This article was last modified on July 30, 2016.


The Ogden Social Club of Milwaukee

The Ogden Social Club, Incorporated was registered with the secretary of state on February 19, 1941. The office address was 629 East Ogden. Wanda Gagliano (1519 North Jackson) was elected president. Michael Scalici (522 East Pleasant, brother-in-law of gambler Joseph Piscione) was elected vice president. Rosario Gagliano, Wanda’s husband, was elected secretary and treasurer. Directors were Rosario Gagliano, Martin Gagliano (1513 North Jackson) and John Picciani (518 East Lyon). These people, with Rosario Picciuro (1421 North Van Buren) replacing Picciani, signed the articles of incorporation in front of Mario A. Megna, Jr. as witness.

The club’s charter said that its purpose was to “foster and promote the best interest and welfare of its members socially and economically, and to foster sports amongst its members.” Membership was open to any “adult person of good and moral character”.

1. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided for the first time on September 30, 1943 when it was at 1533 North Jackson Street. Among those inside were John Triliegi and John Rizzo, who were each fined $10.

2. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided the second time on May 17, 1944 when it was at 1446 North Jackson Street. John Triliegi was fined $250 for being the house custodian and possession of horse race betting sheets, and the police seized four telephones that they said were used for gambling. Rosario Gagliano was arrested as a patron, but was released without charge. The club’s attorney, Eugene J. Sullivan, successfully argued for the phones to be returned to the club unless proof of their misuse was given.

3. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided on April 27, 1945 when it was at Rosario Gagliano’s house. Gagliano was fined $25 for kneeing a policeman and punching him in the nose.

On May 6, 1945, Judge Kleczka gave out an order allowing police to “peek” in the Ogden Social Club, meaning that they could walk through without a warrant. The judge felt with repeated gambling raids, and with only Joseph Piscione admitting to being an officer (he was president), it was a reasonable action to keep the club away from illegal activities.

4. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided at 5:10pm on July 11, 1945 when it was at 1442 North Jackson Street. Eight vice squad officers, including Sergeants Erich Schmidt and Norman Duemling were involved, and found a partition connecting 1442 to 1446, where more gambling was located. A previous injunction allowed police to inspect 1446 at any time, so the gamblers circumvented this by blocking the entrance and re-routing people through the adjoining building. They also found a croupier’s stick, a dice field, several decks of cards, horse race betting sheets, three telephones, loud speaker and a billiard table that could be converted to a dice table. Some of the items were hidden inside an oven. The building was then padlocked by police. Dominic Picciurro was fined $200 for keeping a gambling house (he was not their at the time of the raid, but lived upstairs). Philip M. Azzolina, Peter Fucarino, Robert Puccio, Russell Frank Cramer, William Deakin, Robert Lionel Page, and Carmello Valenti were charged as patrons. Rosario Gagliano, Peter Frank Balistrieri, John B. Triliegi, Joseph Piscione, James G. Bruno and Thomas Puccio (said to be the “doorman”) would face contempt of court charges, but they were dismissed. Judge Kleczka threatened to jail him if any evidence came up that they were involved in gambling, saying, “If you defy the law you will be punished. If you think you are greater than the state of Wisconsin, you are mistaken.” The cases were continued to August 14.

Clarence W. Hibbert lost $164.90 at a craps game on September 24, 1945 at the Ogden Social Club. He said that John Triliegi was running the game, but when later brought to court, “forgot” the incident in question.

5. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided January 12, 1946 while at 1439 North Jackson.

6. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided March 1, 1946 while at 1444 North Jackson, with Leonard Mercurio being the keeper of the house.

7. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided on March 27 and 28, 1946 at 1439 North Jackson Street. Among others arrested were John Triliegi and Rosario Gagliano. Sam Cefalu was arrested for being an inmate of a gambling house on the 28th, but was released.

8. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided on March 8, 1947… this time still at 1439 North Jackson Street. Rosario Gagliano, Giovanni L. Taglialovora, Joseph Azzarella and Martin Azzolina (older brother of the above-mentioned Philip) were charged. Gagliano, John Triliegi and Frank James DeNicola were each fined $50. Isadore Tocco and Alfio “Fred” Aveni were fined $25. According to a family member, Martin Azzolina remained a gambler his entire life while Phil may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time — he lived a crime-free life and operated a jewelry store in the Merchant Marine bank.

9. The “floating” Ogden Social Club was raided for the ninth time on Tuesday, June 3, 1947 at 3:15am… this time at 1500 North Jefferson Street. Police used battering rams to simultaneously knock in four doors, all of which were reinforced with steel strips and plywood. Sergeant Harry Kuszewski of the vice squad said the doors were so well guarded that in the first few attempts to knock them in, the ram “just bounced off like a rubber ball.” A dice table, poker table and two telephones were confiscated. Seven men were arrested — six for being inmates of a gambling house and one (Charles Piscuine, 30, of 514 East Lyon) for being the keeper of a gambling house. The six men were: Rosario Gagliano, Martin Azzolina, Dominic Picciurro, Giovanni L. Taglialovora, Carmello Valenti and Frank DeFacende. Gagliano was fined $15.

Also try another article under Organized Crime
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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