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Chicago Crime Now & Then Presents A Couple of 1980’s Mob Hits

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

This morning we present a pair of clips from our series “Chicago Crime Now & Then” that can be found on ChiTownView / YouTube.

Charles Carmen Inglesia or as he was more commonly known as Chuckie English was at one time a high ranking mobster and close personal friend of one time outfit boss Sam Giancana. They grew up as neighbors as kids and rose through the ranks of the Chicago underworld. He was at the height of his power in the 1960’s and early 70’s. His record distributing company Lormar controlled what records were put in jukeboxes in the Chicago area and beyond. He also made high interest juice loans and woe came upon those that did not pay up.

After Giancana was whacked in his home, right before he was slated to testify before Congress about the Kennedy assassination, Chuckie saw his career go into decline and it was suggested he leave town. He did for a few years but in the early 80’s he was allowed to return and run some low level action. This seems to have been a mistake.

On Valentines eve February 13, 1983 Chuck went up to Horwaths with an old friend and dined on roast pig. After they finished they went into the parking lot and as Chuckie reached his car two men in ski masks walked up and opened fire killing him. Following that they run off into the alley behind the restaurant and were never caught.

Horwaths was a favorite meeting spot for leaders of the Chicago mob as it was in the neighborhood where most of them lived. English, Giancan, Tony Accardo and Paul Ricca all lived within a mile. It began as a roadhouse / speakeasy in the 1930’s and was known as a place where good friends come to meet. Horwath’s also made an appearence in a 2003 episode of West Wing. Although it was a stand in for a Dayton Ohio eatery.

Horwaths is gone now replaced by another box store so another little slice of history, and a pretty cool neon sign, are gone. When Horwaths was there the position of the sign, parking lot and sign are reversed from the layout of Staples today.

The Chicago mafia unlike their counterparts in NY was open to non Italians who showed the right stuff. Ken Eto like his father before was a gambling racketeer for the mob. His specialty was operating a Latin version of the numbers game called the Bolita. Even though the state of IL. had introduced the lottery during the 70’s there were still enough players loyal to Eto’s racket that he was still employing nearly a hundred workers to operate it in the early 80’s. Then he got indited by the Feds for felony gambling and for the first time in his life was looking at serious jail time. Not a good thing.

On the evening of February 10, 1983 Ken received an early Valentine gift from some old friends. He was sitting in his car in the parking lot of the Mont Clare theater meeting with a couple of associates when they pulled out guns and pumped hot lead into him. They quickly exited the car and headed towards a waiting car.

A little too quickly though because they didn’t finish the job because despite having a bullet in his head he was able to get out of the car and stagger into a nearby drug store. He lived and ended up turning on the mob and “singing” for the government. In fact this hit along with the botched coverup of the Spilotro hits proved to be the undoing of the Chicago mob in the final years of the 20th century. For while the Chicago outfit is still around they are not the force they were.

The Montclare and the drug store are both gone now as this quite little stretch of Grand Ave. gets redeveloped. It is in an area of the “Mafia riviera” of near western suburbs where the Italian gangsters relocated as they became wealthy. They settled in towns like Oak Park, River Forest and Elmwood Park.

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“Bathhouse” John Coughlin; Chicago Alderman / Poet / Barkeep

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Uploaded by on Jan 26, 2012

Chicago’s 1st ward encompasses the wealth of downtown and the large population of transients that used to populate the near south side. A combination that made it a powerfull aldermanic post. John “Bathouse” Coughlin was a flamboyant character who was alderman for more than forty years. For a good portion of those decades he along with his partner Mike “Hinky Dink” Kenna were the center of power in Chicago. Mike McDonald may have been the first vice baron in Chicago but The Bath and The Hink were the first to really organize vice and gambling and turn it into political power in the Windy City. Big Jim Colissimo was a bagman for them before inheriting their vice racket.

In this clip we see a pair of establishments The Bath operated on Madison st. In downtown Chicago. Where St. Peters church now stands used to be the spot where the Brevoort Hotek once stood, In the basement of this luxury hotel (the first in Chicago with an elevator) was John’s bathhouse. Just a few doors west is where he operated the Silver Dollar Saloon.
And if three careers were not enough Mr. Coughlin was also a poet and a bon vivant who wanted to lead a revolution in man’s dress.

So out hats off to you Bathhouse John you might have been a corrupt grafter but you were an honest one. If you’d like to read more about John and his partner try and track down a copy of “Lords of the Levee” by Wendt & Kogan at your library.

