This section is continued from here.
Frank LaGalbo called the Grande Cheese Company in Fond du Lac in January, March and April 1973. Some time in early 1973, he made calls to George F. Kouba (a restaurant supply salesman) in West Bend. In January 1973, he made calls to both Anthony Balistrieri, 924 Melrose Avenue and Balistrieri’s Red Coach night club in Chula Vista, California. (Anthony was the son of “Big Frank” Balistrieri, Frank P. Balistrieri’s uncle.)
By January 10, 1973, the Brass Rail was closed because of lack of business. The employees went to work at the Center Stage. An informant said the place was not kept up properly and was “stinking and run down”, which scared customers off.
On January 10, 1973 the FBI transmitted funds to the General Accounting Office to handle a settlement with Frank Balistrieri and Jennie Alioto over their eavesdropping lawsuits (Balistrieri v. Holtzman and Alioto v. Holtzman). $3700 was paid to former FBI agents LeGrand and Lovrien for attorney expenses from the Frisch, Dudek, Slattery and Denny firm. $7368 was paid to Ogden and Company, the real estate company that owned the building where recording was done. Slightly over $19,000 was also paid to the Wisconsin Telephone Company to reimburse them for the settlements they paid out.
An informant went into the Center Stage on January 14, 1973 and saw Peter Balistrieri and Frank Balistrieri there. Approximately 70 patrons were there. The informant talked to Frank briefly about his time in jail and the informant noted that Balistrieri looked older and worn.
Steve DeSalvo traveled from New Orleans to Miami to meet up with Frank Balistrieri on January 18, 1973. Balistrieri and another man (Henry Nechy?) had flown in on Eastern Flight 207 that departed Mitchell Field at 11:20am. They flew coach. While in Florida, they associated with hoodlums known to the Miami FBI office.
Frank Balistrieri and right-hand man Steve DeSalvo were subpoenaed to testify at a grand jury hearing in Miami, Florida in January 1973. Testifying with them was Henry Nechy of 4380 North Green Bay Avenue, president of Universal Builders. DeSalvo was also employed by Nechy at this time. Their testimony remains unknown, so what they said and what topics were covered is unclear.
Sally Papia and Frank Buccieri stayed at the Palm Springs Spa Hotel (Palm Springs, California) from January 18 to the 25, 1973.
Frank Stelloh was pulled over by Mukwonago Police on January 21, 1973 for obstruction of view. He was driving a Plymouth and told the officers that he was heading to Sally’s farm in Eagle, Waukesha County.
On Wednesday night, January 24, 1973, a John Doe probe was conducted in Oshkosh regarding alleged kickbacks from contractors and suppliers to municipalities. Specifically, two Milwaukee-area firms were named: Del Chemical Corporation of Menomonee Falls and Share Corporation of Brookfield. The prosecutors were Peter A. Peshek and Grant C. Johnson, assistant attorneys general, and Winnebago County District Attorney William Carver. Annunzio Ferraro, a former boxer and assistant to Del’s president Rocco E. Youse, testified. So did Paul DesJardins, the president of Share (and former vice president of sales for Del). Youse owned two racing horses in Arcadia, California: Rocco’s Lady and Mr. Cockatoo. Cockatoo was named after the Cockatoo Inn, and Andrew Lococo was know nto frequently watch him race. Attorney Joseph Balistrieri was secretary of Del Chemical at this time.
Special agents went to Chico’s on January 26, 1973 and spoke with Angeline LaGalbo, who they described as “uncooperative”.
Madison LCN member Vincent Troia died in a Madison hospital on January 31, 1973. The only Milwaukee member to attend the funeral was Nick Fucarino.
Nick Gentile called the police in early February 1973 and turned in two prostitutes that were working out of his tavern. An informant told the FBI that this was a “ruse” and a “high-class girl” was still working for him there.
Frank LaGalbo called the office of Al Pilotto, head of the Laborers International Union, in February 1973.
Around February 1973, Tony LaRosa was subpoenaed to appear in Madison at a grand jury investigating an old cigarette tax case.
Special Agents interviewed Vito Aiello at his home (3038 North Maryland Avenue) on February 9, 1973. Aiello said he had the flu the last three days, but usually works as the head bartender at the Eagles Club (24th and Wisconsin) from 3:00pm to closing time. When asked about the Louis Fazio murder, Aiello said Fazio was a “good guy” and that he had heard a number of rumors about his death. Personally, Aiello did not believe that the motive was robbery because a robbery would not have required a murder.
James Schiavo was interviewed by the FBI on February 12, 1973 concerning Louis Fazio. Schiavo said he had known Fazio and heard about his killing, but had not seen him in five years and had no idea who was behind the murder. He further said he had no knowledge of Fazio ever being in Madison.
Around February 12, Vincent Maniaci was subpoenaed concerning a shooting at Eddie Carroll’s.
Charles S. Librizzi, 25, committed suicide on February 21, 1973. He was high on narcotics at the time. An informant told the FBI that just prior to his death, he was gambling with others at a tavern, playing a form of Russian roulette. He would use one bullet and spin a revolver cylinder and then shoot the ceiling. Those present would bet $10 on the outcome.
Special agents went to Chico’s on February 28, 1973 to ask Frank LaGalbo about the murder of Louis Fazio. He was not there, and an employee who called his house informed the agents that LaGalbo did not wish to speak with them.
In late February and early March 1973, Richard J. Milcarek was in Louisiana and gave the rental car company his contact information as Universal Builders in Metairie.
Sally Papia, daughter Candy Papia and Frank Buccieri drove to Las Vegas on March 1, 1973 for the purpose of trying to set Candy up in show business. They stayed there until March 8. FBI agents later requested records from Recrion Incorporated, the company that owned the Stardust Hotel. Records indicated that Papia and Buccieri stayed at the Stardust for free, and the food and drinks were complimentary as well.
Vincent Maniaci was at the Castaways Hotel, 16375 Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach from March 2-5, 1973. He stayed in Room 104.
August Chiaverotti called the FBI’s Milwaukee office on March 5, 1973 and asked to speak to an agent who was not available because he was on special assignment at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Instead, he spoke with Special Agent Eugene Murphy and they arranged to talk March 12.
Steve DeSalvo flew to Louisiana on March 5, 1973 and informed the people there that Universal Builders was shutting down. On March 9, DeSalvo and another man departed Louisiana in a green Cadillac with a trailer hauling personal possessions and the company’s financial records. The office of Universal Builders was left “filthy” and the man left $329 unpaid at the Imperial House Motor Hotel in Metairie. DeSalvo told his associates in Milwaukee that the siding business in Louisiana did not work out due to bad weather.
Around March 1973, Leroy Bell, 48, the owner of the Tender Trap (514 East Center) would send girls to Sally’s Steak House for the purposes of prostitution. At the steak house, manager James Jennaro would connect the women with male customers who were willing to pay $100. Katherine (Casey) Erbach, 21, would later testify that she would have sex with men at a nearby hotel. Likewise, Angela Wiedenhoeft, 22, would testify that she engaged in “an act of sexual perversion” with an elderly man. Erbach would later join a convent.
Vincent Maniaci returned to Milwaukee on March 9, 1973 after being in Florida for a week.
August Ciaverotti spoke with Special Agent Eugene Murphy on March 12, 1973. At this meeting, Chiaverotti was friendly, candid and expressed a high opinion of the FBI. He was presently appealing a charge of altering coins and was suffering from diabetes and ulcers. He told Murphy he would consider furnishing the bureau with information. The topic of Louis Fazio came up, and it was the mobster’s opinion that Frank Balistrieri was behind the murder, and ordered the hit to re-assert himself as the boss of the Milwaukee Family. He did not know who would commit the murder, though. He said only Frank Stelloh would “have the guts” to kill Fazio, but because Balistrieri and Stelloh were fighting, it seemed unlikely that Stelloh would do Balistrieri any favors. Chiaverotti told the agents that although he had been having problems with Frank Stelloh, he forcefully told Stelloh to leave him alone and has not seen him since and does not know his activities or whereabouts.
On March 16, 1973, an informant told the FBI that while Frank Balistrieri was in prison in Minnesota, the only person who kept in contact, updating him of events in Milwaukee, was Sally Papia.
Sidney Brodson’s gambling newspaper subscriptions stopped on March 19, 1973.
Joseph Enea was observed tending bar at the Ad Lib Lounge on April 4, 1973.
Vincent Maniaci was at the Castaways Hotel, 16375 Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach from April 6-10, 1973. He stayed in Room 507.
Special agents checked up on James Jennaro on April 8, 1973 to investigate rumors that he was having an affair (why they cared is unclear). They determined that if he was, it was with a female equestrian who drove a black Lincoln Continental. She may possibly have worked for the Badger Company.
A captain of the Milwaukee Police Department alerted the FBI on April 12, 1973 that Walter Brocca may be in possession of some M-16 machine guns.
Carmelo Jerome Curro (Santo’s brother) died on April 12, 1973. Nick Gentile, Steve DeSalvo and Vincent Maniaci attended the funeral.
When “Mad Sam” DeStefano was murdered on April 14, 1973 by Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro, August Chiaverotti began spending more time in Chicago. The FBI thought he might receive a part of the settlement from DeStefano’s estate.
Agents interviewed Joseph Gumina at his home (3373 South 16th Street) on April 16, 1973. He said he did not know Louis Fazio well, had not attended the funeral and had no idea who killed him. Gumina denied any connection to Frank Balistrieri or organized crime. He said he was retired and had no interest in any business of any kind, though he mentioned having a relative who was an attorney. The agents noted in their report that Gumina was friendly and receptive.
Two uniformed Milwaukee police officers were at the Ad Lib Lounge on April 19, 1973 at 1:30am and were seen taking drinks into the back room behind the cigarette machine. Several employees and dancers went back in the room while they were back there and apparently brought them drinks. One officer left at 1:40am and the other stuck around past 2:30am and struck up conversation with an older woman.
From 12:05am to 1:02am on April 23, 1973, Special Agent [Redacted] was at the Centre Stage Dinner Playhouse (624 North 2nd Street). He saw Frank Balistrieri in conversation at the bar with another man. Steve DeSalvo was walking around the lobby. At 12:12am, Balistrieri struck up conversation with Vincent Maniaci. At 12:20am, the agent overheard Balistrieri speaking in hushed tones to an unknown man. He was able to catch the comment that Louis Fazio should have been offered protection by the FBI. Balistrieri further said he would be hiding the next day, and if he could not afford to take a vacation in Europe, he would just have to vacation in West Allis.
Around April 23, 1973, the FBI interviewed a man in Saukville about Harry DeAngelo. The man said that DeAngelo claimed to work in construction, always drove new Cadillacs and never paid for things in anything but cash. The man said when he was younger, DeAngelo would tell him and his friends to stay out of certain night clubs in Milwaukee because they were run by hoodlums. The man then went out of his way to visit these places and found that they were, in fact, full of shady characters. The man acknowledged that he had heard rumors that DeAngelo was in the Mafia, but never had any evidence to support that.
The FBI interviewed Walter Brocca on April 30, 1973 at his used appliance store (722 South 2nd Street). Brocca said he had known Sam DeStefano, but knew nothing about his death other than what he had read in the newspaper. He was also asked about Louis Fazio, and Brocca said he had no idea who killed Fazio as he was “such a nice, peaceful fellow.” He said he had not seen Frank Stelloh for a while, but knew he had been a night watchman for Sally Papia until he was fired so that Sally’s father could have a job. Brocca said he no longer associated with Frank Balistrieri or “any of those boys” because he did not go downtown anymore. He also said he thought his Mitchell Street store started on fire because of a faulty furnace and did not think anyone was targeting him. The agents noted that Brocca’s new store had a bigger selection of appliances than the old store, and they saw several new and slightly damaged refrigerators.
On May 1, 1973, Walter Brocca “provided information concerning” Frank Stelloh to the FBI. (What he said is unknown… was it casual or was Brocca an informant? And what did he add that he did not know the day before?)
Carmelo Curro’s funeral was some time recently before May 2, 1973. Among other attendees was Harry DeAngelo.
Joseph Enea was tending bar at the Ad Lib on May 4, 1973 at 10:00pm Only five or six patrons were there.
The FBI was advised on May 12, 1973 that Harry DeAngelo was the money behind a “shady retail tire business” operating out of Green Bay.
After a few failed attempts, the FBI interviewed Michele Mineo at his residence on May 16, 1973. His wife Catherine helped “translate” for him, as he was mostly only able to gesture. Mineo told the agents that he had suffered a stroke and was confined to his residence. He had not spoken with his old associates in many years, and only knows what he reads in the newspaper.
Palmy Corporation (6873 North 40th) filed its articles of incorporation on May 17, 1973. The president was John J. Lassa, secretary-treasurer was Rose Lassa, and the directors were both Lassas and Ignatius J. Fettig. The Lassas lived at the 40th Street address, and were August Palmisano’s in-laws. Three hundred shares of stock were issued, with August Palmisano owning 100 shares.
Special agents attempted to interview Sam Cefalu at his home on May 17, 1973 but he refused to talk.
Frank Balistrieri was in Madison from May 25 through the 28th, 1973. He met with Joe Amato and James Schiavo at 6102 South Highlands Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is unknown, but one suspects it involved Balistrieri’s attempt to “take over” Madison.
Robert Horbinski began working with the government in February in order to have a charge against him dismissed. On the evening of May 29, 1973, Horbinski went to Frank Angelo Picciolo’s house at 4110 North 74th Street to discuss plans for selling the cocaine. Both Picciolo and Michael G. Butala were there. Horbinski told Picciolo that he had found a buyer and the three discussed the manner in which the sale was to be made. It was decided that Horbinski would meet the “buyer” at a restaurant and call Picciolo if the buyer had the $7,000 purchase price. Butala agreed to accompany Picciolo to the dropsite to watch “to make sure that nothing went wrong.” The three then went in Picciolo’s car to look for a place to make the exchange. At Butala’s suggestion, the trio decided on a location in Dineen Park on the north side of Milwaukee at approximately 63rd and West Melvina.
Picciolo and Butala then dropped Horbinski off at the restaurant and returned to Picciolo’s house to await Horbinski’s call confirming the sale. At the restaurant, Horbinski met with a federal agent who made arrangements to apprehend Picciolo and Butala at the dropsite. Horbinski called Picciolo and told him everything was set for the exchange.
Detective Thomas McKale was in the area of Dineen Park at approximately 7:30pm on the evening of May 29, 1973. He observed a white and silver Cadillac stop at the curb in the 6400 block of West Melvina. The driver, later identified as Picciolo, got out and walked into the park about 25 feet to a large forked tree. He looked around, took a brown paper bag from under his jacket and placed it on the ground next to the tree. McKale stopped Picciolo as he was returning to the car and placed him under arrest.
James Hardke, an agent for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, was assigned to the surveillance unit in the park and instructed to watch for a lookout. Shortly before 7:30pm, Hardke was parked in an alley in the 6500 block of Capitol Drive near Dineen Park. He saw a black Pontiac arrive and park in mid-block in the 3900 block of North 64th Street. The driver, identified as Butala, remained in the car with his view directed to the area of the exchange. Following Picciolo’s arrest, Butala was held for investigation and, although released the same evening, was later arrested and charged for his role in the scheme.
Special Agent Richard Tewes, a United States Treasury agent, performed a field test on the contents of the paper bag. That test indicated that the substance might be cocaine. (The chemist who later analyzed the substance found that it was procaine, a synthetic drug with properties similar to cocaine. Procaine was not on the list of controlled substances.)
Picciolo was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and his bail was set at $10,000. Judge Christ Seraphim called Picciolo “a big pedlar.” He had filed for bankruptcy a month prior (due to losses from Picciolo’s Restaurant) and was working as a coin dealer.
Frank Balistrieri threw a large graduation party for John Balistrieri (who received his law degree from Valparaiso) at his Center Stage night club on June 3, 1973 with over 1000 guests. The entire Maniaci family was invited, with one notable exception: August Maniaci. Also absent were Sally Papia and her employees and all Chicago LCN members. An informant speculated that if Papia was not at this party, it likely indicated a severe relationship problem between her and Balistrieri. Baby Joe Balistrieri was absent because he was in Las Vegas. Nick Gentile, Tony Machi, Angelo Alioto, Joe Dentice, Dominic Frinzi, Nick Fucarino, Sam Ferrara, Joe Enea, James Schiavo, Frank Stelloh, Vince Maniaci, Frank LaGalbo, Vito Aiello, August Palmisano and John Rizzo were in attendance. City clerk Allen Calhoun was there, as was Judge Vel Phillips. The party started at 8pm and went until 2am, and was overcrowded. John received some gifts and a large number of cash-filled envelopes. A fight broke out between Steve DeSalvo and Vincent Maniaci at 4:00am, probably fueled by alcohol.
James Jennaro’s wife filed for divorce in Waukesha County on June 4, 1973 citing cruel and inhumane treatment. She further said that James made her embarrassed, nervous and upset. Jennaro was ordered to pay $217 per month alimony.
An agent with the organized crime department of the Wisconsin Bureau of Investigation advised the FBI on June 7, 1973 that he believed James Jennaro was Frank Balistrieri’s “stool pigeon” within the Sally Papia camp. Despite Jennaro not getting paid by Balistrieri for as long as eight months, the agent still believed that Jennaro’s loyalties were with Frank and not Sally. Allegedly, Sally said she would fire Jennaro if he attended John Balistrieri’s graduation party.
Frank LaGalbo threw a benefit party at Fish’s Tavern on June 10, 1973 for someone who was sick. Guests included Frank Balistrieri, Vince Maniaci, Sam Cefalu and Steve DeSalvo.
On June 11, 1973, August Chiaverotti began serving his two year sentence for altering U.S. coins at Sandstone Prison, Sandstone, Minnesota.
August Palmisano was surveilled meeting with Vincent Maniaci at Richie’s on June 14, 1973. An FBI agent was in the tavern on this day at 11:15am and sat at the bar. He overheard Palmisano say “7 in the 9th” and at one point, a man with a briefcase came in and gave Palmisano several slips of paper. A young black man was at the bar wearing a beret with a pencil in it. Palmisano took a cigar box from under the counter, pulled out some money, and gave it to the black man, who then left. At one point Palmisano’s girlfriend came in. At some point during surveillance Joseph Enea double parked and picked up a white female. The agent left at 1:45pm.
An FBI agent was in Richie’s on June 15, 1973 from 12:15pm to 2:30pm. He witnessed several customers come and go, and saw Palmisano pay a black man (presumably the same man as the day before) from a cigar box. The man was carrying a tape recorder.
On June 20, 1973, August Palmisano was observed in Richie’s with another man. The man gave Palmisano various slips of paper, while Palmisano gave the man three bundles of currency that he pulled out of a bag. The man drove a brown Cadillac with a white vinyl top.
Joseph Caminiti retired from Teamsters Local 257 on June 30, 1973. He had been involved with the union for 38 years. In part, his retirement was due to Local 257 merging into the larger Local 200.
August Palmisano began operating Richie’s on Broadway on July 1, 1973. The tavern was owned by the Palmy Corporation, which had received a liquor license on June 28.
In July 1973, Nick Gentile helped an associate get his liquor license approved five days early. He called a Sergeant (redacted), who worked in the License Bureau on the 7th floor of the Safety Building. The officer took the license and made sure to give it immediate approval.
Around July 1973, Sally Papia tried to purchase Chico’s restaurant from Frank LaGalbo for $70,000-$100,000 after negotiating with an LCN member through his attorney. She was going to change the name to Sarina’s. This sale did not actually happen, though, as she was unable to come up with the money. Frank Balistrieri had advised LaGalbo to double the asking price once he found out that Papia was interested in buying it.
The FBI became suspicious of the General Jobbing Corporation, operated by brothers Jim and Jack Knippel, around July 1973. GJC “sold low quality merchandise” and rumors were going around that stolen items were being fenced through this business.
Vincent Maniaci and August Palmisano were surveilled entering an apartment building on July 9, 1973.
Two agents interviewed Sam Ferrara on July 23, 1973 at The Peacock Lounge on the corner of VanBuren and Brady. He said he knew Frank Balistrieri and Louis Fazio, as well as many of their associates, as he had lived on the East Side for four decades. He denied that he knew anything about organized crime in Milwaukee or anything helpful about the murder of Fazio.
The FBI interviewed the apartment owner of 1535 North VanBuren on July 23, 1973 concerning August Palmisano, who was renting apartment #105. She said that Palmisano started renting the apartment in April and was the only tenant, but she was positive he was not actually living there. She said another man started renting an apartment in June — he had moved to Milwaukee from Florida and worked for Palmisano in some capacity. The manager’s husband (another manager) was contacted the next day and had nothing good to say about Palmisano. He said that Palmisano was not timely with the rent and that he would have to go to Richie’s in order to pick up the money.
August Palmisano was observed in the company of three other white men at Sally’s Steak House on August 2, 1973 from 1:24pm to 1:50pm.
The FBI spoke with a lieutenant of the Green Bay Police Department on August 3, 1973 concerning General Jobbing Corporation. The officer said that the business was rumored to have fenced merchandise, but numerous investigations were not able to prove these rumors. One man associated with the business was also known to formerly have committed criminal acts in Milwaukee. GJC also came under suspicion when their outlet at 517 West Mason (Green Bay) burned down shortly before it was to be demolished to make room for a new bridge. The company collected on its insurance.
A brown-over-white automobile was seen in front of Richie’s on August 10, 1973. A man was selling jewelry from the car’s trunk.
On August 11, 1973 a group of young men and women were at Richie’s and were seen snorting cocaine from a brown bottle. They drove a Pontiac with Illinois plates, which one woman said belonged to her mother.
Nick Fucarino was seen talking with August Palmisano at Richie’s on August 14, 1973 at 2:25pm.
Sally Papia was in St. Michael’s Hospital on August 14, 1973.
The FBI interviewed a man at the Standard service station at Plankinton and St. Paul on August 22, 1973. They told the man that he was rumored to be a heavy bettor. He said this was not so, and he only made small bets — such as for a couple dollars or for a beer. The man said he went to two bars, both about the same frequency — Mike’s Place and Richie’s on Broadway. He said he was not aware of any betting going on at either tavern, but would let the FBI know if he found any.
Roughly September 1, 1973, Angelo Alioto’s daughter was married and a reception was held at Alioto’s with 450 people attending. Those present included Frank Balistrieri, Thomas Machi, Joe Dentice, Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Balistrieri (walking with a limp from a car accident), and James Schiavo. August Palmisano’s brother was there, but not August himself.
Four mink coats valued at $10,000 were stolen from Evans Fur Company in Chicago on September 4, 1973. It would take authorities over a year to connect this theft to Milwaukee’s underworld.
Special agents conducted surveillance on a redacted individual on September 11, 1973. They observed him entering the Iron Horse restaurant at 9:15am and having breakfast with several individuals. The individual struck up conversation with a black male “dressed similar to a pimp” who was carrying school books. Agents stopped surveillance around 10:30am and the individual was still drinking coffee with other men.
Sally Papia was contacted by FBI agents at her restaurant on September 11, 1973 and she told them she had been hospitalized for 22 days following a fall at the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. She had allegedly fallen down a flight of stairs, causing numerous bruises and strains. An informant later told the agents that Papis had been severely beaten by Frank Buccieri.
Special agents observed August Palmisano and a black female (name redacted) exiting the apartment at 1535 North VanBuren on September 15, 1973 around 11:31am. They were holding hands. Palmisano drove off in his 1964 Lincoln and the woman left in her Pontiac.
Surveillance was conducted in front of Richie’s on September 22, 1973. August Palmisano was seen entering at 10:50am. Various other redacted people come and go throughout the day.
An informant told the FBI on October 1, 1973 that Frank Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo had recently met a Greek man from Palm Springs at Kosta’s White Manor Restaurant.
Surveillance was conducted in front of Richie’s on October 2, 1973. Tony Machi was seen out front talking with August Palmisano at 10:55am. Machi walked south on Broadway at 11:12am. James Jennaro arrived at 11:40am and left at 11:57am. Palmisano entered and exited the tavern repeatedly until 1:47pm.
August Palmisano and another man (redacted) went to Chicago on October 3, 1973. (Around this time a source told the FBI enough information to fill 32 pages on Palmisano’s connections in various taverns, but the file is so redacted that not much can be made of it. The source did note that Palmisano’s daughter was dating a “playboy” from New York.)
An informant told the FBI on October 4, 1973 that Frank Balistrieri had recently been in Chicago meeting with Marshall Caifano. He also said that stolen cigarettes and fur coats were floating around Milwaukee. Nick Gentile had been offered a fur coat but could not afford it.
On October 11, 1973, the following letter was written to August Palmisano and sent to Richie’s tavern from Florida: “This letter is to let you know what has been happening since I last saw you September 20th. My primary purpose was to make enough money to repay what you loaned me. This trip was to last six days. However, there were more stops on the way to New Orleans than I was originally told as well as a long layover to get a return load. I didn’t call you because I didn’t think you could understand the situation. While I was gone, I’ve been told you made threatening phone calls to the folks’ house and sent your people to [redacted] place looking for me. Since I was still several hundred short, I decided not to contact you until I had the entire amount (but something has come up you should be aware of). Tomorrow I’m [redacted]. Tonight I spoke with [redacted] and [redacted]. [redacted] said you sent “the boys” in his place looking for me with guns and you wanted to put me away. Also, they made threats on him. I don’t believe him or think he’s funny. I really don’t mind him telling me this, but he met [redacted] folks and told them the same thing. Also, he said he has been giving me money to pay off a $5000 gambling debt to you and if I didn’t pay it you would be after [redacted] and the kids, too. He suggested they take [redacted] and the kids out of town. To make this short, [redacted] parents were upset. [redacted] was upset and went to her attorney, explained what [redacted] told her and she feared the kids’ lives and got her okay to ship the kids out of town. I calmed [redacted] down and told her she should have known better to believe [redacted] or go to her attorney. Nothing more will be said by her. As far as [redacted] is concerned, I want to straighten him out. He made me out to be running from you and only with his help I made it. Augie, I’m not running from anybody. I only want to make enough to get my personal debt paid off. [redacted] wanted to look like a big shot to [redacted] and her parents. I’m asking you to leave him alone until after I talk to him. I hope you see my view of this situation. When you loaned me the money you said to pay it back when I had it. However, something came up and you gave me a deadline. When I return this time I’ll be able to take care of the Ins. and most of my personal debt. The money I expected to come in while I was home, didn’t, and the last month I was with you, I worked for nothing. So I had to get away in order to make it. I should be in Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. I will be in touch with you at that time.”
Another letter addressed to Palmisano was dated October 16, 1973: “Enclosed are the keys to the tavern and J. Box. Also, the insurance premium of $261.20 has been forwarded to the Home Office along with [redacted] $75. [redacted] health premium was sent to American Family as soon as he gave it to me, but I check my bank records to make sure they received it. I’m enclosing a money order in the amount of $200 as a first installment on repayment of my loan. I’ll send another $300 next week. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.”
Surveillance was conducted at the home of Vito Seidita (3428 North 48th Street) on October 18, 1973 from 4:00pm until 4:30pm. The agent saw no one and no vehicle, leaving him wondering whether or not Seidita was still able to drive.
Surveillance was conducted at Richie’s on October 19, 1973. August Palmisano was seen entering the tavern at 11:45am wearing a blue jacket with “The Shack, 2011 South KK” written on it.
A man from Fort Lauderdale (possibly Jimmy Fazio) came up to Milwaukee on October 21, 1973 and met with Frank Balistrieri while staying at the Pfister Hotel. They met again on the 24th.
Special Agents stopped by Universal Builders in Milwaukee to talk with Steve DeSalvo on November 5, 1973. DeSalvo asked them if they had a warrant or subpoena and they said no. DeSalvo told the men he did not wish to discuss anything and told them not to contact him again without a warrant or subpoena.
On November 7, 1973 at 2:10am, two Milwaukee police officers passed Richie’s and saw various cars parked out front. They drove by again at 2:20am and he cars were still there. As taverns had a 2:00am closing time, they went up and looked in a window. August Palmisano was seen inside mixing drinks for a few people (five men and three women). The officers knocked on the window and Palmisano let them in. He said these were not patrons, but employees. The officers did not believe him, so a sergeant was called. While waiting for the sergeant, Palmisano called someone and tried to hand the phone to an officer, but the officer refused to speak to the person on the phone (believed to be another police officer). When the sergeant arrived, he offered to talk to the person on the phone, but then Palmisano hung up. He was ordered to appear before the city attorney the next day, and he did. Charges of allowing patrons to liter after closing time were dismissed.
The FBI contacted a representative of the General Jobbing Corporation at his office on November 9, 1973. He apologized for not being available sooner, as he had been on a buying trip in New York and Chicago. The man denied knowing Harry DeAngelo or relatives of (redacted), who was suspected of criminal activity. He did say he had heard the redacted man’s father had been deported from Milwaukee.
Joseph Anthony Angeli was convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior on November 9, 1973. He was sentenced to six months probation and ordered to undergo psychological testing by Judge Harry Gundersen.
Nick Fucarino visited Bee’s Tavern in Madison on November 11, 1973.
By November 13, 1973, the FBI had figured out that calls were being made between Frank LaGalbo and Alfred J. Pilotto, a union president and the new Chicago Heights LCN boss that replaced Frank LaPorte.
Andrew Joseph Lococo died on November 25, 1973 in a Stockton, California hospital after suffering a stroke. His obituary identified him as “an outstanding philanthropist to many charitable organizations”. The newspaper, however, called him an “organized crime figure and owner of the world’s largest tuna fishing boat”. The boat, dubbed the “Margaret L”, was 262 feet and was able to carry a helicopter and was rigged to pull in fish weighing up to 200 tons.
A Special Agent posing as a patron sat in Richie’s on Broadway on November 27, 1973 at 12:20pm. He saw a 25-year old man in a windbreaker speaking with August Palmisano about gambling debts that needed to be collected by this man for Palmisano. Specifically mentioned were The Mad Hatter and Mike’s.
August Maniaci and Joseph Gumina were planning to go to Fond du Lac on November 27, 1973 to see about getting reinstated in the Milwaukee Family. Whether or not the trip occurred and who they met with is unclear.
Two special agents interviewed Benny DiSalvo at his home (2902 North Humboldt) on November 29, 1973. He said he was not involved in criminal activity and did not know anyone who was. He said he knew Louis Fazio and his murder “was a mystery to him”.
On November 29, 1973, the Organized Crime and Criminal Intelligence Branch of the California Department of Justice released a report saying that 15-25% of profits were skimmed from the Ormsby House casino in Carson City, owned at the time by Senator Paul Dominique Laxalt. The skimmed money would be picked up by Rocco Youse from manager Joseph Viscuglia, identified as a front man for Frank Balistrieri.
Heights Rental and Concrete Products of Chicago Heights called someone in Racine on November 29, 1973.
The FBI stopped by the residence of Harry DeAngelo (2505 Highway O in Saukville) on December 4, 1973 and briefly spoke with his wife, who told them that Harry was in Milwaukee.
Special Agents conducted surveillance inside Kuglitsch’s Bowling Center (4401 West Greenfield Avenue) on December 12, 1973 from 6:41pm to 9:00pm. They observed a man named “Rollie” wearing a Stadium Club jacket, but little else of interest.
Catherine Alioto (widow of John Alioto) died of heart failure on Wednesday, December 19, 1973 at St. Michael’s Hospital. She was survived by a son, Angelo Alioto; three daughters: Frances (Joseph) Dentice, Nina (Frank) Balistrieri and Mary (Joseph) Caminiti. James Schiavo of Madison attended the funeral.
One of John Alioto’s granddaughters was married on December 23, 1973. An informant reported the guests were primarily young people and not “connected” Italians.
Throughout January and February 1974, Steve DeSalvo was witnessed meeting with a group of known gamblers on Saturday mornings for coffee at the Pfister Hotel Coffee Shop. The men would meet from 9:00am until 10:15 or 10:30am and discuss basketball.
Heights Rental and Concrete Products of Chicago Heights called someone in Milwaukee on January 12, 1974.
Utilizing sixty agents, the FBI conducted a raid at various places, including Richie’s tavern (346 North Broadway), on Super Bowl Sunday, January 13, 1974 and arrested August Palmisano and bartender Raymond Dulski. Also present was patron Joseph R. Trepanier, 63. Halmo was caught on charges of conspiring to gamble and running a gambling business, while Palmisano was also busted for running a gambling business and storing 93 sticks of 1.25×8 inch dynamite (along with a coil of safety time fuse) in the basement of the tavern. Also in the basement was a Winchester Model 94 rifle. Behind the bar was found a Harrington and Richardson model 733 nickel-plated .32 revolver and a Smith and Wesson .32 2-inch barrel revolver. $364.75 was found in Palmisano’s pockets. The dynamite was stored at bunker #9014 at Fort McCoy (60,000 acres between Sparta and Tomah).
Other raids were simultaneously made at the following residences: the home of Sidney Albert Brodson, 2420 East Stratford Court; Robert George Pick, 60, of Marathon, Florida; John Joseph Morn, 40, of Elm Grove; James G. Kops, 943 East Circle Drive; George Kermendy, 52, 3571 South 61st Street; Donald J. Danowski, 31, 1930 West Rogers Street; Richard I. Thoma, 36, 5419 North 83rd Street; and Russell J. Kent, 31, 614 South 63rd Street. No charges or arrests were made in these home raids, but information gathered was presented to a grand jury.
