Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins brings you the best in mob history with his unique perception of the mafia. Gary and James Cosenza from the Chicago Mob Trials YT channel discuss how Angelo LaPietra extorted two Million dollars from a prominent Chicago real estate businessman named Victor Cacciatore. In the famous Family Secrets trial, Cacciatore testified against the notorious Chicago organized crime syndicate known as The Outfit. He told about how the Chinatown Crew boss; Angelo LaPietra extorted two million dollars from him. Nick Calabrese also testified that he was the person who made the actual threats.
Victor Cacciatore was a prominent Chicago businessman, lawyer, and banker who died in 2014. He was also a victim of extortion by the Chicago Outfit, a notorious organized crime syndicate that dominated the city for decades. He told how he kept getting threats from two men asking for money, and later, he found dead rats in his car and other similar threatening behavior. Cacciatore visited Angelo LaPietra, the boss of the Chinatown crew, and asked for help. He didn’t realize that this man, the feared Angelo LaPietra, was behind these threats. This Family Secrets trial was a landmark federal prosecution that exposed the inner workings and crimes of the Outfit. Victor Cacciatore was not a member of the Chicago mafia but rather a successful entrepreneur who faced threats and violence from them. He was also a philanthropist who supported various causes and institutions in the Italian.
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GARY JENKINS 00:00
Well welcome all you Wiretappers here in Kansas City and my studio Gangland Wire. It’s a very stormy day. We had a hell of a storm last night. I had to go out in the balcony and pick everything up this morning blew plants over. It was crazy last night here in the middle of a Midwestern summer. But speaking of the Midwest, I have as you can see, on your screen, I have James Cosenza of the Chicago mob trials YouTube page. So I’m saying that slow so you can write that down. James Cosenza COSENZA. And it’s the Chicago mob trials YouTube page. Welcome, Jim. I really am happy to have you back on here. Pleasure to be here. Gary. Good to see you. Tell the guys a little bit about your YouTube page. What they’re gonna see on it. Okay, my,
James Cosenza 00:50
my YouTube channel is Chicago mob trials by JCosenza. And basically, it’s an insight, a perspective from a court buffs view. Back in the 90s to the early 2000s. I attended 25 plus major federal trials downtown Chicago. So my little YouTube stories are basically an insight from what it was like being an observer at some of these large trials. So basically, I’m just talking about all the major federal trials that I went to in one thing I wanted to point out is all these trials are open to the public. Any one of us can go at any time. And I highly recommend if there is a trial in your area in your city, by all means go check it out. It’s pretty interesting.
GARY JENKINS 01:45
Yeah, I wish I had done a bunch of ours back in the day, but I don’t know I just, you know, you just forget about it. You don’t think about it, and all of a sudden it’s gone. It’s here and it’s gone. I could have attended all those Skim trials. That would have been cool, but oh god, yeah, hindsight is 2020 as they say. So James has been on here before and we’ve talked about the family secrets trial and some of the Good Ship Lollipop trial, they Bobby Salerno, and some other trials and he goes into even more detail on his YouTube channel. So check that out guys. And like and subscribe to his channel too. We you know, one boat, and rising tide needs to help the other boat rise at the same time. And so we all help each other in bringing this mob history to you guys. So we are and that’s one thing I like about James is just straight history. You know, there’s no spin on it. There’s no you know, blaming this guy or blaming that guy. There’s just as this is what happened at the trial, just like you had been at the trial. So we’re going to talk about a kind of a side story from the samlat family secrets trial, which was really almost ended the Chicago outfit, wouldn’t you agree? I agree. Yep. They took down the Chinatown crew. And this Frank Calabrese. They call it the family secrets trial, which I think you may be mentioned or pointed this out to me because their two main witnesses were Nick Calabrese, Frank Calabrese Jr. Against their brother and dad. Frank Calabrese senior so the Family Secrets came rolling out that they and now Frank Calabrese Jr’s wife, Lisa swan has a book out there too. I did an interview with her check that out you can get the book I think I called it Diary of a mob wife but it’s in there Lisa Swan Swa n so we’re gonna do
James Cosenza 03:40
with that didn’t cam help her with that? Yeah,
GARY JENKINS 03:42
Cam. My guy that’s done a bunch of shows with me, Camillius Robinson and then some a bunch of Chicago stuff. He co wrote that whether he’s the writer I mean, she she’s a good gal. And I remember interviewing her She’s really nice. But she’s not the writer but cam as a writer he can write so he’s, he wrote co wrote that weather. Look forward to that. So let’s talk about this side story to the family secrets trial, which was the extortion of a guy named Victor Cacchitore. Tell us how that went down.
