This article was last modified on December 9, 2018.


Andrew Lococo and the Milwaukee – California Connection

Andrew J. Lococo was born April 2, 1918 in Milwaukee to Felice “Phil” Locococ and his wife Maria Rosalie.

1920: The Lococo family lives on Cass Street in Milwaukee’s predominantly Sicilian Third Ward.

1930: The Lococo family lives at 180 Lyon Street, Milwaukee, right next door to Isadore Aiello (son-in-law of Mafia boss Vito Guardalabene) and notorious Capone hitman Angelo LaMantia.

Andrew Lococo was arrested May 5, 1936 for OMFP (whatever that is). He was released the next day.

Andrew Lococo was arrested November 28, 1938 for attempted burglary. He was put on three years probation.

Andrew Lococo was picked up July 23, 1940 for an investigation, but released.

Salvatore DiMaggio was arrested on multiple counts of larceny on November 28, 1940 and sentenced to two years in Waupun State Prison. With him was Andrew Joseph Lococo. Lococo was arrested December 12 and sentenced to six months in the House of Correction.

Some time between 1940 and 1952, the Lococo family (Andrew and his parents) move west to San Diego. Exactly why is unclear, but many Sicilians in Milwaukee and elsewhere moved to the west coast to pursue a career in fishing.

The FBI interviewed Andrew Lococo in Hawthorne, California on March 13, 1963. Most of the conversation was unrelated to Milwaukee, but Lococo admitted being acquainted with Steve DiSalvo and Buster Balestrere. He said he grew up with them in Milwaukee, and on occasion they would come out to Los Angeles.

The FBI interviewed Andrew Lococo in Hawthorne, California on January 8, 1965. He said he would help the FBI any way he could, but would not be a stool pigeon. He further said if any investigation concerned a friend of his, he would not help. As an example, he mentioned Buster Balestrere. He said he had grown up with Balestrere, and in their earlier days they had even broken the law together. He would not feel right saying anything about Balestrere. However, he said, he was not aware of any “serious recent crimes” Balestrere had committed anyway.

Frank Balistrieri hosted a dinner at Alioto’s on May 25 or 26, 1966 in honor of Andrew Lococo, who was in town because of a Restaurant Convention in Chicago, and picked up the check for the meal. Attending the dinner was William Covelli, Tony and Tommy Machi, and others.

Andrew Lococo and nineteen others (mostly doctors) left Los Angeles on September 6, 1968 to go on a fishing trip in Mazatlan, Mexico. He returned on September 8 at 1:10am, one day earlier than the rest of the party. Lococo was checked at the Los Angeles Airport upon his return and was found to have $3200 in hundred-dollar bills in his pocket. He also had a bill showing he had stayed at the Balboa Club de Mazatlan.

A representative of the FBI interviewed an employee of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries at Terminal Island, California on September 16, 1968. The employee said that two months prior, Andrew Lococo and another person came to the office looking for government loan papers. Lococo said that he had no experience with commercial fishing, but was going to start a corporation and surround himself with knowledgeable people. He was going to construct a large fishing boat that would cost between one and two million dollars. The man with Lococo said he was supported by Congressman Charles Herbert Wilson, and at that point Lococo was given the loan forms.

At some point in December 1968, Frank Balistrieri was in California and met with Andrew Lococo.

On January 16, 1969, Andrew Lococo left Los Angeles to go to La Paz in Baja California via a commercial flight. From there, they chartered a plane to Cabo San Lucas for a fishing trip. With him were his uncle Joseph Lococo of Los Angeles, and Anthony Andrew Machi and Giuseppe A. Gennaro of Milwaukee. The men returned on January 20.

Someone (redacted, connected to Andrew Lococo) took out a $500 cashier’s check from the Imperial Bank of Los Angeles and made it payable to Raymond Mirr.

On June 26, 1969, Andrew Lococo appeared before a grand jury in Los Angeles. He was initially informed that the grand jury was investigating “possible violations of the Federal laws relating to interstate wagering activity, interstate transportation and aid of racketeering, bribery and sporting contests, and possible other Federal offenses.” After Lococo recited his name, address, and occupation, the grand jury explained that it was “concerned with a series of fixed horse races that were run in the State of California during the past year.” Lococo denied any knowledge of or profit from the races. Lococo was later asked if he knew several different people. He admitted friendship with Ray Mirr whom he had known since his childhood in Milwaukee, but he said that he had not spoken to Mirr within the past year. Part of the questioning went as follows:

Q. Do you talk to him [Mirr] frequently?
A. No.
Q. When was the last time you talked to him?
A. Gosh, I don’t remember. Quite some time ago.
Q. What would be your reason for talking to Mr. Mirr by telephone?
A. Well, I haven’t talked to him.
Q. You have not talked to Mr. Mirr?
A. You mean the last time I spoke to him?
Q. Yes.
A. Could have been that—I really don’t remember now. I don’t even remember when I spoke to Ray last, it’s so long.
Q. All right. Would you have spoken to Ray Mirr within the past year?
A. No.

