charlie Vince. Schiavo told him to contact the Milwaukee Family.
Walter Brocca, 4023 South Kansas Avenue, testified on Thursday, March 4, 1971 during a pretrial deposition concerning Frank Balistrieri’s $1.75 million lawsuit against Wisconsin Telephone Company and the federal government concerning what he believed was illegal eavesdropping. As Justice Department attorney Neil R. Peterson asked him questions, but before he could finish a question, Brocca responded, “I refuse to answer.” Peterson said, “Wait until I complete the question before you answer, please.” Brocca snapped back, “Alright, but go faster. I’m liable to get a parking ticket.” Peterson’s questions focused on a jukebox operation at 2559 North Downer Avenue, but Brocca would not talk.
Santo Marino of 1914 North Prospect testified on Friday, March 5, 1971 during the pretrial deposition. Attorney Neil Peterson questioned Marino, a tavern operator, about his business activities. Attorney Joseph Balistrieri repeatedly objected to the questioning, calling it harassment. Marino, who said he knew Balistrieri all his life, denied that he had any business dealings with Frank Balistrieri or knew of a jukebox business at 2559 North Downer Avenue where the eavesdropping occurred.
Also on March 5, Salvatore J. Cefalu, 57, 5741 North 36th Street, was called to testify. His attorney, Nicholas Catania, said they had called the wrong Cefalu. Attorney Neil Peterson asked Cefalu if he knew another Sam Cefalu. “Well, I get bills for another Sam Cefalu once in a while,” he responded, clarifying that his cousin — also named Sam Cefalu — lived on North Jackson Street. Cefalu admitted knowing Balistrieri, but denied working for him. He said that prior to the funeral the night before, it had been “months and months” since they last saw each other. “If you go across the hall,” replied Peterson, “I’ll get you a witness fee — for the wrong witness.”
On Wednesday, March 31, 1971, Circuit Judge Hugh R. O’Connell appointed Joseph P. Balistrieri as a court commissioner. Answering critics of the decision, O’Connell said Balistrieri “demonstrated excellent qualities as an attorney; I think that is all that is required of a court commissioner. I did what I think is proper and right. Anyone else is entitled to the same prerogative. I have judged people by their own qualities and abilities and that’s what I did in this case. I have never believed in guilt by association.”
On April 2, 1971, Frank Buccieri was staying at a rented house with Sally Papia at 2705 Livmor Avenue in Palm Springs.
A high stakes craps game and stag party was scheduled to happen at Glorioso’s on April 4, 1971.
Special Agent Dennis Condon located Vito Seidita at the Milwaukee City Dump on April 5, 1971. When asked about the Mafia, Seidita said he knew nothing of any such organization. He said he was a hard-working man who had nothing to do with criminals. Seidita did not wish to discuss the matter further.
A man in Temple Terrace, Florida was interviewed at his place of business on April 6, 1971 concerning Salvatore Cefalu. The man said he had moved to the Tampa area in the last year, being originally from Milwaukee, but did not know Cefalu personally. He said that based on what he has heard from his daughter, Cefalu was a gambler. The daughter was interviewed and she said she had moved the same time as her father. She said she could not say for certain that Cefalu was a bookmaker, but she had been in his home and noticed he had two phones; she knew from being a football fan that this could likely be a “sports line”.
Special Agent Carl J. Quattrocchi attempted to interview Salvatore DiMaggio in Waupun State Prison on April 13, 1971, but the clerk advised that the subject did not wish to be interviewed. Instead, Quattrocchi spoke with another inmate who was familiar with Milwaukee crime. The inmate said he would talk about the underworld if consideration would be given to him for his insights. He was told no such consideration could be given, and he then said he would think about it. As near as can be told, he never did talk, beyond saying that DiMaggio was “quite content in the prison” and “seemed unconcerned about his parole”, believing that he would have to serve most of his time because of his long record.
Around April 18, 1971, Joseph Madrigrano, vice president of the American State Bank in Kenosha, was indicted for tax evasion. The IRS claimed that he had reported earning $85,000 less than he really had between 1964-1966.
