MET-AJ-NAMES-LOMBARDO.jpgJoseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo came up the usual way in Chicago organized crime. As a young man he was a bold and clever thief gravitating to high end items like jewelry and because of his toughness he was a collector of “juice” loans. Lombardo was actually nicknamed Lumpy because of his ability to put lumps on people who were not paying back the “vig” or interest on the mob loans. He was arrested for hanging a construction worker from a beam in a basement and beating him senseless. Lombardo was subsequently tried and acquitted of this crime and many others during the 1950s and 1960s. Chicago courts were not unfriendly to members of La Cosa Nostra or as they call it in Chicago, “The Outfit.” In the 1970s, he had risen to the level of capo or boss of a crew known as the Grand Street crew with about 30 “soldiers’ under him.

Joey was tapped to help oversee Chicago mob interests in Las Vegas for Underboss Joseph “Joey Doves” Aiuppa.  He soon began spending most of his time with Teamster’s official Allen Dorfman. You can hear him threaten casino owner Morris Shenker in the featured video in the top section on the front page.

When the Las Vegas skim investigation brought Lombardo, Aiuppa and other Midwest mob bosses down, Lomabrdo spent about 14 years in prison. When he was released he placed the following classified ad in the Chicago Tribune:

“I never took a secret oath with guns and daggers, pricked my finger, drew blood or burned paper to join a criminal organization. If anyone hears my name used in connection with any criminal activity, please notify the FBI, local police, and my parole officer, Ron Kumke.” Joe Lombardo.

In 2007, after a Chicago Outfit guy named Frank Calabrese came forward to testify, Joe Lombardo would face his last judge and jury. He was convicted in 2007 for an old murder and for taking part in Outfit loan sharking, extortion and racketeering and sentenced to life in prison.

I met Calabrese at Mob-Con 2013 and he was a very interesting guy. I recommend his book, Operation Family Secrets. He talked about how the real mob guys acted, how they related to law enforcement, how they conducted family life and how they conducted Outfit business. Frank was born into a mob family and his father was asking him to take over his crew when Frank had enough. He actually wore a recording device or “wire” on his own father.

During his talk at Mob-con, he explained how mob guys never drove expensive flashy cars nor wore flashy clothes. I say “true that.”  He said they would drive under the flight pattern at airports to lose airplane or helicopter surveillance and I say again “true that.” He said if they realized they were being followed, the good mob guys wold not tip to the surveillance crew that they had been spotted. The mob guy would drive into a multi-level garage and drive out in another car and again I say, “true that.” I asked him if they had a Mafia School that taught these techniques.

Frank obviously was torn emotionally about wearing a wire on his father and his uncle. He made it clear that was the only way he could get out and be a normal father for his own children. He did not want to do to his kids what had been done to him by his father.

A mafia interest blog contacted me about posting article about Gangland Wire.I have been getting a lot of interest from other mob interest websites.I believe I will do a radio interview on October 31, with  North Carolina station. Getting ready to go to Las Vegas for Mob-Con 2013 l hear there was an article in the LA Times.

Click here to see the article.

A mafia interest blog contacted me about posting article about Gangland Wire.I have been getting a lot of interest from other mob interest websites.I believe I will do a radio interview on October 31, with  North Carolina station. Getting ready to go to Las Vegas for Mob-Con 2013 l hear there was an article in the LA Times.

Click here to see the article.

Gangland Wire DVD Cover

Waveform smallI just put up a new clip on You Tube. Click here to see it or go to the Kansas City Mafia in the banner on the front page.

LeiuThe Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU) was the most elite unit on the KCPD. LEIU was also the name of a national organization of police intelligence units.  In the 1950s as criminals became more mobile operating across state lines, larger city police departments found it difficult at best to learn about criminals who were from far off cities. In particular, La Cosa Nostra families, were committing criminal conspiracies that encompassed several jurisdictions.  The F.B.I. and most notably, J. Edgar Hoover, did not trust local police departments, sometimes for good reason. Hoover did not believe there was Sicilian based organized crime families either. Not all local police departments were riddled with corruption and in 1956,  representatives from 26 local and state law enforcement agencies met in California and formed the LEIU to share information. One of the first rules was that they allowed no new members if any existing member accused the new applicant of allowing any kind of corruption inside the department. They knew that to be effective and foster an atmosphere where confidential information could be freely shared, they must remain more virtuous than Caesar’s wife. At one time, a paranoid J. Edgar Hoover ordered agents to investigate this new organization. Hoover soon learned the new organization was above corruption and could be an asset. LEIU could be called the Interpol of the United States. At one time they were so secret that most officers of the member agencies were unaware of the national LEIU organization. Today they have a public website and a LEIU Facebook Page you can like.

