April 22, 2020 – Detroit mafia associate and talented gangland fixer Mitchell (Steady Eddie) Karam died of COVID-19 this week at 87. The consummate hustler, Karam was famous in Motor City mob circles for his craftsmanship.

Karam recently did federal prison time for fixing college football and basketball games at the University of Toledo and horse races in Florida. He was released in September 2017.

Along with mob associate Gary (The Cigarette) Manni, he was busted in the spring of 2009 for shaving $500,000 worth of games involving the Toledo Rockets football and basketball teams, using more than a half-dozen Rockets athletes to manipulate point spreads from 2003 to 2006. The players were paid between $2,500 and $10,000 per fixed game and wined and dined at downtown Detroit casinos. Manni owned a cell phone store in Toledo, 60 miles south of Detroit city limits.

Both Karam (pronounced CARE-UM) and Manni, 63, pleaded guilty in the case in 2013 and received 6-year sentences. Karam was already doing a bid for bank fraud and fixing the ponies at Tampa Downs and Manni was in prison for weapons offenses and a food-stamp scam when they copped their pleas. Manni walked out of custody last May.

Karam came up in the Detroit mob of the 1950s and 60s in a gambling crew ran by Salvatore (Sammy Lou) Lucido, a capo in the Tocco-Zerilli crime family. The pair built and opened the Wolverine Golf Club together on farmland developed in the far northern suburbs of Macomb County.

In 1970, Karam was an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal gambling case involving the Luicido crew. Hall of Fame MLB pitcher Jerome (Dizzy) Dean was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Lucido died of a heart attack in 1985. Karam is half Iraqi Christian and half Lebanese.

Middle-Eastern mobsters have always been a big part of the Detroit underworld. Through the years, Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi wiseguys have led Detroit mob sub units, for decades reporting to the notorious Giacalone brothers (both deceased). Karam was close to crew boss and key Giacalone asset, Freddy (The Saint) Salem, a Lebanese gambling czar who oversaw his affairs at the Capital Street Social Club in Oak Park, Michigan. Salem died of natural causes in 2009.

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