On Tuesday, April 20, 1971, Kenosha tavern owners Rolland Winn and Vito Petritis complained to the Wisconsin Justice Department that they had tried to get beer from a Milwaukee wholesaler, but were told by a driver that they had to go through Kenosha, which had higher prices. They claimed the driver had received threatening phone calls not to sell in Kenosha and was nervous. Charles Lelinski, a Justice Department investigator, had previously been told by a Milwaukee supplier of receiving a threatening phone call from Joseph Madrigrano. This was presumably the same supplier. Tavern keeper William Grell also complained that Kenosha prices were 75 cents per case higher than Milwaukee, and was told by the Teamsters that prices would be even if he ordered over 100 cases. He said he had no interest in purchasing such large quantities.
Steve DeSalvo attended a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game on April 21, 1971 with Sam Cefalu and Frank Leo Sansone. It was the first game of the NBA Finals against the Baltimore Bullets, with the Bucks winning 98-88. (The Bucks, only three years old, had an amazing season overall and won the finals 4-0, due in part to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.)
Jack Anthony Dentice was convicted of robbery on April 27, 1971. Judge Coffey sentenced him to three years probation.
Steve DeSalvo purchased a 1971 Chrysler Imperial Lebron in May 1971. He financed the purchase through Marine National Bank.
Joseph Madrigrano was called into the Wisconsin attorney general’s office on Tuesday, May 11, 1971. He said that he had called beer distributor Joseph Peckerman of Badger Beer Distributors shortly after Peckerman sold beer to a Kenosha tavern. Madrigrano said he jokingly called Peckerman and told him to stop selling to his customers, and then hung up. Peckerman told the attorney general he did not consider it a joke, and if he had not been threatened, he would not have stopped selling in Kenosha.
Rockford LCN member Phil Cannella’s funeral was held on May 15, 1971. Among other attendees was Nick Fucarino.
The FBI surveilled Salvatore Cefalu’s home (5741 North 36th Street) on May 18, 1971 from 10:21am until 4:27pm. Multiple people were observed to come and go. The residence was surveilled again the next day from 8:47am until 3:51pm. Again on May 24 the house was watched from 9:11am until 2:25pm.
Vincent Maniaci was called by the branch manager of Servomation in early June 1971, telling him that he was no longer allowed to operate his coin operated machines in Chicago because the Outfit had forced him out in April. The man requested that Maniaci speak with the Rockford mob to see if he could continue his business there without any interference.
The FBI surveilled Salvatore Cefalu’s home on June 10, 1971 from 1:27pm until 4:08pm. They observed him mowing the lawn and doing yard work. The next day his house was surveilled from 9:20am until 1:14pm. On June 14, the house was surveilled from 8:39am until 4:37pm and various license plates were jotted down.
Frank Balistrieri was convicted of filing fraudulent tax returns by the Southern District of Illinois court on June 16, 1971 and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.
The FBI surveilled Salvatore Cefalu’s home on June 22, 1971 from 3:46pm until 9:30pm. The house was watched again on June 28 from 10:08am until 4:00pm, and nothing was seen other than Cefalu doing yard work and two young children playing in the front yard.
Frank Balistrieri reported to Sandstone federal prison in Minnesota on June 28, 1971, being chauffeured there by Steve DeSalvo in a rented car rather than escorted by US Marshals in order to avoid handcuffs and publicity. While away, he placed Joseph Caminiti as the acting boss of the Milwaukee Family and his brother Peter as the underboss. DeSalvo maintained his position as one of the three captains.
Joseph Caminiti: 1971-1972
On July 4, 1971, the home of Sally Papia was burglarized and jewelry valued at $49,000 was stolen. Her former fiancee, Chicago hoodlum Frank Buccieri, went around Milwaukee trying to track the jewelry down. He succeeded, finding some rings in the possession of Edwin S. Siegel, the operator of a barber shop at 5922 W. North Avenue. Siegel told Buccieri, Sally’s maitre’d Max Adonnis and steak house manager Frank Trovato that a man named “Pete” came in to his shop and had four rings for sale. One was purchased for $700 by a dentist, Dr. Alvin Gloyeck, who happened to be in the shop at the time.
Around the same time, Max Adonnis and an unidentified man held Allen Quindt hostage in a West Side garage and threatened to kill him for the theft, which he was apparently not part of. Quint had his jaw broken but escaped with his life.
Informants told the FBI that Frank Buccieri had been trying to take over the Milwaukee family while Frank Balistrieri was away, but the burglary of Papia’s residence made him “lose face” and provided him with too much notoriety. Buccieri gave up any attempt at a takeover.
Sally Papia held a golf tournament on July 18, 1971 in Alpine Valley.
