Frank Balistrieri was college educated and attended law school for six months. He married Antonina (Nina) Alioto and soon his father-in-law and Milwaukee boss, John Alioto, was grooming Balistrieri as his successor. Balistieri had already established a sizable loan shark book, monopolistic control over illegal sports betting and large-scale influence over vending machines. He would launch the criminal organization based in Milwaukee to greater illegal heights.
In 1961, John Alioto retired and Balistrieri took control of the Milwaukee family after campaigning for the role in Chicago. Alioto, despite being his father-in-law, apparently opposed Balistrieri’s leadership because he was so young and because Balistrieri was having an affair with his wife’s cousin. Balistrieri eventually referred to himself as “the most powerful man in Milwaukee.” Balistrieri conducted his business at a table at Snug’s restaurant in Milwaukee’s Shorecrest Hotel, giving orders over a red telephone.
Jennie Alioto testified in January 1962 that on occasion she kept some records of the Hotel Roosevelt and The Pub at her home and worked thereon.
Frank Balistrieri was in Chicago on January 6, 1962 in a meeting with Felix Alderisio and Sam Giancana.
On January 9, 1962, an informant told the FBI that Sam Ferrara was still connected to Jim DeGeorge, a Chicago hoodlum with land holdings in Adams County (north of Madison). The source also believed that Ferrara might have political influence through (redacted).
From January 22-24, 1962, three Italian hoodlums from Cleveland were in Milwaukee and spent a considerable amount of time at Gallagher’s with Frank Balistrieri.
On Friday, January 26, 1962, several Milwaukee gamblers met at the Belmont Hotel and carpooled to Kenosha for the craps game there.
An informant told the FBI on February 12, 1962 that an East Side Italian (redacted) was handling the basketball pool formerly run by Sam Librizzi and Sam Cefalu, as they considered it too hot. This man was receiving his tickets from the printing firm in the Great Lakes Building in Chicago.
Special Agents observed the residence of Buster Balestrere (1634 North Jackson) on February 14, 1962. They saw Balestrere, Steve DiSalvo and Joseph Gurera enter DiSalvo’s 1961 Pontiac at 12:20pm and go to the Western Union office, where Balestrere sent a telegram. From there, they went to Gallagher’s and met Frank Balistrieri. At 3:05pm, all four men left Gallagher’s in DiSalvo’s car and went to the Para Corporation. This was the first time Gurera was observed in Milwaukee. He had a long history in Kansas City, where he was the nephew of mobster John Mangiaracina and a prime suspect in the murder of Kansas City boss Charles Binaggio. (Ironically, Gurera was one of Binaggio’s top hatchet men and his successor — Tony Gizzo — did not offer him the same level of respect.) Gurera was also related to the Balestrere family through marriage.
Milwaukee Police Department Special Squad detectives overheard Joseph Gurera, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DiSalvo and Buster Balestrere at the Holiday House on February 15, 1962. Gurera was talking about opening up an asphalt paving business in Milwaukee.
On February 23, 1962, the FBI instructed its Milwaukee office not to place a bet at the Lamp Post Bar. The US Attorney (Brennan) had suggested having an agent make a bet there to try and get gambling information on bartender John Piscuine, but the FBI (headquarters) said there was no evidence of a federal violation, even if a bet was placed.
A bettor (redacted, possibly Herman Welter but not sure) placed $1500 worth of bets with Sam Cefalu on February 24, 1962, including a $300 bet on the Illinois-Ohio State basketball game. He lost all his bets, and now owed $2,040 (including prior losses). The bettor went into Sammy’s 808 Club on February 27 and met Sam Cefalu in person for the first time, saying he did not have all the money he owed but would pay up the following week. Cefalu said that if he did not pay within three days, “somebody’s gonna get hurt”. (Three days later, Cefalu called the man at the Northway Bar — 5566 North Port Washington Road, now a Taco Bell — and demanded the money, and the man said he needed one more day.)
Jasper Pellicane was interviewed at the Albion Grille (6548 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago) on February 27, 1962 by Special Agent Edward Nehls. He said he had purchased a federal gaming stamp from the IRS the past year for himself and Angelo Germinaro so they could book horses, but decided not to get one this year because there was too much heat from law enforcement. He pointed out a man in the restaurant who he said was a sheriff’s deputy. Pellicane said he never received any gambling information from a wire, but rather he tuned into the radio. He said he considered Rocco Potenza a personal acquaintance but was not engaged in any business with him. He further said he had not seen Germinaro since he closed down the horse room.
The Milwaukee Bureau Chief sent a memo to the Director on February 28 concerning Kenosha Police Chief Stanley G. Haukedahl. He began with praise, saying that Haukedahl was “prominent in enforcement circles” and was “a strong friend and supporter of the FBI”. But then he passed on the story that Haukedahl’s wife was seeking a separation “as a result of unsubstantiated rumors concerning… alleged extra-marital affairs.” There was further rumor that Haukedahl may have been receiving as much as $500 per month from John Rizzo in order to turn a blind eye to gambling. These rumors were of concern to the FBI because Haukedahl had been a 1953 graduate of the FBI National Academy. If the rumors turned out to be true, Haukedahl would have to be removed from the National Academy directory.
A dinner party was held at the home of Louis Fazio in late February or early March 1962. In attendance was Steve DiSalvo with a “good looking blonde woman” as his date. After dinner, the party continued at Fazio’s on Fifth.
A member of the Milwaukee Vice Squad called Sam Librizzi at his tavern and Sam Cefalu at home around 5:00pm on March 5, 1962 to warn them of a raid and advised them to clean up their gambling materials. A few things were missed and the Vice Squad found them and brought both men to the police station. While there, Sergeant (redacted) allegedly “bawled both of them out” for not having cleaned better. Apparently no charges were brought.
Also on March 5, 1962, August Palmisano continued to operate his end of the gambling at American Motors, taking in a $50 bet on Loyola and another $50 on Tulane, both of whom lost, bringing in $110 for Palmisano. The same bettor bet (and won) $25 on Holy Cross the next day, and lost $110 the day after that for placing $50 bets on Marquette and Western Kentucky. (When you won with Palmisano, you won what you bet. But if you lost, you owed an extra 10%)
A federal grand jury investigating gambling in Milwaukee commenced March 6.
District Attorney Hugh O’Connell called Special Agent in Charge Joseph L. Kissiah on March 7, 1962 and informed him that he had gambling items from raids that may be of interest to the Bureau. He further advised that a grand jury would be investigating gambling and that both Sam Librizzi and Sam Cefalu were subpoenaed.
Salvatore Cefalu and Sam Librizzi were subpoenaed and testified before the federal grand jury on March 8.
Joseph Gurera was interviewed by two Milwaukee police detectives on March 9, 1962 to determine why he was in Milwaukee. The meeting was arranged after the police called Frank Balistrieri and the setting was the Lakeview Restaurant, 823 East Wisconsin Avenue. Balistrieri told the police that Gurera should be treated like a gentleman and not have to come to the police station. Gurera was asked if he knew why the gamblers had stopped booking after his arrival and he claimed to know nothing about it. He told the officers he was looking to go into the asphalt business in Milwaukee so his children could attend school there.
The FBI was provided with the Librizzi and Cefalu betting books from the past week on March 10, 1962. A captain from the Vice Squad (redacted) was there when the books were handed over, and he said he was unable to decipher them.
On March 12 or 13, 1962, a co-worker of August Palmisano’s made a bet with him on the Seattle-Oregon State game. Palmisano told him that the “line” was 9 points, but after receiving the bet made a phone call to the 808 Club during a coffee break. Palmisano returned and said the “line” was now 8 points. Later, the co-worker called the 808 Club and asked about the line, and was told it was 9 points. The co-worker had suspected for a while that Palmisano was “shaving” points on various games to increase the house odds, but this confirmed it.
A bettor met with August Palmisano on March 18, 1962 at the coffee shop/bar in Milshore Bowling Alleys on West Capitol. Palmisano was collecting money for the bets that a man named Eisler lost. The man said he could not pay, and Palmisano suggested that the man’s mother had money. The man told Palmisano to leave his mother out of it. Palmisano then said, “You have friends in the police department. We have friends, too. I am not threatening you, but someone else could take care of you.” Palmisano then met up with Sam Librizzi at the other end of the bar, and they drove off in Librizzi’s Pontiac.
On March 20, 1962, August Palmisano pulled a co-worker aside and said, “Sammy wants you to pay off.” The co-worker owed $621 for gambling, a debt he could not afford to pay.
Special Agent Richard Thompson came to American Motors on the evening of March 21, 1962 to interview August Palmisano. Palmisano did not want to answer questions about how long he had been booking. He was then warned that the Bureau had received complaints of him threatening people who could not pay gambling debts, and since those people were now under federal subpoena, any further threat would be obstruction of justice. Thompson also talked to another employment and was given two college basketball schedules printed by the Angel-Kaplan Sports News Service.
On March 21, 1962, Lamp Post Bar (440 West Michigan Street) owner Charles Piscuine, bartender John Piscuine (his brother), and singer Julia Davis were arrested. Davis was seen sitting at the bar and taking a drink. Under Milwaukee city ordinance, it was illegal for a singer to drink alongside customers.
Around 9:00pm, Thursday, March 22, 1962 the IRS arrested tavern operator Sam Cefalu, 49; bartender Sam Librizzi, 51; and American Motors employee August Palmisano, 33. Cefalu was picked up at his tavern (Sammy’s 808 Club) at 808 East Center Street, and Librizzi was picked up from his residence in the rear of the tavern. Palmisano was at work. The law required gamblers to register and pay a tax, which these three had not done and were charged with engaging in the business of accepting wagers without having paid tax. On the raid were four deputy marshals, six tax agents, US Attorney James Brennan, and Brennan’s assistant William Mulligan. The arrested men asked for attorney Dominic Frinzi, but he was out of town and attorney Norman Schatz appeared in his place. U.S. Commissioner John McBride set bail at $5,000 each. Schatz asked to have bail lowered, pointing out “the charge these men are facing doesn’t even carry a prison sentence, but merely calls for a fine.” Schatz was told by Brennan that “several of our citizens who gambled with them have been threatened.” Albert Steinlieb of the Bal-Fran Bonding Company paid their bail.
On Saturday, March 24, 1962, US Marshal James H. Dillon criticized the use of armed IRS agents in the gambling raid two days prior. He ordered that in the future, only trained men should have firearms when accompanying his four permanent deputies. He also asked that there be no more appointments of temporary deputy marshals; the tax agents in the raid were deputized by Robert Flaig, Dillon’s assistant, on the orders of James Brennan (who was not armed). Dillon had been out of town, attending a federal marshals conference in Chillicothe, Ohio. He said, “There was no need to deputize anyone. We can conduct those raids ourselves. We don’t need to use anyone who isn’t completely familiar with firearms. We have a lot of people who like to play cops and robbers, you know.” Paul T. Rheaume, head of the intelligence division of the IRS, admitted his men had not been armed since November 1960, but assured the press that they were legally allowed to have guns and were required to take an annual test. “They have the privilege to go down to the range whenever they want to. I did myself two weeks ago,” said Rheaume. Brennan told the press that Dillon was worried because he was responsible for raids, but had nothing to fear from the IRS and their guns. “They had them snapped in their holsters so tight they could not have gotten them out in five minutes,” Brennan said.
On Wednesday, March 28, 1962, Judge Kenneth P. Grubb lowered the bail for Sam Cefalu, Sam Librizzi and August Palmisano from $5000 to $1000 on a motion from Attorney Dominic Frinzi. Frinzi argued that a man recently convicted under the anti-Communist Smith Act was released on $5000 bond pending appeal, which would therefore making the same bond for misdemeanor gambling the “excessive bail” barred by the Eighth Amendment. Frinzi further chastised the arrests, pointing out, “Eleven people arrested these three people on a misdemeanor. I would have willingly helped save taxes by producing these men. And 9 o’clock at night was no time to make such an arrest. If you wanted evidence, it would be better to make such an arrest between 11 and 12 when gambling activities are at their height.” (Horse books close at noon.) Grubb asked Frinzi, “Were these violent characters? Are you sure there wasn’t a Dillinger in the group?” Frinzi said he had grown up with the men and they had lived their entire lives in Milwaukee, not presenting a flight risk.
Various gamblers held a meeting at Maniaci’s tavern on North Avenue on March 29, 1962 to discuss what they would do about the new rule saying they had to pay 33% of their earnings to the syndicate. No decision was reached, but they feared if they refused that one of them — most likely Frank Sansone — would get killed.
On Friday, March 30, 1962, a federal grand jury (in session since March 6) indicted Cefalu, Librizzi and Palmisano for the same charge as earlier in the month: failure to pay a gambling tax. This was following Friday’s testimony of five witnesses: Sam Schmerling of Kenosha; Theodore Azzarrella, 57, 509 West Keefe Avenue; Allis-Chalmers timekeeper Eugene Bristow, 33, 2571 South Superior Street; Helen Kotecki, 1831 North Cambridge Avenue; and an unnamed FBI agent.
August Palmisano called a female friend of his (redacted) in the middle of the night on April 3, 1962 and said he wanted to talk to her about a clothes dryer she had wanted him to get at a discount. He then showed up at her house at 2:30am with three other men who had been drinking and asked her if she would have sex with these men. She declined and the men left. Palmisano said if she needed a job, he could set her up in Chicago as a prostitute. This made the woman angry and she threatened to call the police. Palmisano then left.
A phone line was installed at Unity Cleaners (1012 South 1st Street) on April 3, 1962. This business, which had recently been put in receivership, was now occupied by Joe Gurera and Buster Balestrere to collect pay-offs from Milwaukee bookies. The business was renamed Acino Cleaners.
The Milwaukee Special Squad observed Gallagher’s around midnight on April 5, 1962. Steve DeSalvo arrived with Buster Balestrere, Joseph Gurera and an attorney in the back seat of his car. They picked up Frank Balistrieri and from there went to 1833 North Prospect, the home of Julian G. Orlandini, where they stayed fifteen minutes before returning downtown. (Orlandini was a well-known plaster artist who operated Orlandini Studios. His nephew Eugene Orlandini operates the studio today.)
On April 6, an informant told the FBI that Joseph Gurera and Frank Balistrieri were looking into the rubbish-hauling business. If they could get someone with a clean record to be the face of the business, they had enough money to back it.
The FBI ran surveillance on Unity Cleaners (1012 South 1st Street) on April 16 from 10:30am to 4:30pm and observed Buster Balestrere and Steve DiSalvo. They checked back on April 17 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm and saw Balestrere, DiSalvo and Joseph Gurera. On April 18 from 4:15 to 5:30pm, all three were seen again, with Gurera and Balestrere seen across the street at a coffee shop. And again on April 19 all three could be seen.
The FBI interviewed a captain of the Vice Squad on April 19, 1962 concerning Thomas Machi. The captain said Thomas and his brother Tony were co-owners of the Riviera Bar and that Thomas worked nights there. He believed that Thomas was a gambler, but only on the side and not as a profession. He was not known to associate with other gamblers other than Isadore Tocco, who was his long-time friend. Thomas Machi was said to play golf frequently at the Brown Deer Golf Course.
At 3:00pm on April 27, 1962, Charles Piscuine was observed bringing laundry into Unity Cleaners.
On May 9, 1962, Assistant US Attorney William Mulligan called the FBI and told them he had just received a call saying that Thomas Machi and Isadore Tocco were running a horse book. One of their drop-off locations was said to be Garland’s Dry Cleaners (530 East Juneau) and the owner, Garland M. Akers, was said to accept bets on their behalf. (Akers was born in Abington, Virginia in 1899 and married his wife, Rose Checkel, in St. Paul in 1924. He lived next door to his shop at 528 Juneau. His only arrest was in 1948 for being the inmate of a gambling house.)
The FBI pulled Thomas Machi’s phone out-of-state phone records to see if he was receiving interstate wagering information. They found he had received a collect call from Las Vegas on May 12, called Room 658 of the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago on May 15, and called the Wagon Wheel Hotel of Rockton, Illinois (across the border from Beloit) on May 16, 1962.
Pioneer Sales and Service (or Pioneer Vending) was incorporated on May 23, 1962 by Edward and Adel Ginsburg. They acquired the AMI franchise that had been held by Herman Paster until his murder. Rumors circulated that Pioneer had hidden owners in Cleveland or Chicago, but when questioned by the FBI, the Ginsburgs denied this. They did have a financial stake in Chicago’s Atlas Music Company, however, which was also owned by Samuel Gersh. Edward Ginsburg had previously been interviewed by the FBI in Chicago in September 1958. At that time, he admitted knowing Edward Vogel and had for many years , going back to when Ginsburg worked for Mills Manufacturing, a leading slot machine manufacturer. (Note: As of 2015, Pioneer still exists, with Jonathan Kleiman of Menomonee Falls as its registered agent. Jonathan took over from his father, Joel, though their connection to the Ginsburg family is unclear.)
Milwaukee police observed a white over blue Impala with out of state plates at Gallagher’s on May 28, 1962. The car traced to Anthony Mangiaracina, uncle of Joseph Gurera. Mangiaracina was a well-known member of the Syndicate in Kansas City and also had a history of narcotics trafficking in Chicago.
Special Agent John Holtzman stopped by Wyngate Tower at 3014 West Pierce on June 4, 1962. He noticed that apartment 414 was listed to “A. Cefalu” (Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu) in the building’s directory. Holtzman again stopped by on June 26 and found Richard Milcarek’s 1960 Thunderbird parked nearby. He noticed the car had an extra antenna and a short wave radio.
On June 7, 1962, Agents John Holtzman and Richard Thompson spoke with Joseph Gurera, but he declined to talk without his attorney present. The agents said they just wanted him to know that if he was trying to start a new life in Milwaukee, they would be more than happy to have him on their side.
Special Agent Higgins interviewed Gene Thomas (4708 22nd Avenue) on June 8, 1962 concerning Angelo Germinaro. Thomas said he had known Germinaro since childhood, as they had grown up in the same neighborhood. Germinaro visited Thomas’ Vagabond Club roughly three times per month, but Thomas said he was never a regular employee and never operated gambling from the club.
August Maniaci and another hoodlum (Joseph Angeli?) set up a $45,000 jewel theft from Earle J. Parisey on Wednesday, June 27, 1962. Parisey, a salesman for Kor-Rect Jewelry Manufacturing Company of Green Bay had the jewels in his car, which was stolen around 12:30pm from South 7th Street. The men who pulled the job were Thomas Sterger from Toledo, Ohio and Louis Klein from Columbus, Ohio and not close associates of Maniaci. The two men were arrested the following day in Detroit while checking their car into the airport. Somehow during the course of this investigation, Joseph Angeli, 28, was arrested on Thursday morning for being in possession of a gambling device (a slot machine hidden in a clothes hamper). Angeli had rented the car the Ohio men used and a witness to the theft wrote down the license number — this came back to Angeli.
On June 28, 1962, Mequon Police Chief Robert Milke was ordered to appear the next day in Milwaukee County for the trial of Frank Stelloh against Merle Liban and others. Stelloh lost his $105,000 civil suit against six Milwaukee and West Allis police officers on Friday, July 6, 1962 after a jury deliberated 6 hours.
On July 6, 1962, agents observed Joseph Gurera, Buster Balestrere and Sam Librizzi at Checker Cleaners (1012 South 1st) in the morning.
Vito Seidita was naturalized on July 7, 1962. His sponsors were someone (redacted) from the local Teamsters union and someone (redacted) from Alioto’s restaurant on Bluemound Road.
On July 12, 1962, cars belonging to Joseph Gurera and Buster Balistrere were seen behind Balistrere’s residence at 1634 North Jackson. Also present was a light blue Chevrolet that traced to John E. Adney of 9911 Blue Ridge, Kansas City. As Adney, a career Navy man stationed at Naval Air Station Olathe, had died two years previously, it would seem the car was being driven by his wife, Lillian Marchese Adney. Lillian’s brothers were Joe and Jack Marchese and sisters were Mary Mangiaracina and Theresa Amador. Gurera’s mother was a Mangiaracina, and his wife was Nancy Kay Marchese… but the exact connection is unclear to me. Another Chevrolet traced to Wilbur H. Wright, a former Beloit man who was known to be an alcoholic and dope addict. He had worked at the Cyprus Restaurant in Beloit before being put in a Chicago hospital and then ending up living on skid row in Chicago. Wright had an ex-wife in Indiana. He was not known to be a gambler.
Special Agents Holtzman and Knickrehm wrote down the license plates on four cars parked near Joseph Gurera’s residence at 12:30am on July 17, 1962. One was traced to the Wheels Inc, 6200 Northwestern Avenue in Chicago. Further investigation revealed that the Wheels Inc car was leased to someone who worked for the Chicago and North Western Railroad. (The other cars are redacted.)
On July 18, 1962, the Chicago Office of the FBI contacted the Milwaukee Office to inform them that they had recently interviewed (redacted). The man denied involvement in gambling other than the occasional poker game in the basement of the Misty Lounge among the 150 members of the Misty Lounge Hunters Club. He said the only interstate activity he was aware of concerned Peter Zocchi of (5013 25th Avenue) Kenosha, who ran the Tip-Z-Top Tavern (4426 Sheridan Road) and took layoff bets from Chicagoland people in Winthrop Harbor. (While technically interstate, this was barely more than a local issue — Winthrop Harbor lies on the Illinois side of the Wisconsin border.)
Agents Thompson and Knickrehm interviewed John Piscuine on July 26, 1962 at Doctors Park in Fox Point. He was asked if he was approached by anyone in organized crime to make payoffs. he said no, and did not know why he would be. The agents informed him there was a rumor going around that bookies were being forced to pay the Syndicate. Piscuine said that his friends in the Milwaukee Police Department had already told him this rumor, but he was not booking and had never been a bookie, so it did not apply to him. He said his only income was from tending bar at the Lamp Post, and his wife Wally was a cashier at the Port Silver Diner. He said they were struggling because the tavern business was not going well and he had to mortgage his house to help his brother pay for the tavern.
Joseph Gurera went to Kansas City on July 30, 1962 and brought back money from the syndicate there. The exact amount is unknown, but it was enough to pay off a $13,000 gambling debt he had in Milwaukee.
The two Ohio hoodlums who stole the $45,000 worth of jewels were in contact with August Chiaverotti on July 31, 1962 and it was one informant’s belief that Chiaverotti was hiding the jewels inside the warehouse of the Para Corporation on the corner of 6th Street and Florida.
Thomas Machi called Las Vegas number DU4-6675 on August 6, 1962. The phone number traced to a man who was the brother-in-law of a Las Vegas police officer who was living with a woman of loose morals that worked in the showroom of the Flamingo Hotel. When the police later interviewed the woman, they determined she was a former employee of Machi’s, but said she knew nothing of gambling and was not “smart enough” to know about gambling activities.
Joseph Gurera met with two men on the afternoon of August 8, 1962. The exact meeting place is unknown, but it was a tavern on Highway 41 in southern Milwaukee County. One of the men was from Las Vegas, and was bringing the Chicago Outfit their money from gambling there. This man was described as living at the Desert Inn. (The file is redacted… not sure who it would be.)
Two Milwaukee detectives observed Frank Balistrieri in the Red Lion Room at the Knickerbocker Hotel on August 9, 1962, meeting with Felix Alderisio, Joseph Gurera, Buster Balestrere, Steve DeSalvo and John Molle. After the meeting broke up, Alderisio and Molle continued on to the Holiday House.
Thomas Machi called Muskegon, Michigan number PR3-1786 on August 9, 1962. Later investigation found this number belonged to a woman who claimed that Machi had called her on accident.
A phone call came in from the Fifth Jack Club (owned by Sam and Charles English) to Halan’s Super Market (7629 West Bluemound) on August 13, 1962. Further investigation on January 21 showed the owner did not know the English brothers nor did he spend much time in Chicago or have any involvement in gambling. He told the FBI that the call probably came from a representative of the wholesale grocery company he orders from in River Grove, Illinois. When asked about phonograph records, he said a sales representative had stopped by in August from Mid-American Specialty Distributors of Chicago. The deal seemed too good to be true, though, so he passed on it.
On August 15, 1962, a family (four men, two women) from Pittsburgh came to live with John Alioto at 2500 North Booth Street.
On August 15, 1962, police stopped a car as it was leaving Joseph Gurera’s house. Inside was Salvatore Ben Manzo, who had just moved to Milwaukee from Kansas City to manage the drug department at the GEX discount store (5960 North 60th). He said he was not a pharmacist, but would be hiring one. (Manzo was later abducted at a Kansas City funeral home in 1987. Police said he was involved in organized crime, and as of 2016 his body was never found.)
A Milwaukee police officer (possibly captain of the Vice Squad) called various bookies on August 20, 1962 and warned them that there might be a raid. He had heard that the John Doe hearing had search warrants, but did not know for who.
The annual Italian Invitational Golf Tournament was held at the Tuckaway Country Club in Franklin (southwest of Milwaukee) on Monday, August 27, 1962. Numerous Chicago hoodlums were believed to be there, including Rocco Fischetti.
A stag party was held on August 28, 1962 at Alioto’s Restaurant on Bluemound for the purpose of a craps game. Although approximately 40-60 gamblers showed up, the game never happened because strangers were present and suspected of being police. In fact, Waukesha County deputies were observing the premises from 9:00pm to 2:00am after being tipped off. Instead, the men played poker for bottle caps. Steve DeSalvo and Joe Gurera had organized the game and were expected to take a cut. Among those present were August Maniaci, Joseph Gagliano, Walter Brocca, Anthony Cefalu and Donald H. Heiliger of Cambridge. An informant told the FBI that Waukesha County District Attorney Roger P. Murphy had warned someone from Campbell’s Tap (618 East State Street) about a proposed raid and he passed the word on to Alioto’s.
Anthony Machi was interviewed by Special Agent Richard C. Thompson at his home (5553 West Andover Drive) on August 31, 1962 around noon. Thompson had specifically timed the visit to coincide with peak horse-betting time and noted that no phone calls came in while they were there. Anthony said his brother Peter was the licensee on the Riviera (401 North Plankinton), but all three Machi brothers had a stake in it and worked there. The tavern opened daily at 5:00pm. Machi told Thompson that he had lived his whole life in Milwaukee and had never been shaken down by anyone or by any syndicate. Regarding the robbery of his brother a while back, he said he did not know who was responsible, but did not believe it was any syndicate.
On the morning of September 5, 1962, Deputy Edwin Marlowe of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office was at Lloyd’s Restaurant (3514 West National) where around 11:00am he overheard Richard Milcarek receiving the “line” on a baseball game from a pay phone and then calling another local person with the line. From there, Milcarek left and went to Anthony Cefalu’s apartment.
Marlowe apparently contacted his boss, Sheriff George Witkowski, because a raid was ordered. Witkowski spoke with the Milwaukee Police Department, who tried to discourage Witkowski, explaining they were aware of the gambling and that an ongoing police-FBI investigation was underway. Inspector Raymond Dahl explained that the apartment was part of a “much larger gambling operation in the middle west.” The FBI, according to Dahl, was attempting to find where the gamblers were getting their odds. But Witkowski ordered the raid anyway, and four men were arrested: Anthony Cefalu, Richard Milcarek, Joseph Aliota and Steve DiSalvo. Police also confiscated betting sheets, racing forms and two short-wave radio receivers. They also found two telephones. During the raid, Deputy Marlowe sat by the phones and answered about 35 calls, giving out odds on horse races and baseball games (numbers he just made up, not the real odds). DiSalvo has actually shown up mid-raid, claiming to be an electrician, but the police knew better.
On September 7, 1962, Frank Balistrieri and Joseph Enea were charged with allowing a female employee to sit with a male patron at the Downtowner. Also charged were two dancers, Patricia G. Bogg, 33, and Shirley E. Amber, 26. Police Sgt. Jerome Jagmin had stopped in around 1:00am when he saw the dancers sitting with a 52-year old Milwaukee man and a 35-year old Rockford salesman. The Rockford man admitted to buying Bogg a peppermint schnapps after watching the floor show. Attorney James Shellow said, “This is a personal vendetta on the part of the police department to destroy Balistrieri’s reputation. This whole thing is tantamount to a frame.” Balistrieri expressed similar sentiments to City Attorney Gerald Kortsch, saying, “You were told to issue warrants. You’re being part of a frame. You’re not the honorable man I thought you were.” The cases were scheduled for October 8.
Joseph Gurera was in Kansas City from September 7 through 10, 1962 to attend a meeting there. On the evening of September 10, he was back in Milwaukee at a meeting at Gallagher’s. At the Milwaukee meeting were Steve DiSalvo, Buster Balestrere, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Dr. Vito Guardalabene and three men from out of town.
