John “Pudge” Matassa

August 5, 2019

Gary JenkinsJohn “Pudgy” Matassa, Jr is reportedly connected to the Outfit’s Northside/Rush Street crew. He is the son of retired Chicago Police officer.

 

Northside/Rush Street crew history

Covered Rush Street, which was the entertainment district of Chicago, and the rest of the Northside of Chicago, extorting porn shops (Red Wemette), night clubs, bars, as well as traditional loan-sharking, and gambling. Several members have held leadership positions in the powerful LIUNA (Laborors International Union of North America) and other unions.

  • Territory is north of Chicago River or the Eisenhower Exp north to Rogers Park
  • Northside crew ran a large casino-type operation out of the Grand Plaza Hotel in Rosemont. Several members owned tables

 

Northside Crew Members

  • Ross Prio long-time capo, back to the days of Frank Nitti. Prio took over after murder of Ted Newberry when Capone went to prison.
  • Jimmy “the Monk” Allegretti ran all vice on the Northside until he was imprisoned in 1962. He was released for health reasons (diabetes and bad heart) and died on the plane en route to Chicago
  • Felix “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio started off as a hitman early on, later moved up and ran a protection racket on Rush Street until he became underboss under Sam Giancana
  • 3 Doms—Dominick DiBella (Last Supper photo), Dominic Nuccio, and Dominic Brancato—were bosses of the Near North Side and was close to Ross Prio working in various capacities as a drivers and enforcers
  • “Innocent” Vincent Solano (Last Supper photo) boss of North Side after Prio’s death in 1972—originally driver for Prio. Oversaw all gambling, prostitution, and extortion. Long-time president of the LIUNA. Best known for sending hit men after Ken “Tokyo Joe” Eto
    • Jasper Campise—North Side muscle brutally killed for botched Ken Eto hit
    • John Gattuso—deputy sheriff and hit man for Solano, also murdered brutally for failing to kill Ken Eto
  • Joseph DiVarco—street boss for Solano collecting “street tax” from businesses on Rush St, loan-sharking, prostitution died in 1992

 

John “Pudge” Matassa

Matassa’s Union history: LIUNA

1985—Matassa joined the Laborers International Union of North America, Local #2

1987-1989—Matassa becomes business agent (BA) of Local #2 and delegate to the LIUNA District Council, and eventually the Vice President, with Solano being the President of Local #1

1992—Vince Solano dies, Matassa became President and Coordinator of Committees gaining access to the Pension Fund

1993-1994—Matassa takes control of the LIU Chicago Political League (and fund), and the training fund

  • Matassa uses his financial access to embezzle millions from the LIUNA

1998 Fed placed Chicago District Council of the LIUNA—19,000 members—into a trusteeship forcing Matassa out

  • Matassa fought for several years to maintain control
  • Failed to hold contested elections for 25 years

 

Fun facts about Pudgy Matassa

  • Mike Glitta, an elder in the Northside crew, was cousin to Matassa’s “Uncle” Mike introduced Pudgy around and helped him to promote in the Outfit
  • 1988Matassa supposedly took part in a formal ceremony to become a “made” member of the Outfit along current boss Salvatore “Solly D” Delaurentis.
    • Historically, the Outfit shunned such formalities, mocking the more traditional mobs in other cities, but during the 80s (’83 or ’85), it is rumored that someone—Joe Ferriola or possibly Joey Aiuppa—started initiating members
  • Pudgy Matassa dealt directly with Ken Eto and was responsible for security over Eto’s protected games
  • Matassa had a close friend on the Chicago PD Tactical Unit, and used Ken Eto to set up another gambler, giving his associate the time and location of the game, which was then raided
  • Matassa was close friends with Jasper Campise and they co-owned gambling tables at the Grand Plaza underground casino
    • Attended Campise’s wake and told authorities he knew nothing about Campise’s murder
  • Pudgy Matassa was involved in the scheme to bribe US Marshall John Ambrose into revealing the whereabouts of informant Nick Calabrese
    • Pudgy was trying to send Nick a belated birthday cars from Jimmy “Little Man” Marcello

Current charges: IUAW

2000s—Matassa formed the International Union of Amalgamated Workers (IUAW) Local #711, a non-descript conglomeration of approx. 150 workers from several unrelated fields (food service, roofers, construction.

  • Members paid $40 a month, most of which went to Matassa’s salary, basically $4500 dollars a month in cash and $1000 a month in “expenses”
    • He used the union as his personal bank for years
  • Gave his wife a no-show job, signing her pay checks and depositing them himself
    • falsified meeting minutes to reflect that Union Board voted his wife in and gave her a job
  • He structured an illegal retirement plan, then lowered his own reported salary in order to qualify himself to receive early retirement (age 65) benefits from the SSA—
    • He used the exorbitant salary in his wife’s name to off-set his “lower salary”
    • Matassa was able to embezzle funds from both the union, and the SSA

**Matassa was receiving a strategically reduced personal salary, the higher salary from his wife’s no show job, SSA retirement benefits, and using the union treasury to pay all of his bills

  • Individuals cited as board members revealed in court that they had no idea they were even trustees

 Timeline

2000Matassa established the IUAW Local #711, making himself officer and representative, and as Secretary-Treasurer, he is responsible for the Union monies—paying bills, his own salary, expenses as approved by the Executive Board

  • When questioned later, “board members” of record had no idea they were trustees, or that they held any position
  • Food service workers, construction workers, roofers—very random group of represented workers

2013—Matassa, born in 1951, is eligible for SSA retirement

2013—2015

  • February 2013—Matassa gives his wife a no-show job on payroll by forging meeting minutes to show Board approval; Matassa reduces his own salary in relation to his wife’s new salary to calculate the same sum but with 2 checks
    • Matassa signs and deposits the checks issued to his wife
  • April 30, 2013—Matassa submits application for Old Age Insurance to the SSA reporting his annual income as $15,120, the same figure as the exempt amount to qualify for SSA
  • July 2013Matassa had the SSA wire his first check to his bank account
  • Dec 2013, Jan 2014—Matassa received 2 wire transfer of funds ($1,659.60×2)from the Federal Reserve to his bank account
  • 2013-2015—Matassa’s wife receives paychecks and several raises
  • 2015—Matassa altered unions tax forms W-2 and W-3 to ensure he received SS benefits

May 25, 2017—Jury hands down 10 count indictment for Matassa

  • 2 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of theft of government funds, 4 counts of embezzlement from a labor union, and 2 counts of making false statements on union financial documents
  • Prosecutor requests Judge set a cash bond, on the grounds he still has access to union funds and potential witnesses
  • Judge refused, allowing Matassa to go home, putting off any order that might restrict Matassa’s ability to “do his job”

February 25, 2019—Matassa pleads guilty to 1 felony embezzlement charge

July 23, 2019—John “Pudgy” Matassa (67) isentenced to 6 months in Federal prison, 6 months house arrest, $66,500 restitution

 

A Lighter Moment

Matassa addressed Judge, complaining about unfair treatment, and FBI intimidation of witnesses against him

    • “I’m only standing here because my name is John Matassa”—judge reminded Matassa he had no prior arrest record, and asked why his name matters
        • Matassa basically stood in front of the judge and implied he was in the Outfit despite the fact that he has never been charged with anything, and the judge had no idea his relation to any “mob”
        • Matassa changed his mind and decided that the Department of Labor was out to get him

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