Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas

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Family Secrets | S1E10

by Las Vegas Review-Journal | The Mob Museum
July 21st 2020

“He always said if you pull a gun on somebody, you finish it.” 

Tony Spilotro goes missing in June of 1986, last seen driving away from his brother's home in suburban Illinois. Over two deca... More

a heads up before we get started. Mobbed up contains explicit content such as adult language and depictions of violence, including murder. Please be advised that this podcast might not be suitable for all audiences. Mm hmm. Mhm. Yeah. What was your relationship with Mr Spilotro? I worked for me. Was my boss. What do you mean? When you say that you worked for Tony Spilotro, I committed burglaries, murder, extortions from dope dealers. Grand messages back and forth to the casinos. Collected juice money of this litany of this long list. What was your main occupation? I was a burglar. If the back and forth you're hearing sounds familiar, that's because you heard it in the opening scene of this series. It's taking place in June of 1985 during the third day of a public hearing held by the President's Commission on Organized Crime, an advisory committee set up under President Ronald Reagan, the witnesses testifying from behind a screen to protect his present appearance. If you're connecting the dots, you've probably guessed that the witnesses Frank Kalata, who in 1985 is still in witness protection and living under an assumed identity.

The voice you're hearing is a voice actor reading a transcript of Frank's testimony. The questioning continues. How many burglaries did you and your crew commit in Las Vegas? Well, over 200. None in Las Vegas, but throughout my lifetime. You know of the Stardust Hotel, do you not? Yes, I do. Did you go to the Stardust frequently? Once you've moved to Las Vegas quite often. Why? I had to deliver messages there. Bring messages back to Tony Spilotro offense jewelry in there. The proceeds of the burglary, sometimes you would take to the casino. That is correct. I want to focus now on the messages. Mr. Kalata, what kind of messages did you take into the casino to get people jobs in there to get people fired to get people bought out of there. You say messages to get people hired. You mean Mr Spilotro would tell you to get messages to people in the casino to hire John Smith? That is correct. Would Mr Smith be hired? Yes, he would when she got power.

A lot of power. You don't care about the money in your mind For the Las Vegas Review Journal in partnership with the Mob Museum I'm read Redmond. He's one of you. You kill him. You're listening to mobbed up a true story about money. You're not supposed to have a profile like that, especially in Vegas crime. You want to be very quiet so you can steal the money. He always said If you pull a gun on somebody, you finish it. Because if you don't, it's going to come back to haunt you. And I have ever seen what's going on here and he's saying They're trying to kill me and I said, Who's trying to kill your name? Shut up and the fight for control of Las Vegas The FBI will continue to look to the future to use the latest and most sophisticated techniques to fight organized crime. The mom would have destroyed Las Vegas, the only question not after, but when it would be destroyed. I was there every day with these fellas. I had no idea that there was a mob and he once told somebody, There's bodies out there in the desert and there's more every day.

But if there is one area where the word war is appropriate, it is in the fight against crime. When you grab them, you'll bring them to the desert. You're gonna know where the hole has been dug. Part 10 Family secrets And about a week ahead of his retrial in the hole in the wall racketeering case, Tony Spilotro had been back in Chicago. He received a court order giving him permission to leave Las Vegas to visit family and have some dental work done by his older brother. During the early afternoon of Saturday, June 14th, 1986 he was at the home of his younger brother, Michael, in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois. Michael's wife and Spilotro would report that at about two PM Tony and Michael left her home together, driving away in her dark gray Lincoln Mark four. But neither of the men returned two days later.

