Reputed acting Chicago mafia don Salvatore (Solly D) DeLaurentis’ former golf coach left town in the wake of a mutual acquaintance’s gangland murder in 1982, per court testimony and FBI records. Jim Lawrence, a one-time Mundelein, Illinois golf pro, bar owner and bookie, permanently departed the Windy City in the months following 51-year old fellow bookie and mob associate Bobby Plummer being killed in the late spring of 1982 inside a now-demolished, supposedly-haunted suburban mansion that doubled as an underground casino.

Plummer and Lawrence were close friends and longtime golfing partners. According to court filings, Plummer, a resident of ritzy of Lake Forest, was murdered for refusing to pay a street tax on his profitable gambling business to Solly D and the Outfit’s hardened Cicero crew. Shaken by his golfing buddy’s murder, Lawrence bolted the Chicagoland area in early 1983, leaving his days working for the mob behind him to live in Hawaii.

DeLaurentis, 76, and several members of the Cicero crew were charged with the Plummer homicide in their 1990 Operation Good Ship Lollipop racketeering and murder indictment, but nobody was ever convicted of it. When Solly D, who was convicted of the racketeering counts in the case and did a decade-and-a-half in prison, was an up-and-comer in the Cicero regime in the 1970s and early 80s, he took golf lessons from Lawrence, owner of the Sand Trap bar and a Lake County driving range. He also employed him as a bookie.

Solly D put Lawrence to work in the gambling business ran by his driver William (B.J.) Jahoda, eventually inside the Libertyville, Illinois mansion known to the general public as the Rouse House, the location of the Plummer hit and a heinous double homicide of a husband and wife within the same two-year timespan. Owners of a chain of gas stations, Bruce and Darlene Rouse were murdered by their own teenage son inside the mansion as they slept on June 5, 1980, almost exactly two years prior to the Plummer slaying.

Around this time in Outfit history, DeLaurentis, flanked by his best gangland bud Louis (Louie Tomatoes) Marino, were in the midst of making a push into Lake County, assigned by their mob mentor Ernest (Rocky) Infelise, to assume command of all the rackets in the affluent suburban enclave north of Chicago. Following the headline-grabbing Rouse massacre, their house was bought by the Cicero crew’s Lake County wing and transformed into a high-end casino and sport-betting palace ominously referred to on the street as “Murder Mansion.”

DeLaurentis, Marino and B.J. Jahoda were in charge of Murder Mansion. Jahoda was the onsite manager, Marino provided the security. After he sold his bar and driving range, Jim Lawrence starting working at Murder Mansion, per Chicago Crime Commission files. Lawrence was seen nightclubbing with Solly D and Marino and admittedly developed a cocaine habit, which he was ordered to kick in a stern talking-to by Marino expressing his, Solly D’s and Rocky Inelise’s displeasure, per court testimony in 1992.

When Lawrence’s golfing partner Bobby Plummer bucked at paying protection money on his sport book to DeLaurentis and Marino, they sent Lawrence to run interference, claims one CCC, document and Lawrence met with Plummer to talk about him starting to cough up shakedown cash to the Outfit. The chat was unsuccessful and Plummer continued to refuse to buckle to DeLaurentis’ demands, federal informant files allege. It allegedly didn’t take long for Infelise to order his murder.

Three years later, after DeLaurentis feuded with legendary Lake County independent bookmaker Hal Smith, one of the biggest sports handicappers in the nation, over the same issue, Infelise did the same thing – Smith was killed by Infelise and his Good Ship Lollipop crew in B.J. Jahoda’s Long Grove, Illinois residence, his body stuffed into the trunk of his champagne-colored Cadillac and left in the parking lot of an Arlington Heights bar.

In 1989, Jahoda flipped and within a year the whole crew was indicted, named in a giant racketeering case and smacked with two murder counts, the 1982 Plummer slaying and the February 1985 Hal Smith hit. At the Good Ship Lollipop trial in 1992, Jahoda testified to specifics in both homicides which he was used as the “set-up man,” in the conspiracy, although not participating in the actual murders themselves.

He lured Smith to his house on Infelise’s orders under the pretense of a sitdown with Infelise to discuss his beef with Cicero’s Lake County faction. A few years prior, Jahoda told the jury, he brought Plummer to Murder Mansion at Infelise’s behest after informing Plummer that Infelise wanted a meeting with him to discuss logistics of the underground casino. Like in the Smith homicide, Plummer was allegedly jumped by Infelise and his men, beaten, bludgeoned and strangled to death and then dispatched of in the trunk of his own automobile, a two-door Lincoln Continental sedan, discovered parked on a barren Mundelein street corner.

Jahoda recounted Plummer’s final moments to the jury at Infelise’s 1992 trial.

“Oh no, what was that,” said Jahoda of Plummer’s last words, as he was hit over the head with “something metallic” at least three times and pinned against a stairwell wall at Murder Mansion one morning a decade earlier by three men he couldn’t identify. Infelise was wearing a pair of leather golf gloves at the scene, according to Jahoda’s testimony, and exclaimed in the minutes after Plummer was bumped off, “If anyone else tries that, they’re going to get the same thing,” referring to Plummer’s refusal to pay tribute.

 

Solly D

Solly D

Jim Lawrence, Solly D’s golf coach, Plummer friend and the former employee of the Murder Mansion casino was called to testify in the trial, too. Spooked by Plummer’s execution, he abruptly left the Windy City less than a year later, leaving behind $10,000 for his bettor’s winnings and a hand-written letter to Jahoda saying he was giving up his book and officially retiring from the gambling business.

Rocky Infelise was convicted of the racketeering counts and for his role heading the conspiracy in the Smith slaying, however he was acquitted for any responsibility in the Plummer murder, as were his lieutenants. He died in prison. Cicero crew wiseguys Louie Marino and Robert (Bobby the Gabeet) Bellavia were convicted in the Smith conspiracy as well and just recently got out of prison. Marino walked free last year, Bellavia was sent to a halfway house last month.

DeLaurentis was only convicted of racketeering in the case and got out in 2006. Sources say he assumed his acting boss duties in around 2011, following his predecessor, Cicero-based acting boss Michael (Fat Mike) Sarno, being nailed on extortion charges and getting sentenced to 25 years in the clink. These same sources peg the 82-year old Marino as the Outfit’s new Lake County boss.

 

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