Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Lunchtime Theater - The Chicago Gangsters Subterranean Secrets, Mysteries and Subterranean Worlds.

THE DIGITAL RESEARCH LIBRARY OF ILLINOIS HISTORY JOURNAL™ PRESENTS
THE LUNCHTIME THEATER.


The Chicago Gangsters Subterranean Secrets, Mysteries and Subterranean Worlds


The Chicago Outfit (or simply the Outfit), also known as the Chicago Mafia, Chicago Mob, or Chicago Syndicate, is an Italian American crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois. Dating back to the 1910s, it is part of the American Mafia. Originating in South Side Chicago, the Outfit rose to power in the 1920s under the control of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone. The period was marked by bloody gang wars for distribution of illegal alcohol during Prohibition. Since then, the Outfit has been involved in a wide range of criminal activities including, loansharking, gambling, murder, prostitution, extortion, political corruption, and murder amongst others. Although the Outfit had no true monopoly on organized crime in Chicago they were by far the biggest criminal organization in the Midwestern United States. The Outfit's control at its peak reached throughout the western and eastern United States to places as far away as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and parts of Florida.

Higher law enforcement investigations and general attrition led to the Outfits gradual decline since the late 20th century. As of 2007, the Outfit's size is estimated to be 28 official members (composing its core group) and over 100 associates. The Old Neighborhood Italian American Club is considered to be hangout of Old Timers, as they live out their golden years. The Club's founder was Angelo J. LaPietra "The Hook", who at the time of his death in 1999 was the main Council. The Chicago Outfit is currently believed to be led by John DiFronzo.

Severely injured in an assassination attempt by the North Side Mob in January 1925, the shaken Torrio returned to Italy and handed over control of the business to Capone. Capone was notorious during Prohibition for his control of the Chicago underworld and his bitter rivalries with gangsters such as George "Bugs" Moran and Earl "Hymie" Weiss. Raking in vast amounts of money (some estimates were that between 1925 and 1930 Capone was making $100 million a year), the Chicago kingpin was largely immune to prosecution because of witness intimidation and the bribing of city officials. The Chicago Outfit under Al Capone's leadership was certainly one of the most dangerous gangs in the world. In the 1930s, Al Capone and his successor, Frank Nitti, developed the Outfit rapidly in all the surrounding areas.

One of the prime areas of interest was in Canada, the main source of alcohol which the Outfit was smuggling into the States. This illicit alcohol was then distributed to all the "titty bars" (brothels) of Chicago. During prohibition, this was one of the greatest sources of income for the Outfit. The Outfit, as established by Capone, functioned on relationships with a high degree of trust between the gangsters and the "boss of bosses".

The Boss controlled the heads of various divisions of the outfit through a system of informants placed throughout the various levels of the organization. Anyone who betrayed the honor of the organization was executed. Among the most active representatives of the Al Capone Outfit were "Happy Memories" DeLuca (assets in Illinois and Wisconsin), Bob Calandra (Ontario), Vince DeLuca, Tom Ciampelletti (Montreal) and Frank Nitti, who acted as intermediary between Al Capone, the Boss, and the other gangsters. Frankie La Porte and Ross Prio out of Chicago Heights, carried some heavy weight with Capone organizing his gang into an empire. Frankie La Porte, being Sicilian and having the ability to work in confidence with New York gangsters Joe Bonanno and Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who were also Sicilian, is believed to have been Capone's connection to the Commission.

While Al Capone was in charge of the Chicago Outfit it has been reported that some members of organization would take the train from Chicago to Wabash County, Illinois and stay at a remote hotel called the Grand Rapids Hotel on the Wabash River next to the Grand Rapids Dam. The hotel was only in existence for nine years but many residents of the area remember seeing men who claimed to be from the Chicago Outfit at the Grand Rapids Hotel. Suspiciously, the Grand Rapids Hotel was burned down by a man with one leg who dropped a blowtorch. 

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