Authorities Speculate Chicago Mob Wife In Danger For Knowing Too Much, Possible Retribution

With the pending trial of Chicago mobsters Robert (Bobby Pinocchio) Panozzo and Paul (Big Paulie) Koroluk and the rumored pending RICO indictment looming for the Outfit’s Westside crew boss Albert (Albie the Falcon) Vena, law enforcement in Illinois believe Westside mob wife Jillian Hollingshead’s life could be in danger. She may know too much and done too much for the Chicago mafia’s liking.

Jillian and her husband, Jeff, a former Outfit enforcer and criminal associate of Panozzo, Koroluk and Vena’s from their Grand Avenue stomping grounds, both testified in front of a grand jury investigating the storied Westside crew in the weeks preceding Panozzo and Koroluk’s robbery and racketeering bust in the summer of 2014. Jeff is in protective custody in an undisclosed federal prison staring at 40 years for his own legal issues (home invasion, burglary, racketeering). Jillian and their five-year old daughter are in hiding outside the Chicagoland area.

The Hollingsheads are expected to be called to the witness stand in the Panozzo and Koroluk case whenever it reaches trial. Jillian recorded conversations between her and Panozzo throughout the fall of 2013 for the FBI and turned over what authorities think is a “witness hit list,” for a 2009 kidnapping and burglary bust her husband was facing provided to the Westside crew by a prominent Windy City mob attorney (Joe “The Shark” Lopez), who denies any wrongdoing in the matter.

Forty-nine year old Jeff Hollingshead is being pressured, “leaned on” by the feds to “give them more,” according to sources with knowledge of the Vena inquiry. Those once close to the couple on the street believe he has more to give. They think Jillian might, too.

Petite and attractive, 29-year old Jillian, a Southside Chicago native, is described by people that know her as spunky and street smart and the kind of gal that “was one of the guys”, brought along on Westside crew get-togethers on both “wife and girlfriend” nights. One source says Jillian was particularly close with Vena and “saw a lot.”

Jeff, half-German, half-Italian and whose days in the Grand Avenue mob realm date back to the reign of Joseph (Joey the Clown) Lombardo, is first cousins with Vena’s reputed second-in-command, Christopher (Christy the Nose) Spina, a Joey the Clown protégé. He allegedly co-owned a glass-manufacturing company in Las Vegas along with Vena and incarcerated former Outfit acting boss Michael (Fat Mike) Sarno, in the 2000s, and has already provided the government with what he knows about at least three gangland-related homicides possibly tied to the Westside crew, per sources familiar with the investigation into underworld affairs on Grand Avenue.

Two of the murders Jeff Hollingshead revealed knowledge about are of the cold-case variety from the 1980s in the middle of the Joey Lombardo era and one is from five years ago that authorities are probing for any potential links to Vena, a man viewed as a suspect in several Chicago mafia slayings, but never convicted of any. Tiny in physical stature with a reputation for lethality, Vena reportedly assumed control of the city’s Westside after Joey the Clown was put behind bars (where he stays today in ailing health) for his role in the expansive Operation Family Secrets case in early 2006. The Clown, whose “Table No. 1” at Grand Avenue crew dining staple La Scarola has been passed to Albie the Falcon, was a fugitive for 10 months.

Hollingshead told the FBI that Bobby Panozzo (another Lombardo disciple) frequently bragged about a pair of murders he committed in the fall of 1987, the first of which he killed an elderly woman by throwing her down a flight of stairs after having her sign over her assets to a close friend and associate and the second of which he offed the buddy that took possession of the woman’s property and bank account just weeks prior after having him do the same, per sources familiar with Hollingshead’s debriefing and grand jury testimony.` He also allegedly shed light on the 2010 murder of alleged Northside Outfit associate Norberto (The Bull) Velez. Jillian could know something as well – sources tell the Gangster Report she testified before a federal grand jury in June of last year regarding information related to the Velez homicide.

Velez, a 31-year old reputed drug dealer and street-tax collector for Albie Vena’s Westside mob crew stationed on the Northside near Wrigley Field (home of MLB’s Chicago Cubs) was shot to death in the hallway outside his apartment at 910 W. Addison, in a building which Jeff Hollingshead owned and in which he and Jillian lived in themselves, on November 25, 2010 (Thanksgiving Day). The Hollingsheads’ resided across the hall from Velez, who allegedly was refusing to pay back a mafia-financed street loan and worked as a bouncer at the popular Cubby Bear bar, located behind rightfield of the historic baseball stadium at the time he was slain.

The 67-year old and notoriously volatile Vena came up through the mob in the Outfit’s Northside rackets as a collector for syndicate section leaders Gus (Slim) Alex, a masterful mob fix-it man and Lenny Patrick, the crime family’s de-facto Jewish don, both dead of natural causes for years. The Falcon flew over to the Westside in the 1990s after his Northside crew was rolled into the Westside Grand Avenue regime headed by Joey Lombardo.

The thief-heavy, violence-prone Grand Avenue crew remains crafted steadfast in Lombardo’s image. This worries the FBI and Illinois state’s attorneys involved in the Westside investigation because Lombardo, although immensely colorful and charismatic, is going to spend the rest of his life in a cage after being convicted in the 1974 slaying of future-witness Danny Seifert, a one-time Joey the Clown confidant and business partner on the verge of testifying against him in a pension-fund fraud case. According to Chicago Crime Commission records, Vena is a suspect in the 1983 gangland murder of highly-placed mafia associate Allen Dorfman (administrator of the legendarily mobbed-up Teamster union pension fund), a convicted felon on the way to prison and killed to eliminate any possibility of his cooperation.

Sources close to the situation claim that Jeff Hollingshead had taken out a two million-dollar life insurance policy on Jillian and that one of Jeff’s nephews was shot several times last year, but survived in the months following news of Jeff’s cooperation leaked to the Outfit. These sources assert that Bobby Panozzo also had took out a million-dollar plus life insurance policy on his wife and boasted of having Hollingshead’s nephew attacked.

Panozzo his partner-in-crime Big Paulie Koroluk and Hollingshead were all best friends until in the days after Hollingshead was locked up in the fall of 2013 and Panozzo made a romantic play for Jillian and sent Koroluk into the couple’s leafy suburban house in Wilmette, Illinois to rob of it of all valuables. Both Jeff and Jillian turned state’s evidence shortly thereafter.


Leave a Reply