Tony and Michael Spilotro were both reported missing that same day, the Monday after they were last seen, the car they were driving would turn up in the parking lot of a Howard Johnson's restaurant with no one inside. Early the following morning, the U. S magistrate signed an arrest warrant for Tony after he missed a court deadline to return to Las Vegas ahead of his trial. After the warrant was signed, the FBI and U. S Marshal Service joined local police in searching for the Spilotro brothers, but to no avail. Oak Park, Illinois, police stated on Thursday, June 19th, five days after the brothers disappeared. Quote. We're getting an awful lot of crank calls. The last thing we heard was that they moved to an apartment here in Oak Park and that somebody saw them doing their laundry. According to a report from the Review Journal, Authorities had also received a tip about some unusual activity at a wrecking yard in the Chicago suburbs. But when they rushed over to search the premises, the lead didn't pan out. Plenty of other tips like this were pouring in, but none of them led to Tony or Michael Spilotro. On Friday, June 20th, The Review Journal reported that authorities were working with two principal theories, one that the brothers were in hiding or two.

They were killed After the splotchy brothers went missing. Frank Kalata, who was still in witness protection and going by a different name, received a call from his FBI handler, Dennis Arnoldi. He asked me if I knew where Tony and Michael or they disappeared. They didn't show up for court. They said, Well, then they're dead. And besides, you know that I said, I don't know for a fact, but I know Tony He would show up for court. He knows there's nowhere to run and he said, Well, we can't find him. The search for the Spilotro stretched on for a few more days, and then Frank received another phone call, and then a few days later he called me and he says You were right. They found him in a car field on Sunday, June 23rd, 1986. A farmer in rural Indiana discovered some loose dirt on his property, which was located about 60 miles outside of Chicago. It turned out to be a shallow grave.

Inside were too badly beaten, bodies covered in mud and clothed in nothing but underwear stacked on top of each other. The bodies would be positively identified as 43 year old Michael Spilotro and 48 year old Tony Spilotro. Dr. John Plus, the forensic pathologist who examined their bodies, said they had been in the grave for several days at least a week, and that blunt force injuries, probably caused by hands or feet, caused the deaths In an article published the day after the bodies were discovered, Former Review Journal reporter Phil Lavelle would right. Spilotro is underworld rain and his supposed dream of becoming the Chicago mob boss ended in a shallow grave at a lonely Indiana cornfield. Here's Tony's former defense attorney and eventual three term mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, at a 2015 event held at the Mob Museum, I was shocked. I got a phone call from Nancy, Tony's wife and said that she hadn't heard from them and she was worried that something was wrong.

And then a couple of days passed and I had heard, I think, through the television. I know nobody from law enforcement called me, saying that, uh, he and Michael were found dead in the, uh, called in the corn field in Indiana. Yeah, so it was a couple of days after, and Tony was very punctual. One of the reasons that I said the judges allowed him out on his own recognizance because whenever he had a court appearance, he was there. I mean, he never missed a court appearance. He never touched a court appearance. He was always on time, and it was very obvious that he was missing and that something had been wrong. But we didn't know what it was. Former mob prosecutor Stan Hunterson told me he was in an airport when he heard the news about Tony. At the time he was working in private practice and he was traveling with the general counsel for one of his clients. And we were in the Chicago airport changing planes when the story of the killing of the Spilotro brothers came on television set.

And, of course we were watching it and, uh, the general counsel to the banks, that how many years you chased that guy around? I said several. He said, The Mafia is a lot more efficient than you guys. My name is Frank Calabrese Jr and a little bit about my background is I'm half Irish, half Italian, born and raised in Chicago. My mother's side was my Irish side. On my Italian side, my dad and my Uncle Nick were both made members of the Chicago Mob, so it's kinda born into this kind of followed them into this life for over 20 years. This is Frank Calabrese Jr. And as you just heard, his father, Frank Calabrese Sr. And his uncle, Nick Alibris were both made men in the Chicago outfit. In spite of that, for the most part, Frank Jr says he had a normal childhood, that he didn't know what his dad did for a living.

