This article was last modified on April 26, 2018.


JFK Files Lead to Milwaukee Mafia Revelations

Part One: Assorted thoughts on March 15, 2018

As many people know, there was recently a large block of files released to the public concerning the JFK assassination. While I glanced through some of those documents, I did not spend much time on them because a) the JFK assassination is outside of my field of research, and b) based on what I was reading in the newspapers, there really were no new revelations.

Then a fellow researcher informed me how he was finding a few gems in the files unrelated to JFK, but related to the Chicago Outfit. Because the documents have been declassified, even the names of informants are now being made public — something the FBI never, never, never does. Given his success, I thought I would try the same regarding Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee FBI played a very small role in the JFK assassination investigation, and the Milwaukee Mafia played no role at all. And yet there were approximately 20 pages I was able to find that were either never released before, or had been release to me in redacted form. What did I learn?

The Role of Allen Glick

The official story has always been that Allen Glick was an innocent real estate developer who found out he could purchase some Las Vegas casinos by using Teamster money. To get access to this money, he had to court some powerful, deadly mob figures, and ultimately became indebted to them. Glick was later the government’s star witness against the mob figures.

There have always been some parts of the story that didn’t line up. And the overall characterization of Glick as a “victim” seemed odd, when he was able to go from nearly bankrupt to having $72 million within a five year period. That is a rather lucky break, even by Vegas standards.

One document released suggests that Glick may have been calling more shots than he let on. According to informant Frank Rosenthal (who, admittedly, is of dubious credibility), it was Glick himself who “ordered” the murders of Tamara Rand and Edward “Marty” Buccieri. I have my doubts that Glick had the authority to “order” a hit, but it’s certainly conceivable that he could ask. And it was long known that Glick benefited from the death of Rand, as she knew a great deal about his business practices and had been one of his early benefactors.

More needs to be learned on this, but if it’s true that the government even suspected that Glick was influential enough to have his enemies killed, he should never have been used as a prosecution witness and made out to be the victim when he was every bit as much part of the problem.

The Informants

The most interesting new information, at least for me, was the release of a partial list of informants. We learned that among the long list of sources (many of whom worked for other government agencies), the FBI was relying on the following:

1. Andrew Curro. I don’t know who that is, or what importance that may have. More information is needed.

2. James Wieghart. He worked at the Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel, which appointed him as Washington bureau chief in 1966. Around the same time, in 1965 he was press secretary for William Proxmire, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. Later he ended up playing a minor role in the Iran-Contra scandal. Wieghart being an informant is not really a shock. The FBI often tried to get reporters to work with them, passing on tips that they picked up. Sometimes this relationship would go both ways, with the FBI leaking select information to the press. (I do not know if this applied to Wieghart, though the FBI definitely used Sandy Smith in this way in Chicago.)

3. David Kohler. In the 1940s and 50s, there were some high-profile Jewish gamblers. Specifically, Joseph Krasno and Sid Brodson. Another was Kohler, and the FBI used him to learn about the others, and he spoke freely about Krasno and his wife, who ran a brothel in Cudahy. Kohler’s usefulness is probably minimal, though, since he was most talkative after the glory years.

4. Sam Cooper. This one is a major bombshell. For those not acquainted with the key figures in Milwaukee, you will not know who Cooper is. He was the owner of Pioneer Sales, a jukebox distributing company, which he took over when his brother-in-law was murdered (and Cooper was a prime suspect). Cooper was one of the closest friends of Frank Balistrieri, so much that Frank’s children referred to him as “Uncle Sam”. What Cooper knew was probably limited largely to the jukebox and vending business, but if Frank knew his friend was actively feeding information to the FBI, he would probably have been furious.

The Informant Not Named

Despite the documents being declassified in whole, there is still one “top echelon” informant whose name is blacked out. The ironic thing about this is that it’s the name of the one informant we have known about since the 1970s: August Maniaci. If anything new WAS learned, however, it was that the FBI gave Maniaci multiple informant numbers to purposely make their sources look confusing. The documents state that since Maniaci could supply information on Milwaukee, Rockford and Madison, it was best to give him multiple numbers, or else it would be too obvious who the source was. (Indeed, there is no other highly-placed person who could know about both Milwaukee and Rockford equally.)

This does possibly clear up one thing. There have been situations where TWO informants reported on incidents and conversations that happened between August Maniaci and John Aiello. This made me think that not only Maniaci, but also Aiello, was acting as an informant. But now it seems that maybe these “multiple informants” were actually just one person — Maniaci.

Part Two: The April 26, 2018 Update

On April 26, 2018, an additional 18,000 documents were released. Some were completely new while others were previously released, but now with fewer redactions. Luckily for me, the Milwaukee files are few (roughly a dozen) so I didn’t need to read through 18,000 files. A few more gems came up.

Following the murders of JFK and Oswald, Milwaukee agents wanted to know more about Jack Ruby. They used this opportunity to speak with known gamblers: John Piscuine, Charles Piscuine, Bobby Pick, and David Kohler (as mentioned earlier). They also spoke with mob associate Anthony Bruno, fraudulent financier Harry Kaminsky and Don Christensen (unknown to me). In Kenosha, a man named George Mehoves from the Conservation Club was interviewed whom I know nothing about. All of these men are categorized in the files as “potential criminal informants”. It is unclear if any of them (besides Kohler) ever made it beyond that point.

Another document adds two more potential criminal informants: attorney Barnett Franks and mob associate Franck Cicchini in Kenosha. This document, strangely, is from December 1962, and therefore has no connection to the JFK case at all. Still another document has the FBI developing Joe Beck, a pinball machine man, as an informant.

The big story this time involves a man named Frank Hyland Russell. This man, who had an office in the Plankinton Arcade, told the FBI that he had connected New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello with a lobbyist named Jim Donohue in Washington, DC. Russell and Donohue were both from Milwaukee, and Russell spoke to Frank Balistrieri to have him tell Marcello he (Russell) was okay to work with. The story gets a bit convoluted, but apparently Marcello was at risk of being deported and Donohue had connections to high-ranking officials in the Dominican Republic (including the country’s dictator, General Trujillo) who could help Marcello out. Part of this scheme was that Marcello would get people to testify (falsely) against Jimmy Hoffa, and in exchange for Hoffa going to prison, the Justice Department (lead by Robert Kennedy) would drop their deportation of Marcello. Donohue’s contact at the Justice Department was Laverne Duffy, an attorney who had worked with Kennedy on the McClellan Committee. How far the plan went is unclear, because Russell was eventually pushed out of the negotiations.

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

2 Responses to “JFK Files Lead to Milwaukee Mafia Revelations”

  1. Wayne Clingman Says:

    Very interesting information here. Thank you for posting it

  2. Drew Hunkins Says:

    The finest book ever written on the JFK assassination came out about 10 years ago, it’s entitled “Reclaiming History” by Vincent Bugliosi.

    It resoundingly slams the door shut on any notion whatsoever that there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. It proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Oswald acted alone and was not a part of any conspiracy involving the mob, military industrial complex or CIA.

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