The Mat Corporation of America (7514 West Appleton Avenue) was incorporated on January 10, 1967 with Steve DiSalvo as vice president, treasurer and secretary. The business places mats at the entrances of industrial and commercial buildings. The office was shared with Herman Sosnay’s Greenfield Development.
Also on January 10, 1967, there was a meeting of Milwaukee, Kenosha and Chicago mobsters to discuss gambling in Lake County. Attending the meeting was Anthony “Tony Mack” DeMonte. (This may have been held at the Charcoal Restaurant and Dominick DiBella may have attended.)
After a complete remodeling, Chico’s restaurant re-opened on January 12, 1967.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal from John Rizzo on January 31, 1967 asking them to review their decision. The commercial gambling charge — now years old — would go forward.
In January and February 1967, Walter Brocca was in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area (possibly Williamsport) doing salvage work for an unidentified Milwaukee hoodlum and was reportedly making good money. The unidentified hoodlum may have owned Machinery Exchange, Inc.
A Kenosha informant was interviewed on February 11, 1967. He said the preceding Friday night, Greco’s was like a hoodlum “who’s who”. Bill Covelli and John Rizzo were there, as was Albert Albana. Informant said Albana was a pain in the “posterior” and a “crashing bore”.
A party was held for Louis Fazio on March 8, 1967 in honor of his being pardoned at Fazio’s on 5th. Steve DeSalvo, Dominic Principe and Herman Sosnay were in attendance.
On March 13, 1967, Special Agent Carlyle Reed reported to Alexander LeGrand, now an administrative assistant to the mayor, that he heard from an informant that Gallagher’s was filthy and the toilets were always plugged. LeGrand passed this information on to City Health Department. The story was confirmed.
In March 1967, Frank Balistrieri was convicted for felony income tax evasion.
On March 17, 1967, the Tumblebrook Country Club in Delafield came into the possession of the Central States Pension Fund. The Teamsters bought the property for $665,000 at a sheriff’s sale after it was foreclosed on. The previous owner was Carl A. Hoff, president of the Tumblebrook Corporation. One week later, the land was sold to Investors Group, Inc for $710,000. (Interestingly, two years later, part of the property was sold to Wau-Kee, Inc — run by Carl Hoff — for $1,075,000.)
Andrew Maniscalco, the chef at Chico’s, was arrested for being in a gambling house at 3044 North Stowell Avenue on March 26, 1967. Anthony Pipito was also arrested. They were fined $25 each. (Maniscalco was a known gambler and usually placed his bets through Tony Machi.)
Steve DeSalvo’s daughter was married on April 8, 1967. The reception was held at the Plankinton House Hotel with an open bar.
The US Supreme Court declined to hear John Rizzo’s appeal on May 8, 1967.
Gordon Gottlieb wrote in the May 9, 1967 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel that 1967 could go down in history as the “year of awakening” with regards to organized crime in Wisconsin. A national crime commission named Wisconsin one of 16 states with a mob presence, while the government of Milwaukee had a hard time accepting it. Police Chief Harold Breier wanted to see “the facts” that the commission used. District Attorney Hugh O’Connell saw “no indication” that organized crime was in Milwaukee, and Sheriff Edwin Purtell did not know of “any evidence”.
Nick Gentile was arrested on May 10 in Wauwatosa for issuing worthless checks. The charge was dropped when he agreed to pay restitution.
Joseph Spero spoke to an informant in May 1967 about what he felt should be done about the leadership of the Milwaukee LCN. Spero said that a meeting should be called to find a replacement for Frank Balistrieri and to ease Balistrieri out of power. Spero feared that Balistrieri was at risk of losing his power due to his tax problems and loss of connection with Chicago. Balistrieri’s biggest supporters in Chicago were Sam Giancana (who had fled the country), Teets Battaglia (in prison) and Felix Alderisio (in prison).
William Covelli was found guilty of perjury by Judge Eugene Baker on May 18, 1967.
A California gambler who had formerly been from Milwaukee was in town from May 22-28, 1967 to visit his old gambling friends.
An informant was contacted on May 22, 1967. He said Walter Brocca had about six weeks left working in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for Harold Klein’s Machinery Exchange. He also said August Maniaci was doing “fairly good business” at his pizza place at North and Oakland.
John Rizzo finally pleaded no contest to his commercial gambling charge on May 23, 1967 and was fined $1800. (I wonder how much he had to pay his attorney!) Buster Balistrere was fined $500 and $287 in court costs when he pleaded to a reduced charge of gambling.
According to an informant, Sam DeStefano was in Milwaukee the first week of June 1967 to meet with John Triliegi.
Two men were arrested in Milwaukee on June 5, 1967 and police found two pistols under their car seats.
Frank Buscemi’s son, Vincent A. Buscemi, married Patricia Louise Ping on June 10, 1967 in Rockford. Frank Balistrieri was in charge of delivering invitations to Milwaukee LCN members. Nick Fucarino, among other old-timers, became upset with Balistrieri when they did not receive invitations. Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo and Peter Balistrieri were believed to have attended the event without telling the other Milwaukee members, according to Jerry DiMaggio (who worked for Balistrieri).
There was a birthday party in Chicago for Joseph Priola, father of Rockford LCN member Phil Priola, on July 9, 1967 at the Chateau Royal. The elder Priola turned 100, and a few Milwaukee members attended, including Jerry DiMaggio, Nick Fucarino and Peter Balistrieri. Frank Balistrieri did not attend because he was in Madison seeing his acquaintance Frank Sinatra perform.
A “lawn party” was held in Greendale for Tony Maniaci on July 16, 1967. Among other attendees was Sam Ferrara.
The FBI’s investigation of the Milwaukee family was put on hold from July through October 1967 due to an ongoing riot and civil unrest.
In August 1967, Frank Balistrieri purchased the building at 722 North Water Street for $80,000 with the intent of turning it into a 3-story English pub. The down payment was $24,000 and the deed was in his son Joseph’s name.
The Ad Lib abruptly switched to an all-striptease format in August 1967. “We’re only doing this temporarily,” promised manager Jimmy Jennaro. “I already have jazzmen booked for September and November.” But this wasn’t exactly true, as the Ad Lib remained a strip joint for the next six years.
(When?) Santo Marino told other Milwaukee family members of his delight that Frank Balistrieri was being sentenced to prison time. This conviction helped quell unrest among the family and prevented a planned “hit” from Marino and Sam Ferrara.
On August 27, 1967 there was a stag party at the Brown Derby (corner of VanBuren and Brady) for some relative of Santo Marino getting married (his son?). There was a private poker and craps game. Vincent Maniaci and John Morn were there, and Sam Dentice was accepting $100 bets for the Packers-Cowboys exhibition game.
Nick Collura attended the wake for Tom Priola on August 27, 1967 in Chicago. Priola was an “old timer” in the Chicago Outfit.
On August 31, 1967, Joseph Balistrieri (Frank’s son) purchased the Wayside Inn (722 North Water Street) from Werdehoff Realty for $80,000. Included in the deal was an attached tobacco and news store. Balistrieri paid $24,000 down and took out a $56,000 mortgage with Standard Savings and Loan. The FBI speculated that the $24,000 had not come from Joseph’s law practice but from his father. (The Wayside Inn had been owned by Robert “Barney” Fredericks, who moved his business to 607 North Broadway.)
Knobby Gulotta was in Milwaukee on September 12, 1967 in the downtown area. He may have been in touch with Frank Balistrieri, though there is no solid confirmation of this.
Frank Balistrieri was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Springfield on September 18, 1967 to two years in prison. He was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $4600 in court costs. An informant told the FBI that if Balistrieri’s appeal failed and he went to prison, Joe Caminiti would take over as boss, with Peter Balistrieri as underboss and John Aiello as capodecina. The FBI believed Caminiti taking over “may not be logical” due to his age and reluctance to risk his union position.
A few Milwaukee LCN members, including Nick Fucarino and August Maniaci, went to Rockford on October 5, 1967 to attend the funeral of Rockford member Lawrence Buttice.
IRS agent Frederick C. Stieber entered the Cudahy Tower and Apartments (925 East Wells) on October 11, 1967 with the intention of searching Sam Dentice regarding gambling at 903 E. Kilbourn (Isadore Tocco’s residence). Dentice resisted and tried to hide in a phone booth. Stieber pulled him out and then Dentice choked Stieber in order to get free. Dentice was then arrested for assaulting a federal officer.
The Ad Lib night club held a “sending off” party for Dr. Vito Guardalabene on November 9, 1967. Guardalabene was going to visit his daughter Carla in Spain and also planned to stop in Italy. At the party were numerous hoodlums and gamblers, including Dominic Principe, Vito Seidita, Steve DiSalvo, Joe Caminiti, John Alioto, Frank and Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Balistrieri (Sr.), Nick Fucarno, Louis Fazio, Anthony Cefalu, Tony Machi and Albert Albana.
An informant told the FBI on November 16, 1967 that John Triliegi’s two sons were dealing marijuana that they acquired from “the Negro element” in Milwaukee.
Gene Thomas was arrested on November 21, 1967 for receiving bets. The charge resulted from multiple raids in Kenosha and Raine that netted eight arrests on gambling, alcohol and pornography charges. Thomas requested a preliminary hearing and Judge Morton set the bond at $500. The hearing was scheduled for February.
Kenosha County Sheriff William Schmitt told the FBI on December 4, 1967 that he heard William Covelli was going to buy the Badger Cheese Market at the corner of I-94 and K. He believed that Covelli was attempting to get money from Frank Balistrieri (the asking price was $65,000) and would put the liquor license in the name of his wife, Eleanor. In fact, on December 6, a liquor license application for this location was received from Eleanor. Schmitt said the license could not be denied, but he would do anything in his power to prevent gambling from occurring on the property.
Frank Balistrieri visited his son Joseph’s law office on December 5, 1967.
Around December 7, 1967, Joseph Enea and another man were operating a poker game at 1764 Windsor Place.
Milwaukee Police Captain George H. Sprague was named the police chief in Chicago Heights, Illinois around December 11, 1967 with his new position to start on the first of the year. He was chosen for the $15,000 post by the Chicago Heights City Council. Sprague had been on a disability pension from Milwaukee because of a back injury, receiving 55% of his former pay, plus $40 per month for his 11-year old daughter Joan. On March 4, 1959 he endured whiplash as his car was rear-ended at 6th and Wells. The disability was not granted until June 20 of this year — when Sprague was serving as the pension board’s president. Sprague had also come under fire from the black community for racial insensitivity and had been singled out by black ministers.
On December 16, during the lunch hour, Captain Sprague met with Frank Balistrieri and Augie Collura at the Golden Ox Restaurant in Milwaukee. An informant believed that Collura was going to move to Chicago Heights and be the go-between for Sprague and the Outfit. (Sprague would step down a year later and be replaced by Henry Pilotto, brother of Chicago Heights LCN member — and future boss — Al Pilotto. Sprague’s tenure was seen by some informants as allowing the Outfit to conduct their business, particularly gambling. Other informants believed he was trying to reduce Outfit control over his officers. There seems to be no clear evidence either way.)
Steve DiSalvo and Jimmy Jennaro were possibly at the Super Bowl in Miami on January 14, 1968. The National Football League champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League champion Oakland Raiders by a score of 33–14.
Carlo DiMaggio died January 17, 1968 of a heart attack at Milwaukee County General Hospital. His funeral was January 20-21 at Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home on Holton, and was attended by Nick Fucarino, Dominic Principe, Steve DeSalvo, Cosmo DiSalvo, James Schiavo, Frank Sansone, Anthony Pipito and Joseph Spero among others. Sam Ferrara, Joseph Gumina, Vito Aiello, August Maniaci, Tony Seidita and Nick Fucarino were pallbearers. Principe was notably using two canes to help him walk.
Steve DiSalvo was in Kansas City from January 22 through 26, 1968 in order to pick up a 1968 Cadillac for Frank Balistrieri.
William Covelli’s vehicle was seen at the Badger Cheese Market on January 22, 1968.
Special Agent Daniel Brandt interviewed Herman Sosnay on January 23, 1968 concerning his relationship with Steve DiSalvo. Sosnay said he had known DiSalvo for 25 years, and that DiSalvo had earned $7500 in commissions in 1966 for appraisals on behalf of Greenfield Development. He earned nothing in 1967, and moved to his own business, the Mat Corporation of America. Sosnay was asked about Frank Balistrieri, and he said he knew him since “he used to play the saxophone when he was a kid.” He said that he did not believe all he read in the newspapers, as Balistrieri would not “hurt a fly”. Sosnay denied being a gambler, but did admit he liked to shoot craps.
FBI agents contacted the attorney for the Playboy Club on January 26, 1968 after concerns that the Mafia had some sort of financial interest in Playboy’s newest club in Lake Geneva. The attorney said they had been operating clubs for eight years and were very aware of the potential for criminal activity in their business, which is why they worked closely with law enforcement and actually had their own investigators who looked into the background of members, employees and Bunnies. The attorney said Hugh Hefner was a recluse and eccentric, but had a key business sense. Despite his strange behavior, he was actually quite conservative and was raised by two conservative, deeply devout parents. The attorney said there was no real trouble financially because the clubs were independently financed. The only trouble he could recall was with an arsonist in Chicago, but that involved surrounding buildings as well, and was not targeted at the club. Despite the club’s sex appeal, there was no actual sexual activity and only one club had gambling, and that was in London. The attorney said he was aware that Chicago hoodlums visited the Chicago club, and it was certainly possible that they were tempting Bunnies with money. Skimming was almost impossible, because the club operated primarily through credit card transactions and almost no currency. He conceded they used Attendant Service Corporation for parking, and knew the business to be linked to mobster Ross Prio. However, he said the company came highly recommended and so long as they do a good job, it is not his concern about its connections.
In February 1968, Tony Machi and his wife left for a month’s trip to Hawaii, California and Nevada.
On February 4, 1968 Knobby Gulotta was seen in Milwaukee with Peter Balistrieri. Peter called an informant and said Knobby wanted to talk with him. The informant talked to Knobby and invited him to his place of business, but Knobby said he could not make it and stayed in downtown Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Sentinel reported on February 21, 1968 that the liquor license from the Le Bistro was being transferred to the Wayside Inn, which had recently been purchased by Joseph Balistrieri. The license was in the name of Angelo DiGiorgio, who had been the manager of Le Bistro (“Milwaukee’s newest discotheque”) when it opened in 1964. That building had since been razed, but DiGiorgio held on to the license.
Thomas Machi was interviewed on February 26, 1968. He said he worked full-time for the Nationwide Development Corporation (2411 West Capitol Drive). He said he had no interest in The Barn (a lounge on the 1400 block of North Oakland), where his brother Tony worked. He declined to discuss gambling and would not say who he was currently dating.
Santo Marino attended a birthday party for his brother-in-law, Sam Ferrara, on February 26, 1968. The party was at the One Plus One Tavern on North Van Buren Street. Approximately 100 people were there, including Nick Fucarino, Joseph Gumina, Mike Mineo, Joseph Rizzo, August Maniaci, John Aiello, Charles Zarcone, Frank Sansone, Joseph Spero and other Milwaukee LCN members. Food and wine were free, though additional drinks from the bar were not. Notably, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Steve DiSalvo did not attend. Vito Aiello was invited but had to work as a bartender for the Eagles Club that night.
Frank Balistrieri held a party at his nightclub, The Scene, on March 20, 1968. Between 100 and 150 people were there, including almost all of the Milwaukee LCN. Two people were noticeably absent: Santo Marino and Al Albana. The party was a fundraiser for mob attorney Dominic Frinzi, who was running for Milwaukee County Judge. At this party, Balistrieri told an informant that he would be putting old-timers Sam Ferrara, Vito Aiello and Santo Marino under the leadership of Steve DiSalvo. Ferrara especially resented this decision, believing that DiSalvo did not show him (as a former boss) enough respect. Other old-timers such as Michele Mineo were put under John Alioto. Harry DeAngelo, Benny DiSalvo and an informant were put under Peter Balistrieri. Louis Fazio was collecting donations, looking for $100 per person if possible. Frank Balistrieri paid for the wine and dinner, with other drinks available for purchase. No speeches were made. Vito Seidita, the consiglieri, told the informant (probably August Maniaci) that he would be under Peter Balistrieri now and would no longer be marginalized in Milwaukee. Seidita mentioned that there was at least one member of the Milwaukee Family they knew they could not trust, but he did not say who it was. Non-members present included Frank Ranney, Harold Klein and Dr. Joe Regan. Vito Guardalabene and Phil Valley were also present.
Charlie Vince and Phil Priola visited Milwaukee on March 25, 1968 and met with Peter Balistrieri. They said that Rockford boss Joseph Zammuto had recently been in Florida meeting with Santo Trafficante. Further, it was explained that Vince’s nephew, known as “Black Willy”, was interested in a Milwaukee girl.
On March 25, 1968, Milwaukee native Donald J. “Charlie” Blazavier testified in Chicago court against con man Guido Fidanzi. Blazavier had $40,000 in debts, so he applied in 1964 to Fidanzi’s Worldwide Mortgage Company for a $50,000 loan. Fidanzi said that for a $5,000 “banker’s cut”, the loan could be made. So Blazavier borrowed the money from auto dealer Dan Viola in Kenosha and gave it to Fidanzi, never receiving the loan. From there, Fidanzi allegedly threatened Blazavier in order to trick him into cashing bad checks for Worldwide. Viola went to the company, confronted Fidanzi, and was told, “Don’t blow the whistle on these guys (Blazavier and one other victim). They are dumb, but they’re my horses and I need them.”
On March 28, 1968, an informant told the FBI that some Milwaukee gamblers had gone on vacation, as it was the slow season. Frank Sansone was in the Bahamas. Louis Fazio and Steve Halmo had gone to Florida.
Around April 1968, an informant learned that Joseph Spero was the sponsor for a new LCN member. (Files have the new member redacted.) Another informant believed that three new members were “made” in mid-April 1968, including possibly Walter Brocca (which is odd considering the bad blood between Brocca and Balistrieri — Brocca as recently as January 1968 told an informant they “hate each other’s guts”). Another informant said as late as June that Brocca was not yet made but would be soon — though this was still not the case as late as December.
Raymond Ramazini was released from Waupun on April 4, 1968 after serving several years for assault and attempted robbery.
On April 8, 1968, an informant told the FBI that Rudolph Porchetta, Joseph Enea, Jimmy Jennaro and Walter Brocca were expected to be “made” within a month. Porchetta and Jennaro were sponsored by Frank Balistrieri, Walter Brocca was sponsored by Peter Balistrieri, and Joseph Enea was sponsored by Joseph Spero.
A new Kenosha informant walked into the FBI’s resident agency on April 24, 1968. He said he was clean since his arrest and lost touch with local gamblers, but could get back in and try to determine bookie phone numbers. The agents informed him never to come into the office again, that his work was strictly confidential and he was not an employee. He said William Covelli was one of the “big boys” in the Kenosha gambling scene, but would not be as powerful without help from his friends in Milwaukee. For example, Covelli recently purchased Badger Cheese Mart on Highway 41, but informant believed without Milwaukee’s backing that Covelli would never have had the money. He said Dominic Principe is “old and sick” but was once a “muscle man” and “extremely mean”. He said he knew at least one Kenosha police officer who was “in” with the gamblers, and said Kenosha County Sheriff William Schmitt “would not be above taking a handout.”
Tony LaRosa of Prize Steak Supply House and an informant went to Cleveland on April 24, 1968 to meet with an employee of Miceli Dairy Products Company, owned by John Miceli. LaRosa was furnished with a list of potential cheese customers.
On April 29, 1968, there was a theft of $18,000 worth of cigarettes car #ACL35563 from the Terminal Storage Company warehouse. (Somehow both John Triliegi and Sam Cefalu were connected to this theft.)
August Chiaverotti was arrested on April 30, 1968 for threatening phone calls, but the charge was dismissed.
An informant told the FBI on May 3, 1968 that John Triliegi was selling Winston and Camel cigarettes at $1.25 per carton, and said these cigarettes came from the Terminal Storage Company heist.
An informant told Agent Brandt on May 14, 1968 that Sam Ferrara had been visiting him on an almost daily basis, and said the FBI had asked him about the Terminal cigarette theft, of which he knew nothing. Ferrara was trying to finance his son Thomas in a business of selling cheese with August Maniaci and Tony LaRosa. Thomas presently owned a tavern and his father wanted him to leave the business. Informant believed that LaRosa was trying to negotiate a deal with the Morese brothers, who owned two cheese factories in Washington County.