This clip is part of a series produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView ‘s YouTube station. We are getting some Chicago crime history in HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire” and more will be on display when the film version of Eric Larsen’s “Devil In The White City”. Our series shows some of the famous places in Chicago crime history as they exist today. While telling some of that history with each clip.

The Outfit, A Look At Big Jim, Scarface, Momo & the Rest Of the Chicago Mob Part 1

August 17, 2011 2 comments

On our ChiTownView YouTube station we are posting a series of old gangster homes and other “hood” places of historical interest. We provide some history in the descriptions of the clips. Some of the clips have already been posted here on our blog. This is the first part of an overview of our series on the Chicago mobs history. The links will take you to our videos with other links there to dig deeper.

They were a remarkable, ruthless, deadly group of men, Refugees, some on the run from other countries or the sons of impoverished immigrants. They all started out during prohibition working for a man called Al Capone. They went on to develop a criminal organization that ruled Chicago for more than half a century. It has been alleged that this group helped elect John F. Kennedy and then helped in his assassination. The organization was known as “the outfit” and it members included Frank Nitti, Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo, Sam Giancana, Sam De Stefano and Sam Battaglia.
Prohibition turned them from street corner punks and common criminals into men of wealth and power. And for decades they used America’s undying desire to eliminate vice to maintain their control and increase their wealth. For the most part they didn’t pay for their crimes and lived long lives that ended in solid comfort.
The the roaring 20’s  in Chicago was a time of open warfare between two powerful criminal organizations each seeking to control the cities illegal vice industry. It was the south side Italians led by Johnny Torrio then Al Capone against the northside Irish headed by Dion O’Banion, Hymie Weiess, and Bugs Moran. This was part of a national stratagy by the mafia to organize crime.In the end the Italians were victorious because they could deliver the big hit while the north siders blew their big chances.

Beginning with prohibition in 1920 the Chicago crime gangs each had their own territory and conflicts were pretty low-key. Conflicts arose and twice in 1924 O’Banion tried to get Torrio and Capone arrested. In february he tried to have them framed for the murder of Frank Duffy. Frank was a gunman for O’Bannion and he killed his wife and went to O’Bannion for help.  Dion had Duffy meet him at The 4 Duces a Capone club. In the end no one was charged with the murder.The next place he was found was dead in a snow bank.

Until 1924 the O’Banion mob was working with the Italians and then the northsiders got wind of a police raid coming on the Siebens Brewery 1464 N. Larrabee.  This was operation that they co owned so O’Banion arranged to meet Johnny Torrio there on the night of the raid to finalize the buyout of the north side gangs share. Torrio was caught faced jail and lost the half million dollars O’Bannion had already been paid for his share.

In November Torrio struck back right at the heart of the northsiders. Their headquarters was in  Schofield’s, a flower shop on north State street right across from Holy Name Cathedral. On the morning of the tenth two men walked into the shop one man shook O’Banions hand and held on as the other man shot him. The leader of the north side gang was gunned down in his own shop.

Two months later the north side gang now headed by Hymie Wiess struck back with an attempted assassination pf Johnny Torrio. Badly wounded Torrio retired leaving Al Capone in charge. Wiess was in prison for almost a year so things were pretty quiet until Aug. if 1926 when Al Capone’s chauffeur Anthony Cuiringlione was found tortured and murdered. A week later there was an attempted hit on Weiss in downtown Chicago.
Next came what has to be one of the most flamboyant hits in Chicago history. A caravan of six cars fire hundreds of rounds of tommy gun fire into the restaurant of the Hawthorne Hotel. Capone’s Cicero headquarters and where he was eating. Al was saved by his bodyguard Frank Rios. So for the second time in two years the north side gang had missed a big opportunity.
Capone was scared and wanted a truce but the price that Weiss wanted was too high so on October 11th at four in the afternoon Al decided on another assassination. Weiss and some of his men were crossing State St. to their headquarters at Schofield’s when gunmen located in the rooming house next door opened fire. The the street in front of Holy   filled with bullets.  Weiss was killed, by an errant shot from one of his own men. So for the second time in two years the head of the  north side gang had been gunned down. Leaving Bugs Moran in charge.