On Tuesday, September 11, 1962 at 2:00pm there was a meeting at Star Brite Cleaners, 2501 North Holton, with Joe Gurera, Steve DeSalvo and Buster Balestrere present. With them were Rocco Fischetti and two men from out of town. (Sadly, these names are all redacted.)
Thomas Machi called Racine number (redacted) on September 14, 1962. Later investigation determined this number belonged to someone with an office in the Mayfair Shopping Center who denied knowing the Machi brothers.
A detective from the Milwaukee Police Department Special Squad spoke with the FBI on September 17, 1962 concerning the Machi brothers. He said he had some “mental reservations” about one of the bartenders (redacted) at the Riviera, because this bartender hangs out with the sons of Joseph Gurera, Peter Balistrieri and Frank Balistrieri. The detective said that years ago Isadore Tocco and the Machis ran a book above the Produce Building on Broadway, but no longer work together. Tocco did, however, associate with Antonio Machi (a cousin) and claimed to be a salesman for Jennaro Trucking Center. The detective said the Machis deny that they pay off Joseph Gurera and the syndicate, but he was confident that they did.
There was a meeting at the Para Corporation on September 18, 1962 between Frank Balistrieri, Joe Gurera and Steve DeSalvo.
A search warrant was issued and executed on September 26, 1962, by Ernest G. Johannes, Special Agent, Intelligence Division, Internal Revenue Service, and other Special Agents of said division. The warrant authorized the search of Apartment 406, 1609 North Prospect Avenue, occupied by Jennie Alioto under the alias of Lorretta Fischer. Clarence Casper, apartment superintendent, was the source behind the warrant. He had told authorities that Frank Balistrieri was coming in and out often, sometimes twice a day, and he had seen that records were being kept on site. Suspiciously, filing cabinets blocked the kitchen door, implying that no one was actually living there. The warrant gave permission to search for: books and records of the Hotel Roosevelt; The Pub; Ben Kay; Tower Tavern; Melody Lane; Bonfire; Badger State Boxing Club; and Frank Peter Balistrieri. According to the Milwaukee Journal, the IRS seized a “truck load” of records from the Alioto apartment, including several records that the Balistrieri brothers had previously testified were destroyed by a fire at 1634 North Jackson on June 4, 1960. The “truck load” was apparently four filing cabinets and two boxes of various records for six taverns, an amusement device company, a construction company and a meat market. US Attorney James Brennan said, “We intend to check the seized records against this testimony to determine whether perjury was involved. We also want to determine whether the Balistrieris violated federal law by failing to comply with a summons to turn in some of the records seized.”
Three Vice Squad officers were witnessed on Thursday, September 27, 1962 taking $50 from the bartender as a payoff to allow gambling to continue there.
$40,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from a Milwaukee home on September 28, 1962.
Police put an around-the-clock guard on the apartment of Clarence Casper, 58, 1609 North Prospect, on Saturday, September 29, 1962. Casper had received a threatening phone call after helping authorities find Frank Balistrieri’s financial records in Room 406 of his apartment complex.
Kansas City mobster John Molle was in Milwaukee on September 29 and met with Peter Balistrieri.
At some point in October 1962, Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo allegedly “put the bite” on the Magestro brothers, who were trash dealers.
On the evening of October 1, 1962, Joseph Gurera, Frank Balistrieri and Steve DiSalvo were at the Holiday House. After midnight, Gurera used the pay phone to make a long distance call. A check revealed that at 1:03am (October 2), he had called the Leonard Produce Company of St. Louis, which was owned by John Joseph Vitale. Vitale was a top-ranking mobster in St. Louis, possibly the boss at this time (I do not know much about St. Louis). He was also distantly related to the Cianciolo, Sansone and Palmisano families.
A doctor from Milwaukee was at the Vernon Hills Country Club gambling operation (connected with Chicago Outfit member Leslie Kruse) on October 6, 1962. He was said to cash six checks there in exchange for chips, and the checks had been from the government as some sort of relief aid payment. The checks, in turn, were endorsed at the Drovers Bank in southern Chicago.
Librizzi, Cefalu and Palmisano pleaded not guilty on October 8, 1962. After denying motions for dismissal, Judge F. Ryan Duffy set a trial date of February 15.
Joseph Gurera was arrested at 2:00am on October 11, 1962 for making an illegal U-turn. At first, they thought they found football pool tickets in his possession. Upon closer examination, it turned out they were weekly football schedules that could be purchased at any news stand. They did not have any notes on them and could not be proven to be connected to gambling. Regardless, Gurera was taken to the Bureau of Identification for a photograph and a handwriting sample. He refused to consent to an interview.
Thomas Machi called Chicago phone number WE9-4222 on October 11, 1962.
The Milwaukee FBI received an anonymous, typewritten letter on October 22, 1962. It said: “I want you to know that Frank Balistrieri of Gallagher’s and his friend [redacted] and two other men from Kansas City have been demanding 30% protection money from people in business. I hear they already asked [redacted] of Amato and Guardalabene funeral parlor.” (The redacted person was questioned about this and denied having been shaken down.)
On Thursday, October 25, 1962, Peter Sciortino’s Bakery (1101 East Brady) was the target of a bomb attack. The explosion tore a small hole through the rear wall of the bakery around 11:50pm and firefighters were called to the scene. A neighboring apartment at 1115 East Brady also had its windows blown out on three floors, and garbage cans were damaged. Charles Buran, 13, who lived in the apartment, said the bomb “shook the whole house.” Detective Inspector Harold Breier did not immediately know what type of explosives were used and had to call in a chemical expert. Police did not know what the motive was and stressed that Peter Sciortino — who lived upstairs and was watching television — had no history of trouble. The explosion may have been a warning, as Breier pointed out that the culprit “could have put the explosive compound in a different place and caused a lot more damage.”
On October 29, 1962, Special Agent John Holtzman ran surveillance on Gallagher’s at 1:20pm. Out front was Joseph Gurera’s car and Steve DiSalvo’s brand new blue Chevrolet. At 2:33pm, the two men and Frank Balistrieri drove to the Bockl Building (2040 West Wisconsin) and were inside until 4:55pm. At that point, they returned to Gallagher’s and split up.
Special Agent John Holtzman interviewed a man on November 1, 1962. Unfortunately, the man’s name is redacted. The man was married and had three children, aged 13 and under. He said he was born and raised in Kansas City and had resided on the north side for 34 years. He then spent the next year moving between Louisville and Tucson before ending up in Milwaukee in August 1962. He reached out to Buster Balestrere at that time, because he was the only person he knew in Milwaukee. His family would mix with Balestrere’s family on Sundays, and on one occasion they were at the Holiday House when they ran into Joseph Gurera, who the man knew only casually. Since then he had visited both men, but did not know about their activities and did not care to know. The man said he was working 9am to 10pm almost daily and hoped he would be transferred back to Kansas City. He said he had not met Peter Balistrieri, despite Balistrieri being Balestrere’s neighbor.
On November 11, 1962 at 5:30am, the Kenosha police received a call from the Clark Service Station (4508 52nd Street). LaVerne Yeater said he was hit by am an who drove off in a white convertible with license #G95-227. Four men had been in the car, and one asked Yeater for $2 worth of gas and a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes. They then asked Yeater to wash their windshield, to which he replied, “I only have two hands, are you in a fuckin’ hurry?” The men said yes. The driver tried to get out, but Yeater held the car door closed with his knee. The front passenger got out, came around threatening to kill Yeater, and beat him upside the head. When the police arrived, he still had a headache and sore ribs. The police found the car and the four men: Phillip Megna, John Megna, Sam D’Acquista and Daniel Cisco. When they were brought back to the station, Yeater singled out D’Acquista and said he was pressing charges. The court date was set for December 26.
The same gambler as November 9 was interviewed again on November 14, 1962. He admitted having personally designed and established layouts for craps, poker and horse bet parlors, along with electrical systems for such places of business. He said he had done such work for John Rizzo and Frank Cicchini.
The Milwaukee Police Department set up a Special Surveillance Squad on November 14, 1962. From November 14 through the 20, they witnessed a hoodlum (possibly Walter Brocca?) make daily visits to Acino Cleaners (1012 South First).
A Milwaukee informant tried to go to the Vernon Hills Country Club on November 17 ,1962 but when he arrived he was told the game had moved to the Old Homestead.
An informant visited the Old Homestead (on the Wisconsin/Illinois line) on November 19, 1962. He witnessed a roulette table, blackjack and a craps table. They were also auctioning or raffling off 25-pound turkeys. The place was “jammed” with men and women and the Homestead was believed to have taken in $30,000 that night.
The Milwaukee police turned over a report to the FBI on November 19, 1962. The report said that business suspected of paying “insurance” were: the Holiday House, Sardino’s, the Riviera and Fazio’s. The Scaffidi Brothers Bakery on East Brady Street was also said to have recently been shot up by some men, and the bakery did not report the incident to police, but instead decided to go out of business.
An informant spoke with Steve DeSalvo on November 20, 1962, who said he had to meet with two “torpedo men” from Las Vegas.
On November 20, 1962, two cars with Illinois plates were observed at Gallagher’s: a 1956 Chevy and a 1961 Thunderbird. Also seen was a 1962 gray Pontiac registered to S&W Leasing of Michigan City, Indiana.
The FBI contacted Circuit Judge John Coffey on November 21, 1962. Coffey relayed a story to them that back in May he had been at a tavern in Milwaukee’s “tenderloin district” to see the world of prostitution firsthand. While there, he ran into an attorney. The next day, that attorney told him that one of the prostitutes had claimed that she had evidence she had been with Coffey three times. Coffey assured the FBI this was not true and was probably made up by the attorney to intimidate him during the John Doe hearings.
Coffey further advised that he had interviewed over 60 witnesses for the John Doe hearings, and was of the opinion that at least two police officers of the Vice Squad were being paid off. He had gone to Chief Howard Johnson and suggested having the men transferred. At first Johnson seemed amenable, but he never actually followed through. Coffey suggested the transfer again, and Johnson declined to do so. Coffey then told the FBI that he felt this decision had come from higher up, possibly with Mayor Maier. He understood that Maier had received a “substantial campaign contribution” from people associated with Dominic Frinzi and Frank Balistrieri. Coffey said Maier was “an empire builder” and wanted an “open town”. He further believed that Maier wanted to replace Johnson with a corrupt police captain, but the authority to do so belonged to the Police and Fire Commission, not Maier. Coffey said that Maier had allegedly appointed three people to the Commission, and in two cases required them to offer an undated letter of resignation to him so that they could be discharged at any time if they went against Maier. Coffey pointed out he had felt 95% of the Milwaukee police were excellent and that two officers who were under investigation (an inspector of detectives and a detective captain) had already resigned, prompting no further action.
Still further, Coffey said there had been an attempt by Milwaukee hoodlums to give between $5000 and $11,000 to both candidates running for governor (John W. Reynolds and ???). He had found out in advance, and both candidates refused to take the money. Instead, it went into Governor Gaylord Nelson’s campaign funds for senator. Coffey believed that Nelson would pardon Louis Fazio before his last day in office as a “thank you” for the contribution.
On November 23, 1962, Dominic Frinzi threatened the Milwaukee Special Surveillance Squad with a lawsuit to stop harassing Steve DeSalvo. Earlier that day, DeSalvo had approached the surveillance officers as they were changing shifts.
Steve DeSalvo attended a meeting at Gallagher’s on November 24, 1962 with Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Gurera.
On November 28, 1962, the squad saw Joseph Gurera enter an office building at 1840 North Farwell for an unknown reason.
Thomas Machi was interviewed by Special Agent Richard C. Thompson on December 3, 1962 at his residence (1938 Oakland Avenue) to see if he had been the victim of a shakedown from Joseph Gurera. Machi acknowledged that he knew Gurera, saying they had met at a tavern a while back, and have seen each other occasionally at Gallagher’s. Machi said they had even played golf together once, but denied knowing what Gurera did for a living and said he had not threatened Machi in any way. Machi denied making payoffs to any syndicate and said if he would be approached, he would inform the authorities. He told the FBI that when he had been robbed by three men, they had taken $1000 from his pockets and another $2500 from his home. He said his parents were home at the time, and they were tied up, too. Machi suspected that the robbery was ordered by a local man and was committed by three men from out of town, but he claimed not to know who. He admitted knowing (redacted), who he believed was a “horse tramp” from Cicero, and said that the man was frequently mentioned in the Chicago newspapers as a hoodlum associate.
Cosimo Marzullo, 58, 1915A South 5th Street, was charged on Thursday, December 6, 1962 with commercial gambling. He admitted to police he had been interested in horse racing all his life, had been studying them for 14 years and found a way to win at horse racing 97% of the time and had pooled $4500 from six Racine businessmen to gamble on the horses. He was first picked up Wednesday night by Patrolman Rocky Todd after running a red light and being unable to prove that the car he was driving belonged to him (he had not yet transferred his title from his old Chrysler to his new Lincoln). Todd found a racing form and betting slips on Marzullo. He told Assistant District Attorney Hugh O’Connell that he had bet $850 on the horses that very day, but police only found $4 in his pockets. He gave his employer as Acino Cleaners, 1012 South 1st Street.
A man was interviewed at the US Marshal’s office on December 7, 1962 concerning Cosimo Marzullo. He said he had known Marzullo for many years, and that Marzullo had a successful cleaning business. One day, roughly five months ago, Marzullo approached the man and said “he had a sure way of beating the horses”, so the man gave him $300 and soon $700 more. Since that time, Marzullo had returned $320 to the man. A second man was interviewed who said he gave Marzullo $1000 and had since received $254 back.
Frank Balistrieri held meetings at Gallagher’s on December 12, 15 and 18th with Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Gurera and Steve DiSalvo. Buster Balestrere also sat in on the 18th.
At the request of the FBI, Benny DiSalvo appeared at the Bureau Office on December 13, 1962. DiSalvo told them he grew up in Milwaukee but left for Brooklyn in August 1952 because construction jobs had dried up. While in Brooklyn, he worked for the Dic Concrete Company on Long Island and lived at 2816 Bath Childer Street. He had marital difficulties with his wife because of religious differences (she was Jewish, he was Catholic). She obtained a “Mexican divorce” in August 1962 and DiSalvo returned to Milwaukee in September 1962. He said he was a close friend of Carlo DiMaggio and the uncle of Michael Albano. He also knew the Balistrieris, Steve DeSalvo, Walter Brocca and August Maniaci. He said he was not related to Steve DeSalvo (something he would have to tell the Bureau again twenty-five years later). He denied any knowledge of the Mafia and denied having ever been to Las Vegas. He said he was just a “working man” trying to get by.
Frank Stelloh was released from Waupun State Prison December 17 or 18, 1962 and was picked up by attorney Dominic Frinzi.
Frank Balistrieri was pulled over at 5am on December 20, 1962 by the State Patrol for speeding on I-94, going 75 in a 60. He had a male passenger in his white Cadillac. Balistrieri had no quarrel with the officer, and was taken to a mailbox where he could mail in his $25 appearance bond.
Joseph Gurera was observed at Fazio’s on 5th at noon on December 27, 1962.
There was a meeting at Para Corporation on December 28, 1962 with Frank Stelloh, Walter Brocca, Joseph Gurera and Steve DeSalvo. There was also a white Lincoln there with license plate number J46265, registered to Missionary Exchange (414 South Third).
John Rizzo’s craps game lost $6000, a sizable amount of money, on Sunday, December 30, 1962. One Milwaukee man had won $3000 and another won $1800.
Fred Klancnik, 4603 South 61st Street, was interviewed by Special Agents Knickrehm and Holtzman on January 2, 1963 concerning Gus Marzullo. He said he had known Marzullo for many years because they were both in the dry cleaning business. Klancnik said he was unemployed for a while when Marzullo invited him to work for Acino Cleaners. While there, the pay checks have always been signed by Steve DeSalvo. He has heard that Buster Balestrere and Joseph Gurera had an interest, but they did not sign the checks. Klancnik said the business was completely legitimate as far as he knew and it was rather successful, because it had primarily commercial accounts. They had one Ford Econoline van, which was registered in Klancnik’s name. He had never seen anything related to gambling on the property.
On January 4, 1963, after being out of prison for only three weeks, Francis Stelloh was arrested for deviating from his lane and cutting off another motorist while driving his white sports car on the 27th Street viaduct. Stelloh faced a $10 fine and was eventually acquitted.
An informant told the FBI on January 4, 1963, that bookmaker Milo Lalich, who operated the Green Bay Restaurant on 4th Street, was now paying the Outfit in order to operate his gambling business. Booking with him was Earl Louis Appelt.
Special Agents Knickrehm and Holtzman interviewed Al Reinhardt on January 7, 1963 regarding the Para Corporation. He said he was brought in to the company through Gus Chiaverotti, but that Chiaverotti is rarely around now because he is trying to get new contacts. Walter Brocca was around daily and was in charge of manufacturing. Chiaverotti had a salary of $150 per week, and Brocca was paid $130. Reinhardt said the business was not successful, and he had acquired 2/3 of the stock, with 1/3 in the possession of Frank Balistrieri. He did not know Balistrieri, who had no active part in the company, other than that Balistrieri told him that Joseph Gurera would be looking after his interest for him. Reinhardt had not seen Gurera around Para either. Reinhardt said he would be willing to sell the company at a loss.
At 11:30pm on January 7, 1963, Dominic Frinzi and Tony Fazio were with a hoodlum at Fazio’s on 5th.
Abe Zetley, 2608 East Newport, was interviewed by Special Agents Holtzman and Knickrehm on January 10, 1963. Zetley said he rented an upstairs area to Joseph Gurera. The original agreement was that Gurera would have the area for $210 per month if he would mow the lawn and shovel the snow. He had done neither of these things, and Zetley sent him a letter that his rent would go up to $240 in February. Rent payments had been late, checks had been received with insufficient funds, and Mrs. Gurera was a “sloppy housekeeper”. Zetley was told that Gurera was in the asphalt business and had moved from Kansas City to Milwaukee because there were more business opportunities. Zetley doubted this story, because he noticed Gurera’s habit was to leave the house at 10pm and not return until morning or the next afternoon. He was only active at night. (The agents noted that the Zetleys were “quite ancient and unwilling to have any unpleasantness”.)
John Rizzo hosted a big craps game in Kenosha on January 26. A Kenosha police captain was there and a man from Milwaukee won a lot of money. Around this time, it came out that a man lost $3000 at a game in August. He was a cousin of Frank Balistrieri who had Americanized his last name. His wife went first to Louis Greco, who brought her to Rizzo. Rizzo said “on his mother’s grave” that her husband exaggerated and only lost $20. She then went to Balistrieri and tried to get the money back, but was not successful.
On February 4, 1963, the Kenosha police spoke with James Pfeiffer in Racine. Pfeiffer said he used to run a restaurant called Magett’s around 1960-1961. One time, two men from Chicago came in and offered to buy the restaurant’s jukebox for $100. Pfeiffer agreed, and was given an address in Chicago to deliver it to. Rather than deliver it, Pfeiffer went to the address (a penny arcade) and met the owner, Leo Lenetz. They went next door to a strip joint, which Lenetz said he also owned. The place had four large bouncers. Pfeiffer explained to Lenetz that he couldn’t move the jukebox, and Lenetz said he would send somebody. Pfeiffer reported this to the police, because he still had the $100 but no one ever took the jukebox, so he was afraid Lenetz might track him down and beat him.
An informant spoke with Agent John A. Holtzman on February 5, 1963 and told him that August Maniaci and John Aiello were the nucleus of a faction of the Mafia that was trying to “bust up” the faction with Frank Balistrieri. The informant further stressed that the Biernat murder was ordered by Chicago. He did not understand why Chicago would care about Biernat enough to kill him, but this was what his sources insisted. An informant also advised that Mike Lombardi, the ex-sheriff of Waukesha County, was getting in trouble for serving minors at the White Sails Tavern on Pewaukee Lake and would be moving to California.
The Vernon Hills Country Club was raided on Saturday, February 9, 1963. Lake County police raided the game and rounded up 60 gamblers and 12 employees, including a former police officer. $2500 in cash was confiscated. The on-site manager was identified as Thomas Griffin of Antioch, and loan sharks Morris Goldstein and Morris Saletko were said to be on staff to “help” gamblers who ran out of cash.
In an interview published in the Sunday, February 10, 1963 Milwaukee Journal, Frank Balistrieri told the newspaper that he would like his police record opened to the newspaper to clear up the ongoing allegations against him. “I would like to get them off my back,” he said. “If the police can prove any of their allegations, I’ll be willing to get out of business immediately.”
On Wednesday, February 13, Chief Johnson replied to Balistrieri’s statements concerning the police. Johnson said the police would continue to watch Balistrieri closely as long as he “associates with undesirable characters and allows strip teasers to mingle with male patrons and hustle drinks” at the Downtowner. But, he wanted to make clear that, “We have no racket problem in Milwaukee. Therefore, calling Balistrieri or anyone else in Milwaukee ‘the king of rackets’ as Sandy Smith did (in a January 24 Chicago Tribune article), was unjustified. I don’t know of any complaint of anyone being muscled or paying extortion in Milwaukee. Relative to gambling, I haven’t known Balistrieri as having ever been in a gambling house or being a gambler. Our policemen never observed Balistrieri’s car at any place alleged to be a gambling house.” Johnson answered a number of other questions for the Journal, acknowledging that intelligence files exist on Balistrieri and that they cannot be released. He denied any underworld or organized crime presence in Milwaukee, and maintained that Balistrieri has always been “courteous” and a “gentleman” when the two had met.
Johnson continued, “We have no information of any Chicago crime syndicate operating here or having any influence on Milwaukee activities. Neither do we have any knowledge of a Milwaukee underworld or about any bonds between Balistrieri and the crime chiefs of Kansas City and Chicago. We conducted an intensive investigation in 1957 and again in 1961 and found nothing to indicate a financial tie-up, on record, between Balistrieri and out of state interests. There likewise is no police evidence that Chicago gangsters linked to Balistrieri have established themselves here as loan sharks and jukebox racketeers, as reported by Sandy Smith.”
Dominic Frinzi met with John DiBella and Al Caruso in Fond du lac on February 13, 1963 and had a conversation in Italian. DA Tom Massey secretly made a recording of this conversation. The three of them went to a conference at the Fond du Lac police department with Sheriff Ray Howard, DA Tom Massey and Police Chief Rautenberg. DiBella said he was “fed up” concerning the governor’s recent comments that organized crime was in Fond du Lac, clearly referencing Grande. DiBella denied knowing any hoodlums, and when shown photos of Steve DiSalvo and Joseph Gurera, consulted with Frinzi and then denied knowing them, too. (At the same time, the FBI spoke with an informant who said that Leroy Summers was not a competitor with Grande, and his family’s claims that his suicide was really a murder were nonsense. A FdL police officer was also talked to, and he said a retired Milwaukee policeman who now worked for Pinkerton had done an investigation for the Summers family and found that DiSalvo and Gurera met with DiBella at the Retlaw Hotel. Whether or not this was accurate, by the time it got to the governor’s desk, the story was conflated to say they had met with Summers, which is not true. The officer even doubted the DiBella connection, saying that DiBella had met with two cheese makers from Alibia Cheese at the Retlaw, and the detective may have been exaggerating his claims. When photos were shown at the Retlaw, employees did not recognize either hoodlum and the hotel had no record of either of them staying there.)
The FBI later had DiBella’s Italian comments translated. Much of it is not important. At one point, DiBella tells Frinzi, “In 1943 the company was in Chicago. The office was there, but when we took it over… I do not know who controlled it before 1943.” Frinzi asked DiBella why he moved the business from Chicago. DiBella responded, “What are you going to do in Chicago?” Frinzi then tells the others (in English) that DiBella said it made more sense for the company to be closer to the suppliers (which is not what he said). Frinzi asked about who DiBella bought the stock from when he took over the company. DiBella says, “I want to know why I came here. Why do they want all this information when they have not yet told me the why and wherefore of all this council. They have taken down this information on other occasions. Those in the office already have it. Let us keep everything in its place.”
Frinzi says, “He thought you came here to tell him that everyone in your family and in your company is clean. He thought this is what you came here to tell him.” DiBella responds, “I thought he was going to give me an answer as to why all these things have been happening to me. I do not want to have anything to do with them any more. Tell them I had an office in New York and one in San Francisco. You had better stop them there. I am not talking any more.”
Frinzi then relates that they want to know what other businesses DiBella has an interest in. He replies, “Tell him to do me the favor to not ask me any more. Tell him not to ask me all these kind of questions because I am not going to speak any more. He has had his answer. Now what I want to know is why we are here. I did not come here to be interrogated, because if I came here to be interrogated I will keep my mouth closed and tell them absolutely nothing. I do not speak any more.”
Frinzi tells DiBella that the men are interested in DiBella’s books, specifically with regard to the cheese distributors he works with. DiBella says he doesn’t know how to read the books and “when they are ready, let us call the accountant. My father was never involved in any legal proceedings in his life. I buy from any individual. All I want to know is what chances there are to make money. I buy from anybody who sells. The company dies with me.”
Frinzi says, “He wants to know if you know that (redacted, probably Summers) had a lot of money. He wants to know what you know about the three people who were wounded, blinded.” DiBella says, “I do not know how much money I have in my pocket. I’m selling cheese. This is somebody else’s business, not my business. If they wanted to talk about cheese, I am ready to talk about it night and day. The less I know, the better off I am.”
Frinzi explains that they want to know if these people were killed because of the cheese business or for other reasons. DiBella says, “The problem opens up many a sorb-apple. What can I know now about the poor devils that were killed? I don’t know if it was beer or what, and they did not come and tell me about it.” When asked about hi family, DiBella said, “I grew up in the cheese business.” He said he also has one brother and one sister in the United States.
According to a Milwaukee police captain, Buster Balestrere returned to Milwaukee on February 16, 1963 after being out of town for three weeks. Where he was is unknown, but upon his return he was driving a new Chevrolet with Wisconsin plates.
Virgil Peterson, head of the Chicago Crime Commission, appeared on the WISN television program “Milwaukee Reports” on February 17, 1963 with attorneys Dominic Frinzi, James Shellow, Matthew Corry and Nelson Ward. The attorneys were highly critical of Peterson and Corry accused him of wanting to abolish the 5th Amendment. He denied this. Frinzi asked Peterson how his organization could call Tony Accardo a “hoodlum” when he had never been convicted of a crime. Shellow pointedly said to him, “You are a lawyer. Why don’t you act like one?” Frinzi agreed with Shellow, saying, “We practice in court all the time and you don’t. You are a do-gooder.”
A detective from the Milwaukee Police Department observed a meeting on February 18, 1963 around 5:00pm at the Para Corporation between Frank Balistrieri, Buster Balistrere, Walter Brocca, Steve DiSalvo, Joseph Gurera and Frank Stelloh.
The Italian Businessman’s Club held a meeting at Fazio’s on February 20, 1963. Attorney Dominic Frinzi attended and brought Steve DiSalvo and Joseph Gurera as guests. The Milwaukee Police Department ran surveillance outside, which created quite a furor from those present. Indeed, the vast majority of men inside were honest individuals.
Following negative publicity from Sandy Smith and the Chicago Tribune, Frank Balistrieri sat down with the Milwaukee Journal at Gallagher’s for a three-hour interview that was printed on February 23, 1963. Balistrieri told them, “There is no justification for the bad publicity I have been getting. Sometimes I’m embarrassed for my friends and the entertainers working for me. I’m strictly a family man. I work seven days a week. I work hard. I don’t gamble. I don’t take vacations… If the police can prove any of their allegations, I’ll be willing to get out of business immediately. I would be even willing to go away, as far away as China. However, if the allegations cannot be proved, I want the police to let me alone and operate my business like any other businessman does, without police interference.” Asked about his alleged ownership of Gallagher’s, he explained, “I spent a lot of time at Gallagher’s because I have to have a place to go. I know a lot of entertainers and help book the shows for my younger brother, Peter, who runs Gallagher’s. Over at the Downtowner, which is the only tavern I run, there are only 20 stools. No food is served at the Downtowner, so I spend a lot of time at Gallagher’s and eat here, too.” The city directory said that Buster Balestrere was a manager at Gallagher’s, but Balistrieri said this was incorrect; Buster had worked as a maintenance man and mechanic.