Agent John Gattis spoke with John Molle at Sarann Auto in Kansas City on May 20, 1968. Molle acknowledged selling a new Cadillac to Frank Balistrieri in January. It was Molle’s understanding that Frank’s brother Peter was the one who picked the car up, but Mole said he was not in town at the time and could not say for sure.
Special Agent Daniel E. Brandt had been trying to get Sam Cefalu’s phone records from Wisconsin Telephone Company, but was told on June 5, 1968 that there would be a delay because of the recent phone strike by the Communication Workers of America. (The 18-day strike resulted in a $6 million settlement.) The records were finally retrieved over three weeks later.
On June 5, 1968, Frank Balistrieri and the head of the Teamsters Union in Milwaukee (Caminiti? Ranney?) visited the Gaylur Mercantile Company offices in Chicago. They had intended to meet with Allen Dorfman, but were stood up. Instead, they went and spoke with Felix Alderisio.
Biaggio Joseph Jennaro (father of James Jennaro) died June 15, 1968. The funeral was held at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home on June 17. Attendees included the Balistrieri brothers, Joseph Spero, Steve DeSalvo, Dominic Principe and Jerry DiMaggio. At the funeral, Balistrieri told an informant that he still wanted to “make” Joseph Enea and Walter Brocca but he had been so busy making repairs to his night clubs and working on his tax appeal that there had been no time to schedule the initiation.
By June 20, 1968, Walter Brocca and Harry DeAngelo were running a high-stakes poker game at 840 North 24th Street, Apartment 115 on the weekends. A percentage of the money was given to Frank Balistrieri.
The FBI met with US Attorney James B. Brennan on June 24, 1968 to discuss the possibility of getting a subpoena for the phone records of Alfred DeCesaro, Angelo Germinaro, John Puntillo and Eugene Thomas in order to determine if they had an organized system for laying off bets across state lines. Brennan said he was “not inclined” to ask for the subpoena on a “speculative” basis. He encouraged the FBI to pursue other avenues and then using the subpoena only when necessary.
The first week of July 1968, Frank Balistrieri and Felix Alderisio traveled to Reno, Nevada.
John Morn was arrested on July 7, 1968 at the Club Las Vegas (6309 West National Avenue) after getting into a fight with another man.
On July 11, 1968, Raymond Mirr was contacted by the FBI to remind him that he still owed $1,250 on a gambling conviction. Mirr told the agents that a recent Supreme Court decision (in February 1968) essentially threw out gambling stamps, so he did not feel that he needed to pay any more. In fact, he said he should ask for a refund of the $1,000 he had already paid. When the agents reported this to the US Attorney, he was in agreement with Mirr — there would be no further attempt to collect the debt.
Alderisio met Balistrieri at the Ad Lib Club on July 15, 1968.
Mary Mercurio Picciurro died on July 19 and her wake was held on July 21, 1968. Those present were Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, Frank Sansone and August Maniaci.
Steve DeSalvo was rumored to be involved in the construction of a 114-unit apartment complex in Mundelein, Illinois in August 1968.
On August 4, 1968, there was a stag dinner honoring the son of Vito Aiello, who was getting married. Nick Fucarino, August Maniaci, Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri, John Aiello, Sam Ferrara, Charles Zarcone, Nick Collura, Sam Cefalu, Sheriff Cefalu, Joseph Enea, Frank Sansone, Tony Machi, Vito Seidita, Walter Brocca, Joseph Spero and other hoodlums were in attendance. The dinner was held at Vitucci’s, 1832 East North Avenue. Attendees were charged $10 a plate, with the profits going as a wedding gift. Frank Balistrieri was noticeably absent. The dinner broke up at 9:30pm, and a car containing Steve DeSalvo and Sam Cefalu was pulled over as they left.
In August 1968, Walter Brocca along with a few other men (including two from the rescue mission) were remodeling the building at 722 North Water Street (formerly the Wayside Inn) for Frank Balistrieri to turn it into The Pub, which would be a three-story night spot: first floor English pub, second floor cocktail lounge and third floor rock and roll discotheque. Brocca was the project foreman and paid his workers in cash. Work was said to be progressing slowly due to the inexperience of the workers, and many days they would work 4am to noon and then quit. Brocca’s company, WB Construction, was known for doing poor quality work.
FBI agents ran surveillance on Angelo Germinaro on August 8, 1968. At 4:05pm, they saw him go into the Tower Drive-In Restaurant and order an ice cream, then stand outside and eat it.
On August 13, 1968, a captain with the West Allis Police Department spoke with the FBI concerning the Club Las Vegas. He said that Joseph Balistrieri and Dominic Frinzi were visitors at the club, and a car registered to Joseph or Angelo Alioto was also seen there on occasion.
Jennie D’Angelo Alioto died on August 12, 1968 and her funeral was on August 16. Attending the wake were Steve DeSalvo, Peter Balistrieri, Frank Balistrieri, Joseph Caminiti, Vito Seidita, August Maniaci, John Alioto and Joseph Enea. A man was mugged by two black men outside of the funeral home.
Disgraced Milwaukee police officer Harry R. Kuszewski, 57, died on August 16, 1968. He was driving his Volkswagen in Franklin and went off the road, over a ditch and finally striking a high-tension wire. When pronounced dead at the hospital, he had only a cut on his forehead, leading the doctors to suspect a heart attack. He was survived by wife Angeline and son Robert Allen Kuszewski.
Special Agents stopped by the Brass Rail at 8:45pm on August 20, 1968 and saw Steve DeSalvo speaking with the bartender. He left shortly after the agents arrived, and returned twenty minutes later with a paper bag containing toilet paper. A bartender named John told the agents he heard the Brass Rail had been sold and would be moved, though he did not know who bought it or where it was moving.
The agents next went to the Downtowner and noticed nothing of interest. Finally, they went to the Ad Lib and saw James Jennaro sitting at the far west end of the bar. The bartender was Joseph Enea.
On the evening of August 23, 1968, Paul Ricca’s Cadillac was stolen from a parking lot at 626 North 5th Street between 11pm and 3:15am. Ricca was in town to attend the Italian-American Gold Tournament at the Tuckaway Club. He was staying at the Red Carpet Inn under the name Doren. Ricca was in Fazio’s with Jack Cerone when the car was taken. The car was recovered briefly on August 29 — but was then stolen from the police garage! Later that day it turned up again, and inside police found business cards from Joseph Balistrieri and Dominic Frinzi. There was also a letter from the Illinois State Bank.
On Saturday, August 24, 1968, Vito Aiello’s son Isadore John Aiello married Marianna Monica Maretti (daughter of Angelo J. Maretti) at St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church. The reception was held at the Holiday Inn. The bride and groom had both attended UW-Milwaukee and intended to honeymoon in Miami Beach before settling done at 2192 North 52nd Street.
On August 31, 1968, there was a wedding reception for Cheryl Marie Principe, the daughter of Dominic Principe in Kenosha. Cheryl married James Reynold Gemignani, son of Roger Gemignani, at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Kenosha. Nick Fucarino, Joseph Spero, Jimmy Jennaro, Walter Brocca, Albert Albana and most of the Milwaukee LCN attended the reception. Steve DeSalvo was in charge of invitations and declined to invite either Vito Aiello or John Aiello. August Maniaci, Santo Marino and Sam Ferrara also did not attend. This was yet another example of the old-timers being snubbed by the younger members.
Dr. Vito Guardalabene, 59, of 6826 West Wisconsin Avenue, Wauwatosa, died on Tuesday, September 3, 1968. He had suffered his second stroke in June and was in the hospital for a gall bladder ailment at the time of his death.
FBI agents stopped in front of Salvatore DiMaggio’s home at 1538 North Franklin Place on September 6, 1968 to check up on him. They wrote down the license plate number (H25-644) of an automobile parked there and drove off.
Attorney Joseph P. Balistrieri tried to secure a $125,000 loan from Continental Bank and Trust in September 1968, but was turned down. Family friend Frank Ranney, of Teamster Local 200, called the bank and said a large deposit from the Teamsters would arrive if the bank granted the loan. On September 10, 1968, the Teamsters deposited $500,000 and Balistrieri’s $125,000 loan was granted. Two weeks later, Balistrieri was granted an additional $63,000 loan.
William Covelli called an informant on September 12, 1968 and asked if he wanted to be involved in taking football bets for him (Covelli). The set-up was going to be simple, with Covelli calling for the “line” in Milwaukee at noon on Saturdays or Sundays and then accepting bets within a half hour. The informant declined, and Covelli told him to keep him (Covelli) in mind if he changes his mind.
A wedding reception was held on September 14, 1968 at Knights of Columbus Hall. Most of the Milwaukee LCN attended, with the exception of Antonio Albano, who was in the hospital.
The FBI followed Steve DiSalvo on September 18, 1968. At 2:40pm, his Buick Riviera was parked near Fiebrantz and Appleton Avenue. He then arrived in a Mustang and switched to the Riviera, which he drove to the A&W Root Beer at 7467 West Appleton Avenue. He made a 30-second phone call from the phone booth on the corner. He briefly drove home (4163 North 82nd), but then left again at 3:08pm and went downtown. They followed him to Markey’s Tap (2731 West Clybourn), at which point he jumped from his Riviera and ran down an alley. Surveillance was discontinued at 3:30pm, with DiSalvo successfully evading them.
On September 19, 1968, the FBI made a check at “The Office” (2726 West Clybourn) in the morning. They saw Frank Daddabbo and Sam Dentice on the property. When checking back in the afternoon, they saw Sam Dentice and Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu.
Steve DiSalvo told an informant (probably August Maniaci) on September 23, 1968 that the Milwaukee Police Department had began a 24-hour surveillance on him the day before. He said he did not know the reason for the surveillance, but suspected it was somehow related to Bronson LaFollette running for governor. The informant reported this to the FBI on September 25.
The FBI watched 431-37 North 27th Street on September 24, 1968 between 10:40am and 3:40pm. They saw Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu wandering on the second floor in the hallway and in apartment 220. At 12:08pm, Sam Dentice was seen walking from “the office” on Clybourn over to North 27th. At 4:38pm, both Dentice and Cefalu walked back to “the office”.
Sam Dentice was watched walking outside “the office” on the afternoon of September 26, 1968 and had 35mm photos taken. The next day at 3:40pm, Anthony Cefalu was seen walking around there.
Someone spoke to the FBI on September 27, 1968 and told them Apartment 220 at 431-437 North 27th Street was originally rented by a woman for a six month period, and now the apartment lease continues on a month to month basis. Since signing the papers, the woman has not been seen again and instead cash is slid under the manager’s door the first of each month by an unknown person. The man (after viewing photographs) said he saw Dentice and Cefalu there during the day, but the apartment was left vacant at night.
On September 28, 1968, the Rutt (a West Allis club) burned, killing two people who lived upstairs — Bernardine Krancki (50) and George Krancki (9). Bernardine’s husband and a second son made it out alive. Arson was suspected. The owners were John Morn, Joseph Kusch and Peter Anthony Merschdorf.
Steve DiSalvo drove to Gary, Indiana and then to western Illinois on October 1, 1968, for no apparent reason. The police believed that since DiSalvo was aware of being surveilled, he was trying to frustrate the police. The same day, the FBI also followed Sam Dentice, starting at 8:30am around 1611 North Jackson. Around 8:50am, he was at Sciortino’s Bakery (1101 East Brady) and picked up a panel truck to make deliveries with. The truck was registered to Arthur Sundberg. He made deliveries to the A&P Tea Company (808 East Ogden) and the John Ernst Cafe (600 East Ogden) before they stopped following him. Checking back at 2:24pm, they found Dentice at the North 27th Street apartment.
A Milwaukee police officer met with Special Agent Daniel Brandt on October 2, 1968 and explained their surveillance of DiSalvo. They said their sources suggested DiSalvo would take over the Milwaukee Family if Frank Balistrieri went to prison, so they increased their surveillance of DiSalvo two weeks ago. At first he made his regular stops and daily visits. After about a week, he was at 722 North Water Street and apparently realized at that time he was being followed. Since then, he avoided personal contacts and changed his routine, and made daily trips to Illinois for no reason. The police believed he was trying to embarrass them or get them in a situation here he could sue for harassment.
An informant told the FBI on October 3, 1968, that Jimmy Jennaro had recently met with a police sergeant and the officer told him he was being transferred from the vice squad to the first precinct. (This seems to imply that Jennaro’s vice activities may not be as well protected.)
The FBI spoke with the Wisconsin Department of Justice on October 4, 1968 concerning John Puntillo. The DOJ said it had been conducting surveillance on Puntillo, but up to this point had not been successful in catching him doing anything. They said they planned to have an undercover officer investigate further in the near future.
Following a tip from the FBI, the vice squad raided a poker game at 1527A North Jackson at 3:15am on October 5, 1968. The man in charge of the game, Joseph Enea, was not there, but they arrested eight gamblers.
A wedding reception for the Nicolina Cannella, daughter of Rockford LCN member Phil Cannella, was held at the Faust Hotel in Rockford on October 5, 1968. Milwaukee members attending included August Maniaci and Nick Fucarino. Almost all Rockford members attended, with the exception of boss Joe Zammuto, and no one from Chicago was there. Maniaci’s daughter was a bridesmaid, and the best man was Frank “Gumba” Saladino. The groom was Ronald Arbisi.
The FBI surveilled around “the office” on October 7, 1968 and saw Anthony Cefalu get dropped off there by a Checker Cab around 10:40am.
An informant told the FBI on October 8, 1968 that Corrao’s Tavern (3700 West National Avenue) was one of the places where gambling bets were called in to the Office.
On October 12, 1968, Peter Merschdorf was fined $32 for letting people loiter around his club, the Rutt. At the same time, John Morn was fined $107 for abusing an officer and disorderly conduct.
Some time in mid-October 1968, Sally Papia went to Fazio’s on 5th and bragged of her Mafia connections and how she could open a restaurant on 5th Street and put Fazio’s out of business. Papia was thrown out of the restaurant, but soon told her boyfriend, who came back and broke someone’s jaw in three pieces. (Presumably one of the Fazio brothers.)
Also in mid-October, Walter Brocca and two men went to a concrete block manufacturing company and crossed the picket lines to get blocks for The Pub. The concrete truck drivers were on strike, and when the men exited the building, Brocca and another man were beaten up by 20 strikers near Broadway and St. Paul. The third man ran away.
An informant told the FBI on October 18, 1968 that Joey Balistrieri (Peter’s son) was running gambling and keeping track of the line at Gallagher’s. He may have been calling in bets to the Office. He said collections and payoffs took place on Mondays, probably at either Pitch’s Lounge or the Belmont Hotel coffee shop.
Special agents spot checked known LCN hangouts on October 18, 1968. At 10:15pm they went to the Downtowner (340 West Wells) and saw Jerry DiMaggio and another man tending bar. They then went across the street to the Ad Lib Club (323 West Wells) where Joseph Spero was collecting cover charges. They also observed various hoodlums inside the club, including manager James Jennaro and bartender Joseph Enea. Next, they went to the Brass Rail (744 North Third) and saw Angelo DiGiorgio sitting at the bar. One of the agents asked a waitress if “Stevie D” was in, and she said she had not seen him in several days. The agents went to the Clock Bar (715 North Fifth) and saw a hoodlum with Salvatore Cefalu. They found no hoodlums at The Scene (624 North Second) or The Attic (641 North Second).
Agents interviewed Herman Sosnay again on October 21, 1968. He told them he “didn’t need this” and said he had high blood pressure and diabetes. Sosnay indicated that working with Steve DiSalvo was not worth the hassle of being harassed by law enforcement.
An informant spoke with the FBI on October 21, 1968 and said someone at Sciortino’s Bakery was abettor and would occasionally take layoff action. He also pointed out that Sam Dentice worked for this man.
Steve DiSalvo stopped by Danny’s Snack Bar at the corner of highways 45 and 175 in Mundelein, Illinois on October 23, 1968. (It was probably highway 176, actually.)
On the morning of October 24, 1968, at about 8:00am, Julius Theilacker and his wife Martha were in the kitchen of their home (5924 West Washington Boulevard) having breakfast. William T. Swan, the Theilacker’s next door neighbor at 1722 North 60th Street, was standing in the sunroom of his home making a telephone call and staring out of the window, facing south to the Theilacker’s residence.
Bernice Chopp was standing in front of the Theilacker residence on the corner of North 60th and Washington Boulevard, waiting for a bus. Milwaukee policemen James Hutchinson and Richard Retzer had just finished working the night shift and were heading home in Retzer’s private car when it ran out of gas at 60th Street and Washington Boulevard. Retzer had gone on foot for gas and when he returned, he and Hutchinson raised the hood of his car to put some gas in the carburetor. William Swan noted these uniformed policemen as he looked out the window of his home.
Upon finishing his breakfast, Julius C. Theilacker, 78, walked out to his garage and started to raise the overhead door. He never finished that task for in the next instant he was struck from behind. He was hauled into his garage as two masked men, Anthony Pipito and Salvatore “Sam” DiMaggio, forced a sack over his head and tied it tightly about his neck. He was then shoved to the floor of the garage and, as his hands were tied behind him, he was told, “All we want is your money.” Martha, 75, was locked in a closet.
Julius managed to untie himself, and Martha called out from the closet, “Julius, are they gone?” As Julius rounded the corner leading to the front hall, he saw Pipito ten to fifteen feet away with a nickel-plated revolver leveled at him. Pipito said, “You take another step and I’ll shoot you.” Julius replied, “Shoot, you son of a bitch” and he rushed the defendant with a claw hammer raised. Pipito ran out the front door.
Officer Retzer was alerted by Swan and told that masked men were assaulting his neighbor and had forced him into his garage. This was confirmed by Retzer’s own observation when he saw a masked man appear in a doorway of the Theilacker home. Upon seeing uniformed officers outside, the man leaped back into the home and slammed the door.
Officer Hutchinson approached the garage and could hear a radio listing police calls. He then circled the garage and saw a man, only a few feet from the garage window, starting to flee the scene. He pursued DiMaggio, and DiMaggio was eventually detained “breathing heavily,” after having run in first an easterly direction and then a westerly direction. Upon being detained, DiMaggio told Officer Hutchinson that he “lived on the East side” and was “working for some people.” A search of DiMaggio revealed nothing.
Officer Retzer caught Pipito shortly after, and a blackjack was visible on Pipito’s person. A quick search also revealed a .38 pistol. Pipito was brought, handcuffed, to the door of the patrol wagon and was identified by neighbor Mr. Swan as the man fleeing the Theilacker residence in a red ski mask. (Julius Theilacker, president of the J. C. Theilacker bridge-building company, would coincidentally end up dying of a heart attack during a burglary of his home in October 1971. He left an estate valued at $569,605.)
By October 25, 1968, Harry DeAngelo was raising money for the defense of someone close to him, who had been involved in an armed robbery with an LCN member and a well-known Milwaukee hoodlum. This may have been the Theilacker incident, but it is unclear.
On October 25, 1968, a murdered man was found on the 18th floor of the Sheraton Schroeder Hotel, beaten to death. His only identification was a tattoo on his left forearm of a panther head. He was soon discovered to be Wilbur Joseph McCaulley, who had escaped a Michigan prison and was living in Milwaukee under the name Arthur G. Bryan. He was associated with John Morn in the operation the Rutt club. (The murder was later tied to a bank robbery in Michigan, completely unrelated to Morn.)
The FBI met with the Wisconsin DOJ again on October 28, 1968. This time, the DOJ said they had an undercover officer who had witnessed Eugene Thomas, Angelo Germinaro and Alfred DeCesaro in conversation. They were overheard to discuss a “bundle” of parlay cards that had been stolen from their truck, and while watching them, Thomas accepted three bets over the phone. DeCesaro was seen making a call from a pay phone. Surveillance had been attempted at World Wide Arts, Puntillo’s place of business, but have failed to see anything yet. They believed this was where he was distributing the parlay cards.
James Jennaro was called in to the city attorney’s office on November 4, 1968. He arrived with attorney Joseph Balistrieri and was told that he could not have a liquor license for the Ad Lib because he was not a resident of the city. Balistrieri told the city it was okay and a few days later submitted Jerome DiMaggio’s name to the City Licensing Commission.