At Brodson’s home, a search began at 2:15pm and the FBI found account sheets showing that Brodson was owed $250,000 by members of his “nationwide beard system”. The notations were cryptic, but seemed to indicate Steve Halmo, a man from Pittsburgh (who owed $30,000) and someone identified as “401″ (someone in Boston who owed $189,000), among others. His wallet was searched, and many names and phone numbers were found, including a listing for a man from Newark and Sauna Bath Equipment of Lafayette. Promissory notes in the amount of $60,000 were seized — $35,000 was owed to Brodson by the NBC Corporation. An envelope addressed to “Attorney Sidney Brodson” was found with a postmark of Las Vegas from almost exactly one year prior — inside was a note reading, “Will send you a dime every month on the old.” (The word “dime” is gambling parlance for $1000.) $6000 in cash was taken, as was a key stamped M-3. A statement of earnings for the Interstate Advertising Agency was taken. During the raid, Brodson called attorney James Shellow; all four attorneys from the Shellow and Shellow law firm arrived. $41 was found in Brodson’s wallet, as well as various business cards. Marion Brodson was not searched, although her purse was. The search ended at 5:30pm.
At 2:55pm, agents went to Brodson’s law office (6150 West Fond du Lac Avenue), but found their search warrant to be defective and made no search of the premises.
The FBI went to Steve Halmo’s residence around 2:15pm. As they shouted “FBI”, he was seen through a sliding glass window to get off his couch and immediately throw various papers into his fireplace. Agents tried to pry open the door with a screwdriver, which caused Halmo to leave the firepalce and open the door. Agents quickly collected the ash residue in a bag. Two firearms were found, which Halmo admitted owning, despite being a convicted felon. One was a loaded .38 five-shot manufactured by the Forehand Arms Company (serial number 16400) — a company that went out of business in 1902. The other was a 7.65 caliber Beretta automatic, serial number 7C6324. They also took $7000 in cash, a black address book, green address book, two pink telephones, a black telephone, a yellow wall telephone and a beige telephone. An empty syringe was found in a waste basket. A large number of miscellaneous papers were found, many gambling related. A calculator was found along with a Copymate dry copier. A business card was found for a special agent of the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation. A box of photographs was taken, along with a bill of sale for an aircraft. Three reels of film were found marked “Deep Throat 3, 4 and 7″ in a box marked “Pussycat”. A title to a Volkswagen was found, as well as a marriage announcement from five years prior. He then faked a heart attack, agents called an ambulance and he was hauled away on a stretcher with an oxygen mask.
At Robert Pick’s home in Marathon, Florida, the FBI (including Special Agent Sinecio Gutierrez) found eight sheets of paper in his guest bedroom tracking bets with names including “Bobby Pick” and “Halmo” written on them, 12 sheets of printed material in a living room desk drawer with football odds information from September through December, and eight more sheets of bets in the same desk. Taken were a telephone book and a “black telephone instrument”. Copies of Fans Weekly Sports Service and Weekly Sports Journal were found, as well as a couple of personal letters. Nothing was found on Pick’s person. During the search, two family friends (redacted) arrived at 3:25pm. A call came in at 3:35pm asking for “Bobby”. The caller would not identify himself or leave a message. The search ended at 5:15pm. (In my opinion, the evidence suggested that Pick was a much more minor player than Halmo, Brodson and Palmisano.) When told what the search was about, Pick said, “If that means telling (redacted) that Miami is 6 1/2 here, then I am guilty as hell.”
The ATF in Washington, DC received a sample of Richie’s dynamite on January 17. They contacted the Milwaukee Inspector of Buildings, who informed them that no one had been permitted to have or use dynamite since the prior August, when the John Ernst Cafe at 600 East Ogden was demolishing a concrete structure. Any dynamite in the possession of Richie’s would be a violation of city law.
Captain Floyd Engebretson was working with the FBI on January 18, 1974 and they had decided to share information with two lieutenants who were working an internal affairs investigation. Due to surveillance, the police and FBI knew that certain officers associated with Richie’s Tavern and on one occasion were photographed removing corn from the tavern. (Two officers would later be transferred to other divisions.)
On January 22, 1974, an informant told Special Agent Eugene Murphy that Tony Petrolle was in West Palm Peach, Florida and had been driven there by Tony Alioto. The other Tony Machi had just gotten out of the Wisconsin General Hospital where a tumor was removed from his colon. Fred Aveni was identified as the bartender from the Iron Horse.
The ATF attempted to trace the dynamite from Richie’s on January 23, but could only determine it was 50% ditching dynamite and did not know the manufacturer or strength. The code on them (“02 CH 502″) meant the explosives were made before 1971 and were therefore untraceable. The forty-seven feet of Ensign-Bickford Clover Brand fuse, on the other hand, was traced to Geenen Explosives Inc of Freedom, Wisconsin and was under a year old.
Bobby Pick voluntarily came in to the Milwaukee FBI office on January 24, 1974. He said he started gambling when he was 18 years old, working as a wheel roller for his father (Sam Pick) at the Club Madrid in Milwaukee on Bluemound Road, just over the county line. The Club Madrid had been a controversial gambling spot from the 1930s through the 1950s, and was a hangout for actor Spencer Tracy, but was not a Mafia-run business. Bobby Pick said he left his father’s employ but then went on to sell football gambling cards — sometimes up to 30,000 a week — but lost money in this venture. Pick then went into the Army, and when he got out worked on gambling boats off the coast of Florida. By the 1930s, he was employed as a dealer in Las Vegas (before the city had barely been built). In the early 1950s, he moved back to Milwaukee and opened a tavern on the corner of Reservoir Avenue and 12th Street. He played poker and had a horse book that he laid off with Frank Sansone. In the late 1950s, he took action from Sidney Brodson. In the early 1960s, Pick heard that gamblers in Milwaukee were being harassed by the Mafia. One night at Gallagher’s, he was motioned into the bathroom by Steve DeSalvo. DeSalvo asked him if he had been pressured, and Pick said no and he would not pay if he was asked to. As Pick left the bathroom, a man with a pistol in his belt blocked the door, but DeSalvo waved him off. Around this time, gamblers were having trouble paying Pick — one man who owed $6000 paid Pick instead with tropical fish. One of Pick’s bartenders was told by Vince and August Maniaci that Pick was to pay $100 a week, but Pick was never told to pay directly and never did. In the mid-1960s, Pick was sent to Sandstone Prison for gambling. He had been getting his line from Frank Sansone. He left his meager $5000 business with two men, and when he was out of prison six months later, they had lost it all. He started with a new partner, and within a few years, he lost $175,000 to the partner who embezzled it. Some of the money ended up with John Rizzo and a Racine attorney. At this point, he moved to Marathon, Florida. Pick continued to provide the line to (redacted), who gave it to Halmo, who gave it to Brodson. He said he only deals with one bookmaker in Florida, a man in Islamorada. Pick said he never regularly paid off the police, but on occasion he “threw them a bone”. He said Halmo once loaned a banker he met through Louis Fazio $50,000 but never got paid back; he did not know if Halmo was paying a share to the Mafia.
Heights Rental and Concrete Products of Chicago Heights called someone in Milwaukee on January 30, 1974.
The FBI interviewed fruit salesman Julius J. Goldman (2612 North Maryland), 70, on February 8, 1974. Goldman said he spent a good deal of time around St. Paul and Broadway, and therefore goes into Richie’s often to relax or play cards with other patrons. He said he had placed bets on horses with August Palmisano on numerous occasions, but the bets were never more than $50. He had also seen dice games there on occasion. (Goldman may have been a retired dentist, as he had graduated from the Marquette School of Dentistry.)
The FBI attempted to interview Sam Cefalu at his home on February 12, 1974 but he refused to talk.
An inspector with the Racine Police Department told the FBI on February 14, 1974 that John Rizzo was believed to frequent the Cham-Tap Tavern (2511 Durand Avenue, Mount Pleasant). The tavern was already under investigation by the FBI for being a hangout for known horse gamblers. Despite being in an undesirable area of town, the men hanging out there drove new Lincolns, Cadillacs and Buicks.
On February 23 or 24, 1974, Vincent Maniaci, August Pamisano and another man ate dinner at Sally’s Steak House. Maniaci was at this point involved with Palmisano’s bookmaking operation.
Joseph Purpora, 69, 1205 South Ninth Street, was interviewed by the FBI on February 27, 1974. He said he goes to Richie’s about twice a week to get some drinks and play cards. However, he denied knowing who August Palmisano was and even denied knowing that the tavern had been raided.
In March 1974, Joseph Basile was at a tanners convention where he attempted to recruit women to work as prostitutes. On March 9, he rented a room at a motel to use as a “command post” for girls to come and drop off the money they earned. There were a total of four prostitutes working for Basile, and they would go between Angelo Fazio’s restaurant at 1601 North Jackson and the motel. Basile, Jack Schelecter and Herbert Holland were to take one-third of the gross, Fazio’s bartender Jimmy Taugher was to take 10% and Fazio opted to take nothing, saying he would make up the difference due to increased business. The women charged $50 and made $1400 over three days at the convention.
The owner of The Shack (2011 Kinnickinnic Avenue) was interviewed by the FBI on March 14, 1974. She said that she had owned the property since 1962, and since June 1973 she had been renting the property and fixtures to August Palmisano for $245 per month, but knew nothing of his gambling and only knew him as a renter.
On March 20, 1974, Balistrieri met with Kansas City mobsters Nicholas Civella and Carl DeLuna in Las Vegas. During the meeting, the mobsters agreed that Balistrieri would meet with the mafia front man in Las Vegas, Allen Glick, to secure an option to purchase part of his Argent Corporation. Glick would agree to sell half of the corporation’s ownership to Balistrieri’s sons, John Balistrieri and Joseph P. Balistrieri, for $25,000 which, as the mobster later claimed, “he had an obligation arising from the assistance to Glick in obtaining a [Teamsters] pension fund commitment in the amount of $62.75 million.”
Two special agents interviewed Matt Jeray, 65, 716 South 1st Street, at Jack’s Tap (same address) on March 21, 1974, regarding knowledge he had of gamblers. Jeray had formerly been a liquor salesman and was familiar with the area taverns. Jeray admitted being close friends with a known bookmaker (redacted), and also said he had previously owned a tavern at 1st and Maple that he sold to Sam Librizzi. He had been involved in the tavern business since around World War II when he was a bartender for the Taxi Inn. He said he knew many police officers and named one (redacted) who drank on duty, but was not aware of any payoffs. The FBI did not press Jeray further because he appeared to be senile. (Jeray was born in Port Washington, raised in Sheboygan, and his father — also named Matt Jeray — was a Yugoslavian immigrant. Jeray came to Milwaukee with his wife Mary and stepson in the 1930s, and lived at 738 West Pierce Street. He passed away three months after this interview.)
Santo Marino’s tavern went downhill over the years, possibly because of his ongoing feud with Frank Balistrieri. An informant told the FBI in March 1974 that Marino’s bar was “crummy” and served “winos, poor blacks and Indians”. He continued to associate with “old mustache Petes”. The FBI did a random surveillance of the tavern on April 9 from 11:00 to 11:33am and observed the clientele: some men from a moving truck company and the postman.
An informant advised the FBI in April 1974 that Frank and Angeline LaGalbo frequently visit a relative of Angeline’s at Southern Colony in Union Grove. Southern Colony was an institution for mentally disabled people.
Frank Angelo Picciolo pleaded guilty on April 1, 1974 before Judge Max Raskin for receiving stolen property and being party to the robbery of Frenchy’s. A pretrial investigation report was scheduled for May 1. (Picciolo was already serving 2 1/2 years in Waupun for drug possession.)
Rocco Youse was arrested on Tuesday, April 2, 1974 while walking along a Biloxi, Mississippi beach. He was charged with bribing the mayor of Menasha and spent the night in jail while his lawyer, Joseph Balistrieri, flew in from Milwaukee. Youse agreed to waive extradition in exchange for being let free on a $5000 recognizance bond.
Special Agent Joseph R. Fitzpatrick spoke to an informant (possibly August Maniaci) on April 4, 1974. The informant said that “he does not believe that a Mafia exists in Milwaukee.” Furthermore, he “believes that the Mafia is a myth perpetrated by some law enforcement agencies for their own benefit.”
Agents interviewed a man in California (name redacted) on April 4, 1974 and asked him how Sidney Brodson’s phone number ended up on his phone bill. The man said he did not know Brodson or August Palmisano and had never been outside the state of California. He further claimed to never have made any bets over the phone or even locally. The man volunteered that he had an uncle in St. Cloud, Minnesota, but said he had never called that uncle.
James Jennaro testified before a federal grand jury investigating gambling on April 8, 1974.
Sam Ferrara died on April 12, 1974 at age 78. He had recently started drinking heavily and was losing a great deal of weight, but had been generally unhealthy since his wife passed away two years prior. Frank Balistrieri attended the wake and then had dinner with Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri and an unidentified gambler at the Towne Room restaurant. Albert Albana also attended the funeral. August Maniaci attended and “was accepted by almost all of the LCN members… which would appear to indicate that Maniaci will be back in good graces of the Milwaukee LCN in the near future.”
On Tuesday, April 16, 1974, Sally Papia’s taxes were the topic before a grand jury. Testifying were Charles LaVora (Papia’s father) and Chicago hoodlum James Bianco. Previously testifying was James Jennaro, the manager at Sally’s Steak House.
Agents tried to interview Joseph Enea at his residence (1522 East Kane Place) on April 18, 1974, but he was not home.
Frank Buccieri’s daughter was married on April 21, 1974 at the First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge, Illinois. A reception was held at the Riverside restaurant in North Riverside. Sally Papia and Frank Trovato attended the wedding, as did James LaPietra, Donald Angelini, Dominic Cortina, Joseph Aiuppa, Illinois state senator Sam Romano and others.
Agents again tried to interview Joseph Enea at his residence (1522 East Kane Place) on April 22, 1974, but he was not home. His wife was home, and she said she would tell him that the FBI wanted to see him.
Around April 23, 1974, Vito Seidita retired from the Milwaukee City Dump and began drawing his pension.
FBI agents interviewed Joseph Gumina at his home (3373 South 16th Street) on April 26, 1974 while he tended to his garden. Gumina was noted to be open and friendly. The agents said they wanted to talk to him about “the Family” and he replied that the only family he was concerned with was his wife and children. He admitted knowing Frank Balistrieri, but said that he had no business with him and preferred to keep to himself. Gumina said he had first come to America when he was 14 years old along with his father, but after a few years his father returned to Sicily while Joseph remained in Milwaukee. He said he visited his homeland once for about three weeks but felt it had become unsafe since his childhood and the living conditions had become even more poor. One agent suggested that Gumina was “shunned” at Sam Ferrara’s funeral by the Mafia. Gumina said he did not think he was shunned, but even if he was it would not bother him. He asked why the FBI was interviewing him recently, as they had never done so in the past. He said he did not mind, however, as he knew they had a job to do and should be commended for doing their job.
On April 29, 1974, the Riverside restaurant (where Frank Buccieri had a half-interest), 8406 West 26th Street in North Riverside, Illinois was destroyed by arson and nine containers of gasoline were found in the basement. The building was insured for $568,000. An informant suspected one-armed Max Adonnis of being the perpetrator.
A brinks truck outside the K-Mart in Wauwatosa was robbed on April 29, 1974, with $40,000 taken. Initially, the FBI received word that the “big man” in the robbery lived on 92nd Street. This had them suspecting Frank Stelloh, who lived on 92nd Street. The real robbers were later caught — Steven C. Sadowski, 23, and Joseph G. West, 22. Neither lived on 92nd (Sadowski lived on 103rd) and there seems to be no reason to connect them to Stelloh.
Surveillance was conducted at Vito Seidita’s home on May 7, 1974 from 10:30am until 11:14am. Nothing unusual was reported, but the agent did note that a 2-door black 1973 Buick was parked in the driveway.
On May 10, 1974 at 2:30pm, Colorado mob boss Eugene “Checkers” Smaldone was stopped on Interstate 25 by Colorado Springs police, along with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. He had been indicted by a grand jury with eight others on gambling charges. At the time he was pulled over, his driver was Milwaukee hoodlum Joseph Basile, and Milwaukee hoodlum Frank Salardino. Basile and Salardino were frisked but not arrested.
The FBI observed Harry DeAngelo’s car (a 1973 white over gold Cadillac with license J50-584) at the Lake Pavillion, 2800 North Lake Drive, on May 21, 1974.
On the morning of Thursday, May 30, 1974, Angelo Fazio was granted immunity to answer questions concerning his friend Alderman Mark W. Ryan and whether or not Ryan had ever accepted money to grant a liquor license transfer. Previously testifying was Patrick Tronca, was was said to be a middleman for transporting money. Ryan was later charged with misconduct in office and given a fine.
On May 31, 1974, Joseph Balistrieri was in the La Cantina (at the corner of Warren and Brady) with a girlfriend. He was acting like a big spender, at one point buying the bar a round and telling the bartender to keep the change.
On June 1, 1974, Frank Balistrieri was in conversation with Tony Petrolle. Petrolle said he needed a vacation and Balistrieri said if he waited a month he could join him in San Diego.
Jimmy Jennaro was in Las Vegas from June 2, 1974 through June 5.
On June 5, 1974, an informant told the FBI that Tony Petrolle and Tommy Machi had former Green Bay Packer Max McGee “over a barrel” because of his gambling debts. He allegedly owed them $10,000. The informant also said that Frank Balistrieri was remodeling the Brass Rail and was going to turn it into a place with sandwiches and dancing, not unlike Gatsby’s or Someplace Else. The FBI was further told that Frank Stelloh offered Tony Fazio the opportunity to have his brother’s killer killed in exchange for $10,000. Fazio turned it down because he thought that Stelloh would just kill anyone and take the money. Frank Trovato was also in the process of moving his restaurant into Chico’s.
On June 6, 1974, an informant told the FBI that August Palmisano’s Little League team had tied another team, and Palmisano did not want to have playoffs, so the teams were declared co-champions. The other team’s sponsor brought a trophy in to Richie’s and gave it to Palmisano. On top of it was a horse’s ass. Palmisano was furious and threatened to blow up the other man’s car.
The informant also said Palmisano had been in the President’s Club the previous week and saw a black man put two hundred dollars on the bar. A prostitute came over by the man and tried to “hustle” him. Palmisano, as a joke, then set $15,000 on the bar and the woman left the black man and started to “hustle” Palmisano.
This informant further said that a former employee of the Shack Lounge had opened a new tavern, the Hide Out Lounge at 2690 South Sixth Street. Allegedly, the man had to pay a bribe to his alderman to get the liquor license. (When interviewed on August 28, the owner denied any such payments. The district attorney told the FBI that such bribery concerning the alderman in question was rumored, but could not be proven.)
On June 7, 1974, Frank Balistrieri was in conversation with another person in front of the Brass Rail while A&D Cartage and Movers unloaded bar supplies. At 3:02pm, the person was given money by Balistrieri, but it was soon given back. Balistrieri walked to the Midland National Bank (201 West Wisconsin) and conducted a transaction. At 3:10pm, he left the bank and walked to the Boston Store (331 Wet Wisconsin). At that point, the agent stopped following him. At 3:13pm, Steve DeSalvo arrived at the Brass Rail where he stayed and chatted with the person there until 3:31pm. (The unknown man was probably Rudolph Porchetta.)
The FBI drove by the Brass Rail on June 10, 1974 around 2:00pm. Steve DeSalvo and Frank Balistrieri were observed talking while workers from the Schmidt Glass Company were remodeling the front windows.
On June 11, 1974, the Milwaukee Police Department contacted (redacted) at the Great Lakes Naval Air Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. The man said he was a good friend of a (redacted) Milwaukee man and was associated with someone connected to Little Caesar’s in Milwaukee. (This information comes from a file on Palmisano and Vince Maniaci threatening people, but it so redacted that all the interesting parts are unusable.)
Harry DeAngelo was observed four times in June and July 1974 playing cards at the Lake Pavillion. He would spend his days there between 10:30am and 4:00pm.
The FBI set up surveillance on a brown Chrysler that was parked at Appleton Avenue and Perkins Street on June 13, 1974 at 3:28pm. At 5:24pm, Steve DeSalvo and an unknown man approached the Chrysler, and DeSalvo went in the passenger side and retrieved a brown package that was approximately 14 inches by five inches, and he gave it to the man. DeSalvo left in the Chrysler, and the other man brought the package to a red Plymouth. The man drove to 4687 North 75th Street and entered the residence.
Joseph Gumina was surveilled at his residence (3373 South 16th Street) on June 14, 1974 by a special agent. Between 7:30am and 3:00pm, he only left the house once — to retrieve something from his 1973 Buick parked in the garage.
The FBI passed the Brass Rail on June 14, 1974 at 1:04pm and saw workers from Everite Signs unloading equipment from a truck.
On June 18, 1974, a special agent called Universal Builders and asked for Steve DeSalvo. The secretary said he was no longer employed there.
A special agent, acting undercover, went into the Ad Lib on June 20, 1974 at 6:30pm. The 50-year old man sitting at the bar said the club was closed until 8:30pm. The agent then went to Nicolo’s on Brady at 7:00pm, and it was very crowded. There was a 25-year old male bartender and a 55-year old female manager. He went to Little Caesar’s at 8:00pm and saw an older Italian man sitting at the bar talking to Vincent Maniaci for 15 minutes. A 30-year old female bartender was working. He returned to the Ad Lib at 9:30pm where he saw a 48-year old bald bartender and three strippers. He overheard a stripper ask the bartender why he was upset, but could not hear the answer. There were approximately twenty customers there. At 10:30pm, the agent went to the New Yorker night club and saw two black strippers there, as well as three Italian men with a notebook (including a 50-year old bartender), and overheard the men say that “this is good gambling”.
After receiving the loan on June 24, 1974, Glick paid a kickback of $600,000 to Teamsters president Frank Fitzsimmons and Cleveland Teamsters leader William Presser.
Thomas and Tony Machi’s cars were observed outside of the Rafters Motel, 7228 South 27th Street in Oak Creek, on June 26, 1974. Owner Frank Dimiceli was allegedly running prostitutes through the motel.
On June 28, 1974 at 10:58am, a vehicle from Well Done Rug and Carpet Cleaners was seen in front of the Brass Rail.
The Vince Lombardi Memorial Golf Classic was held on June 28-29, 1974. Among those attending was actor Forrest Tucker (who had a soft spot in his heart for Milwaukee — having been married in Chicago and spent his Honeymoon at the Pabst Theater and Cudahy Tower). While in town for the tournament, Frank Balistrieri treated Tucker to dinner at the Towne Room and Trovato’s. With them were Sally Papia and Frank Buccieri.
In July 1974, Alphonse Caruso of Grande Cheese was in contact with top mobsters in Detroit.
On Tuesday, July 2, 1974, former Menasha mayor John L. Klein admitted under oath to receiving kickbacks from Del Chemical between 1960 and 1970. Klein had purchased $18,199 worth of products from Del while mayor, and was personally given about 10% back as a personal check. On one occasion, the money was given to him personally by Rocco Youse, but it was usually handed over in envelopes of cash by salesman Wallace R. Flaherty. Klein’s testimony was given before Winnebago County Judge Thomas S. Williams.
Steve DeSalvo and Frank Stelloh were observed on July 3, 1974 eating breakfast at the Pancake House (Highway 100 just south of Grange Avenue in Hales Corners) at 10:00am. DeSalvo’s car had a trailer on the back with a motorcycle. A surveillance of DeSalvo showed him meeting a half hour later with a middle-aged man wearing glasses at Buffalo and Broadway. He then parked his car in the loading dock of Anderson, VanEngel and Zingale (115 South 2nd Street). He next went to the Marine Bank (111 East Wisconsin Avenue).
The Brass Rail reopened on July 5, 1974.
On July 9, 1974, DeSalvo and Stelloh were observed at DeSalvo’s home at 9:35am.
On Wednesday, July 10, 1974, the Federal Grand Jury handed down gambling charges against 12 men: Steven John Halmo, 52, 716 South 7th Street; Robert George Pick, 60, of Marathon, Florida; Peter R. Marino, 42, 1924 West Clayton Crest; Sidney Albert Brodson, 65, 2420 East Stratford Court; August Palmisano, 45, 5358 North Kent Avenue; Eli Gukich, 48, of Waukesha; Raymond J. Dulski, 35, 4439 South 38th Street; Donald J. Danowski, 31, of Cudahy; Martin Azzolina, 32, 2419 North Cramer Street; Russell J. Kent, 31, 614 South 63rd Street; George F. Kermendy, 52, 3571 South 61st Street; and John J. Morn, 42, of Elm Grove. There were also 7 unindicted co-conspirators: James G. Kops, 39, 943 East Circle Drive; Richard I. Thoma, 39, 5419 North 83rd Street; Frank G. Spinella, 2832 North Summit Avenue; Michael R. Tullis of Las Vegas; James Spalding of Madison; Susan M. Werwinski of Las Vegas; and Theodore Cosmides of Madison. Brodson, Halmo, Azolina and Morn appeared in court and were released on $5000 signature bond. The others were given 24 hours to appear voluntarily in court before a warrant was issued for their arrest. Everyone turned themselves in on time.
The FBI was advised by Rollin Charles Visser, 63, 833 North 25th on July 11, 1974 that he knew one of the bookmakers (redacted) in a recent newspaper article. Visser said he had not seen the man in twenty years, but used to make $5 or $10 bets on football games with him when the bookmaker was a bartender at Frank Balistrieri’s Melody Lane tavern at 4th and Wells (since demolished). (Visser was originally from Sheboygan Falls, and would later in life move to Las Vegas, where at age 82 he re-married.)
Robert Pick appeared before Magistrate Peter Palermo in Miami on July 12, 1974 and was released on $5000 personal recognizance bond.
On July 22, 1974, DeSalvo and Stelloh were observed at the Pancake House from 8:34am to 9:59am. Agents followed DeSalvo and saw him enter the Jewell Food market at 10:05am and exit at 10:25am with two bags of groceries. He then went home.
Nick Gentile was interviewed by two special agents at the New Yorker Bar on July 24, 1974. Gentile said he had owned the bar about four years, and hires girls from Milwaukee to work as go-go dancers. The girls rarely stay there longer than a month. He said he does not allow the dancers to proposition customers, but he knows that other prostitutes hang out at the bar but said there was little he could do about that considering his downtown location. Gentile said his vending machines were supplied by the WZ Company, who he said provide excellent service. Prior to his death, he had machines from Arnold Just. He said he grew up in the Third Ward as the son of Sicilian parents with eight children. His father worked in the produce business. One of his brothers, George, had been a police officer for thirty years. He acknowledged knowing Frank Balistrieri and attending weddings, funerals and other social events with known hoodlums, but said he knew nothing of their activities and had simply grown up with them.
Joseph Gumina was interviewed (again) at his home (3373 South 16th Street) on July 25, 1974. He was surprised by the agents, as he had been questioned only a few months earlier. Gumina said he was 72 so his activities were mostly limited to gardening and spending time with his family. He said he had not seen Frank Balistrieri or Steve DeSalvo in years and had no idea what their personal activities were.
On July 26, 1974, an informant told the FBI about a conversation he had with Frank Stelloh. Stelloh said he had a customer on “juice” and the man was behind in his payments. He went to the man and told him, in front of his wife, that he would not kill him for late payments… but he would throw acid in his wife’s face. The man apparently was not fazed, but it “sure scared the hell out of his wife.” The informant did not know the customer’s name but knew that he was in general merchandising.
Sally Papia had a hysterectomy at St. Michael’s Hospital on July 30, 1974.
On July 30, 1974, an informant told the FBI that any story of Max McGee getting himself in debt to the mob was nonsense. McGee was a gambler and held large card games in his office at the Left Guard, and only places bets outside of town. Even when playing card games, he was a “slick dealer” who manipulated cards so that he always won.
The Junior Italian Open was held at the Tumble Brook Country Club on August 4, 1974. Steve DeSalvo and Peter Balistrieri intended to have a craps table set up there.
Joseph Enea went to Madison on August 4, 1974 and stayed at the Edgewater Hotel along with two children. They stayed in Presidential Suite 307. The room was paid for by Mike Caruso of Sav-On-Liquor (1209 Williamson Street), and Caruso also had a fruit basket sent to the room. Caruso was also the vice president of Alpine Cheese of Fond du Lac, which was owned by F&A Cheese of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Caruso was also the brother of Alphonse Caruso, who was connected to Grande Cheese. They were both the sons of mobster James Caruso. Mrs. Enea and another child arrived at the hotel around 7:30pm. Joseph Enea was gone between 6:30 and 8:30am the next morning, but his whereabouts are unknown. He made one phone call from the room to a man from Hurley who worked for Groves and Kelco, but it is not known the importance of this.
George Kouba was interviewed by special agents on August 5, 1974 concerning his relationship with Frank LaGalbo. Kouba said he was previously employed as a salesman for Sexton Foods and was currently a salesman for the B. A. Railton Company, both suppliers of restaurant groceries. He said he stopped by Chico’s once and spoke to Angeline LaGalbo, and had spoken with Frank over the phone concerning about $200 in groceries. Kouba stated he had no further contact with LaGalbo and, in fact, had never even met him in person.
Agents went to the home of Nick Collura (2705 North Oakland, Apartment 2) on August 8 and 9, 1974 in an attempt to interview him. Collura refused to answer the door or speak with the agents.
Agents went to the home of Joseph Enea on August 13, 1974 in an attempt to interview him. He said he had no desire to speak with agents and that they could talk to his attorney. When asked who his attorney was, Enea declined to say.
Two special agents entered Little Caesar’s on the evening of August 14, 1974 and saw Vincent Maniaci at the bar. The bartender was approximately twenty years old and the seven customers were all roughly 18-21 years old.
Around August 26, 1974, August Palmisano threw himself a birthday party at Richie’s that was clsoed to the public. At one point someone mentioned Frank Balistrieri’s name and Palmisano said, “You know how we feel about him” and suggested that Balistrieri owed him thousands of dollars. Another person said, “If he comes around here we’ll blow his face off.”
An informant told the FBI on September 2, 1974 that Frank Stelloh had recently been selling things at a flea market up north and was clearing $400 per day by doing this.
An attorney brought a check for $2,136.50 to the Milwaukee IRS office on September 18, 1974 in order to pay the delinquent taxes of (redacted, someone connected to Northbrook Inn). The check was drawn on the Midland National Bank.
James Jennaro was arrested on September 19, 1974 for two counts of soliciting a prostitute.
An informant told Special Agent Eugene Murphy on September 19, 1974 that Steve DeSalv ohad recently gone to Las Vegas with a wealthy Italian. DeSalvo was also attending a weekly poker or craps game at the Marc Plaza Hotel. The security guard there, as well as the Milwaukee police, were apparently aware of this game. The informant said Vince Maniaci and August Palmisano met at Fazio’s on Jackson twice a week, and Maniaci was at Sally’s three or four times a week.
An informant saw August Palmisano at the Towne Room Restaurant with two other men on Friday September 20, 1974. He talked to Palmisano, who said the charges against him and others had not slowed down the bookmaking at all. Palmisano said of everyone charged, only one of them (redacted) might get jail time with the rest expecting probation.
Joseph Basile, 33, was arrested by the FBI in Denver and charged with forgery on Friday September 20, 1974. Basile had used the name of his father, Vincent Basile, on an application from St. Francis Savings and Loan for a $7000 loan, and claimed that his father’s property was his. Basile, a former waiter at Fazio’s on Jackson, was now the part-owner of a restaurant in Denver.
An informant told the FBI on September 30, 1974 that Frank Balistrieri had been a frequent visitor to the Las Vegas area over the last several months. Balistrieri was apparently there to oversee a loan that the Teamsters had made to an associate of his. The informant also said Steve DeSalvo was occasionally in Vegas to check up on Balistrieri’s interest.
August Palmisano was finally charged on October 2, 1974 for illegally storing dynamite in Richie’s Tavern. He faced up to a year in prison and a $1000 fine.
An unknown man (redacted, subject of 92-1459) was interviewed by the FBI on October 4, 1974. He acknowledged having financial dealings with Steve DeSalvo but declined to say what those dealings were without a summons.
Vincent Maniaci was in St. Michael’s Hospital on October 9, 1974 for an abdominal checkup.
Harry DeAngelo was observed at the Lake Pavillion playing cards with three old Italian men on October 10 and 15, 1974.
Sidney Brodson filed 12 motions regarding his gambling trial on October 21, 1974.
Sally Papia spoke with Richard Schmitz, Kurt Amidzich’s business partner in the Northbrook Inn (9601 North 124th Street), on October 21, 1974 concerning $5000 that Amidzich owed Papia. She told Schmitz, “People have gotten hurt by not showing respect… People that operate or do things such as what you have done to me, Dick, can have problems in business… You could come out here some morning and this place could be burned down.”
On Wednesday, October 22, 1974 [redacted] went to Little Caesar’s and talked to Vince Maniaci. Maniaci said that his expenses were getting difficult and asked the man about his job, knowing he hauled a lot of candy. Vince took the man out to dinner at the Town Hotel, and then they returned to Caesar’s and met up with a man named Frank. Vince and Frank spoke in Italian and then Frank told him he could get some guys to take a truckload candy the next day. Frank gave the man a phone number to reach him at and it was the phone number of the Milwaukee Inn. On October 25, approximately 400 cases of assorted Hersheys Candy (much of it Christmas candy) valued at $9000 was taken. The man was given $450 for his troubles.
Special Agents interviewed Vito Aiello at his residence (3038 North Maryland Avenue) again on October 29, 1974. Aiello said he was still employed as a bartender for the Eagles Club, tending bar from 3:00pm to closing. Aiello was questioned about gambling, specifically about members of the Eagles Club, but said he was never a gambler himself and knew nothing about such activities.