Of course the war between north and south would continue. Moran and the gang did not back down they continued to hijack Capone’s booze trucks and assassinating associates of his. It is widely believed that this is what led to the St. Valentines Day massacre in 1929. Since no one was ever convicted of this crime it’s generally accepted that Capone sent a crew of hitters led by “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn to the north side garage in an effort to kill Bugs Moran and finally put an end to the gang war now in its fifth year. There is an alternative theory that the massacre was the work of another gangster Jack “3 Finger” White in revenge for the killing of his cousin by the Gussenberg brothers. Who were killed that day.

But Despite the carnage they missed their target Moran had been running late and spotted the “police” entering his garage as he turned up the ally. The resulting outcry over the slaughter of so many at once was the downfall of Big Al. Although he was never convicted of this crime within three years he would be sitting in Alcatraz.

It would also result in a stronger, smarter organization headed by Paul “the Waiter” Ricca. One that would control the city and surrounding area for all practical purposes for almost forty years. It was in fact the most powerful criminal organization in the country because of its local control.

More to come.

The Hawthorne Hotel Machine Gun Attack On Al Capone

The latest clip in our Chicago Crime History Series

 This sunny tree shaded bank parking lot looks a lot different today than it did in the roaring 20’s. This stretch of Cermak Rd, was lined with hotels and businesses and was the nerve center for the Capone organization when they moved into Cicero following the 1924 Chicago elections.

 In 1926 the gang war between Al Capone and the north side gang then headed by Hymie Weiss was raging. Scarface’s driver was found tortured and murdered quickly followed by an attempted hit on Weiss in broad daylight in the Loop. The retaliation for that failed attempt was probably the most spectacular attack of the whole era. Outdoing the St. Valentines Day Massacre for it’s brazenness if not for it’s body count.

On September 20th a group of anywhere from 6-10 cars launched a ferocious machine gun attack on The Hawthorne Hotel on 22nd and Cicero Ave. in Cicero.. Fist there was a feint attack by one car to draw out any Capone gunmen than the rest of the cars cars rolled past putting more than a thousand rounds into the hotel and restaurant where Scarface was eating. He was saved by Frank Rio his bodyguard.

 Less than two months later Weiss would be gunned down in the assassination that that took place on the steps of Holy Name Cathedral. This is right across the street from the headquarters of the northsiders. Schofield’s Florist where the previous head Dion O’Bannion was killed in 1924. We have a video of both those sites as part of our collection.

 This clip is part of a series produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView ‘s YouTube station. We are getting some Chicago crime history in HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire” and more will be on display when the film version of Eric Larsen’s “Devil In The White City”. Our series shows some of the famous places in Chicago crime history as they exist today. While telling some of that history with each clip.

 Machinegun sounds via: http://www.audiomicro.com/

 Theme Music:
Constansy Part 2 Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons
“Attribution 3.0” http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 MyAlCaponeMuseum is a great resource on Chicago underworld history and has been used extensively in our series:

http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/index.htm

 Another great resource is The Outlaw Journals:

http://www.babyfacenelsonjournal.com/index.html

Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, Bullet Scarred From Capone Era Hit

The latest in our History of Chicago Crime series we are posting on ChiTownView.

The the roaring 20’s in Chicago was a time of open warfare between two powerful crimminal organizations each seeking to control the cities illegal vice industry. It was the south side Italians led ny Johnny Torrio then Al Capone against the northside Irish headed by Dion O’Bannion, Hymie Weiess, and Bugs Moran. In the end the Italians were victorious because they could deliver the big hit while the north siders blew there big chances. And this spot on Chicago’s near north side was the site of two of the biggest hits delivered by the south siders.

The second assassination spot is the one you see first on the video clip. The steps of Holy Name Cathedral was the site of the execution of “Hymie” Weiess then leader of the northsiders. Gunmen in a apartment across the street opened fire on Weiss and his enterouge. He was killed by a wild shot fired by his own bodyguard. You can still see marks on the cornerstone from bullets fired in the shooting.

The men were heading into a flower store across the street. Next door to the rooming house where the gunmen fired from. The flower store was owned by the gang and was the site of the hit on Dion O’Bannion who was the previous head of the northside gang, That had happened a couple of years earlier and resulted in the failed hits on Johnny Torrio and Al Capone. Taking us back to the second hit.

Of course the war between north and south would continue and three years later Capone would (allegedly) make his third big hit this time against Bugs Moran. But they missed their target and the outcry over the slaughter of so many at once was the downfall of Big Al. It would also result in a stronger, smarter organization headed by Paul “the Waiter” Ricca. One that would control the city and surrounding area for all practical purposes for almost forty years. It was in fact the most powerful crimminal organization in the country because of it’s local control.

