The Department of Justice has taken a dramatic step to combat Chicago’s most feared gangsters. In the process, any number of crooked union officials may have a change in career plans. On Monday, April 25, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois, announced the indictment of 14 top members of the Chicago Mafia, also known as ‘The Outfit,’ for crimes spanning some four decades. Three defendants already were in federal custody on separate charges. Another was found dead, apparently of natural causes, when agents came to arrest him. Of the 11 defendants indicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), seven had committed murders or agreed to commit murder. Collectively, they accounted for 18 previously unsolved murders and one attempted murder during the period 1970-86. Other crimes listed in the nine-count indictment include extortion, loan-sharking, bookmaking, witness intimidation, and obstruction of justice.
The arrests are the result of a lengthy FBI investigation code-named Operation Family Secrets. Agents picked up suspects in Illinois, Arizona and Florida. “This unprecedented indictment puts a ‘hit’ on the Mob,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald. “It is remarkable for both the breadth of the murders charged and for naming the entire Chicago Outfit as a criminal enterprise under the racketeering law…After so many years, it lifts the veil of secrecy and exposes the violent underworld of organized crime.” Well-known defendants include Joey “the Clown” Lombardo, Frank Calabrese, Sr., and Frank Saladino. Two others among the accused, Anthony Doyle and Michael Ricci, are retired Chicago police officers.
Two statements of the RICO indictment implicated organized labor. Statement 45 reads: “It was further part of the conspiracy that the conspirators would and did maintain hidden control of labor organizations and assets.” Statement 46 reads: “It was further part of the conspiracy that the conspirators would and did utilize the threat of labor union violence or disruptions to induce payments to the enterprise to keep ‘union peace.” A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago was unable to give the names of unions involved. (U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, 4/25).