But once he started to get a little older, his dad started to test him or, in his words, to groom him. And my dad's constantly testing me. That's what he does with everybody in this life. You're constantly being tested, so he comes home from his day at work. He goes, we got to talk. I could see his adrenaline going to something important whenever was important. My dad was very big on surveillance, so if we were in the home, we go in the bathroom. We turned the vents on. We turned the water and he steps into my face, looking right in my eyes and just for my face. He said, Remember, I told you there's no drugs aren't allowed in this neighbor, remember I told you there's rules in this name and I'm like, Yeah, Dad, because we had to kill two guys today. So he proceeds to describe in detail how they blew these two guys apart with shotguns the whole time. He's watching for my reaction to this, you know? Am I ready for this? Well, this is what my reaction. This is my dad. He's got my best interest in hand, right? He's got my back. He's not gonna lead me down and let me hang out to dry. So I bought into it. I bought into my dad, but you know, it's funny because, wow, he's telling me this.

I'm like, man, I wonder what my friends' fathers were telling them about their day of work. I bet it was nothing like my dad's story. And did that change your perception of him at all? Yeah, that's a good question. At that point, it was. It was no. I bought into my dad. I bought into the fact that wow, this is crazy. But if if my dad says this is the way the street is, this is the way the street is. There's rules, you know? I still at that point, I believe that my dad would not kill somebody just to kill somebody, Frank Jr says he did never buy into the mob, but he did buy into his dad and the life that his dad was selling. He says he eventually graduated, in his words, to carrying out more serious crimes for his dad. Extortion, arson and eventually he reached a point where he was even willing to commit murder. 1986 when Frank Jr was in his twenties, he says his dad received in order to kill one of their associates who'd gotten out of line a guy named John for Karada.

When we were talking about this and starting to plan the murder, I told my dad, I go let me kill John. He goes, What? Go, Dad, This is about family stuff. It's not about my stuff. With Johnston to us with John stunned Uncle Nicky, let me do it. I go hear me out. I got a great, great idea. I said, Let John think that you want him to be my mentor, that I am going to go with him and Uncle Nicky without you being there. The last person, everything. That that's something. What happened? Frank Calabrese Sr like the idea. So they practiced and practiced how he was going to do it in his grandma's basement. But before the day came, Frank Junior's Uncle Nick stepped in and said he would do the hit instead. He didn't want his nephew to turn that corner to become a killer. Because I don't want you to cross that line with your dad or the mob, you cross that line. There's no going back. You're out to really save my life. On that night, Frank Jr says that as time went on, he started to realize his dad wasn't the guy he thought he was, and he had a family at this point. So he wanted out of the life. I decide that, you know, I'm gonna take my family and I'm going to move out West.

I've had enough of this, but in order to do that, you need money to start over. According to Frank Jr. His dad owed him money. He knew where his dad had a lot of money stashed away. So he went ahead and took what he was owed and a little more around $800,000 as he recalls. But pretty quickly, his dad found out One day he calls me now All I'm hoping for is he knows about this money. I've got most of it back to him. And all I want to do is finish paying him this money. And I actually made him a partner in two restaurants. Just so I figure if I'm giving the money, he'll leave me alone. Money was my dad's got one day. He calls me and it's good, Dad. See, my dad had this good dad. Bad Daddy had multiple personalities. Narcissist, sociopath. He says Meet me for coffee, son. It's about time. You know I love you. You're doing the right thing. Meet me by the park. I go by the park, we hug it out. We're talking. I'm excited. Finally, these days comes Come on, let's take a ride. We'll go for coffee. We'll take my truck. Why take two trucks? Alright, Get in the truck. We're going because I got to stop at the garage and grab something. So garage we own does it all the time.

