Monday, April 20, 2009

Vol. 2, No. 2: April 2009

Vol. 2, Issue 2, Apr. 2009 Contents

The Sicilian Mafia in Chicago has been so overshadowed by the post-1930 Capone Outfit and so universally ignored by crime historians that some have reached the erroneous conclusion it did not exist at all. However, abundant evidence exists for the presence of a large and powerful Mafia in the Windy City from about 1900 through Capone’s Neapolitan-dominated consolidation of the Chicago underworld in 1930-31. In fact, there are indications that Chicago’s Mafia once dominated the Italian criminal societies of the American Midwest.

We are happy to devote much of this issue to the historical evidence left by the once-powerful Chicago Mafia. Our featured article is Richard N. Warner’s detailed biography of Anthony D’Andrea, once the supreme underworld authority in Chicago.

Researcher Bill Feather provides us with a membership chart for a later stage of the Chicago Outfit. We commemorate the 80th anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by looking at how the Massacre has been preserved in historical works. Our Chicago history coverage finishes up with a discussion of the early Sicilian Mafia leadership in that city.

Books coverage in this issue includes an interview with Art Bilek, author of The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosimo and the Ladies of the Levee, and a review of David Critchley’s The Origin of Organized Crime in America.

The Dreaded D'Andrea by Richard Warner. A former priest, once jailed for counterfeiting, became Chicago's most feared Mafia boss. Twenty-eight pages including notes. (Preview)

80 Years Since the Massacre. We look at what has been learned of the North Clark Street killings over the past eight decades. Four pages. (Preview)

Chicago's Early Mafia Bosses by Thomas Hunt. Long forgotten, several Sicilian families once reigned over the underworld of northwest Chicago. Two and a half pages including notes. (Preview)

Chicago Outfit Membership Chart, 1920s-1940s, by Bill Feather. Five and a half pages. (Preview)

Interview: Art Bilek. Three pages.

Book Review of The Origin of Organized Crime in America by David Critchley. One and a half pages.

Books: New Releases. One half page.

Ask the Informer: Chicago Heights; Capodecina. One page. (Preview)

A Look Back: 1 year ago; 50 years ago. One half page. (Preview)

Current Events: Family Secrets defendants sentenced, Carneglia convicted, Morgentha to retire. Two pages. (Preview)

56 pages including cover and advertisements.
Published April 20, 2009.

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The dreaded D'Andrea

Vol. 2, Issue 2, Apr. 2009 Contents Feature article
A former priest, once jailed for counterfeiting
became Chicago's most feared Mafia boss
The Dreaded D'Andrea
By Richard N. Warner
"Shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, 1921, Chicago Mafia boss Anthony D’Andrea went to dinner with two male companions at a Neapolitan restaurant, the Amato Cafe at Taylor and Halsted Streets. They ate, socialized and played cards for hours.

"At about 1:15 Wednesday morning, D’Andrea’s friend Joseph Laspisa drove him home. For two weeks Laspisa had been acting as the underworld leader’s bodyguard and chauffeur.

"D’Andrea needed the protection..."

Twenty-five pages article body including sidebar story. Three pages of endnotes. Eight images

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80 years since the Massacre

Vol. 2, Issue 2, Apr. 2009 Contents
Feature article

80 years since the Massacre

"On the morning of Feb. 14, 1929, seven men were killed at the S.M.C. Cartage Company garage at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago. The killings were the result of an effort by the Capone Outfit to eliminate rival gang boss George “Bugs” Moran. Capone’s gunmen, disguised as raiding police officers, succeeded in decimating the Moran gang, but they missed their primary target. Moran was late in getting to the garage and survived the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. On the 80th anniversary of the Massacre, we look at various accounts of that bloody event..."

Four pages
One image
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Chicago's early Mafia bosses

Vol. 2, Issue 2, Apr. 2009 Contents
Feature Article

Chicago's early Mafia bosses

by Thomas Hunt

"Early in 1901, Joseph Morici was labeled boss of the Mafia in Chicago’s Little Sicily, a neighborhood just to the northwest of downtown, centered on the six-pointed intersection of West Grand Avenue, North Milwaukee Avenue and North Halsted Street. That Sicilian community overflowed across the old Erie Street bridge into the Near North Side. The neighborhood sat apart from Chicago’s traditional Little Italy, which was further to the south..."

Two and a half pages
Map of near Northwest Chicago

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Chicago Outfit membership, 1920s-1940s

Vol. 2, Issue 1, Apr. 2009 Contents
Membership Chart

Researcher Bill Feather provides a chart of Chicago Outfit members from the 1920s-1940s era. Names, aliases, birth-death-immigration data, birthplaces and ranks are provided for dozens of members and suspected members of the Outfit.

Five pages

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Book news and reviews

Vol. 2, Issue 2, Apr. 2009 Contents
Book news and reviews

The Origin of Organized Crime in America:
The New York City Mafia, 1891-1931
by David Critchley

An interview with Arthur Bilek (right)

New releases

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In the News

Vol. 2, Issue 1, Apr. 2009 Contents

In the News:
  • 'Secrets' defendants get long prison terms
  • Sentenced: N.Calabrese, Persico, Eppolito, Caracappa, Young, Connolly
  • Carneglia convicted of racketeering
  • Morgenthau to retire
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A Look Back

Vol. 2, Issue 2, Apr. 2009 Contents
A Look Back

1 year ago:
Colombo Crime Family members and associates indicted; New England Crime Family underboss arrested in corruption probe; Massachusetts hitman pleads guilty.

50 years ago:
New York mobsters jailed for trafficking narcotics.

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Ask the Informer: Chicago Heights; Capodecina

Vol. 2, Issue 2, Apr. 2009 Contents
Ask the Informer
Question: What do historians know about a Mafia organization in Chicago Heights?

Question: What is the difference between a capodecina and a capo?


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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vol. 2, No. 2: April 2009

The City of the Big Shoulders has been on our minds, and the April issue of Informer: The Journal of American Mafia History is packed with interesting tales and little known information about Chicago's underworld:
  • Richard Warner examines the life and times of Windy City Mafia boss Anthony D'Andrea.
  • Thomas Hunt tells of some of Chicago's earliest Mafia leaders in the city's NW section.
  • Bill Feather provides a detailed chart of Chicago Outfit members in the 1920s-40s era.
  • Crime Historian Arthur Bilek describes his law enforcement and writing careers.
  • The Informer responds to a question on the Chicago Heights Mafia.
  • On the occasion of its 80th anniversary, we reflect on the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
... Plus a review of David Critchley's groundbreaking history of the early New York Mafia, A Look Back, book notes and current events.

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