On November 5, 1968, Anthony Pipito was caught by Glendale patrolman Thomas Reynolds while trying to steal a car from the Phil Tolkan Pontiac dealership at 2301 West Silver Spring Drive. Pipito escaped by vaulting a seven foot fence.
An unidentified LCN member (possibly Anthony Pipito) and another man were involved in an armed robbery, possibly in late November or early December 1968. This upset Santo Marino, as the Milwaukee family was supposed to be keeping things quiet. (This may actually be referring to the October home invasion.)
The FBI spoke with the apartment manager for where the Office was located on November 6, 1968. The man turned over the envelope the rent had been paid in (presumably so the agents could check for prints). He said he had recently been in the apartment to fix the refrigerator and did not see anything of interest other than a short list of phone numbers that was left out. He was of the opinion they were only a small operation and catered to a very limited clientele. (This envelope was processed November 22 and a latent print from Sam Dentice was found.)
On November 12, 1968, the Milwaukee Journal reported that Joseph Balistrieri had purchased the Brass Rail (744 North 3rd), the former strip tease club of Isadore Pogrob, gangland murder victim. In fact, it was still run by Irving Pogrob (Isadore’s brother), but the building was now owned by Balistrieri, who purchased it from Schlitz Brewing. By the end of the year, the liquor license would be transferred to Rudolph Porchetta.
The Chicago Office of the FBI informed Milwaukee on November 13, 1968 that Vogue Printers in North Chicago were printing football parlay cards. They were told to keep their eyes open for them in Kenosha, as this might be grounds for an interstate violation.
Peter Merschdorf was interviewed by the FBI on November 13, 1968 concerning his knowledge of Wilbur McCaulley. He said that he started the Rutt Tavern (7127 West National Avenue) in early 1968 with a man named Kusch. Later, he met “Arthur Bryan” (McCaulley) at the Interns and they struck up a friendship. In mid-summer, Bryan wanted to buy in to the Rutt along with his friend John Morn. Merschdorf already knew Morn, but did not know he knew Bryan until this time. It was determined these men would each contribute $8000 which would be used to help build a pizza parlor called Nero’s at 8533 West Greenfield Avenue, West Allis. Their attorney for the incorporation was Joseph Balistrieri. On September 28, there was a fire at the Rutt, and the damage was extensive, so they have decided to focus on the pizza parlor. Merschdorf did not think Bryan was a gambler, as he only knew him to go to Las Vegas on one occasion. He knew Morn was a gambler, but had not placed bets with him and there was no gambling at the Rutt.
An informant told the FBI on November 14 that John Morn was associated with someone named Wilbur McCaulley in some sort of business. (A newspaper search shows that a Wilbur McCaulley was involved in bank robberies between Milwaukee and Detroit and was murdered by his partners, William Carey and John Sandoval, in October 1968. Any connection to Morn or the Syndicate is unknown.) An informant (maybe the same one) said there were a few bookmaking operations in Milwaukee taking in $100,000 each week, but declined to name them. He said the gamblers liked to congregate at the Clock Bar, especially for breakfast. He did not know where the “line” came from, but assumed it was out of state.
On November 15, 1968, an informant told the FBI that Bertie Olson, owner of the Fireside Steakhouse (6100 22nd Avenue), was distributing football parlay cards at his restaurant.
Salvatore DiMaggio and Anthony Pipito appeared in court on November 19, 1968. The district attorney requested that their bond be raised, in light of the news that the Theilacker family had been receiving threatening letters. John Triliegi tried to get bail bonding company Meiroff and Kahn to bail the two men out, but they would not. Frank Balistrieri allegedly paid the bail of $10,000 using money he acquired in Chicago. The Chicago money, in turn, apparently came from the Atlas Bonding Company in Newark, New Jersey.
An informant spoke with Special Agent Daniel Brandt on November 19, 1968. He said that Joseph Enea was “disgusted” with Frank Balistrieri’s treatment of him and the low wages he earned as a bartender. He was afraid to leave Balistrieri, though, because he was offered a position within the Milwaukee Family and did not want Balistrieri to renege on this offer.
Irvin Pogrob shut down the Brass Rail on December 1, 1968. Within a month, it would be reopened under new management.
An informant told the FBI on December 2, 1968 that football parlay cards had not been in Kenosha for the last two weeks. He said this was because their source in Waukegan had been raided, and furthermore because John Puntillo had been gone hunting.
A former bookie spoke with the FBI on December 4, 1968 and said that the Office had lost about $10,000 in the last two weeks. He knew this because Sam Dentice had called him and asked if he was still booking and could take some layoff action. The man informed Dentice he was no longer booking.
John Joseph Aiello died of natural causes on December 5, 1968 in the Veterans Hospital at age 53. Joseph Spero, Walter Brocca and many others attended his funeral at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home on December 6. An informant met up with Vito Aiello and Vincent Mercurio there. Charles Zarcone was notably absent; he had a blood disease and was too ill to attend. Aiello’s widow, Helen Murawski Aiello, was given an envelope of cash by Frank Balistrieri, who in turn had received it from Felix Alderisio.
On the evening of December 5, 1968, Special Agent Eugene Sather made spot checks at various downtown nightclubs. He went to the Downtowner at 9:45pm and saw Mike Oliva tending bar. He went to the Ad Lib at 10:20pm and asked a waitress about James Jennaro and Joseph Enea. He was told that Jennaro was still the manager (despite losing his liquor license) but Enea had left and was now working at Alfie’s on Teutonia. The MC on duty was A. J. Jankowski. He also found that the Brass Rail had closed when he reached it at 10:45pm.
On December 11, 1968, Kenosha had to pull two tavern licenses: Joseph Perone of Perone Liquors and Gary Capozza at Gary’s Tap. Both men had felony gambling convictions on their record, and if they were not pardoned by the end of the year, would have to forfeit their business.
On December 15, 1968, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 28-27 at Wrigley Field. The game was so close that it left many Milwaukee bookmakers scrambling for money.
Frank Balistrieri was at Sally’s Steakhouse until very late in the evening Christmas Eve 1968, causing his wife to get very upset. She called Sally Papia and told her to stay away from Frank.
On December 31, 1968, the Brass Rail was reopened after a month of being closed. Now, the liquor license was in the name of Rudolph Porchetta.
By January 10, 1969, Harry DeAngelo and Joseph Balistrieri (Peter’s son) were running a poker game at 1855 East Cambridge Avenue. It would continue for at least two months.
An informant on January 10 told the FBI that John Puntillo had been running to Chicago each Monday in relation to football parlay cards. The rumor was that due to losses Puntillo was now in debt $9000 to somebody in Chicago.
An informant told the FBI on January 15, 1969 that Frank Tenuta and Alfred DeCesaro held meetings every Sunday morning at Tenuta’s restaurant. (This informant had at one time worked at Nino’s restaurant and was considering going back.)
An informant told the FBI on January 16, 1969 that Cefalu was in the hospital for an unknown reason. Once he was out, Cefalu was expected to vacation in Houston.
An article appeared in the Milwaukee Sentinel on January 23, 1969 concerning the Vice Squad’s crackdown on the downtown strip clubs. Apparently the city only allowed dancers to strip to their underwear, but at the Ad Lib they found some dancers stripping to nothing more than a G-string. One dancer, female impersonator Brooks Walter Woodsman (performing as Teri Tyler), was caught inappropriately touching an undercover officer and was fired and fined $50.
The funeral for Milwaukee consigliere Charles Zarcone (died January 30) was held January 31 and February 1, 1969 at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home. Among attendees were Salvatore Seidita, Nick Fucarino, Joseph Spero, John Pernice and Santo Marino. Pernice was noted to be especially close to Zarcone.
Nunzio A. Maniaci, 6912 North 37th Street, submitted his name to be the agent for the Ad Lib on Friday, January 31, 1969. Maniaci, a real estate agent and bank teller, was replacing Jerome DiMaggio, whose application had been rejected after police said he had made a false statement in his application. DiMaggio had failed to report an arrest for petty theft in South Montello, Florida.
An informant told the FBI that Frank Balistrieri met with Felix Alderisio at Sally’s Steak House in early February 1969.
An informant told the FBI on February 14 that Bernie Olsen of Kenosha was receiving tips from someone in Libertyville and then used those tips to place bets on horse races with Alfred DeCesaro.
Around February 26, Harry DeAngelo and another man threw several Army MPs out of Gallaghers who had been in there looking for a deserter.
On February 26, 1969, a gold Ford registered to Gladys Paul of Glenview, Illinois was seen in Angelo Germinaro’s driveway.
Former Milwaukee captain George Sprague submitted his resignation as chief of police for Chicago Heights, effective February 27, 1969.
In March 1969, Rockford associate Joe Roberts was working for a siding business in Beloit and Nick Gentile, a Milwaukee associate, was working for a different company also in Beloit. Roberts phoned Gentile and told him he had a week to get out of town and that he “may have Balistrieri in Milwaukee, but he had more powerful friends in Rockford.” Buscemi being fully aware of Rockford having just gotten done with a December 1968 gambling and liquor inquiry did not want this type of attention. He told Charlie Vince and Knobby Gulotta to take care of the problem, which they somehow did.
On March 7, 1969, bank president Howard Meister of Continental Bank and Trust testified about loans he made to Joseph Balistrieri totaling over $150,000. Balistrieri used the funds to purchase the Wayside Inn (722 North Water) and the Brass Rail (744 North 3rd). Of Frank Balistrieri, Meister said, “I know him. I don’t go out with him. If I know him and I like him I assume he’s my friend. There’s nothing wrong with the loans. They’re good mortgages. If you can come up with half as good collateral, I’ll give you one.” Meister also testified that he was approached about setting up a wiretap in Dr. Anthony Verdone’s office. (This was during a case involving Meister being sued for libel, unrelated to Balistrieri. Meister had repeatedly tried to get Attorney General Dalton fired, and Dalton sued him.)
Jerry DiMaggio was transferred from St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee to Madison General Hospital on March 21, 1969. He was suffering from a bowel obstruction and needed diagnostic testing.
On the night of Saturday, March 22, 1969, Raymond J. Ramazini of Milwaukee and Harold L. Simpson of Calumet City, Illinois tried to rob John Nauracy, 79, in East Chicago, Indiana. Nauracy and his wife Marie were sprayed in the face with a chemical compound, apparently in order to knock them out while the robbers went to work on the safe next door at the Roxana Supermarket. Nauracy’s son-in-law George Almason shot at the robbers in self-defense with a shotgun. A minor firefight broke out and Almason was hit in the face and hand. Simpson stumbled into Nauracy’s basement and died there. Ramazini fled the scene and his corpse was found the next day by children in Hammond. A third robber escaped by car.
The funeral for Raymond Ramazini was held on March 26, 1969. Attending the funeral were August Maniaci and Alvin H. Schontube.
An informant spoke with the FBI on March 26, 1969. He said that two weeks prior, he had been to the Harness Races in Chicago with Sam Dentice and some others. While there, Dentice said that someone (name redacted) had been put in charge of the books at the Office while Sheriff Cefalu had been ill, and this person was “juggling” the books. While the amount Dentice was aware of was small ($96), he indicated that if Steve DiSalvo found out there would be serious consequences.
An informant was contacted on March 27, 1969. He said he believed William Covelli was out of the gambling business altogether, and Kenosha gambling was completely in the hands of Alfred DeCesaro. The informant said DeCesaro received two “lines” — the Northern line, which came in through Eau Claire from Minnesota, and the Southern line from Chicago. Louis Gerolmo was said to be laying off with DeCesaro. DeCesaro’s “movers” at AMC were Ray Matera, John Puntillo and a man named Woodbury.
Frank Balistrieri and his two daughters were out east from March 28, 1969 through April 2. He met with his attorney in Washington, DC and then toured New York City with his daughters. He returned to Milwaukee with a $300 suede coat for his wife.
William Covelli was contacted by the FBI at the Badger Cheese market in Bristol on March 28, 1969. He was friendly, and although he denied any knowledge of gambling, was very open to talking about his business. He said he had been the owner for roughly 14 months and “enjoyed the type of life it provides”. He was open every day from 8 to 8. He said being open later could result in problems, and said that Sheriff William Schmitt was delaying the granting of his wife’s liquor license. (After this meeting, the agent sent a referral to the Bureau that Covelli be considered as a possible top echelon informant in the future. I suspect any attempts at this failed, although there are indications that his wife was talking.)
After a year and a half, Salvatore “Sam” Dentice had his day in court and was found guilty of assaulting a federal officer on April 2, 1969. Judge John W. Reynolds put him on two years probation.
Two FBI agents went into the Office Lounge in Kenosha on April 9, 1969 at 11:00am. They saw Angelo Germinaro talking with Eugene Thomas and Alfred DeCesaro. Their conversation was interrupted several times by telephone calls that the agents could not hear. Around noon, John Puntillo showed up, and the agents left at 12:15pm.
An informant told the FBI on April 12, 1969 that John Puntillo “controls all gambling activities” at the AMC plant. He was primarily involved in football betting and used parlay cards. Such cards allowed for a gambler to get bigger returns if they correctly predicted the outcome of multiple games. Conversely, this increased the odds of losing because the odds were lower. This informant did not know if Puntillo was involved in baseball or basketball, but assumed so. He also did not know who Puntillo “laid off” with.
Anthony “Sheriff” Cefalu had a fatal heart attack on April 13, 1969. His wake was attended by Steve DiSalvo, Frank Stelloh, Frank Sansone, Sam Cefalu, Sam Librizzi, Sam Dentice, Isadore Tocco, Fred Aveni and Tony Petrolle.
On the morning of April 15, 1969, agents saw Alfred DeCesaro and Angelo Germinaro at Nino’s Midway Restaurant. DeCesaro also stopped at the Red Arrow Tap and the Office Lounge, where he met John Puntillo.
Two special agents went to the Ad Lib on April 15, 1969 from 10:00pm until 10:35pm. While there, they saw James Jennaro at the far right side of the bar in conversation. An agent asked a waitress if Jimmy was still in charge. She said, “Yes, but you’d never know it because he doesn’t do anything.”
On April 16, 1969, FBI agents (including Daniel Brandt) watched Alfred DeCesaro enter and leave various businesses in Kenosha. Between 9:48am and 1:00pm, he entered George’s Custom Tailors, the Park View Motel, Villa Capri Liquor Store, Towne House Restaurant, Louie’s Tap, Joe’s Bar, Park Liquor Store, the Elks Club, Bartley House Tavern, Office Lounge, Schmidt’s Club Bar, and Art and Joyce’s Tap. During this surveillance, John Puntillo was also seen at the Office Lounge and DeCesaro was seen having a brief conversation with John Buttera.
The FBI added Joseph Enea to its potential informant program (TECIP) on April 17, 1969. They believed with his father’s murder and his dissatisfaction with Balistrieri as an employer, he would make a perfect informant. He was also well-placed, as he had connections to many top Milwaukee mobsters and Alfie’s (where he was tending bar) was a known hangout for black burglars. To the best of my knowledge, they were never able to get anything of value from Enea.
On the evening of April 24, 1969, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DiSalvo and one other person went to Chicago to see Balistrieri’s attorney.
On April 29, 1969, Attorney General Robert Warren and assistant Daniel P. Hanley sent a confidential letter to Racine’s police chief Leroy Jenkins. Although most of what I have is redacted, Warren wanted any information Jenkins had on a long list of people. Included on that list were district attorney Joseph Molinaro, state rep George Molinaro, Alfred DeSimone, an unnamed son of Pasquale Cosentino, an unnamed son of Eugenio Lamacchia, and Joe Rizzo. Warren warned Jenkins that the investigation was “highly confidential” and he could not say too much “without revealing our purpose.” Many on the list had a connection to either the American State Bank, beer distribution, or both. And almost all were clearly Italian. (Either Warren or Jenkins passed a copy of the letter to the FBI; it was probably Jenkins.)
An employee at the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department spoke to the FBI on April 25, 1969. He said Alfred DeCesaro had been a gambler all his life and was close with the owner of Tenuta’s. In the past, the owner had been observed passing an envelope of cash to a Kenosha policeman. He said there was “a good deal of corruption” in local law enforcement and in City Hall.
On April 25, 1969, a $17,144 tax lien was filed against Sam Dentice, with the government claiming that Dentice had not filed taxes on $170,000 of gross gambling receipts.
On April 25, an informant said that Louis Gerolmo was betting with Gene Thomas, sometimes as much as $100 or more on each Chicago Cubs game. The source said Thomas was a partner with Alfred DeCesaro, and they did not take bets over $200 because they were not laying off with anyone and could not afford the loss. DeCesaro would let his underlings, such as Angelo Germinaro, to take all the risks.
Dominic Gullo was issued a liquor license on May 1, 1969 for a North Farwell building that was going to be a liquor store. He was questioned and said that he knew Frank Balistrieri, but that Balistrieri had no interest in his business. For just knowing Balistrieri, the city moved in to block the opening of the liquor store.
Gambler Charlie Piscuine died on May 7, 1969 at age 52. His funeral was on May 9, 1969 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Many Kenosha and Milwaukee people attended the wake, but no one from Madison did. His death was a complete shock, as he had been scheduled to be married the following week. (Piscuine was Sally Papia’s uncle.)
On May 16, 1969, an informant told the FBI that Steve DiSalvo had closed “the Office” following the death of Sheriff Cefalu and was transferring the action to Sam Cefalu and Sam Librizzi. DiSalvo did not trust Sam Dentice to handle the money.
Two agents took a position on Brown Deer Road at 5:37pm on May 19, 1969 to run surveillance on the home of Frank Sansone, 8676 North Manor Court in Fox Point. He was seen in the front of his house in a black business suit. At 6:20pm he was mowing his lawn with a riding lawn mower. At 7:35pm, Sansone left his home and agents followed him to the Sheraton-Schroeder Hotel on Fifth where he gave his keys to a valet and then walked into Fazio’s on Fifth. Sansone talked to various people around the bar until 8:45pm, when he joined Louis Fazio for dinner in the dining room. The agents took a seat in the dining room and watched various people come up and talk to Fazio and Sansone until 10:15pm. Also in the dining room was Philadelphia-based comedian Anthony Santoro.
Around 10:15pm, the agents left and went to the Ad Lib Club. Minutes later, James Jennaro sat down at their table and struck up casual conversation. Jennaro said the club stopped using female impersonators and was now strictly female strippers. He had also fired a comedian that he considered “too raw”. The bartender Jerry was currently in the hospital undergoing tests — he was grossly overweight and had stomach problems. Jennaro said Joseph Enea was still working at Alfie’s on Teutonia. He said he liked living in Brookfield, though he missed Milwaukee’s East Side. But having a wife and three children, he thought Brookfield was a better environment to raise a family. Jennaro said he barred [redacted] from the Ad Lib because of his notoriety as a thief. Jennaro said he was a “dumbbell” and would always be a thief. Walter Brocca stopped by for a moment to say hello to Jennaro, and after he left Jennaro said Brocca was a “clever craftsman” and “capable carpenter”, having built the Kings IV almost single-handedly. The agents left the Ad Lib at 11:15pm.
An informant told the FBI on May 28, 1969 that following the death of Sheriff Cefalu, Sam Dentice took up full-time employment with Sciortino’s Bakery. He was no longer involved in gambling.
Around June 1, 1969 an informant (presumably August Maniaci) was approached by Nick Fucarino and James Schiavo, who wanted the informant to talk to Vincent Mercurio. Schiavo wanted help with a potential tax case being prepared against him. The informant said he would not talk to Mercurio, because there was no way he (Mercurio) would attempt to change the tax officials’ thinking.
Anthony F. Pipito was convicted of armed robbery and burglary on June 5, 1969. Judge R. C. Cannon sentenced him to twenty-seven years in Waupun State Prison. Salvatore DiMaggio was convicted of attempted armed robbery and armed burglary the same day. Cannon sentenced him to thirty-five years.
A “victory party” was held for Frank Balistrieri at Sally’s Steak House in the Knickerbocker Hotel on June 8, 1969. The Wisconsin Supreme Court had sent his case back to the district level for additional hearings. Nick Fucarino, among other older members, did not receive an invitation to this party… causing them to become upset.
An informant talked to Joseph Enea on June 15, 1969. Enea said that Frank Balistrieri was in poor financial shape — he owed $7000 in liquor bills, $4000 in rent and taxes for Alfie’s and $2000 rent for the Ad Lib.