Frank Balistrieri was temporarily released from Sandstone Federal Prison on Monday, July 19, 1971 in order to testify before a grand jury the next day concerning perjury allegations. He was lead out in handcuffs and a waist chain. He spent the night in Ozaukee County Jail in Port Washington. Other witnesses to testify included Peter Gaudesi, Sue Bartfield, Alderman Allen Calhoun, Joseph Balistrieri (Peter’s son), Joseph Balistrieri (Frank’s son) and Angelo DiGiorgio.
Frank H. Ranney, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 200, testified before the grand jury for thirteen minutes on Thursday afternoon, July 22, 1971. Twice during questioning he consulted with his attorney, David L. Uelman. Although Ranney had denied the allegation in the Wisconsin Teamster newspaper, he had been accused of helping Frank Balistrieri secure a $125,000 commercial loan from Milwaukee’s Continental Bank and Trust Company in September 1968.
Frank Stelloh was after August Chiaverotti for $5000 in August 1971. Stelloh believed that Chiaverotti was the “stool pigeon” who had put him in prison.
Universal Builders, Inc incorporated on August 25, 1971 in Milwaukee County. Their address was given as 3242 West Anton Avenue, Milwaukee. (I will have to consult WDFI to see who the company agents were. Also, there is no Anton Avenue in Milwaukee.)
The annual Italian-American Golf Tournament was held August 30, 1971 at Tuckaway Country Club. Louis Fazio and Tony Machi (owner of the Barn) were on the board of directors.
Around September 25, 1971, some hoodlums (redacted) moved their bookmaking operation from the apartment above Sam Ferrara’s tavern to an apartment on the north side of Milwaukee. Three days later, they were raided by the police.
Sam Ferrara’s wife Laura Marino Ferrara died some time around the end of September 1971, having been confined to the hospital all month. She was transferred from Milwaukee to the Madison General Hospital at the end. The entire membership of the Milwaukee LCN attended the funeral, as well as James Schiavo and Cosmo DiSalvo from the Madison LCN. Ferrara’s nephew, Joseph Vallone, also arrived from Sicily and was rumored to be made a member of the Milwaukee Family when Frank Balistrieri was released from prison.
August Chiaverotti was indicted by a grand jury in Milwaukee on September 14, 1971. He was subsequently arrested, tried and sentenced for altering United States currency. He had conspired with Robert L. Kent, Vito Minella of Scranton, Pennsylvania and Vito’s wife Margaret Minella to flood rare coin dealers with fake coins. James DeNinno, Vito Minella and Gilbert Alpaugh made the fake coins in Scranton and sold them to Chiaverotti and Kent in Milwaukee for resale. Alpaugh would later become a state’s witness. Attorney Joseph Balistrieri represented Kent and Chiaverotti at trial.
Also indicted on Tuesday, September 14, 1971 (though in Kenosha) for being involved in illegal sports gambling were Alfred DeCesaro, Angelo Germinaro, Eugene Thomas, John Puntillo (currently in prison for an ITAR conviction), Frank Manna, John Woodburry, Raymond Matera, James Salerno, Ralph Gregorski, Richard Thiel and Louis Gerolmo. They each faced five years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
August Palmisano and another man were arrested at Richie’s on Broadway on September 24, 1971 and charged with commercial gambling. In their possession were betting slips for horse races at the Hawthorne Park race track.
Felix Alderisio’s wake and funeral were held in Chicago on September 26-28, 1971. Sally Papia attended with Frank Buccieri.
Dominic F. Picciurro was convicted of possessing a pistol on October 4, 1971. He was put on probation for one year.
Commercial gambling charges were issued against Angelo B. DiGiorgio, 34, 1821 North Marshall, on October 20, 1971. Charges had previously been filed against DiGiorgio in April 1970, but were dropped when the state’s principal witness, Charles Solomon, refused to testify after being threatened by Nick Tarantino. DiGiorgino had previously been the licensee of the Kings IV tavern (720 North Water), an establishment connected to Frank Balistrieri.
Dominic Gullo, 45, was arrested Tuesday evening, October 20, 1971 on a charge of false swearing on an application for transfer of his liquor store license to another location. He was released on $500 bail. Gullo claimed to have an oral lease for a building in 1400 North block of Farwell Avenue, which was presently owned by Ace Van Lines and Movers. George Holzbauer, president of the moving firm, said that Gullo had no lease, oral or written, and that the two had never met. He said that Sue Bartfield had negotiated a lease in August, but that it was never finalized because she had failed to provide a financial statement as requested.