Okay? Nothing out of the ordinary. You wanna take a walk on? Because I was telling him a funny story. You want to walk and finish it away? Here, Let me walk with you. This is funny. We're walking, laughing He goes to garage, opens the door we go And I flicked the lights on All the sudden I hear the door slam and I turned around Damn, He's got me by the neck He's got a gun in my face and he's got this glassy eyed look in his face. The the look I knew when my dad wanted to kill Frank Jr says his dad told him he'd rather have him dead, the disobey him and that he'd stopped by Frank Junior's grave to pay his respects. You know, they say your life flashes in front of you. It did. I'm thinking about my two little kids. He's gonna kill me, bearing me something. They're never gonna find me. They're going to go through life all screwed up. I got to get out of this garage, so I'm trying. I start crying, I'm using. I won't break eye contact with him. I'm using trigger words. Dad, I'm your son, Daddy. I love you Have done anything he said. I don't understand what you're doing, and I'm trying to hug him. You know, uh, my kids, there's something. What's wrong? You Let's talk about it. I don't know what I did or said, but something triggered that good.

Dad and I got out of that garage that day, and my dad wasn't the kind of guy to threaten you like that with a gun. He always said, If you pull a gun on somebody, you finish it because if you don't, it's going to come back to haunt you. So you were 100% convinced that your dad was going to kill you. That without a doubt, without a doubt, I've seen in his eye. Frank Junior's attempt to escape his father's grasp had failed, at least for the time being. I got lucky in 1995. I got indicted me, my dad, my brother, my uncle and seven other crew members for running a loan sharking operation from the late seventies to the early nineties through threats, intimidation and any means of violence to collect alone. Most people wouldn't think of getting indicted as a stroke of luck, but for Frank, this would be his way out. He decided to plead guilty to accept a five year prison sentence, served his time and turn over a new leaf But things got a little complicated when, during the first year of that sentence, he was transferred to the same prison as his dad. After realizing that his dad hadn't changed, Frank Jr decided to work out, as he put it, a business proposal with the FBI.

He wrote the FBI a letter telling them he wanted to do whatever it took to keep Frank Calabrese Sr locked up forever. And after a few weeks of discussions, he even agreed to wear a wire. These meetings were very, very hard, very streams. This is my father on one end. I'm trying to work on my relationship with him and any other. I'm trying to lock them up forever. For months, Frank Jr met with his dad in the prison yard and got him to open up to talk about crimes he had committed for the Chicago outfit. Government had enough. That was it. A few months later, I got transferred to another prison, finished out my time, did my drug program and came home. Frank Sr had told his son about all kinds of things he wasn't supposed to from the secret ceremony he went through to become a made guy to information about murders. And one of those murders, as the world would soon come to find out, was the double murder of Michael and Tony Spilotro in 2000 and seven.

Frank Calabrese Jr would testify against his father, as well as several other top guys in the Chicago outfit during one of the biggest mob trials in the history of organized crime in the United States. In addition to Frank Calabrese Sr. The defendants in the racketeering case included Joey the Clown Lombardo and three other reputed heads of the mob. By this point, most of the old guard had died out because Frank Jr and his uncle, Nick Alibris, both testified against Frank Sr on behalf of the government. The case would become known as the Family Secrets Trial. Frank Junior told me that testifying against his dad was the hardest thing he's ever had to do. When I went to court, I hadn't seen my dad for six years. When I walked in that courtroom, I was overcome with emotion. I looked over my dad, he aged. You know, I look, I want to go and I wanted to hug my dad. I want to say, Dad, come on. This is it. We we gotta stop this stuff. You got to do the right thing. Now let's get out of here. Let's go home and let's lead a normal life. But as soon as he looked at me with those threats, I knew I was there. After one week of testifying on the stand, sleepless nights I look at my dad, I get off the stand and walk out of the room.

Yeah, and I go in another room. I got tears coming down. My eyes probably could have said, What's wrong? So you know how sick this is. I said I in my heart I felt that I just seen my dad for the last time alive. And it was It was the last time I ever seen him. Ultimately, all five defendants in the case were found guilty, including Frank Calabrese Sr. Who would die in prison about five years later. And then they put this humongous case together that basically chopped off the head of the Chicago mob. And because of that, the results from that is now that today I can actually do tours in Chicago because there's really nothing left It wasn't until this trial the family secrets trial in 2007, that the public learned how Tony Spilotro and his little brother, Michael, ended up in that Indiana cornfield two decades prior. Here's how it went down, according to Frank Jr. As Time's going on, Tony starts becoming a more high profile. He comes on the radar, law enforcement. The bosses are getting Nancy back home. They wind up losing a trial and they're mad. They've had enough of Tony. They're going to jail for a long time. The boss at the time, a guy named Joy Cuba, puts out the order.