James Cosenza 04:14
Okay, well at the legendary Family secrets trial. There was close to 200 Witnesses in one witness that took the stand I’ll never forget. He was not only a witness, but he was also a victim of an extortion plot. This gentleman’s name was Victor catch a Tory. He’s probably in his late 70s, early 80s. He was very well dressed. An older gentleman. He had a nice tan. And you could just tell by his aura, he was a wealthy man, just by the way he carried himself. So Victor, Victor Cachitore got on the stand. And he basically told the story, how we use it, how he was part of an extortion Scam. By the Chinatown crew or the 26th Street crew, Victor Cacciatore he told the story how he came to this country. Like a lot of immigrants. He couldn’t even speak English yet maybe 50 cents to his name. But Victor Cacciatore, he went to school, he studied any work. He eventually bought his first building in Chicago. And then from there, became a very successful realtor in Chicago. If you’re on 290 expressway going into the Chicago Loop, right before you get to State Street, you’ll see his building at night it’s lit up in bright neon letters Cachitore Real Estate. Most people in Chicago we’ve heard of Victor Cacciatore, because we’ve seen his buildings and his his signs all over. So Victor Cacciatore, he eventually became very successful in the real estate business here in Chicago. And at the time he lived in Bridgeport. Bridgeport is an old Italian patch, very prominent neighborhood near White Sox Park, just south of downtown Chicago. A lot of the Chicago outfit guys grew up there. Also, Mayor Daley and his son are born and raised in Bridgeport, as well as many Chicago policemen, judges politician. So it’s a very popular, very powerful neighborhood.
GARY JENKINS 06:31
I bet they didn’t have any problem get the snow removed in the wintertime but that neighborhood a
James Cosenza 06:39
lot of perks enough favors living in that neighborhood. Now
GARY JENKINS 06:42
James Cosenza 06:44
Victor Cacchitore was just one man that lived in the neighborhood. Also, the boss of the Chinatown crew or the 26th street crew. Angela LaPietra lived in they may lived in that neighborhood as well. Now, I’m going to talk about Victor Cacchitore’s testimony, as well as Nick Calabrese testimony. Nick Calabrese testify that Angelo LaPietra, his boss boss and a 26 tree crew. He hated he despised Victor Cacciatore when Mitch Mars asked Nick why he said he didn’t know he guessed that Angela LaPietra is probably jealous of Victor Cacciatore. Victor Cacciatore testifyed he was in his office working. Two men came to see him. They showed up unannounced. Victor Cacciatore testified that he thought there were salesmen. So he told the Secretary to send them away. She sent them away a couple of weeks later, the same two guys Nick Calabrese and his partner in crime Ronnie Jarrett, and associated with the 26 tree crew. They went back to Victor Cacciatore’s office this time they actually were able to sit down with them. And they basically sat him down in demanded a I don’t remember the dollar amount, but it was like two $300,000 they wanted a large amount of money from him. Or, to put it bluntly, he was going to have some problems. Now Victor Cacciatore was an honest businessman. He had nothing to do with the Chicago outfit. He made his fortune legally in real estate. So Victor Cacciatore , after these guys left, he testified he didn’t really do anything he he didn’t really know what to do. So fast forward a few weeks. Nick Calabrese, one of the main witnesses at the family secrets trial. He testified to participate in in 14 murders. He testified that one day he took some dead rats, some dead mice and made these little nooses and he tied tied the rope nooses around the dead rats and dead mice and hung them from Victor Cacciatore’s car antenna. Victor catch a Tory testified that he was leaving leaving office one day and he saw these dead mice and dead rats with these little nooses on his car. He he didn’t know what to think of it. He he thought maybe it was some some kids some punks playing it playing a sick joke. Victor Cacciatore also spoken very broken English, you could tell he was definitely from the old country. So fast forward. A couple of weeks later, Nick Calabrese testified he cut off a small puppies head. Oh, he beheaded a small dog and put that hat on Victor Cacchitore’s hood of his car Victor Cacchitore was going to work one day