Feature Articles

September 2002

The Rosemont Two Step

By John William Tuohy

"(The federal trial of William Daddano) revealed the alliances that frequently exist between racket leaders and officialdom-alliances that are essential for organized crime to exist and flourish"
Chicago Commission Crime report on Willie Daddano, August 27, 1969.

     We are quickly approaching the anniversary of Joe Colombia's shooting in Columbus Square in New York. The Colombo shooting was a lesson.

     It was a simple lesson�no matter what they say about it, never, ever, deny mob ties in the public forum It will, inevitably and eventually, draw attention to people who need to live in the dark and issues that are better off forgotten. Still, some people need to learn things the hard way.

     The reason crime bosses get upset over these things now days is the introduction of the RICO act which very wide powers.

     As an example, if the FBI were to have recorded a mob boss having conversations with a political figure, and stored them away for forty years, and that political figure were to become entangled in a public spectacle that included an entirely new generation of mobsters, those recordings could be dusted off and used to prove RICO.

     And of course, the government does keep all of its surveillance tapes. Some, like tapes taken of crime boss Sam Giancana in 1959 through 1968, are publicly available through the House Assassination Committee Act. Anyone can go into the national archives and rummage through them.

     There's another public forum going on right now in the town of Rosemont where Donald Stephans is mayor. Rosemont, sits outside Chicago, Illinois. In the early part of the year, Emerald Casino's proposed move into Rosemont

     However, the Gaming board Administrator, a former federal prosecutor, also told the board that his investigators determined an organized crime-controlled construction company was working on the casino site and added that two proposed Emerald shareholders had mob ties. "We also have" he said "serious concerns that should this board approve this (casino), we would have great difficulty in effectively monitoring future efforts by organized crime to compromise the integrity of the proposed casino,"

     Just before the gaming board voted down Emerald Casino's proposed move into Rosemont, the Chief Investigator for the Chicago Crime Commission, Wayne Johnson testified before the panel about the alleged organized crime ties of Rosemont�s mayor, Donald Stephens and said that his sources confirmed that two mob-connected labor organizers have been working to organize potential service employees around the planned casino.

     After the casino deal fell through, Stephans filed suit against chief investigator Johnson for defamation of character because Johnson in his comments to the board "falsely stated and implied that Mayor Stephens was associated with illicit and criminal activity."

     The fact is, that although, Stephans portrays himself as "an ardent foe of organized crime" who has been repeatedly, and according to him unjustly, maligned for his association with organized crime figures, his name does keep popping up in the most unusual places�.like a bill of sale for a mob owned hotel financed by none other than Sam Giancana.

     When asked about his financial dealing with one time mob boss and federally certified psychotic, Sam "Momo" Giancana, Stephans answer was carefully worded denial that he had no "personal" ties to organized crime and quickly added "and Rosemont is clean as well"

     Defending the towns reputation without any one having said anything negative about it, was the first show of a hard to beat public relations strategy of making Stephans accusers look as though they had attack Rosemont and its citizens.

     New York's Mafia leader and Gambino chump, Joe Colombo tried the same stunt many years ago when he accused the FBI of having an anti-Italian agenda after the Bureau built a racketeering case against his son. All that accomplished was to bring national attention to the Mafia. The national Mafia commission ended the debate by firing a bullet through Colombo's head when the glare of publicity came to close to home.

     Stephans could give course in denial-speak. "I am sick and tired of hearing about the mob and mob influence in Rosemont," Stephens told the Chicago Tribune "There is no crime syndicate influence in Rosemont. It doesn't exist. I challenge anybody to actually prove there is some crime syndicate element in Rosemont. I live this community, and when people say something derogatory about this community, my back bristles,"

     Bristling back or not, Stephans either didn't understand the testimony given to the board or just wasn't paying attention, or he has what Dion O'Bannion once diagnosed as "Chicago Amnesia"

     Nobody said anything derogatory about Rosemont, rather, what they were talking about was Stephans and his alleged contacts with the Mob.

     Still, Hizzoner, apparently in an effort to convince the public that Rosemont and he are plural, continued, that the 82 year old Crime Commissions accusations are hurtful and destructive to Rosemont.

     Well, no. That it isn't what was said at all. If anything Investigator Johnson�s comments were intended to protect the towns reputation, a bandwagon you think that the Mayor or any other elected official would leap on. What Johnson actually said was "You put a casino anywhere near Chicago, and it will attract the Outfit. They'll buy restaurants, buy bars and set up shop in close proximity to the casino. ... I'm not saying Rosemont is any worse than Park Ridge or wherever. It's just too close to Chicago."

     In what can only be called a masterful twist of words, Stephans said that Rosemont should not bear the brunt of mob accusations and the negative image they conjure. "We don't have that image. There is no image. That's nonsense. ... The village of Rosemont should not be maligned due to the shortcomings of the casino company."

     Again, nobody said anything about Rosemont�s image. If anything, the gaming board members and the Commission went out of their way to absolve Rosemont calling the town the "best and most logical place for a casino" in the state.