He finds out that Tony had an affair with Lefty Rosenthal's wife. Little Rosenthal was good to the mob for years, and they find out about the drugs, start to find out about the drugs. So he says, I want Tony that when that order came down in the spring of 1986 Frank Junior's uncle Nick was sent out to Vegas with a few other guys to whack Tony. They spent some time surveilling him, but eventually decided it would be too risky to kill him in Las Vegas when they come back home me and my uncle, my dad are sitting and, uh, uncle tells my dad what was going on in Vegas. Keep in mind as you're hearing this, that Tony wasn't some stranger. He was one of their friends. According to Frank Jr. Their whole family was pretty close with the Spilotro family. Tony's older brother was even their family dentist, and that goes, well, what's the new plan? Well, the new plan was that they were going to call Tony back to Chicago to have this making ceremony. Now, in this life, if you could call for Whistled in and you don't come, it's an automatic that sense. So they're making him believe that he's getting this promotion to a couple. She had it coming for a long time.

He's earned it. And to make him believe it, they said they're gonna make his brother Michael, a made member at the same ceremony, been a reality. They're just getting them there to kill them both. This is very concerning to us as a calibers family, because these guys were our friends and the mom is getting more paranoid. The rules are changing, my dad said over the years, Is they would have never done nothing like this years ago, Nick. What would stop them from coming after me and you for no reason? We got to keep our guard up. The ceremony during which Tony was supposedly going to get his promotion to Capo and his brother Michael was supposedly going to become a made man was set for Saturday, June 14th, 1986. Not coincidentally, the day the brothers went missing. So the day of in June of 1986 the SPLA chose before they were to leave their house to go meet, uh, mob boss or a couple of my bosses in a shopping center parking lot. They told their wives, If we're not home by nine o'clock tonight, something's wrong. They took all the Julie off put in plastic bags. Tony wasn't sure this was on the up and up and up, but he knew he had to go. He hides a compact 22 on Michael and they're en route. While Tony and Michael are driving over, Frank Jr says his uncle Nick is waiting in the basement of the house where the ceremony was going to take place, along with more than a dozen other main members of the Chicago outfit, according to Frank Jr.

His dad would have been there, too, but he was out of town recovering from a surgery. At the time they get to the house, they're coming down the stairs. These guys start walking towards them like they're gonna shake their hand and hug them and get the ceremony going. Instead, they all jump them and violently, savagely punch, kick and strangled them to death. Now it's something that stuck out to me was, um when my uncle was telling us when Tony knew that, um, he couldn't make it, he screamed out, Let me say, an act of contrition. Final prayer. Uh, you know, I think that they let him say it because I don't know. I didn't hear anything. I was concerned about my own life. There was a lot going on, you know, we didn't know what was gonna happen next. What bothered me was at one time these guys were also loyal and and and and so close. And now they're violently and savagely killing each other off like wild animals and a lot of it just because of paranoia and greed. Bodies weren't supposed to be found very important because then it would be more pressure from the government. Uh, the guys that buried them blotched the burial. They thought somebody was onto him. The farmers seen the dirt, turned over, thought somebody killed an animal and buried it there.