Balistrieri told the reporters that allegations of organized crime were strictly political and that Milwaukee was “one of the cleanest cities in the United States as far as I know.” He claimed to have “absolutely no interest in the jukebox industry. At one time I owned 200 machines when I operated City-Wide Amusement Company, but I sold out in 1943 and entered the cinder and hauling business with my father.” He said he knew many people because he had been in business so long; not only so-called hoodlums, but also such prominent folks as Supreme Court justices. He denied that Frank Stelloh was on his payroll, but did say Stelloh had worked for him in 1960 when he briefly owned the Gallagher Meat Company in the 2400 block of North 3rd Street before selling it. Stelloh was a “hard worker, who never touches liquor and sticks only to 7-Up.” Regarding Para Corp, “I am secretary of the company, a packaging firm. I own about 25% of the stock.” Balistrieri claimed not to have seen Felix Alderisio in “six or seven years”. Balistrieri said he attended church at St. Rita’s and was “a member of the St. Joseph’s Home for Children Athletic Association.”
An informant reported on February 25, 1963 that Frank Sansone was running his bookmaking operation out of Room 16 at the Blue Crest Motel on Bluemound Road. This same day, an officer told the FBI that Frank Balistrieri went to the Milwaukee Police Department a few weeks prior and asked if there was anything he could do to get the “heat” turned down because it was hurting business. The officer said all that Balistrieri could do was to have Joseph Gurera leave town.
On February 27, 1963, a police captain from Milwaukee’s 6th District told the FBI that Joe Gurera had called the LoDuca Organ Company two or three weeks prior, and since then someone (the owner?) had left for Italy. This same day, Agent John Holtzman spoke to a Milwaukee police officer (may be the same contact). The officer said he had a source who was getting fed information by August Maniaci, but nothing new had come in since a newspaper report on January 31 gave bad publicity. He believed Maniaci was trying to get Frank Balistrieri and Joseph Gurera in some heat. The officer believed that the “four principals” in the Biernat killing were Stelloh, DiSalvo, Gurera and John Rizzo. He further believed Albert Albana, Dominic Principe and William Covelli were not involved but “mixed up” in some fashion. Lastly, August Maniaci, Walter Brocca, Nick Gentile and Frank Cicerello were not involved but may have “some knowledge”.
Special Agent Francis Mullen interviewed Winifred Pohl, 1554A West Odell Avenue, on February 27, 1963. Pohl was Frank Stelloh’s aunt and West Allis police records said Stelloh was living with Pohl. She said Stelloh was not living with her. Pohl explained that both of Stelloh’s parents, Conrad and Frances, were deceased and Stelloh had been an only child, so he was close to Pohl. As a child, Stelloh had been spoiled by his mother. As an adult, he had married and had two children, but was since divorced. She further said she felt the police were harassing her nephew and not giving him the opportunity to become a regular citizen. She said he had not seen him associating with any hoodlums other than Steve DiSalvo.
Captain Harry Kuszewski, head of the Vice Squad, was suspended on March 1, 1963 after being charged with a variety of offenses: tax evasion, misconduct, false swearing and failing to report gambling devices. Kuszewski had been paid off by gamblers and also had improper relationships with various prostitutes. The Police Chief, Howard Johnson, said only positive things about him to the press: “He has had a highly successful career in the suppression of vice, gambling and prostitution. I attribute the fact that there are no policy wheels (numbers rackets) in Milwaukee largely because of Kuszewski’s work.” Detective Sergeant Louis Strzyzewski took over running the vice squad.
There was a party at Gallagher’s Steak House on March 3, 1963 for a singer (name redacted). Tickets were $10 and included cocktails, dinner and entertainment. Most of the guests were Italians, many from the old Third Ward. Steve DiSalvo, Joe Gurera and Buster Balestrere were conspicuously absent.
The FBI interviewed August Maniaci at Maniaci Bar and Restaurant, 1902 East North Avenue, on March 6, 1963. He said that the restaurant was his only employment and he was not involved in the criminal syndicate. He further clarified that the restaurant had belonged to his father and was now owned by other members of his family — he just worked there.
On March 6, 1963, Agent John Holtzman spoke with Mrs. Abe Zetley, who was Joseph Gurera’s landlady. She said he was paid up through the end of the month and had indicated he would probably be staying through June so his kids would not have to witch schools in the middle of the year.
Joseph Gurera may have returned to Kansas City around March 10, 1963.
On Tuesday, March 12, 1963, assistant city attorney George A. Bowman accused Dominic Frinzi of “inexcusable delay and neglect” for his part in filing an appeal regarding Frank Stelloh’s lawsuit against the police department. Frinzi had filed a notice of appeal January 4 but may have missed the deadline for filing a bill of exceptions. Frinzi said his delay was due to his client not being available and “resented the attack by Mr. Bowman on my personal integrity.” Later the same day, Stelloh was in court for a $10 fine for deviating in traffic. He had a jury trial, and the jury deliberated for 25 minutes, with the verdict to be read at 9:30am the next morning before Judge John Krueger. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict, accepting Frinzi’s argument that his client was the victim of police harassment. Detective Kenneth Hagopian acknowledged while on the stand that he and two other detectives (Charles Littnan and James Marx) were trailing Stelloh at the time of the traffic stop.
A Greyhound moving van was loading all of Joseph Gurera’s furniture up on March 14, 1963 in order to move it back to Overland Park, Kansas. Gurera’s year in Milwaukee had reached the end.
Racine Police Chief LeRoy C. Jenkins advised the FBI on March 15, 1963 that one of his men, Detective Ronald Konicek, had made a pretext call to Rizzo’s daughter, Helene Niebauer, to determine the location of John Rizzo. The police learned that Rizzo was in Amarillo, Texas and was planning to be in Las Vegas shortly. Rizzo was traveling with William and Eleanor Covelli. The FBI speculated that Rizzo may have lied and they were still in Hot Springs.
Agent William Bailey spoke with Edith Salemi again on March 15, 1963 in Lake Zurich. She again said she sold her car to a “hillbilly” after Dominick told her the car had transmission problems and the block was probably cracked. The man (possibly named Don Wilson) paid her $450. She signed the car over on February 8. The man was supposed to mail her the license plate back, but up to now had not done so. She said Dominick used to be involved with the family plumbing business, but he did not get along well with the rest of the family. After he suffered a heart attack, she asked him to come to Lake Zurich and be a partner in her business. Now she maintained the restaurant and motel units while Dominick did repairs and other outdoor work. Because of his heart problems, he can only work a few hours at a time before resting.
Francis Stelloh was in court for a traffic violation again on Saturday, March 16, 1963 — driving too fast for conditions in West Allis. He collided into another car driven by Vincent Rubino, 1029 East Knapp Street, at the intersection of National and Oklahoma. The passenger, Marie Rubino, received slight injuries to her face and mouth. Stelloh, 50, was living at 1315 North 59th Street.
Joseph Gurera and Steve DiSalvo were seen having lunch at Alioto’s on Bluemound on March 22, 1963. The informant found this strange this he had believed that Gurera had left town. (While Gurera was apparently moved at this point, he may have been going back and forth between Kansas City and Milwaukee to finalize things.)
Kenosha police made a raid on March 23, 1963 at 2:10am and arrested several Kenosha men and a man from Zion. A Kenosha lieutenant described it as a “neighborhood” game, with the biggest loser being out $100.
The FBI interviewed one of the Riviera’s bartenders on March 27, 1963. The man said he earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert’s and a master’s degree from Marquette University, but now worked Saturday nights at the Riviera from 10:30pm until 3:30am. He knew nothing of gambling, was not a gambler himself, and denied having seen any gambling activities at the Riviera. He said he knew (redacted), but only because the man was well-known as an athlete at Lincoln High School in the 1930s. (This might be Santo Curro.)
Steve DeSalvo met Joseph Alioto in the latter’s hospital room on Wednesday, March 27, 1963. Even from the Misericordia hospital on West Juneau Avenue, suffering from heart trouble and pneumonia, Alioto was seen as the replacement for Joseph Gurera and was “calling the shots” with local gambling.
Milwaukee police detectives were served notice on April 2, 1963 that Dominic Frinzi had appealed Frank Stelloh’s civil suit for false arrest.
Nick Gentile was wanted for questioning on April 3, 1963. He was picked up in Wauwatosa and brought to Milwaukee, then released. It is unclear what he was questioned about. The same day, Anthony Pipito was arrested for burglary but he was released.
Chief of Police Stanley Haukedahl resigned on April 3, 1963.
A former “stick man” of Rizzo and Covelli’s craps game was approved by the Racine Licensing Committee for a bartenders license on April 9, 1963. He still had to pass the Racine Common Council. Chief Jenkins thought he would probably get the license, because even though he had a history of gambling and prostitution, such charges were thrown out. (With the files redacted, it is hard to say for sure, but it looks like he went to work as a bartender for the Marine Bar at 11th and Lafayette.)
Frank Balistrieri was acquitted by a jury on Wednesday, April 10, 1963 of allowing female dancers to sit on the laps of male patrons at the Downtowner. Also acquitted were bartender Joseph Enea and two dancers. Balistrieri was represented by James Shellow.
FBI agents were at Postl’s Health Service (188 West Randolph Street) on April 11, 1963. They observed Edward Vogel on a treatment table. When Vogel saw them, he remarked, “I don’t want to talk to you. See my attorney.” He then got off the table and walked away. While leaving the office, Felix Alderisio was seen standing in the entrance. The agents greeted him, and Alderisio told them he did not wish to talk as he walked away.
On April 13, 1963, the court made the following decision: the warrant issued regarding the property in Jennie Alioto’s apartment was not valid because it lacked sufficiency of designation of the objects of the search and seizure. The search and seizure conducted pursuant to the invalid warrant was illegal, and the objects obtained thereby must be returned to the movants.
Helen Haukedahl was arraigned on April 16, 1963.
Louis John Tarantino was paroled on April 17, 1963.
An informant told the FBI on April 19, 1963 that some gamblers in Kenosha had begun opening up, but were only doing so on horse betting and baseball. Furthermore, they were allegedly using pay phones and rotating which ones so as not to form a routine. Craps and poker had not yet returned.
The FBI began to wiretap the law office (rooms 7144, 7148 and 7150 at 161 West Wisconsin Avenue) of Dominic H. Frinzi on April 22, 1963 and kept the bug there until October 2. When later challenged about the tap, the Feds contended that they were trying to find information on the murder of Anthony Biernat. The bug was a small microphone inserted within a ceiling panel so as not to be detected. Wires from the bug went to a terminal box located in the building’s hallway. The box was operated by the Wisconsin Telephone Company, who were aware of the line running from the microphone to a private FBI line they could use to listen in and record the office.
An informant told the FBI on April 23, 1963 that Frank Balistrieri had invested some money into Gallagher’s to fix the plumbing and other things, but had not invested enough to improve business there. He was also cutting corners by telling the bartenders to put cheap whiskey into the mixed drinks, and customers were not returning because of this.
At 4:40pm on April 23, 1963, Dominic Frinzi spoke with someone on the phone concerning the ongoing John Doe investigation. The man told Frinzi he admitted to the probe that he had paid off (presumably to police) on coin machines in his tavern. He told them he had paid off the Vice Squad a few years ago but not anymore. Frinzi said he would take the man’s case and told him not to answer any more questions but only refer them to his attorney. He also gets an incoming call from an unknown party (FBI files say “probably LD”) and Frinzi tells the person that he received notice that the IRS was auditing the man’s 60-61 returns. Frinzi tells the man that he thinks this is bad and that the IRS is actually aiming at “our friends” and only using this man to get to others. He then told the man to come to Milwaukee on Monday and bring “the other party with him”. (Who is LD? I think this may mean “long distance”.) Frinzi called a man and told him that he wanted a photo back and also a key — in person, not through the mail — or he would send out a warrant. Talking to another person on the same call, Frinzi says they are going to get in trouble with a “broad”. Frinzi called Omaha and told the person there that the IRS was looking through 60-61 returns and were going after “the other guy”. Frinzi says it is not just money they are looking into, but getting really nosy — “know what I mean?”
On Wednesday, April 24, 1963, Northway Tavern bartender Otto Ocepek, 49, was granted immunity by Judge Robert E. Tehan (granting a motion by prosecutor Philip Padden) to testify about his gambling dealings with Cefalu, Librizzi and Palmisano. Ocepek said that Palmisano had given him the phone number to place bets, Cefalu took the bets from his phone at his tavern, and Librizzi made the payoffs.
On Friday, April 26, 1963, attorney Frinzi suggested that the court had not proved that the men had residences in the court’s jurisdiction. Witnesses were produced to show that they did. Frinzi then asked that the jury be set aside and that Judge Tehan made the ruling on the case. Tehan agreed, and found the three men guilty and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
Dominic Frinzi received a call on Saturday, April 27, 1963 from Chicago telling him to make reservations for six at the Milwaukee Inn on May 4. After that, a 61-year old “whiskey-voiced Italian” named Rocco came in to Frinzi’s office on the recommendation of people on Produce Row. Rocco was told that Frinzi could help him get a job — he had formerly worked for DeLuca but was kicked out when the administration changed. If he did not find work soon, he would have to return to Ohio. Frinzi said if he gave Rocco money he could lose his license, but if Rocco called back Tuesday he could see about helping him with a job.
An FBI agent (redacted, but formerly with ATF) observed Ralph Masaro receive a small package or roll, slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes, from a man in a gray Buick in front of Carl’s Delicatessen on April 30, 1963 at 10:35am.
The FBI conducted surveillance on Wednesday, May 1, 1963 at the intersection of 64th Street and 14th Avenue in Kenosha. At 9:12am, a red Buick belonging to Ralph A. Masaro (C82-586), a yellowish green Oldsmobile (C99-424) and an unidentified car (Y24-242) were parked near Frankie’s Tap, Mac’s Lunch and Carl’s Delicatessen. At 10:10am, Masaro is seen bringing coffee out of Mac’s Lunch and then meeting up with Captain Dominic Mattioli of the Kenosha Police Department in Carl’s. They go into a back room. At 10:20am, Dominic Principe leaves a car parked in front of Smith’s Grocery and walks into Carl’s. Principe leaves at 10:39am in a tan Mercury with Illinois plates (790-936). At 11:02am, Masaro, Mattioli and a young man leave Carl’s and enter Mac’s Lunch. At 11:07am, a man parks a gray Buick (G77-364) in front of Carl’s. Masaro walks over to Carl’s and brings the man to Mac’s Lunch. Mattioli leaves at 11:14am in a white and maroon Rambler (H38-037). The man driving G77-364 leaves, and is with a man wearing a brown suit. At 11:26am, Masaro leaves in the red Buick.
Special Agent Sam H. Allen, Jr. stopped by Yielding Motors in Mantachie, Mississippi on May 2, 1963, to inquire about the 1954 blue and white Ford sold to them from Hiller Chevrolet in Kenosha. The company owner said the car was sold through North Mississippi Automobile Auction in Baldwyn, Mississippi but did not recall to whom it was sold. He did recall cleaning the car up before selling it, but said it had no stains in the front or rear seats, and he found no buttons, wallet or anything else.
On May 3, 1963, North Mississippi Automobile Auction was consulted, and their records said the 1954 Ford was sold at the end of March to Curt Spencer Used Cars in Calhoun City for $225.
On May 3, 1963, a Milwaukee police officer spoke with the FBI. He said he had heard rumors that Frank Balistrieri and August Maniaci were again “buddy buddy”. Balistrieri was also said to have an interest in the coin-operated machines that were in buildings owned by Samson Enterprises. namely, the Red Carpet Inn and the Rose Bowl. An officer found machines there without licenses and told the owners they needed licenses. Soon after, Balistrieri personally called the officer and said he would take care of it.
A man who was out on probation for burglary from Judge Coffey tried to get Dominic Frinzi to take a statutory rape case on May 4, 1963. Frinzi did not want it.
On Saturday, May 4, 1963, twelve IRS agents led by Paul Pheaume raided Charles Piscuine’s residence at 1517 North VanBuren. Piscuine tried to run into the basement, but was stopped. While there, seven phone calls came in to place bets, including from Joseph Piscione and Martin Azzolina. Piscuine’s attorneys, Dominic Frinzi and James Shellow, declined to comment.
An informant told Special Agent Knickrehm on May 6, 1963 that Joseph Gagliano was not involved in gambling at the present time and only played gin. He was said to have a cabin on a lake near Milwaukee, and might host poker games when the temperatures warmed up.
Information was received by the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department that five cigarette vending machines were stolen on May 6, 1963 from Dependable Vendors in Downers Grove (Cook County). They were allegedly brought to Kenosha and stored in J. V. Auto Body Company (39th Avenue and 60th Street), where they were worked on by William Covelli. (Another report named the shop as Jay Bee Auto Body at 3902 Wilson Road.)
Dominic Frinzi was in his office the evening of May 7, 1963 with a theatrical booking agent working on contracts. Frinzi and the agent were planning to go to Chicago the next day.
Also on May 8, 1963, William Covelli was observed going north on Highway 38 in his white Dodge Dart. He was followed to the Metropolitan Block Building at 1012 North Third Street in Milwaukee. Once there, he gave a folder, books and papers to a small woman with auburn hair. Covelli then returned south on Highway 38 and went home.
On May 13, 1963, an anonymous black man called the US Marshals office in Milwaukee and told them that he was an employee on the construction site of the VA Center in Wood, Wisconsin. The man said that the foreman, John Triliegi, was “shaking down” employees and demanding 30% of their paychecks in order to keep working for him. Triliegi had 12 men working under him, building the 1264-bed hospital. This information was passed on to the FBI, who consulted with US Attorney James Brennan. Brennan declined to start an investigation saying that investigating this “non-specific allegation” could interfere with investigating a more specific allegation that could come later.
On May 14, 1963, an informant told Special Agent Gassaway that the Milwaukee crew was looking for someone local to replace Joseph Gurera as the strong-arm man. Gurera had been disappointing, but the Family realized this was not his fault and that it was making too many waves to have an outsider come in and try to pressure people. The informant suggested the best replacement would be to have August Maniaci and John Aiello working as a pair. He said they were “feared among the Italian element” and that Aiello was broke, so he could use the work.
John Rizzo was picked up at his house before noon on May 15, 1963 by Sylvester Jaragoski, 52, and they drove south on Highway 41 (presumably to Chicago). Jaragoski was not known by the Racine Police to be a gambler. His only arrest was for operating an unregistered vehicle, and he had worked at Walker Manufacturing for over 30 years, presently as a foreman earning $600 per month. He was at this time in talks to take over the 12th Street Tap, formerly owned by Pete Cepukenas, with the deal expected to close in July.
An elderly man named James or Jimmy was in Dominic Frinzi’s office on May 15, 1963. The FBI described him as “intelligent” and “with an accent” and said Frinzi “let his hair down” around James, whom he respected. Frinzi talked to the man about his trouble with a woman who was going to Turkey and how he had to borrow $3000 to pay a man and is still paying this man $200 each month. Frinzi said he gave the girl. $1700 and now she wants $1100 more in order to ship her possessions to Turkey. He says he will pay it and then be done with her. This woman was apparently part of an acting troupe and was in an accident in the Dakotas — Frinzi was handling her lawsuit.
James Shellow was in Frinzi’s office on May 16, 1963 and Frinzi talked with him about where he was going to get the money to pay off the woman (his mistress).
Dominic Frinzi spoke with another attorney in his office on May 20, 1963. Frinzi said he had charges against him from the Bar Association for violating attorney-client privilege.
On May 21, 1963, Frinzi instructed his secretary not to answer any questions from the IRS and to lock up all records at night. They were apparently looking into checks between Frinzi, Balistrieri and LaGalbo that were possibly related to bookmaking.
On May 21, 1963, John Alioto’s son, Joseph, died at the age of 41 of cancer. The SAC in Milwaukee wrote that Alioto was “reputed to be high in the council of the local Outfit.” Among others attending the funeral was Angelo Marino, a San Jose hoodlum and relative of Santo Marino. Angelo Marino also had $40 worth of flowers sent to La Matto Funeral Home. (Angelo would later be the head of the San Jose family from 1978-1983.) The FBI wrote down license plate numbers at Alioto’s funeral, with many of them being from Illinois. They also used 4 rolls of movie film and 6 rolls of 35mm film. Others present were from Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland. An informant said that Angelo Alioto was expected to step into his brother’s role, but this is uncertain. Although he was investigated for gambling, I have no record of Angelo actually being involved in criminal activities whatsoever. Peter Balistrieri told an informant that it was the biggest funeral Milwaukee had ever seen, and that he had witnessed known killers crying. While watching the funeral, the FBI was able to get a palm print sample from Steve DiSalvo, but it did not match the print they found at the Biernat murder site.
On hidden microphone MI632-C*, the FBI recorded Dominic Frinzi and John DiBella talking in Italian on May 22, 1963. Because the bug was in Frinzi’s office and the conversation was on the telephone, they only heard one side. Nothing of importance is said, with Frinzi merely asking how DiBella was doing and saying he would “take care of it”.
Frank and Peter Balistrieri were gone much of the evening on May 23, 1963 and therefore missed several long distance calls for them from San Francisco. Also looking for them was a man who was going to Florida on May 29. Frank came in just before closing time and made the comment to his attorney that he knew he was going to “get out of it”.
Mrs. Johnnie Mae Jackson, 48, took (and passed) a lie detector test on May 27, 1963. She alleged that she had paid Vice Squad Captain Harry Kuszewski $100 a month for seven years to leave her brothel (at 1717 North 4th Street) alone. She also paid off fifteen other vice squad officers; detective Alfred Kaczkowski admitted to receiving a bottle of Napoleon brandy from Jackson.
A man at Jay Bee Auto Body was interviewed on May 28, 1963. He confirmed that several cigarette vending machines had been brought in for reconditioning and repainting. He did not think they had any connection to William Covelli, though.
FBI agents were conducting more night time surveillance in Milwaukee than usual the week of May 29 through June 4, 1963 and were not focused on Kenosha at all.
Frank Stelloh met Steve DiSalvo on May 30, 1963 at Checker Cleaners, where they had coffee.
On June 3, 1963, Frank Balistrieri, Louis Fazio and Joseph Caminiti were together and talking about jukebox routes. Balistrieri said he had 20 boxes ready to go and advised Caminiti not to use “any muscle, just persuasion”. Balistrieri was also overheard to say, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll deal with the man or with his widow.” The reference was unclear (Biernat?).
US Attorney James Brennan’s office received a letter on June 7, 1963 from the Department of Justice informing him that more specific information had been received concerning John Triliegi’s alleged shakedown attempts and that an investigation was being opened. The first witness was called to Brennan’s office on June 13 and spoke of his experiences with Triliegi and Sam DiMaggio.
Roughly June 11, 1963, (FNU) Piscitello was granted a limited bartender license, allowing him to only tend bar at Antonio’s (3418 North Green Bay Avenue). Antonio’s was owned by Tony Machi (not the same one known as Tony Petrolle).
Special Agent MacDonald caught Carlo DiMaggio on June 13, 1963 as he was leaving his home (1526 North Franklin Place) to go to the county hospital to get more medicine. DiMaggio said he formerly operated a butcher shop at 901 East Center but had a heart attack last year and had to close down the business. DiMaggio said his wife had died about seven years ago (it was actually nine years) and he had not been in the best of health, so he usually stayed home. DiMaggio said he lived off his $83 Social Security and had not been to Kenosha in over thirty years. He said he knew Frank Balistrieri since Frank was a boy who came to his butcher shop, but had no dealings with him.
Agents spoke with Frank Collura, 78, 2005 West Orchard Street on the afternoon of June 13, 1963 while looking for Nick Collura. Frank told them Nick was out driving a truck and to come back later. They stopped back at 4:00pm and then again at 5:30pm, when they found Nick. He advised them he actually lived at 737 North 10th Street, but still stopped by his father’s house after work to prepare dinner. He said he worked for the Rite-Way Tool and Die Company at 1212 South 1st Street each day from 7:00am until 4:30pm. He said he drove a green Pontiac and only he drove it. Collura was visibly upset by the presence of the agents, but insisted he did not know anyone in the vending machine business.
Anthony Pipito was arrested for burglary on June 14, 1963 but the charge was dismissed.
Joseph Spera, 3023 North Cramer Avenue, was interviewed by Agent Reed on June 15, 1963. He said he had lived at his present address for four years and worked as a garbage collector for the city. As a side job, he purchased three jukeboxes one year ago and had them in the Sportsmen’s Bar on 7th Street, Ben’s (Bond’s?) Bar on North Avenue and Maniaci’s on North Avenue. Spera said he made roughly $36 a week doing this, and it would supplement his pension when he retires. He had not been pressured to sell his business or make protection payments. He also said he was not a gambler, and only knew the Balistrieri family as a result of having grown up with them. His only interaction was at weddings and funerals.
The FBI spoke with Nick Gentile on June 15, 1963 at Fanny’s Pancake House (11426 Bluemound). He told the agents he had been instrumental in getting the restaurant up and running, but the Wauwatosa authorities wouldn’t give him a license because the Milwaukee police are pressuring them not to.
On June 17, 1963, the Milwaukee FBI reported to the Kansas City FBI that a Chevrolet sedan registered to Nicaragua-born Joe Solomon Amador, 54, of 4109 Blue Ridge, Kansas City had been visiting Frank Balistrieri the last few days. They requested information on Amador and the whereabouts of Joseph Gurera. They could not determine where Gurera was, and Amador’s name came back clean — he was a stationary engineer for Southwest Bell Telephone Company and had no criminal record. Amador had been naturalized in Galveston, Texas, had served in the military during World War II and prior to the phone company worked for the Kansas City Macaroni Company. Agents considered the possibility that Amador was in town to help with tapping a phone line. The phone company said it was doubtful that Amador knew how to tap a phone line, but acknowledged he was on vacation and could have traveled to Milwaukee in June.
On June 18, 1963, Dominic Frinzi vented about his frustrations with James Shellow. Shellow had apparently told the IRS that Frinzi had books and records when Frinzi was hoping to settle his tax problems by simply using check stubs. Frinzi said he left work early the day before and got files back from Shellow before the “damn fool” turned them over to the IRS.
On June 19, 1963, detectives Alfred Kaczkowski and Joseph Niedziejko were suspended by Milwaukee Police Chief Howard O. Johnson for five alleged counts of violations of police department rules. The violations principally concerned accepting money from Mrs. Johnnie Mae Jackson. A police department board of inquiry met, found Kaczkowski guilty on all five charges and Niedziejko guilty on three charges, and recommended discharge. On August 27, 1963, Chief Johnson ordered both detectives discharged.
On June 20, 1963, the Special Agent Warren J. Kenney interviewed the manager of the Merritt, Chapman and Scott Corporation who had hired John Triliegi, and the man said he considered Triliegi to be an “excellent foreman” and received “no complaints whatsoever” about his job performance. In fact, Triliegi was the only foreman of the five on site with the authority to hire workers (after they were referred from the local labor union).
On June 20, 1963, Special Agents Reed and Holtzman knocked on the door of an apartment building in West Allis that had Frank Stelloh’s white Thunderbird parked out front. The woman who answered the door said she had a “lady guest” and this was not a good time. The agents said they wanted to talk to the “male guest”, and she refused them entry. The agents knocked again, and this time Stelloh came to the door. He said, “I don’t want to talk to you guys.” The agents responded that he did not know who they were. Stelloh asked, “Do you have a warrant?” The agents responded that they were FBI agents and only wanted to talk. At this point, Stelloh closed and locked the door.
On June 24, 1963, Dominic Frinzi and James Shellow were working on Frinzi’s tax case. Frinzi wanted to throw away and destroy some records, while Shellow wanted to save them. Frinzi asked why Shellow wanted to save them, but he would not say. Frinzi feared the IRS would find the records with a search warrant. There was also discussion about Frinzi buying half of Shellow’s property on North Prospect.
On June 24, 1963, Special Agent John T. Dunn interviewed Salvatore Balistreri, 3426 North Downer, a laborer on the site. Balistreri said he was born in Sicily on April 14, 1899. He was hired on to the job by waiting in line every morning to be picked and was hired on in October 1962. Prior to that, he had worked for Seisel Construction for 17 years. He said he knew Sam DiMaggio and John Triliegi, but was never asked to pay for his position. Special Agent Warren Kenney interviewed Ernest Anthony Christian, 1023 West National Avenue, the same day. Christian said he was born November 19, 1905 in Rhinelander, worked for the union and was hired by Triliegi through a union agent. He had not made any payoffs or heard of anyone else who had either. Furthermore, he said he was an Army veteran who would not allow anyone to shake him down. Dunn also interviewed Manuel Duarte, 719 East Knapp Street, who had been employed on the hospital site since November. He said he had been born January 1, 1903 in Ponta Delgada, Portugal, and became a citizen in 1942. He said he knew Triliegi well, and carpooled to work with him. Duarte said he knew of no kickback scheme and had not paid anything for his job. Numerous other employees told the agents that they had heard “rumors” of kickbacks, but not one of them admitted that they personally paid anything.