Two men connected to the Northbrook case took United Airlines flight 701 from Milwaukee to Denver on October 30, 1974 at 11:40am. (I suspect one of the men was Joseph Basile… will surely find out later.)
Two special agents were at Trovato’s restaurant on Farwell on October 31, 1974 at 7:30pm. It was very busy and they observed various people there. They next went to Little Caesar’s and saw Vincent Maniaci speaking with an older, overweight Italian man with curly hair and glasses. At 9:30pm, two young women (approximate age 18-20) came in and asked Maniaci about his recent hospital stay.
The FBI caught a break in the Evans Fur Company stolen mink coat case on November 4, 1974. A man brought in one of the stolen coats, an autumn haze Schiaparelli, to Littman Furrier at 314 West Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee to have the coat appraised and soon found out it had come from the set of stolen coats. Littman’s traced the tag inside (3782-RN905) to the manufacturer, Goldin-Feldman of New York, and they said they sold it to Evans. A quick phone call, and Evans identified it as one of the stolen coats. From there, it did not take long for the Feds to find out where he had purchased the coat — the coats had been sold for $400 each in a back room of the New Yorker Lounge. (As Schiaparelli stopped making clothes in the 1950s, it is unclear if this was an antique coat or another company with a similar name.)
Steve Halmo pleaded no contest to failing to file a 1963 tax return on November 4, 1974.
The FBI received an anonymous call on November 7, 1974 concerning a recent bomb that killed Larry O. Anstett, 15, a Milwaukee Sentinel carrier and was suspected of being carried out by the Outlaws biker gang to target the Heaven’s Devils gang (specifically Devils member Michael Vermilyea). The caller claimed he had overheard August Palmisano and another man in Trovato’s Restaurant and the conversation lead him to believe that although they had not set the bomb, they had offered a “contract” to do so. This seems unlikely to me, as the packaged bomb was on top of Vermilyea’s car and therefore clearly intended for him. I see no reason the Mafia would want to get involved in a biker feud.
An informant told the FBI on November 13, 1974 that he had seen Frank Buccieri sitting in a corner table at Trovato’s with a few other white men. He did not catch the whole conversation, but overheard bits and pieces suggesting they were talking about hijacked trucks in the Chicago area.
Agents observed Steve DeSalvo, Frank Stelloh and a man in his mid-30s at the Pancake House on November 19, 1974 from 9:00am to 10:30am. The unidentified man left with DeSalvo.
On November 20, 1974, DeSalvo and Stelloh were at the Pancake House from 8:30am to 9:30am. As they were leaving, Stelloh ran into someone he knew (who drove a Cadillac with license plate number SC6-790) and the two of them went inside the restaurant.
On November 21, DeSalvo and Stelloh were at the Pancake House from 8:30am to 9:50am. On November 22, they were at the Pancake House from 8:20am until 9:35am. The man from November 19 was with them again, and afterwards DeSalvo dropped him off at a residence near 10509 West Wisconsin Avenue.
A federal grand jury handed down an indictment on November 22, 1974 for Phillip J. Blake, 26.
On November 25, 1974, from 2:03pm until 2:41pm, the FBI observed Frank Stelloh in Hales Corners with another man (described as slender and blonde). They were looking at a rolled up paper, possibly blueprints.
Bobby Pick pleaded guilty to gambling charges (interstate transmission of wagering information) on November 26, 1974 under Rule 20. Judge Charles Fulton sentenced Pick to thirty days in jail and three years probation. He was expressly told to avoid gambling activities.
Agents interviewed Nick Gentile at the New Yorker Bar (again) on November 26, 1974. He was in very poor health. They showed him a photo of (redacted), and Gentile said he knew the man but had not seen him in over a year. Gentile was recovering from ulcers and alcoholism, and no longer stayed up late or had much social interaction with anyone.
Someone (redacted) was interviewed at his residence on November 26, 1974 and said that there used to be prostitution at the Holiday Inn Central, but this had slowed down greatly. He denied soliciting prostitutes and denied being a gambler.
Phillip Blake was arrested by Bureau agents on November 26, 1974 for interstate transport of stolen property — four mink coats valued at $10,000 brought from Chicago to Milwaukee in September 1973. He had stolen them in order to pay off a $1500 debt he owed to Vincent Maniaci. Blake had previously been beaten up by a thug on Maniaci’s behalf for the money owed.
A special agent entered Little Caesars at 7:20pm on November 27 and witnessed a man coming in and saying to the bartender that he needed to see Vincent Maniaci immediately. The bartender said he “left a few minutes ago”. Blake insisted it was “pretty urgent”, as he had just been “popped”. Maniaci could not be reached. Shortly after, the phone rang and it was Maniaci. Also, an elderly man with glasses came in with a plastic bag saying he was looking for Maniaci. The special agent left at 8:50pm.
Also on November 27, Phillip Blake met with Maniaci at Sally’s Steak House at 8:35pm. He was now wearing a wire (body recorder) provided by the FBI. The two went into the men’s bathroom and Blake told Maniaci he had been picked up by the FBI for the stolen furs and candy. Maniaci repeatedly asked if he was wearing a wire, Blake repeatedly said no. Maniaci said, “Those guys, they fix ya up, ya know.” He remained suspicious and told Blake that, “I ain’t got nothing to do with you in any respect.” Blake then asked Maniaci to set him up with an attorney. Maniaci did not seem too happy about it and said, “you got me for 775 already”. He asked, “Did ya ever mention my name to anybody?” Blake lied, “No man, I ain’t told ‘em nothing yet. I ain’t told ‘em a damn thing. Ya know I ain’t gonna open my mouth, alright.” After more back and forth, Maniaci finally recommended Blake go see an attorney who worked in the Majestic Building and have him call Maniaci to set the defense up. Maniaci said the attorney “handles all the boys”. He further said Blake was probably lucky he got busted because Maniaci said he “was going to break your fucking head, to tell you the truth… because you were fucking me, fucked me around.”
Sally Papia was in Palm Springs from November 30 to December 12, 1974. She had left via American Airlines from O’Hare Airport.
An informant told the FBI on December 2, 1974 that Frank Stelloh was told by a waitress at the Pancake House that the FBI had questioned her. The informant did not know if Stelloh and Steve DeSalvo were going to stop using the restaurant as a meeting place.
The FBI interviewed a man on December 3, 1974 with knowledge of the criminal activity around Little Caesars. He said that the Hershey’s theft was done by a man named Frank who drove a black Dodge and was a salesman in Kenosha. The informant also said he knew of stolen lawn mowers that had gone through Vincent Maniaci earlier in the year and had helped unload one from Vince’s car and into his brother Augie’s car. He knew of stolen guns, motorcycles and the sale of narcotics. The source said Vince was specifically interested in napkins and paper supplies. He had never witnessed any gambling, however.
On December 4, 1974, a quick check with Hersheys by the FBI revealed that the stolen candy was most likely sold to Master Products, doing business as The Candy House, at 720 West Mitchell. Hersheys noted that last year around Christmas, the company had purchased fourteen cases of bulk Kisses, but had not purchased any in bulk this year, suggesting they either were not selling Kisses — very unlikely — or had found some elsewhere. Agents then went to the Candy House and observed several two-pound bags of Hershey Kisses.
On Thursday, December 5, 1974, an advertisement appeared in the Milwaukee Journal saying that the Candy House was selling Hershey’s Christmas kisses at $1.19 per pound.
A special agent was in Little Caesars from 8:45 until 9:15pm on December 6, 1974. He saw Vincent Maniaci, made casual conversation, but heard nothing of a criminal nature.
Harry DeAngelo’s Cadillac was observed at the Lake Pavillion on December 10 and December 12, 1974.
An informant told the FBI on December 12, 1974 that Frank Stelloh was planning on fencing stolen jewelry, though he did not know where said jewelry would come from. He also said that Stelloh told him that Steve DeSalvo expected to be indicted by a grand jury because of his aluminum siding business. Stelloh remarked that “the Jews have DeSalvo in a crack”.
The FBI interviewed someone at Master Products Company (also known as Candy House), 720 West Mitchell Street, on December 13, 1974. He said his business was purchasing candy in bulk and then re-packaging it into smaller units for sale in his retail store and other local businesses. He had, for example, purchased a bulk quantity of Hershey’s kisses and had repackaged them into two-pound units. One agent informed him that they had seen Hershey’s records and did not think he received any shipments this year. The man said he had, in fact, received 20 bulk cartons only yesterday and had not even unpacked them because he was still selling candy left over from the previous year. He showed the agents these cartons and they wrote down the serial numbers. One agent purchased a two-pound bag of kisses.
At around 4:30pm on December 15, 1974, someone (I think Phillip Blake) was driving his sister’s car when he stopped at a red light at 43rd and Burnham in West Milwaukee. Two men jumped into the car, one in front and one in back. The men said they were friends of the man’s friends. The one in front pulled a gun from his jacket and held in on the man, and asked why he had not contacted the attorney like he had been advised to do. He was told he could be killed right now, but if he contacted the attorney, he would be treated well in jail and compensated after. The man pulled over at 43rd and National, letting the two men out. The man with the gun slapped the driver and ordered him to get on the freeway.
A man who had financial dealings with Steve DeSalvo and was represented by Joseph Balistrieri testified before the grand jury on December 16, 1974 and pleaded the Fifth.
A female source for the FBI went into Little Caesars on December 15 and witnessed Vincent Maniaci talking with a skinny Italian man in his 50s.
At 7:30pm on December 16, someone (Blake?) called Little Caesars from his home, where agents had consensually tapped his telephone. The man told Vince that he had received a subpoena to testify in front of a grand jury the next day. Vince told him that he was at Little Caesars if he needed to talk, but did not wish to on the phone.
The same man called Little Caesars again at 8:42pm on December 16. This time Vince said he did not wish to talk and said, “I’ve got nothing to do with anybody. I never did anything with anybody.” After prodding about whether Vince would talk in person, he said “why sure” and hung up.
Two special agents were in Little Caesars on the evening of December 16 around 9:20pm. They saw the heavy man with glasses who had been seen twice before and this time caught that he was a carpenter. A man came in and told Vince that he had $40 for him and would have the rest on Friday. He then borrowed a dime for the telephone, and Vince jokingly said that he would owe him 20 cents on Friday. Someone (presumably Phillip Blake) came in around 9:30pm. Maniaci took him into the women’s bathroom and told the man that “they” knew he had talked and he was a “dead man”. Vince frisked the man, looking for a body recorder (he found none), and told him to take the Fifth at the grand jury. The man left around 9:50 and the agents left at 10:25pm.
On the evening of December 16, an obese, balding, mustachioed wholesale jeweler was seen talking with Nick Gentile.
The FBI interviewed Phillip Harlen Jung on December 17, 1974. Jung, 610 West Wisconsin Avenue, said he was the manager of the Empire Lounge at 716 North Plankinton. He recalled about 10 months prior being in the back room at the New Yorker Lounge with a few men, one of them he knew as ex-con Joseph Martinkowski. The men told him that they were trying to get rid of some fur coats and asked Jung if he knew where they could go. Jung said he would ask around. He did not recall exactly when, but Jung told the agents that soon after he ran into someone at the Casino Cabaret Lounge who was interested and introduced the man to Martinkowski. Jung told the agents that later Theodore Denovan Beaver, owner of the Casino Cabaret, came to him and said the FBI had talked to him and would probably be talking to Jung, too. Manager John J. Whitehall told Jung to keep quiet or “Beaver will bury you.” Jung told Whitehall, “I know nothing and I’ll say nothing.”
Also on December 17, Frank Cicerello, 3454 North Humboldt, voluntarily appeared at the FBI Office. Cicerello said he knew Vince Maniaci quite well and frequently goes to Little Caesars, but he was not involved in any criminal activity with Maniaci, Hershey’s kisses or otherwise. He denied ever having been at McDonalds at 2520 West National Avenue (which still exists in 2012) or the McDonalds on 76th by the Southridge Shopping Center. He told the agents he drove an AMC Ambassador.
On the evening of December 17, Vincent Maniaci was in conversation with Nick Gentile and August Palmisano concerning the investigation of Maniaci. Gentile joked, “They can’t hang anything on me.” Around midnight, Gentile became upset (for reasons unknown) and had the music turned off, and asked the patrons and go-go dancers to go home. Shortly after midnight a man arrived with a package for Palmisano, to which he replied, “I’ve been waiting for these.”
Vincent Maniaci, 2025 East Greenwich Avenue, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, December 18, 1974 for extortionate credit transactions. He was found to have threatened people with violence and to be indirectly responsible for Phillip Blake’s theft of fur coats. A bench warrant was issued, and Maniaci was picked up by the FBI the same day and brought before Magistrate John C. McBride. Bond was set at $30,000 personal recognizance. An internal FBI report at the time of arrest referred to Maniaci as “a financier, major fence, and mastermind behind numerous large thefts around the Milwaukee area.” They also suspected him of being a Mafia member, which appears to be incorrect.
Vincent Maniaci was overheard on December 24, 1974 taking a phone call. Maniaci said to the person on the phone, “you can eliminate people in Chicago, but you can’t do it here… what’s wrong with you?” He then added, “If you can’t do your job I’ll get somebody else to do it and they will take care of you, too.” Maniaci then told the person overhearing to move back and no more was heard. Vince was seen then making a phone call to New York.
The annual Christmas party for Local 200 was held at the Centre Stage Playhouse on December 27, 1974.
On the evening of Saturday, December 28, 1974, Vincent Maniaci was inebriated at Little Caesars. He told those around him that they did not need to go the New Yorker Lounge to see go-go dancers, and then began taking off his clothes. When all his clothes were off, he hopped on a chair and began dancing until he fell on the floor and passed out.
On December 29, 1974, Joseph Basile called Jacob Schlechter between 10:00pm and 10:30pm, and the call was answered by Mrs. Schlechter. Basile asked for her husband, and instructed Schlechter to set the Northbrook Inn on fire that night. Schlechter did so in the company of his wife, who later contacted the police and began supplying information concerning the ongoing conspiracy. Following the fire, Schlechter went to Basile’s home to collect money for his work. Basile gave Schlechter $100 and told him that another $900 would be forthcoming from out of town. Schlechter asked what the fire was all about, and Basile told him that it was ordered because Kurt Amidzich had “screwed over” Sally Papia and because of a “personal grievance” Basile had against Amidzich.
The owner of the Northbrook Inn called his alderman at 8:00am on December 30, 1974 to make sure the police and fire departments were properly investigating the origin of the fire. The owner believed that due to footprints he saw in the snow and because of where the blaze began (a storage area) that arson was involved. The alderman called an assistant fire chief.
On December 30, 1974, August Palmisano bought a produce route for $1000. The route covered Madison, Lake Mills and vicinity.
On New Year’s Eve 1974, two days after the fire, Sally Papia ran into Kurt Amidzich at Trovato’s Restaurant (1550 North Farwell Avenue). Dropping a lighted match into an ash tray, Papia said, “I told you this was going to happen.”
In early January 1975, Schlechter asked Basile for the balance of the money due him for setting the fire. Basile deflected the request by advising Schlechter that they were getting pressure from Frank Balistrieri, who had lost some juke boxes in the Northbrook Inn fire, and that Schlechter should not tell anyone of his involvement in the fire.
The FBI interviewed a man who used to run an establishment near Little Caesar’s on January 3, 1975. The man said that since his business did not have a cabaret license, they had to close at 1:00am and he would often walk with his customers over to Little Caesars. He thus became acquainted with Vincent Maniaci. Maniaci soon asked him what sort of vending machines he had in his place of business, and the man told him a cigarette machine, pool table and jukebox from Wisconsin Novelty Company. Maniaci told him to “throw them out” and offered him $1000 to start using another distributor. Maniaci also offered to fix the ceiling above the band area. The man declined. A few days later, the man was drinking with six friends when Maniaci returned with August Palmisano, who had a gun. The man again declined. Soon after (May 1974?), his club was broken into and the Wisconsin Novelty Company machines were smashed.
January 6, Schlecter’s wife Phyllis called the police and told Detective Edward McHugh what her husband had done. This same day, the FBI stopped by Berther Brothers at 423 West Juneau and interviewed Salvatore Seidita. He informed them that he grew up in the Third Ward, and was thus well acquainted with the Italian families of Milwaukee. Seidita confirmed that he knew Frank Balistrieri and others, and knew they were considered hoodlums, but said he only knew them through social events and had no knowledge of their criminal activities.
On January 7, Russell Enea approached Schlechter in Papia’s restaurant and asked him if he knew anything about the fire. Schlechter, complying with Basile’s order to keep mum, said that he did not. Three days later, apparently satisfied that Schlechter could be trusted, Enea again approached Schlechter and directed him to break Amidzich’s wrists “so he never cooks again.” Enea said that “Max” would get in touch with Schlechter to talk about the job. Shortly thereafter, Max Adonnis contacted Schlechter and told him to kidnap Amidzich and take him to a garage so that Adonnis and Enea could break his wrists personally. Schlechter and Adonnis then discussed the plan with Herbert Holland, who was to assist in the endeavor. Adonnis explained to Schlechter and Holland that Amidzich owed Sally Papia $5,000, that he had “screwed over Sally,” and that he wasn’t going to get away with it. Adonnis gave Schlechter a slip of paper listing Amidzich’s address, the make of his car and its license plate number. A week later, Adonnis passed along a photo of Amidzich taken in Papia’s restaurant on which Papia’s handwriting appeared.
The Milwaukee office of the FBI called the Bureau’s Chemistry Unit on January 8, 1975 and asked if they had the ability to tell how old chocolate was. They could not.
An informant told the FBI on January 9, 1975 that prior to Gus Chiaverotti’s death, Frank Stelloh had threatened Chiaverotti’s girlfriend and she went to Chiaverotti in a state of complete hysteria. Chiaverotti confronted Stelloh about this, but the informant believed that the stress contributed to Chiaverotti’s heart failure. The informant also said that Anthony Pipito was now always in the company of Frank Balistrieri or Steve DeSalvo. He further said someone from San Diego was now working at the Center Stage.
On January 11, Schlechter met with Adonnis and Holland at Holland’s massage parlor (1915 West Hampton), and Adonnis there hired the two men to beat up Amidzich.
FBI agents spoke with Joseph James Martinkoski on January 17, 1975 at Waupun State Prison. He said that he knows Phillip Jung, served time with him at Waupun, but would not call him a friend and only saw him on the outside once. That was by accident at a restaurant and they only exchanged a few words. Martinkoski denied ever being in the New Yorker, the Casino Cabaret or any other “strip joint” in Milwaukee. He denied ever being with a prostitute in his life. He asked the agents when he allegedly met with Jung and was told in September; Martinkoski said the last time he got out of Waupun was in October, so this would have been impossible. The prison records verified his claim.
During the next couple of weeks, Holland, Schlechter and Adonnis attempted to locate Amidzich without success. On January 18, Enea, disturbed by the lack of progress, approached Schlechter and, gesturing with his wrists, inquired what Schlechter was doing about Amidzich. Schlechter and Holland renewed their efforts to locate Amidzich but failed to do so, much to the expressed chagrin of Enea and Adonnis. Finally, Adonnis saw Amidzich at a local restaurant and obtained his new address, place of employment and license plate number, which information he passed on to Schlechter with instructions to do the job right away.
Sally Papia made arrangements with Vagabond Travel Agency to be in Palm Springs in February on January 20, 1975.
Frank Cicerello voluntarily appeared at the office of US Attorney William J. Mulligan on January 21, 1975. Mulligan informed Cicerello that he was considering offering Cicerello immunity for his statements against Vincent Maniaci. Cicerello said he recalled meeting with Maniaci and Phillip Blake the previous October. That same evening, Cicerello said he called up the Candy House and spoke to someone there named Nick who knew Cicerello’s brother Sammy, a former prize fighter. He told the man he had 400 cartons of assorted Hershey’s candy. The man agreed to buy it. Blake was told to meet Cicerello at the McDonalds at 2520 West National Avenue the next morning at 10:00 (where Cicerello would have to stop on his soda distribution route). They met as planned, and Blake with with a hippie in a beat-up old car. Blake in turn brought the candy to Candy House where it was unloaded by an employee. Cicerello was paid $1000 (with $1500 to come later) and gave the money to Maniaci, who let him keep $300 for setting up the operation. A few days later, Nick paid Cicerello the remaining $1500 and it was turned over to Maniaci. Cicerello still maintained he was never at the McDonalds in Greenfield, as this was not one of his customers. He agreed to submit to a polygraph exam.
A man (name redacted) made a sworn statement to Special Agent Samuel M. Wichner in Brooklyn on January 27, 1975. He said he had been stationed in Milwaukee in 1969 and 1970 and knew about some of the problems his friend (redacted) was having with Vincent Maniaci and August Palmisano. In September or October of 1972, he was in Pitch’s and Palmisano pulled out a gun because of difficulties his friend was having regarding vending machines. He was in Milwaukee in December 1974 and was told who had committed a recent burglary (names of business and suspects redacted). He had worked at a place in Milwaukee where he knew the combination of the safe, and only knew of two others who knew it.
The FBI interviewed a man at his residence on January 28, 1975. The man said he had been at Little Caesars the night before the truck of Hershey’s candy was stolen, and heard Vince Maniaci and Frank Cicerello talking about it. Cicerello then left and came back with a man connected to a local candy business who was willing to pay for the stolen candy.
Sally Papia flew from O’Hare Airport in Chicago to Palm Springs on February 2, 1975 aboard American Airlines Flight 581.
August Palmisano and Steve Halmo pleaded guilty on Monday, February 3, 1975 for gambling charges stemming from the last year’s Super Bowl raid. Palmisano’s attorney, Charles Hausmann, claimed that his client did not really know Halmo very well, and that when he did take layoff bets for him, he did not make any money. Hausmann further pointed out that Palmisano came from a good family, had four children to raise, and woke up at 4am every morning to help with the family produce business, which involved driving a truck for eight hours, and then he still had to manage the tavern. Furthermore, he said Palmisano’s wife Jean had a mastectomy in December and was scheduled to have a hysterectomy soon, which made Palmisano so nervous that his hands shook. Justice Department attorney Gregory Ward countered that Palmisano’s gambling business could hardly be considered “minor” and that he was receiving 10% “juice” for the bets he took. Judge Myron Gordon dismissed the charge of unlawfully storing dynamite. Palmisano was fined $500 and put on two years probation, with Gordon citing that he had no prior record besides traffic offenses.
Frank Cicerello stopped by the FBI office on February 4 and told them that he now remembered the employee who helped unload the candy was named Erv. He also had heard that the stolen candy was being stored outside of town. Cicerello was given a polygraph examination and was found to be deceptive on 7 of 15 questions.
The FBI contacted Harry DeAngelo at the Lake Pavillion on February 4, 1975. DeAngelo said he was not associated with the criminal element and knew the Italians on a social basis. He did not wish to speak with the agents further.
The FBI interviewed a man (name redacted) on February 6, 1975, who told them that in late October or early November he was contacted by a man from the Candy House named Erv Komassa who had “hot” candy he needed to get rid of. The man saw what he believed to be 500 cartons of Hershey’s candy in a storage room on the second floor of the Candy House. Together, they rented a Budget Rent-a-Truck to haul the candy out. The man recalled that this was two or three days after someone was subpoenaed, and they thought it best to get the candy out of the store. It was left sitting inside the truck for a few days and then brought to Chicago and given to someone Komassa knew. The man said he was promised $100 for helping but has not seen the money. He believed that Komassa still had 20 or 30 cases of the chocolate at his residence.
After purchasing a baseball bat and two ski masks for use in the battery, Schlechter and Holland went to Amidzich’s place of employment (Milwaukee Inn Town Room East) in the early morning hours of February 9, 1975. While waiting for Amidzich to leave work, the two were confronted by police at 1:20am because the auto in which they were riding (a 1970 Chevrolet convertible) matched a description of a stolen car. Apparently shaken by the incident, Schlechter and Holland decided to go home and contact Adonnis, who advised them to halt their efforts while he checked out possible problems with the police.
Sally Papia returned to O’Hare Airport in Chicago from Palm Springs aboard American Airlines Flight 388 on February 9, 1975.
Steve Halmo made a voluntarily statement to the FBI on February 11, 1975. He said he was 53 years old, was born in Milwaukee, and knew Sidney Brodson as a professional gambler for the past ten years. They first met when Brodson wanted to bet with Halmo, but Halmo lost so much money in the first two weeks that he stopped letting Brodson bet. They soon teamed up together to bet with other bookies. About three years prior, Halmo learned that another gambler was getting his line through Bobby Pick in Florida, and Halmo and Brodson began making bets with Pick, too. Although Halmo makes Brodson’s bets for him (which allowed Halmo to keep part of the money), Brodson was aware that one line came from Bobby Pick and would ask about “Bobby’s line” or “the line from down south”.
On February 14, Schlechter and Holland were arrested by Greenfield and Milwaukee Police Departments on state charges (armed robbery, assault and threatening a life) unrelated to the Northbrook case. They were held in Milwaukee County Jail on $110,000 bond each. The baseball bat, ski masks, and the slip of paper listing Amidzich’s address and license plate number were found in Schlechter’s possession at the time of his arrest. That same evening, Russell Enea visited Amidzich at work and told him, “You know by fate last week you were saved… You were going to see your own blood and they were going to break both your wrists so you would never be able to cook again… They missed you and I’m going to do it personally.”
Ervin Alvin Komassa, 57, 2621 West Pierce, voluntarily appeared at the FBI office on February 21, 1975. He said he was a part-time employee for the Candy House, with his primary job being making out of state deliveries to Michigan and Illinois, bringing chocolate to other stores with a Hertz rental truck. Komassa said he occasionally helped unload, but loads never got bigger than 50 cases — certainly never 400 or 500 cases. He denied knowing Frank Cicerello and Vincent Maniaci, and said he had rented a Budget truck, but it was for moving furniture. The FBI doubted his story and noted that his police record was extensive, with multiple counts of forgery, larceny, con games, disorderly conduct, fraud and embezzlement. Komassa had spent roughly five years at Waupun State Prison in the 1960s.
Phillip Jung, 43, was beaten by Casino Cabaret owner Theodore D. Beaver, 41, and Clarence J. Harris, 35, in the early morning hours of February 25, 1975 for testifying against Vincent Maniaci. John James Whitehall, 29, also took part in the beating. Jung suffered injuries to his eyes, neck, nose and head and required medical attention at the Central Clinic. The doctors there found him bruised with his eye swollen shut, his throat bruised from being choked, and he had a concussion though he did not have any broken bones. Beaver was arrested two days later by the FBI and held on $10,000 bond for obstruction of justice, but Harris remained at large. (Beaver had grown up in Rhinelander at the home of his grandfather, Austrian immigrant Jacob Miller.)
Upon his arrest at the Casino Cabaret (634 North 5th) for assaulting a federal witness on Thursday, February 27, Theodore D. Beaver, 41, said that any story involving him threatening to harm someone was completely false. He acknowledged getting into a fight at the Empire Lounge, but said that it was Clarence Harris who had done the actually beating. Beaver said he thought Jung was okay when he left, and he (Beaver) returned to the Casino Cabaret and fell asleep on a bar stool.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Charles P. Monroe observed Steve DeSalvo and Frank Balistrieri at the Towne Room East restaurant inside the Milwaukee Inn Hotel on February 28, 1975.
FBI agents and a detective from the Greenfield Police Department questioned the owner of the Candy House on February 28, 1975. He denied knowing Vincent Maniaci and Frank Cicerello and said he has only purchased candy through normal, legal means. He was familiar with Sammy Cicerello, who had been a boxer, and he admitted that Erv Komassa was employed by him off and on, but said he knew nothing of any dealings Komassa might have had with Cicerello and Maniaci and he had never loaned money to Komassa.
On March 3, 1975, one week before Sidney Brodson was to go to trial, the prosecution applied for authorization to disclose the evidence of of their investigation for the case. Brodson’s attorney, James Shellow, objected, saying that the government received authorization for a wiretap to check one law, and then the conversations were used by the grand jury to indict Brodson on a different law. Judge Myron Gordon denied the application on March 10 and dismissed the indictment against Brodson without prejudice. (The reasons are technical, but it appears the dismissal is largely because Gordon believed the government was on a “fishing expedition” (his words) and had not followed wiretap regulations. The government should have requested a court order to present evidence of “interstate transmission” when the grand jury was supposed to be looking for an “illegal gambling business” violation.) Justice Department attorney Gregory Ward immediately appealed, saying the two different violations were “intertwined”.
State agent Gary H. Hamblin subpoenaed Steve DeSalvo on March 4 to appear at a John Doe hearing on the 8th. DeSalvo fought Hamblin, saying, “I’m not taking anything. Don’t give me anything. I’ll knock you on your ass. I’ll twist that mustache around your neck.”
While awaiting trial on the state charges, Schlechter agreed to cooperate with authorities investigating the Northbrook Inn fire and to meet with his co-conspirators while equipped with a hidden tape recorder. On March 6, Schlechter taped a conversation with Adonnis, who told Schlechter of the efforts he and Enea had made to raise bail money for him. Schlechter asked Adonnis if “that thing” with Amidzich was still on. Adonnis replied, “Right now it’s gonna be very, very cool” because he had been told by a police informant that they were all under investigation. When Schlechter asked whether Enea was going to come up with some money for him, Adonnis replied that Enea was trying to work something out and hoping that “when things calm down a bit, maybe you will make another move.” Schlechter then asked if “Sally got wind of all this.” Adonnis responded that “all she knows is that the two of us got somebody.” Adonnis reassured Schlechter, however, that Papia would learn of his efforts: “You’re doing it for her. When it gets done, she’ll know cause she’s gonna pay you.”
Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo met at the Milwaukee Inn on March 7, 1975. Among other things, they determined that Jimmy Jennaro would no longer be allowed at the Milwaukee Inn.
On Saturday, March 8, 1975, there was a “secret weekend John Doe investigation” in Washington County. Testifying were Frank Balistrieri, Joseph Enea, Jennie Alioto, Antonio Machi, Vincent Maniaci and Peter Balistrieri. Enea, Alioto and Peter Balistrieri were represented by Joseph Balistrieri. Frank Balistrieri’s testimony took about 20 minutes, and he probably said nothing. Both Enea and Alioto were granted immunity. Machi was represented by Gerald P. Boyle. State agent Gary Hamblin testified about his encounter with Steve DeSalvo. DeSalvo was scheduled to appear but did not, and was arrested for his failure to do so by the State Department of Justice and charged with criminal contempt. He was released on $1000 bond.
Theodore Beaver was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with obstruction of justice on March 10, 1975.
Also on March 10, 1975, Rocco E. Youse was sentenced to three years probation and $1000 fine by Judge Edmond Arpin for bribing Menasha mayor John L. Klein. As head of Del Chemical, Youse had purposely overcharged Menasha so he could give the extra money as a “kickback” to Klein. At the sentencing, Assistant Attorney General Grant Johnson argued for jail time, saying it was the only thing white collar criminals understand. He wanted the court to set an example by giving Youse three years “so everyone will know that the rich don’t get away free while the poor pay.” He specifically pointed out that one of Youse’s salesmen was sentenced to nine months in jail for bribery. Youse’s attorney, Joseph Balistrieri, argued for probation (and won), saying that Youse had “suffered enough” because he now had the “stigma” of being a “convicted felon”. Youse personally addressed the court, saying if he went to jail it might jeopardize the jobs of his employees. After the sentence, Johnson told the press, “I think (the sentence) is unfortunate. I think it’s wrong. I think it’s 150 other things.”
On March 12, Schlechter taped a conversation with Basile, who admitted that he “took the rap” for the Northbrook Inn fire when confronted by an upset Frank Balistrieri, who wanted to know why Basile had the place burned down without telling him. While pointing a pistol at Basile’s knees, Balistrieri had told him that he had jukeboxes in that building. During the conversation with Schlechter, Basile also admitted that he and Enea had agreed to burn the Northbrook Inn down: “I said [to Enea], I’d like to burn that place down. I never liked [Amidzich] to begin with, that’s what I told him. He said, OK, why don’t we do that then. I said, I got to have some expense money.”
Moreover, Basile acknowledged that Enea had checked with him before directing Schlechter to kidnap and assault Amidzich: “Oh, I know, you were supposed to get Kurt… You don’t think he [Enea] was gonna send [unintelligible] without them telling me, do ya? You know what he wanted to know: if you could do the job. I said `he can do the job.’ He asked me, How stand up is he? I says he’s probably one of the best [expletive deleted] guys around you’ll meet in a long time. I says not only that, I says he’ll get the job done.”
FBI agents found Clarence J. Harris on Thursday, March 13, 1975 — he was in the Milwaukee County Jail where he had been placed after his arrest on a burglary charge.
On March 14, Milwaukee police officer Paul Viljevac turned over a photo of a man named Thomas Sack to Max Adonnis, who was working at AFL Motors. Adonnis gave him some chrome-plated motorcycle parts — the two men knew each other conversationally through the business. This exchange was witnessed by a man named Mark Gary, also known as Ray Stoekle. The photo was requested by Herbert Holland, who intended to “blow the guy away”, and Adonnis was able to secure it under false pretenses that he wanted to turn Sack in for drug trafficking. Viljevac was fired in June 1975 by Chief Breier when his actions came to light.
An informant claimed that Sally Papia went to the Center Stage on March 14, 1975 and kissed Frank Balistrieri. The two spent the evening together and on until the early morning hours. Her boyfriend, Frank Buccieri, was in Palm Springs.