Two special agents went to Alfie’s Tavern on June 24, 1969 at 8:00pm. Joseph Enea was tending bar. Only one patron was present and left shortly after the agents arrived. Over the next 45 minutes, only one other customer was briefly in the bar. The agents showed Enea a selection of photographs of black burglars and he said he did not recognize any of them. He insisted the bar was a high-class establishment and did not welcome troublemakers. He said if he did not throw out the troublemakers, his customers (who were primarily black) would. Enea expressed displeasure with the way law enforcement and politicians had been handling the race riots and Black Panthers. He also said he was feeling the pinch of the brewery strike and only had Miller beer to serve and was dealing primarily in liquor.
The agents went to the Kings IV from 9:00pm until 10:00pm and saw a few people, including a liquor salesman and someone very intoxicated. They spoke to the bartender and asked if the upstairs was open, but they were told it would not be for a couple of weeks. Frank Balistrieri’s Cadillac El Dorado was parked outside in a “no parking any time” zone, but he was not seen. At 10:00pm, they went to the Ad Lib, where they saw James Jennaro, Sally Papia and Walter Brocca. The agents spoke with Jennaro, who said that business had gone down $500 each week since they discontinued using female impersonators, but it was worth the money loss to keep the police off their backs and keep the “excess number of homosexual customers” away. (Note: it is unclear from this whether Jennaro disliked homosexuals or simply disliked the police harassment of homosexuals, so not too much should be assumed here. As he was running a drag show, it may well be the latter.) He said Jerry DiMaggio the bartender had cancer and was receiving cobalt treatments in Madison five days a week.
Dominic Alderisio, father of Felix Alderisio, died in early July 1969. Among others attending the funeral were Frank LaGalbo, Frank Balistrieri and Jimmy Jennaro. An informant said that Balistrieri did not pass on word of Alderisio’s death to the membership, which caused some frustration when they found out.
An informant spoke with the FBI on July 9, 1969. He said he had been in communication with Joseph James “Scotty” Spinuzzi of Pueblo. According to Spinuzzi, gambling had all dried up in Pueblo and he was considering coming to Milwaukee to talk with Frank Balistrieri. (I am not terribly familiar with Colorado, but Spinuzzi became the Pueblo-Denver boss in 1969, so he may have been boss during this time.)
On July 20, 1969, Jain Syler of Chicago faked car trouble at the Holiday Inn Central. A man from Madison came to help her, and then later went to her hotel room. As he went to the room, he was jumped by Raymond Ramazini. Syler and Ramazini escaped with a diamond ring, a $500 watch and $200 in cash.
Mundelein, Illinois police had their first contact with Dominic Principe on July 27, 1969. Principe, working as an apartment manager for a 34-unit complex at 555 Deep-Wood Road, reported an air conditioner stolen from apartment 20.
On August 1, 1969, an informant (possibly August Maniaci) told the FBI that a delegation of nine old timers lead by Sam Ferrara was planning to go to Chicago and speak with Tony Accardo. Specifically, they were upset that control of the Milwaukee Family went from John Alioto to Frank Balistrieri, who had never shown them any respect. This was particularly insulting to Ferrara, a former boss. They hoped Accardo could get Balistrieri to change his ways or, better still, force a meeting where the membership could pick a new boss. (Who they wanted for boss was not expressed. It seemed to be anyone but Balistrieri.)
Carlo Marchese, 5121 West Wisconsin Avenue, was arrested by the Vice Squad on August 7, 1969 for commercial gambling. Marchese was the manager of V. Marchese, Inc. Apparently, a police officer gave Marchese money in order to place a bet at an Illinois race track.
Alfies, Inc (the corporation that owned Alfie’s, 4126 North Teutonia) was charged on Friday, August 8, 1969 with six counts of buying liquor while in debt more than 30 days. A summons was served to Jon A. Berta, president of Alfies. A check to Cream City Liquor from June 12 bounced, effectively making the tavern’s license void (because they had claimed during renewal not to be in debt).
Mayor Joseph Alioto of San Francisco, nephew of former mob boss John Alioto, threatened to sue Look magazine for $12.5 million on September 5, 1969 for an article they wrote claiming he had mob ties. The article said Alioto had provided Mafia leaders “with bank loans, legal services, business counsel and the protective mantle of his respectability. In return he has earned fees, profits, political support and campaign contributions.” They further alleged that when Alioto ran for mayor in 1967, “the Cosa Nostra did its part”. The magazine claims that Alioto, as board chairman for the First San Francisco Bank, “personally arranged” loans totaling $105,000 for Mafia hitman Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno. Alioto did not deny this claim. And regardless of his connections to the mob in San Diego, his connections to Milwaukee are quite clear.
Joseph Enea applied for a tavern license for Alfie’s (North Teutonia) on September 9, 1969. The license was granted on September 12. He was said to take bets at the bar which he then passed on to Sam Cefalu. Within a month he was transferred to tend bar at Kings IV.
The FBI went to the home of Antonio Albano (1538 North Marshall) on a pretext on September 19, 1969 for the purpose of getting a photo of him. They were greeted by son-in-law Dominic Gullo, who also lived there, and Gullo informed them that since Albano had a heart attack a year ago he rarely left his bed and would not go any farther than his front porch on nice days.
On September 23, 1969, an informant tried to get parlay cards from AMC employee Larry Bruch, who handled the cards at the Puzzle House. Bruch told the informant that he had been getting the cards in Waukegan, but that place got raided, so he didn’t have any right now. The informant then tried to get cards from Frank Turk, another AMC employee who had the cards in the past, but he did not have any either.
An informant told the FBI on September 30, 1969 that John Puntillo was getting his parlay cards from an unknown man in Waukegan. The FBI suspected he was getting them from Mama Mia’s Restaurant in Park City. From checking his phone records, they knew he was also in frequent contact with P-Jacks, a tavern in Chicago that was a known hangout for bookies. The informant believed Puntillo was on “juice” from someone in Illinois.
A remand hearing was held in Springfield on October 9, 1969 regarding Frank Balistrieri’s motion for a new trial in his tax case. The motion was denied. This same day, former special agent John Holtzman was served with a summons and complaint regarding Dominic Frinzi’s $1,000,000 wiretap lawsuit.
Bookmaker Isadore Phillip “Izzy” Tocco died on October 17, 1969 at age 56. His funeral was attended by Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Enea and Tony Machi.
Also on October 17, attorney Dominic Frinzi filed a lawsuit for $1,000,000 alleging that federal agents had conspired with the phone company to wiretap his downtown office. He sued Alexander LeGrand (former agent, now deputy city housing inspector), Clark Lovrien (former agent, now head of the state crime laboratory), John Holzman (former agent, now a magistrate in Peoria), former agent Joseph O’Connell, and telephone employees Herbert Stein, Monroe Teske and David Nelson.
On October 20, Frank Balistrieri followed Frinzi’s lead. His attorney (and son) Joseph Balistrieri filed a $1,750,000 lawsuit against the same people in Frinzi’s lawsuit regarding a bug that was at his Continental Music office at 2559-2561 North Downer Avenue. His bookkeeper, Jennie Alioto, filed a separate $1,000,000 lawsuit for the bugging in her apartment at 1609 North Prospect. Alioto also named Ogden Realty, claiming they allowed agents to rent an apartment and drill a peephole in order to see who was coming and going from her apartment.
Beginning on October 20, 1969 officers Donald Kenney and Ronald Herion of the Chicago Police Department kept a building located at 610 North Bishop Street, Chicago, under surveillance on four successive Monday evenings. The officers observed an identical occurrence on each occasion: a car would stop at 610 North Bishop about 9pm, packages would be unloaded, and later packages would be picked up by a number of people. On November 3, 1969 the officers saw an automobile with Wisconsin plates arrive at the Bishop Street address. The driver entered the building, returned with a package, and drove off. Officer Kenney trailed the automobile and observed the driver as he got out of the car at a nearby restaurant. The officer then returned to 610 North Bishop and observed another person leave the building with a package that dropped on the street, spilling football parlay cards. On the following Monday, November 10, 1969, John Puntillo was arrested by officers Herion and Kenney at 610 North Bishop, and 70,000 parlay cards were seized during the arrest. Officer Kenney testified that after seeing Puntillo on November 10, he could identify the defendant as the same person who left 610 North Bishop with a package on November 3 and whom he later saw get out of an automobile at the nearby restaurant.
Special Agent Clark Lovrien filed a motion on October 30, 1969 to have himself removed from the wiretapping lawsuit of Dominic Frinzi. He claimed to not be involved in the incident and have no knowledge of it. In fact, he had resigned in July 1962 before the bug was ever placed. Special Agents John Holzman and Alexander LeGrand also asked to be removed. Both had since resigned from the Bureau, with Holzman moving to Illinois and LeGrand becoming an assistant to the mayor of Milwaukee. They contended their actions were as federal employees at the request of their superiors, thereby not making them the responsible parties.
Around September and October 1969, Sam Ferrara was quietly going around seeking older members of the Milwaukee family to join him in contacting Chicago boss Tony Accardo. Ferrara’s goal was to convince Accardo that Frank Balistrieri was appointed Milwaukee boss by John Alioto without the rest of the family’s support, and that a meeting should be held to replace Balistrieri and possibly have Milwaukee separate from Chicago. Ferrara believed that Balistrieri was causing friction by giving too much power to Steve DeSalvo. Ferrara was able to gain the support of Joseph Rizzo, Santo Marino, Jerry DiMaggio, Nick Fucarino and August Maniaci. Joseph Spero was on the fence, but could probably have been convinced.
Nick Fucarino contacted Carlo Caputo in Madison and had Caputo talk to Tony Accardo and Jack Cerone. A meeting was set up for November 3, 1969, that would have included Fucarino, Vito Aiello, August Maniaci and would have been in Chicago. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Frank Balistrieri. Before it happened, though, Cerone called Caputo and had him relay the message that the meeting should be postponed, as Balistrieri was soon going to prison and matters could be taken up with the new underboss of Milwaukee.
On Thursday, November 6, 1969, the city building inspector’s office shut down the remodeling of a building at 1135 East Ogden Avenue that was being converted into a liquor store and corned beef delicatessen without the city’s knowledge and without a remodeling permit. The work was being done by Walter Brocca. The building was owned by Esdras “Bill” Baker and was being rented by Sue Bartfield, 29, a waitress at Frank Balistrieri’s Kings IV tavern. The license for the liquor store was made out to Dominic Gullo, who claimed to have a lease from Baker. Baker, however, denied ever meeting Gullo. The city had an even bigger issue with the fact that the building was scheduled to be torn down for an expressway — so why invest in remodeling it?
John Puntillo was arrested on November 10, 1969 after he was followed from P-Jacks in Illinois back into Wisconsin with a trunk full of football parlay cards. He was caught in the act of interstate gambling.
Attorney Joseph Balistrieri visited Felix Alderisio at Leavenworth Prison on November 11, 1969. According to a lieutenant at the prison, Alderisio was now believed to be “the head of the Mafia” within the prison, having taken over from Charles Joseph Battaglia after he was released. The prison official suspected Balistrieri was passing along a message and not acting as an attorney.
The FBI spoke with Frank Turk on November 12, 1969 inside the 400 Club. He said he knew what parlay cards were, but had had not bought or handled them. When shown a photo of John Puntillo, Turk said it looked like an electrician who worked at AMC, but he did not know him personally. He denied going to Illinois to get parlay cards and said he wouldn’t know where to go anyway.
On November 12, 1969, the FBI interviewed Frank Peter Sadowski, an employee at Dynamatic. He said he was a “pusher” for Larry Bruch. and Bruch would pay Sadowski ten cents for each football parlay card he sold. Bruch dropped the cards off on Tuesdays and picked up the money on Fridays. Sadowski said he would sell anywhere from 40 to 100 each week. Coincidentally, Sadowski said Bruch called him earlier that very day and said the “big boy got nailed” and there wouldn’t be any more cards for a while.
The FBI spoke with Walter “Go Go” Dziekan on November 12, 1969 in the Bureau car outside of his place of employment, the American Brass Company. Dziekan denied ever buying or selling football parlay cards. When shown a photo of John Puntillo, he recognized the photo as a man he knew as “John”. He said he did not know him personally, but at one time Puntillo was a repairman and he fixed Dziekan’s TV. He also believed Puntillo at one time worked in a Kenosha art gallery. Dziekan denied ever seeing parlay cards at American Brass or at his hangout, the Puzzle House. He admitted knowing Larry Bruch, who also hung out at the Puzzle House, but had not seen Bruch with parlay cards.
On November 12, the FBI spoke with Eugene Thomas. He said he had avoided parlay cards after getting in trouble about three years earlier. He “learned his lesson” and no longer wanted any part of that. In fact, he was surprised to hear about Puntillo’s arrest because he had not even seen any parlay cards in Kenosha this season. He knew Puntillo, and not long ago Puntillo brought him some fish he caught in Oshkosh, but they were not involved in gambling together.
On November 12, the FBI interviewed Robert Puntillo at World Wide Arts, Inc. Puntillo said he had given John the company books to bring to Customs in Chicago because there were some Guatemalan ceramics that needed to be handled with Customs. When he heard John had been arrested, he was more concerned about the company books than about the arrest. The Puntillo family knew John was a gambler and were concerned that this recent notoriety would be harmful to the family business. (The harm seems to have been minimal, as the business continued at least through the 1990s.)
On November 13, 1969, the FBI spoke with Frank Peter Bagdonas, a night shift worker at AMC. He said he did not know John Puntillo personally, but believed he was the source of parlay cards in Kenosha. Bagdonas bought cards from Walter “Go Go” Dziekan, and would get paid 15 cents for cards he sold to others. He told the FBI he was not a pusher, but usually sold about 8 each week to his friends at Chet’s Sports Bar. Bagdonas heard that Dziekan got his tickets from a man named John, who he believed to be John Puntillo, but he did not know firsthand.
The FBI spoke with Larry Bruch on November 13, 1969. He admitted knowing John Puntillo and Frank Sadowski, but denied knowing anything about football parlay cards.
The FBI spoke with Frank Turk on November 13, 1969 and told him they had evidence he was involved in parlay cards. Turk aid that what he had told the FBI in the past was “bullshit” and that “I may as well come clean. Sure, I pushed the tickets.” Turk did not recall who introduced him to John Puntillo, but it happened about a year ago and Puntillo said Turk could have 25% of the money from all cards he sold. Turk said Puntillo would get cards on Monday night and he (Turk) would pick up 300 or 350 on Tuesday mornings. Sometimes Puntillo’s wife would give Turk the cards and previous week’s payouts. He did not know where Puntillo got the cards from. Turk told the agents he did not want to name his customers, but would be more forthcoming if subpoenaed by a grand jury.
On November 14, 1969, the FBI arrested John Puntillo in the warehouse of World Wide Arts (his brother’s business). He left all his belongings behind except his matches and cigarettes. Puntillo declined to make a statement and was booked at the Kenosha County Jail on $2500 bond for interstate gambling.
Joseph Enea, 37, got in a bar fight early Sunday, November 23, 1969 while tending bar at the Scene (624 North 2nd). Also involved were Reginald Oitzinger, 25, and Walter Ellis, 20. The two patrons had previously brought in a 17-year old boy on Wednesday who was served beer, and when found loitering by police later was caught with marijuana. When the men returned Saturday night, Enea asked them to testify in the case against the youth and they refused. Enea slapped one man in the face and gave another a black eye, and was charged on Monday with two counts of battery.
Enea appeared in court three times on Monday for the charges — first with attorney Dominic Frinzi before Magistrate Herbert J. Schultz, where District Attorney E. Michael McCann said, “These people have said they are in fear of their lives. Justice should not be frustrated by fear and terror in Milwaukee County.” That afternoon, he returned before Schultz with attorney Roland Steinle after Oitzinger and Ellis reluctantly signed affidavits. Finally, during arraignment in front of Judge Christ Seraphim with attorney Joseph Balistrieri. Enea was released without bond and told to return December 12.
The home of Frank Sansone (8676 North Manor Court) was raided on November 24, 1969 by FBI agents posing as delivery men. After a brief struggle, Sansone let the men (including agents John L. Duffy and John Markey) confiscate football records and gambling paraphernalia. Also, while the agents were searching the home, approximately 150 phone calls came in asking for “Frank” or “Hogan” (Sansone’s alias) for the purpose of gambling on football. The FBI was also interested to see if anything found could be connected to the Machi brothers.
On November 28, 1969, fourteen agents (ten from the Attorney General’s office) participated in a raid on the Scene, a nightclub which the press described as linked to Frank Balistrieri.
Judge Harvey L. Neelen ordered the Ad Lib night club temporarily closed on December 1, 1969 until the corporation that operates it, Mando Enterprises, could provide proof of workers compensation insurance. The attorney general wanted the club closed permanently.
Eugene Alfano (6316 47th Avenue) came to the Kenosha FBI office on December 3, 1969. Alfano said he knew nothing about football parlay cards, although he had seen them. He said he also was not aware of what happened in the factory at American Motors, because he worked for the company in the office. Alfano said he knew John Puntillo, Eugene Thomas and Alfred DeCesaro, but did not know of any illegal gambling. He said he worked part-tiem at the Office Lounge, and also ate lunch there. Alfano said he had gambled on horses in Illinois, but had never played a football parlay card and would not even know where to gamble in Kenosha if he wanted to.
On December 4, 1969, Tony Machi was fishing off the coast of Baja, California.
Teamsters Local 200 held their Christmas party at the Kings IV on December 7, 1969. Present were Judge Christ Seraphim, Frank Ranney, Alderman Allen Calhoun, Judge Michael Sullivan and Judge Robert Hansen. Ranney and Calhoun sat at a table with Frank Balistrieri all evening.
On Friday December 12, 1969, District Attorney E. Michael McCann filed more charges against Bals, Inc and the Scene — serving an underage woman (20) a Tom Collins and two beers, failure to keep invoices for two years, and failure to deface tax stamps on empty liquor bottles. These charges stemmed from an inspection on November 28.
The FBI interviewed Carlo Marchese on December 15, 1969. When he acknowledged going to the race tracks for gambling in Illinois, and would occasionally bring bets with him from other people, he said he was not a gambler beyond that.
Frank Balistrieri was resentenced on December 18, 1969 regarding his tax case to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Frank Balistrieri threw a Christmas party on December 21, 1969 at the Kings IV Tavern (722 North Water Street). Approximately 150-200 guests were there, including Walter Brocca, Sally Papia, Harry DeAngelo, Albert Albana, Frank Buccieri, Dominic Frinzi, Frank Stelloh, Steve DeSalvo, Benny DiSalvo, Jerry DiMaggio, John Rizzo, William Covelli, Dominic Gullo, Joseph Enea and the majority of the Milwaukee LCN. An informant told the FBI that Frank Balistrieri was telling people at this party that he would step down as boss of the Milwaukee Family because of his business (tax) problems. He also heard at this party that Jerry DiMaggio had been laid off from the Schlitz Brewery and tried to go work for Vincent Maniaci, but Maniaci told him to see Frank Balistrieri first. DiMaggio was then hired on as a bartender at the Downtowner.
Peter Balistrieri was denied a liquor license for Kings IV on December 22, 1969 due to pending charges against him, and because he already owned licenses for The Scene and Gallaghers (the city had a two license limit). Balistrieri was attempting to take over the tavern from Angelo DiGiorgio, who would have to surrender his license if convicted of pending gambling charges.
A Kenosha detective spoke with the FBI on December 24, 1969. He said that Robert John Carlson, owner of the Paddock Club, was possibly the biggest gambler in Kenosha. He could not prove this, but knew that Carlson used to be a used car salesman and would hold back money from the car sales to pay his gambling losses.
1970 started a shift in federal law enforcement away from crackdowns on gambling, a focus that had clearly been evident in Kenosha. Electronic surveillance orders for gambling cases went down from 251 nationwide in 1971 to 68 in 1974. 83,000 people were arrested for gambling in 1970, a figure that would drop to 65,000 by 1980. The reason for the shift was two-fold: the increase in legal gambling, and the passage of the RICO laws that allowed agents to look go after more serious offenses.
Frank Buccieri’s blue Ford Thunderbird was seen in Milwaukee on January 14, 1970.
On January 15, 1970, an informant met with Louis DeAngelis at a tavern in Waukegan and then a second tavern in Kenosha. DeAngelis was picking up some “stereo tapes” and he seemed very nervous, causing the informant to believe the tapes might be stolen.
An informant told the FBI on January 19, 1970 that he spoke with gambler “Bud” Miller, and it was Miller’s understanding that John Puntillo was “not a big man” and was merely working for Eugene Thomas.