A man named Joe came into Dominic Frinzi’s law office on June 25, 1963 and asked how he could get an abortion. Frinzi said he could not advise Joe on how to break the law, but said it was better to not be “penny wise and pound foolish” and that a $400-500 abortion might be a better investment than $4000 per year child support. Joe said the woman had another man who she wanted to marry and just wanted the money — he would not actually have to join her for the procedure. (The FBI speculated that this was Baby Joe Balistrieri, son of Peter Balistrieri.) He was then interrupted by a phone call concerning 20 prostitutes that had been picked up. After this call, he called the INS in Reno to see about a visa for a Turkish entertainer.
On June 26, 1963, Frinzi received a call from someone named SI. He told SI not to come into the office, but instead arranged to meet hi mat 8:30pm. Frinzi also called the INS in San Francisco concerning the Turkish visa. He was told he had to get approval from the American Guild of Variety Artists. Frinzi suggested getting the entertainer a job at one of Frank Balistrieri’s clubs so he could work with the Milwaukee INS.
An informant told the FBI on June 27, 1963 that Frank Stelloh was the new owner of Carmelo “Melo” Curro’s night club next to Gallagher’s. (This seems highly unlikely.)
The Milwaukee Journal broke the story of John Triliegi’s shakedown attempts on June 27, 1963 (though they did not mention him by name). Inspector Harold Breier told the newspaper that the police had received information that an ex-convict was working on the job site, but had not heard about any payoffs. He said, “We conducted an investigation and found no violation of the law. We turned the matter over to the FBI.” The next day, H. R. Erickson, the industrial relations manager for Merritt, Chapman and Scott Corporation told the newspaper, “We are not aware of anything of the sort, nor has it ever been brought to our attention. We would certainly be favorable toward cooperating with the FBI to the fullest extent to clear this matter up. We will be just as interested in it as the FBI until it is either proven or disproven.” Peter Poberezny, the outgoing president of Laborers Union Local 113, also said he was not aware of any incidents. “If there had been any such payment,” he said, “the man who received it should be in the penitentiary. Our union does not allow such a thing. I’m sure our new regime will look into it.”
Following the newspaper coverage, Representative Clement J. Zablocki wrote a letter to J. Edgar Hoover asking to be kept abreast of the investigation, as he was “deeply interested in knowing the facts” of the matter. Interestingly, the VA Hospital was later named for Zablocki (who also had a school and library named for him after his death).
Frank Balistrieri, through his adviser Joseph Caminiti and the Teamsters Union, began supplying local politicians, including Mayor Henry W. Maier, with postage stamps in mid-1963. Rather than use cash or check, which may be easier traced, they decided this was a good way to influence the people who grant licenses. When questioned years later, Maier told reporters, “Balistrieri never asked me to do a damn thing for him — and I never did a damn thing for him.” He acknowledged that they had met, but never offered each other more than a greeting.
Helen Haukedahl was taken to the Winnebago State Hospital for the Criminally Insane on June 28, 1963 after being found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Her husband tried to regain his position as Kenosha police chief, but the city had moved on to their new chief, J. Leo Buchmann.
Around July 1963, Dominic Mandella bought a tavern with an expired license for his brother Anthony. Because each ward was only allowed so many licenses, the brothers paid off District Attorney William McCauley, Assistant District Attorney David Mozila and Alderman Alfred C. Hass (of the Third Ward) to issue the license.
Special agents John A. Holtzman and Carlyle N. Reed spoke with the chief investigator of Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office on July 1, 1963. They were curious about an alleged incident from 1949 involving the kidnapping of the wife and daughter of either Carl “Cookie” Scola or his gambling partner. Allegedly, the women were kidnapped and held at gunpoint until Scola’s gambling operation was turned over to William Covelli. The investigator said he was not familiar with the incident.
An informant told the FBI on July 5, 1963 that the Bang-Bang Bar at 3rd and Port Washington was run by “an Italian gang” and had some prostitutes working out of there. (Yes, the “Bang-Bang”… I didn’t make that up. However, 3rd and Port run parallel, so the address is clearly wrong. Another informant said a tavern called Antonio’s was Italian-run and had prostitutes, and was located at Port and Green Bay. Perhaps this was the same place.)
On Monday, July 8, 1963, there was a party at Gallagher’s Steak House for someone “going into the service”, which meant joining the Family. Approximately 58 people, including Walter Brocca, attended.
FBI results on tire track samples from the Biernat grave site were returned on July 8, 1963. The lab was unable to pinpoint a specific tire or vehicle, noting that the pattern was similar to that used on recaps.
Steve DiSalvo helped Buster Balistrere move back to Kansas City on July 10, 1963. That evening at 11:30pm, Frank Balistrieri was seen in conversation with an attorney (possibly Jim Shellow) for 90 minutes.
In the July 10, 1963 Milwaukee Journal, Commissioner of Internal Revenue Mortimer Maxwell Caplin was quoted as saying that within six years, John Rizzo had made $96,611 from gambling, but had only reported $39,594. (How he came up with these numbers is beyond me, as I doubt Rizzo kept records.) The IRS was trying where local police and the FBI had failed…
Special Agent Warren Kenney interviewed John Triliegi on July 16, 1963 concerning the kickback rumors. Triliegi said he was born May 29, 1914 in Omaha and lived at 2933 North Maryland with his wife and children. He had worked on the construction site for the past year in the capacity of foreman, and only hired people with the union’s approval. He openly admitted that he got his sons and sons-in-law hired on to the job, but they had to be approved by the union just like anyone else. He denied collecting any payments or having Sam DiMaggio collect payments for him and said that maybe the rumor started because of the $50 fee to join the union.
Kenney interviewed Sam DiMaggio the same day. DiMaggio freely admitted to being a safe burglar, and said that he was released from Waupun in August 1962 and was hired on to the hospital job through Triliegi and the union. He said he was a devoted union member and even paid his dues while in prison. He said he “would never stoop to taking payoffs” and did not believe Triliegi did either. He said with eight years left on his parole it would be foolish to involve himself in such a trivial criminal move. He did admit that two of his cousins were given jobs at his suggestion, but they went through the same process as everyone else.
Steve DiSalvo returned to Milwaukee on July 17. The absence of Balistrere and Gurera now put Steve DiSalvo firmly in the “underboss” position in Milwaukee, with Frank Stelloh also holding considerable power (though not officially a member due to his ethnicity). (Note: the Milwaukee Mafia operated as a satellite of the Chicago Outfit. While New York is very strict about its Italian blood policy, Chicago has been more lenient and at times may not have even had an official oath. New York was born out of Sicilian tradition, while Chicago evolved from the multi-ethnic Capone gang, with any Sicilian opposition crushed. While Milwaukee had “made” members, it is not clear that any oath existed, so the difference between Stelloh and a high-ranking member may not amount to much.)
On July 19, 1963, there was a conversation between Frank Balistrieri and Dominic Frinzi. Someone had just been granted immunity before a grand jury, and Balistrieri asked, “What’ll we do if he talks?” Frinzi said, “Don’t worry about it — he wouldn’t dare.” Balistrieri responded, “You and Shellow and all of them say he wouldn’t dare, but I know a few things, too, and he would dare.”
An informant told the FBI on July 24, 1963 that Joe Alioto had a forgery warrant quashed by Assistant District Attorney Aladin DeBrozzo.
Nick Gentile was brought in for questioning on July 29, 1963. He was released. What was asked of him is unknown.
By August 1963, Walter Brocca had begun buying used Seeburg jukeboxes for $125 and putting them in new cabinets to be passed off as new in Milwaukee and northern Illinois. Brocca would transfer the old machines to new cabinets on the grounds of the Para Corporation.
On August 2, 1963, an informant said that the Milwaukee Outfit had a new attorney who had been training under Dominic Frinzi and was now operating as a go-between for the Milwaukee and Kenosha hoodlums. This attorney was said to have a weakness for strippers, and apparently dated one or two. (The name is redacted, but would seem to be James Shellow.)
Special Agents Richard C. Thompson and Alexander P. LeGrand interviewed night club owner Frank Monreal on August 6, 1963. Monreal told them that he had been approached a few weeks ago by August Chiaverotti, Walter Brocca and Joseph Balistrieri and told that if he sold “new” jukeboxes for them, he would be paid $150 each for them. After selling five, Monreal opened one up and found that the “new” jukebox contained old mechanisms. He informed the customers to return the jukeboxes to him.
Roughly 15 members of the Milwaukee Family met at the Rafters on August 6, 1963 to discuss the “Saturday Evening Post” article on Joseph Valachi. Among those present were Frank Balistrieri, Vito Aiello and August Maniaci.
On August 8, 1963, an employee of Para Corp confirmed what Monreal had said: Brocca and Chiaverotti were buying used jukeboxes for $125 and then had a cabinetmaker put them in new cases. They would then sell these jukeboxes as new. He said that Frank Balistrieri’s son Joe was also involved in these sales. (Who this employee is, I don’t know. He didn’t recognize a photo of Steve DiSalvo.)
On August 10, 1963, the Milwaukee Police Department looked in the Red Line room of the Knickerbocker hotel and saw Frank Balistrieri, Felix Alderisio, Joseph Gurera, Steve DiSalvo and John Molle.
The FHA case against August Maniaci and John Aiello was dropped on August 19, 1963 by Hugh O’Connell. O’Connell said that there was not enough evidence to prove they had “guilty knowledge” and also told the FBI that some of the paperwork had been stolen. Rumors persisted that O’Connell had been paid $5500 to drop the case.
Roughly August 19, 1963, dancer Mary White was arrested for sitting with bar patrons at Antonio’s. Owner Anthony T. Machi was also arrested for permitting entertainment outside of legal hours.
On August 22, 1963, gambler Charles Piscuine paid police detective August Knueppel $200 for inside information about when he might get raided.
On Thursday, August 22, 1963, government attorneys filed additional information about John Rizzo’s tax delinquency, pointing out he had operated a gambling establishment at 1240 North Astor in Milwaukee in 1957. The newspapers said Rizzo was the older brother of “Sam Rizzo, Racine labor leader”. Rizzo’s attorney, Floyd John Marenda, filed a motion that the case be tried in Milwaukee. Judge Norman Orwig Tietjens allowed it.
A man named “John Manfried” from the Falstaff Brewery in San Antonio, Texas was in Milwaukee on August 22 and 23, 1963. He spent his afternoons with Frank Balistrieri and spent the evenings in Italian nightclubs where Balistrieri picked up the tab. He was noticeably driving a car with New York license plates despite being from Texas.
Carlo DiMaggio was interviewed at his residence (1536 North Franklin Place) by the FBI on August 23, 1963. He denied any knowledge of the Mafia and said that while such an organization might exist in Chicago or New York, it did not exist in Milwaukee. He acknowledged knowing people who were alleged members, but did not think they were. He also acknowledged that his sons had extensive criminal records, but said they were not directed by any organization to commit the crimes they have done.
On the night of Sunday, August 25, 1963, William Covelli and two other Kenosha men stayed at the Red Carpet Inn near General Mitchell Air Field in Milwaukee. The purpose for their overnight stay (so close to home) is unknown. The maid told the FBI that the men must have had “a party or women” because “the rooms were in a terrible mess with everything strewn all over on the floor.”
A detective saw the gray over white Cadillac of Sam Forgianni, partner of William Covelli in Alpha Realty, driving in Racine on August 26, 1963.
On August 30, 1963, US Attorney James Brennan advised the FBI that he was not going to file any charges against John Triliegi or Sam DiMaggio. In his opinion, the kickback story could not be corroborated as the only person who claimed they had to pay was an ex-convict who was deemed unreliable.
In early September 1963, Catherine Covelli became suspicious of her husband Jeff’s activities (he did, in fact, have a girlfriend). She began calling Greco’s Restaurant multiple times a day looking for him.
On September 16, 1963, Agent Farrington spoke with an informant about Dr. Vito Guardalabene, who had his office at 233 (or 238?) West Wisconsin Avenue. He was told that the doctor was “possibly” a member of the Outfit and was known to treat them for medical problems in the past. About a year prior, Guardalabene had a heart attack and had been taking it easy since then. (Vito was very likely NOT in the mob, despite his family’s history.) Another informant said he did not think that the doctor was in the mob, nor did he know of any time he ever helped any member.
A 5th Congressional District Republican meeting was held on the evening of September 19, 1963. Vincent Mercurio, 820 East Mason Street, was voted to be chairman of the Republican Party in that district. Mercurio was president of Palmerson Inc, a produce business at 338 North Broadway. The 5th District was heavily Democratic, but Mercurio told the others he believed they could defeat Representative Henry Schoellkopf Reuss. (He was wrong, as Reuss stayed in office another twenty years.)
An informant told the FBI on September 23, 1963 that Tony Bellant was not a member of the Outfit, but knew many of the members and knew about their activities. He said the Bellant family used to live next to the Holiday House in the Third Ward. Craps games were held at Bellant’s house, but he did not take part in them. At this point, he was a salesman for Pabst.
William Covelli was believed to be in the Bahamas from September 23 through September 28, 1963 looking into gambling opportunities there for Frank Balistrieri. This information was passe to the FBI by the Racine Police. It was at least partially wrong, because Covelli was back in Wisconsin by the 26th.
On September 26, 1963, an informant told the FBI that football pool cards were coming in to Kenosha and Racine from Waukegan on Tuesday nights. The informant knew the cards were coming to Angelo Germinaro and Eugene Thomas at the Office Lounge, but at this point did not name Germinaro (or anyone else) as the source of the cards.
Frank Balistrieri, John Rizzo and William Covelli had dinner together at the Char-Col House in Waukegan on September 26, 1963.
Based on testimony in federal court back in April, Sam Cefalu and August Palmisano were charged with commercial gambling on Saturday, September 27, 1963.
On October 2, 1963, Special Agent Daniel E. Brandt attended a meeting at the office of US Attorney James Brennan for the purpose of (among other things) starting investigations on Joseph Caminiti. Also attending were representatives of the Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service, INS, Department of Labor, ATF, IRS and the Chicago FBI office. None of the agencies knew anything about Caminiti other than that he was a Teamsters secretary and they did not know if he was involved in anything illegal.
Frank Balistrieri and John Rizzo were observed on October 10, 1963 sitting together at Fazio’s on Fifth from 4:30 to 5:15pm. They were still there when the agent left on other business.
Frank Balistrieri returned a car to Hertz Rent-a-Car on October 11, 1963 after using it for two weeks and driving 1,960 miles. He paid or it with another man’s credit card.
The Kenosha police raided the Office Lounge (518 58th Street) in Kenosha on October 11, 1963. The search warrant was read to the bartender on duty, Angelo Germinaro, and the first floor and basement were searched. While they did find a police scanner, there was nothing whatsoever related to gambling on the premises. A few days later, an informant told the FBI that the police had screwed up the raid — Eugene Thomas could see them preparing and destroyed or removed any evidence he could before they entered the tavern. Thomas had actually loaded some of the records into a briefcase, stuffed it with dirty linen, and then walked out the back right past some of the officers who paid no attention to him, apparently thinking he was a customer.
The FBI observed a meeting at Tony and Dotie’s Bar (3478 North 2nd Street) on October 15, 1963. Present were August Maniaci, Joseph Alioto (nephew of John, not his son) and two men from Rockford.
An informant told the FBI on October 16, 1963 that Angelo Germinato of Zion, Illinois was the source of football pool tickets in Kenosha and Racine. The cards were usually distributed on Tuesdays.
On October 18, 1963, Frank Jannuzzi was at Greco’s Restaurant and had a long conversation with William Covelli in the bathroom. After they came out of the bathroom, Jannuzzi left and Covelli immediately made two phone calls.
Angelo Germinaro was observed at Poodles, Inc. (60th Street and 22nd Avenue) on October 21, 1963. (This business was operated by either Ralph Masaro or Alfred DeCesaro.)
Special Agents Richard Thompson and Alexander LeGrand interviewed baker Peter Sciortino on October 24, 1963 in relation to rumors that he was paying the Outfit $20-30 per week in order to operate. He said he knew Steve DeSalvo, who occasionally would stop by the bakery, but denied knowing Frank Stelloh. He also said he had not paid any money, and that he did not know who had detonated a small bomb near his home in 1962. The same day, the agents interviewed Frank Dimiceli, the owner of the Rafters Steakhouse (7228 South 27th Street). Dimiceli also denied knowledge of any shakedowns. (Dimiceli would later be investigated for prostitution.)
On October 27, 1963, Frank Balistrieri was overheard at Gallagher’s telling Walter Brocca, “When I say push him, you know what I mean… If you can’t do it, I can find somebody who can. He’s alive, isn’t he?” The conversation was presumed to be in relation to the jukebox business and getting the refurbished machines placed in taverns.
On October 29, 1963 Angelo Marino sent flowers to Maria Marino, deceased, the former wife of his father’s cousin in Milwaukee. Her body was at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Angelo told the man on the phone (the flower guy) to make the flowers to Maria Marino, although he did not know her current name because she had been remarried. Angelo also reserved a room in the Schroeder Hotel in Milwaukee for his father, with plans to be in Milwaukee on Wednesday and return to San Jose on Monday.
Frank Stelloh’s appeal for a new trial in his false arrest lawsuit was rejected on October 29, 1963. He had argued that he should get to know the names of the police informants in the case so as to question their credibility. Justice E. Harold Hallows rejected that, saying, “True, a man’s purse is important but his liberty and innocence command greater recognition on the scale when balancing the various elements of public policy in a given case. In exercising its discretion, a trial court should not require the police to breach a confidence upon which the information was given.”
Someone connected to Milwaukee was arrested on a narcotics charge on October 29, 1963, along with fourteen others. He was released the next day on $40,000 bond. (This seems to be Americo DePietto, which would have no clear Milwaukee connection to my knowledge.)
William Covelli and John Rizzo attended a (stag?) party at Fazio’s on Fifth on November 4, 1963.
William Covelli was robbed of $200 in coins on November 5, 1963. While he was putting candy and coffee in the Luby’s building, someone went in his unlocked truck and took six bags of coins from his various collections. He told the police this money was not insured.
Thomas Machi’s fiance was interviewed on November 6, 1963. She said she had been married once before and had an 8-year old son from this marriage. She did not wish to discuss anything concerning the Machi brothers other than to say they operated the Riviera. She said she knew nothing of Thomas’ business affairs and even if she did, she did not think it would be appropriate for her to divulge anything to the authorities. She said that while gambling may be illegal, she did not personally find it to be morally wrong. The woman admitted to being friends with Isadore Tocco and his wife.
Buster Balestrere was interviewed by the FBI at Peppino’s Pizzeria in Kansas City on November 7, 1963. He said he had been harassed by the police in Milwaukee and things were published about him being involved in criminal activity that were not true. Balistrere appeared to be bitter.
John Rizzo was observed making a call from a pay phone at the abandoned North Shore Depot at 1126 West Boulevard in Racine on November 8, 1963. (He may have called the General Insurance Company at 740 North Plankinton.)
(When?) Salvatore DiMaggio transported more than $5000 (and possibly as much as $300,000) in stolen securities checks from Milwaukee to Reno, Nevada.
An informant told the FBI on November 13, 1963 that John Rizzo was going to sell his gambling operation and move to Las Vegas. He said the buyers were three “big boys” who would make the current Racine and Kenosha operation look like “peanuts”.
An informant told the FBI on November 14, 1963 that a big gambling game happened every Friday night over the Highlander in Racine. The cost was $10 just to get in the door, and on the night the informant was there, he had to wait in line to play. He saw over a dozen men there and did not know any of them.
A captain of the Milwaukee Vice Squad was interviewed by the FBI on November 15, 1963. He said prostitution in general was not organized in Milwaukee, but a group of “lower class Italian hoodlums” might be trying to organize it. He said he knew of six houses of prostitution, and four had recently been raided. More often, the prostitutes would hang out at bars and then take the men they pick up to nearby motels. He knew prostitutes hung out as the Clock Bar and Casino, both located at Fifth and Wells. Other taverns that had prostitutes were the Moonglow, the Polka Dot, the Alteristic, Tina’s, the Rancho, Vine Street Tap, Mr. Yancey’s, the Wisconsin House and the Elite bar. During conventions, prostitutes came in from Kenosha, Green Bay, Chicago and Hurley. There was recently a teachers convention where this was known to happen. Some prostitutes worked through Apex Cabs and Big K Cab Company, both located on North 12th. He said upper class prostitutes could charge anywhere from $100 to $300, and he heard that one had received $10,000 from a client over a 6-month period. The higher class prostitutes hung out at Henry’s and the Brass Rail, and possibly at Frank Balistrieri’s Downtowner.
The captain said that gambling was largely craps and cards, and mostly happened after hours among the African-American community. Horse race betting seemed to be largely handled by Sam Cefalu and his brother “Sheriff” Cefalu. Baseball and football pools were popular in the breweries and at American Motors, with pool cards being brought in from Chicago. He had tried to get an undercover officer into American Motors, but the union would not let him. The Puerto Ricans had a policy game (bolita) running out of somewhere near 900 South 5th Street.
Angelo Germinaro met with Ralph Masaro at Greco’s Restaurant on November 17, 1963. They did not converse with anyone else.
An informant told Special Agent William Higgins on November 19, 1963 that the football pool cards were coming from an Outfit-controlled restaurant on Grand Avenue in Chicago. They were brought to Waukegan, where they were picked up by an AMC employee who lived in Waukegan but worked in Kenosha. The informant did not think Germinaro was directly involved in the transfer of the cards because his specialty was horse racing and not football. He further said that although Peter Zocchi was involved in football pools the year before he was not involved this time, even though his business was failing. Zocchi was too afraid of losing his license.
Frank Januzzi was seen on November 23, 1963 with a tall, lanky man with black hair and mustache and also another man in his mid-20s. He had not generally been seen around Kenosha since February.
Someone was married on November 23, 1963 and the reception was at the VFW hall at 31st and Villard. William Covelli was there, but John Rizzo was not.
A big party was held at 3203 45th Street, Kenosha on November 29, 1963. The residence was suspected of being a dropoff point for gambling money and was usually vacant. (This is a large house, with a total of six bedrooms.)
On Tuesday, December 10, 1963, Federal Judge Robert Tehan sentenced six gamblers for failing to purchase a $50 gambling tax stamp. They were William F. “Buddy” Werner, William “Red” Becker, William W. Goldmann, Salvatore Cefalu, Sam Librizzi and Augut Palmisano. Each was given a fine between $1000 and $3000, with Werner receiving the harshest penalty: a fine and a year of probation. Werner, although not Mafia-connected, was well-known in Milwaukee as both a gambler and a former high school basketball star. When he died seven years later from cancer, the local press mourned his passing. Becker’s home at 3949 North 15th Street was Werner’s base of operations. Sentences had not yet been handed down to two other gamblers, Raymond C. Hobert and Raymond L. Mirr. Mirr was accused of running a bookmaking operation out of his business, the Supreme Dental Laboratory.
A man in Shaler, Pennsylvania was interviewed on December 13, 1963 because one of the Machi brothers had called his home. He said this was because his wife was the sister of the Machi brothers’ father. The man himself was a huckster and did not know very much about the Machi brothers, other than that they operated a tavern and that he had visited them once while in Milwaukee for a funeral. (Based on my information, this would imply that the man’s wife was Catherine Machi. It is unclear, though, as she was married to someone with the name Balistreri-Sendik and lived in Milwaukee. Andrew Machi, the brothers’ father, had died in January 1962, which was probably the funeral in question.)
The Assistant US Attorney considered charging Angelo Germinaro with interstate transportation in aid of racketeering on December 30, 1963. He had learned that Germinaro had formerly lived in Kenosha while operating a horse book at the Albion Grille (where he was a short-order cook) at 6548 North Milwaukee Avenue in Niles for Rocco Potenza and Jasper Pellicane. However, he said for the charge to stick he would have to show that Potenza and Pellicane knew that Germinaro lived out of state. (As Kenosha is nowhere near Niles, I am unclear how he could live in one city and work in the other.)
Someone at S.L. London (Perry London?) was interviewed on December 30, 1963 about his connection to Kenosha vending and William Covelli. He said he had only sold five jukeboxes to Covelli, and that was in November of 1962. The purchase was financed by the Reliable Finance Company of Milwaukee. (I am not sure if it was true at the time, but Reliable Finance was eventually owned by Perry London himself.) Payments had occasionally been late, but never more than 30 days.
Special Agents Logan Pickerl and William Herrmann interviewed Gladys Vogel at her residence (7704 West Palatine, Chicago) on December 31, 1963 at 10:55am. She denied knowing Angelo Germinaro, but did recall a man by his description who worked at the Albion Grille. She declined to say anything about her involvement with horse gambling and Rocco Potenza, other than to say she knows Potenza, because, “I don’t want my house blown up.” She then added, “I am glad I quit playing the horses.”
Special Agents Logan Pickerl and William Herrmann interviewed Anthony Green on January 2, 1964 at the Slinglander Drum Company (6633 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago). Green was shown photos of Angelo Germinaro and Rocco Potenza, and said he recognized Germinaro from when he used to eat dinner at the Albion Grille. He thought (incorrectly) that Germinaro was the proprietor. He said he had seen Potenza around, but did not know his occupation. Green freely admitted he played the horses, but said he only did so at the track and never tried to place a bet at the Albion Grille or anywhere else.
Special Agent Richard Thompson interviewed Leo J. Teshner, 61, at his restaurant, the Blue Dahlia Supper Club (5700 West Bluemound) on January 6, 1964. Teshner said that a few weeks prior, Frank Balistrieri had approached him about leasing the Blue Dahlia and installing the sales manager of the Edison Liquor Company as the new operator. Teshner said Balistrieri made no effort to shake him down, but the money he offered was inadequate and nothing came of the deal. (Other sources said Balistrieri offered $190,000 and Teshner wanted $250,000.) When asked about John DiTrapani, Tesner said they had been friends and thought DiTrapani was a “nice individual”, but did not know he had criminal connections and did not know why he was killed. Teshner further said he was friends with former Chief of Police Polcyn and former SA James Poster. He said Polcyn and Poster used to have outings at Kangaroo Lake in Door County.
A “peace meeting” was held at Gallagher’s on January 6, 1964 between the Balistrieri and Maniaci factions of the Mafia. Frank Balistrieri told the group that he hoped this meeting would lead to a more organized and cohesive group, and said he expected Joseph Gurera and Buster Balestrere to return from Kansas City. Present for the meeting were: Tom Machi, Tony Machi, Angelo DiGiorgio, August Maniaci, Mike Albano, Harry D’Angelo, Benny DiSalvo, Vince Mercurio, John Aiello, Sam Cefalu, Steve DiSalvo, Frank Stelloh, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Balistrieri.
The owner of the Teutonia Beer Depot (2232 West Capitol, also known as Teutonia Wine and Liquor) was interviewed on January 7, 1964. He said he knew Frank Balistrieri and many of the Italians, but did not find this surprising as he had been a part of the Italian community his entire life. He knew of no shakedowns, though he said such things happened prior to World War I.
Frank Stelloh was arrested on Tuesday, January 7, 1964 at Kohl’s Food Store, 10707 West Cleveland Avenue, West Allis. He had gone through the checkout counter without paying for two packages of red clothes dye, razor blades, transistor radio batteries and a candy bar — a total value of $3.09. The manager, Terrance Anadell, held Stelloh and his female companion until police arrived. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released on $115 bail. A week later, attorney Dominic Frinzi appeared in court for him and pleaded no contest, resulting in a $61 fine.
Salvatore DiMaggio stole mail bags containing securities checks on January 11, 1964 along with John and Earl Cassel.
On January 11, 1964, John Rizzo was observed using a pay phone from 11:10am until 11:49am. The booth was on North Main in Racine near High Street, and Rizzo had a slip of paper in his hand.
Agents LeGrand and Thompson spoke with Carlo DiMaggio again on January 13, 1964 at his residence (1536 North Franklin). DiMaggio said he was losing his house to Harry Kaminsky on a land contract, and he was going broke on legal expenses for his son Sam, who was unemployed and living upstairs. DiMaggio said he had known both John DiTrapani and Jack Enea, but did not know why they were killed. He said he knew Frank LaGalbo and Frank Balistrieri since they were boys, and that Frank LaGalbo had started out a bum and later became successful — he was now “too rich” to be concerned with “poor people” like DiMaggio. He admitted to knowing Joseph Vallone, Sam Ferrara and John Alioto very well, but did not know anything about the Mafia in Milwaukee. When statements made by Joseph Valachi were brought to his attention, he said he assumed that Valachi knew what he was talking about. DiMaggio said he did not know Steve DiSalvo, though he had heard of him. He also denied knowing Frank Stelloh, though had read about his shoplifting in the newspaper. He said he knew Benny DiSalvo, and he believed that DiSalvo’s wife was somehow important in Washington, DC.
