This article was last modified on March 30, 2019.


The Chiaverotti Family of Milwaukee

This is a collection (dumping ground) for information on August Chiaverotti. It should be made clear that there are two men by that name, father and son. The father passed away in 1930. Also, as a “dumping ground” no effort has been made to clean up or organize these notes yet.

On August 3, 1910, saloon keeper Leonardo Loffredo of Orsara di Puglia (southern Italy), 45, was at his tavern at 300 Bishop early in the day — the same tavern later connected to August Chiaverotti and the Italian anarchists. Later, Loffredo was shot three times with a .32 and killed almost instantly. When he reached Dr. Aaron Yaffe at 12:45pm he had three bullet wounds, including one on the top of his head and died of a brain hemorrhage. Loffredo’s nephew Matteo Delsonno, 23, wrested the gun from the slayer’s hand and beat him unconscious. Laborer Antonino Basile, 34, was taken in for questioning, arrested but found not guilty.

On Monday, May 3, 1920, the Magestro brothers went to District Attorney Winfred Charles Zabel with a little story of the American Dream gone wrong. Zabel, a Socialist, made a name for himself cleaning up Milwaukee’s red light River Street District earlier in his career. He became more familiar with the Italian community in November 1917, when young Sam Mazzone brought a bomb into the Central Police Station, resulting in nine officer’s deaths. This bomb, blamed on Italian anarchists connected to the Chiaverotti tavern at 300 Bishop Street, was the largest single loss of police officers in American history, and maintained that morbid record until September 2001. The bomb, incidentally, was not intended for the police but rather for an Evangelical Church. The full story surrounding this event has been written excellently by Robert Tanzilo and Dean Strang.

Police busted up a lottery on Friday, April 8 (1921?), run by Matteo Delsonno of 227 Bay Street, and the Guardalabene brothers. They were raffling off their 391-acre farm, valued at $36,000 ($468,000 today) near Arena, Wisconsin where their brother-in-law Isadore Aiello had been dairy farming in an attempt to produce Romano cheese. If the farm was turned down, the winner could claim $15,000 in cash ($195,000 today). Posters had been displayed all over Bay View, as well as in the Third and Seventeenth Wards. The tickets were to attend a picnic at the farm in the coming summer wherein the farm would be given away. They likened it to the lottery giving away the Elk Club hall in the previous fall. Over $20,000 worth of tickets were found at August Chiaverotti’s tavern at 300 Bishop Avenue. Chiaverotti kept finding himself getting involved again and again. The Guardalabenes were told by District Attorney Winfred C. Zabel to refund all the money and Delsonno was fined $50. Zabel said the difference was that the Elks had auctioned the club hall off for charity, not personal gain.

August Chiaverotti was arrested on February 8, 1934 for running alcohol.

Carl J. Aiello, 23, August Chiaverotti, 27, and James Evans of Chicago, 26, robbed the Alice King tavern in Minnesota Junction (Dodge County) on April 12, 1937. They took $2000 in money, liquor and jewelry. Aiello would later (September 28) be sentenced to three years in Waupun by Judge C. M. Davison. (Aiello was born June 13, 1914 in Chicago but was a Milwaukee resident… not sure his relation to any other Aiello.)

Carl J. Aiello, 23, August Chiaverotti, 27, and James Evans of Chicago, 26, robbed Lester J. Eifler’s florist shop at 3152 North 52st Street on May 8, 1937. Eifler had deposited his money earned from Mother’s Day at 7:45pm and a pair of men in smoked glasses came in at 8:10pm. The pair pointed guns at Eifler and said, “Just a minute! Hold up your hands. This is a holdup.” One man kept his gun on Eifler while the other took $32 from the register. The two men then ran across the street to a “new, high priced automobile” with no license plates where the third man was waiting. Shortly after midnight, Detectives George Pelzman and Arthur Steckling saw a car matching the description. The man inside (presumably Chiaverotti) was with a woman he claimed was his wife. In the back seat were dark glasses and a revolver. Aiello had the charges dropped against him, but the other two were given lengthy prison sentences. Chiaverotti was sentenced to 3-9 years by Judge Max W. Nohl and served two years in Waupun prison and another four years on parole.

August Chiaverotti was released from Waupun State Prison on December 9, 1939 after doing a stretch for assault, armed robbery and burglary. He would end up serving another three years and five months on parole.