Manager of the Ad Lib, Jimmy Jennaro of Waukesha, and female impersonator Misty Dawn, of Chicago, were charged with prohibiting indecent performances on January 20, 1970. Apparently while dancing, Dawn exposed her breasts and buttocks. The incident was witnessed by Patrolman Roger Cortez. The city attorneys ran into complications with the ordinance when they were unable to determine if Misty displayed male or female breasts — he had underwent surgery to be transformed into a woman. Ad Lib management argued that since Misty was born a man, it was legal for “him” to dance topless and/or bottomless, sit with male patrons and solicit drinks.
Albert Albana called Dominic Principe in Mundelein on January 25, 1970.
Chicago mobster Frank Buccieri was seen by the Milwaukee police having lunch with Sally Papia at her restaurant on January 26, 1970. An informant told the FBI that there was a rumor that Papia or Buccieri would be taking over Balistrieri’s King’s IV tavern on Water Street.
An informant told the FBI on January 26, 1970 that gambling was going on in the back room of Gerolmo’s Tavern, which is adjacent to Greco’s Restaurant. It was believed that access to this room was actually behind the bar at Greco’s.
Tony Machi left for Florida on January 28, 1970.
Salvatore Seidita was fired from his position as salesman for J.C. Penney in Brookfield on January 29, 1970. He was insubordinate, smoked in the alteration room and voided a purchase without management’s consent. He soon became employed at Berther Brothers, a business that sold new and used restaurant equipment.
Agents contacted Dominic Principe on February 4, 1970 at 555 Deepwoods Road, Apartment 20, Mundelein, Illinois where he was now working as an apartment manager for a 34-unit complex. Principe advised that his employers were the Deepwoods of Mundelein Corporation and Superior Construction, both companies based out of Milwaukee with connections to Steve DeSalvo. Principe further told the agents he was soon going to have major surgery where both hips were to be removed and he did not know his plans beyond that.
Rent was picked up by Steve DiSalvo and Herman Sosnay, and they were seen in the Mundelin office of Damako Realty (840 South Lake Street) picking up money on February 4. Monthly receipts were $18,125 with the total 114 units sitting at 90% capacity. There is also a chance that two attorneys, a Goldman and a Pump, were fronting for DiSalvo and falsely acquired FHA loans… but the records are too redacted to be sure.
Peter Machi, a fermenter at Miller Brewery, was arrested for being an inmate of a gambling house on February 6, 1970. Machi had been a Miller employee since 1950 and his supervisor informed the FBI that he was a troublemaker, causing disturbances and complaining about factory conditions.
John Charles Gagliano (brother of Teddy Capp and brother-in-law of Frank Sansone) died on February 7, 1970. Attending his funeral were Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri and Tommy Machi.
A meeting was held at the Scene on February 8, 1970 and Joseph Enea was given authority over the personnel there. He was explicitly cautioned to be more careful with employees and avoid physical force.
On February 10, 1970, the FBI began putting together charts to present to the US Attorney’s office. Specifically, they mapped all the phone calls between Frank Balistrieri, Thomas and Tony Machi, and Frank Sansone from September 1968 through February 1969 in an attempt to show an interstate (Wisconsin-California) gambling conspiracy.
Dominic Frinzi made his deposition on February 13, 1970 regarding his wiretap lawsuit. At the time, his attorney agreed to drop former agent Clark Lovrien as a defendant.
Joey Balistrieri (Peter’s son) was said to move to Las Vegas around February 13, 1970 to become a dealer at the Horseshoe Casino (also known as Binion’s Horseshoe). The informant speculated this was to escape the control of his father and uncle.
Attorney General Robert Warren filed a lawsuit forcing The Scene to keep minors out on Thursday, February 26, 1970. Judge William O’Neill ordered the club closed and gave the operators until Monday morning to show why a restraining order should not be issued. The lawsuit targeted Bals, Inc and named Peter F. Balistrieri, his wife Mary and his son Joseph. The papers also named Joseph Enea and John Rizzo as keepers of the premises. District Attorney E. Michael McCann filed a summons the same day against 44 minors who were said to be caught loitering at the Scene. Peter Balistrieri counter-sued for $200,000 saying that when Warren and his men raided the building on November 28, they did not have warrants and forced over 100 customers out. Representing Balistrieri was Madison attorney Donald S. Eisenberg.
FBI investigations of the Milwaukee family slowed again around March 1970 due to some agents being called away to investigate the “Wisbom” case, where four Madison residents had blown up a building at the University of Madison.
The Cheaters wrapped up their six-week stint at the Scene on March 1, 1970. The FBI described them as “a Negro band operating in the Milwaukee area”. Their next stops were in Southern Wisconsin and Iowa.
On March 3, 1970, an informant said there was a rumor that Louis DeAngelis of Kenosha was making dirty movies.
The home of Thomas Machi was burglarized on the night of March 9, 1970. The Machi brothers spread the word around town that they believed the FBI was responsible for the burglary.
On March 12, 1970, during the gambling trial of John Puntillo, Frank Turk was granted immunity after refusing to testify. Turk then testified he had picked up football parlay cards from Puntillo the last two seasons, often from Puntillo’s wife. Turk would then handle the cards for Puntillo, and after each week Puntillo would give him the money to pay off the winners. The week after Puntillo was arrested, the winnings were given to Turk by a man at the UAW Union Hall in Kenosha. The FBI was trying to connect 70,000 cards to Puntillo as part of what they alleged was a multi-million dollar gambling network.
An informant spoke with the FBI on March 13, 1970 and clarified the connection between Greco’s and Gerolmo’s. There was apparently a buzzer system that allowed access to Gerolmo’s basement from a door behind the bar at Greco’s. The informant went to Greco’s with Frank Turk and watched him access the basement for gambling.
A party was held at the Kings IV on the evening of March 15, 1970. Police wrote down the license plates and found the following attendees: Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, someone from Lando Enterprises (4702 West Vliet), Carl J. Dentice (8210 West New Jersey), someone from Glenbrook Corporation (6925 North Port Washington Road), Vincent Maniaci, Harry D’Angelo, someone from Schaub Buick (237 South Street in Waukesha), someone from Rank and Son Buick (4200 North Green Bay Avenue) Frank C. LaVora (3120 South 51st Street), Salvatore Dentice (1611 North Jackson), Sam J. Cefalu, Salvatore A. Librizzi, Joseph Caminiti and Albert Albana.
Electrician John Frank Puntillo was found guilty on March 16, 1970 of being involved in an interstate gambling business. He remained free until June 10, when he appealed the case on three grounds: the law was ambiguous, insufficient evidence, and punishment too harsh.
Frank Buccieri called Milwaukee from the Canyon Hotel in Palm Springs on April 2, 1970. (The number is redacted.)
An informant told the FBI on April 3, 1970 that Vincent Maniaci would have to move his business because of freeway construction. Maniaci was contacted by Frank Balistrieri and was told that in his new business, he would be using coin-operated machines from Balistrieri (he currently was not). Maniaci told this as an affront to his honor and wanted a sitdown with Balistrieri, Vito Seidita and Joseph Caminiti.
Thomas and Tony Machi were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 12, 1970 for interstate transfer of wagering information.
Joseph Spero died April 17, 1970 of a stroke and the funeral was held on April 19 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Attendees included Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Albert Albana, Steve DeSalvo and Dominic Principe.
Frank Balistrieri was involved in a car accident on April 18, 1970.
Antonio “Tony” Albano died April 24, 1970. Nick Fucarino, Frank Balistrieri, August Maniaci, Sam Ferrara, Steve DeSalvo and Harry DeAngelo, among others, attended the wake at Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home.
On April 24, 1970, an informant said Robert Carlson took bets over his bar, the Paddock Club. He was associated with Lou Gerolmo and James Salerno, and would lay off his gambling to Alfred DeCesaro.
On April 25, 1970, Dominic Principe’s address was changed from Mundelein to 10861 41st Avenue, Pleasant Prairie (Kenosha). He was also believed to be spending time at 301 North Farrell Drive in Palm Springs.
A black Fleetwood Cadillac with Wisconsin plates was seen in front of Frank Buccieri’s apartment in Forest Park, Illinois on the morning of April 27, 1970. This was Sally Papia’s car.
Milwaukee police officers interviewed Frank Buccieri on May 6, 1970 and he told them he was engaged to be married to Sally Papia and was in the process of getting a divorce from his current wife.
Special Agent Dennis Condon went to the Clock Bar (715 North 5th Street) at 11:00pm and saw Edward D. Urdan. He next went to Eddie Carroll’s Steak House (formerly Fazio’s on Fifth) at 11:30pm and saw various men, including Sam Cefalu, Steve Halmo, Frank Sansone, and a man called “Ned” in conversation. Condon spoke with Louis Fazio, who said he had recently sold the bar to Carroll, and Carroll moved everything from the Casino Bar. Fazio said he was planning to open a new location in a 20-story building at 11th and Wells. At 12:12am, Condon went to the Ad Lib Club (323 West Wells) and made small talk with people, including Jimmy Jennaro. Frank Balistrieri was at the bar there and then was seen joining a table with three men and two women. Peter Balistrieri was also at the bar.
An informant told the FBI on May 5, 1970 that he had spoken with Vito Seidita, the consigliere. Seidita said he had not been taken into Frank Balistrieri’s confidence and was “personally disgusted” with Balistrieri’s leadership. Seidita said no meetings were held and no one was consulted before Balistrieri made his decisions, where he seemed to be closer to Chicago than his own Family.
Chicago mobster Tony Battaglia called Trevor, Wisconsin (in Kenosha County) on May 23, 1970. He would call again on May 24, July 21, July 22, July 27, August 7, August 8, and August 9. (It seems the calls may be to a man named Mitlevic, who was an inspector for the Cook County Highway Department.)
Frank Balistrieri appealed his tax case on May 27, 1970.
An informant spoke with the FBI on May 28, 1970 and said that James “Skeins” Salerno had given him a number to call for placing bets.
In early June 1970, Santo Marino was hospitalized due to a slight stroke.
In June 1970 Warren objected to the Milwaukee Common Council’s granting of liquor licenses to taverns associated with Frank Balistrieri.
An informant told the FBI on June 3, 1970 that Adrian Dean “Dino” Northcutt, a bookie from Wheeling who also owned part of the Cheetah Bar in Kenosha had placed a “round robin” bet with Louis Gerolmo and Angelo Germinaro. Off this bet, he managed to win $2700.
Also on June 3, 1970, John Puntillo has his appeals turned down and was sentenced to two years in federal prison. He filed another motion and was again granted a stay of execution.
Still also on June 3, 1970, Frank Ranney testified that “no loan from the (Teamsters pension) fund has ever been made to any Balistrieri.” While strictly speaking true, at the same time he made this statement, Joseph Balistrieri was negotiating a loan of more than $2,000,000 for Andrew Lococo.
Around June 5, 1970, an informant told the FBI that bets could be called in to George’s Tavern in Kenosha. The payoffs were kept in envelopes behind the bar, and if someone went in to claim his envelope, it would be handed to him in the presence of the customers.
On June 8, 1970, after golfing in Mequon, Aldermen Robert Jendusa and William Drew stopped in at Fazio’s around 11:30pm. By coincidence, Frank Balistrieri stopped in just after midnight and the three men had a brief talk. Jendusa was later criticized for the impromptu meeting, but he said there was no need for concern. Jendusa recalled, “Everybody’s s surprised that I know the man. When he walked in, I did not panic and run out. I certainly did not have an assignment to meet him. We did not go into a back room.” Jendusa and Balistrieri were acquainted because both had sons who attended Marquette High School.
On June 9, 1970, an informant said that a man named Merle Morgan was taking bets at Club 50 on Highway 50 in Kenosha. Morgan answered to James Salerno, but refused to deliver the money to Salerno, causing Salerno to make weekly visits to Club 50, which was owned by Frank Volpentesta, a former dump truck driver.
Frank Balistrieri was sued for $100,000 on June 18, 1970 stemming from his car accident in April.
On June 29, 1970, gamblers were observed making bets and collecting payoffs at Libby’s Tavern at the corner of Broadway and St. Paul. The gamblers were both white and black. This same day, an informant told the FBI that daily racing forms were sold for 75 cents at the Doughnut Hole in Kenosha. Apparently they were brought there each day at 7:45pm on the Greyhound bus. Some of these forms were also available at Becker’s Cigar Store.
On June 30, 1970, Dean Northcutt of Wheeling, Illinois met with Louis Gerolmo in Kenosha. Northcutt had won $1200 from Gerolmo and was in town to collect.
At some point in 1970, convicted felon Joseph Alioto sold Alioto Distributing to his sister, Jane Alioto, for $500 because Joseph could not own a license. John Balistrieri was appointed manager.
On June 30, 1970, WTMJ-TV aired an editorial criticizing the Common Council for granting tavern licenses to Frank Balistrieri’s relatives and associates. The following night, Joseph Balistrieri went on air to fight back against the “libels, treacheries and dreams leveled by unscrupulous politicians.” He said, “Too long have we Balistrieris been silent. And too long has our silence not only given spur to our detractors but has also served as an inference of legitimacy to their baseless accusations. The situation reached the acme of intolerance earlier this week when certain public officials, acting on half truths and lies, would have stopped members of my family and friends from the most basic right of earning a living and supporting their families in an honest, licensed enterprise. We’re all too familiar with the spectacular charge leveled against my father by Senator McClellan, that he is a member of that mythical organization whose name isn’t worth mentioning. We categorically deny this.” Balistrieri further called McClellan “that grandest of all character assassins”.
On July 1, 1970, the Ad Lib license was changed from Mando Enterprises (Joseph Maniaci) to Joseph Enea.
The FBI ran surveillance on the Doughnut Hole in Kenosha on July 1, 1970. They wrote down car license plates that traced back to Steve Mikolas, Jay R. Decker, Raymond A. Olson, Walter A. Larsen, Alma E. Dunasky, Angelo Germinaro, and many others.
By July 7, 1970, Sam Ferrara had renamed his tavern at 1447 North VanBuren the “One Plus One” and opened a second tavern, the Peacock Lounge, at the corner of Lyon and Jackson. The Peacock was operated by Ferrara’s son.
On July 8, 1970, Special Agent Robert Christian followed John Ullmann, a nursing home orderly who was determined to be the source of the daily racing forms. At 8:28pm, Ullmann dropped off a stack of forms “a foot high” at Decker’s Cigar Store on 56th. Agent Michael Hamlin was inside the store and purchased a copy for 75 cents. At 8:46pm, Ullmann went to the Frost Top Restaurant and stayed there until 9:32pm. After that, Christian lost Ullmann in traffic.
The wake for Salvatore Anthony Librizzi, 50, was held on July 10, 1970 at the Guardalabene and Amato funeral home. He was the brother of Cono Librizzi and operator of Libby’s Cocktail Lounge and Libby’s South. The newspaper said he had the nickname “The Book” and was among the first people ever to be arrested for federal gambling violations. Those present included Steve DiSalvo, Frank Balistrieri, Thomas Machi, August Palmisano, Sam Cefalu, Frank Sansone, Walter Brocca, Joseph Enea, and Peter Balistrieri.
Angelo Germinaro met with James Salerno at Mr. Z’s Tavern at 4:12pm on July 14, 1970.
Louis Gerolmo met with Alfred DeCesaro on July 17, 1970 at 10:25am.
Russell LaGalbo, brother of Frank LaGalbo, died July 20, 1970. Attending the wake was Tony Machi.
An informant was at August Chiaverotti’s warehouse (in the old Lincoln Theater) on July 23, 1970. The informant had previously seen Chiaverotti pay a man $2,000 to buy a load of 500 pairs of “hot” Florsheim shoes in Chicago. Chiaverotti now said the FBI had taken pictures of him unloading the shoes from his car, so he hid them in a garage. The informant offered to buy the shoes.
On July 24, 1970, Andrew Lococo received a loan of $2,250,000 from the Teamsters Pension Fund with the help of attorney Joseph Balistrieri.
Frank Balistrieri threw a party at the Kings IV on July 26, 1970. He charged $15 a plate and roughly 100 people attended, including Vincent Maniaci and Steve DiSalvo.
The government filed their reply brief to Balistrieri’s appeal on July 31, 1970.
An informant spoke with Frank Balistrieri on August 5, 1970 about his tax case. Balistrieri told the informant he was “going away”, indicating prison. When asked what he would do about it, he said he would hold a “turno”, a meeting of all made members in Milwaukee. Rumors came from Chicago that Balistrieri was to be replaced by Joseph Caminiti. (A local Milwaukee informant told the FBI that Caminiti would probably turn the job down if offered, because of his advanced age and the risk it would cause the Teamsters.)
Around August 10, 1970, Joseph Balistrieri was offered $50,000 for the Kings IV night club by First Federal Savings and Loan. Allegedly Balistrieri was not sure about the offer because of tax liabilities attached to the building.
On August 13, 1970, Joseph Enea and Peter Gaudesi were charged with operating without a seller’s permit. Tax agent George Long bought a drink from each of them.
Casey Maniaci died on August 18, and his funeral was on August 20, 1970. Harry DeAngelo, Frank Balistrieri, Steve DeSalvo, John Pernice, Vito Aiello and “virtually the entire Milwaukee LCN family” were present.
Two FBI special agents entered the Brass Rail (744 North 3rd) at 9:07pm on August 19, 1970 and spoke with the man tending bar, who said he was the manager. At 9:40pm, the agents entered the Downtowner (340 West Wells) and talked the bartender, who told them he was still receiving treatment at the university hospital in Madison for his cancer. He had, in fact, been unable to work the past week. At 10:15pm, the agents went to the Ad Lib (323 West Wells) and observed numerous hoodlums in conversation, including Walter Brocca, Jimmy Jennaro, Salvatore Jack Dentice, Frank peter Daddabbo and Joseph Enea. At 10:55pm, the hoodlums left the bar. At 11:03pm, a woman entered the Ad Lib with a large framed painting, which she brought to the bartender.
A party was held at Sally’s Steakhouse on September 1, 1970 in honor of singer Vic Damone was was appearing at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club. He was escorted by Frank Buccieri, shown around by Joseph Balistrieri, and made a personal effort to meet Frank Balistrieri. Several Milwaukee hoodlums attended the party. (Forty years later, Damone recalled his time at the Playboy Club. As he waited to go onstage, a Playboy Bunny asked for his autograph. “I was feeling cocky and Italian and everything,” Damone said. “I asked her name and she smiled and said, ‘Oh, it’s not for me. It’s for my mom.’ I thought, ‘Uh-oh. The beginning of the end.'”)
An informant told the FBI on September 8, 1970 that Robert J. “Sharky” Holdsworth, a chief steward at American Motors, owed bookie Richard Thiel $470 from football gambling.
On September 10, 1970, FBI agents were running surveillance at Club 50. At 11:35am a green Buick registered to Stanley Joseph Miller (5904 50th Avenue) left the parking lot. Was this the same Stanley Miller who was connected to Tony Biernat? This one was born March 14, 1907 in Dayton, Ohio.
Tony Machi was observed at Rocco Lembo’s Barber Shop (408 East Clybourn) on September 19, 1970 from 11:19am until 11:53am. At that time, surveillance was discontinued and Machi was still in the barber shop.
Attorney Joseph Balistrieri filed a motion on September 23, 1970 to quash the government’s subpoenas and depositions on the grounds that their discovery requests were irrelevant to the case in point. Judge Gordon put a hold on the depositions until after a hearing on September 28.
On Friday, September 25, 1970, FBI agents raided the homes of Thomas James Machi (1938 North Oakland) and his nephew Andrew Joseph Machi (660 South 60th). Gambling paraphernalia was taken from both homes, including water soluble paper, $22,000 in cash and two handguns with ammunition.
A search warrant was issued and executed at 11:47am for the residence of Thomas Machi (1938 North Oakland) on Friday, September 25, 1970. Agents found four issues of Weekly Basketball Forecasts and two issues of Sportscasters Weekly Basketball Bulletin. Also found was a loaded C&H .38 revolver, a book titled “Voltaire” with notes on the cover, a blue West Side Bank zipper bag with .38 bullets inside, an envelope with numbers written all over it. Various envelopes were found with figures and phone numbers on them, and there were multiple copies of the Angel and Kaplan scratch sheets. A bank statement from the Banca Commerciale Italiana was found, as was various currency. Multiple $100 checks from the American Building Supply Company were found. A check for $4086 for New Galaxie A-Go-Go at 3876 East Squire Avenue in Cudahy made out to cash. A promissory note for $4000 made out to Joseph Alioto. When the search started, Machi was not home, but he soon came home (12:29pm) and sat near the front of his house with Special Agent Eugene Sather, who took inventory. Soon, Machi’s attorney arrived (1:23pm) and was handed the search warrant and affidavit. Machi asked the attorney if he could see in the affidavit how the FBI had been monitoring him.