The FBI interviewed Albert Albana at his place of business, Wholesale Dry Cleaners (3602 Roosevelt Road, Kenosha) on October 21, 1971. Albana said he was not involved in gambling, could not afford it and would want nothing to do with it if he could. He said that at his age, he did not want that kind of trouble, and noted that he had throat surgery two years ago. Albana said his son was a school teacher and also had a job in the advertising department of the Badger Herald newspaper (the student paper of the University of Wisconsin in Madison). Albana said the FBI would be making a better use of time investigating other individuals, but said they were welcome to stop by the dry cleaning store any time they wished.
Vincent Maniaci was released from the hospital on October 23, 1971 after suffering a heart attack.
On October 25, 1971 an informant told the FBI that John Alioto still held the position of a capodecina in the Milwaukee crime family.
Joseph Balistrieri purchased the Shorecrest Hotel in November 1971 for $1,100,000. The owner, who had inherited the hotel from his father Arthur W. Bruemmer, wanted $2,850,000 for the building, but only received two offers and Balistrieri’s was the higher one. The record is a bit hard to discern (it is heavily redacted), but apparently Frank Balistrieri was able to get associates to loan money for the investment, and it was brought into Joseph’s bank account through cashiers checks made out to cash. A prominent member of the Teamsters loaned money from his pension, despite being scheduled to undergo open heart surgery in December — money that his family would be unable to get if the operation went badly.
Around November 18, 1971, Sally Papia was named the vice president of Enroc Industries, a company that owned 11 restaurants in Milwaukee and Denver, a candy manufacturing facility in Sherwood (Wisconsin) and oil and gas interests in Ohio. Enroc was part of the holding company First Midwest Investment Corp (FMIC), which was run by Fred A. Shapiro, 30, a graduate of Marquette Law School. Shapiro’s father Norton was president of Midwest Tire Auto stores and his father-in-law, S. Daniel Tishberg, was president of Towne Realty.
Max Adonnis transported a stolen 1970 Buick from Milwaukee to McHenry, Illinois on November 19, 1971.
Tony Albano’s wife died on December 1, 1971. Among others attending the funeral was Nick Fucarino.
Eight Milwaukee locations were raided on December 19, 1971 and substantial betting records were seized at the Orlando residence.
Carmello “Tony” Cicerello was convicted of forgery on January 12, 1972. Judge J. L. Coffey sentenced him to five years in prison to run concurrent with his time in Leavenworth.
The Justice Department considered bringing evidence before a grand jury to charge Steve DeSalvo with a fraudulent loan. However, on January 19, 1972, the decision was made not to pursue such a case (despite a crime being committed) because DeSalvo was actively repaying the loan.
On January 27, 1972, the former owner of the Shorecrest appeared at the Milwaukee office of the FBI with his attorney. The man had been hounded by news reporters since the sale of the hotel, and would ask him if it was true if he had been beaten and forced to sell. The man denied any coercion and said he wanted to sell — he did not care to whom — and Balistrieri offered the highest bid. The FBI believed him and closed their books on a potential extortion investigation.
Ben Barwick (business agent for Local 122) testified for two hours on Tuesday morning, February 29, 1972 before a grand jury investigating gambling in Milwaukee County. He and attorney Roland Steinle were escorted in and out of the Safety Building.
Frank Stelloh tried to “shake down” August Chiaverotti again in March 1972, but when he went to Chiaverotti’s house, he would not answer the door.
Universal Builders became Incorporated in Louisiana on March 13, 1972 in Jefferson Parish. Steve DeSalvo was included on the board of directors, was secretary-treasurer and was a stockholder. He gave his address as 3700 Causeway Boulevard, Metairie, Louisiana.
A car registered to an employee of the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas was observed outside of Sally Papia’s residence on March 14, 1972.
Former mob boss John Alioto hosted a dinner at Alioto’s restaurant in honor of his nephew, San Francisco mayor Joseph L. Alioto on Thursday, March 30, 1972. The mayor spoke to approximately 80 of his cousins, and stumped for Hubert Humphrey and his presidential bid. Introducing him was another cousin, attorney Joseph Balistrieri, son of mob boss Frank Balistrieri. One suspects this did not help dispel the rumors of Mayor Alioto’s mob ties.
