Chicago mob power Louis (Louie Tomatoes) Marino had a brief taste of freedom in his latter years and is now headed to that big social club in the sky. The 84-year Marino, the Outfit’s alleged main man in the North suburbs and reputed Windy City mafia don Salvatore (Solly D) DeLaurentis’ best friend, died of natural causes this week, less than three years after being released from a lengthy federal prison sentence.
Per sources on the street in Chicago, upon his walking free from a 24-year stint behind bars in October 2014, Marino was tapped by DeLaurentis as his crew chief in charge of Lake and McHenry Counties. Marino and DeLaurentis came up through the Outfit in the crime family’s Cicero regime and were part of Ernest (Rocky) Infelise’s notorious Good Ship Lollipop crew in the 1980s. The Good Ship Lollipop was dismantled in a racketeering and murder indictment from 1990. DeLaurentis, 78, came home from prison in 2006.
Louie Tomatoes’ son, Dino Marino, is rumored to be a “button man” in the Outfit these days, and some speculate could take the reins in the North suburbs now that his father has passed on. In 2000, Dino went down in the Cicero city hall scandal, which imprisoned Mayor of Cicero Betty Loren-Maltese, her husband and Outfit bookie Frank (Baldy) Maltese and Infelise’s direct successor as crew boss in the Cicero wing of the Chicago mob, Michael (Big Mike) Spano, among others, on a variety of racketeering offenses and the raiding of the city’s coffers for millions of dollars. Spano got out of prison recently and is reportedly telling people he is retired.
The younger Marino, 59, pled guilty to owning a “no-show” job at the Cicero Department of Public Health and did a year in a federal prison in Wisconsin alongside his dad. Federal surveillance records show Dino regularly dining with Solly DeLaurentis and sometimes chauffeuring him around on his daily rounds. The elder Marino got tagged with his nickname because he once owned a tomato-canning company.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, “Solly D” DeLaurentis and “Louie Tomatoes” Marino were a heavily feared mob enforcement tandem, making collections and doing muscle work for a series of Cicero capos and Outfit administrators. They were suspected in taking part in a number of gangland murders during this time, however, never convicted of any.
Around 1982, DeLaurentis and Marino staged a hostile takeover of gambling and loansharking turf in the North suburbs, forcing the region’s resident mafia bigwig Joseph (Black Joe) Amato into retirement with a relentless firebombing campaign.
“We’re taking over Lake County,” Marino was recorded telling an associate of his.
A knife-wielding Louie Tomatoes was picked up by an FBI wire in 1981 delivering this chilling nugget of intimidation to a man who owed Marino and DeLaurentis $12,000 on a juice loan.
Sliding into the booth at a local restaurant, next to DeLaurentis and across from his victim, Marino asked Solly D “Does he got the cash?”
“He ain’t got a thing,” DeLaurentis informed him, leading to Louie Tomatoes jumping over the table and jabbing his blade into the debtor’s chest.
“You motherfucker, I should give it to you right here” Marino screamed. “I should stick ya right here at the table you cocksucker. Do what you gotta do, sell your jewelry, I want every mother fucking thing you got. I want my money, I don’t care where you find it. Rob a bank, knock off a liquor store. I want my money, I want it now, I want it tonight. You hear me? This is serious shit. And if you think I ain’t capable think again. I’m gonna to be at your doorstep tonight motherfucker. I’m gonna to be at your motherfucking bedside every morning you wake up. I’ll take the whole place (his house) apart. You got nowhere to fucking hide. Make right on this or you’re in big fucking trouble.”
The following year in 1982, accompanied by his bodyguard, Michael (A-1 Mike) Zitello, Marino famously hung a debtor of his over a balcony at the Chicago Board of Trade, threatening to kill him if he didn’t ante up what he owed in front of a crowd of horrified stockbroker onlookers.
Although not charged in the massive 2005 Operation Family Secrets indictment, Marino was named by turncoat and former Outfit hit man Nicholas (Nicky Slim) Calabrese as one of seven assassins that beat and strangled the Chicago mob’s Las Vegas crew boss, Anthony (Tony the Ant) Spilotro and his little brother, Michael, to death in June 1986.The Spilotro brothers’ double-murder was reenacted in the 1995 Martin Scorsese movie, Casino, with actor Joe Pesci portraying the character based on explosive Tony the Ant.
Marino’s involvement in the gory twin slayings was speculated upon immediately by members of law enforcement. Snitches mentioned him as a possible “doer” right off the bat, according to multiple FBI agents that worked the case. When he was observed by an FBI surveillance team attending a meeting with then-Chicago mob boss Joe Ferriola the day after the Spilotros hit in the summer of 1986 at the funeral of popular Outfit soldier Anthony (Bucky) Ortenzi, he was quickly tabbed a “person of interest” in the investigation.
That Labor Day weekend Marino returned home early from a trip to Wisconsin with his family to find FBI agents in the process of putting his Cadillac El Dorado back in his garage following an unsuccessful attempt to bug it. Louie Tomatoes went on to successfully sue the federal government for the damage his car endured (a number of holes were drilled in the interior of the vehicle and the radio was dismantled).
Brought down in the “Operation Good Ship Lollipop” case, Marino was convicted of racketeering, specifically looking after gambling and loansharking affairs on behalf of Infelise and the Cicero crew at a 1992 trial. Within the indictment, he was charged with, but never convicted of the gruesome 1985 murder of independent bookmaker Hal Smith. Police found a pair of glasses belonging to Marino and a cigar with his fingerprints on it in Smith’s car, the same vehicle that Smith’s strangled, mutilated corpse was discovered in, his throat cut, in the parking lot of an Arlington Heights hotel.
Mob associate and DeLaurentis’ former driver, William (B.J.) Jahoda, fingered Marino as directly taking part in Smith’s torture and murder. Smith, flamboyant and wealthy, was killed for his indignant behavior, refusal to bow to Outfit extortion demands and the suspicion that he was informing on the Cicero crew trying to shake him down.
Jahoda testified at trial that at Infelise’s behest he drove Smith to his own house, where he witnessed Marino, Infelise and two more Infelice goons, Robert (Bobby the Boxer) Salerno and Robert (Bobby the Gabeet) Bellavia, converge on him and begin pummeling him to the ground. Instructed to wait outside as they finished the job, Jahoda was greeted by a blood-spattered kitchen floor when he was finally allowed to return to his residence. A week after Smith was found in his trunk, Infelise told him that Ferriola sent his “thanks for help with that whole Smith thing.”
The mastermind behind a multi-million dollar a year sports betting and money laundering business in the ritzy Chicago suburbs, Smith feuded with DeLaurentis and Marino, first after the two imposing gangsters began demanding that he pay a street tax and then after he started paying, demanding he cough up even more.
Jahoda was present at a dinner meeting between Smith and the pair in late 1984 which erupted into a shouting match, having Smith hurl ethnic slurs and personal insults at Solly D and Louie Tomatoes and DeLaurentis eerily predict that Smith was about to become “trunk music.” In the days after the encounter, Smith reportedly told people, “Fuck those two little guineas,” referencing his war or words with the two Mafiosi, per Chicago Police Dept. files related to the case.
Jurors hung on the murder charges against DeLaurentis and Marino, while Infelise, Salerno and Bellavia were each nailed on the Smith slaying and hit with life prison sentences (with parole). Rocky Infelise died in 2005. Salerno gets out in May. Bellavia, on the other hand, got out last year.