On Monday, March 17, 1975, Judge Myron L. Gordon ordered six Kenosha gamblers to avoid illegal gambling: Raymond Matera, Frank “Effie” Manna, James Salerno, Ronald Gregorski, John Puntillo and Louis Gerolmo. He ordered three additional men to do the same, as well as handing down a $500 civil penalty: Eugene Thomas, Angelo Germinaro and Alfred DeCesaro.
An informant told the FBI on March 17, 1975 that Steve Halmo had some sort of business interest in Sturgeon Bay.
Tony Machi was seen on Tuesday, March 18, 1975 entering the Knickerbocker Hotel at 10:42am and leaving at 11:45am. He was believed to be picking something up from Sally’s Steak House.
The North Central Sporting Goods in Menomonee Falls was burglarized on March 22, 1975. Frank Stelloh quickly became a suspect when it was found that he was transporting fishing gear to Chicago.
On March 26, Schlechter taped a conversation with Enea in which Schlechter asked if he would get any money for his efforts in trying to assault Amidzich. Enea replied that “nothing was done.” Schlechter protested, “Yeah, but time was invested in it.” Enea responded, “We would have already had him if you wouldn’t have gotten outta line, you… Well, stay in touch with Max, ya know, in case I gotta get hold of ya.”
Around 12:30am on March 28, 1975, various people woke up to the sound of two shotgun blasts. Someone had two windows shot out. The vehicle where the shots came from appeared to be a black-over-red car. (The record is redacted, so it is unclear where this was, but it somehow involved Vincent Maniaci.)
On March 28, 1975, the US Attorney’s office noticed that two transcripts from a federal grand jury concerning Vincent Maniaci were missing.
Phillip H. Jung was interviewed by the FBI on April 1, 1975. He was contacted at the U.S. Marshal’s Office, where he was receiving protective custody. He was shown a spread of photographs, including one of August Palmisano, and asked if any of them were present when he was beaten. He could not recognize any of the photographs. He did say he knew one person there who threw an ashtray at him.
Sally Papia was in Palm Springs from April 6 to April 9.
The court reporter who was present during grand jury testimony concerning Vincent Maniaci was given a polygraph examination on April 7, 1975 to help clear up whether or not she had stolen the missing grand jury transcripts. Although appearing calm, she said she was quite nervous and asked whether the machine could tell the difference between nervousness and deception. Despite being prescribed tranquilizers on April 4, she claimed to have had no stimulants or depressants in the past 24 hours and had not had coffee that day. Her answers concerning how she handled court reports was “ambiguous” and she seemed to have no strict procedure. Eventually, she started crying and told the agent present that she had given the FBI a copy and not the original notes. (Where the original notes were is unclear to me.) Judge Myron Gordon suggested that if the transcripts were not found, the case against Maniaci might have to be dismissed.
Phillip Blake testified against Maniaci on April 7, discussing how he had stolen $3000 worth of merchandise from Kennedy and Cohen appliance store, as well as fur coats, in order to pay off his gambling debts. Blake was still in pain from being beaten and had suffered kidney damage. Following his testimony, he collapsed in the judge’s chambers and was unable to speak.
The court reporter found her stenographic tapes on Thursday, April 10, 1975 while looking for her diary and turned them over to the FBI. Defense attorney Gerald Boyle told the press, “All I know is I’ve been asking for them for three weeks and now all of a sudden they’re found.” (The FBI later found that the woman’s husband had come home to find the tapes on the kitchen counter and then put them on a shelf under the counter so he could spread out his blueprints. He had completely forgotten about moving them.)
On Thursday, April 17, 1975, Judge Max Raskin heard the case of James Jennaro and Leroy Bell, both charged with being pimps. When asked if he had ever solicited a prostitute, Jennaro said, “No way. Never.” Katherine “Casey” Erbach, 21, testified that Bell had brought her to Sally’s, where Jennaro set her up with another man, who paid her $100 to perform a sex act. After that, she gave the $100 to Jennaro and asked for change so she could take a taxi to the Tender Trap, Bell’s tavern. She said on another occasion state agents questioned her and she said nothing, and then told Bell. Bell allegedly told her if she had talked, she might be killed. Angela Wiedenhoeft, 22, told a similar story, where Bell brought her to Sally’s, and Jennaro set her up with an elderly man and they performed an act of sexual perversion. Jennaro testified that he had never discussed prostitution with Bell. He further said 400 people a day eat at Sally’s. “I don’t know if they are prostitutes, businessmen, judges or lawyers. We serve all people.”
On Friday, April 18, 1975, a jury found both Leroy Bell and James Jennaro guilty of soliciting prostitutes. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Schneider said in his closing argument, “They did everything but turn back the covers on the bed.” Jennaro’s attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, said of Casey Erbach’s testimony, “In 15 years of practice, including five years as a federal prosecutor, I’ve never heard a witness so schooled.” He said Schneider coached the witnesses and twisted words. Bell’s attorney, Dominic Frinzi, said the witnesses were “women of flexible virtue” and they were not reliable or trustworthy. Erbach “has you believe that she is a modern day Mary Magdalene.” A presentence investigation was ordered.
A special agent and a detective from the Milwaukee Police Department spoke with Max Adonnis at AFL Motors on April 21, 1975. Adonnis talked openly with them about his history with Sally Papia and the other suspects in the Northbrook case. Adonnis freely admitted knowing them all, saying he had worked with some of them at Sally’s and others had visited him at AFL to borrow tools or have a motorcycle looked at. He volunteered that he thought the Northbrook fire was suspicious, but claimed that he heard that “silent partners” had done it because they were losing money and unhappy with the management.
The Federal Grand Jury indicted Sally Papia on April 22, 1975. Papia and her co-conspirators were arrested on April 24 and brought before U.S. Magistrate John C. McBride. Two special agents and a Milwaukee detective entered AFL Motors (1905 West North Avenue) at 9:24am and arrested Max Adonnis. As he was being taken away, Adonnis advised the other two men working there to call his attorney. One man was arrested at 9:32am while leaving his apartment building in the 1500 block of Prospect. Papia had actually gone with her attorney to turn herself in, and was found by agents in the Federal Building’s elevator at 10:40am. They were each charged and released on bond.
Vincent Maniaci took the stand in his own defense on Thursday, April 24, 1975. “I know I have never done anything with this gentleman (Blake),” he testified. “And I never wanted to get involved in anything he ever did.” He said he charged no interest on loans he gave to Blake and only loaned him money because “he begged me for it” and was “quite a good customer” and “always a gentleman. Maniaci later referred Blake to attorney Max Goldsmith simply because he was a nice guy and would help anyone out that he could.
James Jennaro was arrested by FBI agents at 9:32am on April 24, 1975 as he left his residence at 1570 North Prospect. Jennaro told the agents he would not make any statement without his attorney present. At 10:30, Magistrate John C. McBride set his bond at $10,000.
On April 25, Max Adonnis and Sally Papia met with Mark Gary, who testified at trial that Papia had offered him $5,000 to murder Amidzich and Schmitz, saying: “I want to get rid of them. I want them dead… I’ll give you $5,000 if you’d kill them.”
Vincent Maniaci was found guilty of extortion on April 28, 1975 after seven men and five women deliberated for 5 1/2 hours. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Vincent Maniaci forfeited his operators license for Little Caesar’s (1758 North Water Street — the Trocadero in 2011) in late April 1975 due to being convicted in federal court.
The FBI interviewed a woman (name redacted) on May 1, 1975 who used to work for Sally Papia. The woman said “she was relieved to leave Sally’s employ because she found it difficult to work with Sally and felt Sally was always interfering with her. Sally was also very well-known for her temper and was upset when she quit.” The woman further said she briefly dated a man connected to Sally who had a bad temper and beat her “several times”.
The Kentucky Derby was held the first Saturday in May 1975. August Palmisano had roughly $1000 in play there and won $750. He had one customer (redacted) who bet $100 on Foolish Pleasure, the winning horse.
Defense attorney Gerald P. Boyle wrote a letter to Special Agent in Charge Herbert Hoxie on May 8, 1975 concerning the recent Maniaci case. He wrote, “I am hereby expressing to you our deepest admiration for the agents who were in charge of the investigation for their cooperation, objectivity and professionalism. This is in no way to say that we are happy that we lost… As a former prosecutor and at present a defense attorney, I admire professionalism and, knowing that we are all interested only in a search for the truth, I must commend the agents who worked on this case as being fair and upright. Finally, I hope we win on appeal.”
On May 9, 1975, Assistant US Attorney Leah Lampone said there might be a conflict of interest with having Franklyn Gimbel represent James Jennaro in the extortion case, as his brother Stanley Gimbel was going to be a government witness. She also said there was a possible conflict of interest having Gerald Boyle represent Russell Enea, as he had previously represented Herbert Holland in state cases.
An informant told the FBI on May 9, 1975 that Vito Aiello had taken up the call against Balistrieri and was telling people they must “get rid of” him. The informant said at this stage it was just talk and Aiello would need more backing.
James Jennaro and Leroy Bell were convicted of soliciting a prostitute on Monday, May 19, 1975. He was sentenced to one year in the house of correction by Judge Max Raskin. A presentence report connected Jennaro to a variety of organized crime activities, particularly concerning Frank Balistrieri and Frank Buccieri. He was named a “principal figure” in Milwaukee’s crime syndicate and may be “possibly interstate”. Positive references were given by Judge Ralph Podell, Roundys executive John Spicuzza, Newspapers Inc vice president Eugene Cuske, Towne Realty president Daniel Tishberg and Father Leonard Sherrer. Cuske said he knew Jennaro only casually, not on a personal level, but had nothing “derogatory” to say about him. Scherrer said, “Jennaro has always been and still is a very high-minded man. I never saw any indication of anything other than that.” Judge William A. Jennaro, James’ cousin, said James was “a gentleman, a kind man and concerned for his family.” In the report, James Jennaro said, “I don’t know why I’m convicted of this crime. It’s just not true. I allegedly introduced some men to some women. The women happened to be prostitutes. What they did together is none of my business. I didn’t do anything that any other tavern keeper hasn’t done.” Jennaro was given one year in the House of Correction with Huber privileges, a year probation and fined $1000. Bell was sentenced to two years to run concurrent with a six-year sentence he was already serving.
District Attorney E. Michael McCann spoke out against Jennaro’s sentence. “We are profoundly disappointed with Jennaro’s sentence. Probation is a farce for him… There is no meaningful indication that Jennaro intends to terminate his association with those people mentioned in his presentence report who are known to have underworld activity.” McCann then referenced five black men who received sentences of five to nine years for a similar charge, and compared them to Rose M. Curro, 37, who ran a call girl operation and served only four months in Taycheedah. “Whites with organized crime connections who promote prostitution clearly fare better than blacks who promote prostitution whether they have organized crime connections or not.” Jennaro’s sentence “will reinforce the cynical perception of the law by organized criminals and will enhance the perception by blacks that whites generally fare better in the criminal justice system.” Finally, he attacked Jennaro’s Huber release. “While others are spending stifling hours in jail, Jennaro will wile away the hours in an air-conditioned restaurant exchanging pleasantries.”
An informant told the FBI on May 29, 1975 that Joseph Enea had bought the Empire Lounge with help from relatives in Minneapolis. He was unable to get a license, however, because of a $9,000 tax lien against the Ad Lib, which was in Enea’s name. Enea went to Balistrieri — the true owner — and was told since the lounge is in his name, it is his problem.
An FBI agent went to Joseph Enea’s home (1522 East Kane Place) on June 3, 1975. Enea told the agent that he did not wish to talk, but asked what specifically had brought the agent there. The agent said he heard that Enea had purchased the Empire Lounge but was having financial and licensing difficulties. Enea said any troubles he had would be taken care of with help from his family and he had no desire to talk to the FBI about it.
On the night of June 19, 1975, a gunman (suspected of being Butch Blasi) entered Sam Giancana’s kitchen in Oak Park, Illinois and shot him in the back of the head as he was frying sausage and peppers. After Giancana fell to the ground, the gunman turned him over and shot him six more times in the face and neck. This would mark a turning point for the Maniaci brothers in Milwaukee, as Giancana was seen as their protector (despite his falling out of favor with the Chicago Outfit).
On Friday, June 20, 1975, the Milwaukee Police Department submitted a report opposing the license of Sally’s Steak House, pointing out the arrests of James Jennaro, Sally Papia and Max Adonnis. The records of these people, as well as assistant manager Russell Enea, were attached to the report. Alderman Kevin D. O’Connor also said he would oppose the renewal of the license unless Jennaro was fired as manager.
On Wednesday, July 2, 1975, it was announced that Jean Youse would take over Del Chemical from her ex-husband Rocco Youse as part of their divorce settlement. The property had been held up in litigation for three years.
Edward V. Minkowski, 49, president of Kenosha Liquor Company, was shot once in the back with a .22 on July 8, 1975 while sitting in a parked car at 6640 15th Avenue, on the south side of Kenosha. Albert Brownlee, 18, was later (December) charged with the murder, but for a while suspicions arose that this might be a gang hit, and the FBI stepped in to handle ballistics in order to compare the bullet to other murders. Tests were inconclusive and the weapon from Minkowski’s death was never recovered. Minkowski was survived by his wife, Betty Drago Minkowski, and parents Edward J. Minkowski and Lillian Mawacke Minkowski.
In the summer of 1975, August Maniaci’s daughter got married. Maniaci invited Frank Balistrieri, but Balistrieri did not respond and went so far as to tell other mob members not to attend the wedding.
On Monday, July 14, 1975, the License Committee castigated the Milwaukee Police Department for not updating Vincent Maniaci’s record. Maniaci, who was applying for a license renewal, did not have his extortion conviction on his application. Conversely, the police warned against Richard Czarnecki for his association with gamblers Palmisano, Halmo and Dulski and his “questionable moral character”, despite having no convictions. The Committee turned down Maniaci but accepted Czarnecki, who was to take over Little Caesar’s. Alderman Edward Griffin also objected to Czarnecki, and despite the tavern being in his ward, he was outnumbered. Alderman Warren Braun said that guilt by association was no reason to deny a license and the police were “not going to act like a Gestapo”.
The next night, Tuesday, July 15, 1975, the Czarnecki license went to the entire common council for a vote and was rejected. There was a heated debate, with Alderman Robert Anderson defending Czarnecki and saying, “When you deal with the US Constitution, there is no such thing as aldermanic privilege.” Alderman Griffin said he was trying to protect people on the East Side protected from tavern owners that might be associated with criminals. Ultimately, Griffin won the debate and the council voted 10-6 against Czarnecki.
At the end of July, Richard Czarnecki sued the Common Council for denying his license, saying the denial was “arbitrary, capricious and without factual foundation.” The City Attorney asked Judge George Burns to dismiss the suit, arguing that Czarnecki had “failed to avail himself of the proper remedy at law.” Judge Burns threw the suit out two weeks later, saying that blaming Alderman Griffin was not valid when the council voted in the majority.
Sally Papia filed a complaint against the Common Council on July 29, 1975 saying that the condition of removing James Jennaro as manager was “arbitrary and capricious”. She said she had removed him to get the license approved, but had thus far been unable to find a replacement who could handle the job. Jennaro was “necessary for the proper management of the restaurant and its related activities”.
Castenzio John Mattano was found lying on the floor of his Legion Barber Shop at 415 W. Wells Street (inside the Belmont Hotel) on August 13, 1975. He was the victim of a robber who beat him about the head area, then shot him in the head with a .25 causing his death. The suspect then removed money from the victim’s pants pockets. Castenzio was known to his customers as “Steve,” he was 65 years old, a barber all of his life, and was at his Wells Street location for 10 years.
Nunzio C. Ferraro, former boxer and bodyguard for Rocco Youse, applied for the liquor license for the Ad Lib night club on (roughly) August 19, 1975. The previous operator, Joseph Enea, had not renewed his license.
Chicago Heights capo Alfred Pilotto called Frank LaGalbo at his home twice on August 21, 1975. The nature of these calls is unknown.
On August 22, 1975, an informant said Walter Brocca was back in business at 1243 South 16th Street with a place called Dinette City. Further, that Frank Balistrieri recently went to Chicago to meet the new group of LCN members who were “made”. Joseph Enea was rumored to make the Empire Lounge a gay bar (despite his not being gay) because of the profit potential. The lounge would be out of business within three months. The informant said in his opinion the death of Castenzio John Mattano was strictly robbery with no ulterior motives — Mattano was not known to be involved in any criminal activities, was well-respected and well-liked.
Patricia Wisniewski, 35, was shot in the chest and killed in her mobile home on August 30, 1975 in Beecher, Marinette County. Her three small children were inside the trailer at the time. Her husband, Antone, was a truck driver for Kohl’s Food Stores and had been a witness in the case of Vincent Maniaci. Antone claimed he had received anonymous calls threatening him and his wife around the time of the trial. Maniaci’s involvement in this death is highly questionable, and it may have simply been a hunting accident.
On September 4, 1975, Irv Komassa was interviewed by the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office. He said he knew Pat Wisniewski and she had no enemy in the world. Her death shocked him.
On Monday, September 8, 1975, police searched Antone Wisniewski’s Pewaukee home (709 East Wisconsin Avenue) while investigating his wife’s death. They found nothing there indicating he was involved in a murder, but they did find numerous items connecting him to theft. They found toiletries, 21 boxes of flash cubes, 15 packages of film, 11 boxes of razorblades, kitchen goods and clothing with Kohl’s labels on them.
Also on September 8, Theodore Beaver was given a polygraph examination concerning his claim that his beating of a government witness at the Empire Room was personal and not because of the man’s being a witness. The results were inconclusive. He insisted he was intoxicated and had gone to Jim’s Bar, but found it closed and went to the Empire instead, where the fight broke out. Prior to his exam, Beaver had drank “two Scotches” and the FBI noted that he was a heavy drinker and possibly an alcoholic. His demeanor was described as “cocky and self-assured and slightly antagonistic”.
On September 11, 1975 gambling operator August Joseph Maniaci, a suspected informer, was murdered by five gun shots to the head (along with one to the left arm and one to the left shoulder) in an alley outside his Milwaukee home at 2121 North Newhall Street. The gun was a .22 with a silencer. The hit took place around 7:20am as Maniaci was preparing to go to work as a salesman for Prize Steak Products at 4264 South 27th Street, Milwaukee. Maniaci was moved to his garage. The gun that killed him would later be found by a sanitation worker in a storm drain near the Milwaukee River.
A witness, under hypnosis, claimed to have seen Chicago Outfit member Charles Nicoletti near Maniaci’s home moments after his murder. In contradiction to this, Robert D. Hardin testified that he helped Nick D’Andrea murder Maniaci. Maniaci apparently owed Chicago gangster Albert “Caesar” Tocco money. (Nick D’Andrea was later killed by another Chicago mobster, Nick Calabrese, in August 1981. His body was mutilated and placed in a burning car. In 1977, Nicoletti received three .38 slugs to the back of his head while waiting in his Oldsmobile in a suburban Northlake, Illinois, restaurant parking lot. He was brought to the hospital where he died six hours later.) Another witness, under hypnosis, picked out a photo of Paul John Schiro. However, when later asked to pick Schiro out of a lineup, could not do so.
A 1964 black Ford seen in the alley minutes before Maniaci’s death bore license plates that traced back to a 1971 Lincoln owned by Joseph F. “Pepe” Madrigrano, president of Triangle Wholesale Company, a Kenosha business connected to Edward Minkowski. Madrigrano had previously faced conspiracy charges when he threatened a Milwaukee beer distributor, Joseph Peckerman, with bodily harm if he tried to sell his product in Kenosha.
The weapon involved in Maniaci’s slaying was traced. The gun, a .22 Browning automatic with serial number 74829U-7 and a silencer, had been purchased from Bob John Inc (doing business as Tamiami Gun Shop) in Miami in 1967. From there it went to the Duome Import-Export Company, but was soon passed on to an unidentified owner. Not long after this, the Duome Company went out of business. FBI and ATF investigations of Duome found that the company had purchased over 100 guns from Tamiami in 1967, but the company was never registered with the state, and inventory records of where the guns went when Duome shut down could not be found. The FBI strongly suggested that Duome was a false company for fronting weapons for the Lebanese government.
No Milwaukee hoodlums attended August Maniaci’s wake, with the exception of his brother Vincent. An informant told the FBI that Augie had been close friends with Sam Giancana, and it was interesting they were both killed by .22s with silencers.
An informant spoke with August Palmisano about the Maniaci murder on September 16, 1975 and Palmisano told him that he was very “shook up” about the murder, which he knew was a professional job. Although Palmisano did not know who did the killing, he suspected “it was an old vendetta that came out of Kenosha.”
Two FBI agents interviewed August Palmisano on September 18, 1975 at Richie’s Tavern. Palmisano said he did not know who killed August Maniaci but that he was very upset about it. He denied being involved in any illegal activities, which the FBI knew to be false. They also considered his answers evasive.
An informant told the FBI on September 18, 1975 that Steve DeSalvo had been appointed to the Board of Directors at Del Chemical by Frank Balistrieri, and this had upset Frank Stelloh. He did not know why Stelloh was upset. He further said Stelloh had patched things up with his girlfriend, but was also now seeing a younger woman who worked at the Pancake House.
On Friday, September 19, 1975, it became public that Steve DeSalvo was picked by owner Jean Youse to become an executive at Del Chemical Company in Menomonee Falls. DeSalvo was suggested by Frank Balistrieri’s son, Joseph, who happened to be Youse’s attorney. Del Chemical already had a troubled history, with a recent arrest for bribery by Youse’s husband Rocco and several salesmen, who made improper offers to the mayor of Menasha. According to Youse, “Joe said, ‘Jan, you haven’t run a business before and he can help you’ and he’s been a tremendous help.” Within a year, the company would file for bankruptcy.
FBI agents observed Frank Stelloh on September 29, 1975 at 11:50am at Keith’s Pancake House with another man in a brown Cadillac. The agents followed the Cadillac to Bill Blackmore Oldsmobile, where another man was picked up.
John J. Whitehall, 29, was on trial before Judge Robert W. Warren on October 1, 1975 for federal obstruction of justice, for telling Phillip Jung that Theodore Beaver would “bury him”. The court was also presented with a transcript where Whitehall had allegedly told Jung, “You don’t know how lucky you are. We’ve discussed blowing your little bald fucking head off your shoulders.”
Attorney Gerald P. Boyle argued Vincent Maniaci’s appeal on October 5, 1975 before a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Appeals Court. Boyle said that because the judge had referenced “The Godfather” during his jury instructions, the jury was biased and the court’s decision should be reversed. Judge Wilbur F. Pell told Boyle, “I don’t think you’re giving the Milwaukee jurors any credit.” Judge Luther M. Swygert concurred, pointing out that sometimes judges “say too much”, but this does not automatically qualify as an error.
Whitehall was acquitted on October 7, following the closing argument of his attorney, Joseph Hallows. Hallows acknowledged that Jung had “a black eye and a fat lip” but pointed out that Whitehall “never laid a finger” on him. He said it was not logical for a beating after grand jury testimony, rather than before, to be an obstruction of justice. And he further said the insinuation that Whitehall was Vincent Maniaci’s “henchman” was a stretch, as the two had only met a couple of times.
An informant told the FBI on October 10, 1975 that Frank Stelloh was involved with a man in Oshkosh who was distributing pornographic films. The man was described as 45-50 years old, with brown bushy hair, and he was said to manage a department store.
On Tuesday, October 21, 1975, the Shorecrest Hotel had its liquor license approved under the name of Anthony C. Cimino, 27. Opposing the license was Alderman Edward Griffin, joined by Robert Ertl. Griffin, as he had earlier that year with Little Caesar’s, questioned who would really be running the bar.
Cimino, a few days later, started a court action against Griffin alleging possible libel or defamation. A hearing date was set for November 3 in front of Court Commissioner Henry G. Piano. At the hearing, Griffin was asked to name his constituent who allegedly gave Griffin unflattering information about Cimino. Griffin, through Attorney John Kitzke, said that information was privileged and would not divulge it.
Someone involved in the Northbrook case (Basile?) was arrested on October 24, 1975 for soliciting prostitutes.
An informant told the FBI on October 24, 1975 that the Iron Horse had been foreclosed on by the bank. He further said “the black cook had lost her shirt trying to run the place”.
The last week of October 1975, an informant was in Richie’s on Broadway and spoke with Vincent Maniaci. Maniaci told the informant that Frank Balistrieri had been “pulling some unethical deals” on the Milwaukee guys, and he blamed Balistrieri for his brother’s death. “I feel like blowing that little son-of-a-bitch’s brains out,” he told the informant.
On Friday, October 31, 1975, Anthony Pipito, 38, was bound over for trial for soliciting prostitutes for comedian Sid Caesar by Judge Patrick J. Madden. During a break in the hearing, Pipito told reporters, “They’re letting five people go to get me.” Caesar, a man and three prostitutes were granted immunity to testify against Pipito. A 23-year old prostitute said she met Pipito and Caesar at the Astor Hotel, where Caesar “was mumbling his words”. She stayed roughly an hour and performed a sexual act. Pipito was also bound over on a charge of extortion after Thomas Garrella testified that Pipito had threatened him not to tell what he knew about Pipito, the prostitutes and the pimp, Herbert Holland. Pipito was working as a set designer at the Centre Stage Playhouse, where Caesar was performing the Neil Simon play “Prisoner of Second Avenue”.
Max Adonnis was sentenced on November 3, 1975 to eight years in Waupun State Prison for two counts of auto theft from three years prior.
An informant told the FBI on November 7, 1975 that Frank Stelloh was put in charge of collecting $8000 in bad debts for a man in Phoenix who had previously been a West Allis merchant. Apparently, two men from Illinois complained to the attorney general about Stelloh’s use of pressure.
A man who had financial dealings with Steve DeSalvo and was represented by Joseph Balistrieri testified before the grand jury on November 11, 1975 and pleaded the Fifth.
An informant told the FBI on November 20, 1975 that Joseph Enea had been arrested after the owner of the Empire Lounge (716 North Plankinton Avenue) reported him for selling off the lounge’s furnishings (bar stools, lights, tables and piano).
On November 28, 1975, a source told the FBI that August Palmisano was receiving football betting information, and also said that Pasquale’s on Capitol was beginning to get a reputation as a gambler hangout. The same source said that Vince Maniaci had been hosting craps games in his apartment, and numerous people were involved — losses were extensive.
Steve DeSalvo, Frank Stelloh and various Italians met at the Pfister Hotel on November 30, 1975. At one point, DeSalvo took someone aside and scolded them for mentioning Frank Balistrieri’s name while being taped by the FBI.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of Vincent Maniaci on December 4, 1975.
An informant reported that Frank Buccieri was in town on December 10, 1975 and staying at the Holiday Inn Central at 19th and Wisconsin. He was allegedly helping to sell Trovato’s and was going to take the owner with him to Palm Springs. Buccieri was further rumored to “have something on” a manager (who was also an attorney) at the Holiday Inn and stayed there without charge.
By December 10, 1975, Joseph Enea was running Joey’s on Brady, which was a sandwich shop. His son was responsible for much of the cooking, and it was reportedly a failing business.
The Teamsters held their Christmas party at the Center Stage on December 14, 1975. They were billed for 327 persons at a cost of $12,406.99. Among the attendees were Mayor Henry Maier, Judge Robert Curley, Judge Louis Ceci, Judge John McCormick, Judge Robert Miech, Judge Michael Sullivan, County Supervisor F. Thomas Ament, and State Highway Commission Chairman Robert Huber. Mayor Maier spoke to the guests, though the press was not allowed inside to hear his remarks. As he was leaving, a reporter asked Maier what he had said. “What’s the point? What the goddamn point of this? What are you doing here?” the mayor asked. “I want to know what you said upstairs,” the reporter replied. “What are you trying to make of this? You’re trying to find the mayor guilty of some wrongdoing. The Journal has tried that for years and it’s found nothing.” When again asked to say what he spoke about, the mayor said the party was “a privileged affair, a private party and not an official appearance. There are six or seven judges up there. Are you going to take their pictures, too?” “We might. Was Frank Balistrieri there?” “He owns the place,” said the mayor. “I didn’t know that. We always thought Peter Balistrieri owned the Centre Stage.” “Well, I always thought Frank did.” “Was he there?” “He was in the lobby, but not right in the party.” “Do you want to be associated with Frank Balistrieri?” “I’ll tell you, I don’t want to be associated with the goddamn Journal.” The reporter asked again, and the mayor replied, “I want to be associated with one person, and that’s with Henry W. Maier.”
An informant told the FBI on December 15, 1975 that William Covelli and Joseph Madrigrano were trying to purchase Marquette Liquors in Racine.
Charges against James R. Jennaro, 45, were dropped on December 15, citing lack of evidence. Closing arguments for the conspiracy trial involving Sally Papia, Joseph Basile and others were delivered on Wednesday, December 17, 1975. Joseph Balistrieri, Basile’s attorney, said, “I don’t know how you can convict him, based on the testimony of the gypsies, tramps, vagabonds and thieves that the government has presented in this case.” Those involved were convicted December 19.
Milwaukee Detective John Schroeder was forced to resign in late December 1975 after it was discovered that he was making visits to the home of Sally Papia. The purpose of these visits is unclear, but the conduct was viewed as unprofessional by Internal Affairs.
US Attorney William J. Mulligan wrote a letter to FBI Director Clarence J. Kelley on December 22, 1975 praising the Milwaukee Office’s work in the Sally Papia case. Mulligan wrote concerning the agent in charge of the investigation, “I can say without hesitation his performance exhibited the highest degree of professional competence and personal dedication.” The agent “followed every possible investigative lead” and “did the overwhelming amount of investigative leg work necessary”. The agent also provided “the personal advice which the prosecution sorely needed.”
Thomas “Tommy Fish” Piscitello, 54, plead guilty on Monday, December 29, 1975 to two counts of aiding and abetting prostitution at the Tender Trap and Fish’s Harbor taverns. His partner, Leroy Bell, was already serving time in Waupun when Piscitello accepted a plea bargain.
Joseph Frank Alioto died in 1976 at age 39.
Vincent Maniaci began serving a three year sentence in Sandstone Federal Prison on January 20, 1976 for violating the Extortionate Credit Transaction statute. A prosecutor in the Eastern District formally declined on January 28 to prosecute Maniaci for threats he had made to another man because Maniaci was in prison. Prosecution of August Palmisano and another man was not initiated because the prosecutor did not feel there was sufficient evidence.
Joseph Maniaci was convicted in Dane County of aiding in a fraudulent sale on February 5, 1976. He was sentenced to one year probation by Judge A. E. Simonson.
A red van (license C44780) arrived at the Del Chemical Company on February 11, 1976 and picked up office furniture and other equipment from the closed business.
Dismissed Detective Paul S. Viljevac went before the Milwaukee County Fire and Police Commission on February 17, 1976 to appeal his dismissal (he had provided confidential information to Max Adonnis, including a photo of drug dealer Thomas Sack). Viljevac told the commission, “Max had approached me and told me he had an informer that wanted to put down a big drug dealer.” Herbert H. Holland responded, “I told [Adonnis] we wanted it because we wanted to blow this guy away.” Inspector Kenneth Hagopian admitted that he had called Viljevac a “traitor”, a “snake” and “a cancer in our midst”. He clarified, “I had positive information that he had supplied confidential information to people who weren’t supposed to get it. I told him that if I were in his place, I would get off the department.” At the request of the assistant city attorney, a special agent testified at the hearing and Schroeder’s dismissal was upheld.
Steve DeSalvo was witnessed in late February 1976 removing a gun from a trash can outside of a McDonalds’s. Menomonee Falls Police arrested DeSalvo and took the gun. It was a .25 (6.35mm) caliber Astra-Unsety CIA S.A.-Guernica (Astra Cub) with a serial number of 939050. There was no clip or ammunition. A trace was made with negative results, and the police handed the gun over to the FBI on May 19. Their analysis also could not trace the gun to any crimes.
Salvatore DiMaggio was paroled from Waupun State Prison on March 2, 1976. He went to live with his family at 2778 North 48th Street and took up employment with Turner Construction Company. An informant told the FBI that shortly after getting out, DiMaggio was already involved in the planning of several burglaries and was contemplating setting up a narcotics (cocaine) purchase in San Diego. The burglaries would be used to finance the cocaine purchases, as DiMaggio wished to start a narcotics trade without Frank Balistrieri’s knowledge or money.
A John Doe hearing was held on Wednesday, March 10, 1976 for the 1972 slaying of Louis Fazio. Those testifying included Anthony Pipito, Jerry Mandella, Steven J. Halmo, Nick C. Tripi, Ben DiSalvo and Cosmo Carini. Continuing the next day, the star was Dominic J. Mandella, who was known to have fought with Fazio over money. Other testimony came from Francis C. Stelloh, 63, and neighbor Salvatore Crivello, 40. Stelloh was previously a suspect in the Isadore Pogrob murder.
An informant told the FBI on March 12, 1976 that the grand jury looking into Louis Fazio’s death had really shaken up the boys in Milwaukee. Frank Balistriei was upset that Frank Stelloh and Benny DiSalvo had been called to testify. DiSalvo had Joseph Balistrieri as his attorney, so there was every reason to believe that Frank was notified of the secret proceedings.
Joseph Frank Enea died of a stroke at his brother Russell’s home in Bayside on March 18, 1976. He was only 44 years old. Frank Balistrieri provided a large floral arrangement for the funeral, and attended along with his two sons. Also present were Sally Papia and Jimmy Jennaro. A rumor started that Enea was hit on the head the night of his death while leaving a bar near Brady and Arlington, but the autopsy found no evidence of foul play.