Went to dig up the animal, seen underwear called law enforcement. That was the end of Tony Spilotro, someone the mob had once trusted to look after one of its most lucrative territories. Beaten to death, stripped and buried in a cornfield. Loyalty is a big word, Okay, But when you get into this life, there's a lot of paranoia. And when paranoia sets in any criminal justification, you start justifying. You looked wrong at me. You got something on your mind, and it's a criminal justification criminal mentality. I'm going to kill you because you looked at me wrong. So Spilotro had an incredible rise in an incredible fall. This is UNLV associate professor of History Michael Greene. He also left behind him, a reputation that kind of goes to the whole notion of what the mob was about. Here he was a father, a suburban homeowner. You see him out trimming the hedges. You see him at his kids sporting events he gave to charity. And there are people who knew him who have told me he was the most perfect gentleman they ever met.

Well, you weren't in his way. You're not in his way. He was a very nice guy, kind of friend. You'd want to have, Uh, if you were in his way, you might not want to be in that position. At the time of his death, the only felony conviction on Tony Spilotro record was for cheating on a home loan application. He was fined $1 start. While the rise and eventual fall of Tony Spilotro and his hole in the Wall Gang was playing out in Las Vegas. The FBI had been continuing to aggressively pursue its investigations into skimming and his ownership of Las Vegas casinos. We're going to back up a few years now to February 14th, 1979 which would prove to be a pivotal moment in the strawman investigation out of Kansas City. The investigation sparked by the electronic surveillance tapes you heard a couple episodes back for most people, February 14th, 1979 was just another Valentine's day for you mob enthusiasts out there.

It was 50 years to the day after the infamous ST Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago. For Bill Owsley, then supervisor of the FBI's organized crime squad in Kansas City. It was D Day. That's the way he described it to me Anyway. The FBI in Kansas City was gearing up to serve a whole bunch of search warrants related to the Strawman investigation. So on the morning of Valentine's Day 1979 House, please job was to head to the Kansas City airport to intercept a sandwich. That's the code word picked up on FBI wiretaps. Anyway. Sandwich, as the FBI had ascertained, was code for a package of casino skim money being transported from Las Vegas to Kansas City. The skin courier or sandwich delivery guy if we're going to extend the mobs charming metaphor was someone named Carl Caruso and honestly was going to pick him up as soon as his plane landed. When that happened, the FBI and Kansas City police were prepared to execute search warrants on a number of locations throughout the city. So on D day, we I was assigned to go up to the airport and meet Caruso.

And once I said we had the money, then all the other search warrants would be executed on Nick Savella, Carl the lunatic Carl Savella, Charlie, Martina, all the main players. We're going to be searched. Housely and his team showed up just after Karl Kruse says Flight landed and waited for him to approach the baggage claim. I guess just like we can sort of pick them out. Caruso obviously picked us out, and he immediately walked over to his son and handed him his briefcase and his carry on, and I guess, told him to get the hell out of there. They took Caruso into a security room to conduct a search. I said, uh, before you sit down, empty your pockets, everything out of your pockets on the desk so it takes, you know, coins in his wallet and all that. And then he reaches into his, uh, sport coat on the right side, pulls out a packet of money and reaches in on the other side, pulls out a packet of money, and the two package rubber band together tightly was the $80,000 skin package coming from the trap for all the sophisticated techniques the mob used to sneak money out of casinos, rigging scales, falsifying fill slips.

It turns out that the way they got their money from place to place after that was pretty simple. Here was their apparent courier carrying $80,000 of illegally skimmed money onto a plane in his coat pockets. I said, What what? What is this 80,000 Usually carry 80,000 like that? Oh, he said. It's just casino money. And I said, I said, Yeah, sure is. After Owsley intercepted Caruso and the skin package, FBI agents and police officers began executing the other search warrants. All over Kansas City. Gary Jenkins and Intelligence unit detective with the Kansas City Police went with FBI agents to carry out a search warrant at the home of reputed mob underboss Carl Tuffy DeLuna, one of the voices who showed up on the wiretaps. We played a couple episodes back tough. It comes the door and he actually knows the agent pretty well. Sherry, that was leading this team. He invites us on end, and I just sit down in the kitchen while the agent starts spreading out. She has, uh, toughie, bringing his wife and and his teenage boy was in the house at the time and bring them into the kitchen.