Francis C. Stelloh, 30, and William Schlesinger, 29, held up Edmund Stachowiak’s tavern in West Allis on June 17, 1943 in the middle of the day. The pair made off with a bag containing $6873 that was intended to be used for cashing paychecks from employees of Allis-Chalmers. After their arrest, Detective Sergeant Louis Dieden questioned Schlesinger in the presence of Stelloh. Schlesinger admitted that he had committed the offenses with Stelloh’s participation, and that they were armed. To Dieden’s inquiry of Stelloh as to whether the story told by Schlesinger was true Stelloh replied that he had nothing to say. He did not deny the story. August Chiaverotti was picked up for questioning on June 27, as police believed he was Stelloh’s partner. He was released. Stelloh was formally charged with robbery on July 2.

On September 26, 1952, an informant told the FBI that Harold Klein and August Chiaverotti had recently purchased several diamonds from Jimmy Fazio for $3,000, believing them to be stolen. They later found them to be zircon and worth only $500.

On November 6, 1952, an informant said that Harold Klein was a “mystery man” who had money from an unknown source. He was said to be a co-owner of the Bullring Tap (1250 North 12th) with August Chiaverotti. According to this informant, Chiaverotti was the president of Wisconsin Improvement Company and had been offered the boss role of the Milwaukee Mafia because of his Chicago connections, but turned it down.

On January 19, 1954, Harold Klein, August Maniaci and August Chiaverotti were rumored to be operating a failing horse book at Club Midnight (1900 East North).

On April 19, 1954, an anonymous police informant named August Chiaverotti as a former bodyguard for Jewish gamblers Louis Simon and Joe Krasno, but who was now “connected with” the Milwaukee syndicate.

An informant on January 15, 1958 said that Harold Klein operated a tavern, the Corsica, with Frank Balistrieri and Gus Chiaverotti in Hales Corners. Balistrieri was described as a “lieutenant”, and Chiaverotti was said to be not a member because many suspected him of being a “stool pigeon.”

There was an examination on Tuesday, December 16, 1958 for a lawsuit involving Teamsters secretary Frank H. Ranney, cinder block firm operator Giuseppe Balistrieri (Frank and Peter’s father, 7807 North Santa Monica Boulevard), Jack Rizzo and August Chiaverotti. These men were doing business as Atomic Industries, Inc. The man suing them was George N. Schwerbel, a Brookfield appliance repairman who was a co-patent owner on a bubble gun. Schwerbel thought he had sold the manufacturing rights to a company called Monarch Supply (owned by August Chiavrotti and Bob Schaefer), but Rizzo testified “it could be possible” that he transferred the rights to Dynamic Industries (the forerunner of Atomic Industries) on July 1, 1957. Once the suit was filed, Ranney sold his part of the business. By December 22, an agreement was reached that Schwerbel would receive 10% of the net profit from each gun produced.

On January 6, 1960, a Chicago firm filed a lawsuit against August Chiaverotti and King Sales (3551 North Teutonia) for a trademark infringement on a toy telephone. Karen Industries had created the “Hi-Line Fone” and claimed that King had ripped off their design. (In April of 1959 the plaintiff originated and developed a toy telephone which is made up of two plastic cup transmitter-receivers held in a cardboard frame and connected by a length of light string. This toy is a refinement of the typical child’s string telephone in which the string is drawn tautly between the two transmitter-receivers, and the sound of the voice is transmitted along the line. In June of 1959 the plaintiff began to manufacture and market its toy telephone under the name “Hi-Fone”. On July 11, 1959, the defendant called upon the plaintiff and discussed the possibility of representing the plaintiff as a manufacturer’s representative in the distribution of its product. Apparently a tentative agreement was reached, and shortly thereafter fifty samples of the plaintiff’s toy were sent to the defendant to be used as an aid in his work. On September 16, 1959, the plaintiff wrote to the defendant as follows:

“Atomic Industries
“2044 N. 3rd St.
“Milwaukee, Wisconsin
“Attention: Mr. Guss Chiaverotti
“Dear Sir:
“On July 11, 1959, we were approached by you with the view of handling our `Hi-Fone String Telephone’ for nationwide distribution in addition to our other representative Mr. R.H. Mueller. At this time details were discussed and an understanding was arrived at that you would work with Mr. R.H. Mueller in the sales.
“In conjunction with the above agreement we sent you by Air Express on 7/13/59, fifty samples to be used on our behalf towards aiding of the sales of our `Hi-Fone String Telephone’.
“Since that time we have heard no more from you and now have been informed that you intend to manufacture this item yourself in a breach of confidence on the information described to you. Accordingly this is to advise you that we shall hold you accountable for all damages suffered by us for this breach of confidence and shall take all necessary legal actions to recover our damages plus whatever punitive damages as the courts may allow.
“Respectfully yours, “Karen Industries, Inc. “Walter S. Gajdosik
“WSG:dl “c.c. Mr. Frank Ranney “Mr. Albert Reinhardt”

