Former Chicago biker boss Peter (Big Pete) James, the one-time Outlaws Motorcycle Club’s Midwest regional vice president currently on a press tour predicting future violence between the Outlaws and their arch-rival the Hells Angels in Illinois, was at the forefront of witness intimidation tactics surrounding a 2010 mob trial, according to FBI records. James left the Outlaws last year due to a bout with cancer and internal club squabbling.

Around a decade ago, the 62-year old James and some of his biker buddies tried to prevent mafia associate Vincent Dublino, the star witness in then-acting Chicago mob boss Michael (Fat Mike) Sarno’s extortion and racketeering trial from testifying by trying to intimidate him with a show of force at Dublino’s bar located in a western suburb, per the records. One of those buddies was Sarno’s co-defendant, Mark (Pork Chop) Polchan, at that time the treasurer of the Outlaws chapter on the Northside of Chicago, the same chapter James served as president of.

The bullish scare attempt, the final of several, failed to work and Dublino took the stand anyway: Sarno and Polchan were both convicted in December 2010, hit with 25 and 60 year prison sentences respectively. Dublino even echoed the name “Big Pete” in his testimony.

Once closely aligned, Dublino and Sarno feuded in the early 2000s over video poker machine distribution routes – Dublino’s C&S Coin Operated Amusements was providing machines to the 47th Street Grill in Lyons Township, Illinois, part of a route belonging to Sarno, who was the capo of the Outfit’s Cicero crew back then before rising to the crime family’s acting boss post in 2005. Sarno and Dublino had been partners in an ATM business.

“Hey you fucking punk, stay the fuck away from 47th Street,” Sarno shouted at Dublino outside a local tavern in January 2003.

A month later, the C&S Coin Operated Amusements’ office and warehouse in Berwyn, Illinois were firebombed. Octogenarian Outfit soldier and explosives expert Sam (Master Blaster) Volpendesto was convicted of manufacturing the firebomb that blew Dublino’s storefront to bits. Volpendesto died behind bars in 2013 at 89.

Fat Mike Sarno in 2009

Fat Mike Sarno in 2009

“Pork Chop” Polchan ran a fencing operation for stolen jewelry out of his pawn shop in Cicero where Sarno was known to hang around and send his heist teams, like the one Volpendesto’s son, Anthony (Baby Blaster), headed. The Outfit and the Outlaws have a longstanding relationship. Per Chicago Crime Commission documents, Polchan was the biker club’s liaison to the Italian mafia.

In 2007, the feds convened a grand jury to investigate Sarno’s activities. Dublino was called and appeared in front of the “GJ”, much to the dismay of powers in the Outfit and Outlaws. In the weeks that followed, he received harassing phone calls at his home and multiple visits from Polchan, his then-boss Big Pete James and their cronies at his Berwyn watering hole.

On one occasion, an unnamed Outlaw approached Dublino behind the bar and threatened that his “clocks would run backwards” if he continued his cooperation with authorities and testified at Sarno and Polchan’s upcoming trial. On another, Polchan and Big Pete themselves came into Dublino’s establishment with a half dozen fellow bikers in tow and started to cause a commotion.

When he finally took the witness stand, Dublino recalled a man identifying himself as “Big Pete” leading the ruckus, going into the bar’s restrooms, men’s and women’s, and kicking open stalls with patrons in the process of using the facilities, which caused complaints and had people flooding to the exits. James admits he “loves” Polchan and categorized him as a “confidant” in a recent interview he did with the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

Fat Mike Sarno will turn 59 next month. He is considered a suspect in ordering the 2001 slaying of Cicero crew solider Anthony (Tony the Hatchet) Chiaramonti and the 2006 kidnapping and murder of Outfit underboss Anthony (Little Tony) Zizzo. Sarno and Zizzo were allegedly fighting over video-poker machine distribution routes as well.

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1 comment

  1. Sandy

    Did pete ever get charged with witness intimidation. Or does he just get off Scott free? He seems to get away with quite alot.

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