Nick Collura visited his sister in Florida in April 1972.
Balistrieri Returns: 1972-1983
Frank Balistrieri was released from federal prison on April 7, 1972 and resumed his role as head of the Milwaukee Family. The following evening, he met at Pitch’s Lounge with several Italian gamblers.
Steve DeSalvo talked to Walter Brocca on April 8, 1972 and told him he was talking too much. Brocca had told his daughter Emma about a robbery and assault attempt on him two weeks prior, and she told someone who told Joseph Enea. Two masked men had confronted Brocca in his garage, but he fled quickly and neighbors turned on lights, scaring the men off. DeSalvo said he was getting too much “heat” and he had nothing to do with the robbery attempt.
Antonina Balistrieri was confined in Mt. Sinai Hospital from April 10-15, 1972. She had been beaten up by Frank for saying she was going to divorce him while he was in prison. A nurse at the hospital said it looked like Mrs. Balistrieri had been thrown down the stairs.
Vito Aiello and Nick Fucarino visited the Balistrieri residence on April 14, 1972.
Joseph P. Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo were seen at Frank Balistrieri’s residence on April 18, 1972 from 9:00am to 1:30pm.
Some point in May 1972, two assailants tried to kill Walter Brocca but failed. This followed a bitter feud between Brocca and Frank Balistrieri where Brocca was accused of talking too much. Balistrieri visited Brocca shortly after the attempt and assured him that he (Balistrieri) was not behind the incident.
August Chiaverotti, 62, was sentenced on May 12, 1972 to two years in prion for his involvement in counterfeit coins by Judge Myron Gordon. He was granted a stay pending appeal. Robert Kent, 39, and Vito Minella, 40, were each given four years. Kent was already in Waupun Prison for stealing guns.
Andrew Lococo was in Sturgeon Bay overseeing the construction of his record-breaking tuna boat, and planned to return to California on Monday, May 22, 1972. However, while at the Green Bay airport around 4:00pm, he was served a subpoena by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. This ordered him to testify in front of Milwaukee County Grand Jury investigating commercial gambling. Another California man, Dominick DeFalco, was also ordered to appear on June 5. DeFalco’s company, Troy Tickets, allegedly was providing line information on sporting events.
On Tuesday, May 23, 1972 at 3:10pm, Lococo entered the grand jury room with his attorneys, John J. Flynn of Phoenix and Nicholas C. Catania of Milwaukee, “nattily dressed in a red and black check sport coat with red and white check slacks”. Lococo invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer any of the questions put to him by Assistant Attorney General Peter A. Peshek. The questions were: what do you know about gambling in Milwaukee County; have you made or taken bets from anyone in Milwaukee County in the past six years; in the past six years, have you called anyone in Milwaukee County for the purpose of receiving information about a horse race or any particular horse; in the past six years, have you called anyone in Milwaukee County for the purpose of receiving gambling information on sporting events; specifically, have you taken or made bets with Andrew Machi, Anthony Machi (aka Tony Petrolle), Frank L. Sansone, Steve DeSalvo, Salvatore Dentice, Angelo DiGiorgio, Salvatore Cefalu, Robert “Ace” Orlando or Dominic DeFalco; have you invested any gambling money into any business in the state of Wisconsin. Judge Herbert J. Steffes then granted Lococo immunity and ordered him to return on June 5.
On June 20, 1972, Sidney Brodson appeared as a witness before a Milwaukee County grand jury. When asked to tell all he knew “about commercial gambling activities in Milwaukee County and other counties in the state of Wisconsin,” he asserted his privilege against compulsory incrimination and was granted immunity. He then responded to questions concerning his placing bets on football games and his relationship with other persons who placed bets and accepted wagers on such games.
Five people were arrested on June 26, 1972 due to indictments from the grand jury. Salvatore Cefalu was charged with 20 counts of commercial gambling.
On July 14, 1972, an informant reported to the FBI that he had heard from August Chiaverotti that Joe Aiuppa had taken over much of the business formerly run by “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio, and that Tony Accardo was running the Chicago LCN behind the scenes. Chiaverotti, in turn, was aware of the Chicago situation (despite not being an LCN member) because he was an associate of “Mad Sam” DeStefano’s brother.
Joseph Gumina left for Italy on July 14, 1972.