On January 14, 1964, there was a “social gathering” at Gallagher’s, with 30-40 people present, including Walter Brocca, Steve DiSalvo, Frank Balistrieri, William Covelli, August Maniaci, a man from West Bend, and a few people from Madison. A second informant (beyond Maniaci) was invited but could not attend because he was not as his place of business when the call came in telling him about the meeting.
On Friday, January 17, 1964 at 12:30pm, forty-five police and IRS agents lead by Agent Delbert Skeens simultaneously raided the Tip-Z-Top Lounge (4426 Sheridan Road, Kenosha) and a boardinghouse at 721 Center Street in Racine. United States Attorney James Brennan said, “This concludes about two months of intensive investigation in the Kenosha-Racine area.” In Kenosha, they arrested tavern owner and former high school basketball star Peter Zocchi, 43, and his janitor, John C. Buttera, 56. Zocchi was charged with accepting wagers without a gambling stamp and a failure to pay excise taxes on the wagers. Buttera was released due to improper wording on the warrant but was told to go to the district attorney’s office on Monday. At the Racine house, resident Leah Molgaard, 44, was arrested and charged the same as Zocchi. Zocchi was found with $233 in cash and gambling paraphernalia in his possession, with a preliminary hearing set for January 31. Molgaard had $3700 in cash and paraphernalia.
An informant told the FBI on January 17, 1964 that Club 32 at Highway 32 and Sheridan Road in Zion, Illinois hosted craps, bingo, poker and dice. The owner of the club appeared to be a swarthy Italian with a “protruding stomach”. Gambling was also available at an unknown tavern on Highway 131 adjacent to a barber shop and the Canales Restaurant in Winthrop Harbor. A buzzer was outside the tavern, and if pressed, you could be let in to the gambling area without having to go through the tavern.
On January 20, 1964, Raymond Mirr was fined $2,035 for running a gambling business without paying taxes. He had plead no contest the prior November.
Special Agent Alexander LeGrand observed a black Dodge 4-door at the residence of Sam Cefalu on January 23, 1964. The driver was a young Italian (name redacted).
Sam J. Cefalu (1606 North Jackson) incorporated the Commercial Sales Corporation on January 28, 1964 with an address of 2559 North Downer (the site of Balistrieri’s new Continental Music Company). This company was created to help finance Continental’s sales.
Someone was arrested on January 30, 1964 for possessing counterfeit coins and held in the Milwaukee County Jail. He was questioned by the Secret Service.
An informant told the FBI on January 31, 1964 that the owner of Tommy’s Tavern on 38th Avenue in Kenosha was providing prostitutes for truck drivers at the Kenosha Auto Transport. He would allegedly bring them in from Chicago and had rooms in the back of the tavern where the girls could turn tricks.
On January 31, 1964, there was another “social get-together” at Gallagher’s, this time with about 60 people. A man was there from Kenosha, but no Chicago guests were noticed. An informant speculated that this gathering was intended to smooth over differences between the Balistrieri and Maniaci factions of the Milwaukee family.
In February 1964, the Zarne brothers leased Joe’s Spaghetti House (519 West Wells) to Joseph Enea for two years. He was to pay $175 per month for six month, $200 for the second six months and $225 the whole second year. The hired cook was Edward Roman Slawinkowsi, 54, who was not known to have any criminal history beyond being drunk and disorderly.
Frank Stelloh was arrested for fornication on February 4, 1964.
On Friday afternoon, February 7, 1964, Treasury agents arrested Ralph Masaro, 50, and Alfred DeCesaro, 41, for accepting bets without having purchased a federal wagering stamp. The agents raided DeCesaro’s home, an apartment leased to both men and Masaro’s delicatessen, and seized $1984. They also confiscated DeCesaro’s automobile. Hearings were set for February 20.
An informant told the FBI on February 7, 1964 that when Frank Balistrieri had recently been at a motel in Hawthorne, California, there were a total of about twenty men from around the country also meeting there. One of them had an interest in the Hawthorne Bank. Further, the motel switchboard operator kept a log of phone calls and Balistrieri had called someone in Chicago.
The Seven-Up Bottling Company of Kenosha merged with Kohlman’s on February 10, 1964 (with Kohlman’s being the dissolving party).
Special Agents interviewed Vito Aiello at his residence (3038 North Maryland) on February 26, 1964. He admitted knowing Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, John Triliegi, Walter Brocca, Carlo DiMaggio and August Maniaci. Denied being a “muscle man” for Balistrieri, and said he did not think Milwaukee had a Mafia or Syndicate and such things were confined to Chicago and New York. He did say he had formerly been a bartender for Balistrieri but now worked for the Eagles Club and no longer associated with that group of people and was not invited to several social functions in January.
An informant was shown arrest photos of Ralph Masaro and Alfred DeCesaro on February 28, 1964. Masaro was identified as a card dealer at a place called Chim and Eddie’s on Highway 131 in Illinois. DeCesaro looked familiar, but the informant was not sure how.
In March 1964, Tony Petrolle’s Riviera burned down. The FBI noted that although the cause appeared to be arson, Petrolle was probably not behind it, as the tavern was under-insured and a money-making “fag joint”.
Nick Gentile was arrested March 4, 1964 for tax evasion.
On Thursday, March 5, 1964, the IRS made simultaneous raids in New York, Los Angeles and Milwaukee. In Milwaukee they arrested five men for failure to purchase a gambling stamp: Steve Halmo, Robert Pick, Charles Piscuine, Joseph Reder and Harvey Wachs. Also arrested for aiding and abetting was Alfred Prey. At Halmo’s apartment, agents seized $1674 and various gambling information. At the Pick home, Pick told the agents he had to tie up his dog and then quickly ran inside to cut two of his four telephone lines and ignited some flash paper that contained gambling records. Prey showed up at Pick’s home during the raid and got in a scuffle with an agent on the porch. Piscuine’s home had $570, various gambling sheets and three pink telephones. An agent answered a phone while there and took $1300 in bets from the caller — when asked if he was talking to Charlie, the agent (whose name was Charles) said yes.
On March 9, 1964, FBI agents installed a microphone (646-C) at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the site of Frank Balistrieri’s new Continental Music Company. The company did not have routes of its own, but instead bought AMI jukeboxes and pool tables from Pioneer Vending (formerly owned by Herman Paster). The sales were financed through Allied Building Credit Company (2100 West Atkinson). The jukebox license was under (redacted) name, and he had purchased the license from Cortese Phonograph Company (1633 West Juneau), whose license was inactive.
On March 12, 1964, at William Cole’s preliminary hearing before Judge Christ Seraphim, Neil Nelson testified that he made bets as high as $1000 with Cole, the operator of the Taxi Inn Tavern (113 East Juneau). Nelson said he had gambled through Cole for the past five years. Nelson said he had known Cole since 1938, and when he (Nelson) became a bookmaker, he made layoff bets through Cole by telephone. The money between them was delivered by cab drivers and other “runners”. Cole was on trial for false swearing — he claimed during the John Doe hearings to never have been a bookmaker.
On Wednesday, March 18, 1964, Judge Coffey’s John Doe probe issued warrants for thirteen people: Charles Piscuine (commercial gambling), Raymond Mirr (commercial gambling), Archie Lewis (commercial gambling), Raymond Hobart (commercial gambling), Harry Edison aka Earl Appelt (commercial gambling), William Wisniewski (commercial gambling), Bernard Karrer (commercial gambling), Frank DeFacende (commercial gambling), Mike Palmisano (commercial gambling), Dorothy Byrd (false swearing), Mary Johnson (keeping a house of prostitution), Marilyn Donald aka Billie Morris (keeping a house of prostitution), William “Thunderbird Bill” Davis (pimping).
Giuseppe Sciortino died on March 19, 1964.
On Friday, March 20, 1964, prosecutors said there was a loosely-knit gang of 30 burglars who had done 50-100 jobs and had hauled off $50,000 in loot. District Attorney William McCauley issued warrants for eight members of this alleged gang: Dr. F. E. Nolting, a Kewaskum dentist, accused of receiving stolen goods in Milwaukee and selling them in Minneapolis; Samuel DiMaggio, accused on four counts of burglary; John Triliegi, accused of receiving stolen goods; Harold Vick, four counts of burglary; Edward Kretlow, one count of burglary; Jerome Morrison, one count of burglary; Larry Arndt, one count of burglary; and John Forbes, named in the warrant but not specifically charged. Triliegi was said to be the one who directed the burglars to Dr. Nolting. Some of their burglary targets were: Edward Weber Construction, the Iron Workers union, Hi-Fi Fo-Fum, attorney Donald Jacobsen, the Skylark tavern and Humphrey Chevrolet.
On Friday, March 20, 1964, Judge Coffey closed his John Doe probe after 21 months. The final seven people to be charged were: Clarence Smith (commercial gambling), Martin Azzolina (commercial gambling), Steve Halmo (commercial gambling and false swearing), Morris Fuhrmann (setting up pinball machines for gambling), James Stecher (setting up pinball machines for gambling), John Piscuine (accepting bets), Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu (accepting bets).
Benny DiSalvo was hired on as a laborer for Hunzinger Construction on March 21, 1964. He would be laid off in under three months.
On March 24, 1964, an informant told the FBI that he had been at the Club 32 on a Thursday night roughly two weeks ago and saw two “stick men” there that he recognized as former employees of William Covelli. The men were short and believed to be Italian. The craps table would usually have $200-$250 in play at any time. He said he was under the impression that the Kenosha gamblers felt the heat was dying down following the arrests of Masaro and DeCesaro and games might pick back up again.
On March 25, 1964, Joseph Enea, Walter Brocca and Augie Aiello (of the Mint Bar) at at the Tasty Restaurant (507 West Wells).
Salvatore DiMaggio turned himself in on March 27, 1964 regarding four counts of burglary.
The FBI approved the Milwaukee office’s request to hide a microphone at 519 West Wells Street (Walter Brocca’s restaurant, Joe’s Spaghetti House) on March 31, 1964. The purpose was to overhear conversations from Walter Brocca and August Maniaci, who the agents suspected knew about the Anthony Biernat murder and other violent crimes. The bug was not installed until June 3, as Milwaukee needed to call in “expert lock men from the Chicago Office” to break in to the restaurant. (While the surveillance seems to have only been audio, the office also ordered a Beseler Topcon camera with a Topcor 58mm f1.8 lens at this time.) The building housing Joe’s was owned by Alfred and Leon Zarne of Zarne Custom Tailors, and also housed Pabst bar and Kahn Outfitting Company.
Around April 1964 (but possibly as early as September 1961), Frank Balistrieri was employing girls at the Downtowner cocktail lounge (340 West Wells Street) and at Henri’s restaurant (730 North 5th Street) to be prostitutes. The FBI brought in and identified either 38 of these girls, 13 of whom had prior vice arrests. One girl was Silia O. Pichs-Martin, who had actually been deported from Miami after getting arrested on June 16, 1960.
On April 3, 1964, Frank Balistrieri spoke with Teamsters secretary Joseph Caminiti about their $100 contributions to various candidates for alderman (Allen Calhoun, Vel Phillips and Charlie Quirk). Caminiti told Balistrieri that “next time you can tell these people you’ve got the Teamsters backing you 100%” Money was also paid to Senator Morse and Congressman Alvin O’Konski. Mayor Maier was given $100 worth of stamps, and Balistrieri said he gave Maier’s opponent, Art Else, some money because he was an economics professor at UW-Milwaukee and “you never know” what he might do in the future. Else had apparently come into Gallagher’s asking for donations, and Balistrieri gave him some money in cash so it would not have to be declared. Balistrieri boasted that he helped get Harold Breier the job of police chief, which seems to have no basis in reality.
Caminiti also spoke of his dislike for Bobby Kennedy and believed that under President Johnson, the wiretaps would decrease. He feared, however, that Johnson could pick Kennedy as his new running mate. Caminiti also expressed his desire to raise $34,000 in Wisconsin alone for Jimmy Hoffa’s defense fund. By Caminiti’s calculation, if all the states did this, they could raise $1.3 million. He believed that Hoffa was being persecuted by the Justice Department, and said that thing were no different now than “in Hitler’s day”. He related that he had heard that during Hoffa’s trial, U.S. Marshals were getting drunk with the jurors. Caminiti said O’Konski had recently made a speech favorable to Hoffa and that there was the possibility of a congressional investigation into Kennedy’s infringement on civil liberties. This was overheard on the microphone planted at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the Continental Music Company.
Balistrieri was recorded telling August Chiaverotti that he had paid $15,000 to Pioneer Sales and Service and still owed $5000 more, with purchases going towards the Continental Music Company. The goal was to sell jukeboxes and pool tables. They said they would both travel to Chicago to see the “finance guy”. Balistrieri complained about rival jukebox man Joe Beck: “This Beck keeps going on — and we’re getting bombed out.”
August Maniaci was overheard telling Balistrieri that he found an attorney that could fix his fraudulent mortgage case. Maniaci said he had already talked it over with Vito Aiello, and they both agreed that John Aiello was the one who was at fault, but Maniaci said he would be willing to take the fall if everyone else pitched in to support his family. Balistrieri said that was foolish, and they should both try to get out of it. Maniaci said he had also spoken with attorney Jack L. Goodsitt who was “connected real good”.
During the conversation, Frank Balistrieri berated Walter Brocca. Balistrieri accused Brocca of always whining and saying how broke he is, but then Brocca was able to come up with enough money ($400) to go into business with Joe Enea running Joe’s Spaghetti House. Balistrieri told Brocca that he should have been told in advance. Balistrieri also told Brocca that he (Brocca) would have been killed in California if Balistrieri had not intervened. Balistrieri further said that when Brocca returned to Wisconsin after failing in California, Balistrieri felt sorry for him and hired him at Para Corporation — and then Brocca stole tools from the job. Chiaverotti told Balistrieri he was not aware of Brocca’s stealing (which is true, since it was Chiaverotti who had done the stealing).
Balistrieri then also berated Carlo DiMaggio, saying he was foolish for letting his son Salvatore getting messed up in a burglary ring. Balistrieri said he had warned Carlo that the other guys would turn on Salvatore, and sure enough, they got caught and had to be set up with Dominic Frinzi. Balistrieri then claimed that Frinzi would take the case of the person he was told to, even if someone else offered ten times as much. Regarding Carlo, Balistrieri said, “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t even know that he’s living anymore.” Carlo DiMaggio was also said to be selling meat to Holiday House at an inflated price, and one of the owners talked to Balistrieri about it. He, in turn, told them to keep buying from DiMaggio because he did not want DiMaggio to feel “small”.
After August Maniaci left, the conversation turned to his uncle, Vincent Mercurio, who had allegedly already fixed the case for Maniaci, and that is why the first warrants were thrown out. Balistrieri then said John Aiello was an envious guy, and it would hurt him real good to see Maniaci go free while he takes the fall.
An informant spoke with the FBI on April 9, 1964 about Peter Zocchi. He said that Zocchi had gone out of business and started leasing his property to two “young fellows” recently. Zocchi had been in financial trouble for a while and with the lack of gambling income he could not make ends meet.
A grand jury indicted Samuel DiMaggio and John Triliegi on April 13, 1964 with the crime of stealing over $300,000 worth of checks from a mail train, and transporting $180,000 of the checks to Reno. The US attorney involved in prosecuting the case said he did not know why the checks were sent to Reno.
Ralph Masaro and Alfred DeCesaro pleaded not guilty to failing to purchase a federal wagering stamp on April 13, 1964.
On April 14, 1964 at 10:00am, a special agent accompanied Captain Fred Reinke of the Fire Department on an inspection of Joe’s Spaghetti House.
A meeting was held at Como’s Restaurant on April 17, 1964.
Peter Balistrieri’s daughter Benedetta married Leonard J. Drewek on April 18, 1964 in Milwaukee. There was a reception at Alioto’s Restaurant in Wauwatosa. Attending the reception were Dominic Principe, Albert Albana, William Covelli, Buster Balestrere, Murray “The Camel” Humphreys, John Rizzo, John Molle and Jimmy Balestrere. Someone from Hawthorne, California (not Andy Lococo) was there. Joseph Gurera had recently suffered a heart attack and could not attend. (While the name “Drewek” is obviously not Italian or Sicilian, Leonard’s mother was a Geracie.)
Around April 20, 1964, state prostitution charges were dropped against Noelle Marie DeMazelier, who went by the stage name of Darbi Wilde at the Downtowner. The prosecutor, Donald Steinmetz, reduced the charge to a city fine of $25 when it was learned that DeMazieler was in San Francisco undergoing surgery for an automobile accident.
A stag party was held on April 20, 1964 at Fazio’s on 5th. A big craps game was played.
An informant told the FBI on April 22, 1964 that William Covelli had recently been in Milwaukee and discussed the possibility of horse racing becoming legal in Wisconsin. Covelli said the gamblers would welcome that and that he would try to get a job working at the race track if it was near Milwaukee. The informant also said “the West Side doesn’t even want to hear the name of Pops Principe” and one woman “goes into a tirade” when she hears it. This was because her father was involved with the Principe family in some illegal venture many years ago (possibly during Prohibition).
An informant told Special Agents LeGrand and Thompson on April 23, 1964 that Albert Albana had become a “made” member of he Milwaukee Family shortly after the murder of Anthony Biernat. An informant (presumably the same one) also told the two agents that Giuseppe Balistrieri was an LCN member. Salvatore DiMaggio was said to be a member, as were Vito Seidita and Benny DiSalvo.
An informant told Special Agent William Higgins on April 23, 1964 that Angelo Germinaro was still tending bar at the Office every day after 6:00pm, and he was sure that there was horse booking going on because Eugene Thomas could not afford his new Lincoln Continental and bathroom remodeling from bar income alone. He also said that William Covelli and Louis Greco Jr had joined together to purchase the Tropic Club tavern on 22nd Avenue and had renamed it Mr. G’s.
The FBI interviewed Tony Machi on April 28, 1964 at his residence (5553 West Jackson Park Drive). He said that the Riviera had been a financial success and that the loss of this tavern was a setback because they were not insured and this was a loss of $19,000. The brothers were trying to lease the Royal Hotel Bar to start again. Tony said he did not like Thomas Machi’s girlfriend, and personally believed that Thomas was too old to be getting married anyway. When asked about gambling or payoffs, Tony said he knew nothing about such activities and then wished to end the interview.
Dominic Principe and Albert Albana were spotted together in Kenosha on April 30, 1964 at 2:50pm. They were at Dawn’s Doughnut Shop (3914 52nd Street) and left in a car with Illinois plates as soon as they saw Agent Higgins.
Tensions between John Alioto and his son-in-law Frank Balistrieri grew in May 1964, according to an informant. Apparently Alioto did not like the way Frank treated his daughter, and further that Frank wanted in on the Alioto restaurant following the death of John’s son Joe. The informant also claimed that the assumption that Balistrieri was picked to head the LCN by Alioto was false; Balistrieri had actually been hand-picked by Felix “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio.
On May 11, 1964, Dominic Frinzi filed a motion to dismiss charges against six men for failure to purchase a gambling stamp, citing insufficient evidence: Steve Halmo, Robert Pick, Charles Piscuine, Joseph Reder, Harvey Wachs and Alfred Prey.
Frank Balistrieri was observed just sitting in his car at 1:00pm on May 18, 1964 at the corner of Wells and Van Buren.
Angelo and Salvatore Marino traveled to Milwaukee on May 22, 1964. They first took United Airlines flight 120 from San Francisco to Chicago and then flew to Milwaukee via flight 612. The round trip tickets cost $506.52 and were billed to the California Cheese Company. The men were looking into a cheese factory they were thinking about purchasing. While in Wisconsin, they purchased cheese from factories in Marinette and Monroe, and expressed displeasure at the quality of milk in California. The Marinos were forced to return to San Jose early when they heard that Joseph Marino, a diabetic and heart patient, became ill. Salvatore returned to California on June 2 and Angelo returned on June 5 via Chicago.
An informant told agents LeGrand and Thompson on May 25, 1964 that Joseph Rizzo was a member of the LCN, and was brought in to the organization by Sam Ferrara. Rizzo was formerly a bartender for Ferrara.
On May 25, 1964 Steve DeSalvo and Frank Balistrieri were at Fazio’s at some point. From noon to 4:30pm, they were at Gallagher’s with Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Caminiti and two California men in the company of Santo Marino.
The Milwaukee Sentinel speculated on May 26, 1964 that Dominic Frinzi was not serious about his gubernatorial run against John Reynolds and was only trying to stir up trouble. They said “observers” believed he was upset for not getting the county judge seat that was instead awarded to Elliot N. Walstead (an expert on real estate law). Judge Harvey Neelen was said to have a Frinzi bumper sticker on his car and called the attorney “capable and honest”.
Albert Albana was observed driving north on Sheridan Road in Kenosha on May 28, 1964. He was seen pulling over at a cemetery to watch a funeral. (Presumably, it was St. George Cemetery, but it could have been B’Nai Zek Cemetery.)
Sam Ferrara was interviewed on May 28 and June 1, 1964 by Special Agent John Holtzman. He advised that he had been in Milwaukee since the early 1900s (which is debatably true) and was now planning to sell his liquor store at the corner of VanBuren and Lyon.
Family tensions continued in June 1964, when Balistrieri found that Peter Sciortino had returned to Milwaukee from Tucson, Arizona. Sciortino, an alleged member of the Joe Bonanno crime family, spoke with John Alioto and Balistrieri was not informed. According to the LCN’s protocol, Balistrieri should have been informed of Sciortino’s presence.
In early June 1964, Angelo Marino of San Jose was visiting his cousin Santo Marino in Milwaukee for the purpose of business — Angelo owned the California Cheese Company, and hoped to buy some Italian-type cheese. Angelo would return in July and August, with the idea that he would buy, store and age cheese in Wisconsin before having it shipped to California. At one point, the California Cheese Company controlled 85% of the cheese distribution in California.
Sometime around June 1964, an informant told the FBI that Salvatore Seidita was hosting hoodlums in the basement of his restaurant, Mr. Tony’s, at 3120 North Downer, across the street from the University of Milwaukee. After the funeral of Benny DeSalvo (mob boss in Madison), the hoodlums gathered and spoke about their frustration concerning the FBI taking photos at the funeral.
Frank Balistrieri and August Chiaverotti were in Chicago during the day on June 2, 1964 concerning their jukebox business.
An informant told the FBI on June 2, 1964 that Walter Brocca had two Greek cooks, both named John. One of them was John Argeris, 69. Assistant District Attorney Ben Weiner and his brother Louis were eating lunch there almost every day, and former assistant district attorney Peter Wills was also a frequent diner.
A female informant told the FBI on June 4, 1964 that William Covelli was taking bets from people in Kenosha and then driving to Sportsman’s Park in Cicero to place those bets. He was also allegedly booking at the track.
An informant told the FBI on June 5, 1964 that a black pimp (who whored out his white wife) was hanging around 519 West Wells (Brocca’s restaurant) because he was campaigning for Dominic Frinzi for governor on behalf of the black hoodlums. (It is hard to tell due to redactions, but it seems that there was also a black drug dealer named Arthur Pace who hung out at Brocca’s, who may or may not be the same man.)
Bernard Caputo, son of Carlo Caputo, died on June 8, 1964 at age 21. An informant said he amounted to “practically nothing” in the Mafia, but out of respect for Carlo, a number of Milwaukee men came to the funeral: Frank Balistrieri, Steve DiSalvo, Benny DiSalvo, Mike Albano and Mike Amato.
Toma, Inc was incorporated on June 9, 1964 by William J. Calvano. The registering agent was Thomas Machi, who also served as president. His brother, Tony Machi, was the company’s treasurer.
The funeral for car accident victim Bernard Caputo, son of Madison boss Carlo Caputo, was held June 10-11, 1964 at the Fitch-Lawrence Funeral Home and Blessed Sacrament Church in Madison. Attending from Milwaukee were Sam Ferrara (on the 10th), Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Mike Albano, Nick Fucarino and Benny DiSalvo (on the 11th).
The funeral for Rockford mobster George Saladino was held on June 10, 1964. Attending from Milwaukee were Peter Balistrieri, Harry D’Angelo, August Maniaci, Steve DeSalvo and Michael Albano.
Joseph Caminiti’s father was buried on June 10, 1964 in Chicago.
A microphone (648-C) was installed at Joe’s Spaghetti House (519 West Wells) on June 10,1964.
On June 11, 1964, August Maniaci called John Aiello and told him that he found an attorney that would represent them for $1000 (or $200 a piece) for the mortgage case.
An informant told the FBI on June 11, 1964 that Dr. Anthony Verdone was spending a fair amount of time around Joe’s Spaghetti House.
On June 12, 1964, a man stopped by Joe’s Spaghetti House and showed Walter Brocca a gun that impressed him. The man tells Brocca that he has three such guns.
On June 16, 1964, John Aiello was in the hospital.
Following up on a tip that a Missouri man had visited Kenosha and was talking about the Biernat murder, the FBI traced the license plate to Ed R. Martin of Fulton, Missouri on June 16, 1964. The local police said that Martin was formerly a police officer in Wisconsin and had a good local reputation, though he had suffered a head injury and his mind was affected. The FBI visited Martin at a car wash he operated and started a conversation without saying exactly why they were there. Martin said he was formerly an officer with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department. He suffered a head injury and was forced to resign. He said he did not know what caused the injury and that the police told him that they would not tell him until he recovered. Martin believed he was beaten. He had tried to hire attorneys to investigate, but they would not accept the case. He had tried to contact the Wisconsin governor though the chief investigator of the attorney general, but with no luck. He was now living off an $118 per month compensation.
Hidden microphone 646-C (at 2559 North Downer Avenue) caught an Outfit “chair” meeting on June 18, 1964 where one member of the group was castigated for not functioning properly. Balistrieri was upset that Peter Sciortino came from Tucson and was entertained without him (Balistrieri) being notified by John Alioto. Also, he was not notified of a member’s father’s death, and was thus not able to pay the proper respects. The names of Joe Bonanno, Salvatore Giancana and Felix Alderisio were frequently mentioned.
Balistrieri said that Joseph Gurera and Buster Balestrere still belonged to Milwaukee despite living in Kansas City, and that Kansas City boss Nick Civella should leave them alone until Balistrieri decided what he wanted done with them. Balistrieri said he might take a while to decide. Incidentally, he also made the remark that Kansas City had a piece of Omaha, Nebraska, but did not elaborate. (The Mafia’s presence in Omaha has a very strange history, with any number of groups claiming ownership here… although I am unclear why anyone would want Omaha.)
After the formal meeting was over, Joseph Caminiti and Frank Balistrieri had a discussion on how to make money. They said they did not want to be like New York where everyone muscles each other because they would soon end up shooting each other. It was better to be respected. Balistrieri said he did not prefer getting collection money from businesses because they would then hate him and not respect him. He said he would rather be respected and then be able to make better deals. He specifically mentioned Sardino’s, Fazio’s and Nino’s Steak House.
Caminiti said Balistrieri had more authority than the bosses of Rockford or Madison because he had been appointed by Chicago rather than by his own people, and Chicago would not let him fail. He further said he did not think John Alioto showed Balistrieri much respect, and contrasted him with Vito Seidita, who he said was respectful and sincere.
Walter Brocca and another individual were discussing how to “knock off” businesses on June 21, 1964. The men decided that cash was a better heist than furs or jewelry. Brocca said more than any other palce he wanted to burglarize the Belmont Hotel, “except that they wouldn’t have more than $40 in there” and it would have to be at least $2000 to be worthwhile.
Brocca spent June 23 looking for a truck for his nephew, a building contractor, and also a window pane for his nephew’s garage. The next day, a truck is found at a business on South 3rd.
On June 24 at 9:21pm, Brocca called someone in Bel Aire, California. Then at 9:36pm, he called Dominic Frinzi and told him that he knew a guy in Cudahy that ran an asphalt business and the man wanted to help raise funds for Frinzi’s campaign. Brocca offered to set u pa meeting.
A meeting was called on June 30, 1964 and Peter Sciortino of Tucson was called to the meeting. Balistrieri tried to talk to Sciortino about the Bonanno Family, but Sciortino said he was just a soldier and was not authorized to say anything without clearance from his superior, Charles Battaglia. Balistrieri conceded that this would be the proper procedure and no further discussion was carried out.