And we're all sitting around the kitchen, me and Tuffy and his wife and son. And she's mainly staying there, kind of in chatting with Tuffy little bit. And agents are coming back with different things they'd find and like they'd come down and I got a gun up here and kind of they found a beeper, uh, electronic transmitter that tough he had found underneath his car that the FBI had put on and he'd taken off and then put in his room. Gary tells me that things were cordial but tough. His wife and son started to get upset. Fair enough. I can't imagine anyone being thrilled about FBI agents rifling through their home so tough he and his wife had somebody come pick up their son. And then she kept getting upset and kept getting upset. And he finally told her, You know, Sandy said, Just cool it. It's It's okay. These guys got a job to do, he said. Make these officers some coffee. So she made a pot of coffee. They sat around drinking coffee together until about four AM when apparently Tuffy decided to speed things up. Well, he said, She said, You might as well go on downstairs the good stuff down there, and he takes him down there and there's a office desk and an old safe that I don't know if they ever got into the safe.

They did. Finally, I remember now they did. Finally, it was anything in it. I think the safe was everybody moved in. But in this desk of his, he had all these handwritten notes, and that was the good stuff. I know I've mentioned a handful of times throughout this series that mobsters don't keep throw records. Well, it turns out there was an exception, and that exception was Tuffy DeLuna. So it goes through and they go through these handwritten notes and they can tell just at a glimpse that he's got percentages down there and code names and and talking about, you know, items of like accounting for when he went out to Las Vegas, how much the airfare was, how much he paid for parking, who he talked to with these different code names and and really with when they put that together with a lot of the wiretap information and and Joe Gusteau's information in the end, Why, uh, and other people that would end up lord level casino employees that would go in front of the grand jury and tell them things why it really drew a beautiful picture of exactly what had been going on and tough.

He kept the notes, so that was That was the night of toughies. All of the search is on February 14th, 1979 uncovered, as Bill Owsley put it, when I spoke to him, a mountain of evidence evidence that would eventually lead to enormous racketeering prosecutions. In November of 1981 11 reputed mobsters were named in a 17 count federal racketeering indictment, which accused the defendants of maintaining hit an ownership and skimming funds from the Tropicana. The indictment alleged that they had transported at least $280,000 in skimmed revenue from the Tropicana to Kansas City in Chicago. When the case went to trial in 1983 B loosely, of course, was called to testify about his work in the strawman investigation and in dramatic fashion, at least dramatic for the FBI. He reenacted the moment he intercepted Carl Caruso. That skin career at the airport. I went up, understand? I had the money in my inside pockets like Caruso did. And so, you know, we got to that point in my testimony and whatever else I had to testify to and said, Now, let's get to the point and, uh, tell us what happened When, uh, Mr Caruso sat down and, uh and you asked him to empty his pockets and I said, Well, what he did.

He put his hand in his right hand pocket and he came out with this, these 80 40,000. I put it on the railing where the jury was, and I said, I put he put his left hand in and got this 40,000 and he put that down on the rail. I put it down the railing and I said, Uh, that represented the $80,000 in skin that we you just heard played in one of the conversations that the money was coming. The courtroom, according to Owsley, fell dead quiet. Not a bad sign for the prosecution. And when all was said and done, all of the defendants had either been convicted or had pleaded guilty, the only exception being the guy at the very top. Nick Savella, the boss of the Kansas City crime family who had died before the case, went to trial. Of the 10 other defendants next, Brother Carl or Cork Savella and Tuffy DeLuna received the stiffest sentences 35 30 years in prison, respectively. According to Gary Jenkins, the Tropicana prosecution effectively terminated the mob in Kansas City.