Andrew Lococo of Los Angeles was in Milwaukee on June 27 and 28, 1969 — one day after testifying in Los Angeles — to attend a wedding (redacted). Also attending were Frank Balistrieri, Steve DiSalvo, Paul Bogosian and Jimmy Jennaro.

On May 20, 1970, US Attorney Gerald Uelman filed a report in Los Angeles relating to his trial against Andrew Lococo (who was scheduled to be sentenced shortly). Uelman alleged that Frank Balistrieri used his Teamsters influence to get a $125,000 loan from a Milwaukee bank. Balistrieri was accused of running a bookmaking operation that stretched between Milwaukee and California. On the Milwaukee side, Steve DiSalvo was said to work out of Fazio’s (634 North 5th Street). The report outlined 21 calls between Balistrieri and Lococo within a six month period, which Lococo claimed were for assistance in getting a Teamster loan. Although Lococo denied that Balistrieri had stayed at the Cockatoo, hotel records were searched and found that Balistrieri, DiSalvo and Tony “Petrolle” Machi had stayed there free of charge. 17 calls between Lococo and the Machi brothers (Tony and Tommy) had occurred over a 6 month period, with the Machis being known bookmakers. Tony Machi’s name was found repeatedly in the Cockatoo’s room records, and he went on a fishing trip with Lococo to Mexico. Frank Sansone, another bookmaker, received 117 calls within four months from Lococo.

Madison “underboss” Joseph Aiello met Andrew Lococo in Los Angeles on May 28, 1970. The meeting is quite a mystery. Aiello was generally thought to be inactive, and how he knew Lococo is unknown. The FBI suspected Aiello was passing a message from Balistrieri, but were unsure because they also felt that Balistrieri was not on good terms with the Madison crew.

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.

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.

On July 28, 29 and 30, 1970, (redacted, probably Andrew Machi) made telephone calls from public telephone booths between 11:30am and 11:50am to Sonny’s Sports Service in Los Angeles. While making the calls, which were under two minutes, he was seen taking notes believed to be “the line”. This business was involved in bookmaking, and was connected to Andrew Lococo and his Cockatoo Hotel.

Andrew Lococo was indicted on October 29, 1970 for four counts of violating the Gun Control Act, which prohibited interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers. He would later be sentenced to five years probation.

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.

Andrew Lococo stayed at the Smith Lodge (1640 Memorial Drive) in Sturgeon Bay on December 27, 1971. He was checking up on Peterson Builders and his tuna boat, which was three-quarters done and scheduled to be complete by Autumn 1972.

On April 8, 1972, Lococo rented a helicopter to watch “his” horse (Mr. Cockatoo, owned by corrupt chemical company owner Rocco Youse) race at Santa Anita because he was barred from the grounds.

Authorities in California were looking into Rocco Youse in May 1972, and were curious if he had a financial interest in Del Stables, or horses named Mr. Cockatoo and Rocco’s Lady. On May 4, a spot check was done at Andrew Lococo’s Cockatoo Inn in Hawthorne, California, searching for Youse or his Rolls Royce. They did not find it, but found an associate’s Cadillac.

Andrew Lococo was in Sturgeon Bay overseeing the construction of his record-breaking tuna boat, and planned to return to California on Monday, May 22, 1972. However, while at the Green Bay airport around 4:00pm, he was served a subpoena by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. This ordered him to testify in front of Milwaukee County Grand Jury investigating commercial gambling. Another California man, Dominick DeFalco, was also ordered to appear on June 5. DeFalco’s company, Troy Tickets, allegedly was providing line information on sporting events.

On Tuesday, May 23, 1972 at 3:10pm, Lococo entered the grand jury room with his attorneys, John J. Flynn of Phoenix and Nicholas C. Catania of Milwaukee, “nattily dressed in a red and black check sport coat with red and white check slacks”. Lococo invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer any of the questions put to him by Assistant Attorney General Peter A. Peshek. The questions were: what do you know about gambling in Milwaukee County; have you made or taken bets from anyone in Milwaukee County in the past six years; in the past six years, have you called anyone in Milwaukee County for the purpose of receiving information about a horse race or any particular horse; in the past six years, have you called anyone in Milwaukee County for the purpose of receiving gambling information on sporting events; specifically, have you taken or made bets with Andrew Machi, Anthony Machi (aka Tony Petrolle), Frank L. Sansone, Steve DeSalvo, Salvatore Dentice, Angelo DiGiorgio, Salvatore Cefalu, Robert “Ace” Orlando or Dominic DeFalco; have you invested any gambling money into any business in the state of Wisconsin. Judge Herbert J. Steffes then granted Lococo immunity and ordered him to return on June 5.