and he saw a dead puppies head. He testified he was he was startled. He was disgusted. And again, he had no idea what is this? Why are they doing this? Nick Calabrese testified that one day. Victor Cacciaore wants to start his car. And it showed on the witness stand, how he held the shotgun. He held that on an angle because he didn’t want to kill Victor Cacciatore. But he wanted to scare him. So as soon as Victor Cacciatore started the car, Nick Calabrese blew out his back window. This scared the bejesus out of Victor Cacciatore . He thought maybe his car blew up. He didn’t know what to think. Well now after the dead mice, after the puppies had and now blown out the shotgun window. Now they got Victor Cacciatore’s attention. He was scared. He was nervous. He didn’t know what to do. So he testified that the only man who could help him was Boston the 26th Street crew Angela LaPietra. So Victor Cacciatore went to Angela LaPietra’s Social Club. And explained to him exactly what happened that two men came there demanding couple $100,000 They threatened him. He told Angela LaPietra about the dead mice, the dead rats, where they were hung on his antenna by nooses. He testified about finding a puppy’s head on the roof of his car. And he told Angela LaPietra about somebody blowing out his shotgun blowing out his back window. Angela LaPietra didn’t say one word. He just listened. When Victor Cacciatore was finished, Angela LaPietra said, I’ll get back to you give me a few weeks I’ll get back to you. Nick Calabrese, testified that Angela LaPietra deliberately made them wait almost a month. So this whole time, or Victor Cacciatore didn’t know what was happening next. He didn’t know if these guys were coming back. But he was mostly concerned about his family. He thought his family could get hurt. Finally, about a month later, after making Victor Cacciatore wait, Angela LaPietra called them back to the club. He sat him down and he told them, You got a serious problem. These are very dangerous men. If you don’t pay them the money, they will hurt you and most likely your family. So Victor Cacciatore kind of pleaded and begged Angelo for help. Angela LaPietra held up two fingers. And what that meant was, you have to pay me $2 million for this problem to go away. So Victor, Victor, Cacciatore somewhat, was glad to pay Angelo for protection for his problems to go away for nobody to to harass him. What Victor Cacciatore did not know at that time, and he found out years later, Angela LaPietra was the one behind the extortion the entire time. He’s the one that sent Nick Calabrese in there to blow off the back window, scare him with the puppies head and the nooses. After that, Mitch Mars the late Mitch Myers, the main prosecuting the family secrets trial. He asked me Calabrese, how much did you get for tying nooses around the dead rats, the dead mice and putting them on the inside of the car? How much did you get for cutting off that little puppies head? How much did Angela LaPietra pay you for blowing out shooting out his back window? Nick Calabrese says in a very low monotone voice. He said, I got nothing. I got paid nothing. And the whole court was kind of shocked by this. Like you didn’t get paid anything. Mitch Maher says yeah, I didn’t get paid nothing. I was given an order. And I follow orders just like the army. So that’s my short story for today. Gary, how Victor Cacciatore was extorted $2 million by Angela LaPietra in the 26th Street crew.
GARY JENKINS 14:41
Wow. I tell you that’s that’s all a school made that harkens back to the old Blackhand days when she say and she shopkeeper would get a successful business going or restaurant is getting joined as they used to call them and the black handlers would come in and threaten to kidnap their kids or or you know any kind of all kinds of things that they would do to him I know we had a lady killed her about 1915 I think you had real successful store and was killed by a shotgun and by the black hand because she wouldn’t pay the extortion I mean that’s that’s old school that Angela Patras has that old school main evil do their I remember,
James Cosenza 15:22
Frank Calabrese testified nobody none of the outfit guys or associates. None of them like being anywhere near Angela LaPietra. Frank Calabrese testified he was the only one that that had the balls to look Angelo in the eyes but all the other outfit guys didn’t like being around this man. I guess he was pretty nasty.