All the heads Nick died, uh, tough. He went away until he was about 86 about 20 years. Uh, Carl, quirky Savella he went away for until he died. I think they let him out at the last minute, Uh, before he died, Uh, Charles Martina, kind of another really important mob character that nobody really talks about very much in Kansas City. But he went away for a long time, and so they it really took away the head. Now there, the mom always can kind of move up a little. Everybody moves up a little bit, but this took away so much that it's never really been the same since, uh, there's not been a mob prosecution in Kansas city in in 10 years. Now, in addition to the Tropicana prosecution, the Strawman investigation brought about an even bigger prosecution related to the Argent Corporation, the holding company headed by Strawman owner Allen Glick. In total, 15 men were indicted for skimming and exerting secret control over casinos owned by the Argent Corporation and skimming at least $2 million out of the Fremont and Stardust casinos.

This sweeping indictment included defendants out of Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Chicago, although Allen Glick himself avoided being named in the indictment by agreeing to cooperate with the federal government. I was so confident of how the trap trial had gone, you know, and they had all been convicted. And I thought we had even better evidence in Argent with toughest notes. And, uh, what have you. I think there was a was a strong confidence feeling in my part as to what the outcome was gonna be. The Argent skimming case resulted in 13 convictions reaching the very top of the Chicago outfit. Tony Spilotro had been named in the indictment, but he was murdered before he could be tried. Joey the Clown Lombardo, reputed street boss, or Kapo by this time was sentenced to 16 years. Angela Petra, reputed boss, received the same sentence. Jack Cerone, the outfits under boss and the guy at the very top the boss of the whole organization, 79 year old Joey Ayoub to were both sentenced to 28 a half years in Chicago.

All the mob leaders in Chicago, Joey Ayoub to who was the boss at the time and kind of his, uh, underlines Main underlines. Jackie Cerone and Angela Pre ETRA, uh, were convicted and sentenced to long terms in the penitentiary. So when the trial ended, they were convicted and got these long sentences. There was a great deal of satisfaction and to know that it was going to have a great impact in maybe the demise of the mob in Vegas, and I believe it did. I believe I had a great deal to do with that was the final stage. So, uh, you know, subdued in subdued in reaction, but a very have a glass of champagne and sit there and say, you know, uh, we did a We did a good job on the 11th and final part of mobbed up Frank Kalata goes back to being Frank Collado again, and the city of Las Vegas forges a new path.

But actually, if you think back, I'm probably the only guy standing right now out of Chicago. This has been Part 10 of Mobbed Up, a production of the Las Vegas Review Journal in partnership with the Mob Museum. We just have one instalment left. I don't want to be presumptive, but considering you stuck with us this far, you're probably gonna want to tune in if you somehow still haven't subscribed to the series yet. Take 10 seconds to hit. Subscribe on apple podcasts. Follow on Spotify or whatever. The appropriate button is on whatever platform you've been listening on. That way, you'll know Part 11 is available as soon as it drops. Mobbed up is reported and produced by me. Read Redmond. You can find me on Twitter at Red Redmond, or send any comments or questions or sandwiches by email at our Redmond at review journal dot com. If you have any mob stories of your own, I love to hear them. Our sound designer and audio editor for this series is Jonathan McMichael, who also composed the theme song You're hearing right now. Other sound effects and music used in this episode are from Motion Array and Stephen Arnold music, thanks to everyone who sat down with me to share their insights and their stories on this episode.

Frank Kalata, Stan Hunter Tin Frank Calabrese Jr. Michael Green, Bill Owsley and host of the organized crime podcast Gangland Wire. Gary Jenkins. Select clips heard in the intro of this episode are from the Oral History Research Center at the UNLV Library, special Collections and Archives. You can learn more about the Mob museum by heading over to the mob museum dot org. You can learn more about mobbed up and listen to some of the review journals. Other podcasts by visiting. Review journal dot com. Backslash podcasts Thanks, as always, for tuning in, and we'll see you right back here next week with the final episode of this series.

Family Secrets | S1E10
Family Secrets | S1E10
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