Bonus episode The Chicago Tribune and the Outfit

In this special bonus episode, I thank our generous contributors with an extra episode in which our most faithful fan, Chicago resident and mob historian Ben Ellickson does a dramatic read of an in-depth article about the upper echelon of the Chicago Outfit published on August 18, 1963, and written by one of their best mob reporters, Thomas Powers. I thank Ben for his never-ending support with his time, talent and treasure.

A little background on why Mr. Powers may have believed that Sam Giancana was getting too much publicity. In 1961, Frank Sinatra introduced a man named Profirio Rubirosa to President John F. Kennedy. Rubirosa was a young Dominican who was close to the Dominican dictator Trujillo. Many persons suspected that Sinatra obtained a verbal commitment from Rubirosa to open up the Dominican Republic to gambling casinos if Trujillo were suddenly deposed. Sinatra flew Rubirosa to the Kennedy Compound at the Cape and they spent several hours out fishing with the president. Less than a month after that meeting, President Kennedy gave CIA Director Alan Dulles the okay to assassinate Trujillo. Sam Giancana began his plans to rebuild the Dominican Republic into another pre-Castro Cuba.  Sam was making his moves when an FBI bug picked up on Giancana’s plans to turn the Dominican Republic into another Cuba. The agents heard some references to using their influence with the White House. Hoover told President Kennedy about this intercept and in anger, he and Hoover agreed they should institute “Operation Lockstep” to show Giancana who was boss. Chicago FBI agents followed Giancana and stayed immediately behind him in a car, sat next to him in restaurants, walked a few steps behind when he was walking, played in a foursome immediately behind Giancana when he golfed. Well-known FBI agent Bill Rohmer took this harassment to a new level when he met Giancana and his girlfriend,  famous singer Phyllis McGuire, at O’Hare airport and Giancana claims that Rohmer, “whistled and howled at me and yelled how pretty I looked said I was queer and everything like that.” Giancana was drawing publicity because of his famous girlfriend as well as from government surveillance. The Trib learned that the Outfit bosses were tired of all the heat and wanted to displace Giancana as the boss.

This article was released in 1963 and Giancana will hang on until 1966 when the government jails him for refusing to testify after being given a grant of immunity. As we now know, Tony Accardo and Paul Ricca, the real Outfit powers named Joseph “Joey Doves” Aiuppa, the new Outfit boss.  When the Government released Giancana in 1967, he left the country for Mexico and stayed until 1974 when Mexican authorities deported him. During this time Accardo learned about Giancana’s international casino connections in Iran and the Caribbean and he ordered him to share those profits. Sam refused claiming he developed that stream of income on his own. In contrast, during the same time, KC boss Nick Civella developed a skim inside the Tropicana without any help from Chicago and he voluntarily sent money to Aiuppa monthly.  Sam will be killed by an unknown person or persons at his Chicago home in 1975. This murder was just before he was to testify in front of the Church Committee about his dealings with the CIA.  In death, Sam Giancana remains as much of a man of mystery and controversy as he was in life


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2 thoughts on “Bonus episode The Chicago Tribune and the Outfit”

  1. Thanks, Gary. I discovered you through Mike Byrne’s site. I found the info about Nick Civella most interesting. I never really understood the relationship with Chicago, but it must have been strong for Nick to send money to Chicago unasked. Also, I’ve got one pet peeve: this Joey “Doves” BS. Doves was a stupid newspaper nickname. I grew up in Cicero and lived there for many years as an adult. I did not know Joey Auippa well, but I knew him enough to say hello to him. Everybody, and I mean everybody, referred to him by his boxing name, “Joey O’Brien.” Finally, I found it interesting that Joey was not mentioned in that trib article. Believe me, he was big time even in the late 50s and early 1960s.

    1. if you look back you can find an episode on the history of Civella’s connections to Chicago. Here is a link https://ganglandwire.com/nick-civella-and-the-chicago-outfit/ The Joey Doves thing, you are right, that is a newspaper inspired moniker. I sometimes use that as a shortcut because the general public is more likely to know who I am talking about. Only the real expert fan will understand Joey O’Brien. I am like you, I was surprised that the reporter did not mention Aiuppa. I can only speculate but I believe Aiuppa had maintained a low enough profile up to that time that the reporter never thought he was important enough to take on the job. That is what the real outfit powers like to see.

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