This clip is part of a series produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView ‘s YouTube station. We are getting some Chicago crime history in HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire” and more will be on display when the film version of Eric Larsen’s “Devil In The White City”. Our series shows some of the famous places in Chicago crime history as they exist today. While telling some of that history with each clip.

Anyway there is a whole lot more to mad Sam’s story and a lot of the details are pretty gruesome more can be found here http://www.crimemagazine.com/mad-sam-destefano-mob%E2%80%99s-marquis-de-sade

MyAlCaponeMuseum is a great resource on Chicago underworld history and has been used extensively in our series:

http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/index.htm

 Another great resource is The Outlaw Journals:

http://www.babyfacenelsonjournal.com/index.html

The Biograph Theater & The Night John Dillinger Died In Chicago

From: ChiTownView  | May 14, 2011  | 8 views

John Dillinger is a legendary name in the underworld of crime. The original public enemy #1 was also known as jackrabbit and his name is also closely tied to Chicago. His career as America’s favorite bank robber was short, less than 2 years and netted his men around $300,000.

It began next door in Indiana with his escape from prison in 1933. He and his men went on a crime spree that ended in early 1934 with his capture and then subsequent second jail break from the Lake county Ind. Jail. This is the one where he carved a gun out of a piece of soap or washboard. From there he eventually ended up hiding out on Chicago’s north side. Some one say under the protection of the Chicago syndicate and by extension the Chicago police.

It was a blistering hot summer in the windy city in 1934. One that saw 24 people die from the heat. That blistering heat not doubt helped Anna Sage coxed Dillinger out of his of hiding on the night of July 23 for an evening at the air conditioned Biograph at Lincoln and Fullerton. They saw Manhattan Melodrama and got out around 10:30. As he and his two lady friends left the theater Dillinger’s sixth sense picked up something and as they began to walk south he began looking for escape routes. He turned up and tried to duck down an alley but the Feds and officers from Lake County Ind. weren’t there to try and arrest Dillinger and he was cut down in a hail of gunfire. The gun that was “recovered” from his body wasn’t made until the following year. I found one clip from 2008 and started watching it. Like mine it ends up in the alley where you see two puddles about the same size in the same place. So who knows?

I’ve posted here and  in our Chicago Crime History playlist a newsreel clip from that night and the response to his death was incredible. The streets and sidewalks were wall to wall people and many of them soaked up his blood with their handkerchiefs (that’s not shown in the clip). Many people say the spot is haunted and here’s one strange thing I noticed. In the video at the end we go up the alley and we see a couple of puddles. Obviously that in itself isn’t odd but I did a search to see if any one else has posted videos of the Biograph. I found one clip from 2008 and started watching it. Like mine it ends up in the alley where you see two puddles about the same size in the same place. So who knows?

Here’s a link to john Dillinger’s Scrapbook for more info on the original public enemy #1 http://jhdillinger.fortunecity.com/

This clip is part of a series produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView ‘s YouTube station. We are getting some Chicago crime history in HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire” and more will be on display when the film version of Eric Larsen’s “Devil In The White City”. Our series shows some of the famous places in Chicago crime history as they exist today. While telling some of that history with each clip.

Capone Mobster Frank Nitti’s Last Day & Other Tales Of The Chicago Outfit

April 26, 2011 1 comment

They were a remarkable, ruthless, deadly group of men, Refugees on the run from other countries or the sons of impoverished immigrants. They all started out during prohibition working for a man called Al Capone. They went on to develop a criminal organization that ruled Chicago for more than half a century. It has been alleged that this group helped elect John F. Kennedy and then helped in his assassination. The organization was known as “the outfit” and it members included Frank Nitti, Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo, Sam Giancana, Sam De Stefano and Sam Battaglia.

Prohibition turned them from street corner punks and common criminals into men of wealth and power. And for decades they used America’s undying desire to eliminate vice to maintain their control and increase their wealth. For the most part they didn’t pay for their crimes and lived long lives that ended in solid comfort.

MindsiMedia operates out of the near western suburbs of Chicago that these men moved to. Quiet little towns like Oak Park and River Forest became the destination for these mobsters seeking a better life. So when we started our newest YouTube station ChiTownView we started a series offering updated look at some of the homes and other infamous locations connected to “the outfit”. Along with these little views we will present the people and stories associated with them.

So here is a couple of our clips and if you want to see more visit our Chicago’s Gangster History playlist.

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