CT Now

John Kass writes on the Chicago Outfit

  • John Kass: Author saw it all when book thrown at mob

    If you're interested in understanding the real Chicago -- and there can be no serious understanding of this completely political city without examining the Chicago Outfit -- then you'll soon have a great new book on your shelves: "Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob" (Chicago...

  • John Kass: Victims' brother pours out years of pain, rage

    You could tell from Pat Spilotro's back how angry he was. It was shaking. In federal court Thursday, Spilotro was addressing the judge. His back was to Chicago Outfit boss James Marcello, convicted of conspiracy in the 1986 murders of Spilotro's gangster brothers.Pat Spilotro isn't a gangster....

  • Outfit's faithful reader has many a puzzle to ponder

    One of my loyal readers, Chicago mob boss James Marcello—captured on grainy federal recordings eating salty corn chips while discussing my column—will be sentenced in the "Family Secrets" case on Thursday. Marcello, 66, may receive life in prison for his conviction of racketeering conspiracy in...

  • Mob boss' tale offers peek at city's 'secrets'

    With the national media finally interested in Illinois corruption, it's too bad they were focused on Springfield's dancing monkey show and not on what happened in a federal courtroom in Chicago on Wednesday. That wasn't a monkey dancing on a string. It was an ape. The kind of ape that pulls the...

  • Without feds, we'd never hear the 'lies'

    Federal prosecutor Mitchell Mars was telling the jury about a litany of 18 Outfit murders -- solved by federal investigators, not locals -- and he put several corpses at the feet of convicted mobster Frank Calabrese Sr. "He has left a trail of bodies, literally ..." Mars said Tuesday, as Calabrese...

  • Luck of the Irish won't be with Outfit

    The last thing you'd expect at the Outfit trial would be a big green shamrock next to Jimmy Marcello's name. It reminded me of that nightmare suffered by Christopher Moltisanti, the young mobster in "The Sopranos," who wakes up from a coma to tell his crew that he has seen hell for Italian wiseguys:...

  • Case closed, but coffin on Outfit isn't

    Is the Chicago Outfit dead, now that the historic Family Secrets trial has ended? No.How can you kill a thing that has lived for almost a century in this town, wrapping itself throughout the city's infrastructure, developing arteries for nutrients, nervous systems for intelligence, muscle and bone...

  • Outfit's fate signed, sealed, delivered

    The letter that spilled the Outfit's Family Secrets arrived at the Chicago offices of the FBI in November 1998. It was addressed to now-retired FBI supervisor Tom Bourgeois, who was then the organized crime section chief. It was from Outfit prince Frank Calabrese Jr., serving a prison sentence...

  • Required reading: Closing argument

    As the Family Secrets trial was put into the hands of the jury, City Hall offered up poetic symmetry in choosing a book for all Chicagoans to read as part of its One-Book-One-Chicago program: "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller, a social commentary about witch hunts and innocent people caught up by...

  • Fear, not passion, drove Outfit killer

    Even Outfit hit men have feelings. They can strangle tiny pet shop mice, fixing tiny nooses around their necks and hanging them from your windshield wipers as a warning. But that's work, not fun.They can kill human beings with bats and ropes, though mostly with guns, shooting their friends as they...

1 2w
73°