An informant told the FBI in August 1972 that Vincent Maniaci and August Palmisano had gotten drunk and shot holes in the walls of Richie’s and Little Caesars.
Some time in July, Alioto fell while at his restaurant (3041 North Mayfair Road) and had to be hospitalized.
An informant told the FBI on August 4, 1972 that Frank Balistrieri was forcing Joseph Gumina out of the Family. He suspected this might be because Balistrieri tried to get a piece of some business Gumina was in and was rebuffed. The informant did not know what business this would be. He further said Joseph Balistrieri had bought some property on the east side near the Shorecrest and he believed the financial backing came from the Del Chemical Company.
John Alioto died on August 27, 1972 from a heart ailment at St. Michael’s Hospital. While constantly under suspicion from the FBI, he was never caught for any serious offense. The Milwaukee Journal honored him on August 29 with the headline, “Restauranteur Alioto Dies of Heart Ailment”.
The FBI reports that Steve DeSalvo called an informant on August 28 and told him of the death and asked him to tell the Rockford Family. Phil Priola of the Rockford crime family (and owner of Towne and Country Motel) was made aware of Alioto’s death by the informant, but declined to have any of the Rockford family attend the funeral for fear that this would lead to them being placed under surveillance by the police or FBI. (It is generally believed that August Maniaci was the informant, as he knew both Milwaukee and Rockford members, and we know one of the Manaici brothers was, in fact, an informant. However, James Schiavo was being groomed as an informant, so it is possible this job fell to him.)
Alioto had a funeral at St. Rita’s Catholic Church and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery on September 6, 1972. Practically every member of the Milwaukee family attended the funeral, as did Frank LaGalbo (technically now a Chicago Heights member) and Frank Sansone. James Schiavo and Matthew Pelliteri of the Madison Family were also in attendance, as was Frank Buccieri of Chicago.
On September 13, 1972, FBI agents found three boxes outside of 4385 North Green Bay Avenue, Milwaukee, the new home of Universal Builders. The agents confiscated the boxes, which contained a variety of financial information, including canceled checks from July through December 1968 totaling $439,390, for the Nationwide Development Corporation, 2411 West Capitol Drive.
Returning home from his restaurant, the Iron Horse (1100 West Wells), on September 27, 1972 at 1:45am, Louis Martin Fazio was shot to death in an alley behind his home at 2805 North Humboldt Avenue as he stepped out of his car. He was unarmed, other than a red ribbon on his rearview mirror for good luck, and took three to five bullets from a .38 at close range. Neighbors heard the shots. Arleen D’Amore (2815 Humboldt) was concerned, but went back to sleep. Tillie Cirra (2813 Humboldt) heard a sound she described as “bling-bling” and was so scared, she covered her head and could not investigate further. His wife never woke up at all. The body was not discovered until 6:45am in a pool of blood near his 1968 Chevrolet, with Fazio’s car keys and a copy of the Milwaukee Sentinel nearby.
An informant suggested the murder was also a robbery, as Fazio was known to transport money from Milwaukee to Chicago on Tuesday and Friday nights. The identity of the killers, or even suspects, was unknown. Some speculated that Fazio was “bumped off” by a man whose brakes he had cut not long before, but there was no solid evidence of this. There was also speculation that Frank Balistrieri knew in advance about the killing, as he would have to authorize it if it was a mob hit. Police and FBI monitored Fazio’s funeral and were able to identify about fifteen people (names still redacted in their files).
On September 29, 1972 a 25th anniversary party was held at Sorini’s in North Riverside. Sally Papia and Frank Buccieri attended, as did Sam and Charles English and Turk Torello. (Whose anniversary is unclear.)
By 1972, Frank Balistrieri was approached by San Diego real-estate developer Allen Glick, a friend of son Joseph Balistrieri, regarding Las Vegas. Glick had desired to build a casino in Las Vegas but lacked the funding. According to the testimony given by former Cleveland LCN Family underboss and acting boss Angelo “Big Ange” Lonardo, Balistrieri contacted Kansas City crime family boss Nick Civella about a possible loan to Glick. Civella, with his influence over Teamsters Union official Roy D. Williams, was able to secure the funding. Williams was able to extract the funds from the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund. Balistrieri also had influence over Milwaukee Teamsters official Frank Ranney, a trustee of the Chicago-based fund.