At a hearing on September 28, 1970, Attorney Joseph Balistrieri again argued that the depositions requested by the government were irrelevant and further said he represented most of those subpoenaed in the case. Government attorney Neil R. Peterson sought records from 26 individuals, most notably Salvatore Jack Dentice. Peterson said Dentice operated Balistrieri’s Continental Music Sales, but no such business actually existed beyond a name on the door. Judge Gordon gave the government three weeks to file a brief showing the relevancy and Balistrieri three weeks to respond. (Among those subpoenaed were landlord Kenneth H. Read, August Chiaverotti, Joseph Balistrieri Sr, Rose Palmisano, Carl Dentice, Peter Picciurro, Joseph Maniaci, Joseph Caminiti, Santo Marino, Walter Brocca, Paul Bogosian, Rudolph Porchetta, Jimmy Jennaro and Sam Cefalu.
That same day, Jennie Alioto was subpoenaed to appear before a government attorney on October 2 to provide a sworn statement, and also to turn over the records of 11 firms and 20 individuals, including herself. The subpoena was connected to Frank Balistrieri’s $175,000 lawsuit against federal agents and the Wisconsin Telephone Company. Subpoenas were also served on Peter F. Picciurro of De Lish Us Distributors, Carl J. Dentice of the Dentice Amusement Company, August Chiaverotti of Factory Close-Out, Rudolph Porchetta of the Brass Rail, Santo N. Marino of Marino’s Corner, and Joseph Caminiti (secretary-treasurer of Local 257 Teamsters Union).
An informant told the FBI on September 28, 1970 that the Milwaukee Family had existed since the late 1800s (possibly incorrect), but had not had a formal meeting since 1963. The older members felt the organization was “dead” because they only met at weddings and funerals and rarely interacted with each other or with other Families. Under Balistrieri, the organization was not tight-knit, except under his hand-chosen men.
Authorities tried to go into a locked basement area of the Kings IV tavern on Tuesday, October 6, 1970, but were blocked by licensee Peter Gaudesi, saying they needed a search warrant. The same evening, the authorities returned and read a notice to Sue Bartfield (the tavern’s representative in Gaudesi’s absence) informing her that the tavern’s license was revoked on suspicion of violating liquor laws. Bartfield and the bartender on duty asked the patrons to leave.
John Piscuine was interviewed at the Towne Room Restaurant (723 North 3rd) on October 6, 1970 concerning the Machi brothers. Piscuine said he knew the Machi family and that Tony was a frequent visitor at his restaurant, and Tom had been there once. He had heard rumors that the Machis were gamblers, but had not personally made any bets with them. He said he had known Tony Machi for many years, but would not consider him a personal friend. He said the Machis may have called the restaurant to make reservations, but not to gamble, and he was not aware of them being in the restaurant for gambling purposes — only for eating dinner.
Rocco Lembo was also interviewed October 6 at his place of business (408 Clybourn Street). Lembo said he knew Tony Machi, but only as a customer. Machi had come in to his barber shop every week for a shave and had been a customer for ten years. He said he knew nothing about gambling and he had not personally ever gambled. (For what it is worth, Lembo’s wife was Mary Dentice and his daughter Rose was married to Arthur Maniaci.)
FBI agents interviewed William Kabb on October 7, 1970 concerning gambling. Kabb said he made bets on occasion, but would not talk with agents further without his attorney present. Kabb was born in Vilna, Russia, and was the president of the Drapery Workroom.
Also on October 7, Cyril E. Werner (vice president of Wisconsin Bearing Company) was interviewed and acknowledged he had met a man named Tommy or Tony at the North Hills Country Club, and this man gave him a telephone number for placing bets. Werner said he had not made any bets, but had called the phone number to find out the odds on various football games. Thomas John Carrao (2900 North 74th) was also interviewed October 7 at his place of business, Adelman Laundry at 76th and Center. He acknowledged placing bets, but said it was not often and only for a couple dollars here and there.
Joseph Maniaci was found in contempt of court October 7, 1970 after failing to show his corporate books to state tax authorities. Maniaci was the president of Mando Enterprises, which operated the Ad Lib night club.
An informant told the FBI on October 9, 1970 that he tried to place a bet with Eugene Thomas at the Office Lounge and was denied. He said they were still taking bets but were very “cozy” about who they accepted bets from.
On October 15, 1970, Kenosha Detective Robert Chase informed the FBI that he received word that Robert John Carlson was extremely upset about the gambling situation and was not accepting bets. Further, he was apparently in debt and was strongly considering closing down his tavern.
Lt. Thomas Thelen received information from a police operator on October 24, 1970 at 9:30pm that there was a man on the phone named Robert Charles Greenman, age 36, who wanted to confess to a murder. When the call was transferred to Thelen, Greenman had already hung up. As the man had called from Mequon, Thelen called the Mequon Police Department and asked Lt. Richard Burgard to check for this man. Burgard called back around 10:00pm and said they had Greenman in custody and he was asking to confess to Milwaukee Police for the murder of John DiTrapani. They had found him across the street from his home at the Old Car Bar, where his wife was a bartender. Thelen, along with Detectives Vince Partipilo and Gerald Tomaszewski, arrived at the Mequon station around 11:15pm where they met Greenman’s attorney, Bernard J. Lepgold. Lepgold took his client into a private room until 11:55pm. When they emerged, Lepgold told the police that his client had been drinking and that he would not answer any questions. As the police had no evidence to hold Greenman, he was released. The police did do a quick check on Greenman, and found he was married to Loretta White Greenman, 31, and suffered for cirrhosis of the liver and would die if he kept drinking as heavily as he did.
Agents from the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation stopped by Sally’s Steakhouse on October 26, 1970 and observed a meeting between Frank Buccieri, Frank Balistrieri, Sally Papia, Steve DiSalvo and Jimmy Jennaro. Three other men the agents did not recognize were there, too. Balistrieri, DiSalvo and Jennaro left at 2:00am and went to the Ad Lib.
Frank LaPorte called Chico’s restaurant in November 1970.
Madison LCN underboss Joseph Aiello died on November 7, 1970 and a funeral was in Milwaukee on November 9. Many Milwaukee members attended the funeral, including: Steve DiSalvo, Frank Balistrieri, Sam Ferrara, Vito Seidita, August Maniaci, John Alioto, Joseph Caminiti and John Pernice. A Madison service was held the same day, and guests there included Nick Fucarino, and cars from Gallo Leasing, TCI Leasing, Grande Cheese, and Stephens and Gregg of Franklin Park, Illinois.
A federal grand jury investigating gambling in Milwaukee convened on November 10, 1970. Numerous bettors and other witnesses were subpoenaed.
An informant told the FBI on November 12, 1970 that Alfred DeCesaro made daily trips to a restaurant where he picked up white envelopes from the waitresses that presumably had betting results inside. (The name of the restaurant is redacted.)
An informant again told the FBI on November 23, 1970 that Eugene Thomas an Angelo Germinaro were “cozy” about who they gave their phone number to and who they accepted bets from. This was actually not a hindrance because they were more likely to allow big bettors and not those who only wanted to risk $2. An informant (maybe the same one) said he again saw DeCesaro picking up white envelopes from waitresses, as well as Eugene Thomas.
There was a wedding reception held for Jerome DiMaggio’s step-daughter on November 28, 1970 at The Scene. Among other attendees were Salvatore Seidita, Harry DeAngelo, Albert Albana and “nearly all” the Milwaukee Family.
The engagement of Milwaukee restauranteur Sally Papia and Chicago hoodlum Frank Buccieri (brother of another hoodlum, Fiore Buccieri) was announced in December 1970. The engagement was called off soon after.
On December 3, 1970, an informant brought in football parlay cards to Special Agent Daniel Brandt that he had obtained from Joseph Enea at the Ad Lib Lounge. The cards were believed to come from Las Vegas, but how they came to Milwaukee was not known.
At 12:33pm on December 4, 1970, Tony Machi was arrested by the FBI in the parking lot of Fazio’s and had $1613 on him at the time. Thomas James Machi was arrested by the FBI at the American Building Supply Corporation (4821 North 32nd Street) at 12:35pm and had $343 on him. He told the agent, “There must be some mistake. You better call my lawyer.” The agent asked why and Machi said they had arranged a deal that once charges came down he would turn himself in rather than be publicly arrested. “Why did you guys do it this way when I would have come down?” he asked. The agent told Machi he was not aware of any deal. When brought to the US Marshal’s office, the Machis’ attorney told the special agent he was “very disappointed”, as he had worked out a surrender deal with US Attorney Cannon. The Machis were released on $5000 recognizance bond each.
Salvatore Anthony Librizzi was also arrested on December 4, and police found a note reading “AUG WO2-9933″ on him. This was the phone number for August Palmisano. Angelo DiGiorgio and Dennis Librizzi had also been indicted.
An informant spoke with the FBI on December 15, 1970 about gambling in Kenosha. He believed Angelo Germinaro to be the biggest bookmaker in town, and Germinaro was working for Alfred DeCesaro. He recalled that when John Woodbury was working for DeCesaro, he was turning in $3500 each week. The informant speculated that if all the bookies working for DeCesaro were added up, it could be as much as $5000 per day going to DeCesaro. The informant said Germinaro became the biggest bookmaker following a meeting of Germinaro, DeCesaro, Eugene Thomas and James Salerno. Salerno and Louis Gerolmo had recently taken big losses due to an Illinois gambler named Adrian Dean “Dino” Northcutt, so betting was moved over to Germinaro, and a “union” was created to protect the group from big losses.
On December 17, 1970, Peter Balistrieri’s attorney, Donald Eisenberg, created a scene when he took the stenographer’s machine away from him. “Let the record show that I just took the machine,” he said. He then yelled at Assistant Attorney General Sverre Tinglum, “You can do anything you want but I don’t consider it part of my proceedings.” A few minutes later, he walked out of the room with the machine and the stenographer behind him. Balistrieri had sued Attorney General Robert Warren for $200,000, saying a raid on the Scene had completely destroyed its business. What had sparked Eisenberg’s outburst? A line of questioning connecting Herb Krusche with the Balistrieri brothers and a duck hunting trip they took in 1956 or 1957.
Dominic Principe died in his sleep on December 19, 1970 in Palm Springs, California — a city he had moved to in only the recent past due to ailing health. His body was returned to Kenosha where a funeral was held at the Crossin-Proko Funeral Home and burial took place in St. James Cemetery. Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Nick Collura, Steve DiSalvo and Albert Albana attended the funeral at Mount Carmel Catholic Church on December 23.
Louis Fazio went golfing in Palm Springs, California in January 1971.
Sally Papia and Frank Buccieri went to Acapulco, Mexico on January 9, 1971, allegedly to be married. There is no evidence that any ceremony ever took place.
An informant told the FBI on January 9 that James Salerno was no longer bookie following his recent hospitalization. However, someone who worked for Salerno was now accepting bets and working under Angelo Germinaro.
On January 13, 1971, a female informant spoke to the FBI about drug traffic in Kenosha. She feared for her life in talking about it, because she believed the Kenosha police were somehow involved. The agents referred her to a DEA agent in Milwaukee.
Fifth District Republican Chairman Vincent Mercurio died from a heart attack in Lutheran Hospital on Sunday, January 31, 1971. He had just had ulcer surgery two days earlier.
John Alioto, John Pernice and Sam Ferrara attended the wake of Vincent Mercurio on Tuesday, February 2, 1971 at the Guardalabene and Amato Funeral Home. Mercurio had been active in Italian-American affairs for many years. A telegram from President Nixon was read at the service.
On February 4, 1971, Andrew Lococo received another loan from the Teamsters — this time a mere $250,000 — with the help of attorney Joseph Balistrieri.
Two former waitresses, Roberta Jones and Marsha Ustruck, testified on February 5, 1971 that they were harassed by state agents while working at the Scene. Both said Agent Walter Younk had visited them at home, asked intrusive questions, and “snooped” around in Ustruck’s bedroom. Both women testified that after the November raid, business dropped by as much as half or more. Joseph Enea testified that Younk and his boss “are very rude people. They have a tendency not to talk in a gentlemanly way. They blow their tops.”
By February 18, 1971, Giuseppe Balistrieri was in Mount Sinai Hospital with a bad heart after suffering a heart attack. Doctors did not feel it was worthwhile to open him up, but did attach an external pacemaker. He was not expected to live.
Some time in February, Sam Cefalu and Steve DeSalvo attended the wake for someone’s mother.
On February 23, 1971, the FBI met with the Chicago Strike Force and “aggressively pursued” the idea of arrest warrants for the Kenosha gamblers. The Strike Force shot them down, but agreed to allow search warrants, and would decide how to prosecute based on the results.
On February 27, 1971, twenty search warrants were issued in Kenosha at eleven different locations: the residence and vehicle of Alfred DeCesaro; residence and vehicle of Angelo Germinaro; residence of Eugene Thomas; residence of John Puntillo; residence of John Woodbury; residence of Raymond Matera; residence of Effie Manna; vehicle of James Salerno; business office of Dino Bernacchi (at Bernacchi’s Pharmacy); the Office Lounge. From the searches, a great deal of gambling material was recovered and $4100 in cash. Fourteen guns were seized from DeCesaro, Thomas, Puntillo and Bernacchi. DeCesaro, Thomas and Puntillo were convicted felons and were not allowed to own guns. Furthermore, three of them were Winchester Centennial Rifles that had been stolen from an interstate shipment in 1965.
Giuseppe Balistrieri (Frank and Peter’s father) died of a heart attack at Mount Sinai Hospital on Wednesday, March 3, 1971. He was 76 years old. Attendees at the funeral and/or wake (held at Guardalabene and Amato on March 4-5) included Salvatore Seidita, Nick Collura, Frank LaGalbo, Nick Fucarino, Harry DeAngelo, Sam Ferrara, August Maniaci, John Rizzo, Albert Albana, John Pernice, Joseph Gumina, Joseph Caminiti, Buster Balestrere, Vito Aiello, Salvatore J. Cefalu, James Schiavo and Santo Marino. Anthony Spilotro of Chicago also attended. John Alioto was nowhere to be found. Sources say he was confined to his home due to poor health. Around the time of the funeral, Knobby Gulotta spoke with James Schiavo about securing an attorney for Charlie Vince. Schiavo told him to contact the Milwaukee Family.
Walter Brocca, 4023 South Kansas Avenue, testified on Thursday, March 4, 1971 during a pretrial deposition concerning Frank Balistrieri’s $1.75 million lawsuit against Wisconsin Telephone Company and the federal government concerning what he believed was illegal eavesdropping. As Justice Department attorney Neil R. Peterson asked him questions, but before he could finish a question, Brocca responded, “I refuse to answer.” Peterson said, “Wait until I complete the question before you answer, please.” Brocca snapped back, “Alright, but go faster. I’m liable to get a parking ticket.” Peterson’s questions focused on a jukebox operation at 2559 North Downer Avenue, but Brocca would not talk.
Santo Marino of 1914 North Prospect testified on Friday, March 5, 1971 during the pretrial deposition. Attorney Neil Peterson questioned Marino, a tavern operator, about his business activities. Attorney Joseph Balistrieri repeatedly objected to the questioning, calling it harassment. Marino, who said he knew Balistrieri all his life, denied that he had any business dealings with Frank Balistrieri or knew of a jukebox business at 2559 North Downer Avenue where the eavesdropping occurred.
Also on March 5, Salvatore J. Cefalu, 57, 5741 North 36th Street, was called to testify. His attorney, Nicholas Catania, said they had called the wrong Cefalu. Attorney Neil Peterson asked Cefalu if he knew another Sam Cefalu. “Well, I get bills for another Sam Cefalu once in a while,” he responded, clarifying that his cousin — also named Sam Cefalu — lived on North Jackson Street. Cefalu admitted knowing Balistrieri, but denied working for him. He said that prior to the funeral the night before, it had been “months and months” since they last saw each other. “If you go across the hall,” replied Peterson, “I’ll get you a witness fee — for the wrong witness.”
On Wednesday, March 31, 1971, Circuit Judge Hugh R. O’Connell appointed Joseph P. Balistrieri as a court commissioner. Answering critics of the decision, O’Connell said Balistrieri “demonstrated excellent qualities as an attorney; I think that is all that is required of a court commissioner. I did what I think is proper and right. Anyone else is entitled to the same prerogative. I have judged people by their own qualities and abilities and that’s what I did in this case. I have never believed in guilt by association.”
On April 2, 1971, Frank Buccieri was staying at a rented house with Sally Papia at 2705 Livmor Avenue in Palm Springs.
A high stakes craps game and stag party was scheduled to happen at Glorioso’s on April 4, 1971.
Special Agent Dennis Condon located Vito Seidita at the Milwaukee City Dump on April 5, 1971. When asked about the Mafia, Seidita said he knew nothing of any such organization. He said he was a hard-working man who had nothing to do with criminals. Seidita did not wish to discuss the matter further.
A man in Temple Terrace, Florida was interviewed at his place of business on April 6, 1971 concerning Salvatore Cefalu. The man said he had moved to the Tampa area in the last year, being originally from Milwaukee, but did not know Cefalu personally. He said that based on what he has heard from his daughter, Cefalu was a gambler. The daughter was interviewed and she said she had moved the same time as her father. She said she could not say for certain that Cefalu was a bookmaker, but she had been in his home and noticed he had two phones; she knew from being a football fan that this could likely be a “sports line”.
Special Agent Carl J. Quattrocchi attempted to interview Salvatore DiMaggio in Waupun State Prison on April 13, 1971, but the clerk advised that the subject did not wish to be interviewed. Instead, Quattrocchi spoke with another inmate who was familiar with Milwaukee crime. The inmate said he would talk about the underworld if consideration would be given to him for his insights. He was told no such consideration could be given, and he then said he would think about it. As near as can be told, he never did talk, beyond saying that DiMaggio was “quite content in the prison” and “seemed unconcerned about his parole”, believing that he would have to serve most of his time because of his long record.
Steve DiSalvo attended a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game on April 21, 1971 with Sam Cefalu and Frank Leo Sansone. It was the first game of the NBA Finals against the Baltimore Bullets, with the Bucks winning 98-88. (The Bucks, only three years old, had an amazing season overall and won the finals 4-0, due in part to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.)
Jack Anthony Dentice was convicted of robbery on April 27, 1971. Judge Coffey sentenced him to three years probation.
Steve DiSalvo purchased a 1971 Chrysler Imperial Lebron in May 1971. He financed the purchase through Marine National Bank.
A 23-year old prostitute with mob connections (name redacted) was arrested in Milwaukee on May 5, 1971. She was fined $50 and put on a year’s probation. Clearly she did not learn her lesson, as she was caught at least five more times in the next three years hustling in Chicago, Rosemont and Peoria.
After being threatened with contempt of court, Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Balistriri and Jennie Alioto submitted writing samples on May 14, 1971. The court was looking into their company (Bals, Inc) for tax fraud.
Rockford LCN member Phil Cannella’s funeral was held on May 15, 1971. Among other attendees was Nick Fucarino.
The FBI surveilled Salvatore Cefalu’s home (5741 North 36th Street) on May 18, 1971 from 10:21am until 4:27pm. Multiple people were observed to come and go. The residence was surveilled again the next day from 8:47am until 3:51pm. Again on May 24 the house was watched from 9:11am until 2:25pm.
Vincent Maniaci was called by the branch manager of Servomation in early June 1971, telling him that he was no longer allowed to operate his coin operated machines in Chicago because the Outfit had forced him out in April. The man requested that Maniaci speak with the Rockford mob to see if he could continue his business there without any interference.
Records released on June 1, 1971 showed that the previous year, authorities had recorded 1,880 private conversations. Of those 1,395 were of 6 gamblers in Milwaukee. The rest were concerning 29 people in the Oshkosh area involved in a drug conspiracy.