Some time around early April 1976, Phil Valley celebrated his 80th birthday at the Center Stage night club with Joseph Balistrieri as master of ceremonies. About 500 people were there, including important union men from around the country. Notable mobsters included Steve DeSalvo, Frank Balistrieri, Frank Buccieri, Peter Balistrieri and August Palmisano. The union men from out of town stayed at the Milwaukee Inn.
Max Adonnis was sentenced by Judge John Reynolds on April 12, 1976 to fifteen years in the custody of the Attorney General to be served concurrently with his eight-year state sentence. Reynolds sentenced Sally Papia to one year probation on April 26.
Theodore Beaver appeared in Milwaukee County Court on April 23, 1976 and pleaded guilty to one count of battery. He was sentenced to thirty days in jail and fined $125. Beaver had agreed to plead guilty o na state charge of battery if the federal charge of obstruction was dropped.
Joseph P. Caminiti’s car was observed outside the Centre Stage Dinner Playhouse on the evening of April 25, 1976. (Valley birthday?)
On Monday, May 24, 1976 Frank LaGalbo, who had previously been tied to three murders in Milwaukee, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the right side of his head. The weapon was a 6.35mm Astra automatic. Although it appeared as though he was getting into his car, the medical examiner ruled it a suicide. Two suicide notes were found in his home. Police did not investigate further, noting that LaGalbo had been in fear of his life for a long time. LaGalbo’s brother-in-law, Joseph Regano, was with Frank the morning he died and said Frank was depressed, especially since suffering a stroke in January that left him paralyzed on his left side.
Steve DeSalvo was observed at the Shorecrest Hotel on May 24, 1976. At 2:23pm, he was sitting in the front seat of a red Plymouth talking with another man.
James P. Venske, 36, was interviewed at Sandstone Federal Prison on June 2, 1976. He said he had met a man and they hit it off, and the man (redacted) told him to come to Milwaukee some time. Venske did so in February 1976 and was taken to Sandino’s Cocktail Lounge and Richie’s tavern, where he met August Palmisano and Vincent Maniaci.
In June 1976, August Palmisano sold his one-third ownership of Palmy Corp (which owned Richie’s on Broadway) to his son, John A. Palmisano.
On July 13, 1976, Special Agents observed Frank Stelloh arrive at Meurer’s Restaurant and Bakery (Forest Home at Morgan) at 6:50am. Steve DeSalvo arrived at 9:56am and meet up with Stelloh. At 8:44am, both men left the restaurant and drove separately to 5746 South 116th Street. At 9:19am, DeSalvo left the residence and went to the Southgate Shopping Center where he was seen window shopping before joining five other men at the Walgreens Drug Store Restaurant.
On July 15, 1976, Stelloh arrived at Meurer’s at 7:06am where he met with a man driving a black over blue Cadillac (license R99-862) one minute later. At 7:53am, DeSalvo arrived. At 8:29am, the three departed separately. Agents chose to follow DeSalvo, who went home, parking his Cordoba in the garage behind his house.
On July 16, Stelloh arrived at Meurer’s at 6:41am. He sat at the corner table left of the entrance. At 7:45am, another man arrived and sat with Stelloh. The second man left at 8:45am in a black Cadillac. Rather than stay with Stelloh, the agents tailed the other man to a house near South 116th Street and Seneca Trail in Hales Corners.
On July 21, 1976, Steve DeSalvo was observed at Frank Balistrieri’s residence from 2:45pm to 3:00pm.
On July 26, 1976, Frank Stelloh was observed leaving his home at 5:40pm and go to Grandlich Jewelers at the Country Fair Shopping Center (5620 South 108th Street, Hales Corners). He was in the store from 5:44 to 6:05pm. After this, he was followed north to Cedarburg and lost by the agents.
On July 27, 1976 at 5:39pm, Stelloh arrived at Grandlich Jewelers. At 6:00pm, Stelloh came out with an unknown woman and talked until 6:12pm. They went separate ways. He was then followed by agents to his home.
On July 28, 1976 at 6:50am, Stelloh arrived at Meurer’s. He was joined by the driver of a Cadillac at 7:07am. The Cadillac driver left at 8:24am. Stelloh and an unknown man in his early 30s exited the restaurant at 8:45am and walked to the man’s blue Ford pickup. The man drove off in his truck at 8:56am and Stelloh left a minute later. Some point this same day, the FBI went to Walgreens at the Southgate Shopping Center and wrote down the license plate numbers of the cars there, as Steve DeSalvo had used this as a meeting place and they wanted to know who he was meeting. (The file is redacted, so unless I want to run a VIN check on each of the cars, this will have to remain a mystery.)
Already waiting at Meurer’s on July 29, 1976 since 5:49am were the man who drives the black Cadillac and a man with a white Oldsmobile. Another man with a Cadillac arrived at 7:10am and purchased a newspaper from the stand there. Frank Stelloh arrived at 7:15am. DeSalvo arrived at 7:21am. At 8:27am, a man in his 20s arrived in a Ford Thunderbird. At 8:38am, everyone goes out to the parking lot to chat and the man in the T-Bird leaves. Stelloh and DeSalvo both left at 9:03am. The agents follow the black Cadillac after seeing the driver take an unknown item from Stelloh’s car. At 8:52am, the Cadillac parked at 6000 South 116th Street in Hales Corners and the surveillance stopped.
On July 30, Stelloh was seen at Meurer’s at 6:45am reading a newspaper. At 7:16am, another man arrived in his Cadillac and sat by Stelloh, conversing and reading the newspaper. DeSalvo arrived at 7:23am and joined them in conversation. DeSalvo left at 8:12am. The second man left at 8:21am, taking a newspaper from Stelloh’s car as he left. Stelloh left at 8:24am.
FBI agents were surveilling Frank Stelloh’s house on August 3, 1976. At 10:37pm, two men came out and shined a flashlight in and around Stelloh’s car before returning to the house. At 10:50pm he left, and Stelloh was followed west to a house at W310S1337 on County I in Mukwonago.
On August 5, 1976, Stelloh arrived at Meurer’s at 7:12am with his newspaper. At 7:24am, another man arrived and entered the restaurant with his newspaper. DeSalvo arrived at 8:23am. All three leave at 8:50am and talk in the parking lot. The unknown man left first, followed by DeSalvo at 9:26am and Stelloh at 9:28am. DeSalvo was observed at the Southgate Shopping Center and Walgreen’s Restaurant with an unknown white male from 9:30am to 9:41am. From 10:47 to 10:58, DeSalvo and the man were at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Stelloh arrived at Meurer’s on August 13, 1976 at 6:55am and brought a newspaper in with him. At 7:03am, the driver of a black Cadillac arrived and took a second newspaper from Stelloh’s car, bringing it into the restaurant. DeSalvo arrived at 7:48am. All three men, plus a fourth man, exited at 8:53am. The unknown man was followed in his brown Oldsmobile to Richie’s on Broadway. Once there, another unknown man came outside and talked to him briefly before the Oldsmobile drove off.
Steve DeSalvo was observed on September 10, 1976 at 4:30pm at Pitch’s Restaurant on Humboldt with an unidentified man.
Steve DeSalvo was observed on September 17, 1976 from 11:02am to 11:27am at the Walgreens on South 27th Street.
On September 23, 1976, Teamsters President Frank Fitzsimmons spoke with the press and said that Frank Ranney would cooperate with federal investigators — after reports that he was pleading the Fifth — and also resign his post. William Presser of Cleveland, another key figure of the pension fund, had already resigned. An unidentified source said Ranney had become ineffective since March, when he met in Kansas City with trustee Donald Peters and attorney Alvin Baron, the assets manager of the pension fund. Baron was close to Allen Dorfman, and would end up getting indicted in December for accepting a $200,000 kickback from Foy Bryant, who operated a cemetery in Fair Oaks, California.
By September 30, 1976, Frank Ranney had still not submitted his letter of resignation, and the Department of Labor gave him until October 1 to do so. Ranney’s attorney, Raymond J. Smith of Chicago, would not speak to the press. Smith had previously represented Allen Dorfman. A government spokesman said, “If there is no response from Mr. Ranney… we don’t know what we’ll do. We will have to make that decision afterward.” The spokesman said they have the authority to oust Ranney under the Pension Reform Act.
On October 2, 1976 (during the 1976 football season), FBI agents observed Sam Librizzi meet with Steve DeSalvo in the parking lot of St. Michael’s Hospital. When they were observed, Librizzi had the trunk of his vehicle open and both were standing at the rear of the vehicle talking. Photographs were taken of them on this occasion by government attorney J. Kenneth Lowrie. Later on October 2, 1976, after Librizzi and DeSalvo left the St. Michael Hospital parking lot, DeSalvo was observed going to Frank Balistrieri’s house and then leaving a short while later. Librizzi had gone to Sammy’s Tap at 630 East Locust.
On October 3, 1976, agents of the FBI observed DeSalvo again meeting with Sam Librizzi in the parking lot of St. Michael’s. DeSalvo was at the lot when Librizzi arrived. Upon arriving, Librizzi got into DeSalvo’s car. The two were observed discussing something in DeSalvo’s auto for approximately 10 minutes. On October 4, 1976, agents again observed Librizzi meet with DeSalvo at the hospital parking lot. On this occasion, DeSalvo got into Librizzi’s car for a short period of time and then both got out and stood alongside the vehicle. The meeting lasted approximately four minutes, and during it DeSalvo was gesturing in a forceful manner and speaking in a very loud voice. On this occasion, Librizzi said little or nothing, and was observed shrugging his shoulders.
On October 6, 1976, the Milwaukee Police Department began a “bumper hook” surveillance on Steve DeSalvo. The FBI observed DeSalvo and Stelloh meeting at Meurer’s at 7:45am.
On October 6, 1976, Ranney had still not resigned. His attorney instead announced that he would cooperate with investigators, and as long as he cooperated the government could not force him to resign. President Fitzsimmons still wanted Ranney to step down. A pension fund spokesman said that Ranney’s attorney said that his client would “blow the lid off everything, whatever that means.”
On October 25, 1976, Teamsters pension fund executive director Daniel J. Shannon announced he would be re-structuring the fund’s board of trustees, including reducing the membership from 16 to 10. Of the new board, four members would be carried over and six would be new. Frank Ranney was specifically mentioned as one member who would not be returning. This decision effectively forced him out of the union (at least officially). Ranney would retire from the union altogether in December, although he maintained a strong connection to the union and continued to drive a car registered to the union.
On October 29, 1976, the new pension fund board was announced. Along with Frank Ranney, Milwaukee attorney Thomas J. Duffey was also removed. A new member was Robert E. Schlieve, the president of Local 563 in Appleton.
On November 6, 1976, special agents saw Steve DeSalvo, a redacted individual and Frank Stelloh arrive at Meurer’s at 7:35am. The FBI noted that DeSalvo “was closely followed on his arrival by two unmarked cars obviously being driven by detectives of the Milwaukee Police Department.”
By December 1976, Steve DeSalvo was involved with United Commissary and Supply and was suspected of trying to muscle in on the produce business on Commission Row. This apparently upset the Italian community. (UCS was incorporated August 3, 1976 and its registered agent was Joseph P. Balistrieri of 212 West Wisconsin Avenue.)
The Teamsters held their Christmas party at the Center Stage on December 12, 1976. They were billed for 298 persons at a cost of $12,981.73.
August Palmisano was with his girlfriend, Hattie Evelyn Sims, on December 24, 1976. While she was cooking dinner, she died of a heart attack at age 44.
Gambler Louis Simon died in Las Vegas in late December 1976.
On Wednesday, February 2, 1977, Federal Judge Myron L. Gordon declined a request from Steve DeSalvo and Joseph A. Logue to have the Milwaukee Police Department stop surveilling them. The two alleged that the police had used “unconstitutional strong-arm tactics, threats and obscene language” against them. Further, they alleged that the police had scared and intimidated friends of the Logues’ children.
Two FBI agents visited Joseph Caminiti at his home on March 1, 1977. Caminiti was reluctant to talk to them, but did admit knowing both August Maniaci and Louis Fazio, though knew nothing about who had killed them. He was shown a photograph of Frank Bompensiero and denied knowing who he was. Caminiti said he was not very active around Milwaukee since retiring from the Teamsters union.
In early March 1977, a reunion was held on Jackson Street for certain Italians. Steve DeSalvo was supposed to have been there, but was apparently out of town. August Palmisano and Tony Machi (owner of Teddy’s) were present.
On Sunday, March 13, 1977, Frank Fitzsimmons agreed to resign his post from the Central States Pension Fund following pressure from the government, particularly the new Labor Secretary, Ray Marshall. He was supposed to step down by April 30. In exchange for his stepping down, the IRS agreed to keep the Fund’s tax-exempt status and the Labor Department agreed to stop its investigation into the management of fund assets. (Unfortunately for history, a further investigation might have yielded more interesting stories.) Also stepping down were Roy Williams, John F. Spickerman and A. G. Massa. They resigned April 29.
On Tuesday, March 15, 1977, two pistol shots shattered the window of The Hair Company at 5:30pm. The Hair Company, on the second floor at 324 East Wisconsin Avenue, was owned by Charles Seth Gottlieb, the son-in-law of Frank Balistrieri. Gottlieb immediately called his business partner, Michael Haas, at his residence at 3240 North Gordon Place. Michael was not home, but his wife Marie informed Gottlieb that the home had also just been shot — with two shotgun blasts and four pistol shots.
On March 29, 1977, Charles Nicoletti received three .38 slugs to the back of his head while waiting in his Oldsmobile in a suburban Northlake, Illinois, restaurant parking lot. He was brought to the hospital where he died six hours later. Nicoletti’s car was never turned off, and consequently overheated and started on fire. Some said that Nicoletti was murdered in retaliation for a hit on a Milwaukee, Wisconsin mob leader, but this is probably a false lead.
Paul LaGalbo sold his firm, Midwest Vendors, to Alioto Distributing in 1977 for $4100.
Frank Fitzsimmons held a rally at the Washington Hilton Hotel on April 6, 1977. He vowed to not only finish his term as Teamsters president, but run for re-election. Protesters outside the hotel carried signs saying “Clean Up Your Act” and “Throw the Bums Out”.
An FBI agent visited Frank Stelloh’s residence (5743 South 116th Street) on April 21, 1977 and attempted an interview. Stelloh said, “I don’t give a shit what you want. I got nothing to say. I don’t know anything, so leave me alone.”
A special agents= interviewed Vito Aiello in Aiello’s 1969 Cadillac parked on Maryland Avenue several blocks from his home on May 13, 1977. Aiello was asked about August Maniaci’s murder, and said he knew nothing but speculated that Maniaci owed a gambling debt to “those people”. When pressed about who he meant, Aiello responded that the agent “knew the people I’m talking about”. Aiello said he was a friend of the Maniaci family and knew most of the Italian hoodlums from social gatherings, but insisted he was not personally involved in any criminal activity.
In June 1977, the Lib Book Store (601 North 5th Street) came under scrutiny as possibly providing obscene materials for sale. Two clerks had been arrested for selling books with obscene photos two years prior. The building was rented to them by Nick and Beverly Gentile, who operated Beverly’s Lounge next door at 605 North 5th. The Gentiles, in turn rented out both sections from Ervin and Joseph Beck, the owners of Manitoba Corporation. The Becks also owned the Mitchell Novelty Company, a large pinball operation.
Albert Albana died on June 10, 1977.
On June 21, 1977 Vincent Maniaci was released from Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago and placed in Milwaukee Inner City Halfway House at 2407 West Fond Du Lac Avenue. The administrator there was Clennistine Wilder.
Michael J. Maniaci was convicted of possession of cocaine on June 23, 1977. He was sentenced to one year probation by Judge V. Manian.
On June 28, 1977, The FBI witnessed Steve DeSalvo in a white over red 1977 Thunderbird with license plate GP8974 (a rental car from Econo Leasing Corporation). With him was Nick George Montos.
The FBI followed Steve DeSalvo on June 29, 1977. He met with a man (redacted) at 9:25am at the Ryan Road Stop. At 10:46am, DeSalvo entered the Thunderbird being driven by Frank Balistrieri at the Shorecrest Hotel and they drive to Peter Balistrieri’s home and enter it. At 11:58am, DeSalvo and Montos have a conversation in the alley behind Peter’s house and then Montos walks to 1506 North VanBuren to make a call from a pay phone. At 12:27pm, Peter Balistrieri and a passenger leave in a white over red Cadillac. DeSalvo and Montos follow in the Thunderbird, going to the Summerfest grounds. They return already by 12:56pm. At 2:02pm, Joseph Balistrieri arrives in a Rolls Royce and drops off Frank Balistrieri. From 2:06 to 2:21pm, Montos makes another call from the pay phone. At 2:23pm, Montos and DeSalvo leave in the Thunderbird. At 2:41pm, DeSalvo unlocks the Brass Rail and watches the Towne Room with Montos. At 3:12pm, DeSalvo drops Montos off at the corner of North and Lake (outside St. Mary’s Hospital, where he had been admitted for kidney stones at 1:30am that morning) and returns to Peter Balistrieri’s house. Montos is picked up at 4:20pm by a 1977 gold Cadillac and returns to the vicinity of the Towne Room before heading on to Summerfest. (One of the phone calls was to the residence of John W. Kelly, 53, 1642 West Edgewater Avenue in Chicago. Kelly was employed by the Penn Central Railroad and was not known to have Outfit connections.)
On the morning of June 30, 1977, a blue Mercedes was observed observing Vincent Maniaci.
June 30, 1977: Frank Balistrieri leaves his residence at 2:20pm and gets into a 1977 white over red Ford Thunderbird. He goes to the Prospect Mall (East Prospect) and is inside from 2:25pm to 2:28pm. From there, he goes to the Shorecrest Hotel and parks in the parking lot. He is in the hotel from 2:30pm to 2:51pm. Next, he goes to the residence of Peter Balistrieri and enters at 2:56pm. Peter arrives a minute later and goes inside.
July 1, 1977: Vince Maniaci entered Snugs restaurant at 10:45pm. Frank Balistrieri entered Snugs at 12:05am. They have a conversation, joined by a white female, until Maniaci leaves at 2:20am and goes to Pitch’s. Balistrieri leaves at 2:30am and goes to the Plankinton Hotel.
By July 6, 1977 the FBI had been informed that Joseph Caminiti had retired as underboss and no one was filling in for his position, leaving Balistrieri working directly with his two capos: Steve DeSalvo and Peter Balistrieri. It is this author’s understanding that this is the smallest the Milwaukee Family has ever been since its earliest days.
July 13, 1977: A Special Agent walked in and saw Steve DeSalvo in conversation with (redacted) in the restaurant of the Milwaukee Inn at 9:50am. DeSalvo exited out the rear at 10:03am. The two men with DeSalvo drove a blue Mercury that traced to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Agents followed DeSalvo on Tuesday, July 19, 1977 both on foot and through aerial surveillance. At 6:35am, he bought a newspaper at 76th and Nash. From 7:06 am to 7:51am, he met with a man in a green jeep at the Country Kitchen. DeSalvo dropped his Chrysler off at Sears Automotive Center in Brookfield Square to have new shocks installed. He was picked up by the green jeep at 8:29am and brought to a flea market in Jefferson where (redacted) was selling jackets and purses at a flea market. They had lunch at a cafe on Highway 26 and then returned to Milwaukee to pick up the Chrysler at 1:11pm. At 2:53pm, DeSalvo picked up John Molle, who flew into town the day before, and brought him to General Mitchell Airport. At 3:44pm, Molle departed on an Ozark Airlines airplane.
On Wednesday, July 20, 1977, DeSalvo went to Arlington Park Race Track where he was watched by agents from both Milwaukee and Chicago. At the race track, DeSalvo met with approximately 8 to 10 individuals, one identified as Chicago mobster Joseph Anthony Ferriola, an associate of Frank Buccieri. Another man there was Paul John “the Indian” Schiro.
Friday, July 22, 1977: Surveillance began at DeSalvo’s residence (4163 North 82nd Street) at 6:15am. He leaves in a white Chrysler at 6:55am, buys a newspaper from a vending machine at 76th and Nash at 6:58am. At 7:18am, he enters the Country Kitchen restaurant at Edgerton Road and Highway 100 in Hales Corners. Man in a green jeep arrives at 7:40am. Frank Stelloh arrives. They have a conversation about DeSalvo having some “great steaks” (apparently a large quantity) and they think the FBI has paid people “a couple of bucks” to call in and give updates on them. DeSalvo also mentioned that he had to see “the man in the wheelchair”. The men leave the restaurant at 8:57am and converse in the parking lot. DeSalvo leaves and arrives at 317 North Broadway at 9:14am. At 9:28, DeSalvo leaves with another man and they walk to The Broadway. The men leave the Broadway at 9:50am, walk back to DeSalvo’s car, shake hands. At 10:00am, DeSalvo meets a 40-year old bespectacled black male at Atkinson Avenue just west of I-43. DeSalvo looks in the back seat of the man’s 1975 black Buick and then leaves at 10:08am. Between 10:20 and 11:31am, DeSalvo is at his home. He parks at Whitlock Auto Supply (Highway 100 at Grange Road) at 11:49am, collects a small brown bag and leaves. He heads south on Highway 45 and enters Illinois at 12:45pm. At 1:28pm, he stopped for lunch at Wendy’s in Mundelein on Highway 53. From 1:43pm to 3:45pm, DeSalvo stayed in the Classic Club area of the Arlington Race Track alone. He travels north and takes a bathroom break at 4:50pm at a wayside on Highway 45, just north of the state border. Surveillance was terminated at 5:13pm in Union Grove. By this time, the costs of rental cars and rental aircraft used in surveillance reached $904.
On July 22, 1977, an informant told the FBI that August Palmisano and Frank Balistrieri had been getting into arguments and were not getting along.
July 26, 1977: DeSalvo leaves his home at 6:59am, buys a newspaper at 76th and Nash, and then proceeds to eat breakfast at the Big Boy (2717 North 108th Street). After breakfast, he leaves and parks at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections at 8:20am. He meets another car and both of them continue to the Ryan Road Truck Stop (where Ryan Road meets I-94) at 8:40am. DeSalvo leaves at 9:18am, goes to the downtown area, is observed making numerous turns and u-turns, possibly to “shake” the surveilling agents. From 10:11am to 10:35am, he was inside an apartment complex near 28th and Kilbourn, using the rear entrance.
At 12:21pm July 28, 1977, DeSalvo used the phone on VanBuren between Pleasant and Lyon. He and another man then walk to Brady Street, where they each use a telephone at Brady and Astor. At 12:38pm, they return to where they were.
Special Agents again trailed Steve DeSalvo on August 2, 1977. He left his home at 7:06am, stopped and bought a newspaper at Nash and 76th. At 7:28am, he met (redacted) in the parking lot of Country Kitchen in Hales Corners. At 9:00am, DeSalvo leaves the Country Kitchen and goes to Ninth and Atkinson where he buys another newspaper. At 9:26am, he arrives at County Park at Green Bay and Hampton, where he reads his newspaper. At 9:40am, he leaves the park and takes I-43 south. At 9:49am, DeSalvo arrived at Produce Row (Buffalo at Broadway) and entered Maglio and Company. From there, DeSalvo and a white male go to Broadway Grill from 9:51am to 10:17am. DeSalvo returns to Maglio and Company, where a cardboard box is loaded into his car from a rear entrance. From 10:44 to 10:48am, DeSalvo was in the Plaza Motor Hotel (somewhere near Cass and State). He stops at home from 11:15 to 11:55am, and then uses the pay phone at 84th and Lisbon, and parks in the Sentry parking lot and enters 7504 West Appleton. At 12:22pm, he makes a call from Keefe and Appleton, then another call at 12:34pm at 56th and Burleigh. At 12:50pm, he parked his car at 29th and State and sat in his car. He makes a call from the phone booth on the corner, then walks to the rear entrance of the apartment complex at 2804 West Kilbourn. He leaves the apartment at 1:20pm and goes to the Mayfair Shopping Center. At 1:56pm, he returned to the Sentry parking lot and agents lost sight of him.
At 6:49pm on August 2, 1977, a special agent sat at the bar area inside Snug’s and soon (by coincidence) Frank Balistrieri sat down next to him. Soon, approximately ten other men sat at the bar, some of them wearing red, white and green (Italian) golfing hats. One of the men was August Palmisano. Another was a German (name redacted). The men were overheard ro say they were planning the Italian Open which was to be held August 7. The men presented Balistrieri with a small box which contained another one of the golfing caps. Also overheard was that one of them had recently purchased the Holiday Inn at 26th and Wisconsin and would soon be leasing the building to Marquette University. One man repeatedly asked the agent if he was a police officer, insisting that he had seen the agent somewhere before. The agent left at 10:34pm.
August 5, 1977: special agent entered Snug’s at 6:04pm. At roughly 6:24pm, Frank Balistrieri entered, sat at the table immediately to the left of the entrance, and started in conversation with another man. All the agent could hear was that either Balistrieri or the man were looking to get some trucks. The agent left at 8:13pm.
On Saturday, August 6, 1977, FBI agents ran surveillance on Frank Balistrieri from 3:53pm until 12:52am around Snug’s. He was seen with another person and a couple that came in a car with Florida license plates. The couple was followed to the Pewaukee Park Knoll Apartments.
Sunday, August 7, 1977: the Italian Open, with many gamblers and hoodlums in attendance. People connected to Steve DeSalvo were on the committee.
Roughly August 10, 1977, Vincent Maniaci was called before a grand jury to testify about the use of .22 pistols in gangland murders — over 25 such murders were known to have featured .22s in the last two years, including the murder of August Maniaci. Maniaci pleaded the Fifth.
On Thursday, August 11, 1977, rock star Peter Frampton testified in Milwaukee on a John Doe hearing investigated drug traffic by Charles Gottlieb. Frampton knew the Gottliebs because they were friends with Milwaukee native Penny McCall, Frampton’s girlfriend. When performing in Milwaukee, Frampton even wore a Hair Company jacket and the Gottliebs were backstage.
Also on August 11, FBI agents witnessed John “Johnny Apes” Monteleone driving a silver car with Illinois plates and following the activities of Vincent Maniaci.
On August 12, 1977, a wake was held for Frank Balistrieri’s aunt Rose Balistrieri-Balestrere (wife of Vito Balestrere) at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Steve DeSalvo was in attendance.
Attempted Murder of Vince Maniaci
August 17, 1977: 6:30am, Vince Maniaci came downstairs and had a cup of coffee and watched the morning news with Wally Vivians, the financial counselor of the halfway house. He left at 7:06am and had trouble keeping up with traffic. A bomb consisting of 18 sticks and 4 half-sticks of dynamite (Red Arrow Dupont, 70% strength) was found in his 1969 Buick Electra at the Lake Front Car and Cycle Shop (1334 North VanBuren) by mechanic Thomas Wendlandt. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ralph Hill arrived at 8:05am. Milwaukee police arrived at 8:20am and evacuated the surrounding buildings. The bomb did not go off because Maniaci had pushed own on the accelator, jamming the device. Had he turned the ignition before hitting the accelerator, the bomb would have detonated. At 2:00pm, a conference was held at the Milwaukee Police Department between the police, ATF, FBI, Vincent Manaici and his attorney. Maniaci was put under 24-hour guard, and after Maniaci left the room, the Milwaukee Police representative berated the FBI agent for not telling the police that they knew a contract was out on Maniaci’s life. The agent denied the accusation, saying they had several meetings over the last few weeks where this issue was brought up.
August 18, 1977 in the Milwaukee Journal an unnamed FBI official said, “All our Mafia sources are being tightlipped about this. We think Vince knows why the bomb was planted but doesn’t know exactly who put it there.” An FBI official (perhaps the same one) told the Sentinel, “He’s of the old school and won’t say anything.” Pierce County Sheriff Stanley Christiansen suggested the dynamite came from a theft of 1600 pounds of dynamite from Pierce County Highway Department’s storage sheds east of Ellsworth back on July 24. FBI agents said this was not the same dynamite. (It was soon traced to part of 431 cases from Potomac Works in West Virginia, but could not be further narrowed down. A dark brown hair was also found attached to the tape surrounding the bomb.)
August 19, 1977 in the Milwaukee Sentinel an unnamed ATF official said, “Whoever put that bomb together wouldn’t have worried about fingerprints, since the explosion would have destroyed all the evidence anyway.” He believed it was “unlikely it was put together by someone wearing gloves”, as the design was too intricate.
Angelo Fazio was convicted of soliciting prostitutes on August 19, 1977. He was sentenced to three years probation and banned from operating a restaurant or tavern by Judge V. Manian.
On August 23, 1977, Vincent Maniaci was sent back to Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago by William Bycott, the Wisconsin community programs officer for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. “It was my judgment that his safety could not be assured in Milwaukee,” Bycott said. “It was my decision entirely. I wouldn’t want to have to ride in a car pool with him.”
An informant told the FBI on September 11, 1977 that he heard a rumor that Nick Gentile was told by Frank Balistrieri a week before the car bomb that Gentile should keep his distance from Vincent Maniaci.
FBI Agents looked over the registration cards at the Holiday Inn (201 North Mayfair Road) on September 12, 1977 and found someone of interest in the Maniaci bombing had stayed there in Room 204 on August 11. (The name is redacted, but the residence is shown to be Milwaukee, and he had a guest.)
On Tuesday, October 18, 1977, oilman Ray Ryan, 72, was killed by a car bomb in Evansville, Indiana after leaving a health spa. The dynamite had been placed in the trunk of his Lincoln Continental — one piece was found 377 feet from the scene of the explosion. The bomb damaged nearby cars and took out power in eastern Evansville. Ryan, who had been born in Watertwon as the son of a highway contractor, had started his career as a horse book operator in 1920s and 30s Milwaukee before becoming a multimillionaire and co-owning the Mt. Kenya Safari Club with actor William Holden. Twelve years earlier, he had testified against mobsters Marshall Caifano and Charles Delmonico for trying to extort $60,000 out of him — they were both sent to prison. He had also been in trouble with the IRS for business holdings he had in Jamaica.
Dominic F. Picciurro was convicted of shoplifting on October 20, 1977. He was sentenced to one year probation by Judge Laurence C. Gram, Jr and ordered to undergo a psychological examination.
An informant told the FBI on October 31, 1977 that Frank Balistrieri had been talking about “taking care of” August Palmisano because he was a close associate of Vincent Maniaci. Eight months later he would follow through on this threat.
An informant told the FBI on November 4, 1977 that Balistrieri no longer considered Vincent Maniaic a threat, despite the failed bombing attempt. Balistrieri allegedly said that people now knew “if they stepped out of line, the Outfit would take care of them.”
The Teamsters held their Christmas party at the Center Stage on December 11, 1977. They were billed for 313 persons at a cost of $13,844.17.
Vincent Maniaci suffered a heart attack on December 18, 1977 while in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He was rushed to the Cook County Hospital where he was in critical condition. Maniaci remained in the hospital until January 4.
Frank Balistrieri’s football gambling business accepted $6,710 in wagers on December 23, 1977, $11,090 in wagers on December 24, 1977, $1,850 in wagers on December 25, 1977, and $12,060 in wagers on December 26, 1977.
On December 29, 1977, Dennis Librizzi was observed meeting with Nunzio Basile, a writer for Sam Librizzi’s 1977 bookmaking operation, at the Kohl’s Food Store parking lot on Mequon Road. This meeting occurred pursuant to arrangements made the previous day in a telephone conversation between Sam Librizzi and Basile.
Joseph Basile was convicted of soliciting prostitutes on January 5, 1978. He was sentenced to five years by Judge Robert W. Landry to run concurrently with his federal sentence at Leavenworth.
On the evening of January 5, 1978 from 5:35pm until 8:40pm, someone (redacted) hid a tape recorder to try to get more information concerning the bombing of Vincent Maniaci and murder of August Maniaci. Unfortunately, the tape came back unintelligible and laboratory enhancement did not help.
On January 13, 1978, a tape recorder was hidden in the same location as it had been on January 5. This time the tape picked up some background noise, including a ventilator, and the general voice recordings were poor. However, the tape was still believed to contain “some pertinent information” to the Maniaci investigations. The tapes were played for two assistant US attorneys on January 20, and they agreed the information was not incriminating enough and that the sound quality was too poor to use at trial anyway.
In 1978, John Balistrieri helped Jennie Alioto to purchase a rental property at 1601 North Jackson Street in Milwaukee. Since the purchase, John Balistrieri had assisted Alioto in managing the property.
Thomas Torkelson was awarded $30,118 in civil court on January 19, 1978. Torkelson, who had owned the truckload of Hershey’s Kisses stolen four years prior, sued Frank Cicerello, Phillip Blake and Candy House owner Nicholas Baudo for their part in the theft of the truck and candy.
On February 2, 1978, Milwaukee attorney Thomas J. Duffey spoke to the press about his part as a defendant in a Labor Department lawsuit against the Central States Pension Fund. “Of course I’m going to fight this,” he said. “But I’ll do my talking in the court papers. I’m going to defend this thing vigorously. When somebody sues you for millions of dollars, you don’t slough it off. This is not something unfamiliar to me in my own practice. You always start out looking for a big figure, then go down… Do I look like I’m worried? For the record, you can say I’m concerned. But you come back in three years, and you’ll be asking how the government could do this. They’ve spent millions on this case. Just come back in three years.” Duffey explained his role in the fund. “Right now, I’d say I represent about 80% of the trucking firms in Milwaukee. I’ve represented trucking companies for years. That’s how I got involved in the pension fund… I was appointed to the board of trustees as an employer’s representative. The board is split, with some trustees representing employees, some employers.” Duffey implied that suing the fun for its bad investments was hypocritical. He said the fund was “in a lot better shape than most government plans, in better shape than the Social Security fund.” Also named in the lawsuit was Frank Ranney.