Plaintiff did not receive a reply to this letter. In December of 1959, it discovered that defendant was marketing an almost identical toy under the name “Hi-Line Fone”. At the time this motion was heard, the defendant testified that he had an inventory of approximately one and one-quarter million sets of the toy in question. Of these one and one-quarter million sets, three hundred fifty to four hundred thousand were assembled while the rest were in component parts. Chiaverotti estimated that his investment in this inventory was in the neighborhood of $18,000. He further testified that the toy telephone manufactured by the parties was a novelty item, in contrast to a standard toy such as an electric train, and had a marketing life of about one year. Judge Grubb wrote, “The evidence clearly shows that the defendant not only intentionally copied the unpatented toy of the plaintiff but also deliberately adopted a close facsimile of the plaintiff’s trademark in a manner calculated to appropriate to himself the good will built up by the plaintiff.”

August Maniaci and another hoodlum (Joseph Angeli?) set up a $45,000 jewel theft from Earle J. Parisey on Wednesday, June 27, 1962. Parisey, a salesman for Kor-Rect Jewelry Manufacturing Company of Green Bay had the jewels in his car, which was stolen around 12:30pm from South 7th Street. The men who pulled the job were Thomas Sterger from Toledo, Ohio and Louis Klein from Columbus, Ohio and not close associates of Maniaci. The two men were arrested the following day in Detroit while checking their car into the airport. Somehow during the course of this investigation, Joseph Angeli, 28, was arrested on Thursday morning for being in possession of a gambling device (a slot machine hidden in a clothes hamper). Angeli had rented the car the Ohio men used and a witness to the theft wrote down the license number — this came back to Angeli.

The two Ohio hoodlums who stole the $45,000 worth of jewels were in contact with August Chiaverotti on July 31, 1962 and it was one informant’s belief that Chiaverotti was hiding the jewels inside the warehouse of the Para Corporation on the corner of 6th Street and Florida.

Special Agents Knickrehm and Holtzman interviewed Al Reinhardt on January 7, 1963 regarding the Para Corporation. He said he was brought in to the company through Gus Chiaverotti, but that Chiaverotti is rarely around now because he is trying to get new contacts. Walter Brocca was around daily and was in charge of manufacturing. Chiaverotti had a salary of $150 per week, and Brocca was paid $130. Reinhardt said the business was not successful, and he had acquired 2/3 of the stock, with 1/3 in the possession of Frank Balistrieri. He did not know Balistrieri, who had no active part in the company, other than that Balistrieri told him that Joseph Gurera would be looking after his interest for him. Reinhardt had not seen Gurera around Para either. Reinhardt said he would be willing to sell the company at a loss.

Special Agents Richard C. Thompson and Alexander P. LeGrand interviewed night club owner Frank Monreal on August 6, 1963. Monreal told them that he had been approached a few weeks ago by August Chiaverotti, Walter Brocca and Joseph Balistrieri and told that if he sold “new” jukeboxes for them, he would be paid $150 each for them. After selling five, Monreal opened one up and found that the “new” jukebox contained old mechanisms. He informed the customers to return the jukeboxes to him.

On August 8, 1963, an employee of Para Corp confirmed what Monreal had said: Brocca and Chiaverotti were buying used jukeboxes for $125 and then had a cabinetmaker put them in new cases. They would then sell these jukeboxes as new. He said that Frank Balistrieri’s son Joe was also involved in these sales. (Who this employee is, I don’t know. He didn’t recognize a photo of Steve DiSalvo.)

On April 3, 1964, Balistrieri was recorded telling August Chiaverotti that he had paid $15,000 to Pioneer Sales and Service and still owed $5,000 more, with purchases going towards the Continental Music Company. The goal was to sell jukeboxes and pool tables. They said they would both travel to Chicago to see the “finance guy”. Balistrieri complained about rival jukebox man Joe Beck: “This Beck keeps going on — and we’re getting bombed out.” During the conversation, Balistrieri berated Walter Brocca. Balistrieri accused Brocca of always whining and saying how broke he is, but then Brocca was able to come up with enough money ($400) to go into business with Joe Enea running Joe’s Spaghetti House. Balistrieri told Brocca that he should have been told in advance. Balistrieri also told Brocca that he (Brocca) would have been killed in California if Balistrieri had not intervened. Balistrieri further said that when Brocca returned to Wisconsin after failing in California, Balistrieri felt sorry for him and hired him at Para Corporation — and then Brocca stole tools from the job. Chiaverotti told Balistrieri he was not aware of Brocca’s stealing (which is true, since it was Chiaverotti who had done the stealing).