On June 4, 1971, Jennie Alioto testified about her long business relationship with the Balistrieri family, having worked as a elf-taught bookkeeper for many of their businesses: Hotel Roosevelt, Club 26, Ben-Kay, City Wide Amusement, Milwaukee Tradewinds, Midwest Scrap Metal and others. She aid any mistakes he made were just that — mistakes — and not willful or intentional. She claimed to have spoke with a state employee at the Sales and Use Tax Department who told her he did not have to report admissions, hat check fees or washroom tips. She said that it was possible she hit the wrong button on the adding machine, and she threw away the machine’s tape after copying over the numbers in a ledger. She stressed that the tape was “thrown away” but not “destroyed”.
On June 6, 1971, Frank and Peter Balistrieri, along with Jennie Alioto, were found guilty in state court of evading taxes. The Madison jury found that Bals, Inc. had taxable sales of $500,939 but had only reported $191, 853. This was a loss of $12,500 in sales tax due to the state. Defense attorney Donald Eisenberg had argued, “I don’t think the evidence shows a pattern of consistent fraud. It shows a pattern of consistent honesty.” His defense strategy amounted to the idea that this was a”mistake” and not fraud”, which would have been intentional. Prosecutor Andrew Somers was unforgiving, and especially targeted bookkeeper Alioto, noting, “She had attorneys all over the place. She had accountants. She had a lot more advice than the usual businessman has available.”
The FBI surveilled Salvatore Cefalu’s home on June 10, 1971 from 1:27pm until 4:08pm. They observed him mowing the lawn and doing yard work. The next day his house was surveilled from 9:20am until 1:14pm. On June 14, the house was surveilled from 8:39am until 4:37pm and various license plates were jotted down.
John Fazio threw a party at Fazio’s on Jackson on June 13, 1971 that went until 5am. Attending were Frank Balistrieri, Peter Balistrieri, Steve DiSalvo and Frank Sansone.
Frank Balistrieri was convicted of filing fraudulent tax returns by the Southern District of Illinois court on June 16, 1971 and was sentenced by Judge Omer Poos to one year and one day in prison. Defense attorney Maurice Walsh argued that Balistrieri had diabetes, heart trouble and a broken ankle, causing Poos to reduce a 2-year sentence by half. Poos did not lower the fine, however, which remained at $10,000. Walsh had argued that the newspapers “financially destroyed” Balistrieri, but Poos didn’t buy it.
The FBI surveilled Salvatore Cefalu’s home on June 22, 1971 from 3:46pm until 9:30pm. The house was watched again on June 28 from 10:08am until 4:00pm, and nothing was seen other than Cefalu doing yard work and two young children playing in the front yard.
Frank Balistrieri reported to Sandstone federal prison in Minnesota on June 28, 1971, being chauffeured there by Steve DiSalvo in a rented car rather than escorted by US Marshals in order to avoid handcuffs and publicity. While away, he placed Joseph Caminiti as the acting boss of the Milwaukee Family and his brother Peter as the underboss. DiSalvo maintained his position as one of the three captains. Warden Loren Daggett told the press, “They drove up to the gate and said Mr. Balistrieri was expected. We checked, including calling Washington, and he was admitted.” Daggett said there were “a handful of people that you newspaper folk take an interest in Sandstone”, but did not clarify. Balistrieri was eligible for parole in four months, and if he maintained good behavior as expected, would serve his full term after 294 days (rather than the sentenced 366).
Joseph Caminiti: 1971-1972
On July 4, 1971, the home of Sally Papia was burglarized and jewelry valued at $49,000 was stolen. Her former fiancee, Chicago hoodlum Frank Buccieri, went around Milwaukee trying to track the jewelry down. He succeeded, finding some rings in the possession of Edwin S. Siegel, the operator of a barber shop at 5922 W. North Avenue. Siegel told Buccieri, Sally’s maitre’d Max Adonnis and steak house manager Frank Trovato that a man named “Pete” came in to his shop and had four rings for sale. One was purchased for $700 by a dentist, Dr. Alvin Gloyeck, who happened to be in the shop at the time.
Around the same time, Max Adonnis and an unidentified man held Allen Quindt hostage in a West Side garage and threatened to kill him for the theft, which he was apparently not part of. Quint had his jaw broken but escaped with his life.
Informants told the FBI that Frank Buccieri had been trying to take over the Milwaukee family while Frank Balistrieri was away, but the burglary of Papia’s residence made him “lose face” and provided him with too much notoriety. Buccieri gave up any attempt at a takeover.
Sally Papia held a golf tournament on July 18, 1971 in Alpine Valley.
Frank Balistrieri was temporarily released from Sandstone Federal Prison on Monday, July 19, 1971 in order to testify before a grand jury the next day concerning perjury allegations. He was lead out in handcuffs and a waist chain. He spent the night in Ozaukee County Jail in Port Washington. Other witnesses to testify included Peter Gaudesi, Sue Bartfield, Alderman Allen Calhoun, Joseph Balistrieri (Peter’s son), Joseph Balistrieri (Frank’s son) and Angelo DiGiorgio.
Frank H. Ranney, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 200, testified before the grand jury for thirteen minutes on Thursday afternoon, July 22, 1971. Twice during questioning he consulted with his attorney, David L. Uelman. Although Ranney had denied the allegation in the Wisconsin Teamster newspaper, he had been accused of helping Frank Balistrieri secure a $125,000 commercial loan from Milwaukee’s Continental Bank and Trust Company in September 1968.
Frank Stelloh was after August Chiaverotti for $5000 in August 1971. Stelloh believed that Chiaverotti was the “stool pigeon” who had put him in prison.
Universal Builders, Inc incorporated on August 25, 1971 in Milwaukee County. Their address was given as 3242 West Anton Avenue, Milwaukee. (I will have to consult WDFI to see who the company agents were. Also, there is no Anton Avenue in Milwaukee.)
The annual Italian-American Golf Tournament was held August 30, 1971 at Tuckaway Country Club. Louis Fazio and Tony Machi (owner of the Barn) were on the board of directors. The only out-of-town hoodlum noticed there was Joseph “Black Joe” Amato of McHenry, Illinois. Amato had dinner the night before the golfing with Fazio, Machi and Frank Sansone.
On August 31, 1971, an informant spoke with FBI agent Daniel Brandt. He said Steve Halmo was recently in the hospital due to diabetes. He lost 0 pounds and now has to inject himself twice a day. Eddie Carroll was rumored to be losing his club that he bought from the Fazio family. Carroll was going through a divorce, and it was unknown who would get it.
Around September 25, 1971, some hoodlums (redacted) moved their bookmaking operation from the apartment above Sam Ferrara’s tavern to an apartment on the north side of Milwaukee. Three days later, they were raided by the police.
Sam Ferrara’s wife Laura Marino Ferrara died some time around the end of September 1971, having been confined to the hospital all month. She was transferred from Milwaukee to the Madison General Hospital at the end. The entire membership of the Milwaukee LCN attended the funeral, as well as James Schiavo and Cosmo DiSalvo from the Madison LCN. Ferrara’s nephew, Joseph Vallone, also arrived from Sicily and was rumored to be made a member of the Milwaukee Family when Frank Balistrieri was released from prison.
August Chiaverotti was indicted by a grand jury in Milwaukee on September 14, 1971. He was subsequently arrested, tried and sentenced for altering United States currency. He had conspired with Robert L. Kent, Vito Minella of Scranton, Pennsylvania and Vito’s wife Margaret Minella to flood rare coin dealers with fake coins. James DeNinno, Vito Minella and Gilbert Alpaugh made the fake coins in Scranton and sold them to Chiaverotti and Kent in Milwaukee for resale. Alpaugh would later become a state’s witness. Attorney Joseph Balistrieri represented Kent and Chiaverotti at trial.
Also indicted on Tuesday, September 14, 1971 (though in Kenosha) for being involved in illegal sports gambling were Alfred DeCesaro, Angelo Germinaro, Eugene Thomas, John Puntillo (currently in prison for an ITAR conviction), Frank Manna, John Woodburry, Raymond Matera, James Salerno, Ralph Gregorski, Richard Thiel and Louis Gerolmo. They each faced five years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
August Palmisano and another man were arrested at Richie’s on Broadway on September 24, 1971 and charged with commercial gambling. In their possession were betting slips for horse races at the Hawthorne Park race track.
Felix Alderisio’s wake and funeral were held in Chicago on September 26-28, 1971. Sally Papia attended with Frank Buccieri.
Dominic F. Picciurro was convicted of possessing a pistol on October 4, 1971. He was put on probation for one year.
Commercial gambling charges were issued against Angelo B. DiGiorgio, 34, 1821 North Marshall, on October 20, 1971. Charges had previously been filed against DiGiorgio in April 1970, but were dropped when the state’s principal witness, Charles Solomon, refused to testify after being threatened by Nick Tarantino. DiGiorgino had previously been the licensee of the Kings IV tavern (720 North Water), an establishment connected to Frank Balistrieri.
Dominic Gullo, 45, was arrested Tuesday evening, October 20, 1971 on a charge of false swearing on an application for transfer of his liquor store license to another location. He was released on $500 bail. Gullo claimed to have an oral lease for a building in 1400 North block of Farwell Avenue, which was presently owned by Ace Van Lines and Movers. George Holzbauer, president of the moving firm, said that Gullo had no lease, oral or written, and that the two had never met. He said that Sue Bartfield had negotiated a lease in August, but that it was never finalized because she had failed to provide a financial statement as requested.
The FBI interviewed Albert Albana at his place of business, Wholesale Dry Cleaners (3602 Roosevelt Road, Kenosha) on October 21, 1971. Albana said he was not involved in gambling, could not afford it and would want nothing to do with it if he could. He said that at his age, he did not want that kind of trouble, and noted that he had throat surgery two years ago. Albana said his son was a school teacher and also had a job in the advertising department of the Badger Herald newspaper (the student paper of the University of Wisconsin in Madison). Albana said the FBI would be making a better use of time investigating other individuals, but said they were welcome to stop by the dry cleaning store any time they wished.
Vincent Maniaci was released from the hospital on October 23, 1971 after suffering a heart attack.
On October 25, 1971 an informant told the FBI that John Alioto still held the position of a capodecina in the Milwaukee crime family.
Joseph Balistrieri purchased the Shorecrest Hotel in November 1971 for $1,100,000. The owner, who had inherited the hotel from his father Arthur W. Bruemmer, wanted $2,850,000 for the building, but only received two offers and Balistrieri’s was the higher one. The record is a bit hard to discern (it is heavily redacted), but apparently Frank Balistrieri was able to get associates to loan money for the investment, and it was brought into Joseph’s bank account through cashiers checks made out to cash. A prominent member of the Teamsters loaned money from his pension, despite being scheduled to undergo open heart surgery in December — money that his family would be unable to get if the operation went badly.
An informant told the FBI on November 3, 1971 that Frank Sansone was mixed up with Harry Kaminsky in some sort of discount business. With Kaminsky dead, creditors were going after anyone connected to him. The informant also said Sam DeStefano had been in Milwaukee during the last week and informed the members that Joey O’Brien (Joseph Aiuppa) would be taking over the Chicago Outfit. Lastly, the informant said that Joseph Caminiti and other Teamsters were meeting at the Lime House in Brookfield, but did not think anything illegal such as booking was going on there.
A birthday party was held for Tony Machi on November 7, 1971 at the Meat Market (16th and Wells). Attending were Peter Balistrieri, Joseph Gumina, Frank Sansone, Dennis and Sam Librizzi.
On November 9, 1971, a federal court indicted Joseph Balistrieri, Frank Balistrieri, Angelo DiGiorgio, Peter Gaudesi, bookkeeper Jennie Alioto and Teamsters employee Susan Bartfield. They were accused of a conspiracy to hide the true ownership of the Kings IV (720 North Water Street). On documents filed with the Treasury Department, Gaudesi and DiGiorgio claimed to operate the business, and the government did not believe this to be the case.
Around November 18, 1971, Sally Papia was named the vice president of Enroc Industries, a company that owned 11 restaurants in Milwaukee and Denver, a candy manufacturing facility in Sherwood (Wisconsin) and oil and gas interests in Ohio. Enroc was part of the holding company First Midwest Investment Corp (FMIC), which was run by Fred A. Shapiro, 30, a graduate of Marquette Law School. Shapiro’s father Norton was president of Midwest Tire Auto stores and his father-in-law, S. Daniel Tishberg, was president of Towne Realty.
Max Adonnis transported a stolen 1970 Buick from Milwaukee to McHenry, Illinois on November 19, 1971.
Dominic Frinzi settled his wiretap lawsuit with the Wisconsin Telephone Company on November 30, 1971. They agreed to pay $15,000 plus $5,000 in costs.
Tony Albano’s wife (Providenzia Seidita Albano) died and the wake was held on December 1, 1971. Among others attending the funeral were Nick Fucarino, Sam Ferrara, Vito Seidita, Joseph Caminiti, August Maniaci and Dominick Gullo (her son-in-law).
Eight Milwaukee locations were raided on December 19, 1971 and substantial betting records were seized at the Orlando (?) residence.
On Monday, January 10, 1972, Justice Department attorney Neil R. Peterson asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuits of Frank Balistrieri and Jennie Alioto against the FBI over their wiretapping. Although the government admitted that it bugged Balistrieri’s Continental Music Sales and Alioto’s apartment, Peterson argued that the three year statute of limitations had passed. Furthermore, they could not claim a loss of income or damage to reputation. Peterson said Alioto “cannot remember a single person before whom she… felt ashamed or humiliated.”
Carmello “Tony” Cicerello was convicted of forgery on January 12, 1972. Judge J. L. Coffey sentenced him to five years in prison to run concurrent with his time in Leavenworth.
The Justice Department considered bringing evidence before a grand jury to charge Steve DiSalvo with a fraudulent loan. However, on January 19, 1972, the decision was made not to pursue such a case (despite a crime being committed) because DeSalvo was actively repaying the loan.
The FBI went to Universal Builders (4385 North Green Bay Avenue) on January 21, 1972 in search of Kenneth “Weiss” Wasniewski, who they believed was operating an illegal gambling business. The agents were informed that Wasniewski had recently quit and was now selling siding from his home.
An informant told the FBI on January 24, 1972 that the recent fire at the Uptown Lounge in Kenosha may have been arson, and the insurance company was giving the owner a hard time about it.
On January 26, 1972, Dane County Judge Russell J. Mittelstadt found Jennie Alioto and Joseph Maniaci guilty of sales tax fraud for their handling of Mando Enterprises’ books. Specifically, they had signed false and fraudulent tax returns for the Ad Lib night club, reporting about $15,000 less in sales than necessary.
On January 27, 1972, the former owner of the Shorecrest appeared at the Milwaukee office of the FBI with his attorney. The man had been hounded by news reporters since the sale of the hotel, and would ask him if it was true if he had been beaten and forced to sell. The man denied any coercion and said he wanted to sell — he did not care to whom — and Balistrieri offered the highest bid. The FBI believed him and closed their books on a potential extortion investigation.
Kenneth “Weiss” Wasniewski appeared at the Milwaukee office of the FBI on January 27, 1972. Wasniewski flatly denied being involved in gambling, claiming he had not gambled in the past ten years. He further claimed any gamblers he knew had either stopped gambling or had passed away. Even when he had gambled, it was only on a friendly basis over some baseball games. On a personal note, Wasniewski acknowledged he had formerly worked for Henry Necchi (or Nechy) of American Building Supply and Universal Builders, but left that business in September 1971. He now lived at 6081 South 116th Street, Hales Corners.
On February 15, 1972, a group of Milwaukee men traveled to Vegas on a junket sponsored by Dutch’s Sukiyaki House. They stayed at the Sahara. Included on the trip were Angelo DiGiorgio, Sam Librizzi, Sam Dentice, Joe Alioto and Joseph Balistrieri.
On February 21, 1972, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Sommers asked for the maximum penalty — one year in jail — for Jennie Alioto and Joseph Maniaci, on behalf of the “candy store owner that sets aside his four pennies to pay the sales tax.”
Ben Barwick (business agent for Local 122) testified for two hours on Tuesday morning, February 29, 1972 before a grand jury investigating gambling in Milwaukee County. He and attorney Roland Steinle were escorted in and out of the Safety Building.
Frank Stelloh tried to “shake down” August Chiaverotti again in March 1972, but when he went to Chiaverotti’s house, he would not answer the door.
On March 9, 1972, an informant told the FBI that prostitutes were operating out of the Cheetah Bar, Lair Tavern and Western Inn and Kenosha. He thought their pimp might be out of Milwaukee, but that was just speculation.
Universal Builders became Incorporated in Louisiana on March 13, 1972 in Jefferson Parish. Steve DeSalvo was included on the board of directors, was secretary-treasurer and was a stockholder. He gave his address as 3700 Causeway Boulevard, Metairie, Louisiana.
A car registered to an employee of the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas was observed outside of Sally Papia’s residence on March 14, 1972.
Former mob boss John Alioto hosted a dinner at Alioto’s restaurant in honor of his nephew, San Francisco mayor Joseph L. Alioto on Thursday, March 30, 1972. The mayor spoke to approximately 80 of his cousins, and stumped for Hubert Humphrey and his presidential bid. Introducing him was another cousin, attorney Joseph Balistrieri, son of mob boss Frank Balistrieri. One suspects this did not help dispel the rumors of Mayor Alioto’s mob ties.
Nick Collura visited his sister in Florida in April 1972.
Balistrieri Returns: 1972-1983
Frank Balistrieri was released from federal prison on April 7, 1972 and resumed his role as head of the Milwaukee Family. The following evening, he met at Pitch’s Lounge with several Italian gamblers.
Steve DeSalvo talked to Walter Brocca on April 8, 1972 and told him he was talking too much. Brocca had told his daughter Emma about a robbery and assault attempt on him two weeks prior, and she told someone who told Joseph Enea. Two masked men had confronted Brocca in his garage, but he fled quickly and neighbors turned on lights, scaring the men off. DeSalvo said he was getting too much “heat” and he had nothing to do with the robbery attempt.
Antonina Balistrieri was confined in Mt. Sinai Hospital from April 10-15, 1972. She had been beaten up by Frank for saying she was going to divorce him while he was in prison. A nurse at the hospital said it looked like Mrs. Balistrieri had been thrown down the stairs.
Vito Aiello and Nick Fucarino visited the Balistrieri residence on April 14, 1972.
Joseph P. Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo were seen at Frank Balistrieri’s residence on April 18, 1972 from 9:00am to 1:30pm.
Some point in May 1972, two assailants tried to kill Walter Brocca but failed. This followed a bitter feud between Brocca and Frank Balistrieri where Brocca was accused of talking too much. Balistrieri visited Brocca shortly after the attempt and assured him that he (Balistrieri) was not behind the incident.
August Chiaverotti, 62, was sentenced on May 12, 1972 to two years in prion for his involvement in counterfeit coins by Judge Myron Gordon. He was granted a stay pending appeal. Robert Kent, 39, and Vito Minella, 40, were each given four years. Kent was already in Waupun Prison for stealing guns. (Note to self: Request record from Secret Service.)
An informant told the FBI on May 30, 1972, that the “narcotics pushers” in Kenosha hung out at Hardman’s Tap. Their secondary hangout was Bachelor’s II.
On June 12, 1972, there was a city council meeting in Lake Geneva. Among those attending was Herbert Lazzaroni and his financial backer, Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese. Lazzaroni was looking to build a resort near Big Foot, and the council was in favor. However, an opponent showed up with a petition against the resort, particularly because it would require Highway 120 to be closed temporarily. The plan was put on hold indefinitely. Someone passed on word to the FBI and US Attorney’s office, and USA Cannon noted that if Lazzaroni made any overt threats, he might be charged with Hobbs Act violations.
On June 20, 1972, Sidney Brodson appeared as a witness before a Milwaukee County grand jury. When asked to tell all he knew “about commercial gambling activities in Milwaukee County and other counties in the state of Wisconsin,” he asserted his privilege against compulsory incrimination and was granted immunity. He then responded to questions concerning his placing bets on football games and his relationship with other persons who placed bets and accepted wagers on such games.
On June 24, 1972, Oscar Plotkin and Fred Aveni were arrested following the return of commercial gambling indictments. Plotkin was accused of accepted bets from a man named Jerold Baker. Aveni had accepted bets from Marshall Branovan and Norman Soref. Both were released on $2,500 recognizance bonds.
Five people were arrested on June 26, 1972 due to indictments from the grand jury. Salvatore Cefalu was charged with 20 counts of commercial gambling.