The FBI interviewed the operator of the Milwaukee halfway house (2407 West Fond du Lac Avenue) Vincent Maniaci stayed at on March 15, 1978. She said he parked his vehicle in the yard area, which was accessible from the alley behind the house. She further said he kept complete records of all visitors and every time someone came or left. She had learned since the bomb was discovered that if it had gone off near the halfway house, the explosion could have greatly damaged her home and injured or killed the eleven people living there at the time. She said she had once observed a a small blue and white car with three men in it near the house, weeks before the bomb was planted, but otherwise had no recollection of anything unusual during the time Maniaci lived in the house.
Thomas J. Wendlandt, the mechanic who found the Maniaci car bomb, was interviewed by the FBI on March 16, 1978 at Lakefront Car and Cycle (1334 North VanBuren). Wendlandt told them about finding the bomb, and said that once they knew it was a bomb, Maniaci had walked away before police arrived. He did not say who might have planted it, and Wendlandt had not actually even seen him since that morning.
On March 22, 1978, the operator of the halfway house got back to the FBI with her personal notes. She had actually written down what she believed was the license plate number of the suspicious car she saw. She further advised the agents that Maniaci would occasionally spend time at Satin Doll’s Lounge, a tavern at 2337 West Fond du Lac Avenue (less than a block away). The tavern was run by Minette D. Wilson, a former dancer with Duke Ellington. (The license plate she wrote down traced to a man in Coon Valley who was on his local school board with no criminal record.)
In its continuing effort to clean up its image, the Central States Pension Fund board of trustees forced Daniel Shannon to resign as executive director on April 20, 1978. He was repalced the following month by St. Louis accountant John E. Dwyer.
Joseph Caminiti was observed meeting with Frank Balistrieri at Snug’s Restaurant on March 30, 1978 at 2:30pm.
On April 5, 1978, the FBI spoke with a parole officer to get information on a man who stayed at the halfway house with Vincent Maniaci and was said to be his friend. The man was determined to be a member of the Outlaws biker gang, had dealt drugs and was now living in Joliet, Illinois. A telephone call to the man indicated that he was willing to be interviewed by the FBI.
Special Agent W. D. Moberg traveled to Joliet on April 7, 1978 to talk with the Outlaw gang member who knew Maniaci. The agent called the gang’s clubhouse and a woman said that the man would be there after 2pm. When the agent called back, the man was there but said he was hesitant to speak to law enforcement because it was possible some of Maniaci’s associates might retaliate. The man was told anything he said would be in strict confidence. He said he would consider talking to someone in Milwaukee on April 10. (He did not contact anyone.)
Around April 24, 1978, the FBI received word that a former Milwaukee police officer was bragging that he had placed the bomb in Vincent Maniaci’s car. The man was an associate of Frank Balistrieri’s and had been forced to resign from the police department roughly two years prior. Inquiries with the police department and bomb squad indicated the man was divorced from his wife (who was from Heinesville, Georgia) and was known to be a braggart, who his claims should be taken with a grain of salt. The bomb squad members said it was certainly possible that the man had placed the bomb, but it was of such simple construction that almost anyone — with or without police training — could have done it. They believed the man now worked for Central Watch, an electronic protection company on Kilbourn Avenue.
On April 27, 1978, agents interviewed the wife of John W. Kelly at the Edgewater Hospital (5700 North Ashland) in Chicago, where she worked in the business office. She advised that John had worked for the Penn Central Railroad but had retired about a year ago. He underwent cancer surgery the previous March and ultimately died in November. She identified a photograph of Nick Montos and said she had begun living with him about two years ago, but did not know his associates or even his occupation, as he was very close-mouthed. She only knew that he had relatives in Tampa, Florida. Mrs. Kelly was told not to tell Montos that the FBI had visited her, but that evening when they called her to ask for Montos’ unlisted number, she said she had told him that the agents had photos of him in Milwaukee. Montos had told her that he had nothing to hide and was in Milwaukee to get treatment for a medical condition.
On May 8, 1978, FBI agents (including SAC Hogan) met with Milwaukee police to discuss Vincent Maniaci. They believed that he was currently in Hawaii but would be returning to live in Milwaukee within the week, and would be a likely target of future assassination attempts. Arrangements were made for regular spot checks to be conducted on Maniaci.
On May 15, 1978, the FBI spoke with the ex-wife of the former police officer who had bragged about planting the bomb in Vincent Maniaci’s car. She said she rarely saw him, but confirmed he was a “braggart” and “loud-mouth” and should not be taken seriously.
On Thursday, May 25, 1978, the FBI told the media that they had wiretapped a Whitefish Bay home (presumably that of Sam Librizzi, but possibly August Palmisano) and a business on Brady Street in December and overheard conversations that would lead to gambling charges. Those overheard included Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Raymond Dulski, Frank Fortino, Sam and Dennis Librizzi, August Palmisano, Peter Picciurro and Joe Volpe.
A former Milwaukee police officer was interviewed by the FBI on June 9, 1978 in Room 1705 of the Clark Building (633 West Wisconsin Avenue) in the presence of his attorney. He had been a police officer for ten years, with four of those years being on the bomb squad, before he was pressured to retire because of personality conflicts. He said he had received his bomb training at the US Army facility at Redstone Arsenal. He freely admitted to casually knowing Vincent Maniaci and Frank Balistrieri, and said he knew attorney Joseph Balistrieri from chatting in a courtroom setting. He insisted that he knew nothing about the bomb beyond what he had read in the newspapers, had not instructed anyone on how to make a bomb and had not placed the bomb himself. He denied knowing either John Monteleone or Nick Montos. The former officer specifically said he would not have told anyone he was involved, even if he was intoxicated, contradicting what others had told the FBI.
A suspected informer, August Palmisano, was slain by a car bomb at approximately 9:10am on June 30, 1978. He was inside his underground garage at Juneau Village Garden Apartments at 1319 North Jackson Street. The bomb tore his 1977 Mercury apart and damaged twenty-eight other nearby vehicles. A small fire broke out after another damaged car suffered a gasoline leak. Total damage was estimated at $20,000 by Deputy Fire Marshal Kermit R. Krupka ($4000 structural damage, $7000 to Palmisano’s car and $9000 to surrounding vehicles). The only evidence left behind was a Radio Shack alligator clip. When reporters asked neighbors about the murder, most refused to talk. His landlord said he was a good man, a friend of Vincent Manaici’s, and paid his rent on time. One unemployed man said that Palmisano was known to give money to the homeless and downtrodden. The FBI immediately suspected Balistrieri, knowing that Palmisano was a friend of the murdered August Maniaci and that he had been feuding with Balistrieri over bookmaking (Palmisano was told he had to do all bookmaking through LCN member Salvatore Librizzi).
When August Palmisano’s son John entered the family tavern at 5:30am, Saturday, July 1, 1978, he found the safe broken into and business papers scattered throughout the room. $145 was also missing. The burglar had come in through a wall (which was connected to a warehouse) and then “peeled” the safe, meaning he popped the dial off it with a crowbar. Police refused to speculate on a motive.
FBI agents interviewed Nick Montos on July 6, 1978 concerning his possible role in the bombing of Vincent Maniaci. He claimed to have been visiting friends in Green Bay and stopped in Milwaukee on his way back through because he had a kidney stone attack and needed medical attention. Montos pointed out to the agents that his “M.O.” was burglary and thievery, not murder. (Montos had, indeed, been in the emergency room at 1:30am on the morning in question.)
On July 19, 1978, one of the Fazio brothers (presumably Jimmy) was in Milwaukee from Fort Lauderdale and held two meetings with Frank Balistrieri.
Frank Balistrieri was in Fort Lauderdale on July 27, 1978 and met with (redacted, probably Jimmy Fazio). Balistrieri left Fort Lauderdale at noon the next day and flew back to Milwaukee.
On July 29, 1978, in the presence of an undercover agent, Peter Frank Balistrieri, Joseph Zito, Charles F. Vince, Phillip Joseph Emordeno, and Benjamin “Leftie” Ruggiero, Frank Balistrieri stated, with respect to August Palmisano, “he called me a name — to my face”; he was “arrogant” and “now they can’t find his skin.” In the same conversation, it is reported Frank Balistrieri stated, with respect to Vincent Maniaci, “he was an informer too.” Also with respect to the July 29 meeting, after the undercover agent was introduced to Frank Balistrieri, Balistrieri pointed a finger at the undercover agent and stated, “I know all about you,” “we been looking for you all week — we figured you were the G” — and “We were gonna hit him — we didn’t know what this was about — we thought he was the G.”
Just prior to August 1, 1978 (exact date unknown), a man was arrested at Satin Doll’s Lounge for being in possession of a handgun. Upon questioning, he admitted knowing Vincent Maniaci and August Palmisano and said he had on one occasion driven Maniaci home from work to the halfway house in order to provide him protection.
On August 25, 1978, Special Agents Gail T. Cobb and Joseph Pistone of the FBI, acting in undercover capacities, and Benjamin Ruggiero went to Snug’s Restaurant in Milwaukee, where they observed Balistrieri seated at a table with Steve DeSalvo and others. Balistrieri motioned Ruggiero over to his table, and Cobb and Pistone remained in the bar area. After about 20 minutes, Cobb and Pistone were escorted to Balistrieri’s table and Pistone was introduced to Balistrieri and DeSalvo. After this meeting, Ruggiero told Cobb and Pistone what Balistrieri had said to him before they were escorted to his table. Ruggiero’s statements were recorded en route from Snug’s to the Midway Motor Lodge in Agent Cobb’s automobile. In this recorded conversation, Ruggiero repeated in substance that Frank Balistrieri had told him that football was the biggest thing in Milwaukee and that he (Balistrieri) had his own “office” which he wanted to discuss with Ruggiero and Pistone. Agent Pistone, experienced in these matters, understood Balistrieri’s reference to “office” to mean that Balistrieri had his own bookmaking operation.
Late the next evening, at the Peppercorn Restaurant in Milwaukee, Balistrieri and Di Salvo revealed their roles as owner and manager respectively of the gambling business operated by Sam Librizzi in 1977. This conversation began with a discussion between Pistone and Di Salvo concerning the upcoming football season and bookmaking in general. As the conversation proceeded, Di Salvo advised Pistone in the presence of Cobb, Balistrieri, and Ruggiero, that he was the one who handled Balistrieri’s sports bookmaking operation, that he wanted to get out of it, and that he was trying to talk Balistrieri out of the bookmaking business. The reason given by Di Salvo was that most of the bookmakers in Milwaukee were “stool pigeons” and he was attempting to convince Balistrieri to charge the other bookmakers in Milwaukee $1,000 a week in order to operate. In this way, Di Salvo explained, the bookmakers would be prevented by their own illegal activities from going to the FBI. Di Salvo further stated that there were so many stool pigeons in Milwaukee that they would need “Castro’s army to kill all the stool pigeons that Milwaukee had.” At this point in the conversation, Balistrieri confirmed that Di Salvo was in charge of his bookmaking operation and that he “Was looking for an individual to oversee the day-to-day operation, because the person that was running it last year, by the name of Sam, did not tend to business and wasn’t doing a good job and he was looking for someone he could trust to run the daily, the day-to-day operation for the upcoming football season.” Balistrieri further advised that they wanted somebody to take over this gambling operation from Sam, “so Steve wouldn’t have to spend so much time taking care of the book.”
After Frank Balistrieri announced that they were looking for someone to replace “Sam”, Ruggiero volunteered Pistone’s services to take over the day-to-day handling of Balistrieri’s bookmaking operation. Pistone concurred in Ruggiero’s offer. At that point, Balistrieri took Ruggiero aside and spoke with him out of the presence of Agents Pistone and Cobb. Although Cobb was only able to hear brief portions of this conversation to the effect that Balistrieri would have to call New York and that he (Balistrieri) was holding Ruggiero responsible, the full substance of this conversation was later revealed by Ruggiero to Cobb and Pistone in a tape recorded conversation in the early morning hours of August 28, 1978, after the trio left the Peppercorn.
After Balistrieri and Ruggiero concluded their private discussion at the Peppercorn, they returned to the area where Pistone and Cobb were standing and Balistrieri, in Di Salvo’s presence, advised Pistone to contact Di Salvo and make arrangements to meet with him to go over their bookmaking operation. At this point, Di Salvo agreed that Pistone should contact him to set up a meeting for Tuesday.
On the evening of August 28, 1978, at Ruggiero’s direction, Cobb made arrangements to meet with Balistrieri to advise him that Pistone would not be taking over the bookmaking operation. Upon learning of this fact from Cobb, Balistrieri said he would have to make some other kind of arrangements to replace “the guy that had it”. This statement indicated Balistrieri’s continuing intent to run his sports bookmaking business during the 1978 football season.
On September 13, 1978, Agent Cobb met with Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri, and Joe and John Balistrieri at Snug’s. Peter and Frank Balistrieri had just returned from a federal grand jury appearance. Cobb heard Peter Balistrieri tell DeSalvo, “You got a problem.” Frank Balistrieri then told DeSalvo that the government had pictures of him meeting Sam Librizzi, “At the hospital … where you picked up the money.”
FBI agents surveilled Frank Balistrieri on Thursday, October 12, 1978 from 10:100am until 10:45pm. Balistrieri was at his home for most of the day, except from 3:47pm until 7:12pm when he drove his Cadillac to Snug’s and met with a small man in his mid-50s. Also at Snug’s was Joseph Balistrieri with a woman.
On Saturday, October 14, 1978, Frank Balistrieri was seen from 1:17 to 1:58 in the afternoon making a 45-minute phone call from the Campus Laundromat at 2611 East Hampshire Street.
District Attorney E. Michael McCann spoke out against gambling on Tuesday, November 28, 1978. “There’s no way you can run a successful gambling operation without organized crime… In many communities, it’s not until a child or policeman is killed by organized crime forces before people say it’s going to come to an end… Part of that is people who’ll go and bet money… When [the Mafia] moved to the bomb, that was a flagrant flaunting that they will execute. They’re getting away with murder on the streets of this city.” He said Milwaukee gamblers “have blood on their hands.”
The Teamsters held their Christmas party at the Center Stage on December 8, 1978. They were billed for 329 persons at a cost of $14,888.65.
Frank Trovato’s restaurant in Thiensville burned down on January 1, 1979.
On January 26, 1979, a heating shutdown caused radiators to explode and water pipes to burst at 2206 East Kenilworth Avenue, as well as a neighboring building (2216 Kenilworth). The buildings were owned by John Balistrieri, but only one was insured — by Aetna Life and Casualty. Balistrieri put in a claim for $51,523 and the work was given to his childhood friend, plumber Thomas Cannizzaro. Aetna would later allege that the claim was fraudulently inflated to cover the cost of repairing both buildings. Secretly recorded messages where Balistrieri’s friend Anthony Cimino suggested her burn the houses down and one where Balistrieri speaks of conning creditors were used against him. Balistrieri was later acquitted.
Casamere A. Maniaci was convicted of heroin possession on January 31, 1979. He was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to continue methadone treatment by Judge Ted Wedemeyer, Jr.
At some point in 1979, Leo Dinon sold his cigarette distributing company to Alioto Distributing for $8000-$9000.
On Wednesday, May 16, 1979, a government affidavit went public after being sealed for a year. In it, the government alleged that attorney Joseph Balistrieri had received over $100,000 in a “suspected unlawful diversion” of casino revenue from the Stardust Casino. The money had been transferred to him by Allen R. Glick, owner of Argent Corporation. Further, Balistrieri “exerted control over the use of (pension fund) assets, even though he held no official position or relationship” with the fund. (The affidavit was sealed to protect the identity of an agent who infiltrated Anthony Spilotro’s inner circle. The government decided the agent’s life was no longer in potential danger and asked Federal Judge Warren Ferguson to unseal it.) Attorney Oscar Goodman, who represented both Glick and Spilotro, called the affidavit a “sham and a fraud” with “easily defended” allegations that were “wishful thinking” on the part of the government.
In June 1979, Frank Balistrieri was involved in a struggle with Nancy Antee at her home at 1919 North Summit Avenue.
The FBI observed a 1972 green Pontiac outside Frank Balistrieri’s home for two days around July 11, 1979. The license plates traced to a woman (name redacted) from Caledonia, Illinois. (Caledonia has fewer than 200 residents and is northwest of Rockford.) The local sheriff said the woman was a farmer’s wife, good Christian, and had no arrest record, leading the FBI to believe they had written down the wrong plate number.
On August 2, 1979, Frank Thomas Ammirato, 46, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for conspiring to transport silenced machine guns and drugs (including PCP and methaqualone). Dante Angelo Grassi, 36, also of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced to 14 years. And Jack Louis Gail, 35, of Wheeling, Illinois, was given 15 years. The men had been shipping .22 pistols and light machine guns to Chicago and equipping them with silencers. Ammirato was an associate and neighbor of Dominick Santorelli, a member of the Chicago Outfit, and was an important operative in Santorelli’s illegal loansharking, weapons and narcotics activities. Gail had sold undercover agents one silencer and offered to begin supplying fifty more per month. The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel claimed that at “least 20 federal informants have been killed in the past year by hit men using silencer-equipped .22 pistols.” Although August Maniaci’s murder was not in the past year, he was likely included in this count.
On August 9, 1979, an informant told the FBI that it was “common knowledge” that Frank Balistrieri had influence over the Teamsters union and had helped individuals get loans from them. The informant mentioned Andrew Lococo and his tuna boat specifically, and said that Joseph Balistrieri gets “finders fees” for these loans.
FBI agents observed a Lincoln Continental parked at Frank Balistrieri’s residence on August 16, 1979 from 1:50pm until 2:55pm. The license plate traced to Teamsters Local 200, and further investigation revealed this to be the personal vehicle of Frank Ranney, 315 Park Hill Drive, Apartment D, Pewaukee. Ranney split his time between his Pewaukee apartment and home in Boca Raton, Florida. While running surveillance on Balistrieri’s house, the agents also observed Steve DeSalvo drive north on Shepard past the house in his white Chrysler Cordoba, then make a U-turn and come back south past the house around 2:40pm. From 2:46pm to 2:49pm, DeSalvo was seen making a phone call from a pay phone at the northwest corner of Maryland and Locust near the U-Frame It shop. After he left, an agent wrote down the number of the pay phone: 414-961-9748. At 3:19pm, Steve DeSalvo went to the Shorecrest Hotel. At 3:29pm, an agent could see DeSalvo and Frank Balistrieri in Snug’s through the window.
On August 24, 1979, a party was held at Leonardo’s in honor of Frank Fitzsimmons, president of the national Teamsters Union, who was in town as a guest for the Italian Open Golf Tournament. Steve DeSalvo served as a doorman at the party to make sure no unwanted people could join. The party was on the second floor and lasted until 5:00 in the morning. Members of Local 200 were there, as were attorneys from the Goldberg, Previant and Uelman law firm. The party was billed $745.03.
On September 14, 1979 at 6:40pm, a special agent entered Leonardo’s (1601 North Jackson) after seeing Frank Balistrieri’s Cadillac parked outside. Balistrieri was seen in conversation with another person at the bar, and the agent heard Balistrieri say “the muscle man with the juice”, but could not make out much else. He also caught that some remodeling was needed and had to be done by the wedding. Specifically, Balistrieri said he needed railings. He said for the wedding, they could move furniture from Center Stage and move it back later. Later, around 10:25pm, Balistrieri was in a heated argument with a woman and the agent overheard him say “the night of the Fitzsimmons party.” The argument was interrupted by three people who came out of the dining room to talk to Frank. He mentioned a trip he took to New York with Frank Ranney and a “Gus Chivato” many years ago to invest $50,000 in a “plastic bubble” and they stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. (This presumably refers to the plastic bubble gun and August Chiaverotti.) Frank said Gus brought his wife and his girlfriend, and they stayed in the same room. He further said Gus was the reason he (Frank) had been to jail, because Gus perjured himself and this lead to Frank’s conviction. At 11:55pm, Frank’s girlfriend arrived.
On October 13, 1979, wagering activity totaled $10,600.00. On October 14, 1979, it totaled $47,655.00, and on October 15, 1979, it totaled $100.00. The total of $47,655.00 for October 14, 1979, a single day’s wagering activity, exceeded any daily total in either the 1977 bookmaking operation when at least seven writers were involved, and in the 1980 bookmaking operation when at least ten writers were involved. Wisconsin law prohibited gambling businesses taking in over $2000 a day.
On October 20, 1979, the district court entered an order permitting electronic surveillance at Snug’s Restaurant and Leonardo’s Pasta House. In support of its motion seeking the order the government submitted a 110-page affidavit of Agent Michael De Marco setting forth evidence that Balistrieri and his associates were engaged in extortion, illegal gambling, and the murders and attempted murders of suspected informants. The electronic surveillance produced evidence that the government intended to introduce at Balistrieri’s trial. These orders were subsequently extended on November 19, 1979, and December 28, 1979.
In a telephone conversation between John Piscuine and Sam Librizzi on October 25, 1979, Piscuine protested his inability to reach Librizzi to place some wagers. At one point Piscuine stated, “I tried to get a hold of you. Dennis wasn’t there.”
In a phone conversation on October 26, 1979, Balistrieri complained to Esther Ridgway about the losses he had suffered in his bookmaking operation. At one point he said, “I hollered at him, I hollered at Steve, I’m through hollering.”
On November 13, 1979, John Monteleone appeared before a federal grand jury investigating the attempted bombing of Vincent Maniaci and refused to answer questions, asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The government did not pursue his testimony further at that time.
On the week of November 23, 1979, Frank Ranney testified in Las Vegas that he had made an oral and written agreement for a $40 million loan to St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker of the Dunes Hotel before the law banning such loans (Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA) went into effect. Shenker, former chief counsel to Jimmy Hoffa, was suing the Central States Pension Fund for reneging on the loan, and asking for a further $100,000 in punitive damages. The Fund’s attorney said they could not go through with the loan because the Dunes’ parent company also owned a Chicago trucking company which employed Teamsters, and the loan would violate the ERISA rules. Attorneys for the Dunes argued that the loan started before ERISA took effect, and the trucking company was sold off anyway when it was thought it might pose a problem. Ranney testified that he had an agreement with Shenker and he had the authority to bind the agreement to future agreements. Teamsters attorney Alan Mund questioned this authority, and pointed out that Ranney had months earlier (on June 4, while making a deposition) denied he had any such authority.
Richard G. Megna of Cudahy was convicted of soliciting a prostitute on December 15, 1979. Judge H. B. Jackson, Jr sentenced him to two years probation and banned Megna from operating a tavern while on probation.
The Teamsters held their Christmas party at the Center Stage on December 16, 1979. They were billed for 339 persons at a cost of $17,876.90. (Interestingly, despite only having 10 additional guests this year, the cost went up $3000.)
The Waukesha State Bank was robbed of $8000 on the morning of Monday, December 24, 1979. The man who robbed the bank left a bag behind which he claimed contained a bomb (it was actually a transistor radio). John Forbes told the FBI he believed that three men were involved although only one had entered the bank. These same men would rob a bank in Tomah two months later.
On January 8, 1980, an informant (possibly a Milwaukee Sentinel staffer) said that Frank Ranney used an assumed name and was actually named Frank Ranelli. He had used both his money and Teamsters money to buy the White Gull Resort in Door County, the Tumblebrook Country Club in Waukesha County, and the Jack-O-Lantern resort in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The latter was originally a place Jimmy Hoffa and Alan Dorfman used to entertain politicians. The informant recalled that a Milwaukee Vice Squad captain had been there, as well as Inspector Dolan. The resort is not open to the public and has its own security force. Many Detroit mobsters were known to frequent the resort.
Frank Balistrieri was secretly recorded on January 9, 1980 making threats concerning Sally Papia. “I told her I’m going to drop both pimps, the pimp and the bodyguard, right on the doorstep. The only reason I told her that, because I’m not going to do it right now. See, now let them concentrate on that end. But Jimmy Jennaro, you know, he knows something or something… All of a sudden he stops hanging around here, and he’s not doing anything to promote our places.” Presumably, given Jennaro’s history with prostitutes, he was the “pimp”. Jennaro managed Balistrieri’s Ad Lib night club from 1965 until 1972, when he left to manager Sally’s. The bodyguard was likely Frank Trovato, known as “the enforcer”.
In a January 10, 1980 conversation, Sam Librizzi, in responding to Frank Balistrieri concerning the status of delinquent wagering accounts, stated: “Now Dennis [Librizzi] owes us thirty-seven hundred. It’s on the slip there. What he gave me last week.” Librizzi made reference to “Feller’s 290″ in reporting to Balistrieri on the status of amounts owed by various persons to their gambling business. Frank Balistrieri and Sam Librizzi discussed setting up a sports bookmaking operation that would accept wagers on upcoming basketball games. The profits and losses from such an operation were to be split four ways between Sam and Dennis Librizzi, Frank Balistrieri, and Peter Picciurro. Sam Librizzi was the one who suggested the idea to Balistrieri, and in the course of this conversation referred to the fact that his brother Dennis had already opened up such a bookmaking operation in which Balistrieri and Sam Librizzi were included as partners. Librizzi further advised that he and Dennis were going to “combine” customers and “rent an office”.
In a telephone conversation on February 14, 1980, Micelli and Sam Librizzi discussed reduction of an amount owed by one of Micelli’s betting customers to Librizzi. At one point in this conversation, Librizzi told Micelli, “Yeah. But I see him all through the Football season, this was from . . .” In response, Micelli stated, “I understand, see, but I was waiting, as long as you got a little piece of money coming, that’s the time to pay.”
In a telephone conversation on February 18, 1980, Ed Feller told Sam Librizzi that due to the volume of bets, “[I]t seemed like football, for crying out loud.”
In a telephone conversation on February 22, 1980, Micelli advised Sam Librizzi that, “I just got through talking to my partner…”
In a telephone conversation on March 1, 1980, Micelli told Dennis Librizzi that he gave the “book” to the “other guy” because he (Micelli) was going to “leave in the next thirty-six hours.” In a telephone conversation on March 4, 1980, an unknown individual relayed a series of wagers to Sam Librizzi. These wagers were recorded by Librizzi on a bet slip under the account designation “Match”.
On March 5, 1980, the FBI seized documents (charting sheets and bet slips) from Frank Balistrieri’s bedroom in his residence on North Shepard Avenue in Milwaukee. Most of these documents were in the handwriting of Sam Librizzi. They reflected wagering activity on football games played on October 13, 1979, on October 14, 1979, and on October 15, 1979. Another document seized in the raid was one giving Joseph and John Balistrieri the option of buying half of Allen Glick’s Argent Corp for $30,000. Also seized were three address books. Entries were found in multiple books for Frank Ranney in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Fish Creek, Pewaukee, Egg Harbor and Las Vegas.
Glick called Snug’s on March 6 and Joseph answered the phone. “Allen, I have to talk to you. We had a little episode here yesterday.” They then agreed it would be better to meet in person, in New York, than to speak over the phone.
Nick George Montos was found in contempt of court in Milwaukee on March 18, 1980 and put in Waukesha County jail.
Rudolph Porchetta lied on his renewal application for La Scala and the Brass Rail on May 12, 1980. He claimed he had never been convicted of a crime, but he had violated the state’s beer credit law in 1973. When this was discovered, Porchetta was convicted of two felony counts of false swearing.
The FBI and Us Department of Labor interviewed a member of Local 200 on June 6, 1980 regarding Frank Ranney. The man said Ranney was “the finest, most honest man I ever knew” and he was also “brilliant and efficient”. The man said he had never met Frank Balistrieri and did not know of any connection between Balistrieri and Local 200 or the pension fund.
Although previous searches failed to turn up Frank Ranney’s ownership of the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, on July 8, 1980 the FBI received more allegations that Ranney had formerly owned the property in order to “give his wife something to do”. By July 31, they found the resort’s abstract and confirmed that Ranney had owned the property many years ago.
The FBI interviewed Door County Sheriff Hollis J. Bridenhagen on July 31, 1980 concerning Frank Ranney. He said he recalled Ranney and his wife very well, and said Mrs. Ranney operated the White Gull Inn, and it was a completely legitimate business. After they sold the business, Ranney built a beautiful home in Egg Harbor. They had no employment in Door County. Bridenhagen recalled that he was serving subpoenas on Andrew Lococo and his associates around the time that Peterson Shipbuilders in Sturgeon Bay was building Lococo’s tuna boat, the Margaret L. Bridenhagen said during this time Ranney moved to Florida, and he suspected that Ranney did not want to get mixed up in the Lococo mess, as Teamster Pension funds were rumored to have financed the boat. Bridenhagen said Ranney’s wife was originally from Door County and married Frank after her first husband died. Bridenhagen further said he heard a rumor that one time Frank Balistrieri was denied a loan, so Ranney called and said if the loan was approved the bank would see a big deposit from the Teamsters. Bridenhagen stressed this was only a rumor (though we now know it was basically accurate).
A man came to the FBI at 4:56pm on August 24, 1980 to report that he had personally witnessed the abduction of Isadore Pogrob twenty years before. At 7:30pm, an agent called the Ramada Inn to see if the man was serious and not pranking, and he assured the agent he was. However, when the FBI went to the Ramada the next day, it was found that the man and his female companion had checked out at 10:20am.
The man was found on August 28, and said he had personally seen Pogrob put in a 4-door white 1960 Cadillac with Illinois license plates by two large Italians in their 30s. This happened at 3rd and Wells. He said he did not want to come forward at the time for fear he would be hurt, and only called the FBI because he had been drinking.
On September 1, 1980, Nick Montos was transferred from Waukesha County to Walworth County jail in Elkhorn after an anonymous phone call threatened his life.
The man from the Ramada Inn was contacted again on September 5 and asked if he would be willing to undergo hypnosis. He said he would consider it. On September 12, he said he had decided not to undergo hypnosis for personal reasons.
On Thursday, October 2, 1980, the federal government sought immunity for Michael Enea, a business agent for Teamsters Local 200. They were hoping to force him to testify before a federal grand jury. Enea’s attorney, David Uelman, fought the request, saying the grand jury’s confidentiality had already been breached by the Milwaukee Journal. Federal Judge Evans set a hearing for October 8. Also on October 2, Evans granted immunity to Esther Ridgway, an employee at Leonardo’s Pasta House (1601 North Jackson) and ordered her to testify on October 14.
On October 2, 1980, an informant told the FBI that Louie Volpentesta had been a capo in the Kenosha family of the mob, and a man named Covelli was now the figurehead. The source said that Balistrieri had no control over Kenosha, and that the Kenosha family is quiet and runs more like a corporation than a criminal enterprise.
On October 8, 1980, Enea was granted immunity and ordered to appear on October 22. This same day, the federal grand jury was said to have returned its first indictment, but the name of the indicted was sealed until that person could be arrested. (I do not know who it was.)
On October 15, 1980, the Teamsters sued Morris Goldman, Inc (342 North Broadway) for failing to pay $7791 in pension fees for the “Sunshine Fund”. They also sought out $850 attorneys fees and $40,000 in punitive damages.
Morris Goldman, Inc (342 North Broadway) burned down on November 24, 1980. An investigation determined the cause to be arson by gasoline.
On Wednesday, December 3, 1980, Angelo Martellano, maitre’d at Snug’s, was convicted of perjury charges after lying under oath about accepting a $50 bet from undercover FBI agent Dale Farmer (who used the name Donald Franks).
Local 200 held their annual Christmas party on Sunday, January 25, 1981 at the Red Carpet Inn. Mayor Henry Maier was there, as was Frank Balistrieri. When Maier became aware that Balistrieri was present, he immediately left. Balistrieri allegedly provided the entertainment, Dick Contino and a dance band.
An FBI agent visited Frank Stelloh’s residence (5743 South 116th Street) on April 7, 1981. The agent wished to talk to him about two friends from Waupun. Stelloh said he had no friends. When asked to look at photographs, he declined and said without looking that he did not know the people in the images.
On Thursday, May 7, 1981, an agreement was submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to have attorney Jack Goldberg’s law license suspended for a year. Goldberg had been the personal representative in the estate of grocer Harry Zimmer. While handling the estate, $119,000 went missing. Goldberg had already agreed to reimburse the estate for its loss.
There was a mob meeting from May 14 through 17, 1981 at Eau Claire. Men from New York, Pittsburgh and Grand Rapids, Michigan were there, including Joseph Campagne of Brooklyn. (Not sure what actually happened here, or who was all there, but it was somehow connected to Frank Buccieri.)
On May 22, 1981, the FBI called Joseph Caminiti at N76 W14993 Menomonee Manor Drive, Menomonee Falls on a pretext to see if he was still living there (he was).
Section Chief Sean McWeeney granted the Bureau emergency authority on June 4, 1981 to place a body recorder on someone (redacted) to monitor Frank and Joseph Balistrieri in the hopes of catching them being involved with the corruption of public officials. Apparently (based on the heavily-redacted record), they were attempting to make a payoff to a female government employee.
Much of John Alioto’s restaurant building was destroyed on August 15, 1981, in a fire that took the lives of two members of the Wauwatosa Fire Department, paramedics James Lorbeck and Lawrence Schampers. Lorbeck, 42, and Schampers, 38, died after they were trapped in the basement where the fire started.
Frank Balistrieri was indicted on October 1, 1981 of various gambling and tax charges. The case was assigned to Judge Robert W. Warren.