GARY JENKINS 15:45
It must have been then kinda that makes sense that Jerry Scalise and that aren’t racial and some third dude, I can’t remember his name. We’re trying to rob LaPietra’s widow they were they were ended up process of breaking into her house and the FBI had him wired or bugged in some manner. And they were waiting for him to show up. And since they started to go into the house, they took them off. But I always wondered, you know how you know that? How can you violate a guy who had been a crew? You know, the leader, the Chinatown crew was the 26th Street crew. How could you rob his widow, but I think I’d say now why he was open game. He was fair game after he died
James Cosenza 16:24
on your next trip to Chicago. That’s one place I definitely want to take you to. It’s right there in Bridgeport right across from White Sox Park. You can see Angelo LaPietra’s compound, and right across the street is the Italian American social club. So we can hit two birds with one stone now
GARY JENKINS 16:45
that would be a good one. Yeah, I look forward to that. I’ll get up there. Soon as I can. Let it cool down a little bit. It’s been hard to nail down here I don’t know about up there. But gotta like to ride the motorcycle back up but riding a motorcycle in downtown Chicago or on the streets is it’s hard. It’s like work so much traffic and that goes so fast. It was just it scared the heck out of me. You know, we had a similar extortion I mean, these mob guys, whatever city they’re in, they do this they find a successful businessman. That’s really done it on his own. It’s not part of the establishment. It’s not part of the white collar circuit, the silk stocking circuit that you know, his family had money. They find these guys that came up the hard way and done well. And then they go after him. We had a guy that was he was kind of a scammer. And they really liked guys that have been bordering on the edge too, now Cacchitore wasn’t, but we had a guy that was kind of a used car salesman did really well bought a strip club. And then one of our mob bosses, Cork Civella sent a couple of his henchmen over to put a stick of dynamite under his car and just let it go off while the guy was inside his club. And then he came back around and he said, Well, you know, you’ve got some trouble with some young guys. I can take care of them for you. I can make sure they don’t bother you anymore. But no, you’re gonna have to take me in as kind of a silent partner on the strip club. But when she did, you know, I mean, he didn’t have a choice. Now he got lucky court got a lot of trouble after that, because of the scam and from Las Vegas and caught cases and ended up in the penitentiary. So he was able to move out from under him pretty quick. But that’s, you know, typical. We had another guy named Johnny Francovigilia. He would send the guy out. He had a guy he would send out to some businessman, he knew sports and at the middle of the night and destroy a stick of dynamite on it. And then he come back around a day or two later and say, Hey, I hear you had trouble and a stick of dynamite went off your house. Let me check this out for you. Then they take like $5,000 need to handle the problem for him. So that’s that’s a pretty common thing in the victim thinks he’s actually getting out. Yeah, exactly. They don’t know they don’t understand.
James Cosenza 18:57
It reminds me a very similar story. Just what you said. At the family secrets trial. There’s a theme of a well known Pizza pizza place in Chicago called I think it’s called carnies pizza. They’ve got them all over in the owner was good friends with Frank Calabrese, senior right? So Frank Calabrese, senior sent a couple of his guys to put the squeeze on the owner of counties pizza. And the order counties pizza went to his good friend Frank Calabrese or how go Yeah,
GARY JENKINS 19:32
there you go.
James Cosenza 19:33
He had no idea until years later that Frank Calabrese was actually behind the extortion
GARY JENKINS 19:39
now it’s it’s a cold world. That’s that is a brutal coal world, which nobody can trust anybody just you better steer clear away from them. I wonder how far they would have carried that with Victor kachori. If LaPietra hated him so much, he was so jealous, I’m sure. Nick Calabrese had that peg right. He was just jealous of it. Here’s a guy that came from the old country and made it really made it legitimately way. I wonder how far he would have gone with that if he would have. Because you don’t want to kill the golden goose that lays the golden eggs. They might get out of hand somebody might make a mistake with that shotgun next time.
James Cosenza 20:19
You don’t God, you
GARY JENKINS 20:20
don’t need that your life that’s for sure that’s, that’s why somebody has asked me well, you want to like go into business was one of these mob guys in your podcast, you know, go in partnership, I said I’m not doing the partnership with the mob guy because you know, and there’s a lot of good guys out there. They have their own business and they have it going. I don’t need that kind of aggravation because they don’t play by my rules. I play by the rules of the courts of the land. Did not play by my rules. They weren’t raised like that. They’ve never, you know, I’m not saying that they would extort you today or cheat you today. But I don’t need that. I don’t need that at all. We do bad that Nick Calabrese said would gone into partnership with him before he died up there. In Chicago.
James Cosenza 21:04
No, just just remember. Did you know Judge Zagel passed away? Oh, really? Yeah, he was. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan back in the 80s. Now, presiding over 1000 trials, but he he preside up a family secrets trial as well as the gwava trial. But the reason I bring him up a lot of the main players at the family secrets trial Joey Lombardo. Frank Calabrese Mitch Mars. A lot of these guys have all passed away.
GARY JENKINS 21:34
Yeah, yeah. They’re they’re just about the family secrets deal, except for a few witnesses that were out there. They’re just they’re about gone.