Frank Balistrieri was in downtown Chicago on July 6, meeting Felix Alderisio at Nino’s Spaghetti House. Coincidentally, earlier that same night, Rockford LCN members Frank Buscemi and Joseph Zammuto were there for unrelated reasons.
John Rizzo was surveilled on July 6, 1964 from his residence (1906 Emmertsen Road, Racine) at 11:00am and into Illinois. Agents lost track of him at 12:15pm and gave up trying at 1:30pm. He was at the Arlington Race Track this day and the next, and allegedly made a lot of money from two fixed races.
Rizzo was surveilled at the Arlington Race Track on July 10, 1964 with two other men. He had been followed in his dark green 1963 Lincoln Continental from County Highway C in Racine at 2:00pm, to Interstate 94, through the toll at Waukegan Plaza (Plaza 21) and on to the race track. Agents did not witness him do any booking, although he did make at least three bets at the $50/$100 window. He was there again on July 13 and believed to be booking. Booking at Arlington was allegedly controlled by Rocco Fischetti and the Milwaukee bookmakers had to get clearance through Felix Alderisio to work there. Bookies were charged $25 per day by the Outfit.
At 1:43am July 12, 1964, Walter Brocca called San Diego from Joe’s Spaghetti House. He asked to speak to a man and was told that the man was fired. Brocca briefly spoke to the person on the other end and said it was “real bad up here” in Milwaukee. He then, at 1:52am, called another number (presumably the man’s residence) and left a message saying that Blackey in Milwaukee had called. Brocca then returned to a table and told another man that the man in San Diego was fired.
On July 15, 1964, Walter Brocca was overheard on the phone, “Let’s see, Hard Luck — 25, no money at 50, another 50, 25, another 25, another 25, and I got a 30, a 30, about 240 altogether. The gal gets $30. I talked to Al — you don’t want to get to gambling tonight — stick to a $2 bet. (redacted) takes bets, too. Oh, the big horse has been fixed? Well, that’s what you’ve been looking for, fellow.”
Angelo Marino again flew to Milwaukee on July 15, 1964 accompanied by a banker from the Bank of America in San Jose who handled the California Cheese account. They had flown on United Airlines flight 122 from San Francisco to Chicago, and then North Central Airlines Flight 21 to Milwaukee and then stayed in room 521 at the Milwaukee Inn, 916 East State Street. The California Cheese Company had decided to purchase a warehouse in Manitowoc from the Harbor Terminal Company with the intent to age cheese in Wisconsin and then have it shipped to California. The banker checked out on July 18, with Marino staying on until July 20, paying for the bill with California Cheese’s American Express credit card.
Rockford LCN member Phil Priola and Milwaukee member Mike Albano met with an informant in Milwaukee on July 16, 1964. (That this man was an informant was unknown to them — it was possibly one of the Maniaci brothers.) With them was Sebastian “Knobby” Gulatta of Rockford, a candidate for membership. There was talk of a big meeting on August 2, with someone from San Francisco attending. Priola spoke in vague terms because Gulatta was not yet privy to such discussions.
Special Agent William J. Higgins witnessed Albert Albana leave the First National Bank of Kenosha (56th at 6th) at 2:30pm on July 27, 1964 with the type of brown leather container usually used for currency. Albana walked across the street to the Mayer drug store where Dominic Principe was sitting at the counter, drinking a cup of coffee. Another cup was sitting there, waiting for Albana, who proceeded to drink it. Higgins entered the drug store and despite the many customers there (15-20), both men quickly left, walking away westward down 56th talking excitedly. Two minutes after this, a young unidentified Italian also left and entered a red Rambler convertible (license plate G4559) and drove off north on 6th Avenue.
On July 28, 1964, Walter Brocca went over his scratch sheets and told another person he had lost $80.
On July 29, 1964, Walter Brocca talked to another man about money and then said, “When did you talk to the guy, Chicago? I don’t want no part of nothing, believe me.”
On July 29, 1964, Frank Balistrieri threw a party for six men from Madison in a basement at one of his clubs. Attending were Peter Balistrieri, John Rizzo, William Covelli and Jeff Covelli. Pizza and wine was served. An informant who attended the party did not see any “business” discussed, but there were times that Balistrieri spoke privately with the Madison men.
(when?) Federal Judge Kenneth P. Grubb found Salvatore DiMaggio, John Triliegi, Jerome W. Morrison and Larry V. Arndt guilty of stealing mail bags containing $300,000 in securities checks from the Northwestern Depot. Edward H. Kretlow (apparently DiMaggio’s cousin) was found not guilty.
On August 1, 1964, Walter Brocca spoke on the phone with a woman and told her he could sell her a chrome kitchen set for $35 that was worth $350. He received a phone call from a man who had brought a truckload of furniture and TVs from Chicago and the man told Brocca he did not want to be around the truck. Brocca told the man to go away and he would handle it himself.
A conference was scheduled for August 2, 1964 at Sam Battaglia’s farm outside of Chicago. Frank Balistrieri was scheduled to attend, as were various people from California and New York. Whether it went down or not is unclear, as the only cars entering the farm had Illinois license plates, with the exception of a light-colored Ford station wagon belonging to Dominick Panzica, 105 East Ohio Street in Milwaukee.
Special Agents LeGrand and Thompson were contacted by an informant on August 4 and were told that Sam Ferrara had run a still with Jim DeGeorge in North Chicago during Prohibition days. The still was never raided, and they moved their operation to Racine County with another man (name redacted). When this still stopped operating, DeGeorge went to Chicago where he became a “big wheel” before being kicked out and exiled to Adams County, Wisconsin. Ferrara and DeGeorge maintained a close friendship and their families had a “godfather relationship”.
Special Agent Albert Knickrehm spoke with an informant on August 6, 1964 and asked him about a man named “Fred” who was a runner between Milwaukee and Chicago. The informant said Fred was probably Alfio “Fred” Aveni, who had previously tended bar for Tony Machi at Mr. Mackey’s at Port and Green Bay until its closing on July 1. Aveni was a soap salesman who provided cheap liquid soap for filling stations and pharmacies. The soap quality was so poor that he never sells to the same place twice. Aveni’s wife, Mildred, was the head waitress at Billings on North Oakland. The informant did not think that Aveni was a bookie, but he did spend a lot of money at the track in Chicago.
Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri, Benedetto DiSalvo, Mike Albano, August Maniaci and Nick Fucarino were in Rockford on August 8, 1964 for a wedding. They went to Phil Priola’s home ahead of time, were at the reception at St. Mary’s hall from 7:00 to 9:00pm and returned to Milwaukee the same evening.
Racine police witnessed John Rizzo make a phone call from a booth at 1500 Douglas Avenue on August 11, 1964 from 11:05 to 11:18am.
Nick Gentile was arrested on August 16 for issuing worthless checks, but the charge was dismissed.
On Tuesday, August 18, 1964, Walter Brocca and another man talked about their day at the horse races where they had lost. The man, a well-known prolific gambler, had loaned August Maniaci $2400 and was upset with Maniaci about something. He was recorded saying, “That fucking Augie. He ever pulls that shit on me again, I’m gonna bomb him. I’ll kill him.”
Albert Albana went alone to New York to see the Worlds Fair on August 18, 1964. He tried to get people to go with him and even tried to car pool with someone going to Buffalo, but as Albana was generally disliked, no one would join him.
Special agents made an observation of Giuseppe Balistrieri’s home on August 19, 1964. They saw a 1963 Chevrolet registered to Peter Balistrieri and a 1958 Chevrolet two-door sedan registered to (redacted). An agent wrote, “This location is in an area of opulent homes and is locally regarded as among the most desirable residential locations in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.”
On August 23, 1964, there was a meeting with Chicago mobster Gus Giovenco. Attending were Frank Balistrieri, John Aiello, Tony Machi, Izzy Tocco and Jerry DiMaggio.
On August 23, 1964, the FBI got word of a craps game being set up on North Milwaukee Street that was to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. It would be run by Harry DeAngelo and Mike Albano, with Walter Percente and another man representing the Italian syndicate.
John Rizzo, William Covelli and Albert Albana were observed on the night of August 24, 1964 in the Belmont Hotel Coffee Shop. Despite being in Milwaukee, no Milwaukee men were with them. They told an informant that gambling was shut down in Kenosha and they were not currently booking at the Illinois race tracks because therewas just too much heat from state and federal authorities.
A gathering was held at the Holiday House on August 28, 1964 with hoodlums from Milwaukee and Chicago. Frank Balistrieri arrived just after midnight, stayed a short time, and then left alone.
Special Agent Charles F. Ahern, who had been investigating Giuseppe Balistrieri (among others), was on annual leave from August 24 through September 4, 1964.
Frank Balistrieri was in San Diego on September 2, 1964 for the Funeral of his aunt, Loretta Balistrieri (wife of Frank E. Balistrieri). He was apparently back the next day.
Carlo Caputo and five Madison men were at Gallagher’s on September 3, 1964 in a private conversation with Frank Balistrieri.
John Rizzo made a phone call from the booth at Spring Street and Highway 31 in Racine on September 8, 1964 from 11:11 to 11:13am.
Sidney Brodson was overheard on the hidden microphone (648-C) at Joe’s Spaghetti House on September 10, 1964. What he was saying is unknown.
Four calls were made by John Rizzo from a telephone at the Clayton House in Racine to Milwaukee number HOpkins 3-2284 at 11:15am on September 10, 1964. Only the fourth made it through. A special agent followed him south out of town. Albert Albana and Rizzo were observed by a Chicago Special Agent at the Arlington Race Track. Rizzo was seen making $50 wagers.
John Rizzo made a phone call from the booth at Spring Street and Highway 31 in Racine on September 11, 1964 at 12:03pm. He called the Losers Lounge in Kenosha. Shortly before this call, he was seen at phone booths in Caledonia and Franksville. He was later witnessed at the Arlington Race Track by Special Agents Carlyle Reed and Albert Knickrehm with attorney Dominic Frinzi and William Covelli.
Walter Brocca called a San Diego residence on September 13, 1964 and asked the man when he would be in Milwaukee. The man told him within a week. (The man’s name is redacted in Brocca’s FBI file, though he already had a racketeering investigation against him… worth looking into more.)
On September 27, 1964, a man spoke with Walter Brocca about the murder of Roger Touhy in Chicago. The man said, “too many big people were involved — and now he is dead.” (Why this was a topic in 1964 is unclear — Touhy was gunned down by the mob on December 16, 1959, and his killers were never identified.)
Federal Judge Grubb sentenced Salvatore DiMaggio to two years in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary on September 28, 1964.
On September 29, 1964, a man named “Little Frank” requested his commission from Walter Brocca. The man was apparently bookmaking on Brocca’s behalf. The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation believed that “Little Frank” was actually Pasquale Scalici, a midget clown who performed under the name Frank Little, and ran a newsstand at the corner of 3rd and Wisconsin when not a clown. Scalici lived with his sister Josephine, who was married to Joseph Piscione (one of the gamblers connected to the Ogden Social Club).
In October 1964, John Rizzo appeared in federal court for failing to pay $15,679 of taxes on gambling income between 1956 and 1961. He agreed to pay $12,964.
An informant was interviewed about Charles Zarcone on October 2, 1964. He said Zarcone was close to Sam Ferrara and John Alioto. He had formerly been a good friend of Joseph Sciortino, who ran a bakery in the Third Ward.
Tony and Tommy Machi were allegedly backing a crap game on October 4, 1964 in the back room of the Doll House Tavern on Humboldt Avenue. The event was a stag party for a young man.
Angelo Marino was in Milwaukee on October 5, 1964 for further business with cheese factories in Monroe and Manitowoc. His brother-in-law, Philadephia mobster Peter Maggio, was in Chicago for a cheese and milk producers convention and met up with Marino at the end of the day at a Milwaukee residence (name redacted, but it was at the corner of 75th and Maple Terrace and the man was a sales manager for radio station WEMP). Also at this residence was Santo Marino and his sister. Angelo Marino went to the convention on October 7. Also on this trip, he ended up purchasing cheese from the Long Grove Cheese Factory in Platteville.
On October 12, 1964, an informant claimed that Frank Balistrieri was running weekend poker games at 1618 North Astor Street and had been given the okay to do so by the vice squad. (The redacted parts make it sound like the person operating the game for Balistrieri was a relative.)
Nick Gentile was arrested October 13 for failing to file his taxes.
The Milwaukee City Clerk’s officer published the annual list of persons licensed to operate amusement devices on October 14, 1964. Joseph Spero appeared on there for the first time (as Spera Amusement Company). Informants speculated that Spero was a front man for Frank Balistrieri because his business used the same address as Carl Dentice’s business — 610 East Pleasant Street — and Dentice was a known front man.
Agents spoke with an informant on October 14 and asked him about Joseph Maniaci. The informant said Maniaci was a bartender for Frank Balistrieri at Henri’s Show Lounge (730 North 5th Street), but was not himself a Mafia member. Further, this Joseph Maniaci was said to not be related to Nunzio “Pops” Maniaci. (This Joseph Maniaci was the son of Nunzio and Vincenza Maniaci. The Joseph who was August and Vincent’s brother was the son of Nunzio and Rose Maniaci. Not surprisingly, the media and law enforcement would get confused by all the duplicate names.) At this time, the informant also said Angelo Alioto, John’s son, was not a member.
On October 16, 1964, an informant said that Frank Balistrieri was hoping to officially bring Louis Fazio into the Mafia. He needed someone both strong and intelligent, and Fazio fit that description. The informant said that Steve DiSalvo was strong, but wasn’t particularly intelligent. The informant also said that a few days prior, Balistrieri had told Fazio that Felix Alderisio had just been made the #2 man in Chicago. (This raises some questions. One, if Fazio wasn’t already in the Mafia, why would Balistrieri tell him about Mafia business? And two, who is the informant in this case? Was it Fazio himself?) The informant also gave the FBI a run-down of Felix Alderisio’s history on this day, starting in approximately the 1930s, and explained how he fit into the John DiTrapani murder and other events (this is so redacted it’s impossible to tell exactly what was said).
On October 20, 1964 at 12:42pm, Special Agents James Brewster and Albert Knickrehm observed Joseph Caminiti meeting with Frank Balistrieri at Sally’s Steak House, 431 West Michigan. They had lunch and appeared to be having a businesslike discussion.
Around October 20 or 22, 1964, a Milwaukee couple was in Philadelphia visiting mobster Peter Maggio. Unfortunately, the file is redacted.
On October 23, 1964, Walter Brocca spoke on the phone and asked, “Who did they kill?” He then said, “Oh, I heard about that, too.” The FBI interpreted this to be a conversation about the kidnapping of Joe Bonanno. Brocca made another call and told a man that someone had come in from California. He then said, “They took a shot at him, you know.” The FBI interpreted this as a reference to the attorney who accompanied Bonanno.
The FBI went to John Alioto’s residence at 10424 West Concordia, Wauwatosa, on October 23, 1964 and personally interviewed him about the LCN. Alioto denied any involvement in organized crime, though he did admit he had once met Joe Bonanno while Bonanno was in Wisconsin to meet up with John DiBella, a cheese producer from Fond du Lac. (DiBella died in September 1964.) Alioto said he tried to help out in his community when he could, such as with Red Cross drives, and was friends with former United States attorney Timothy Cronin and Assistant United States Attorney Jack Kelser. He had recently sold his grocery store and apartment house at 2500 North Booth Street for $30,000. Alioto said he once bought as tavern in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, but his wife refused to move, so he sold it to his cousin, Frank Alioto.
Agents LeGrand and Thompson also visited Sam Ferrara on October 23 at the Peacock Bar, 1447 North VanBuren. He, too, was asked about Joe Bonanno but said he knew nothing about Bonanno’s affairs. Ferrara did volunteer that Frank Balistrieri has “little use” for Ferrara. As the agents left, Ferrara advised them, “Don’t believe everything I say.”
Albert Albana was seen at the Milwaukee airport on the night of October 29, 1964 but the reason for his being there was unknown.
On October 29, 1964, Joseph Caminiti was overheard on the microphone at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the site of Continental Music Company. A meeting was being held there and Balistrieri said the local gamblers were getting out of line again, and one should be killed every two years or so just to keep them on their toes. He said, “Everybody knows they die, and they’ll die, that’s all there is to it.”
By October 29, 1964, the Machi brothers opened a new tavern called The Riv on Third Street just south of State Street.
John Triliegi entered Leavenworth Prison on November 3, 1964. He would serve less than a year.
The FBI interviewed Tony Albano at his residence (1538 North Milwaukee Street) on November 3, 1964. He denied knowing whether or not the Mafia exists in Milwaukee or elsewhere and denied being a member of any such organization. He freely admitted knowing Frank Balistrieri and said that Frank’s father had been a lifelong friend of his. He said he had known both Sam Ferrara and Nick Fucarino a long time, had heard of Steve DeSalvo, but did not know Joseph Gurera.
Angelo Marino was in Milwaukee in early November 1965 (1964?). He ended up being away longer than planned, as he was involved in an automobile accident in Ohio and had to hospitalized for internal injuries and broken ribs. He was back in Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Inn around December 10, and did make it back to San Jose by December 15.
Sam Ferrara was interviewed again on November 4, this time at his home (2429 East Wyoming Place) by Special Agents Carlyle Reed and Albert Knickrehm. Ferrara told them that he knew nothing about shakedowns or the Italian hoodlums and was never associated with them. He said he was naturalized in 1917 at Camp Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan while serving in the Army. The agents asked about his “somewhat old but stately home”, and Ferrara advised that he purchased the home for $30,000 using a $20,000 mortgage. He paid the mortgage by renting out the upstairs. (The neighborhood is, indeed, a very classy neighborhood.)
On November 10, 1964, Walter Brocca and another man contacted Airoldi Brothers, Inc (907 West Wind Lake Avenue) about a building they had for rent. Brocca feared the building would be too small, and he needed either a hoist or an elevator for heavy equipment.
Special Agents interviewed Michael Albano at his home (4144 North 17th Street) on November 10, 1964. He said he had known Frank Balistrieri all his life, as they both grew up on Milwaukee’s East Side. He also admitted knowing Walter Brocca, John and Vito Aiello and August Maniaci for many years. He further said he knew Sam Ferrara, Santo Marino and John Alioto. Albano said as far as he knew, these people were all legitimate businessmen. He said he knew nothing of a Mafia or syndicate beyond what he read in the newspapers and certainly was not a member of it. He said he operated Angelo’s Pizza every day from 3pm until 3am, and before he opened the restaurant he had owned a tavern.
November 13, 1964 — a sergeant with the Milwaukee Vice Squad informed the FBI that on at least three occasions he has seen a well-known gambler and pimp in the Downtowner or Gallagher’s with Balistrieri. He suspects that the prostitution may have gone “underground”, but that Balistrieri might be referring clients to the pimp.
On November 13 or 14, 1964, William Covelli went to Chicago to watch the last horse race of the season. He came back a winner.
On November 18, 1964, Sam Ferrara was interviewed at his place of business (Ferrara’s Liquor Store, 1443 North VanBuren) by Special Agents Alexander LeGrand and Richard Thompson. He told them that he had come to America in 1914 and served in World War I in the US Army. He operated the Peacock Luncheon for 20 years and then sold it in the 1950s. He now operated the liquor store, which did only moderate business compared to supermarket liquor stores. When asked about the criminal underworld, Ferrara said he could not say anything because if he acknowledged it, he could not prove what he said and if he denied it, he would be lying.
On November 18, 1964, Frank Balistrieri was with Felix Alderisio, John Aiello and Jerry DiMaggio at the Lotus Restaurant.
Special Agent Richard Thompson traveled to Madison on November 19, 1964. With Agent Eldon J. Mueller, they interviewed Joseph Aiello at 822 Regent Street, where he was moving his grocery store from 907 Regent. Aiello, who lived at 511 East Main, was alleged to be second-in-command of the Madison crew behind Carlo Caputo. Aiello told the agents he knew John DiBella through the cheese business, as DiBella made almost weekly trips to Madison to sell his cheese. At no time, however, did Aiello meet DiBella’s friend, New York mob boss Joe Bonanno. 25,000 pounds of cheese were sold to Madison retailers each week, with Aiello being Grande’s primary distributor. Aiello said he was born in Sicily, and came to the United States in 1920, operating a grocery store in Chicago. He would get his eggs from Richland Center, and therefore was able to meet the Pellitteri family of Madison as well as “old man Fiori”. (Why someone would drive 200 miles to “buy eggs” is unclear.) Around 1932, he gave up the grocery business and went to McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He stayed there 18 months and came back, stopping in Madison and finding an empty store front, which he acquired and returned to the grocery business. Aiello said he had known Carlo Caputo growing up in Sicily, as they were both from Bagheria. He could not recall which one of them settled in Madison first. Aiello denied any knowledge of the Mafia, and said he had heard Madison was violent during Prohibition, but he was not there at the time.
On November 20, 1964, an unknown man asked a waitress at Joe’s Spaghetti House where his .38 revolver was that he loaned out. She told him that she sold it.
William Covelli went alone to Milwaukee on Sunday, November 22, 1964. He had dinner with unknown individuals and then went to a supper club featuring go-go girls.
An informant told the FBI on November 25, 1964 that relations between Frank Balistrieri and Michael Albano had become very strained.
Michele Mineo retired from Schlitz Brewing Company on November 30, 1964 after 20 years of service.
August Chiaverotti was interviewed by Special Agents Alexander LeGrand and Richard Thompson on December 1, 1964 (presumably at his home at 3018 West Ruskin). Chiaverotti said he was no longer associated with Frank Balistrieri and was instead developing portable and collapsible barricades for highways. He had recently been to California to drum up interest in the project, and stopped by to visit Louis Simon in Las Vegas on his way back through. Chiaverotti said his family was from northern Italy, not Sicily, though he had a checkered past — he was a “boy bootlegger” and at 24 years old was involved in a gambling operation in Cudahy with Louis Simon and someone named O’Malley. He admitted to knowing August Maniaci and John Aiello. He further said he knew Steve DeSalvo, but did not like him.
Chiaverotti said he only became associated with Balistrieri around 1956, when the two (along with Chicagoan Mel Vaci) operated the Corsica Club in Hales Corners. A gambling operation was to be run upstairs by Joe Gagliano and another man, but police found out. Balistrieri then helped Chiaverotti finance the bubble gun idea, and when that went bust the business was turned into Para Corporation with Balistrieri’s backing. Para then folded, and Chiaverotti went to Continental Music on Downer Avenue, along with Walter Brocca. Chiaverotti and Brocca (who were old friends) believed this business was going nowhere and left.
An informant told the FBI on December 2, 1964 that Charles Zarcone was retired but occasionally helped cut meat at the New Deal Market at 1715 North Farwell, owned by the Seidita family.
On December 2, 1964, Park City, Illinois mayor Bruce Dunbar met with Dominic Frinzi, Frank Balistrieri, John Rizzo and William Covelli concerning a key club that Dunbar owned. The business was failing, and the Milwaukee men said they operated seven supper clubs and knew how to manage such a place, and could rotate the entertainment that appeared at their other clubs. Frinzi told Dunbar that he wanted him (Dunbar) to remain the owner on paper and have the other men run it for him.
A captain with the Waukegan Police informed the FBI on December 7, 1964 that he heard from a reliable source that Frank Balistrieri, John Rizzo and William Covelli had met on December 4 and “consummated a deal” that involved them buying a 50% interest in the Key Club of Park City, Illinois (just west of Waukegan). The men were offered a lease at $1200 a month with an option to buy for $160,000. The deal was negotiated through Dominic Frinzi, but fell through in January.
A Kenosha informant told Special Agent Higgins on December 18, 1964 that the only West Side gambling happening was a horse book, and there had not even been talk of craps or poker. All the hoodlums hung out at Greco’s and only there. The past weekend, two men from Racine (one named Frank Januzzi) came to Greco’s and met with William Covelli. Covelli said he planned to retire from his cigarette route soon. Covelli had patched up his differences with Ralph Greco, and Greco was now a bartender at LaStrada. Louis Greco was talking about getting out of business with the Loser’s Lounge.
Special Agent Richard C. Thompson spoke with a redacted man on December 24, 1964 about a possible “shakedown” attempt from Frank Alioto. The man clarified that there was no shakedown, but simply that Harry DeAngelo and Benny DeSalvo approached him and asked why he had “stolen” the produce account at Fox and Hounds Restaurant from Alioto. This same day, Frank DiMiceli (owner of the Rafters Motel) was shown a photograph of Felix Alderisio by the FBI and denied that Alderisio had been a guest at the motel.
The funeral of LCN member Vito Balestrere was on December 28, 1964 at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home at 2001 North Holton Street. Among others present were John Rizzo, Angelo DiGiorgio, Joseph Piscuine, Cono Librizzi, John Picciurro, William Covelli, Walter Brocca, Louis Fazio, Carlo and Jerome DiMaggio, Dominic Gullo, August Maniaci, John Aiello, Frank, Joseph and Peter Balistrieri, John Alioto, Harry DeAngelo, Joseph Caminiti, Michele Mineo, Santo Marino, Charles Zarcone, Joseph Spero, Sam Ferrara, Steve DeSalvo, Michael and Tony Albano, Jimmy and Buster Balestrere, John Molle (Vito’s brother-in-law), John Battista Blando, and Salvatore “Ted” and Vito Seidita. Nick Fucarino’s car, a 1960 Studebaker station wagon with license plate Q51-411 was observed parked nearby. Notably absent was John Pernice. Joseph Gurera was absent, allegedly because he was sick. Frank Balistrieri sat by Joseph Caminiti and was said to be “cold and aloof” towards everyone else. Sam Ferrara commented to an informant that the leadership needed to be replaced in Milwaukee, but it would cost too much. He referred to Balistrieri derisively as “camorista”. Tony Albano told the same informant that he had recently been contacted by the FBI and he found that very strange, not having been approached by law enforcement in 30 years.
The funeral for former bootlegger Jack Iannello was held January 3, 1965 at the Strouf-Sheffield Funeral Home at 1101 High Street in Racine. Visitors included Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Benny DiSalvo, Steve DiSalvo, Dominic Principe, Albert Albana, John Aiello, William Covelli, John Rizzo and August Maniaci. An informant identified Iannello as a Racine member of the Milwaukee Family, although he had not been active for a long time. He had been a bootlegger, but after Prohibition worked for a foundry. His wife had already died, one son worked for Chrysler in California and the other two worked in Racine. An informant also said that Albert Albana and Benny DiSalvo were good friends and that Albana’s connection to Racine was counterfeiter Marty King, now deceased. At the funeral home Albana and DiSalvo embraced.
Walter Brocca spoke with Frank Balistrieri the first week of January 1965 to see if he was in any trouble with the family before he moved to 1006 21st Street, Santa Monica, California to live with his father-in-law, Frank Italiano. Balistrieri informed him that he was not.
January 1965 — Frank Balistrieri and his bookkeeper Jennie Alioto (2440 North Dousman Street) were indicted on charges of tax evasion (conspiracy to defraud the government).
Joseph Caminiti had his automobile under surveillance on January 11, 1965 by Special Agents Carlyle Reed and James Brewster. At 7:30pm, Caminiti left his house and drove to 3428 North 48th Street, the home of Vito Seidita. He may have been visiting Vito, or possibly Salvatore Seidita, who lived at 3430 North 48th (the home was a duplex). Caminiti left at 9:21pm.
By January 13, 1965, the Milwaukee Vice Squad became slightly less concerned with Balistrieri’s prostitution involvement, as they believed he would most certainly get sentenced for his tax evasion, and either rat out his friends or end up getting offed to prevent him from talking. In the words of one officer, he may “wind up in the river before he has a chance to say very much.”
Apparently on January 13 (or close to then), Frank Balistrieri was overheard on microphone 6768-C (in Chicago) talking with Felix Alderisio. Alderisio had a load of mink furs he was trying to get rid of. Balistrieri said he had a guy, and Alderisio said they would be delivered after they determined whether the furs were male or female.
On January 13, the FBI received approval to install a microphone (671-C) at the Teamsters Local 257 office at 5600 West Center Street. They successfully did so on the 20th.
An informant in Kenosha spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on January 15, 1965. He said that Angelo Cerminaro comes into town several nights a week from Zion, Illinois and meets up with Gene Thomas at the Office Lounge where horse booking was taking place. The man handling horse bets on the West Side was James “Skeins” Salerno. Pete Zocchi had not been seen much lately and was not known to be involved in gambling, but was working as a bartender at the Parkside restaurant. The other gamblers were laying low because of the ongoing John Doe probe.