Balistrieri submitted his first motion for recusal on October 26, 1981, shortly after Judge Warren’s assignment to the case. The affidavit accompanying the motion set forth various statements and actions attributed to Judge Warren during the period from 1969 through early 1971, when he was Attorney General of Wisconsin. According to the affidavit, Warren believed that Frank Balistrieri was the head of the Mafia family in Wisconsin. Warren allegedly set into operation a systematic program, or “vendetta,” designed to ruin Balistrieri and to destroy businesses with which he or his relatives were associated. As a part of this program, Warren moved to dissolve certain Balistrieri-linked corporations for failure to file annual reports, saying that this “crackdown” was an effort to keep the crime syndicate out of legitimate business in Wisconsin. Warren also sought injunctions against four Balistrieri-linked taverns for not having workmen’s compensation insurance.
Benedetta Balistrieri, Frank’s daughter, followed her second husband, Johnny Contardo, a former lead singer for the band Sha Na Na, to Hollywood in 1982.
Anthony M. Pipito was convicted of being party to the crime of burglary on January 20, 1982. Judge M. J. Barron sentenced him to two years probation and ordered Pipito to get psychological counseling.
Rudolph Porchetta planned to sell the Brass Rail (744 North Third Street) to Jack Scardina, 25, in May 1982. Scardina lived in the Shorecrest Hotel, earning an alleged $60 per week (he was receiving unemployment insurance at the time). He was a former bartender at Leonardo’s (the tavern at 1601 North Jackson Street owned by Peter Balistrieri’s son-in-law). Scardina dropped his bid to operate the Brass Rail in June 1982.
In 1982, Sally Papia signed a document known as the “1982-1985 Hotel Agreement” (1982 agreement), a purported collective bargaining agreement with Local 122. The 1982 agreement was supposed to apply to all eligible employees. But not all of Sally’s eligible employees were enrolled in the union. Instead, Papia submitted the names of seven employees, from all job classifications, to include on the union’s membership rolls. Papia told these employees that she had submitted their names to Local 122, and she also paid their membership dues.
The practice of carrying a limited number of Sally’s employees on the union’s membership rolls began long before 1982; the arrangement had existed under a series of contracts with Local 122 dating back to the early 1970′s. The arrangement allowed Papia to avoid full unionization (and the costs associated with it).
The October 4, 1982 car bombing of mob associate and the Stardust Casino’s Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, in Las Vegas, was attributed to Balistrieri. Rosenthal’s Cadillac was parked in the parking lot of Tony Roma’s (620 East Sahara Avenue) and he survived only because a metal plate was installed under the driver’s seat.
On October 7, 1982, the FBI went to the Milwaukee Police Department to retrieve evidence from the bombing of August Palmisano and attempted bombing of Vincent Maniaci. The leg wires and alligator clips from the Palmisano bombing were still in evidence, though the ones from the Maniaci bombing were not (despite being written on the evidence inventory report). The inventory sheet did note six-foot red and white lead wires to be disposed of within thirty days. On October 12, the agents spoke with the detective who handled the Maniaci bombing at his home (he had retired) and the detective informed them that the last time he saw the wires and clips was in September 1981 when he retired, and they were still in the bomb room. He had intended to mount them to a display board, but never got around to it. On October 19, the bomb room was searched and nothing was found. The agents were advised that since the detective’s retirement, they had purchased a new bomb truck and only items absolutely necessary were kept. Photos of the Maniaci evidence were found, however, and they showed that the clips were not identical with he ones used in the Palmisano bombing.
John Anthony Zarcone was convicted of unlawful use of a telephone on November 9, 1982. Judge William Gardner put him on six months probation.
A bomb exploded at Giovanni’s restaurant (managed by Max Adonnis) in January 1983, but no one was injured.
Testimony was given before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District on July 19, 1983. One man (name redacted) denied that he had been given orders not to testify to the federal grand juries in 1979 and 1980 investigating the attempted murder of Vincent Maniaci. He also refused to answer questions concerning his association with Steve DeSalvo.
Balistrieri’s second motion for recusal was filed on July 20, 1983. It incorporated the previous affidavit and included a new affidavit from one John Forbes. Forbes stated that he was then in the Federal Witness Protection Program, that he was then serving a sentence for burglary, and that over his life he had been charged with a number of crimes and convicted of several. He stated that in 1963 he became acquainted with one Herbert Krusche, a criminal investigator for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. According to Forbes, from 1968 through 1970, during the period when Robert Warren was Attorney General, Krusche asked Forbes to conduct a number of undercover investigations of Frank Balistrieri and persons alleged to be associated with him, in return for help in connection with criminal charges then pending. On several occasions in 1969 and 1970, Forbes related, he wore a body recorder or electronic listening device at Krusche’s request and monitored conversations of Frank Balistrieri and of his lawyer, Roland Steinle, among others. Krusche allegedly asked Forbes to break into someone’s apartment and plant a bug and to break into the basement of the Kings IV restaurant and plant a bottle of stolen liquor. On one occasion Krusche allegedly asked him to break into Steinle’s office and bring back any files he could find on Frank Balistrieri. Forbes stated that he complied with this request and brought back one file. According to Forbes, he met Robert Warren only once, in a meeting with other high officials of the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Forbes stated that he had made a tape of a conversation with someone about fixing a case pending against Forbes, then went with a reporter to the Attorney General’s office and turned over the tape. According to Forbes, someone stated that they could not use the tape “because it might be considered illegal or an entrapment or something of the sort.”
Forbes continued: “I made a statement to the effect I did not understand why they were concerned about it, in light of the number of times that I wore a bug for Mr. Krushe [sic] and went in places for him. Someone, I think [the Head of the Criminal Division], said “You better not talk about that.” [An assistant to Attorney General Warren] then asked if I had declared it on my Wisconsin tax return and kept a record of it. I said “no.” [The assistant] said “well, we did.” I understood this conversation to mean that I ought not to talk what [sic] I had done for Krusche [sic]. Attorney General Warren was present during this conversation. I do not remember any specific comments made by him. Except about entrapment etcetera. [sic]”
Balistrieri filed a third motion for recusal on August 16, 1983, attaching the affidavit of one Terrence Joseph Donley. According to Balistrieri, Donley contacted attorney John Balistrieri on August 11 after having read an article in the previous evening’s paper concerning Judge Warren’s denial of the previous motion for recusal.
In the affidavit Donley stated that he worked for the Wisconsin Department of Justice from June through September 1970 as an “undercover operative.” According to Donley, his immediate supervisors included Robert Warren. In Donley’s presence Warren allegedly swore that he was going to get Frank Balistrieri no matter what. Warren was alleged to have said, in substance, “If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to put Frank Balistrieri back in prison for the rest of his life.” According to Donley, Warren frequently made statements of his intention to get Frank Balistrieri. Donley stated that a special detail of the Department of Justice under the supervision of Dan Hanley and under instructions from Warren was assigned to the Milwaukee detail on Frank Balistrieri and organized crime, and that it was the purpose of this detail to bring criminal charges against Frank Balistrieri. According to Donley, Warren would get upset if nothing was found. Donley stated that Frank Balistrieri and organized crime were among the top priorities on the Attorney General’s budget.
Balistrieri filed his final motion for disqualification on August 22, 1983. It included all the previous motions and supporting documents as well as new affidavits of Frank P. Balistrieri, John J. Balistrieri, and John C. Tucker, Frank Balistrieri’s attorney.
In his affidavit Frank Balistrieri stated his belief that Judge Warren had personal bias and prejudice against him. He reiterated the factual allegations of previous affidavits. The only new factual material we find is a paragraph stating that Balistrieri did not previously know Terrence Donley and did not give him anything for his affidavit, and a paragraph stating on information and belief that Judge Warren had said at a recent social gathering that he was delighted to be sitting in judgment in the case because he will have an opportunity to “put Frank Balistrieri away.”
The affidavits of John J. Balistrieri and John C. Tucker concerned the circumstances under which Terrence Donley came forward and gave his affidavit. John Balistrieri stated that he had never met Donley before and gave Donley nothing of value for his affidavit. They both stated, in substance, that news reports found in the Milwaukee Public Library confirmed certain statements that Donley had made regarding his background and his position as an informant for the State of Wisconsin during 1970.
The gambling case was reassigned to Judge Terence T. Evans, and the trial commenced on August 29, 1983.
On Thursday, September 22, 1983, Special Agent William Holmes (a gambling expert) testified that although Balistrieri had probably not been directly involved in bookmaking, he did provide the financial backing. “A boss does not have to be knowledgeable. If you’ve got the money, you can be a backer.” Holmes testified that the day-to-day decisions were made by brothers Salvatore and Dennis Librizzi.
In September 1983, Balistrieri and his two sons were indicted in Kansas City on charges of skimming over $2 million in unreported income from the Fremont Hotel and Casino (in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada) and the Stardust (in Winchester, Nevada), both associated with Argent Corporation (owned by Allen R. Glick, a San Diego real estate investor). This was the first case in which federal authorities had successfully connected mobsters from four different states. While awaiting sentencing on extortion and bookmaking charges, Balistrieri claimed to be innocent.
John Monteleone appeared before Judge Evans in the Eastern District on October 5, 1983 regarding his previous refusal to testify to the federal grand jury. The judge ordered Monteleone to testify under grant of immunity.
October 9, 1983, Frank P. Balistrieri was convicted of five gambling and tax charges but acquitted of five other counts stemming from a sports betting ring. Balistrieri, 65 years old, was accused of heading a betting operation from 1977 to 1980 that grossed at least $2,000 a day. The five-week trial stemmed from a government investigation that had included wiretapping of the Shorecrest Hotel, owned by Balistrieri’s son, Joseph, and a raid on Frank Balistrieri’s home in which Federal Bureau of Investigation agents knocked the front door open with a sledgehammer.
Two others were acquitted on all charges. One acquitted man was Peter Picciurro, whose attorney William Coffey told jurors in his closing statement that the court wanted to “grind Peter Picciurro up and spit him out because he’s in their way and they want Frank Balistrieri.”
Benjamin Ruggiero pleaded guilty in November 1983 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, presumably lowered thanks to his involvement in catching the Balistrieris.
John Monteleone appeared before the federal grand jury on November 1, 1983. He read a brief statement indicating that he had refused to testify in 1979 solely on the advice of his attorney, but refused to answer any questions despite acknowledging that he had been immunized by Judge Evans. The government immediately asked that Monteleone be held in civil contempt and incarcerated. At a hearing that same day, Judge Evans ruled that Monteleone’s prepared statement did not comply with his obligation to testify, held him in contempt and sent him to jail, informing him that he could “purge himself of contempt at such time as he convinces me that he is willing to appear before the grand jury and answer questions as asked.”
On January 5, 1984, Dennis Librizzi filed a motion seeking permission to file, as timely, an additional motion for a new trial. The motion alleges that the factual information supporting the January 5, 1984 motion for a new trial did not come to the attention of his counsel, Robert E. Sutton, until December 31, 1983. The information used for the motion was that juror Douglas Plinska knew FBI agent James McDermott despite answering that he did not know any federal agent during jury selection.
At a hearing on January 16, while under oath, Plinska said he played on about 40 to 50 softball teams over the last 15 to 20 years, and that he turned 35 last year and joined, for the first time, a team in the “35 and over” league sponsored by the City of Brookfield. The team included about 15 “hard core” members who showed up for most games, and 3 or 4 others who only showed up for a few games. The team played about 14 games during the season, all on Monday nights. Plinska explained that he did not know McDermott except for the fact that McDermott was also on the team. They did not socialize together, and he did not know McDermott’s occupation until the team banquet was held on October 15, 1983, six days after Plinska’s duties as a juror in this case had come to a close.
On January 17, 1984 the government brought Monteleone once more to the grand jury room. The prosecutor reminded him that he had already been held in civil contempt and noted that his refusal to testify “[could] also be considered a crime as well as a civil matter.” Monteleone again declined to answer any questions. Three days later the grand jury’s term expired and Monteleone was released. He had served two months and three weeks on his civil contempt citation.
The Morris Gem Company on 47th Street in New York was robbed by two armed men on March 15, 1984 and between $500,000 and $1.75 million in gems were taken. They were recovered by police two days later. The owner’s son confessed to authorities that the incident was an insurance fraud scheme that involved Anthony Pipito and Joseph Basile. How the men were connected to New York is unclear, but a wiretapped conversation between the two had Pipito upset about the “kid” confessing, saying they would “ship him to Japan.”
A US District Court jury began deliberations on Saturday, April 8, after hearing from federal prosecutor John Franke about death threats, protection payoffs and the inner workings of the mob.
On Monday, April 10, 1984, Frank P. Balistrieri, described by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the head of organized crime in Milwaukee, was convicted of extortion for trying to take control of an vending machine business run by undercover FBI agent Gail T. Cobb. Also convicted were his two sons, Joseph, 43, and John, 35. A fourth defendant, Michael SaBella, 73, a restauranteur and reported member of the Joseph Bonanno crime family in New York, was found not guilty.
Anthony Pipito, Jr. moved into a Jackson Street apartment with his father and his father’s girlfriend (Gail Shill) on April 17, 1984, after his release from a halfway house for a prior non-drug conviction.
On May 29, 1984, Frank Balistrieri was sentenced to four years imprisonment and a fine of $4,000 on the conspiracy, four years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 on one of the Â§ 1955 (conducting an illegal gambling business) counts, four years imprisonment and a fine of $4,000 on the other Â§ 1955 count, and one year imprisonment and a fine of $1,000 on each of the two tax counts, with all the sentences of imprisonment to run concurrently. His sons were convicted of extorting a vending machine businessman and each received two years in prison and lost their licenses to practice law. “The first time I heard the word ‘Mafia’ was when I read it in the newspapers,” Frank said in a 10-minute pre-sentence speech to Judge Evans. He said that the convictions were results from a “conspiracy between the press and the government”, with the news media “inflaming and poisoning the community against me.”
Others fell for their involvement in Balistrieri’s illegal gambling ring. On Wednesday, May 30, 1984, Steve DeSalvo, 65, was sentenced to eight years in prison. Salvatore Librizzi, 41, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and fined $15,000. Carl “Matches” Micelli, 64, was put on three years probation and fined $5000.
Peter Balistrieri: 1984-1997
Dennis Librizzi was sentenced on June 4, 1984, to imprisonment for a year and a day for conspiracy to conduct an illegal sports bookmaking operation and to three years probation for failure to file certain tax forms, on condition that he pay a fine of $15,000 during the probationary period.
On Tuesday, July 10, 1984, a federal grand jury indicted Michael A. Enea, 51, of Elm Grove on eight felony counts: two counts of violating federal labor laws and six counts of making false statements to commercial lending institutions. Enea had been the business agent and organizer for Teamsters Local 200 for ten years.
Robert J. Ziarnik took over as Milwaukee Police Chief in September 1984. He was considered to be more serious about organized crime than his predecessor, Harold A. Breier. Breier maintained that “no prosecutable evidence of organized crime existed in Milwaukee”, which proved to be false. How much impact Ziarnik had is tough to say, as organized crime had already fallen by the time he took control.
Anthony Pipito, Jr. moved to a condominium at 1633 North Prospect Avenue on September 4, 1984, his father joined him in October 1984, and both continued to reside at this address.
In October 1984, Anthony Pipito called a Milwaukee deputy sheriff at work and asked him to run a license plate number for him, which he did. He then offered the deputy an $800 necklace for $400, and the deputy drove to Pipito’s house in a squad car where he was witnessed by federal agents examining something, presumably the necklace.
On October 24, 1984 at 4:45pm the sheriff’s office raided a Pierce Street apartment and recovered 1.5 pounds of cocaine. Also confiscated was $11,000 in cash, gambling records and a small revolver. A 34-year old Milwaukee man was arrested and held on $5000 bond.
On October 24, 1984 Chief Judge Reynolds of the Eastern District of Wisconsin authorized the interception of telephone conversations from the residence of Anthony Pipito.
Anthony Pipito was secretly recorded on November 8, 1984 making a threat against the New York jeweler and even talked of how to dispose of his body.
Anthony Pipito left Milwaukee for Florida on November 16, 1984, and returned on November 23, 1984. Joseph Basile returned by car the following morning with a load of cocaine, which he delivered to Pipito. Pipito packaged the cocaine immediately. Charles Grier telephoned Pipito on November 24, 1984, and asked Pipito, “How was your trip?” Pipito said that his trip was “good” and asked Grier if he wanted to stop by, to which Grier replied that he was “thirsty as hell” and “could use about four beers.” An FBI agent testified that approximately 40 minutes later that same evening he saw a black male leave Pipito’s condominium complex and enter a Cadillac parked in front of the entrance.
FBI agents picked up Pipito’s trash on November 24, 1984 and found a cash register receipt from Sheridan Shop Rite for Ziploc bags and a 6-pack of Pepsi, bank deposit slips, and a Delta Airlines boarding pass for Atlanta. This was enough evidence to get a warrant from Judge John Reynolds.
Anthony Pipito spoke with his girlfriend, Cheryl Kane, 28, on the phone on November 27, 1984. He asked her, “Know what you would make in a year if you [did] what I did?” “About a thousand a day?” she guessed. “$1.2 million a year in income.” “Hard to believe.” “That’s be your profit. Your in-the-pocket income, net profit.” The next night, Pipito told his girlfriend, “I make on the average of $24,000 a kilo.” He then said he sold about five kilos (or eleven pounds) a month.
Pipito’s Prospect Avenue condominium was searched by law enforcement authorities a week later during the evening of November 30, 1984. 121 officers were involved in the search — 50 FBI agents, 5 DEA agents, 11 IRS agents, 12 DCI agents, 19 Milwaukee police officers, 18 Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies, and 6 other local officers.
Approximately five and three-quarter pounds (2,636.81 grams) of cocaine was found in his condominium’s basement storage locker. The cocaine was packaged in separate bags and varied in purity from 72 percent to 90 percent. Substances used to dilute (“cut”) the drugs were also found in a storage locker, as well as countless paraphernalia such as test tubes, a National Controls electronic scale, plastic baggies and more. Police also found Milwaukee police badge 526 (which belonged to a retired officer and was reported missing between 1948 and 1952), Milwaukee County Sheriff stationery, two pipe bombs, a disassembled Stevens 12-gauge shotgun and two handguns (380 Barretta automatic and P-38 automatic). 6000 shares in Denning Mobile Robotics were seized (valued at .31 per share for a total of $1860), as well as $66,337 in cash. Also, 50 shares in AT&T (valued at $1056) and 6561 shares in Telefonos de Mexico. Prescriptions were found for penicillin and theophylline (an asthma drug). A sales listing for Trinny’s Place (3316 West Lincoln Avenue) was found, suggesting he was looking to purchase the restaurant. A new plum Cadillac Eldorado was seized.
Also on November 30, agents search the East Troy home of Peter Pipito, Anthony’s brother. In a safe they found $150,000 which he claimed was from the sale of gold and silver coins. He later acknowledged he was storing it for his brother, but believed the money came from gambling and not drugs.
On December 1, 1984, the agents opened safety deposit box #2305 at Heritage Bank (177 East Silver Spring) in Whitefish Bay and found another $105,000 in cash.
Anthony Pipito was formally indicted on December 27, 1984 on five cocaine-related charges, including conspiracy. Also indicted were Joseph Basile, 44, and Gail M. Schill, 31. Pipito and Basile faced 100 years in prison, while Schill faced 35 years and was free on $5000 bail.
FBI agents returned to Anthony Pipito’s condo (1633 North Prospect, Apartment 10A) on January 7, 1985 and confiscated the premises as well as the appliances inside. These were valued at $97,000.
The Milwaukee vice squad arrested 14 people in drug raids on Thursday, January 10, 1985. Eleven of the people had no mob connections and were dealing in marijuana, cocaine and heroin. At 5pm, a rental car was pulled over at Kilbourn and VanBuren that contained two Milwaukee men and a Colombian connected to Pipito. In the trunk was a duffel bag containing one kilogram of cocaine. (The Milwaukee men were not identified in the newspaper other than as being from the North Side.)
Anthony Francis Pipito, 47, married Cheryl Lynn Kane, 27, on Monday, January 14, 1985 inside the Waukesha County Jail, exchanging gold rings. Circuit Judge Patrick L. Snyder conducted the ceremony. Best man was George Kelepouris and Deborah Clifton was maid of honor. Also present were Lisa Kane, the bride’s sister; Lisa A. Schaning of Milwaukee; and Joseph Graff of Greenfield.
Anthony Pipito filed a motion for the return of his property on February 14, 1985. He argued that the government had confiscated $321,315 without due process and it was creating an economic hardship, as well as making it difficult to pay attorney’s fees in order to mount an adequate defense. Pipito asked the money returned, plus interest.
On March 6, 1985, the FBI took Anthony Pipito’s palm print in a padded room at the US Marshals office. His attorney objected, saying “everyone knew” why they wanted the print, and it was not because of his cocaine arrest. (Pipito had been tied to at least four gangland slayings.) Pipito had to be restrained to a board as government agents took the prints — he resisted to the end.
Anthony Pipito and several others were indicted on March 26, 1985 on a superseding indictment for violating the Controlled Substances Act. Although the FBI records are redacted, it seems one of the people had fled to Las Vegas.
Anthony Pipito was arraigned on the new superseding charges on Friday, April 5, 1985 — rather than the original six charges, he now faced 17 of the total 23 charges presented. Defense attorney Robert E. Sutton called the indictment “one of the most unbelievable documents I have ever seen” and the charges included “all kinds of things that weren’t in the other” indictment. He accused the government of “piling on” charges, hoping “something’s got to stick.” Nine others were also charged: Joseph V. Basile, 44, 2140 West Kendall Avenue; alleged supplier Gustavo Restrepo of Chicago, 31; Cheryl L. Pipito, 27, 7600 Donna Court; Peter J. Pipito, 52, 1512 Stone School Road in East Troy; Anthony M. Pipito, 21, 1466 North Farwell Avenue; John H. Bowers, 34, 3494 North Pierce Street; and Gail M. Schill, 31, of 4186 South Kinnickinnic Avenue. At large were Michael Moriarty, 37, 556 North 61st Street, and Edgar Gomez, 42, another Chicago supplier. Specifically, the new indictment outlined that Pipito received cocaine from Gomez and Restrepo in Chicago and brought it back to Milwaukee where it was sold by Schill, Bowers and Moriarty. Pipito’s son helped store the cocaine (agents found six pounds in his apartment). Cheryl Pipito helped package the cocaine, and Peter Pipito put his brother on the payroll of his trucking company to mask his income, as well as hiding $150,000.
Max Adonnis was stabbed outside of Giovanni’s on April 10, 1985 by Paul P. Waterman, 30. Adonnis was stabbed in the heart and abdomen. Waterman, who experiences blackout seizures and suffers from “organic personality syndrome”, claimed not to remember the incident. Police said it may have been the result of a dispute Adonnis had with Waterman’s family in 1966, when Waterman was 11. (The “dispute” was allegedly a home invasion, and possibly the cause of Waterman’s mental problems.) At the suggestion of Adonnis, Waterman was put on probation.
Gustavo Restrepo, 31, was charged on April 16, 1985 with being Anthony Pipito’s cocaine supplier. Restrepo was an illegal immigrant from Colombia. He also faced charges in Miami. US Magistrate Robert Bittner ordered Restrepo held without bond, and he faced 44 years in prison and $415,000 in fines.
John Monteleone appeared before Eastern District judge Thomas J. Curran on April 18, 1985. He pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal contempt, and was released on $2500 personal recognizance. As a condition of his release, he was limited to travel in Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin.
Sally Papia’s cozy arrangement with Local 122 began to unravel in early 1985. Joann Calarco, a waitress at Sally’s, had incurred significant medical expenses the past October, and was facing additional expenses in January. Calarco discussed her predicament with her mother, who advised her to contact Vince Gallo, a long-time family friend. Gallo was Local 122′s business manager, having replaced Phil Valley, the old business manager (and the union official with whom Papia mainly had dealt in the past) in 1984. Calarco explained her situation to Gallo who, much to Calarco’s surprise, told her that Sally’s was unionized and that she was eligible to join Local 122 and receive health benefits. Before allowing Calarco to join the union, however, Gallo told Calarco to inform Papia that she wished to join.
When Calarco told Papia that she intended to join the union, Papia became angry. Nevertheless, Calarco joined. After Calarco joined Local 122, two other waitresses joined, and other Sally’s employees became interested in joining (principally to take advantage of the union’s health benefits). At about this same time, Papia began to receive notices from the administrator of Local 122′s employee benefit plans about employer contributions she had failed to make under the 1982 agreement. Also around this time, the FBI began to investigate Papia’s relationship with Local 122. Sally Papia told FBI agent Roger Trott that Gallo was “pressuring” her to unionize Sally’s. To combat this pressure, Papia’s attempt to avoid full unionization moved to a different tack.
Shortly after Papia spoke to the FBI agent, Papia and Gallo began negotiating a new contract for the period beginning in 1985. During these negotiations, Gallo pressed Papia to submit all her eligible employees’ names to the union. Papia resisted this because of the cost of paying union benefits for all her employees. Instead, Papia submitted twelve names to Gallo for union membership. However, Papia did not inform these twelve employees that they would be listed on the union rolls. Papia also prepared twelve Local 122 membership cards for these employees, forged their names on them, and submitted them to the union.
On June 15, 1985, the 1982 agreement expired. Negotiations over a new contract continued. A couple weeks later, Papia had ballots prepared for her employees to indicate whether or not they wanted to join Local 122. Each ballot contained a line for the employee to sign. All employees except one (including the twelve employees whose names Papia had submitted to the union) voted against joining Local 122. Papia sent copies of most of these ballots to Gallo. She did not, however, send copies of the ballots signed by the twelve employees whose names she had previously submitted to Gallo.
As of August 1985, the FBI was still working on the Anthony Biernat murder case from over twenty years prior. On August 1, they concluded that latent fingerprints found at the scene did not belong to either John “Johnny Apes” Monteleone or Nick Montos.
Monteleone was found guilty of criminal contempt by a 12-member jury in Eastern District of Wisconsin court on August 7, 1985. He had refused to testify following a judicial grant of immunity.
An FBI agent observed James Jennaro meeting with Joseph Balistrieri at the Shorecrest Hotel on August 27, 1985 at 1:46pm. At 5:43pm, Balistrieri was seen meeting with Vincent Gallo.
FBI agents ran surveillance on August 29, 1985 from 10:50am to 2:35pm at the Shorecrest Hotel. In the early afternoon, Vincent Gallo was seen meeting with Joseph Balistrieri in Snug’s. John Balistrieri was also seen in Snug’s, but not as part of the meeting.
In September 1985, Frank Balistrieri was tried in Kansas City, Missouri with eight other associates for skimming an estimated $2 million of the gross income of the Argent Corporation from Syndicate casino operations. Federal prosecutors further accused Balistrieri of skimming the unreported income and distributing it to organized crime figures in Kansas City, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cleveland. In failing health, Balistrieri pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy in exchange for dropping federal charges, which included attempting to conceal ownership of a casino to skim profits and interstate travel to aid racketeering. He also attempted to shield his sons, John and Joe, from any charges.
On Tuesday, September 24, 1985, during his opening statement, prosecutor John Franke told a jury that Anthony Pipito had been making $1.2 million a year on his cocaine deals. He would buy it for $30,000 a kilogram and then sell it for $2000 per ounce. “He approximately doubled his money,” said Franke. Pipito’s suppliers were named as Edgar Gomez, 42, and Gustavo Restrepo, 31, of Chicago. His sellers were identified as Gail Schill, Joseph Basile, Michael Moriarity, E. J. Halverson, John Bowers, Robert Prescott and five others only known by nicknames. Defense attorney Robert Sutton called the government’s case a “fantasy” created from “invasions of privacy” that were “unprecedented and unparalleled”. Attorney Michael Mandelman represented Peter Pipito and said the charges against Peter were “a sham… he’s being dragged down with his brother. I don’t think my client even had a good idea what cocaine was before mid-October.”
Peter Pipito testified on Tuesday, October 8, 1985 that the first time he knew his brother was involved in drug dealing came on November 28, when Anthony asked to use Peter’s semi truck to haul drugs. Peter said he warned his son Jeffrey not to get involved, because they could lose the trucking business (Troy Town Trucking), and when Peter’s wife was told about Anthony, she became very upset. Peter said he had heard once before that Anthony was involved in drugs and confronted him on it, and Anthony denied the charge. Peter said he once saw Anthony return from the race track with “a shopping bag full of money” that he “dumped… on top of the kitchen table”. Prosecutors did not believe Peter was ignorant and cited a recording where he asked Anthony, “What end of it are you in? Transportation end or selling it or what?”
Peter Pipito testified further on Wednesday, October 9, 1985 that he held on to $175,000 in cash for his brother Anthony so that it would not have to be reported to the IRS. When the FBI found the money in his safe in November, he said it was from cashing in gold coins, but now testified, “I just didn’t know what to say about that money in the safe.” He said he believed Anthony had acquired it gambling, as he had been a high-stakes gambler all his life, not from dealing drugs. Peter also said he had put Anthony on his trucking company’s payroll for $500 per week so that Anthony could get credit cards, but did not require him to actually show up for work.
Cheryl Pipito testified on Tuesday, October 15, 1985 that she did not know her husband was a drug dealer until a few days before his arrest. She allegedly thought he made his money from trucking and gambling and from working in an after-hours establishment. She did not question him about his income “because I really didn’t care to know.” Pipito denied ever buying, selling or using drugs, but did say she once helped package some cocaine and had twice counted out cash. “I guess I just closed my eyes,” she told Judge Thomas Curran. A tape was played where Anthony said he had “bags” for her, and she told Curran she thought this meant grocery or garbage bags, as she was doing plenty of cooking and cleaning. (In the context of the conversation, Cheryl was either flat-out lying to the judge or was incredibly stupid.)
In late October 1985, it came to light that Frank Balistrieri had spoken to Cleveland mob figure Angelo Lonardo while in prison at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Lonardo told the FBI that Balistrieri used his influence with the Teamsters Union to get more than $87 million in loans from the Central States Teamsters Pension Fund to purchase Las Vegas casinos in the 1970s.
On November 19, 1985, Anthony Pipito was sentenced to 121 years in prison for his involvement in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy. The federal judge, Thomas J. Curran, told Pipito, “You have the morals of an alley cat and your concern for human beings would make Idi Amin look like an altar boy by comparison… I cannot find a single mitigating or redeeming feature in your personal history.”
In December 1985, Balistrieri was sentenced to 10 years in prison (to run concurrently with his 13-year sentence from 1984). Close to achieving a seat on the ruling Mafia Commission in New York, Balistrieri was thwarted by this prison sentence.
On Tuesday, December 10, 1985, Judge Curran sentenced Joseph V. Basile, 45, to 22 years in prison for his role in Anthony Pipito’s drug dealing. He further ordered that Basile’s sentence begin in Missouri at a medical facility to treat Basile’s undisclosed health problems. At sentencing, Basile insisted he was a minor player and only caved in because of the money. “I resisted for a long time,” he said. “Every day he’d tell me how much money he made. It was no secret that Tony was in the business… he said brain surgeons don’t make this kind of money.”
On Wednesday, December 11, 1985, Judge Thomas Curran sentenced Gustavo Restrepo, 32, of Chicago to 12 years in prison for supplying Anthony Pipito with cocaine.
On Thursday, December 12, 1985, Judge Curran sentenced Gail M. Schill, 32, to four years in prison and three years probation for her role in Anthony Pipito’s drug business. Prosecutor Eric J. Klumb said Schill was a drug abuser and “a good-sized dope dealer in this city.”
On December 16, 1985, Sally Papia told the village of Mukwonago’s Plan Commission of her intent to build a restaurant. The next day, her nephew Jeffrey Tomaro convinced the Village Board to rezone the proposed site from agricultural to business. As far as this author knows, the second restaurant was never built.
Leonard J. Drewek, son-in-law to Peter Balistrieri, left for work on December 26, 1985 but never made it to his job at Kohl’s Food Store at 5656 North Port Washington Road. The store called his wife, Benedetta, to say he never came in. He also did not pick up his paycheck on the 27th. Benedetta reported him missing on January 2. Police found his car at the Amtrak station at 433 West St. Paul Avenue. Exactly one month after he left, he called his parents to tell them he was alright, but would not reveal where he was.
A confidential informant in Sherman, Texas told the FBI on February 6, 1986 that Steve DeSalvo told him about a time that him and Frank Stelloh (who DeSalvo called “a legend” in the prison system) were wiring a car to explode. DeSalvo also complained about the failure on Balistrieri’s part to help him get out of prison. DeSalvo said “we made the Balistrieris” and “we did a lot of work for them, but they aren’t helping.”
On Tuesday, February 11, 1986, federal judge Thomas Curran sentenced John Monteleone to four years in prison for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury after being granted immunity. Curran called Monteleone’s silence “a serious attack on the judicial system” and “deprived the grand jury of vital information”.
Cheryl Kane was working as a waitress for Sally Papia in August 1986. After her husband, Anthony Pipito, beat her severely that month, Papia did not allow her to work for a few weeks due to her appearance.
The FBI interviewed an attorney for Local 122′s Health and Welfare Trust Fund on August 7, 1986 at his office at 250 East Wisconsin Avenue. He said he had held the position since May 1979, and in the last three years the Health and Welfare Fund had become insolvent. He said this was because the fund was self-insured. Prior to 1982, it was insured by Mutual of Omaha and was quite lucrative. The fund was currently in debt to the Milwaukee County Medical Complex for $125,000. When asked about Sally’s, the attorney laughed, and said no one knew if Sally’s was unionized or not, and the restaurant was not considered part of the Knickerbocker Hotel so they would be a separate contract. He said he did not think Vincent Gallo had any significant mob connections and he joked that if he wanted to contact them, he could just as easily pick up the phone and call them himself.
