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Detroit Mob Associate In Hot Water Again

Detroit Mafia indictment

There’s doesn’t appear any luck of the Irish laying in the cards for well-known Detroit wiseguy Thomas (Tommy the Lackey) Mackey. The longtime Motor City mob associate, sometimes referred to as “The Leprechaun” due to his Irish heritage, was indicted recently on federal gambling charges, stemming from activity related to sports betting. The indictment, which came down this summer and also included veteran Metro Detroit area bookie Kenny Green and six others, is the second Mackey, 56, has faced in the past decade and centers around “on-line wire rooms,” at Betchopper.com.

Previously, Mackey was indicted in 2006 alongside reputed current Detroit mob boss Jack (Jackie the Kid) Giacalone and alleged capos Peter (Specs) Tocco and David (Davey the Doughnut) Aceto, among others, on racketeering charges.

Tocco, Aceto and Mackey all plead guilty to the charges and served short prison stints. Giacalone, who officially became Don of Detroit earlier this year after two years in the job in an acting capacity, beat the case at trial.

In November 2013, Mackey and others were called in front of a grand jury and questioned regarding their involvement in a variety of gambling offenses, but nobody was charged until late this summer.

According to several sources on the street and in law enforcement, Tocco, 67 and the nephew of longtime Michigan Godfather Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco, who died in July at 86 after 35 years on the throne, was elevated from capo to Street Boss following his release from incarceration in 2010.

Still “on paper” from the 2006 bust, Mackey, according to these same sources, is one of Specs Tocco’s right hand men

“Pete Tocco is worried, Mackey could sink him if he opened up to the Feds” said one Detroit mob associate.

Tocco spends his days at his Macomb County headquarters, known as “The Italian-American Retirees Social Club,” alongside the club’s co-owner, reputed capo Paul (Big Paulie) Corrado, the man who allegedly assumed command of Tocco’s crew when he was bumped up to Street Boss.

Holding the reputation as a devoted lieutenant to his bosses in the mafia, especially Specs Tocco, Mackey is often seen by his side afternoons at the social club.

Corrado was taken down in the 1996 Operation GameTax bust and absorbed the brunt of the legal fallout. A mere foot soldier at the time he was arrested, Big Paulie, 55, wound up serving a dozen years on the case opposed to Jack Tocco and his now-deposed underboss Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli, who served only two years and five years respectively, despite them being his superiors.

Specs Tocco, also sometimes known as “Blackie,” was made into the Detroit mafia in a February 1986 ceremony, alongside Jackie Giacalone and reputed current underboss Anthony (Chicago Tony) La Piana. He is considered a suspect in tandem with La Piana in the 1984 gangland murder of labor union power Ralph Proctor and with Giacalone in the 1985 mob slaying of Motor City policy chief Harold (Harry Mack) Macairz.

Who Killed Denver Mob’s ‘Baby John’ Might Never Be Answered

Any remaining knowledge of the notorious 1980 Denver gangland murder of mob soldier Giovanni (Baby John) Foderaro might have gone to the grave with the death of longtime Colorado underworld figure Joseph (Joe Valley) Valentich, one of the last living made members of the Denver mafia prior to his passing.

A former capo in the now-defunct crime syndicate, basing his activities out of nearby Pueblo, at the time of his death late this summer, Valentich, 90, was still a suspect in the unsolved Foderaro hit, according to Colorado Police files.

Pueblo is a well-populated suburb just south of Denver and a city that serves as the area’s County Seat.

In a 1981 FBI raid of his house, two dozen weapons, including handguns, rifles and shotguns, were seized and he was charged with illegal firearm possession. Joe Valley was convicted, but would later have the conviction overturned. His only two other major collars during his mob career were a pair of gambling busts he took in the mid-1970s, one of which he had the charges dropped against him before the case hit the courtroom.

The brash Mafioso, who was a one-time paratrooper in the Marine Corps and held the reputation as being just as good a carpenter than he was a gangster, had his name listed in an 1981 federal affidavit and search warrant connected to the investigation into Baby John Foderaro’s murder.

The 33-year old Foderaro had a long rap sheet and was slain at his headquarters, Gino’s Lounge, in Pueblo, his body discovered by his wife in the early-morning hours of November 24, 1980, with his thr

oat slashed and stabbed 16 times. More than $2,500 was stolen from the safe in Baby John’s office, but the FBI almost immediately declared the murder “mob-related.”

Multiple informants told the FBI that the infamous Smaldone brothers, Denver mafia Don Eugene (Checkers) Smaldone, his underboss Clarence (Chauncey) Smaldone and his consigliere, Clyde (Flip-Flop) Smaldone ordered Foderaro’s killing and farmed the job out to a group pf their lieutenants.

Less than a year before he died, Baby John, good-looking, ambitious and quick to utilize violence as an enforcement method, was indicted and convicted at trial for planning to assault Pueblo County Commissioner A.H. Hayden with a baseball bat following a verbal altercation at a city hall meeting. The mobster and politician butted heads over Hayden’s refusal to green-light the rezoning of potentially-lucrative parcels of property that Foderaro owned and was trying to develop.