On July 1, 1972, Peter Balistrieri paid $503 to have his tavern license renewed. The license was for the Center Stage Dinner Playhouse, which was going to be opening soon on the 2nd floor of the Antlers Hotel. Balistrieri swore that he was the only owner and owned the furnishings. His sworn statement was notarized by Angelo Fazio.
On July 14, 1972, an informant reported to the FBI that he had heard from August Chiaverotti that Joe Aiuppa had taken over much of the business formerly run by “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio, and that Tony Accardo was running the Chicago LCN behind the scenes. Chiaverotti, in turn, was aware of the Chicago situation (despite not being an LCN member) because he was an associate of “Mad Sam” DeStefano’s brother.
Joseph Gumina left for Italy on July 14, 1972.
On July 29, 1972, Frank Calabrese parked his boat in someone else’s spot in Lake Geneva. Calabrese and his brothers had recently purchased a home in Williams Bay and were spending more time in the Lake Geneva area.
Some time in July, Alioto fell while at his restaurant (3041 North Mayfair Road) and had to be hospitalized.
An informant told the FBI in August 1972 that Vincent Maniaci and August Palmisano had gotten drunk and shot holes in the walls of Richie’s and Little Caesars.
An informant told the FBI on August 4, 1972 that Frank Balistrieri was forcing Joseph Gumina out of the Family. He suspected this might be because Balistrieri tried to get a piece of some business Gumina was in and was rebuffed. The informant did not know what business this would be. He further said Joseph Balistrieri had bought some property on the east side near the Shorecrest and he believed the financial backing came from the Del Chemical Company.
FBI agents ran surveillance at Rudolph Porchetta’s house (9423 West Good Hope Road) on August 21, 1972, but didn’t see anything but his name on the mailbox.
An informant told the FBI on August 23, 1972, that he would try to monitor the movements of Sidney Brodson for them. The informant suggested that he (the informant) was not close to Brodson, but was close to Brodson’s gambling protege, John Morn.
John Alioto died on August 27, 1972 from a heart ailment at St. Michael’s Hospital. While constantly under suspicion from the FBI, he was never caught for any serious offense. The Milwaukee Journal honored him on August 29 with the headline, “Restauranteur Alioto Dies of Heart Ailment”.
The FBI reports that Steve DeSalvo called an informant on August 28 and told him of the death and asked him to tell the Rockford Family. Phil Priola of the Rockford crime family (and owner of Towne and Country Motel) was made aware of Alioto’s death by the informant, but declined to have any of the Rockford family attend the funeral for fear that this would lead to them being placed under surveillance by the police or FBI. (It is generally believed that August Maniaci was the informant, as he knew both Milwaukee and Rockford members, and we know one of the Manaici brothers was, in fact, an informant. However, James Schiavo was being groomed as an informant, so it is possible this job fell to him.)
Alioto had a funeral at St. Rita’s Catholic Church and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery on September 6, 1972. Practically every member of the Milwaukee family attended the funeral, as did Frank LaGalbo (technically now a Chicago Heights member) and Frank Sansone. James Schiavo and Matthew Pelliteri of the Madison Family were also in attendance, as was Frank Buccieri of Chicago.
On September 13, 1972, FBI agents found three boxes outside of 4385 North Green Bay Avenue, Milwaukee, the new home of Universal Builders. The agents confiscated the boxes, which contained a variety of financial information, including canceled checks from July through December 1968 totaling $439,390, for the Nationwide Development Corporation, 2411 West Capitol Drive.
An informant told the FBI on September 25, 1972 that Sidney Brodson had been making several trips to Chicago recently, but he did not know why.
Returning home from his restaurant, the Iron Horse (1100 West Wells), on September 27, 1972 at 1:45am, Louis Martin Fazio was shot to death in an alley behind his home at 2805 North Humboldt Avenue as he stepped out of his car. He was unarmed, other than a red ribbon on his rearview mirror for good luck, and took three to five bullets from a .38 at close range. Neighbors heard the shots. Arleen D’Amore (2815 Humboldt) was concerned, but went back to sleep. Tillie Cirra (2813 Humboldt) heard a sound she described as “bling-bling” and was so scared, she covered her head and could not investigate further. His wife never woke up at all. The body was not discovered until 6:45am in a pool of blood near his 1968 Chevrolet, with Fazio’s car keys and a copy of the Milwaukee Sentinel nearby.
An informant suggested the murder was also a robbery, as Fazio was known to transport money from Milwaukee to Chicago on Tuesday and Friday nights. The identity of the killers, or even suspects, was unknown. Some speculated that Fazio was “bumped off” by a man whose brakes he had cut not long before, but there was no solid evidence of this. There was also speculation that Frank Balistrieri knew in advance about the killing, as he would have to authorize it if it was a mob hit. Police and FBI monitored Fazio’s funeral and were able to identify about fifteen people (names still redacted in their files).
The Center Stage Dinner Playhouse (624 North 2nd Street) opened on the evening of September 27, 1972. By sheer coincidence, this was the same day that Louis Fazio was murdered, and no doubt left a dark cloud over the event. Dinner and show were $6.95, but drinks were extra. An informant said he estimated capacity at 500 and it was full. Although Peter Balistrieri was there, it was clear to the informant that Frank Balistrieri was the one giving orders and was clearly in charge.
On September 29, 1972 a 25th anniversary party was held at Sorini’s in North Riverside. Sally Papia and Frank Buccieri attended, as did Sam and Charles English and Turk Torello. (Whose anniversary is unclear.)
By 1972, Frank Balistrieri was approached by San Diego real-estate developer Allen Glick regarding Las Vegas. Glick had desired to build a casino in Las Vegas but lacked the funding. According to the testimony given by former Cleveland LCN Family underboss and acting boss Angelo “Big Ange” Lonardo, Balistrieri contacted Kansas City crime family boss Nick Civella about a possible loan to Glick. Civella, with his influence over Teamsters Union official Roy D. Williams, was able to secure the funding. Williams was able to extract the funds from the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund. Balistrieri also had influence over Milwaukee Teamsters official Frank Ranney, a trustee of the Chicago-based fund.
(when?) Nick Fucarino was visited at his home (2622 North 60th Street) by two special agents, including Eugene D. Murphy. Fucarino told them he was 76, retired, and had no business dealings other than taking care of his real estate holdings. He said he only saw his old friends at weddings and funerals and was not active in the criminal world. Fucarino was asked about the murder of Louis Fazio, and he said he had no information on that and could think of no reason for Fazio to be killed other than robbery.
Nick Gentile was accepting football bets through his New Yorker Bar at 605 North 5th Street in October and November 1972. He was a relatively low-level bookie, only taking bets as high as $200. He lessened his involvement in November when he caught wind that the “heat” was in town. Although associated with the Milwaukee LCN, he apparently operated his gambling solo and not with the usual suspects.
(When?) A confidential source told the FBI that Benny DiSalvo would be a “logical suspect” in the murder of Louis Fazio, given his close association with and loyalty to Frank Balistrieri.
Agents visited Albert Albana on October 13, 1972 at Checker Cleaning Store on 22nd Avenue in Kenosha. They talked to him about Louis Fazio, and he denied knowing Fazio or any of the Milwaukee hoodlums. (This is patently false, as Albana was present at Fazio’s parole party.) He said he moved his store from Roosevelt Road to this present location because he was not making any money and he thought he could do better here in a neighborhood where he knew people. Albana offered the suggestion that narcotics were a bigger problem than petty gambling and the FBI might want to consider shifting its focus. He said they were welcome back any time, however.
Agents visited William Covelli on October 13, 1972 at his Badger Cheese Market in Bristol. He admitted knowing Louis Fazio, and said he (Covelli) had a relative working for Fazio’s brother in Florida. Beyond that, Covelli said he did not travel much, had no idea who killed Fazio, and had not seen him in years.
On Monday, October 16, 1972 Judge Max Raskin found Robert B. Orlando, 42, 1447 North 48th Street, guilty of 42 counts of commercial gambling. Assistant Attorney General Peter Peshek asked for two years in prison, a $5000 fine and five years probation. Defense attorney Nicholas Catania said the prosecution’s claims of Orlando working with millions of dollars were an exaggeration. Raskin set sentencing for November 17. The next day, Salvatore Cefalu was fined $8000, placed on five years probation and sentenced to 60 days in jail by Judge Raskin.
An FBI agent called Joseph Gumina’s house (3373 South 16th Street) on October 17, 1972 to see if he still lived there. The agent pretended to be an insurance salesman looking for clients.
James Schiavo arrived at San Francisco International Airport at 7:30pm on October 18, 1972. ATF agents followed him to the baggage claim (where he made a phone call) and then to Avis where he rented a Plymouth. Schiavo drove to the Auditorium Travel Inn Motel in San Jose, checking in to Room 118. He ordered dinner from Chicken Delight, and the lights went out at 9:45pm.
Frenchy’s (1901 East North Avenue) was robbed on October 19, 1972 around 6:40am. Two men with pistols, one wearing a mask, confronted cleaners Donnie Grant, 19, and Edward Jarozewski, 31, and brought them inside where their hands were bound with adhesive tape. Dorothy Pural, 57, was in the office and the men took $1000 from an open safe and then handcuffed her to the safe’s handle. One of the cleaners loosened his hands around 7:00am and called police. The robbers were later identified as Richard Crocker and Keith Froemming, with a gun having been provided by Frank Angelo Picciolo.
James Schiavo left his motel room at 8:25am on October 19, 1972. He went to Sambo’s and had breakfast, then talked with a man and woman at Angelo Butera Photography. This had been the wedding photographer for a San Jose capo’s daughter. Schiavo visited the California Cheese Company in San Jose from 1:15pm to 1:25pm, dropping off a 6x6x12 package. He spent the rest of the day at the motel, Sambo’s again, and then at Campbell U Save Liquor.
Schiavo left the motel at 8:44am on October 20, 1972 and again went to Sambo’s. He returned, making a call in the motel office, and then walked to Original Joe’s and met a man in a pink sweater. Spent the afternoon at the motel until 4:10pm, when he went to Butera’s Photography Studio. He talked with three women there, left, and then met up with them again at the Elks Club at 5:55pm. He left the club at 10:10pm, went to a private residence and returned to the motel at 11:55pm.
Schiavo left his motel at 8:23am on October 21, 1972 and drove to the Americana Motel in San Francisco, checking in there. He went to the Wharf and stopped at Pete Alioto’s Hof Brau. At 11:40am, he had lunch at the Food Center on Market Street. At 8:40pm, he joined three women and a man at the Shadow’s Rest. Schiavo returned to the motel at 2:25am.
Schiavo left his motel at 8:40am on October 22, 1972. He returned to San Jose, checking in to the Hyatt House, Room 634. At 1:30pm he went to the Henry Cowell Redwood Park with a man and woman. At 3:45pm they went to Monterey Wharf and had dinner at Angelo’s Fish Grotto. Next, they drove to the Santa Cruz Pier and bought fish from Stagnero Brothers at 6:45pm. At 7:50pm, Schiavo picked up a bag from the Plumed Horse Restaurant in Saratoga. He went to a private residence, returning to the Hyatt House at 10:10pm.
On October 23, Schiavo spent the day shopping with three women, first at the Eastridge Shopping Center (for two hours) and then the Pruneyard Shopping Center (for three hours).
Sally Papia was visited at her home by the FBI on October 24, 1972 under the pretext of discussing the murder of Louis Fazio. She said she had already spoken to the Milwaukee police about it and was aware that anonymous calls had been made saying she was going to die, too. She said she considered the calls to be pranks.
Special Agent Eugene Murphy went to the New Yorker Bar on October 26, 1972 and observed the clientele. He estimated that 80% of the patrons were black, and so were the female entertainers. Murphy overheard two white men discussing football games, and saw a pool room he suspected of being a gambling area, but recognized no one in the bar.
Two agents went into the Ad Lib Lounge on October 26, 1972 and observed the clientele. There was a bartender, a barmaid, three female entertainers and roughly fifteen patrons — ten of whom were sitting at the bar. The mix was nicely dressed and casually dressed and it appeared to be a slow night.
Frank LaPorte died on October 30, 1972. Sal LaGalbo and James Schiavo attended his funeral. (This seems odd. The Milwaukee FBI office refers to LaPorte as a “Rockford” member and didn’t find out about the funeral until March 1973… did they get the wrong name?)
Dennis Librizzi was convicted of two counts of gambling on October 31, 1972. He was sentenced to one year in the house of correction by Judge Christ Seraphim.
Special Agent Eugene Murphy entered Sally’s Steak House on October 31, 1972 and saw James Jennaro working as the maitre’d.
In November 1972, someone told Walter Brocca of a scheme to physically hurt Frank Balistrieri. Although Brocca was allied with this person, he told Balistrieri about the plot in order to protect himself from retaliation.
The FBI followed gambler Sidney Brodson around on November 1, 1972. Starting at 9:57am, they found his green Dodge Dart on North 12th Street with a great Dane in the back seat. The vehicle started moving around 11:00am and they followed Brodson to his home at 2420 Stratford Court, Shorewood. At 11:50am they followed him from Farwell to Ogden, and then lost him around VanBuren and State.
Brodson was followed again on November 2, and the agents trailed him to the Juneau Village parking ramp (Juneau at VanBuren) at 12:21pm. From there he walked to the First Choice Restaurant where he met up with two white women. The agents then left.
Vincent Maniaci was at the Castaways Hotel, 16375 Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach on November 2, 1972. He stayed one night in Room 554.
Nick Gentile was arrested on November 3, 1972 for being drunk. He identified himself as a salesman for Universal Industries.
Vincent Maniaci visited Jimmy Fazio in Florida on November 4/5, 1972. Jimmy said he did not think that members of the Chicago Outfit had killed Louis Fazio because Louis was too close of a friend to Sam DeStefano. (Given Sam’s rocky relationship with the Outfit and his own murder five months later, this hardly seems like a safety net.)
Special Agent Eugene Murphy visited the Brass Rail on November 9, 1972. There were 13 to 18 patrons, most sitting at the bar. The clientele was a mix of casual and formal. Working were one bartender, two waitresses and three female entertainers.
Vincent Maniaci was at the Castaways Hotel, 16375 Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach from November 10-12, 1972. He stayed in Room 205.
A testimonial dinner was held for San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto on November 11, 1972 at the Marc Plaza Hotel in Milwaukee. It was organized by the Italian-American Men’s Club of Milwaukee. Four hundred people attended the event, including Frank Balistrieri and Steve DeSalvo. (The Marc Plaza was formerly the Schroeder Hotel and is today the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.)
The Margaret L tuna boat left Sturgeon Bay and headed for San Juan through the Great Lakes on November 17, 1972. (Within six years, the boat’s owners would declare bankruptcy and the ship would sink following an unexplained explosion.)
Federal gambling convictions against Angelo B. DiGiorgio and Thomas J. Machi were overturned on Monday, November 20, 1972 by Judge Myron Gordon. Gordon said that since the calls to California (where odds were obtained) were made by Andrew Machi, there was no evidence to show that either of these two men were aware their gambling activities had an interstate (and therefore federal) aspect.
Sidney Brodson was observed at 12:50pm having lunch at the 1st Choice restaurant near Juneau Square. Who he was with is redacted.
Brocca’s used appliance business — Towne Appliance and Service, 1916 West Mitchell — burned down in mid-November 1972. The cause was thought to be accidental.
On November 25, 1972, around 8:30pm, Angie’s Cocktail Bar (714-718 North Water) suffered a fire. The fire started in a concrete room in the basement. Although the burn damage was minor, the smoke damage was extensive. The fire department believed if the fire wasn’t put out, it would have gone out on its own, but not before causing smoke damage to all five floors of the building. The cause of the fire was not known. The manager at Angie’s was Frank John Provinzano (a former IRS agent), who had taken over from his brother Angelo. A few years earlier, the building housed The Grove, run by Leo Crivello and James Koulouras. While firefighters were putting out the blaze, Frank Provinzano gave them a “hard time” and told them he did not want their equipment damaging the interior because he had recently remodeled. An informant said that on the night of the fire, Provinzano was seen in the lobby of First Federal Savings and Loan (who owned the building Angie’s was in) and seemed very nervous.
Agent Murphy spoke with an informant on November 30, 1972. He said that Frank Stelloh had visited Walter Brocca looking for blasting caps in order to hook up dynamite to the cars of Frank Balistrieri and Steve DiSalvo. Brocca immediately went to Peter Balistrieri’s house and told Frank and DiSalvo about the plot. Coincidentally, this was one day before Brocca’s business burned down. The informant believed the fire was an accident caused by Brocca’s “carelessness and sloppiness”. He said Jimmy Jennaro was looking for a gun and silencer, and was nervous for an unknown reason. The informant said Frank Balistrieri had been going around commenting “You thought I was finished here, huh?” when people asked about Louis Fazio. Whether or not Balistrieri was responsible, he was eager to take credit. The informant heard that Sam DeStefano was going to be killed because of his troubles following the Leo Foreman and Action Jackson murders. (DeStefano was killed in April — whether this was good intelligence or a lucky guess is hard to say.) Another file says (the same day) the informant said Gus Chiaverotti told him the Chicago Outfit was upset with the “unfavorable publicity” DeStefano was getting. Could Chiaverotti be the informant?
Postal Inspectors noted that Sidney Brodson, through the Duke Advertising Agency, started to receive a noticeable increase in mail around December 1, 1972, which would coincide with the basketball season. Most of the increased mail was newspapers from around the country. By December 22, he was receiving “three sacks” per day. And by December 29, it would fluctuate between three and five sacks.
West Allis police observed Frank Stelloh getting into a two-door Pontiac at 71st and Greenfield on December 4, 1972. The car was being driven by a 35-year old man with dark hair and a dark complexion.
The chef at Chico’s in December 1972 was Andrew J. Maniscalco, 36, a known associate of Milwaukee gamblers. (Maniscalco’s involvement, if any, is unknown to me… he was not related, near as I can tell, to anyone in the Milwaukee Family.)
August Chiaverotti’s business on Lincoln Avenue was burglarized in December 1972, with a key being used to gain entry. The building was in the former Lincoln Theater at 12th and Lincoln and was owned by Chiaverotti’s mother-in-law.
An informant told the FBI in December 1972 that tension had developed between August Palmisano and Vincent Maniaci because of Palmisano’s girlfriend, who was black.
When special agents entered the New Yorker on December 14, 1972, they saw a “well-known prostitute” in the bar. At 9:04pm, after the prostitute left, an agent identified himself to an off-duty bartender in the bar. The man acknowledged that prostitution goes on there, but said he did not know much about it as he was new, having left the Brothers II tavern only three weeks before. The bartender said the owner, Nick Gentile, only comes in at 1:00am to close up, and that he had recently moved to Shorewood.
A special agent also went to the Ad Lib Lounge on December 14, 1972 and saw Joseph Enea tending bar, as well as a barmaid and three female entertainers. There were fifteen to seventeen patrons.
Sally Papia took a busload of friends to Frank Buccieri’s Riverside restaurant in North Riverside near Chicago for a Christmas party on December 17, 1972.
FBI agents again followed Sidney Brodson on December 19, 1972. At 7:15pm they followed his Dodge Dart from his home in Shorewood for a few miles, and then lost him in traffic on Wilson Drive.
Agents again followed Brodson on December 20. He drove from his home at 7:50am and picked up a white man at the corner of Leon Terrace and Baldwin Street. They drove to the Hampton Avenue Post Office and unloaded something from Brodson’s trunk. Next, they went and parked at the Insurance Exchange Building (6150 West Fond du Lac Avenue) and surveillance stopped at 8:25am.
Surveillance continued December 21, and this time they saw the white man leave a house at 6061 West Leon Terrace where Brodson picked him up at 8:06am. Around 8:10, they got to the Hampton Avenue Post Office where the man picked up four mail bags. Agents were able to get a good look at him this time and described him as 6’1″, 220 pounds, 20-25 years old, brown curly hair, brown eyes and pimples. He was wearing two metal necklaces, a brown coat and blue jeans. At 8:19am, they unloaded the mail bags from the vehicle and brought them into the rear entrance of the Insurance Exchange Building (6150 West Fond du Lac Avenue).
Phil Candela sent some cheese to Frank Balistrieri for Christmas 1972. He had it delivered by Tony LaRosa.
On December 27, agents saw Sidney Brodson leave the Insurance Exchange Building (6150 West Fond du Lac Avenue) around 6:15pm and head home.