The FBI interviewed twelve Sally’s employees on August 13-15, 1986 concerning their signatures being on Local 122 union membership applications. None of the twelve had ever seen the application before, and only one of them was aware that they were in a union.
The FBI executed a search warrant on August 20, 1986, scouring the Local 122′s offices for all files on Sally’s Steak House. Some were found, some were not, and they were told that any election held to unionize Sally’s would have taken place when Phil Valley was running Local 122.
The FBI interviewed a Mrs. SanFilippo on September 3, 1986 concerning her employment at Sally’s Steak House. SanFilippo said she had been employed there for six years and was currently on a leave of absence because she was nine months pregnant. She had disagreements with Sally Papia in the past, but was told she could return to work when she was ready. As for the union, she was not aware that anyone at Sally’s was in the union until about a year ago. She had first heard rumors about a union six years ago, but was told that it was “hush hush” and not something to talk about. She had extensive surgery in October 1984, and at that time was told she could pay back dues at Local 122 in order to have the health insurance fund help her with bills. When Sally Papia found out that SanFilippo had joined the union, she called her into a meeting with Jimmy Jennaro. Jennaro told her she should keep her mouth shut and not tell the other employees. Papia told the other employees that SanFilippo was a “nitwit”. SanFilippo told the agents she feared and distrusted Papia and believed that Papia had tape-recorded phone conversations they had.
On approximately September 16, 1986, the Milwaukee FBI Office requested an “emergency” electronic recording (body wire) to monitor Max Adonnis. They believed he was involved in “a large scale burglary ring”, “chop shop operations” and “distribution of cocaine on a large scale”. Adonnis was allegedly laundering this dirty money through another individual and then using the proceeds to invest in real estate. The request was granted immediately by Section Chief Nicholas V. O’Hara and was in effect for one month, to expire at midnight on October 16.
Anthony M. Pipito, son of Anthony F. Pipito, testified on Wednesday, September 17, 1986 against five people formerly connected to his father: Isaac Harper, 59; Donna D. Jackson, 29; Larry M. Pawlus, 37; Charles H. Grier, 45; and Peter J. Triliegi, 41, of Richmond, California. Pipito said his role in his father’s business was testing cocaine for its purity using a book called “The Cocaine Handbook”. Pipito saw his father weigh the cocaine and said that roughly ten pounds a week were being sold.
The FBI interviewed a business agent for Local 122 on September 30, 1986. He had been involved in organizing efforts for the Midway Hotel on Port Washington Road, Sheraton Hotel on Mayfair Road and the Anchorage restaurant. None of these was successful. He said generally what would happen is an employee would want to be unionized, the union would come in to take a vote, and then the employer would offer a ten or fifteen cent raise if they voted the union down. As far as he knew, Sally’s was unionized. Neither Snug’s nor the Shorecrest were. Both Budgetel and Big Boy were non-union, but this was because they could not unionize one store without unionizing the entire national chain. Most grievances came from employees of the Mini-Price Motel, who were getting paid less than their contract required.
Special agents surveilled the residence of Benny DiSalvo (3321 North Humboldt) on December 22 and 23, 1986. They were trying to find out more about DiSalvo and Harry D’Angelo’s takeover of Anton Jennaro, Inc. produce and investigating rumors that Frank Balistrieri was still getting “a piece of the action” from extortion. All they saw were Benny and his wife (described as “elderly”) in a light color Lincoln Mercury. He was followed on December 24 and seen going to the Brady Street Pharmacy.
A special agent stopped at Benny DiSalvo’s residence on December 31 and spoke with him. DiSalvo said his parents were from Sicily and he had visited there. He said that while he recently retired from Pabst, he had been in the construction business for many years, including the 12 years he lived in the Sheepshead Bay area of Brooklyn. He said he was not related to Steve DeSalvo, but knew him from growing up in the same neighborhood. DiSalvo denied, however, that he knew anything about any organized crime activities.
On January 7, 1987, a confidential source told the FBI that (redacted) was planning to step down from Teamsters Local 200 and might be getting a national position. He said that a replacement was already being groomed.
The use of “emergency” ELSUR (electronic surveillance) of Max Adonnis was again requested on January 9, 1987 and was granted on January 12 by Deputy Assistant Director Robert A. Ricks. (Ricks would go on to be known as the agent in charge at Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing, before leaving the Bureau to become the police chief of Edmond, Oklahoma.) This request stated that Adonnis was “heavily involved in all types of illegal activities”, and now specified that the money he laundered was being invested in Arizona. On January 21, the Milwaukee Office reported that they had failed to use the recording device.
On February 2, 1987, a special agent visited Benny DiSalvo in the hopes of turning him into a “137″ (informant). DiSalvo said he knew Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo and Harry D’Angelo, as he grew up with them. He denied knowing anything about any criminal activity. He said he was retired and simply lived with his wife and daughter.
The FBI interviewed a woman (name redacted, possibly Vincent Gallo’s ex-wife) on February 21, 1987. She said she had formerly been employed by the Red Carpet Hotel and was a member of Local 122. She had participated in their health insurance program and had no complaints about that. She ended up quitting when Red Carper would not allow her a dinner break and the union would not handle her grievance. She said she had been married to her husband for twelve years until their divorce 11 years prior. When they were first married, her husband was a bricklayer. He grew tired of the undependable work and went into business with a Sicilian bricklayer from New York and they opened Termini’s on South Howell. Upon going into the restaurant business, her husband became “cold, secretive and paranoid”. The restaurant burned down, and her husband went to work for Nicolo’s, where he met Joe Balistrieri. At that point, her husband started coming home late and receiving phone calls from other women. He became more “dictatorial” and “moody” and she found a revolver in his dresser drawer which he said was for protection. She was concerned because they had two children. Her husband quit Nicolo’s and started working at Snug’s. She would visit with the children and Joe Balistrieri was “always a gentleman” to them. The woman and her husband occasionally dined at Giovanni’s, Gaetano’s and Sally’s. He would sometimes take trips to Kansas City with Frank Balistrieri, but she did not know why. She recalled that her daughter was married at Selico’s (6869 West Forest Home Avenue) and it was somewhat embarrassing because her husband had a “Mafia table” set up for his connected friends. At this point he had become an employee of Local 122 and had underwent a vasectomy so as not to have any more children.
A confidential source told FBI agents on February 25, 1987 that he believed Milwaukee was now completely under Chicago’s control and that there is no Milwaukee boss. He also said Monday through Friday at 8:00am the old-timers (including Benny DiSalvo and Walter Brocca) met at the Islander restaurant on Brady Street. On the weekend, they gathered at the Brady Street Pharmacy.
Around March 1987, Frank Buccieri was believed to be assisting Peter Balistrieri in providing financial backing for Trovato’s Pasta House (owned by Frank A. Trovato Jr.), 1601 North Jackson, which was formerly a Balistrieri-owned restaurant called Pizzino’s. (1601 Jackson, as laid out here, had a long history of mob involvement… a fascinating piece of property.)
An FBI agent telephoned Benny DiSalvo on March 3, 1987 and asked him outright if he was interested in being a confidential informant. DiSalvo insisted that while he did use the Brady Street Pharmacy, he knew nothing of any criminal activities. The agent said if he changed his mind, arrangements could be provided.
The FBI was approved to conduct electronic surveillance (via body recorder) on Max Adonnis on April 4, 1987 that was good for two months. The approval was granted by Drug Section Chief Frank Storey. Adonnis was suspected of being involved in stolen food stamps and narcotics (cocaine) sales. Apparently, this authority was not used, though an undercover agent did purchase cocaine off of Adonnis on April 16, April 24 and May 8.
On June 3, 1987 the FBI was again approved to use electronic surveillance on Max Adonnis for two months.
The FBI interviewed an employee of Local 122 on June 3, 1987. He said he had come to Milwaukee in May 1982 from Toledo, Ohio to replace a retiring employee who had been an international organizer with the union. The man’s family stayed in Toledo for three years before finally joining him in Milwaukee. He had gone to two meetings at Sally’s and as far as he knew they were always unionized. He said Sally Papia was a “tough nut” and it was commonly known that “she openly berated and was generally hard on her employees.”
On July 29, 1987, Benedetta Balistrieri’s attorney informed the Chicago Strike Force that she wanted to have a meeting with Milwaukee FBI agents concerning “indirect threats” she had received from her brother Joseph. Two days later, she canceled the meeting, but her attorney said he had multipel sources saying that Joseph had indirectly threatened her to stay out of Milwaukee (she was currently in California).
FBI agents interviewed a man on August 12, 1987 who had formerly owned the Town Room Restaurant and the Milwaukee Inn Restaurant. He said that Phil Valley had made a deal with him at the Town Room where only two or three of his employees would have to be unionized. When the man left the Town Room and took over the Milwaukee Inn, he asked Valley if a similar deal could be worked out. Valley said yes, but soon forced him to unionize all the employees. The man said he knew Frank Balistrieri and Valley had been friends and were fight promoters, but he did not know if Balistrieri had any influence over Local 122. Valley frequently ate at the Milwaukee Inn and always paid for his meals.
Jerry DiMaggio’s funeral was held on September 3, 1987.
The FBI interviewed a former employee of Local 122 (name redacted) on September 17, 1987. He said his job had primarily been to assist with organizing in both the office and in the field, but he also handled grievances and distributed booklets. His employment ended when his use of cocaine became overwhelming. He said he had lunch at Sally’s four or five times and was familiar with the restaurant, but was never there on union business. The man said he frequented Snug’s because other union employees did, and this was because Vincent Gallo was close to the Balistrieri family. He said he frequently stayed at the Park East Hotel and used cocaine there with his friends. He named a few people he used cocaine with, but said he never sold it and had stopped using it himself. He said he had purchased his cocaine from a black man who was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The man said that organizing generally happened when an employee requests it, and rarely because management wants it. He thought of one exception — the Nantucket Shores restaurant in the Astor Hotel — where management wanted their employees organized. He had tried to get Midway Motor Lodge on Port Washington Road organized, but management opposed it and the issue never came to a vote. He recalled that trying to organize Alioto’s was “particularly bitter” and that the owner was a “son of a bitch”. Two further failed attempts were at the Tyrolean restaurant on 108th Street in West Allis and at Kuglitsch’s Bowling Lanes.
Joseph Balistrieri left the Tallahassee, Florida prison by bus on October 17, 1987 and was temporarily held at a federal prison in Talladega, Alabama. Due to overcrowding, he was being sent to a minimum-security federal prison camp in El Reno, Oklahoma. William C. Neel, a spokesman for the Florida prison, said Balistrieri “was qualified for a camp and we were overcrowded, so we moved him.”
On December 1, 1988, Sally Papia was indicted with two felony counts of paying off Local 122 a total of $4000 “disguised as union dues” to keep her employees off the union rolls. Prosecutor Stephen Liccione said this deal saved Papia’s restaurant $250,000 in health insurance premiums and pension benefits over a five year period. Papia faced ten years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted. Defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel said he “planned to bring some legal challenges to this indictment.” The Milwaukee Sentinel noted the Papia investigation was spun off from an investigation into Local 122′s Vincent Gallo, who had formerly been the manager at Snug’s.
Joseph Balistrieri would later testify regarding the Alioto property on North Jackson: “Well, when we came back from our sabbatical in 1989, things were very bad, personally and financially. We no longer had a source of income. We were practicing lawyers, and we had to put our affairs together. John got married. Now he had a wife, and we were just trying to keep what we had from going under. I finally said, look, with the Jackson Street thing — I’m not going to pull this wagon anymore without some kind of compensation. I mean, no more. We used the term no more, niente per niente. That means no more nothing for nothing. I’m not going to charge her a fee, but we have to have some kind of arrangement where we’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel, because every day she would call John. In fact, he’d come to me with her problems. My life at that time wasn’t a bed of roses either. I had litigation of my own to contend with. I had my own problems that I was going through, and I said enough. Things weren’t as rosy as they used to be. Now we’re convicted felons. We’ve got to take care of business, here.”
On February 28, 1989, Max Adonnis’ car was riddled with shotgun blasts. He was not inside at the time and dismissed the shots as “just vandalism”.
Maximillion J. Adonnis was forced to kneel and shot once in the head at Giovanni’s (1683 North VanBuren), a restaurant he co-owned and managed, on Saturday morning, 8:20am, March 18, 1989. The police found him dead, lying in a pool of blood. A cleaning lady, 56, was shot twice in the throat, stabbed in the back and survived. He had just changed the locks the night before, and came in early to let the cleaning lady in or he would not have been there. She said that the two men who came in and shot Adonnis referred to him as “Uncle Max” or “brother Max”. They were identified as two black men, or a black man and a dark-complexioned Latin.
Carla Herbig, a tester for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, who is black, went to the Shorecrest at about 5:30pm on April 25, 1989, and met with Angeline Hurdelbrink. After Herbig told Hurdelbrink she was interested in a one-bedroom apartment for May or June, Hurdelbrink showed her apartment 321 and told her the rent was $500 per month. Hurdelbrink did not show Herbig any other facilities in the building.
The next day, Kate Lonsdorf, who is white, visited the Shorecrest. Like Herbig, Lonsdorf told Hurdelbrink she was interested in a one-bedroom apartment for May or June. Hurdelbrink showed Lonsdorf the same apartment she showed Herbig, but told her the rent was $480 per month. Hurdelbrink also showed Lonsdorf the building’s storage and laundry facilities and told Lonsdorf about the building’s restaurant.
Sally Papia Sentenced
On April 28, 1989, Sally Papia was sentenced to 16 months in prison, two years probation and a $10,000 fine for paying off Local 122 to keep her employees out of the union. She had letters from Governor Martin Schreiber (1977-1979), Milwaukee detective Joseph J. Miszewski and 23 others in her favor, but the judge seemingly ignored these. Schreiber wrote, “One could not come away from Sally’s without believing that the restaurant was owned and operated by a person with the utmost integrity and compassion… She and her restaurant have been a credit to our community.” Miszewski said, “I believe that her high moral standards and superior business character have been the No. 1 factor in his successful years as a restauranteur.” (Miszewski had previously been tied to California mob figure Andrew Lococo.) WISN radio personality Larry “The Legend” Johnson wrote, “She is a super lady and has done a lot for our great city.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Liccione said that due to information that came out during the trial, “a few new avenues of inquiry have opened… and we will be pursuing them.” He seemed to be alluding to the fact that no one involved with the union had been prosecuted for the misconduct. Judge Thomas Curran openly questioned why they had not during Papia’s sentencing. Papia addressed the court with a letter at this time, which read in part, “I know I’m not perfect and for sure I’ve made many mistakes over 25 years in business… But I never intended to break any laws. If I did, I’m so very, very sorry… How could I hurt the people helping me grow?”
Investigator Mike Koll of the US Labor Department also spoke to the press, saying, “The FBI and my section are hopeful we can seek the prosecution of what we see as a corrupt union… We’re encouraged by some of the judge’s comments that this is a corruption of the labor-management arrangement.”
Carla Wertheim, MMFHC’s associate director, suspected discrimination and decided that more tests would be appropriate. Thus, on April 29, Kim Davis, who is black, visited the Shorecrest and told Hurdelbrink she wanted a two-bedroom apartment. Hurdelbrink responded that no two-bedroom apartments were available. However, Hurdelbrink did show Davis a three-bedroom apartment and told her the rent was $850 per month. Hurdelbrink also told Davis that she might have some two-bedroom apartments after June, for which the rent would be $850 per month.
About one hour after Davis left, Lynn Connolly, a white tester, arrived at the Shorecrest. Connolly, like Davis, told Hurdelbrink that she was looking for a two-bedroom apartment. Hurdelbrink told Connolly that no two-bedroom apartments were currently available. However, Hurdelbrink did show Connolly an office that was to be converted into a two-bedroom apartment that would be available June 1 for $700 per month. Hurdelbrink also showed Connolly a vacant three-bedroom apartment and told Connolly that the apartment could be converted to a two-bedroom apartment which would rent for $875 per month. When Connolly asked about an application, Hurdelbrink gave her one.
On May 5, Carol Cunningham, who is white, met with Hurdelbrink at the Shorecrest and told Hurdelbrink she was interested in a one- or two-bedroom unit. Hurdelbrink showed Cunningham a two-bedroom unit on the eighth floor with a quoted rent of $850 per month, a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor with a quoted rent of $475 per month, and a one-bedroom apartment (with no rent quoted) on the third floor, apartment 321. Hurdelbrink also told Cunningham that two other one-bedroom apartments were available.
The next day, Sheryl Sims-Daniels, who is black, visited the Shorecrest. She told Hurdelbrink she was interested in one- and two-bedroom apartments. Hurdelbrink showed Sims-Daniels apartment 801, a two-bedroom, and told her the rent was $875 per month. Hurdelbrink also showed her apartment 321 and told her the rent was $525 per month. Hurdelbrink did not show Sims-Daniels any other apartments. When Sims-Daniels asked to fill out an application, Hurdelbrink told her she could not because of uncertainty about any apartments being available at the time.
Marva Pattillo (not a tester), who is black, met with Hurdelbrink at the Shorecrest on May 6 and asked about a two-bedroom apartment. Hurdelbrink showed Pattillo an eighth-floor apartment with a lake view. Pattillo told Hurdelbrink she loved the apartment and was “definitely interested” in it, and asked Hurdelbrink what the rent was. Hurdelbrink said she did not know the rent offhand but would find out. Hurdelbrink called Pattillo several days later and told her the rent was $850 per month. When Pattillo returned to the Shorecrest on May 13 to see the apartment again, she told Hurdelbrink that she liked it and would need only a day or two to make her plans final. On May 15, Pattillo called Hurdelbrink to say that she would take the apartment. Hurdelbrink was not in, so Pattillo left a message. Over the next week to ten days, Pattillo called Hurdelbrink often at both the Shorecrest and at home, and left numerous messages at the Shorecrest. But Pattillo’s effort was in vain; when she finally reached Hurdelbrink, Hurdelbrink told her the apartment had been rented.
MMFHC conducted two more tests. For the fourth test, Barry Zalben, who is white, met with Hurdelbrink at the Shorecrest on May 11, 1989, and asked about one- and two-bedroom apartments. Hurdelbrink showed him apartment 801, a two-bedroom apartment, and told him the rent was $875 per month. Hurdelbrink also showed Zalben two one-bedroom apartments; apartment 615, for which she told him the rent was $500 per month, and apartment 308, for which she told him the rent was $475 per month. Hurdelbrink told Zalben that all three apartments would be available sometime between June 1 and June 4. Hurdelbrink called Zalben on May 17, but he did not return her call.
Greg Thompson, who is black, spoke with Hurdelbrink at the Shorecrest about one hour after Zalben. Thompson asked to see one- and two-bedroom apartments and told Hurdelbrink that he would like to move in as soon as possible. Hurdelbrink only showed Thompson apartment 615 and told him the monthly rent was $525. Hurdelbrink brought him up to apartment 801 but did not take him inside; she told him the rent was $875 per month. Hurdelbrink told Thompson that both apartments would be available in July. But a white man named Walter Cain (who was not a tester) ended up renting apartment 615 on May 20, paying $500 per month rent. Thompson asked to fill out an application, but Hurdelbrink told him he could not do so until he put down a deposit.
On the final test, Carl Hubbard, who is black, met Hurdelbrink at the Shorecrest on June 5. Hubbard asked to see one- and two-bedroom apartments; Hurdelbrink, claiming that she could not show him any two-bedroom apartments, showed him only one one-bedroom apartment. She told Thompson the rent for that apartment was $525 per month. She did not say when the apartment would be available, told Thompson his name could be placed on a waiting list, and told him also that he could fill out an application only when he was ready to rent. Hurdelbrink asked Hubbard several times about his “creditworthiness” although Hubbard assured her that his credit was fine.
Ed Valent, a white tester, met with Hurdelbrink at the Shorecrest about two hours after Hubbard. Valent told Hurdelbrink that he was interested in one- and two-bedroom apartments, and Hurdelbrink showed him apartment 204, which she told him would be available on June 15 for a rent of $475 per month. She had previously told him over the phone about two other two-bedroom apartments that would become available later. At the Shorecrest, Hurdelbrink told Valent that he could move into a one-bedroom apartment and then move into a two-bedroom apartment when one became available. When Valent asked for an application, Hurdelbrink gave him one.
On May 21, 1989 around 10:00pm, a white man intentionally rammed the 1974 Mercedes Benz 450 SL of someone parked outside of the Shorecrest (presumably John Balistrieri), causing $3000 in damage. The reason was allegedly because he had been rejected for an apartment application, although when questioned he said he saw two young men driving with black jackets and black gloves, one holding a shotgun. The man was even allegedly shot at, so he tried to run the men off the road. However, his story was refuted by a witness who was walking along Prospect at the time and saw a yellow Oldsmobile slam into the Mercedes in the Shorecrest parking lot without anyone inside. When confronted with this, the man told a new story — that he had argued with another man about two weeks before in a tavern over some money and when he went out to his car found a used pepperoni wrapper, which he took to be a threatening gesture from the “mob”. The man was put on 18 months probation for criminal damage to property.
On September 12, 1989 an informant told the FBI that Jimmy Fazio informed him that Sam Librizzi was booking football.
Jeffrey Lee died of complications from AIDS in Room 806 of the Shorecrest Hotel on December 23, 1989. He was 29 years old. Lee was Oprah Winfrey’s half-brother, and the story received some attention because of Oprah’s public statements condemning the homosexual lifestyle.
Robert Puccio died on May 8, 1990 at the age of 75.
Frank Balistrieri’s right-hand man, Steve John DiSalvo, died of brain cancer at age 73 on Saturday, June 9, 1990 at a Las Vegas hospice. He had just been released from the Federal Medical Facility in Springfield, Missouri less than a month earlier.
The FBI contacted Anne Rose Lynch, 83, at her residence (2400 East Bradford Street) on June 14, 1990. She said her husband has died in 1959, so she took up work at the Shorecrest Hotel in 1960, working for Arthur Bruemmer as a housekeeper. Around 1977, she started handling the switchboard and renting apartments out to people, and once boasted being at 98% capacity. She recalled renting to blacks (“colored people” in her words), Indians and Arabs, and said at one point she had seven black maids working there. She specifically mentioned Jeffrey Lee, who had died about six months prior. Lynch also recalled a white man who lived in Unit 614 during the 1970s and 1980s with his black wife and her two sons. She said when Joseph Balistrieri bought the hotel, she continued working for him, along with his brother John and mother Nina. At no point did they tell her how to run the hotel or who to rent to. She left in 1982 to live with her ailing sister in Chicago. Lynch had only positive things to say about the Balistrieris — saying she was even paid full salary for a year after suffering a heart attack — and advised the FBI to talk with Helene Rooney, the day clerk.
Also on June 14, the FBI visited the home of Helene Rooney, 77, at her residence (2002 North Bartlett Street). She said she was originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and currently lives alone — she was retired and her husband was deceased. Rooney worked full time from 1977 through 1985 as the day clerk, and then became part-time after suffering from pneumonia. Her superiors were Anna Lynch and Antonia Balistrieri, who had put the position in a newspaper ad. She recalled numerous “colored people” and Arabs living at the hotel, and also said that prior to 1985, the hotel had a number of “transients”, but this was resolved by converting the rooms to apartments. She specifically mentioned a black basketball player who lived there prior to purchasing a residence, and also Jeffrey Lee. Rooney did not feel there was any discrimination in the Shorecrest during her time there — she resigned in May 1990.
Helene Rooney called the FBI on June 15, 1990, telling an agent she recalled other black tenants of the Shorecrest Hotel, including some Wisconsin Bell trainees and a woman and her daughter.
Salvatore Librizzi died on June 19, 1990, without having paid his taxes due from his gambling days. Upon her husband’s death, Carole Librizzi took full title to the 307 East Carlisle Avenue property, which would soon come back to bite her — the IRS foreclosed on the home to extract its due.
Joseph P. Balistrieri and Angeline A. Hurdelbrink were subpoenaed to bring all documents related to the Shorecrest Hotel to federal court on July 16, 1990. They were suspected of denying rooms to minorities or charging minorities higher rent. On July 27, the FBI received a series of cassette tapes from Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council consisting of interviews from potential renters between April and June 1989.
In 1991, John Balistrieri and Jennie Alioto discussed the future status of her rental property at 1601 North Jackson Street. Alioto told John Balistrieri that she did not wish to sell because she needed the income from the rental units for her retirement. Alioto told Balistrieri that she would be willing to give him and his brother the option to purchase the property before any other buyer if she ever decided to sell it.
Joseph Balistrieri’s discrimination trial began on Monday, January 28, 1991. Attorney for the Justice Department, Clay Guthridge, said in his opening statement that, “In every case, blacks were quoted higher rents and quoted later availability dates for apartments. There were no signs posted saying ‘no blacks allowed’ and no evidence of racial slurs. But the evidence will show that when blacks came to the Shorecrest, they were treated differently than whites.” Balistrieri, acting as his own attorney, responded, “The Shorecrest absolutely at no time engaged in any discrimination, patterned or otherwise. Five young black people are living at the Shorecrest. One young black man lived down the hall from me.”
The first witness questioned was Carla Herbig, who said she was not aware at the time she was applying for an apartment that she was being discriminated against, but was informed by the Fair Housing organization later. When she found out, she allegedly felt ill. “It’s still persisting, I still feel upset about it. I feel physically upset. I can’t sleep. I feel embarrassed and ashamed,” she testified. Balistrieri questioned whether or not Herbig had actually suffered any “damages”, as she was not aware of any alleged discrimination until after the fact.
The FBI, Department of Labor and the US Attorney met in late January or early February 1991 and decided that after seven years of trying, they would not pursue the prosecution of Vincent Gallo. They did say they would pursue other avenues against the Balistrieri Family, primarily by targeting the underboss (name redacted).
On the evening of Tuesday, February 5, 1991, after 90 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a guilty verdict against Joseph Balistrieri, ordering him to pay $15,000 — $5000 to the Fair Housing Council and $2000 to each of the five black “testers”.
On April 12, 1991, Judge Thomas Curran handed down an additional $2500 fine on Joseph Balistrieri, and ordered him to adopt and enforce a written renting policy for the Shorecrest to ensure no racial discrimination would happen again.
On February 14, 1992, Jennie Alioto and the Balistrieri Brothers met and signed a contract giving the Balistrieris an option to purchase the Jackson Street property after ten years for $125,000. Attorney Greg Gramling prepared the document at the request of the Balistrieris. He testified that he read the document to the defendant in the meeting. Alioto signed the document, but testified that she believed that she was signing an agreement providing the Balistrieris with the first opportunity to purchase the property should she decide to sell it. She also testified that she did not read the contract prior to signing it.
May 1992, Jennie Alioto read the contract for the first time and understood that its terms provided the Balistrieris with an option to purchase. Alioto then phoned John Balistrieri and recorded the conversation. A transcript of the exchange was admitted into evidence at trial for impeachment purposes as to John Balistrieri. Alioto also testified to her own recollection of the conversation: “I told him that that wasn’t what I was supposed to have been signing, that I thought I was signing an offer — I can’t think of the phrase (right of first refusal) — and he told me not to worry about it, he would do right by me, and I said, you put the price in, you put the date in, and I didn’t know anything about it.”
In 1992, Benjamin Ruggiero was released from prison after serving 11 years and sick with lung and testicular cancer. On November 24, 1994, he died of lung cancer at age 68.
Frank Peter Balistrieri died of heart-related natural causes on February 7, 1993. Handling the funeral was Schmidt and Bartelt Funeral Service, though callers from the media were informed only that “a Frank Balistrieri” had died, without confirming it was the man itself. Senator Gary George, D-Milwaukee, was one of the notable attendees at Balistrieri’s funeral.
Joseph Balistrieri’s discrimination case was retried in June 1993 after winning an appeal of his first trial. While the appellate court upheld the ruling that he had been discriminatory, they ordered a new trial to decide damages. They decided that the jury should have been able to decide both punitive and compensatory damages, rather than have Judge Curran decide the punitive amount. In the new trial, Balistrieri chose Dennis Coffey to represent him. The new jury decided that no punitive damages needed to be paid.
An informant reported on November 1, 1993 that “a lot of drug dealers hang out at Alioto’s on Jackson”. They reported on November 10 that Walter Brocca hung out at Gramma Emma’s restaurant on South KK Street. Also, that Joseph and John Balistrieri were the “real power” behind the Hotel Employee Restaurant Employee Union.
Sally’s Steak House closed in February 1994. Sally Papia and her daughter Caroline “Candy” Papia had feuded many times over the years, and while Sally was the face of the restaurant, Candy was 70% owner because convicted felon Sally could not hold a liquor license. Disagreements reached new heights and Sally quit. When co-receivers Frank Trovato and Frank LaVora (Sally’s cousin) received to keep their positions, ownership reverted to Candy.
Matriarch of the Italian community, Jennie Navarro Puccio, died of kidney failure on August 14, 1995 at the age of 87. She had been the daughter of Pasquale and Benedetta Navarro, who came to Milwaukee from Sicily. Puccio was seen as the “matriarch” because she was a past president of the Italian-American Federation, which would become the Italian Community Center. Along with her husband Joseph, she worked for Joseph’s parents in operating a still during Prohibition. Dominic Frinzi, the mob’s top attorney, said of Puccio, “We all looked up to her as the matriarch. She demonstrated leadership and was well liked and respected. She did a lot to enhance the image of the Italian-American immigrant of Milwaukee County… She taught me by her own actions and the work she did, we have an obligation to return some of the talents we have to the community.”
In 1996, Joseph Balistrieri unsuccessfully petitioned to have his license to practice as a lawyer reinstated. Around June 1996, Frank LaVora was planning to take over Snug’s restaurant in the Shorecrest Hotel and make it a night club called Frank’s.
Charges filed on June 14, 1996, alleged that union president Vincent P. Gallo III (1) engaged in actions which violated the injunctive provisions of the Consent Decree by knowingly associating with organized crime individuals, and (2) breached his fiduciary duties to Local 122′s membership by causing the payment of unauthorized compensation increases, bonuses and personal expenditures. Secretary-Treasurer Christine M. Bruce breached her fiduciary duties to Local 122′s membership by causing the payment of unauthorized compensation increases, bonuses and personal expenditures. And Vice President Jerry M. Koskoski breached his fiduciary duties to Local 122′s membership by causing the payment of unauthorized compensation increases, bonuses and personal expenditures. On August 12, Gallo was banned for life from the union and the other two were suspended for three years.
In February 1997, Local 122 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union installed Mike Gallo as vice president and his nephew Sam Gallo as business manager to run the 1,800-member union. Joy Flannery was also installed as president of the local union. Sam Gallo is the brother of Vincent P. Gallo III.
Peter Frank Balistrieri died of natural causes on August 17, 1997.
Joseph P. Caminiti: 1997-present?
As of 1997, long time consigliere (counselor) to the Milwaukee LCN Family, Joseph P. Caminiti, is believed to be the local crime boss. Law enforcement claimed that he shared much of the power with Frank Balistrieri’s son Joseph up until Joe’s death. Law enforcement also believes that the Milwaukee LCN Family is nearly extinct, with less than 15 “made” members and the most lucrative rackets controlled by the Chicago Outfit.
In early 2002, the Balistrieri brothers served Jennie Alioto with notice of their intention to exercise their option to purchase the property. Alioto refused to sell, and the Balistrieris sued Alioto for specific performance of the contract. Alioto answered that the Balistrieris fraudulently induced her to sign the contract. The Balistrieris moved for summary judgment, arguing that Alioto’s defense of fraud was barred by the six-year limitation in Wisconsin Statute Â§ 893.93(1)(b) on claims of fraud. The court rejected this argument and sided with Alioto.
Sally Papia and her daughter Candy slid off an icy Waukesha County road on January 1, 2005, as Candy was driving her 1991 Jeep Cherokee. At 3pm, the vehicle left County D and hit a tree, killing Candy instantly. Sally went into a coma and died from her injuries days later at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa. One of Milwaukee’s most colorful figures had died. She had dated a high-profile lawyer, a Chicago mobster, a cop, a banker and was friends with Senator Herb Kohl.
Frank Stelloh died March 8, 2005 at the age of 92.
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke resigned his post and joined Milwaukee law firm Gass Weber Mullins on January 1, 2009. Deputy Chief Judge David Hansher called Franke one of Milwaukee County’s best and brightest judges.
Benedetta Balistrieri, the daughter of Frank Balistrieri, died May 27, 2009, in a Los Angeles hospital from diabetes complications at age 64.
Joseph P. Balistrieri, son of Frank Balistrieri, died in October 2010 at age 70.
Anthony Francis Pipito died on December 10, 2010, his 74th birthday. While the FBI connected him to the August Manaici murder, and Pipito himself claimed to be the first person to hit Anthony Biernat during his fatal beating, Pipito was never tried for these crimes and the cases remain officially unsolved.
Angelo J. Alioto, son of John Alioto, died February 3, 2011 of complications of pneumonia at age 87.
The Shorecrest Hotel apartment building was sold to a group of local investors in mid-October 2011, resolving a foreclosure lawsuit that Westbury Bank filed in June against the buildingâ€™s previous owner, Shorecrest Hotel LLC. The company was affiliated with the Balistrieri family that bought Shorecrest in 1971. The new buyer, 1962 Prospect LLC, comprised Jim and Caroline Cadd and Lore Hauck of Milwaukee. The same group owned the historic Astor Hotel, 924 East Juneau Avenue, about one mile from the Shorecrest.
Anthony J. “Tony” Schiavo, age 68, son of Madison LCN member James Schiavo and husband of Rose Fucarino, died on Saturday, October 29, 2011 after a long battle with cancer.