(when?) Nick Fucarino was visited at his home (2622 North 60th Street) by two special agents, including Eugene D. Murphy. Fucarino told them he was 76, retired, and had no business dealings other than taking care of his real estate holdings. He said he only saw his old friends at weddings and funerals and was not active in the criminal world. Fucarino was asked about the murder of Louis Fazio, and he said he had no information on that and could think of no reason for Fazio to be killed other than robbery.
Nick Gentile was accepting football bets through his New Yorker Bar at 605 North 5th Street in October and November 1972. He was a relatively low-level bookie, only taking bets as high as $200. He lessened his involvement in November when he caught wind that the “heat” was in town. Although associated with the Milwaukee LCN, he apparently operated his gambling solo and not with the usual suspects.
(When?) A confidential source told the FBI that Benny DiSalvo would be a “logical suspect” in the murder of Louis Fazio, given his close association with and loyalty to Frank Balistrieri.
Agents visited Albert Albana on October 13, 1972 at Checker Cleaning Store on 22nd Avenue in Kenosha. They talked to him about Louis Fazio, and he denied knowing Fazio or any of the Milwaukee hoodlums. (This is patently false, as Albana was present at Fazio’s parole party.) He said he moved his store from Roosevelt Road to this present location because he was not making any money and he thought he could do better here in a neighborhood where he knew people. Albana offered the suggestion that narcotics were a bigger problem than petty gambling and the FBI might want to consider shifting its focus. He said they were welcome back any time, however.
Agents visited William Covelli on October 13, 1972 at his Badger Cheese Market in Bristol. He admitted knowing Louis Fazio, and said he (Covelli) had a relative working for Fazio’s brother in Florida. Beyond that, Covelli said he did not travel much, had no idea who killed Fazio, and had not seen him in years.
On Monday, October 16, 1972 Judge Max Raskin found Robert B. Orlando, 42, 1447 North 48th Street, guilty of 42 counts of commercial gambling. Assistant Attorney General Peter Peshek asked for two years in prison, a $5000 fine and five years probation. Defense attorney Nicholas Catania said the prosecution’s claims of Orlando working with millions of dollars were an exaggeration. Raskin set sentencing for November 17. The next day, Salvatore Cefalu was fined $8000, placed on five years probation and sentenced to 60 days in jail by Judge Raskin.
An FBI agent called Joseph Gumina’s house (3373 South 16th Street) on October 17, 1972 to see if he still lived there. The agent pretended to be an insurance salesman looking for clients.
Frenchy’s (1901 East North Avenue) was robbed on October 19, 1972 around 6:40am. Two men with pistols, one wearing a mask, confronted cleaners Donnie Grant, 19, and Edward Jarozewski, 31, and brought them inside where their hands were bound with adhesive tape. Dorothy Pural, 57, was in the office and the men took $1000 from an open safe and then handcuffed her to the safe’s handle. One of the cleaners loosened his hands around 7:00am and called police. The robbers were later identified as Richard Crocker and Keith Froemming, with a gun having been provided by Frank Angelo Picciolo.
Madison Family member James Schiavo visited the California Cheese Company in San Jose on October 19, 1972.
Sally Papia was visited at her home by the FBI on October 24, 1972 under the pretext of discussing the murder of Louis Fazio. She said she had already spoken to the Milwaukee police about it and was aware that anonymous calls had been made saying she was going to die, too. She said she considered the calls to be pranks.
Special Agent Eugene Murphy went to the New Yorker Bar on October 26, 1972 and observed the clientele. He estimated that 80% of the patrons were black, and so were the female entertainers. Murphy overheard two white men discussing football games, and saw a pool room he suspected of being a gambling area, but recognized no one in the bar.
Two agents went into the Ad Lib Lounge on October 26, 1972 and observed the clientele. There was a bartender, a barmaid, three female entertainers and roughly fifteen patrons — ten of whom were sitting at the bar. The mix was nicely dressed and casually dressed and it appeared to be a slow night.
Frank LaPorte died on October 30, 1972. Sal LaGalbo and James Schiavo attended his funeral. (This seems odd. The Milwaukee FBI office refers to LaPorte as a “Rockford” member and didn’t find out about the funeral until March 1973… did they get the wrong name?)
Dennis Librizzi was convicted of two counts of gambling on October 31, 1972. He was sentenced to one year in the house of correction by Judge Christ Seraphim.
Special Agent Eugene Murphy entered Sally’s Steak House on October 31, 1972 and saw James Jennaro working as the maitre’d.