The IRS filed a tax lien against Joseph Maniaci on January 18, 1965. He was accused of failing to file $15,266 in “cabaret taxes” for Henri’s Show Lounge between Autumn 1961 and December 1963.
Angeline Principe Venci, sister of Dominic Principe, mother-in-law of William Covelli and wife of Antonio Venci, died of a heart attack on Sunday, January 24, 1965. Her death came as a surprise as she was only in her early 60s. A funeral was held on January 27 and was attended by Steve DiSalvo, Albert Albana and John Rizzo of Racine. Most of the Kenosha hoodlums were also there.
An informant told the FBI on January 27, 1965 that Sam Ferrara was a long-time friend of Santo Trafficante, boss of the Tampa, Florida LCN family. (Note: I know nothing further about this, but would love to. I personally do not see a strong connection between Milwaukee and Tampa, but there may be more there.)
John Rizzo met with Frank Balistrieri in Milwaukee on January 29, 1965.
On February 1, 1965, an informant told the FBI that John Morn had made $18,000 booking in the last week. Also, Sam Librizzi was now booking out of his home and not associating himself with the Office.
The microphone (671-C) at the Teamsters Local 257 office at 5600 West Center Street was activated on February 5, 1965 at 4:15pm (two weeks after installation). This same day, the microphone (648-C) at Joe’s Spaghetti House was discontinued.
A Kenosha County sheriff’s deputy advised the FBI on February 8, 1965 that Raymond James Matera was involved in a horse book at American Motors in Kenosha. Matera had formerly been a steward but was now employed in department 842 (receiving). The deputy also said Gene Thomas was somehow connected in horse booking with Alfred DeCesaro and tavern owner Dante Cardinali.
Attorney James Shellow was at the LaStrada with William Covelli on February 17 or 18, 1965 and they talked for over an hour. Those present said they were drinking and were “loaded”.
An informant told the FBI on February 19, 1965 that Louis Greco still operated the Loser’s Lougne but was trying to get out. He had become partners with others in a new teenage pool hall at the corner of 56th Street and 22nd Avenue, a former drug store.
The last week of February 1965, an informant met with Sam Ferrara, and Sam told him that he wanted dynamite put under Frank Balistrieri’s car while he was at work downtown. The dynamite was to be supplied by Ferrara and was to run to the ignition. Ferrara specified the job must be done downtown because he did not wish to hurt Balistrieri’s family. Ferrara told the informant that he could offer him Santo Marino to assist with the job.
Frank Stelloh was a suspect in the bank robbery of the Robbinsdale State Bank in Robbinsdale, Hennepin County, Minnesota on February 28, 1965. The Minneapolis FBI office did follow-up with the Milwaukee Office and told them that they need not spend too much time on this, as their source was a “pathological liar”.
In March 1965 (and for the remainder of the year), Nick Gentile was working in Appleton as a siding salesman for Bilt-Rite Construction Company. While there, he also was working on a business enterprise with a man in Oshkosh. He lived at 8 Embrey Court in Appleton, near the Valley Fair Mall.
A Kenosha County deputy went into LaStrada A-Go-Go on the early evening of March 1, 1965 and briefly spoke with Albert Albana. He also saw John Rizzo, though Rizzo grabbed his hat and left when he saw the officer.
On March 2, 1965, and informant told the FBI that he had informed Walter Brocca that Frank Balistrieri was upset with him over debts left from Joe’s Spaghetti House. Brocca responded “to Hell with them”. This may have been the last straw between Brocca and Balistrieri. Brocca’s disagreements with Balistrieri went back a long time, and he had also once got into an argument with Felix Alderisio which allegedly was the reason Brocca was never made a member of the LCN.
An informant spoke with the FBI on March 3, 1965 concerning Jerome DiMaggio. He said DiMaggio was working at Henri’s as a bartender for Frank Balistrieri, and was probably making around $150 per week. The informant believed that DiMaggio had no real loyalty to Balistrieri, and if he was offered a few dollars by the FBI, he would talk about anyone. When asked about gambling, the informant said the biggest gambler he saw downtown was John Morn, who regularly received envelopes with bets over the counter at the Clock Bar.
Santo Marino confided in other members of the Milwaukee family in March 1965 that he had spoken with the FBI about his California relatives. He said he actually did not mind knowing that the FBI was watching him, because this would be his best form of protection. Marino and Frank Balistrieri were not getting along, and it would not be unlikely if one killed the other.
William Covelli was in Milwaukee with attorney James Shellow on March 15, 1965.
An informant told the FBI on March 16, 1965 that Frank Balistrieri had become a “made” member during Sam Ferrara’s reign, and that his sponsor had been Andrew DiSalvo, now deceased. DiSalvo was the head of the Racine faction of the Milwaukee LCN, and the uncle of Benny DiSalvo. He said DiSalvo had two brothers — Tom and Benedetto, a son who died, and a son who works in Florida. Andrew married Anna Enea, sister of Jack Enea. An informant (probably the same one) told Special Agents Richard Thompson and Alexander LeGrand that Mike Olivero had been a member of the Milwaukee Family before moving to San Diego. He had allegedly been made in Italy. (Olivero was the man involved in the Masina / Zizzo bootlegging operation in Racine.) Another San Diego member with Milwaukee ties was named as Philip Damiano, who was born in Italy circa 1902.
Peter Sciortino (1107 East Brady Street) was interviewed by Thompson and LeGrand on March 19, 1965. (What was discussed is redacted.)
William Covelli, John Rizzo, a member of the Kenosha Police Department and other gamblers met on the evening of March 19, 1965.
An informant told the FBI on March 26, 1965 that the LaStrada seemed to be doing very good business. On any given night, 4-5 girls performed modern “teen” dances there on a raised platform in a cage and wearing “brief outfits”. The girls were “just out of high school”, approximately 18-20 years of age. The informant said the place was a “money-maker” but did not know how Covelli had managed to serve hard liquor at a place catering to a teenage crowd. The girls danced for 4-5 hours each night and were paid $60-75 each week.
On April 2, 1965, a captain with the Milwaukee PD told the FBI that local bookies had stopped taking bets on basketball because they were losing too much to Sidney Brodson.
On the evening of Thursday, April 14, 1965, Dominic Principe, Albert Albana, John Rizzo and Bill Covelli were seated together at the LaStrada. The same day, an informant said Sidney Brodson and John Morn hung out together at the Clock Bar. Morn would keep a “look out” whenever Brodson used the phone.
An informant in Kenosha spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on April 15, 1965. He said Ray Matera had been spending his evening hours on Kenosha’s west side at Greco’s restaurant and (despite being married) had a girlfriend (name redacted). Albert Albana had moved above the LaStrada, which had 14 rooms divided into four apartments on the second floor. One of Louis Greco’s waitresses also lived there. Albana was allegedly a close friend with District Attorney Joe Molinaro and had one time gone fishing with him. (Molinaro was also a brother to Albert Molinaro, star of “Happy Days”.) The informant again stressed that Louis Greco and the West Side crew hated Dominic Principe “with a passion”, and there was speculation that Principe was involved in Red Covelli’s murder (though William Covelli associated with Principe anyway). Louis Greco, Jr. sold the Loser’s Lounge to a former Deputy Sheriff from Racine County who lived in Burlington. Greco was considering moving his family to Fort Lauderdale. A poker game had recently started up above the Dog House tavern at the corner of 24th Avenue and 25th Street. Ralph Masaro had been going to the University of Madison Hospital for cobalt treatments, but was not expected to recover.
Around April 23, 1965, a Rockford man (redacted) visited Joseph Caminiti’s office.
April 25, 1965, Anthony Cefalu’s residence was raided and he was charged with commercial gambling.
On April 27, 1965, an informant told the FBI that Frank Balistrieri was ready to “give it to (Walter) Brocca” and another man in California and would feel no remorse about it. The informant said that such a job would have to be taken up by Chicago, as he could think of no one in Milwaukee who would go to California.
Nick Gentile and Kenneth Weiss (real name Wasniewski) entered the Siesta Club in the Town of Menasha at 1:00am on April 28, 1965. The two men ordered a drink, and then became loud and were asked to leave by manager Richard Schaefer. The men left, but returned at 2:15am and badly beat Schaefer until he passed out. A female bartender heard the commotion and saw the men drive off, noting the license plate number — the car was registered to Weiss’ wife Rita (who was the sister of gambler Raymond Mirr). Gentile was charged with battery and his attorney, Henry Hughes of Oshkosh, entered a plea of not guilty and asked for a jury trial.
On April 29, 1965 at 9:15am, the FBI discontinued the use of a hidden microphone (671-C) that had been monitoring Joseph Caminiti’s office. The recordings were translated and the original tape was destroyed.
Steve John DeSalvo’s son was married on May 1, 1965 with the reception being at the Red Carpet Inn in Milwaukee. Among other attendees were Nick Fucarino, Albert Albana, Frank LaGalbo, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Spero.
Four Rockford LCN members visited Milwaukee on May 11, 1965 — Phil Priola, Charlie Vince, Sebastian “Knobby” Gulatta and Frank Corrente. With them was Joe DiGerolamo of Beloit. They met with an informant (possibly a Maniaci brother), whom they told that Gulatta and Corrente had just been “made” within the last week. They were in search of Peter Balistrieri, but he was out playing golf. After dinner, they did eventually meet up with Peter Balistrieri as well as Frank Balistrieri. At this meeting, the informant was told of the mob murder of Charlie LaFranca committed in Elgin, Illinois in mid-January 1965 by Rockford members.
Ralph Masaro died of cancer on May 15, 1965 after wasting away to 60 pounds. Not even morphine was said to ease his suffering. He sold his interest in his grocery store at 63rd Street and 14th Avenue to Carl “Cookie” Scola.
August Chiaverotti was interviewed at his home (3018 West Ruskin) on May 17, 1965 while he was recovering from an operation (he had a tumor removed). Agent Richard Thompson told him they had received vague information that his life was in danger. Chiaverotti said that if the rumor was going around in order to scare him back into working for free, it was not going to work — he had worked for Balistrieri for years and had nothing to show for it. He said when his health improved, he was returning to California in order to promote a plastic nursing bottle. A man named Kennedy had invested $150,000 in the design of the bottle and now owned one-third of it. Chiaverotti owned another third and Frank Carlo of Northridge, California owned the final third. Carlo was said to have worked with guerrillas “during the war”.
Frank’s son Joseph Balistrieri earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965.
Agent Eldon Mueller spoke with Joseph Aiello at his Madison grocery store on May 20, 1965. Although he had said in November that he never met Joe Bonanno, this time he said he had met him once through John DiBella. Aiello said he had known DiBella in Sicily prior to 1920, and while he (aiello) ran a grocery store in Chicago, he would purchase cheese from DiBella’s brother Battista. Aiello was at present buying 30 cases of cheese on each visit to Fond du Lac, but said it was not a big business, as there were too many Italian cheese factories to really capture the market.
Special Agent Emmett B. Doherty contacted Walter Brocca on May 25, 1965 at his residence at 1006 21st Street, Santa Monica, California. Doherty explained to Brocca that the FBI believed his life was in danger. Brocca was a bit hostile at first but calmed down once he understood the FBI was not there to harass him. Doherty offered him protection from the Santa Monica Police Department, but Brocca asked the agent not to inform the police because he did not want any activity from law enforcement in the neighborhood that might upset his family.
A Kenosha informant spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on May 28, 1965. The informant said that ownership of the Senate Club Tavern (1210 56th Street) was unknown. Louis Greco, Jr was definitely going to Fort Lauderdale to be a bartender for a Milwaukee man just as soon as his kids finished school for the year. Dominic Principe was believed to have signed papers taking over Hank’s Supper Club, northwest of Waukegan on Highway 41. A few doors down from Hank’s was the Chez, where “Piano Joe” Nikolas was a bartender. Nikolas was a friend of Anthony Biernat’s and was banned from returning to Kenosha County or would be arrested. William Covelli and John Charles Rizzo were going to the Illinois race tracks on Mondays and Saturdays. Frank Januzzi was possibly with them. A man known as “Doc”, a dentist from Waukegan and former gambler with Covelli, had recently been arrested for counterfeiting. The informant also said that Gene Thomas had recently installed expensive air conditioning in his tavern, and did not believe that he had the kind of business that could support such an expense and must still be horse booking.
Mrs. Gracia Zingale Maniaci, Nick Fucarino’s mother-in-law, had her funeral on May 31, 1965 at Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Several Milwaukee hoodlums, including Frank and Peter Balistrieri, John Pernice, Michael and Tony Albano, Charles Zarcone and Sam Ferrara, attended the funeral. Balistrieri was walking around during the funeral, telling the members there that Sam Giancana had made an example for “all you guys” by not talking when he was called before a grand jury. John Pernice also told the informant that he wanted to speak in private. Peter Balistrieri chewed out John Aiello for going to Chicago a few months back and accidentally running into Frank Balistrieri and Felix Alderisio at LaMantia’s restaurant there in “Old Chicago”. Aiello told Balistrieri that since he had not gone for the purpose of meeting anyone, he saw no reason to clear it up with the higher-ups.
An informant spoke with the FBI on June 2, 1965 about Ralph Capone. The informant told the agents that he had met Capone many years ago and was introduced to him as an LCN member by another old-timer, either Sam Ferrara or Pete Guardalabene. The informant said that Capone was still friendly with two men in Milwaukee (both names redacted). He further said that Capone “was not a rough guy, but more of a gentleman” and had no importance in the hoodlum world anymore.
An informant spoke with the FBI on June 2, 1965 and said he received a call from Walter Brocca in California that the FBI had recently visited him and said his life might be in danger. The informant had also spoken with Joseph Enea, who wanted Brocca to pay the money he had borrowed from Joe’s Spaghetti House, because the restaurant was in his (Enea’s) name.
The microphone (646-C) at 2559 North Downer Avenue, the site of Continental Music Company, was discontinued on June 3, 1965.
The Milwaukee funeral of Vita Enea, wife of the deceased Joseph Enea and mother of Jack Enea, was held on June 7, 1965. Among other attendees were Salvatore “Ted” Seidita, Michele Mineo, Steve DeSalvo and Frank LaGalbo. At the funeral, Mineo was heard to express an opinion that he was not in favor of Balistrieri’s activities, although he was generally considered neutral in the ongoing dispute.
Joseph and Frances Maniaci, both of 3326 North Richards Street, signed the articles of incorporation for Mando Enterprises on June 8, 1965 in front of notary public Henry G. Piano. Joseph was president, Frances was vice president and Ann Porath (1821 North Marshall) was secretary-treasurer. For a brief time, James Jennaro (855 North Brenner) was also a director. (Ann Porath seems to be the married name of Ann DiGiorgio, the sister of Angelo DiGiorgio.)
An informant (possibly August Maniaci) told Special Agent LeGrand on June 15, 1965 that John Aiello had still not returned Frank Balistrieri’s calls. Balistrieri had offered Aiello a job as a salesman for Grande Cheese, which Balistrieri now claimed to have a piece of. Aiello said he did not want Balistrieri as a boss because he was too demanding. The informant also said that Carlo DiMaggio was pushing for the next boss (if Balistrieri went to prison) to be someone without connections to the Chicago Outfit. DiMaggio was not suggesting himself.
An informant told the FBI on June 16, 1965 that Ray Matera’s horse book operations were independent and he had no connection to one specific hoodlum. Any layoff bets he did would be through anyone who would take them and not a specific person (such as John Rizzo).
A meeting was held at the home of Joseph Balistrieri on June 20, 1965. In attendance was Vito Seidita.
An informant (possibly Maniaci) told Special Agent LeGrand on June 22, 1965 that he expected Joseph Enea and Louis Fazio to be “made” any day now…
Joseph Balistrieri (son of Peter) and Mary Balistrieri, both of 1634 North Jackson Street, signed the articles of incorporation for Bals, Inc (the corporation that owned the Scene night club) in front of notary public Henry G. Piano on June 24, 1965. Throughout its existence, Bals, Inc was a three person corporation — Peter served as president, Mary as vice president and Joseph as secretary-treasurer. The real owner of the Scene (formerly the Swan Theatre and Supper Club) was, of course, Frank Balistrieri.
Around June 28, 1965, Santo Marino was at Angelo’s Pizza restaurant talking to Mike Albano. Albano told Marino to tell Sam Ferrara to “stop setting up trouble” in Milwaukee, referring to the plan to kill Balistrieri.
Santo Marino was home recovering from an operation for varicose veins on July 12, 1965.
Frank Balistrieri was at Gallagher’s for three hours on July 15, 1965 with Jimmy Jennaro and Sam Cefalu (of 1611 North Jackson, not to be confused with the other Sam Cefalu). Typically he would only stop in for a moment during the afternoon to check in with Joe Enea.
FBI agents met with an informant on July 16, 1965. The informant said there was someone accompanying Frank Balistrieri around the Swan Theatre lately, where Balistrieri intended to convert the place to a rock concert hall. The building had a capacity for 1000 people, including 750 seats. The person with Balistrieri was a drama and choreograph enthusiast who possibly recently graduated from Marquette University. Also looking at the Swan were Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Maniaci. The informant said Frank’s son Joe Balistrieri was driving a black Thunderbird and had been seen frequently with a young woman. There was a rumor that Joe was being set up to marry a girl from Kansas City, however. Frank Balistrieri was, according to the informant, spending time at Leilani (18615 Bluemound) where he would visit entertainers who had formerly worked at Gallaghers. This establishment is considered classy, with an attached motel, a bar worth $25,000 and teakwood tables worth at least $300 each. The informant said Peter Balistrieri spent a fair amount of time at the Tuckaway Club, where he golfed and played cards. Peter played cards with a former member of the Vice Squad, a man who owned the Triplex Company (across the street from Gallaghers) and a heavy-set man who operated the Alexandria. After hours, Peter would golf with Tommy Machi and Joe Enea at the Willow Driving Range on Highway 41. Peter was also seeing a divorced woman, about 28 years old, with two children. Sam Dentice was said to be booking at Gallaghers and Le Bistro. Interestingly, some people at Balistrieri’s taverns were able to predict the winners of the Derby, Preakness and Belmont. He said there was no fix to his knowledge, but quite odd that multiple people had such luck. Lastly, the informant said he was going into a project with another individual and has someone who has shown interest in supplying funding for the project. (This last part is very vague because of the heavy redactions.)
The funeral for Josephine Aiello LaMantia (sister of John and Vito Aiello) was held on July 17, 1965 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Among other attendees were Joseph Spero, Michael Albano, Charles Zarcone and Steve DeSalvo. Also attending was Joseph Romano, an alleged cousin of Angelo LaMantia who may have had a part in the murder of Frank Aiello. The LaMantia family lived at 1025 East Oakton in Arlington Heights, and had two children: John and Isadore.
A Kenosha informant spoke with Special Agent William Higgins on July 20, 1965. He said he no longer knew where local gamblers were getting their odds from. They had been getting “the line” from Pejack’s Tavern on Grand Avenue in Chicago, west of Halsted Street. However, Pejack had fallen into debt to the Syndicate and committed suicide recently to avoid them.
Special Agent Richard Thompson visited Joseph Aiello at his store in Madison on July 22, 1965. Thompson attempted to get a photo of Aiello with a concealed camera, but failed.
Benny DiSalvo was in the hospital on August 2, 1965 for an operation related to possible stomach cancer.
The Bureau sent a letter to the Milwaukee Field Office on August 5, 1965 stressing the importance of keeping the “hoodlum album” up to date. At that point, sixteen suspected racketeers did not have photos in the album — the Bureau wanted one negative and two images for each suspect. The Bureau wanted this job completed by October 1, and put Special Agent Richard Thompson in charge of the task. (Thompson and Alex LeGrand seem to have been the primary organized crime investigators.) Each new racketeering file opened from then on out had thirty days to submit a photograph.
Ray Matera appeared before Judge Urban Zievers on August 6 and requested a preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for August 16 before Judge Earl Morton.
One alleged prostitute being hunted by the FBI was Marilyn Shelton, who was very elusive. In August of 1965, the FBI searched credit bureau records and did not find her, and when interviewing the property manager (Olive Forrester) of the apartment where she may have lived (915 North 24th Street), Forrester claimed to never have heard of anyone named Shelton in the years that she was the manager.
Buster Balistrere was arrested in Kansas City on Monday, August 9, 1965. He refused to waive extradition and a hearing was set for September 7.
On August 11, 1965, there was a funeral for Joseph Zammuto’s wife Lena in Rockford (she died in Rochester, Minnesota on August 7). Attending from Milwaukee were Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri and Mike Albano. Nick Fucarino was supposed to pick up James Schiavo on the way to the funeral, but Carlo Caputo said Schiavo could not go because the FBI would be monitoring the event. When Frank Balistrieri heard that Schiavo was banned from going, he told an informant, “Who the hell is Caputo to say that?” Fucarino drove everybody down to Rockford. When they got there, Fucarino parked away from the funeral home and they took two cabs there to avoid FBI detection.
Harry Siegel, 48, former employee of the Rite Spot tavern, was picked up by the Clark County, Nevada sheriff’s office on Thursday, August 12, 1965. He refused to waive extradition for his trial in Kenosha for operating a gambling house.
The Balistrieri Brothers (Giuseppe and Frank E.) applied to the Public Service Commission on August 16, 1965 to have their public service license transferred to the Lee-An Trucking Company, a legitimate construction company.
John Triliegi was released from federal prison on August 16, 1965 after serving less than a year.
Sam Gerolmo surrendered to Kenosha County police on Monday, August 16, 1965 and posted $500 bond.
12th Ward constable and AMC employee Raymond Matera had his preliminary hearing on August 16, 1965 for commercial gambling, with Dominic Frinzi appearing as his attorney. Prosecutor Donald W. Steinmetz called four witnesses who testified that they had played poker for money in Carl Scola’s apartment over Dante’s Tavern. Barber John L. Seggiaro, 36, said he started his gambling nights at the Eagles Club, but if he was “hooked” (not winning), he would venture over to the apartment. Seggiaro said the Eagles game would have a $50 pot and they would rotate dealers, whereas the apartment had a $35 pot, but the dealer remained constant. Restaurant operator Frank Tenuta said he would occasionally sit in as dealer, and when the pot became too big, he would take money from it to buy food for everyone present. He said at no time did anyone make bets directly with the dealer. Herbert Brandes, 46, an American Motors employee, described the game as friendly and said he never lost more than $40 or won more than $50. Matera was identified by Janesville resident Gerald Huber, 21, as the dealer. The hearing was continued to August 24.
A Kenosha informant met with Special Agent William Higgins on August 17, 1965. He said that he doubted Carl Scola was handling pool tickets from his delicatessen because the business was doing really well and Scola was on probation and would not risk jail. He did say the two biggest operators in Kenosha were Gene Thomas and James “Skeins” Salerno. Local gamblers were surprised that Thomas had evaded indictment up to this point, as he appeared to operate openly without fear of law enforcement.
Sam Ferrara met with Peter Balistrieri at Le Bistro shortly before August 23, 1965.
An informant told Special Agent Alexander LeGrand on August 27, 1965 that Giuseppe Balistrieri was “a very nice type of individual but is married to a very domineering woman… who more or less rules the entire Balistrieri family.” The informant further said Giuseppe had a brother in Wausau named Dominic who ran a pizza place there, but Dominic was not suspected of being involved in organized crime.
Former Kenosha Police Chief Stanley Haukedahl (who had since moved to Battle Creek, Michigan and became an insurance salesman) testified at the preliminary hearing for Sam Gerolmo on Monday, August 30, 1965. He told prosecutor Donald Steinmetz that he had asked Gerolmo, whom he considered a friend, to set up a meeting with John Rizzo and William Covelli back in Mayor June 1961 (shortly after Robert Kennedy publicly declared a link between Kenosha and Antioch gambling). Haukedahl asked them if the “syndicate” was involved in Kenosha gambling, and the two men told them that while Buster Balistrere had been an important man in Kenosha, he was not acting on behalf of any organized crime interests. The two men convinced Haukedahl that the dice game was not as large as law enforcement believed it to be. Haukedahl categorized Covelli and Rizzo as “informants” for the Kenosha Police Department.
At a party for Frank’s son Joseph Balistrieri in honor of his entering the practice of law at The Scene (formerly the Swan Theatre) on September 5, 1965, attendees included Rockford LCN members Phil Priola, Sebastian “Knobby” Gulatta and Frank Buscemi. There were approximately 500 guests in all, including many Milwaukee hoodlums. Peter Sciortino was there with his wife and a son-in-law, dentist Dr. Maglio.
Checking into Raymond Matera’s phone records, they had found he was in contact with a William Burton Hull of Las Vegas. A check of records on September 7, 1965 disclosed that Hull was a “box man” and dealer at the Horseshoe in Vegas. He was 58 and originally from Patterson, Louisiana. His exact connection to Matera is unclear.
A group of men (names redacted) met at the Country Motel in Waukesha County and then had lunch at Alioto’s Restaurant on September 11, 1965. After lunch, they played a game of gin rummy and one of the men, the millionaire owner of Great Lakes Homes who lived in Waukesha, lost $60,000. The other men were connected to Sam Battaglia. The man could not pay at that time.
Buster Balestrere called the home of Peter Balistrieri on September 13, 1965.
There was a 25th anniversary party at Alioto’s in Wauwatosa on September 19, 1965. The guests of honor were Joseph and Frances Dentice. Attendees included Nick Fucarino, James Schiavo, Joseph Caminiti, Joseph Gumina, Vito Seidita and Charles Zarcone. Frank Balistrieri was invited but did not attend because he did not get along with Joseph Dentice.
An informant told the FBI on September 20, 1965 that John Triliegi told him that he met Vito Genovese in prison, and was supposed to deliver a message to Genovese’s daughter when he got out. (Note: I do not know why Genovese could not write a letter to his daughter, and also, to my knowledge, Gnovese was in prison in Atlanta, not Terre Haute or Leavenworth.)
Raymond Mirr was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital on September 20, 1965 for ulcers. He stayed there through October 26 and found himself in debt to the hospital for $1,900. He still owed the government over $1,000 for his gambling conviction, and had a personal loan owed to his daughter-in-law for $1,000.
Carlo Dimaggio was interviewed by Agents LeGrand and Thompson yet again on September 27, 1965. He said he was not a member of the Mafia, and his poverty should be proof of that. He said he was friendly with former police chiefs, district attorneys and local politicians. As for Balistrieri being “boss”, it was DiMaggio’s opinion that in America everyone was his own boss. He said he had been attending recent debates concerning a proposed law to try 16-year olds as adults. He said he was in favor of this and cited a recent incident where a black youth killed a white youth without provocation and was being tried as a juvenile. DiMaggio then brought out photos of his deceased wife and three daughters, of whom he was very proud.
Raymond Mirr was sentenced to a year’s probation on Thursday, September 30, 1965 for commercial gambling. He had plead no contest and his sentence was handed down in Mount Sinai Hospital where Mirr was undergoing treatment for an intestinal disorder.
James Schiavo was interviewed at the Continental Club, 4214 East Washington Boulevard, Madison on September 30, 1965 by Special Agents Alexander LeGrand and Richard Thompson. When asked if he thought there was a Mafia in Madison, he declined to answer the question directly but said that organized crime could not exist in Madison because the police department was not corrupt. He said there might be prostitution or gambling on a small scale, but nothing major. Schiavo said he lived in Madison all his life, except briefly in 1955 when he owned the Three Dolls with Joseph Alioto at Third and Wells in Milwaukee.
Special Agent Richard Thompson visited Joseph Aiello at his store in Madison on September 30, 1965. Thompson again attempted to get a photo of Aiello with a concealed camera, but again failed.
Joseph Gumina retired from International Harvester on October 1, 1965.
On October 5, 1965, an informant told Agent Thompson that Nick Fucarino recently told him that FBI agents had spoken with Joe Aiello and James Schiavo in Madison. The informant also knew what the agents had talked to the Madison men about. Thompson concluded that this confirmed the Madison crew was in communication with the Milwaukee crew, most likely Schiavo talking to Fucarino, as the version the informant was aware of was accurate.
An informant told the FBI on October 6, 1965 that Sam Clementi had been in Milwaukee a few days prior. He said Clementi was in his 60s, operated a tavern in Madison, and was a current or former member of the Mafia.
Mariano Megna was buried on October 12, 1965. The funeral was attended the night before by August Maniaci, John Aiello, Joseph Caminiti, John Alioto and Nick Fucarino.