I was selected to join the KCPD Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit in 1976. I was just in time to take part in a major investigation of the mob in Kansas City. During my 13 years as a detective I investigated members of the Civella crime family, groups advocating civil disorder, the KKK and other professional criminals operating across jurisdictional boundaries. In my next posts I will begin telling stories from my career.

Gargotta-crime-scene-with-Truman-300x223Nick Civella returned from Chicago and he became the driver for Tony Gizzo, the Kansas City Boss. This was a promotion in La Cosa Nostra hierarchy. To those in the know, Nick  was being groomed for the job of boss job. He had one big job. Two mob members named Charlie Gargotta and Charlie Binnagio had been given the task of delivering control of the Kansas City Police Board to Mafia controlled politicians. They failed and it is believed that Nick masterminded their murder. The inserted photo shows Gargotta’s body on the floor of the Northeast Democratic Club. Very interesting picture of Harry Truman witnessing the murder scene. To learn more about the early days go to

One hidden microphone in the Villa Capri restaurant in Kansas City led to wiretaps and hidden microphones in Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Chicago and 19 separate wires in Kansas City. In Chicago, agents developed probable cause to place a tap on a telephone in the office of Allen Dorfman. They soon learned that Chicago Mob Caporegime Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo frequented this office. Chicago Agents code named this Operation Pendorf or penetrate Dorfman.

Allen Dorfman was the step-son of a Chicago gangster named Red Dorfman. After WW II, he became friends with Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa and rose in the ranks of both the Teamster’s Union and the Chicago Organized Crime family. Dorfman formed the Union Insurance Agency and soon had an exclusive contract to sell insurance to the Teamsters.

Dorfman became influential in the Teamster’s Central States Pension Fund. He was part of a cabal of Mob bosses from Cleveland, Milwaukee and Kansas City who determined who got pension funds loans. For this, he and his Chicago mob bosses demanded kickbacks. In this video clip, you will hear Lombardo on the phone in Dorfman’s office. He is threatening St. Louis lawyer and Dunes Casino owner Morris Shenker that he will not reach his 73rd birthday if he does not pay a kickback on a pension fund loan.

Gangland Wire starts in an unusual place. In 1971, a local businessman named Marion Trozollo had an idea to revitalize a blighted area close to downtown. At that time, city dwellers were fleeing to the suburbs and downtown was losing businesses and population. Mr. Trozollo envisioned a French Quarter or Greenwich village type of district in an area close to the City Market. The area took off as artists, clothing store owners, restaurant operators and bar owners moved in for inexpensive rents and proximity to downtown.

Freddie Bonadonna opened a restaurant and bar and found success. He had the foresight to lease unused city market parking lots for the evenings and weekends.  Freddie’s father, David Bonadonna, was a soldier in the Kansas City La Cosa Nostra family. David’s crew chief or Caporegime was William “Willie the Rat” Cammisano. Willie wanted a piece of the parking lot money and David was given the task to convince his son, Freddie, to share in this bounty. David was unable to deliver and this film clip tells what happened.

Gangland Wire tells the real story behind the book and film, Casino. The film’s Director, Gary Jenkins, was an Intelligence Unit detective with the Kansas City Police Department. It is not often that a documentary filmmaker is  a participant in the events documented. He starts with a local mob squabble that escalates into several murders and bombings. The Director was assigned to a team that gathered information about these events and the mobsters involved. This local mob war led the investigators to place a microphone in a Kansas City tavern named the Villa Capri. This little mike picked up a lot of disco music from the adjacent jukebox. However, in between songs, monitoring agents heard references to Las Vegas Casino business deals. The mike led to wiretaps on other phones. Before this investigation was over, the F.B.I. was uncovering a national conspiracy of La Cosa Nostra families using Teamster’s pension fund money to finance Las Vegas casino owners. The price for the casino owner being approved for a Teamster pension fund loan was to allow the Midwest mobs to place people into key casino positions. Those employees job was to skim cash from the counting rooms and send it back to Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Kansas City.

Director Jenkins was able to find hours of the audio tape used as evidence to convict the La Cosa Nostra bosses in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Kansas City for this conspiracy to skim. The viewer will hear out of the mobster’s own mouths just how they conducted their business,


Looks like I am speaking on Sunday the 7th, click here for link to website. I am looking forward to meeting some of these former mobsters who have written books and gone on the speaking circuit. The old Mafioso Dons are spinning in their graves.