Andrew Lococo was flown in from California to testify before the Milwaukee grand jury on June 6, 1972. He was granted immunity by Judge Herbert Steffes. Also testifying that day were Eddie Carroll, owner of the Casino Steak House (635 North 5th Street), and brothers David and Robert Arieff. Carroll pleaded the Fifth, and was called back later the same day after given immunity.

On August 15, 1972, the “Door County Advocate” (a newspaper in Sturgeon Bay) had an article titled “Dreamboat is Word for Newly Built Purse Seiner”. The article said the new Margaret L tuna boat “combined the engineering talents of Rados Weston Corporation and the progressive ideas of Andrew Lococo into what will result in the biggest, fastest, most reliable, most modern, and most beautiful purse seiner in the world today.” The ship was scheduled to be launched August 19 at 11:30am from Peterson Shipbuilders in Sturgeon Bay. It was 262 feet long and could hold 2,000 tons (!!) of refrigerated tuna. A small helicopter could land on the boat, allowing the field of vision to extend up to 200 miles (!!). The boat was owned by the Margie L Corp, which was based out of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Andrew Joseph Lococo died on November 25, 1973 in a Stockton, California hospital after suffering a stroke. His obituary identified him as “an outstanding philanthropist to many charitable organizations”. The newspaper, however, called him an “organized crime figure and owner of the world’s largest tuna fishing boat”. The boat, dubbed the “Margaret L”, was 262 feet and was able to carry a helicopter and was rigged to pull in fish weighing up to 200 tons. Lococo’s death caused a bit of a mess regarding his estate. Attorney Joseph Balistrieri filed a $225,000 claim against the estate, saying he was owed a finder’s fee for helping secure a $2.25 million loan from the Central States Pension Fund. Following Lococo’s death, Frank Dimiceli of Milwaukee (owner of the Rafters Hotel and an alleged pimp) began frequenting Lococo’s condominium at 1760 Avenida del Mundo in Coronado, California. He was believed to be romantically involved with someone there (possibly Lococo’s widow).

On March 19, 1974, Joseph Balistrieri filed a claim of $225,000 against the estate of Andrew Lococo, saying he had helped secure loans from the Teamsters for Lococo between November 1968 and February 1971. Balistrieri’s claim was rejected by Lococo’s wife on July 12, 1974. Balistrieri, in turn, sued the estate on October 15, 1974.

Frank Dimiceli was in Palermo, Sicily in April 1975. What he was doing there is unknown, but the Italian National Police observed him with a close associate of Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo. The Milwaukee FBI Office speculated Dimiceli was there regarding Joseph Balistrieri’s $225,000 claims against the Lococo estate. Either Dimiceli was trying to go through channels to get Balistrieri to drop the claim, or the higher-ups had already sided with Balistrieri and ordered Dimiceli to Sicily in order to get him to stop the fight and liquidate the Lococo assets.

On August 9, 1979, an informant told the FBI that it was “common knowledge” that Frank Balistrieri had influence over the Teamsters union and had helped individuals get loans from them. The informant mentioned Andrew Lococo and his tuna boat specifically, and said that Joseph Balistrieri gets “finders fees” for these loans.

The FBI interviewed Door County Sheriff Hollis J. Bridenhagen on July 31, 1980 concerning Frank Ranney. He said he recalled Ranney and his wife very well, and said Mrs. Ranney operated the White Gull Inn, and it was a completely legitimate business. After they sold the business, Ranney built a beautiful home in Egg Harbor. They had no employment in Door County. Bridenhagen recalled that he was serving subpoenas on Andrew Lococo and his associates around the time that Peterson Shipbuilders in Sturgeon Bay was building Lococo’s tuna boat, the Margaret L. Bridenhagen said during this time Ranney moved to Florida, and he suspected that Ranney did not want to get mixed up in the Lococo mess, as Teamster Pension funds were rumored to have financed the boat. Bridenhagen said Ranney’s wife was originally from Door County and married Frank after her first husband died. Bridenhagen further said he heard a rumor that one time Frank Balistrieri was denied a loan, so Ranney called and said if the loan was approved the bank would see a big deposit from the Teamsters. Bridenhagen stressed this was only a rumor (though we now know it was basically accurate).

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

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