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Daily Archives: April 20th, 2009


Nickolas  Calabrese Chicago Outfit hit man


James Marcello  Outfit leader

In the mobster movies, a car pulls up and heavy men in hard shoes get out.

And in the quiet suburban house, the wiseguy turned government witness stands foolishly in his new kitchen, oblivious in his bathrobe, scratching, boorishly guzzling milk from the carton.

The guns come up. The milk spills. The feds lose another witness.

Happily, it didn’t happen in real life to Nicholas Calabrese, the Chicago Outfit hit man turned star government witness in the Family Secrets trial that sent mob bosses, soldiers, even a corrupt cop to prison. Calabrese is very much alive.

Yet in federal court this week, the story of Outfit penetration of witness security is playing out in the case of Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose, accused of leaking sensitive information about Calabrese—including his movements—to Chicago’s mob.

It’s a difficult case to prove, since U.S. District Judge John Grady tossed out key evidence on Thursday. He invited an appeal by telling the jury “I made a mistake” in allowing secret prison tapes to be played linking Ambrose’s late father, a Chicago cop convicted in the Marquette 10 police drug scandal, with other crooked cops connected to the Outfit.

Whether Ambrose is found guilty or not, it’s obvious that imprisoned Outfit boss Jimmy Marcello and his sleepy brother Michael—who testified in a rumpled orange jumpsuit Thursday—believed they’d cracked the security around Calabrese 

The Marcellos knew of Calabrese being driven around town to murder locations where he briefed the FBI on unsolved hits that formed the basis of Family Secrets, which sent Jimmy and others to prison for life. They knew Calabrese called his wife from a phone dialed as Ambrose guarded Calabrese.

The Marcello brothers knew all about it in January 2003, weeks before I revealed in a Feb. 21, 2003, column that Calabrese was talking to the FBI about a series of unsolved homicides—including the murders of Anthony and Michael Spilotro—and that his federal prison records had disappeared.   read more     John Kass


FBI’s insider going inside after helping to nail Mafia Cops
Mafia Cops

Steve Corso helped catch the Mafia Cops, but failed to catch a break in court this week.

Corso, the controversial accountant who went undercover for the FBI and helped close the Mafia Cops and several other criminal investigations, failed in an appeal to delay his 366-day prison sentence, which is set to start next month.

Corso was a high-rolling Las Vegas gambler whose addiction to the action was at the heart of his manipulation of his clients’ money. His conviction was related to defrauding his insured clients.

That means Corso will likely not be used as a prosecution witness in the pending drug cases against Anthony Eppolito and Guido Bravatti, two important bit players in the FBI and DEA investigation of former NYPD detectives Louie Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who were sentenced earlier this year for betraying their badges and acting as hitmen and informants for the Lucchese crime family.

I am guessing that this puts the local drug case in jeopardy.

Why is that important?

For starters, the drug case involving Eppolito’s son and Bravatti was essential to historical component of the government’s racketeering theory: That many years after their retirement the elder Eppolito and Caracappa were continuing to act criminally. Corso recorded the ex-cops enlisting the criminal services of the younger men, who later met with the informant and offered to provide him not only drugs, but guns as well.

If Anthony Eppolito and Bravatti beat their charges – and neither has a serious criminal record — you’ll not only hear laughter on the back streets of Las Vegas, but the cackles will echo all the way to the federal prison where the Mafia Cops currently reside.

If they wind up walking, will that give the Mafia Cops new hope for a successful appeal?