The two goons Baby John hired to carry out the job, Bobby Wirtz and Bobby Schaak caught a bad break though and on a routine traffic stop were found with bats, pipes and a map to Hayden’s house, resulting in Wirtz turning state’s evidence and testifying against Foderaro at the April 1980 trial that it took a jury a little more than two hours to vote to convict him. Hit with a six-year prison sentence, he was free on bond awaiting a ruling on his appeal at the time of his death.

Foderaro came up under early 1970s Denver mob boss Joseph (Scotty) Spinuzzi, the leader of the Family’s Pueblo faction. First acting as the gangland power’s driver and bodyguard, Baby John eventually got his “button” in the Colorado mafia when Spinuzzi became Don and was given his own gambling and loansharking rackets to look after. The pair were indicted together in 1971 in a case regarding a string of supermarket robberies. When Spinuzzi died in 1975, he was feuding with the Smaldones’ Denver crew and the bad blood continued after his death with Foderaro refusing to toe-the-line in Checkers Smaldone’s new regime.

Baby John’s half-brother Lee Beard told authorities that Foderaro was approached by Denver Police Department detectives seeking his cooperation in organized crime investigations in the area in the months before his murder. When these reports surfaced in the media in the wake of the slaying, the city’s district attorney released a statement claiming that Foderaro had reached out through his attorney looking for a reduction in his prison sentence in return for providing information related to A.H. Hayden taking bribes.

Although the Denver mob achieved some level of prominence in the nation’s mafia landscape – Colorado Godfather James (Black Jim) Colletti was held in great esteem and attended the infamous Apalachin mob summit in 1957 and the Smaldones had respect across the country– since Checkers and Flip Flop Smaldone’s death of natural causes in 1992 and 1998, respectively, the syndicate has ceased to function at any real capacity.

Local experts and historians point to one of the primary reasons for the Denver mob’s extinction in the New Millennium spawns from the fact that two of the men groomed to succeed the Smaldones in the local mafia’s leadership were both killed, according to federal documents, on the orders of the Smaldones themselves; Baby John Foderaro and John (Skip) La Guardia, a former University of Colorado football player and Checkers’ one-time bodyguard who was killed in front of his suburban Denver home in July 1973, days after he celebrated his 30th birthday, for the Smaldones’ belief that he was on the verge of moving against them.

“They did themselves in by not planning for the future,” said retired Denver FBI agent Jim Davis of the Colorado mob’s demise. “The young guys at the end of the Smaldones reign were all into drugs and unreliable and the two guys people back in the 1970s thought would be the next generation after Checkers and his brothers were gone, Skip La Guardia and John Foderaro, both didn’t make it past 35, so you do the math.”

Al Capone Quotes

Al Capone Quotes

“You got a nice ass”  

this is the first of Al Capone’s many quotables to appear on the historical stage. It’s what he said to a girl in a bar one night…right before her brother slashed Capone’s face and gave him the nickname “Scarface”.

al-capone-prime

Capone in his Prime

“Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.”

“I have built my organization upon fear.”

“I am like any other man.  All I do is supply a demand.”

“My rackets are run on strictly American lines and they’re going to stay that way.”

“Public service is my motto. Ninety percent of the people of Cook County drink and gamble and my offense has been to furnish them with those amusements. My booze has been good and my games on the square.”

“This American system of ours, call it capitalism, call it Americanism, call it what you will gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if only we seize with both hands and make the most of it.”

“When I sell liquor, it’s called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it’s called hospitality.”

“Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness, I’m kind to everyone, but when someones unkind to me, weak is not what you’re going to remember about me.”

Deniro as Capone

“You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.”

-Robert DeNiro playing Al Capone said this in “Untouchables” but it appears to have been a joke coined in the early 60’s. Later comedians added to the joke by attributing it to Capone. Quote investigator had this to say.

Capone’s Legal Troubles

In 1927, Chicago Mayor, and Capone’s chief corruptee, Big Bill Thompson decided he might run for President and started distancing himself from Capone. This began a slow downward spiral that ended with Capone going to Alcatraz. His public statements became increasingly defensive and bitter.

Let the worthy citizens of Chicago get their liquor the best way they can. I’m sick of the job-its a thankless one and full of grief.  I’ve spent the best years of my life being a public benefactor.” 

“You fear death & worse than death, you fear rats if you don’t constantly satisfy them with money. I haven’t had peace of mind in years. Every minute I’m in danger of death. Three of my friends were killed in Chicago last week, that certainly doesn’t get you peace of mind.”

-Capone said this from his self-imposed exile in Florida while fighting the Federal government’s tax case against him.

“They can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money.”

“All I ever did was sell beer & whiskey to their best people.”

al capone time magazine

“Why, do you know America’s on the verge of its greatest social upheaval? Communism is knocking at our gates–we can’t afford to let it in! We must keep the American worker away from Red literature & Red ruses.”

-Al Capone on the Communist menace during the early Depression era.

“Racketeer? Why, the real racketeers are the banks!”