An informant told the FBI on October 12, 1965 that Sam Ferrara and Peter Balistrieri (uncle of Frank Balistrieri) were responsible for the murder of Pasquale Caruso in 1934. Ferrara was said to do the actual shooting. (To my knowledge, this information was not passed on to the Milwaukee Police, despite Ferrara still being alive.)
John Rizzo’s writ of prohibition hearing was postponed from October 15 to November 1.
Around October 19, 1965, Michele Mineo suffered a stroke and ended up in St. Michael’s Hospital. Within a week he was recovered, but was left with a bad leg and was partial paralyzed on his left side.
Frank Balistrieri filed a mortgage on October 25, 1965 conveying the property at 3043 North Shepard Avenue to Frank Ranney for the consideration of $10,000. The mortgage was prepared by attorney Henry G. Piano.
On October 30, 1965, a son of Tony Maniaci (August’s brother) was married and a reception was held at Alioto’s. Peter Balistrieri was there, as were Joe and John Balistrieri. Paul Bogosian, John Aiello and Sam Cefalu were present.
On November 6, 1965, the three men who played gin rummy with a Waukesha man on September 11 returned to collect the money he lost at 11:30am. The police were called and they stationed themselves outside where they could overhear the conversation. Although no threats were heard, the men did indeed try to get the money and a .22 with ammunition was found in their car. All three were brought in for photographs and fingerprints, and the police kept the gun. All three men were described as having brown eyes, dark hair and a ruddy complexion.
Buster Balestrere called the home of Peter Balistrieri on November 7, 1965.
There was a bridal shower for Rosemarie Fucarino at Alioto’s Restaurant on November 7, 1965. Roughly 200 women attended, and 20 men had gathered in another room. The men there included Cosmo DiSalvo, James Schiavo and Joseph Aiello.
Mariano “Mike” Sciortino died November 9, 1965 at the age of 73. The funeral was handled by the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home.
The pre-trial conference for Badger Construction Company’s lawsuit against the Milwaukee Cinder Company was on November 10, 1965. The Balistrieris owed Badger Construction $7293.50 in unpaid rent.
John Rizzo and William Covelli went to the Arlington Race Track on November 11, 1965.
After watching since January, the IRS raided a bolita gambling establishment in Milwaukee on November 23, 1965 said to have earned $500,000 that year alone. (Bolita is a game where a gambler picks a three-digit number and bets $1. In this version, if his number is picked he pockets $500. The game existed in Milwaukee at least as early as 1947 and games were still being busted as late as the 1980s.) Those arrested were: Louis D. Lugo, 34, 2025 North Holton Street; Hector Mercado, 31, 1023 North 15th Street; Cirilio Ortiz, 34, 110 East Garfield Avenue; and Ariosto Vazquez, 36, 3315 West St. Paul Avenue (where the lottery was based). They each signed a $1000 bail bond before Commissioner John C. McBride. The men running the game informed the IRS that the game was set up by Ken Eto of Chicago, who was given 90% of the profits. Tax agent Fortino Gutierrez, posing as a gambler, once had $20 withheld from his winnings that he was told went towards an annual drawing.
Salvatore Albano’s funeral was on November 25, 1965 at Guardalabene and Amato funeral home. Salvatore was the brother of Tony Albano. Among other attendees was Salvatore Seidita.
The evening of December 5, 1965, wedding guests from Madison stayed at the Mayfair Motel. Frank Balistrieri stopped by the motel for a while. James Schiavo told the people there that the FBI was outside writing down license plates, although this was not true.
There was also a testimonial dinner on December 5 for Dominic Frinzi at the Schroeder Hotel. 600 people attended at $25 per plate. Frank Balistrieri was there and brought Angelo DiGiorgio, Sam Dentice, Jimmy Jennaro, Joseph Alioto, and Sam Cefalu. Also present were county supervisor Eugene Grobschmidt, and aldermen Mark Ryan, Allen Calhoun and George Whitton.
On December 6, 1965 there was a wedding between Milwaukee LCN member Nick Fucarino’s daughter Rosemarie and Madison LCN member James Schiavo’s son Anthony. At least eight Rockford LCN members showed up, though some of the more prominent could not attend due to illness and one was in Omaha. Many Madison and Milwaukee hoodlums attended the wedding and reception, including Frank LaGalbo, Filippo Candela and Michael Albano. The wedding took place at St. Catherine’s in Milwaukee followed by a breakfast at Alioto’s restaurant. That evening, a reception was held at the Eagle’s Club from 6pm until midnight, with as many as 1000 guests present. Attendants were said to be John Balistrieri, Joseph Balistrieri, Baby Joey Balistrieri, a relative of Filippo Candela and a relative of Sam Ferrara, as well as a cousin of the bride from Chicago and the daughter of Racine bootlegger Jack Iannello. Felix Alderisio showed up briefly, gave an envelope to the couple, congratulated Nick Fucarino and then held a private conference with Frank Balistrieri and John Alioto. According to Tony’s obituary, “Tony and Rose Marie’s ‘chance meeting’ occurred through the providence of two foresighted fathers.” Tony and Rose would have two children, James and Nick. According to John Balistrieri, at least some of this is not correct. He believes his brother was an attendant, but he personally was not.
The FBI asked Appleton City Inspector Charles Magnette on December 13, 1965 if they had any contact with Nick Gentile. He said no, but he indicated that Vincent Maniaci had come in a few days earlier to apply for a liquor license for 512 West College Avenue, a building owned by L. H. Chudacoff Real Estate. Maniaci returned to Magnette’s office on December 15, this time with Gentile, and proposed the idea of an Italian restaurant and cocktail lounge called the Roman House. The buildings next to 512 were a typewriter shop and a tile shop. Maniaci, who did all the talking, said he hoped to have the restaurant up and running as soon as January or February. Magnette called the FBI back and said that although Maniaci was clearly in charge, he was under the impression from Gentile’s presence that he would have some sort of financial interest.
Frank Balistrieri threw a Christmas party at Fazio’s restaurant on Jackson on December 24, 1965. Attendees included Joseph Spero, Steve DeSalvo, Michael Albano, Jerry DiMaggio, Peter Balistrieri and Harry DeAngelo.
As a result of a John Doe investigation, Steve Halmo, 44, of 716 South 7th Street, was fined $250 in December 1965 for commercial gambling.
Vincent Maniaci wrote an open letter to the Appleton Post-Crescent that was published on January 12, 1966. The newspaper had recently published a series of articles concerning Maniaci, and particularly his association with Nick Gentile. The Appleton police chief had publicly opposed the granting of a license to Maniaci. He cited his Appleton roots, saying his mother was born in Appleton on Thanksgiving and was baptized at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Maniaci pointed out that he had no criminal record and had held a Milwaukee bartenders license for 25 years. He specifically said that Gentile would “have no interest, financial or otherwise” in the restaurant, and pleaded that he had already invested thousands of dollars into remodeling the building.
On Thursday, January 13, 1966, Appleton’s welfare and ordinance committee decided to delay a decision on Vincent Maniaci’s license. Police Chief Earl Wolff attended the meeting and presented his written opposition. Mark Catlin, an Appleton attorney, and Max Goldsmith, Milwaukee attorney, appeared on Maniaci’s behalf and questioned why Maniaci should be denied because of guilt by association. They had heard that 13 aldermen had signed a resolution to oppose the license and demanded to know why. Alderman Glenn Thompson made a motion to hold the license in abeyance until the remodeling and inspections were done at 512 West College. He was seconded by Alderman Richard Huisman.
On January 18, 1966, Vincent Maniaci withdrew his license request. He was refunded his $275 license deposit. I believe it would be fair to say that the Appleton Post-Crescent, through the considerable coverage it gave the matter, was the reason behind the license’s controversy and ultimate dismissal.
The Bureau informed Milwaukee’s Special Agent in Charge Paul H. Fields on January 31, 1966 that they were attempting to streamline their files on LCN membership. Fields instructed his agents that they needed to fill out forms for the Automatic Data Process (ADP) by February 21. The forms were summaries of each member containing twelve sections, with such items as FBI number, LCN rank, birth info, places frequented, and family members in the Mafia. Files in closed status were to be looked over by Special Agent (redacted) with Special Agent Carlyle N. Reed assisting.
Anthony Pipito was arrested on February 4, 1966 on two counts of burglary and one count of forgery. The charges were dismissed.
Special Agent Charles Ahern ran physical surveillance on the Office Lounge (518 58th Street) in Kenosha on February 8, 1966. He watched the tavern from 11:40am until 6:30pm, writing down descriptions of people and automobiles.
John Joseph “Pitch” Picciurro’s funeral was held on February 16, 1966 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home on Holton. Picciurro was Giuseppe Balistrieri’s brother-in-law, and an uncle to Frank and Peter Balistrieri. Attending the funeral was Frank LaGalbo. William Covelli and John Rizzo attended together, bringing with them a third man.
Nicky Covelli and a woman went to the 3021 Club on February 22, 1966 and the woman got up on the pool table and began to strip while go-go dancing. After this, they went to the Fireside Restaurant and attempted to do it again, but were stopped by the management.
When the Milwaukee Office returned their summary of Giuseppe Balistrieri to the Bureau on February 24, 1966, they referred to him as “formerly head of the Milwaukee family.” I have no idea where this idea came from — there is no evidence to show that he was ever boss, underboss or even consigliere.
Special Agent Reed spoke with an informant on February 24, 1966 about the condition of John Aiello. The informant (who was likely August Maniaci or Aiello himself) said Aiello had been at the Veteran Hospital in the last week where he was hemorrhaging and had high blood pressure. Aiello and another man had been in Sedalia, Missouri when he began hemorrhaging and had to be treated by a Dr. White. The other man drove Aiello back to Milwaukee. He also had a kidney fail. These health issues had caused Aiello’s tax trial to be delayed.
Benedetto DiSalvo was hired on at Pabst in the bottle house in March 1966.
Steve DiSalvo visited John Aiello’s house on March 6, 1966. They had recently run into each other at the place of business of a real estate developer, with Aiello hoping he could get some money. At that time, DiSalvo had instructed Aiello to stay away from the developer, and said it was on orders from Balistrieri. Aiello had then tried to see Balistrieri, but could only find Peter Balistrieri. He repeated what DiSalvo had said, saying the developer “fits into our plans”. (Due to the specific nature of this information, it appears it may have come from Aiello himself.)
Special Agent Eldon Mueller interviewed James Schiavo at the Continental Club on March 8, 1966. Schiavo told Mueller what he had told LeGrand and Thompson, that organized crime did not exist in the Italian community of Madison and that this could not happen because Madison police were honest. He insisted that the FBI should investigate “the Jews” because they were “more organized” and “basically crooked”.
Peter Balistrieri and Joseph Balistrieri (his nephew) went to Kansas City on March 10, 1966. Joseph returned first and Peter returned a few days later. They were gone about a week.
Steve Halmo was bound over for trial on Saturday, March 12, 1966 after bartender Robert Rauch, 32, testified that Halmo had accepted over $5000 in bets from Rauch between September and February. The bets were on football, baseball and basketball games, as well as horse racing, and not all the bets were Rauch’s but simply called in to Halmo by Rauch. Rauch was reluctant to testify until granted immunity by Judge Christ T. Seraphim on motion of the district attorney’s office. Halmo filed an affidavit of prejudice on Tuesday, April 5, 1966 against Circuit Court Judge John L. Coffey, who had previously conducted a John Doe investigation that resulted in Halmo’s being charged with a prior gambling offense.
Vincent Maniaci and Nick Gentile met Frank Balistrieri at The Scene on March 22, 1966.
Anthony Pipito was arrested for threat to injure on April 10, 1966. The charge was dismissed.
When Rose Mercurio Maniaci (mother of August and Vincent Maniaci) died on April 17, 1966, at least three Rockford LCN members attended the wake on the 19th: Phil Priola, Charlie Vince and Frank Corrente. These men parked their car at Mike Albano’s restaurant and rode to the funeral with Albano to avoid having their license plate numbers written down by police. Phil Cannella and his wife were also there. After the funeral, they met up with Frank Balistrieri at The Scene night club. James Schiavo of Madison was also there.
The LaStrada Club began a free bingo game on April 19, 1966. John Rizzo operated the game, which offered prizes.
On April 21, 1966, Michael Albano was issued a passport and was going to be going on a two month European vacation in June.
A Racine Police detective called the Christensen Agency on May 6 to ask about John Rizzo’s house, which was listed for sale. They informed him that Rizzo was asking $35,000 and wanted to sell because he could not afford the maintenance. The realtor said that Rizzo intended to live with his daughter and son-in-law in Racine.
An informant told the FBI on May 6, 1966 that Roland Libonati may try to sell his Wisconsin property because he owed $3900 in back taxes on it and was not making any money. He further said Mark (?) Castelli reopened his factory in Plainfield for cheese novelties, known as the House of Cheese Petite. Another man in Plainfield (name redacted) was in the business of selling equipment to cheese factories.
The FBI learned on May 16, 1966 that Frank LaGalbo was now a member of the South Chicago LCN, with boss Frank LaPorte based in Chicago Heights. As such, LaGalbo could not involve himself in Milwaukee’s affairs without LaPorte’s permission. This same day, an informant (likely the same one) said that Vito Seidita had taken the role of Milwaukee’s consigliere, presumably replacing Charles Zarcone, despite not being actively involved in the Family’s affairs.
Walter Brocca had a party for his granddaughter’s first communion on May 16, 1966 at the Paradise Gardens in the Bayside neighborhood of Milwaukee.
Roughly May 19, 1966, Frank Balistrieri (living at 3043 North Shepard Avenue) filed to have his federal tax evasion case moved to the Southern District of Illinois (Springfield), on the grounds that the newspapers of Madison and Milwaukee have given his case too much negative publicity.
On June 6, 1966, an FBI agent interviewed Raymond Mirr at his place of business (L-M Technic Dental Laboratory) concerning his financial situation. He explained that he was still in debt to the hospital for $1,900 and was paying that off at $60 per month. He still owed the government over $1,200 for his gambling conviction, and had a personal loan owed to his daughter-in-law for $1,000 that he was paying back at $88 per month. Mirr said he made $2,600 per year and his wife made $700, so they could not afford to pay any more.
The Ad Lib night club (323-327 West Wells) opened on June 10, 1966. The registered agent for the business was James Jennaro, and the owner was Mando Enterprises (Joseph and Frances Maniaci). Formerly an army surplus store, the Ad Lib storefront was beautifully redesigned as a cocktail lounge, supper club and cabaret. “Richly gilded in golds and scarlets, the Ad Lib is brassy classy with ornate glass chandeliers, a big mirrored wall and soft pink lighting,” said the Milwaukee Journal. “The setting is both plush and posh.”
Felix Alderisio was in Milwaukee on June 12, 1966.
Sam Giancana was in Milwaukee on June 15, 1966 and met with Frank Balistrieri at the Scene. Around this time, the Shags were performing five nights a week at the Scene and were being paid $1000 per week to do so. They were not happy with the job; despite being paid well, they did not like the way Balistrieri managed the place and their manager was punched by an employee of Balistrieri’s at Le Bistro. (The FBI categorized the Shags as a band that caters to “the coffee house-student crowd” and “long hair eccentrics”. The FBI said all the band members attended Layton Art School on North Prospect.)
On or about June 16, 1966, Michael Albano and his wife went on a two-month vacation in Europe. He was planning to visit Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Palermo and Rome.
Carlo Caputo’s son was married on June 18, 1966. James Schiavo brought a member of the Milwaukee Family (redacted) with him as a guest. No other Milwaukee members were there, but Rockford members Charlie Vince and Frank Buscemi were there. So was Jim DeGeorge.
A funeral was held for John Spero, who died of a heart attack while visiting Palermo, Sicily, on June 24, 1966. Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DiSalvo, John Candela, Harry D’Angelo, brother Joseph Spero and many other hoodlums attended this funeral at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Allegedly, Myron Jennaro was hanging around with Frank Balistrieri. (Possibly meant Jimmy Jennaro? Refers to him as a “younger LCN member”, which I am pretty sure Myron never was.)
Santo Marino called John Aiello, Vito Aiello and “an informant” to his apartment on June 26, 1966. Marino said he was sick of Frank Balistrieri and wanted them to kill him. He took out a .22 and said it would do the job. John and the informant said they were not interested and felt it would take more than a .22. Vito made no comment. (As worded, the informant is either not named — and likely August Maniaci — or John Aiello and listed twice to disguise this.)
On June 27, 1966, Frank Bompensiero picked up Chicago LCN capo Frank LaPorte from the San Diego airport and from there went to the Palomar Inn just off Highway 101 at Chula Vista and had dinner with Francesco “Frank” Balistrieri, a former Milwaukee LCN member. (I am unclear how this Frank relates to the more common Frank Balistrieri.) Special agents from the FBI talked to Balistrieri shortly after this and he said that he had met the two men years ago when he lived in Milwaukee, and they were catching up with old times. No business was conducted.
On June 28, 1966, a man showed up at the Milwaukee FBI office and asked to see an agent. Agents Reed and Joseph O’Connell spoke with him. The man said he had been employed by the Jennaro Brothers Fruit Company and was formerly employed as a driver for Joseph Gurera’s Encino Cleaners. He said three weeks ago some guys took him to Holy Cross Cemetery and told him they did not think he was a stool pigeon, and said it in such a way that he thought they might be thinking of knocking him off. The man said he was “running scared” and had “suddenly found religion” and wanted to tell the FBI as much as he could before it was too late. While working for Gurera he had overheard him talking with DiSalvo and had a list of guys who were referred to as “one of us”. (The list he gave is accurate, although he added Anthony Guardalabene, which is probably false.) He said Gurera had been Balistrieri’s muscle until he was forced back to Kansas City, and DiSalvo had filled that role since then. The man said he was occasionally employed as a “pyro technician” for events like church picnics and as such knows a man who owns a fireworks warehouse in Chicago, who he thinks may be a member of the Outfit in Melrose Park.
Rockford LCN member Phil Priola called an FBI informant (possibly a Maniaci brother) on June 29, 1966 in search of Peter Balistrieri’s phone number. The informant was not home, but his wife did relay that information to Priola. Priola was looking for Balistrieri to inform him that Sebastian “Knobby” Gulotta had been kicked out of the Rockford LCN, and if he should come to Milwaukee, they should have nothing to do with him. The Rockford LCN suspected that Gulotta was telling too much to his girlfriend, though whether these suspicions were accurate is unclear.
Frank Balistrieri’s motion to have his tax case heard in Springfield rather than Milwaukee was granted on June 30, 1966 by Judge Omer Poos.
FBI agents visited Albert Albana at his home on July 1, 1966 but he refused to answer the door. He called down to them that he was caused too much trouble in the past and did not wish to discuss anything with them.
An informant told the FBI on July 11, 1966 they “heard through the grapevine” that Frank Dimiceli was “fronting” for a man from Chicago.
An informant spoke with the FBI on July 19, 1966 and said Louis DeRango had been talking to police about burglaries, specifically to Detective Heller. DeRango believe Steve DiSalvo was “out to get him” and wanted police protection. How DeRango knew about any crimes is unknown. His family was not Sicilian and had closer ties to the Kenosha Italians.
John Rizzo and William Covelli met with Frank Balistrieri at the Ad Lib on July 21, 1966. They spoke for 90 minutes to two hours.
An informant told the FBI on July 27, 1966 about Nick Covelli. Covelli was said to be a distant relative of William Covelli and a member of the family that owned S. Covelli and Sons produce. Nick was said to gamble for his own amusement, but was not involved in promoting or operating a gambling business. He was not seen as a capable business man, despite running several Kenosha taverns. The informant also said the West Side Gang was supporting Ed Polansky for Kenosha sheriff and Dominic Frinzi for governor.
Michael Albano, apparently along with his wife and daughter, traveled to Sicily in August 1966. He ended up cutting his visit one month short because of “too much heat” — the government was cracking down on the Sicilian Mafia. (How this would affect an American is unclear.)
Charles Zarcone was interviewed at his residence (2604 North Murray Street, Apartment 105) by Special Agent Carlyle Reed on August 4, 1966. He said he was a butcher, but was now retired. His high blood pressure and rheumatism prevented him from being very active. He said in his spare time he liked to visit with the Seidita brothers at their butcher shop on Farwell. He said he knew nothing of the Mafia beyond what he read in the newspapers, but was familiar with various Italians in Milwaukee, having grown up in the Third Ward after coming to America in 1905.
Frank Balistrieri was in Chicago on August 9-10, 1966. The purpose is unknown, but he likely met with Felix Alderisio.
An informant spoke with the FBI on August 17, 1966. He said that while Sam DiMaggio was in Leavenworth Prison, he had met New York boss Vito Genovese in the infirmary. DiMaggio asked Genovese if he could do any favors for him, and Genovese said, “No. Just say hello to the boys in Milwaukee.”
The LaStrada Club went up for sale in September 1966 through Salerno Realty.
An informant in Kenosha spoke with the FBI concerning the primary elections (apparently in September 1966). He said the Italians were disappointed that their pick — Deputy Edwin Polansky — had lost the Democratic primary to Undersheriff William P. Schmitt. They also disliked District Attorney Joseph Molinaro — despite his connections to Louis Greco, having appeared prominently in Greco’s wedding photos — but would “oppose with all their resources” his Republican opponent, former Special Agent William J. Higgins.
Steve DiSalvo’s father, Vincent DiSalvo of West Allis, died on September 5, 1966 with the funeral being on September 7. Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Joseph Spero, Sam Ferrara, Vito Aiello, Michael Albano and several other hoodlums attended this funeral at the Schoff funeral home in West Allis. Anyone of any importance was there, including the local Italian gamblers and Vincent Mercurio. No one from out of town was recognized.
Kenosha County’s chief investigator checked with his confidential sources and then reported to the FBI on September 9, 1966. He said that Alfred DeCesaro was “far more important” than he was given credit for and “plays things down intentionally”. This attempt to stay in the background put him at odds with Ralph Masaro before Masaro’s death because he (Masaro) was talking too much, especially when drinking. The investigator said that DeCesaro was “wired into” the Chicago Outfit, and therefore did not have to pay a cut of his booking to William Covelli. Covelli was the top man for the Milwaukee Family in Kenosha, but the city was coordinated between the Milwaukee and Chicago mobs. “Detchy” Greco was leasing a farm house on I-94 and also had an apartment for card games at 56th Street and 10th Avenue. Greco had also allegedly offered $1000 to a sheriff candidate to “look the other way” if he got elected. Greco and Covelli did not get along, and had apparently shot each other’s windows out at one point.
Ray Charles appeared at the Scene night club from September 9 through the 14, 1966. The cost for these six nights was $20,000.
An informant spoke with the FBI on September 13, 1966 and updated them on the plot against Frank Balistrieri. In the past week, there had been a meeting at John Aiello’s house with Santo Marino, Vito Aiello and the informant present. Marino said he would get a silencer for his .22 in case of protection. The others instructed the informant to get dynamite from some coal mines in the area of LaSalle and Peru, Illinois (west of Chicago and south of Rockford). The informant was said to be familiar with this area. He told the FBI he wants no part of this plot, but John Aiello has been “casing” Balistrieri’s movements at night and Vito Aiello and Santo Marino were “pushing” the idea.
John Rizzo and William Covelli were surveilled in Kenosha on September 14, 1966. From 11:40 to 11:43am, Covelli was in Becker’s Cigar Store (609 56th Street) while Rizzo waited in the car. Then, from 11:44 to 11:46am, Covelli went into the Hotel Dayton. Covelli was dropped off at 77th Street and Pershing Boulevard, while Rizzo went to a telephone booth at the Sears Roebuck store in the Pershing Plaza shopping center and made a seven minute phone call.
Milwaukee LCN member Michael Albano died September 21, 1966 of heart failure. His funeral was on September 24, and was attended by virtually all the Milwaukee members. Only one Rockford member, Phil Priola, was there. No one from Chicago was present, aside from relatives of Albano’s with no mob connections. Albano’s death created a bit of a rupture in the Milwaukee LCN, as he was considered to be close to Harry DeAngelo, Benny DiSalvo and Joseph Spero. Of the four, it was Albano who had Frank Balistrieri’s “ear”, leaving the other three now without a strong connection.
Angelo Germinaro and Sammy Marcy were arraigned on Friday, September 23, 1966 in Kenosha County. Both men pleaded not guilty to conspiring with Gene Thomas to receive bets at the Office Lounge, and Judge Harold Bode scheduled their trial for October 26. Germinaro also claimed indigence and Judge Bode appointed an attorney for him. Peter Zocchi also appeared before Judge Baker (separately) and pleaded not guilty to a charge of receiving bets. His trial was set for October 24.
Chico’s Restaurant (owned by Frank LaGalbo) suffered an extensive fire that completely gutted the interior in October 1966.
An informant met Frank Balistrieri in his office at The Scene on October 13, 1966. Various matters (redacted) were discussed, and Balistrieri excused himself to use the phone. Meanwhile, Steve DiSalvo and Frank Stelloh showed up together, and DiSalvo introduced the informant to Stelloh, who had been hired on by Balistrieri to supervise the custodians at his night clubs. DiSalvo mentioned that Balistrieri would be out of town for a while, as he had his tax trial in Springfield. He also told the informant not to talk to police or FBI without consulting an attorney because they would “twist around” the words.
On Friday, October 21, 1966, the two charges of perjury were dropped against Gene Thomas. A charge of commercial gambling was put in its place. Thomas pleaded no contest and was fined $600 by Judge Earl Morton.
On October 25, 1966, tax agent Frank Provinzano testified that he had met Frank Balistrieri years before (possibly 1954) in the federal building and helped him falsify his net worth. Balistrieri allegedly gave him some penciled figures saying his net worth in 1949 was $23,101 and was $34,172 in 1953. Provinzano then typed these up and inserted them into the government’s records. (Balistrieri would years later allege that no such meeting ever happened. He claimed that Provinzano, who was gay, was blackmailed by the IRS into making up this story.)
Office Lounge bartenders Angelo Germinaro, 48, and Sammy Macy, 37, pleaded guilty to charges of gambling (reduced from commercial gambling) on October 26, 1966. Germinaro was fined $300 and Macy was fined $200. Special prosecutor Francis Croak decided their taking bets was “an incidental part of their employment” by Gene Thomas.
Frank Balistrieri, Santo Curro, Joe Maniaci and Jimmy Jennaro were at the Ad Lib on October 29, 1966 discussing Balistrieri’s tax trial. An informant said all these men were loyal to Balistrieri and would rather go to jail than testify against him.
Late November 4 or early November 5, 1966, Harold Klein was in an accident on the Expressway heading west out of Milwaukee. He broke his hip and tore his knee cap and needed surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital. An informant saw Klein in a tavern, heavily intoxicated, hours before the crash. Also, he noticed that Klein spoke favorably of Balistrieri, whereas in the past he expressed only dislike.
Santo Marino was recovering from surgery on November 8, 1966. He had a cyst removed from the base of his spine and polyps removed from his rectum.
Theodore Azzarella, 62, died on November 16 and was buried on Saturday, November 19, 1966. He was a small-time gambler who took bets at his home at 509 West Keefe Street. The FBI speculated that some of his profits may have been sent up. Guardalabene and Amato handled the funeral and burial was in Holy Cross. He left behind his wife Mary and siblings Charles, Joseph and Mary.
The FBI spoke with a Milwaukee attorney on November 22, 1966. The attorney said he had recently spoken with Dominic Frinzi, and Frinzi was anticipating asking for dismissals in a variety of his cases, including Buster Balestrere and John Rizzo. Frinzi believed that any client he had during the period his office was bugged could possibly get charges dismissed by a sympathetic judge.
Frank Balistrieri called John Molle on November 24, 1966.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously rejected John Rizzo’s claim of immunity from prosecution on November 29, 1966. Justice Leo Hanley wrote the opinion and expressed his belief that Rizzo’s testimony focused on gambling pre-1959 and he was therefore not immune to post-1959 gambling charges. Granting a “general amnesty” would “defeat the very purpose” of the hearing, “which is to aid in the prosecution of criminals”. Rizzo appealed to the US Supreme Court.
On December 9, 1966, Frank Cairo (owner of Fritz’s Idle Hour Tavern) was bound over for trial for receiving and forwarding bets.Judge Earl Morton ordered the trial after hearing testimony from state tax agent Russell Nelson, who said he had made four bets with Cairo since May. The bets were very small, only $2, and Nelson’s biggest win was $6.60. Nelson further said that while at Cairo’s bar, real estate agent Warren Rasmussen offered him 3,000 football parlay cards that Rasmussen said had been printed in Milwaukee. On seven occasions, Nelson had placed bets with Rasmussen while at Cairo’s tavern.
Frank Balistrieri called John Molle on December 24, 1966.