In November 1972, someone told Walter Brocca of a scheme to physically hurt Frank Balistrieri. Although Brocca was allied with this person, he told Balistrieri about the plot in order to protect himself from retaliation.
Vincent Maniaci was at the Castaways Hotel, 16375 Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach on November 2, 1972. He stayed one night in Room 554.
Nick Gentile was arrested on November 3, 1972 for being drunk. He identified himself as a salesman for Universal Industries.
Vincent Maniaci visited Jimmy Fazio in Florida on November 4/5, 1972. Jimmy said he did not think that members of the Chicago Outfit had killed Louis Fazio because Louis was too close of a friend to Sam DeStefano. (Given Sam’s rocky relationship with the Outfit and his own murder five months later, this hardly seems like a safety net.)
Special Agent Eugene Murphy visited the Brass Rail on November 9, 1972. There were 13 to 18 patrons, most sitting at the bar. The clientele was a mix of casual and formal. Working were one bartender, two waitresses and three female entertainers.
Vincent Maniaci was at the Castaways Hotel, 16375 Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach from November 10-12, 1972. He stayed in Room 205.
A testimonial dinner was held for San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto on November 11, 1972 at the Marc Plaza Hotel in Milwaukee. It was organized by the Italian-American Men’s Club of Milwaukee. Four hundred people attended the event, including Frank Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo. (The Marc Plaza was formerly the Schroeder Hotel and is today the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.)
Federal gambling convictions against Angelo B. DiGiorgio and Thomas J. Machi were overturned on Monday, November 20, 1972 by Judge Myron Gordon. Gordon said that since the calls to California (where odds were obtained) were made by Andrew Machi, there was no evidence to show that either of these two men were aware their gambling activities had an interstate (and therefore federal) aspect.
Brocca’s used appliance business — Towne Appliance and Service, 1916 West Mitchell — burned down in mid-November 1972. The cause was thought to be accidental.
Agent Murphy spoke with an informant on November 30, 1972. He said that Frank Stelloh had visited Walter Brocca looking for blasting caps in order to hook up dynamite to the cars of Frank Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo. Brocca immediately went to Peter Balistrieri’s house and told Frank and DeSalvo about the plot. Coincidentally, this was one day before Brocca’s business burned down. The informant believed the fire was an accident caused by Brocca’s “carelessness and sloppiness”. He said Jimmy Jennaro was looking for a gun and silencer, and was nervous for an unknown reason. The informant heard that Sam DeStefano was going to be killed because of his troubles following the Leo Foreman and Action Jackson murders. (DeStefano was killed in April — whether this was good intelligence or a lucky guess is hard to say.)
West Allis police observed Frank Stelloh getting into a two-door Pontiac at 71st and Greenfield on December 4, 1972. The car was being driven by a 35-year old man with dark hair and a dark complexion.
The chef at Chico’s in December 1972 was Andrew J. Maniscalco, 36, a known associate of Milwaukee gamblers. (Maniscalco’s involvement, if any, is unknown to me… he was not related, near as I can tell, to anyone in the Milwaukee Family.)
August Chiaverotti’s business on Lincoln Avenue was burglarized in December 1972, with a key being used to gain entry. The building was in the former Lincoln Theater at 12th and Lincoln and was owned by Chiaverotti’s mother-in-law.
An informant told the FBI in December 1972 that tension had developed between August Palmisano and Vincent Maniaci because of Palmisano’s girlfriend, who was black.
When special agents entered the New Yorker on December 14, 1972, they saw a “well-known prostitute” in the bar. At 9:04pm, after the prostitute left, an agent identified himself to an off-duty bartender in the bar. The man acknowledged that prostitution goes on there, but said he did not know much about it as he was new, having left the Brothers II tavern only three weeks before. The bartender said the owner, Nick Gentile, only comes in at 1:00am to close up, and that he had recently moved to Shorewood.
A special agent also went to the Ad Lib Lounge on December 14, 1972 and saw Joseph Enea tending bar, as well as a barmaid and three female entertainers. There were fifteen to seventeen patrons.
Sally Papia took a busload of friends to Frank Buccieri’s Riverside restaurant in North Riverside near Chicago for a Christmas party on December 17, 1972.
Phil Candela sent some cheese to Frank Balistrieri for Christmas 1972. He had it delivered by Tony LaRosa.