Capone talking to Damon Runyon on the eve of his imprisonment.

Mafia Hit List – Top Sports Mob Murders

Top 5 Sports Mob Murders of All-Time

1 James (Sonny) Liston – The former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Liston was widely-know to be “sponsored” by New York-based mob prize-fighting czar Frank (Blinky) Palermo and the St. Louis mafia, specifically underboss John (Johnny V) Vitale and Don, Anthony (Tony G) Giordano. A longtime “wild card” and substance abuser, his December 30 1970 heroin overdose in Las Vegas has come under scrutiny for possible foul play and the reputed involvement of Vitale, Giordano and their men. Following his retirement and his pair of losses to Muhammad Ali in the1960s, Liston moved to Nevada and began working for a series of mob-backed hotels and casinos as a greeter.

2 Victor Weiss – The agent for legendary college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State, Fresno State, UNLV) Weiss was found in a North Hollywood parking garage, tied up, gagged and shot twice in the back of the head in the trunk of his Rolls Royce on June 17, 1979, last seen alive leaving a meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel three days before with L.A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Weiss, a mob associate suspected of couriering skimmed Las Vegas casino cash, was offed while in the midst of negotiating a contract for “Tark the Shark’s” to become the next head coach of the Lakeshow, a deal that never came to fruition. Detectives that worked the still never-cracked case pointed to Weiss’ exorbitant gambling debts and possible stealing of the skim money he was delivering as the motives for his slaying. Tarkanian returned to the college ranks, winning a national title with UNLV in 1990

3 Gilbert (Gil the Brain) Beckley – Known as the biggest sports gambler and handicapper in the United States throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Beckley was believed to have been a major NFL game-fixer and went on to testify against members of New England’s Patriarca Crime Family. In the wake of his testimony, he disappeared on February 11, 1970

4 Ray Ryan – Large-scale sports gambler, land-developer, oil tycoon and boxing promoter, Ryan ran afoul with the Chicago mafia, blown up in a car bomb outside his Evansville, Indiana athletic club on October 18, 1977. Ryan, a close friend to a number of NFL owners, had testified against Windy City mobster Marshall (Johnny Shoes) Caifano, sending the one-time mafia overseer in Las Vegas to prison in the years prior to his violent demise.

5 Adolpho “Dino Bravo” Bresciano – The former WWF star, who became an enforcer for the Montreal mafia, was slain inside his own home on March 10, 1993, riddled with close to two dozen bullets as he sat on his couch watching television. A nephew via marriage to former Quebec mob chief Vic (The Egg) Cotroni, Bresciano was alleged to have cheated some fellow wiseguys on a cigarette-smuggling scam.

Mafia Hit List – Top Rockford (IL) Mob Murders

SCOTT BURNSTEIN’S ‘HIT LIST’

Top 5 Rockford Mob Murders of All-Time

1 The Giovingo Brothers Murders – Rockford’s Prohibition Era mob powers, the Giovingo brothers were killed as a result of a war against Tony Musso, who would go on to lead the city’s mafia family for the next two and a half decades. Joe Giovingo was murdered on August14, 1930, while Pete Giovingo was slain on February 13, 1933, hours after he was released from a two-year prison term. Pete Giovingo was ambushed with gunfire from a passing car while taking a “return drive” through downtown Rockford in his Chevrolet Coupe.

2 Joe Maggio – A Rockford mob power of the 1970s, Maggio locked horns with the city’s then-don Joe Zammuto over Zammuto’s decision to back drug dealing in the city limits and was murdered on April 8, 1980, his body discovered on the west side of Rockford by Winnebago County Sheriffs in the backseat of his car, shot in the back of the head. Zammuto is said to have ordered the hit from semi-retirement in Florida. Investigators found more than $20,000 on Maggio’s corpse. FBI surveillance units followed a number of Rockford mafia figures down to the Sunshine State to meet with Zammuto in the weeks leading up to and after the Maggio slaying.

3 Charles Kalb – The last independent gangster operating in the city of Rockford, a mob hotbed located between Chicago and Milwaukee, Kalb, a bookmaking and horse racing magnate, was killed on Dec 22, 1937. He was shot dead while driving up his block in his car, sitting beside his wife and bodyguard, who were unharmed. The slaying was never solved.

4 Charles La Franka – A Rockford mob soldier that was beaten and strangled to death on January 17, 1965, after failing to attend several meetings at the Aragona Social Club, Joe Zammuto’s headquarters, La Franka was found in the trunk of his car in an Elgin, Illinois parking lot. Zammuto felt disrespected by La Franka’s continual ignoring of his orders to come in and ‘register’ his rackets with the mafia’s local administration.

5 The Angelo Buscemi & Louie DalCollo ‘Shootout Murders’ – Buscemi, the first cousin of future Rockford Godfather, Frank Buscemi, was sent by sitting-boss Tony Musso to shakedown a set of local bars and restaurants and ran into a stubborn DalCollo, which resulted in a gun fight outside DalCollo’s tavern on August 17, 1934 that ended up killing both men.