James Cosenza 21:45
Open. We were all hoping there was going to be a family secrets to Yeah, part two, but it never happened.
GARY JENKINS 21:52
Yeah. So I don’t really know about any of the agents. I’ve never actually seen an agent that was really intimately involved with that being interviewed. And I asked around about them, and I’m not getting any names that I can find the interview.
James Cosenza 22:08
That would be an excellent interview. If you could interview one or two of the agents, or maybe even a guy like Marcus Funk, or John Sculley, these were part of the prosecution team, they could really go into greater detail than me or anybody else. But yeah, if you could get an agent or a prosecutor. I could, I could send you a couple names, but I wouldn’t know how to read how to contact them. Right? Yeah, that
GARY JENKINS 22:40
was a great guest for you. Yes, me, especially the agents. I’ve heard of that Marcus funk and I realize he was one of the assistant prosecutors, I need to make myself a note on that one.
James Cosenza 22:50
And then there’s a guy John Sculley. I mean, there’s a whole team John Sculley, Gary Shapiro, now, your good friend, Paul with gum, how do you say his name with all Whitcomb? Yeah, well, Paul, I didn’t know Paul at the time, but he wants to the he trial. He wanted a family seekers trial, but I just didn’t know the man but him and I talked a little bit but he knows a lot of these prosecutors and agents snowcat he may be wanting to lean on for that. Yeah.
GARY JENKINS 23:24
Might be a guy that would be a good contact.
James Cosenza 23:28
But the guys I’m talking about they haven’t done any YouTube interviews
GARY JENKINS 23:32
yet. No, they haven’t. I know. I know. I haven’t seen any interviews anywhere.
James Cosenza 23:36
Another good one for you, Gary, who is very, he’s super busy. But he’s very, very friendly and sociable is Joe Lopez. Joe the shark? Oh, yeah. You know, I
GARY JENKINS 23:48
interviewed him one time. He’s so good. Yeah, long time ago. It was about a couple of mob associates at data via course he does cocaine, he does narcotics work primarily Joe as the shark. And I did get him interviewed at the startup COVID He wasn’t doing very much and so I was able to get him to squeeze it. I think it’s that’s been three years since I’ve talked to him. Yeah, he was a good guy. He’s a good storyteller and everything. So he would be a great guest because he you know, I
James Cosenza 24:19
always tease them like, how did you control Frank Calabrese in the courtroom? How can you really told me that during the SAM Carter Lee trial, Anthony the hatch tear Monty that he was worse than Frank Calabrese as far as control? So Joey has all kinds of good stories.
GARY JENKINS 24:37
Yeah, he will. He would he would I I don’t know. I maybe have to make another run on like I said, even then. He was so busy if I just had to keep pushing and pushing pushing to get him to squeeze some time in and finally he did but, but he was a good one.
James Cosenza 24:54
Another guy that passed away from the family secrets trial. This is old news. This guy was a Vietnam veteran. He played for the NHL, Rick Halperin. He was joylynn Bartels lawyer. Oh yeah. Rick Halpern Yeah. And after that, after the trial, I’ll never forget Joey was pounding his king on the pounding his cane on the floor yelling at Rick, California. A lot of these guys. They blame the lawyers. Unfortunately, Rick, help her and he had some, I think, some severe back pain back issues. And unfortunately, he, he he killed himself.
GARY JENKINS 25:32
He Oh, really? I didn’t realize that. Yeah, we did. A lot. A
James Cosenza 25:36
lot of the main players at the family secret trial. A lot of them have passed away.
GARY JENKINS 25:40
I say they’re about going. All right. James Cosenza. I really appreciate you coming on and telling us that little story. Well, guys, you know, I like to ride motorcycles. So don’t forget, look out for motorcycles. When you’re out there. Especially if you’re in Chicago, and I go to Chicago, I was about run down several times up there. It’s crazy. If you have a problem with PTSD and you’ve been in the service, go to the VA website and get that hotline. And if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you need to see our friend Anthony ruggiano. A real deal Gambino member who is a treatment center counselor, I believe down in Florida, he’s got the hotline to get ahold of him or his facility on his website at the ruggiano.com. So thanks a lot, guys. I appreciate it. And don’t forget to like and subscribe if you think of it and share this with your friends or on your social media. Come back and listen to some more good mob stories. Thanks a lot. We’ll be right back. Thank you