Frank Balistrieri and August Chiaverotti were in Chicago during the day on June 2, 1964 concerning their jukebox business.

August Chiaverotti was interviewed by Special Agents Alexander LeGrand and Richard Thompson on December 1, 1964 (presumably at his home at 3018 West Ruskin). Chiaverotti said he was no longer associated with Frank Balistrieri and was instead developing portable and collapsible barricades for highways. He had recently been to California to drum up interest in the project, and stopped by to visit Louis Simon in Las Vegas on his way back through. Chiaverotti said his family was from northern Italy, not Sicily, though he had a checkered past — he was a “boy bootlegger” and at 24 years old was involved in a gambling operation in Cudahy with Louis Simon and someone named O’Malley. He admitted to knowing August Maniaci and John Aiello. He further said he knew Steve DiSalvo, but did not like him.

Chiaverotti said he only became associated with Balistrieri around 1956, when the two (along with Chicagoan Mel Vaci) operated the Corsica Club in Hales Corners. A gambling operation was to be run upstairs by Joe Gagliano and another man, but police found out. Balistrieri then helped Chiaverotti finance the bubble gun idea, and when that went bust the business was turned into Para Corporation with Balistrieri’s backing. Para then folded, and Chiaverotti went to Continental Music on Downer Avenue, along with Walter Brocca. Chiaverotti and Brocca (who were old friends) believed this business was going nowhere and left.

August Chiaverotti was interviewed at his home (3018 West Ruskin) on May 17, 1965 while he was recovering from an operation (he had a tumor removed). Agent Richard Thompson told him they had received vague information that his life was in danger. Chiaverotti said that if the rumor was going around in order to scare him back into working for free, it was not going to work — he had worked for Balistrieri for years and had nothing to show for it. He said when his health improved, he was returning to California in order to promote a plastic nursing bottle. A man named Kennedy had invested $150,000 in the design of the bottle and now owned one-third of it. Chiaverotti owned another third and Frank Carlo of Northridge, California owned the final third. Carlo was said to have worked with guerrillas “during the war”.

August Chiaverotti was arrested on April 30, 1968 for threatening phone calls, but the charge was dismissed.

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.

Frank Stelloh was after August Chiaverotti for $5,000 in August 1971. Stelloh believed that Chiaverotti was the “stool pigeon” who had put him in 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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

August Chiaverotti called the FBI’s Milwaukee office on March 5, 1973 and asked to speak to an agent who was not available because he was on special assignment at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Instead, he spoke with Special Agent Eugene Murphy and they arranged to talk March 12.

August Chiaverotti spoke with Special Agent Eugene Murphy on March 12, 1973. At this meeting, Chiaverotti was friendly, candid and expressed a high opinion of the FBI. He was presently appealing a charge of altering coins and was suffering from diabetes and ulcers. He told Murphy he would consider furnishing the bureau with information. The topic of Louis Fazio came up, and it was the mobster’s opinion that Frank Balistrieri was behind the murder, and ordered the hit to re-assert himself as the boss of the Milwaukee Family. He did not know who would commit the murder, though. He said only Frank Stelloh would “have the guts” to kill Fazio, but because Balistrieri and Stelloh were fighting, it seemed unlikely that Stelloh would do Balistrieri any favors. Chiaverotti told the agents that although he had been having problems with Frank Stelloh, he forcefully told Stelloh to leave him alone and has not seen him since and does not know his activities or whereabouts.

When “Mad Sam” DeStefano was murdered on April 14, 1973 by Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro, August Chiaverotti began spending more time in Chicago. The FBI thought he might receive a part of the settlement from DeStefano’s estate.

On June 11, 1973, August Chiaverotti began serving his two year sentence for altering U.S. coins at Sandstone Prison, Sandstone, Minnesota.

An informant told the FBI on January 9, 1975 that prior to Gus Chiaverotti’s death, Frank Stelloh had threatened Chiaverotti’s girlfriend and she went to Chiaverotti in a state of complete hysteria. Chiaverotti confronted Stelloh about this, but the informant believed that the stress contributed to Chiaverotti’s heart failure.

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

Leave a Reply