     As for Stephans "Shortcomings of a casino company" its a two step Fred Astaire would envy because he had previously gone to great lengths to defend the firm. Stephans followed this up with the incredible statement that if two of the firms shareholders (out of 63 total) did have links to organized crime, it was "insignificant", making Stephans either the most naive elected official in Illinois history or just plain dumb. Its also an unusual position for a man who portrays himself as an ardent foe of organized crime and claims he has been "repeatedly maligned by critics" who claimed he was just a little to close to organized crime figures.

     The fact is, several gaming board members blamed their vote on charges that Emerald executives Donald and Kevin Flynn lied to board investigators during the 16-month probe of the company, while other members of the board voted against the Rosemont casino plan, citing the alleged links between some of the investors and the mob.

     Stephans suit appears to be a case of going after the weakest link and exactly where the damages are in to be found in Stephans suit are hard to pin down since the board stressed that they did not base their decision on any information relating to the mayor or his municipality and most of the associations involving Stephens that Johnson highlighted previously run in the press or made public by the Gaming Board months before Johnson appeared on the scene at all.

     The Chicago Crime Commission has limited financial resources since it does not accept Federal, State or City contributions. Why Stephans has not sued the financial behemoth that is the Chicago Tribune is�well, odd. Unless, of course, the Mayor feels he�s being picked on or his aim is to silence an old foe. You see, Stephans accusation-denial ritual with the Chicago Crime Commission date back to the time when Stephans placed Anthony Daddino on the town of Rosemont�s payroll. In fact, he hired Daddino twice, over the Crime Commissions objections that Anthony Daddino has prior convictions for what the Commission termed mob related activity. Stephans says that he and Anthony Daddino are old friends.

     The Commission has also criticized for taking campaign contributions from a mob-controlled construction firm, like the Daddino incident, involved the firm working on Rosemont�s payroll. Apparently operating on the theory that some links to organized crime are meaningless because they are "insignificant, the mayor exonerated himself because he had given the contributions to charity.

     Strangest of all is Stephens defense of his business partner William Daddano Jr., of the notorious hoodlum Willie "Potatoes" Daddano. William Daddano, Jr. has carried on a family tradition, both he and his father have been listed on the Chicago Crime Commissions Organized Crime chart, the oldest and most accurate chat of its kind.

     Stephens also stresses the point that his former business partners, who Johnson said were mob-connected, had never been convicted of a crime. The same thing can be said for Tony Accardo, Sidney Korshak, Carlo Gambino, Joe Bonanno, Joe Profaci, and a whole lot of other people in the life is daily objective is not to get pinched. His honors other playmate and business partner is Nicky Boscarino, who, through a family trust, is one of the casino investors who Gaming Board investigators identified as having mob ties. Boscarino is also a friend and business partner to William Daddano.

     Stephans, Daddano and Nicholas Boscarino were involved in a forklift rental company together. Stephans says that he thinks Daddano is being punished for sins of his father, a cry echoed by John Gotti Jr., New York who claims to be a victim of selected prosecution.

     If nothing else, the father was an interesting sinner.

     Willie Potatoes Daddano, was a five foot five, edgy, highly placed, influential and powerful member of the Chicago mob. He crawled out of slum with a group of his childhood friends whose names would become legendary in the underworld, the Caifano�s, Milwaukee Phil Aldersio, Chuckie Nicolette, Butch English and Fifi Buccieri.

     After a 1945 conviction for burglary (He was sentenced to 14 years and served only one) Daddano was back on the streets of Chicago as part of the mob invasion force that shot, kicked and stabbed its way into the Black rackets and in the early 1950s teamed up with Lenny Patrick to earn a fortune in the vending business. He later expanded his interests into the low end of the industry, vice.

     In his capacity as boss of Will an d DuPage County, he also had a small interest in the suburban based casino, the Villa Venice and held front row seats for the Sinatra/Rat pack performance there in 1962, sitting in the front row with Sam Giancana, Phil Aldersio, The Monk Allegretti, Joe Fischetti, and Marshal Caifano.

     The Vila Venice later burned down in a case of mysterious combustion.

     According to the FBI, he was Sam Giancana's hit man of choice and far more ruthless then his nick name let on. In fact, his name had been dredged up several times as a possible candidate to lead the Chicago outfit after Teets Battaglia died, but Tony Accardo nixed the idea, having little faith in Willie Potatoes leadership abilities

     Daddano found his place in mob history through a juice collector who worked under him, William "Action" Jackson. In 1961. Jackson, was kidnapped off of a Chicago street when word went out that he was a snitch. (He wasn't)

     The three hundred and twenty-five pound Jackson was taken to a meat rendering plant on the South side, hung, through his rectum, on a meat hook, had his knees smashed with a hammer and a cattle prod used on his genitals and was stabbed with an ice pick.

     He was left on the hook for three days until he finally died of heart failure. His mangled body was later found in the trunk of his Cadillac on Wacker Drive.

     In the mid 1960s, he led the outfit into control over Chicago's garbage industry with Chuckie English.

     Willie, who lived on North Riverside Drive, enjoyed a reputation as a jealous husband and a man who liked the company of platinum blondes, spent the last part of his criminal career running a band of free wheeling independent thieves, out of a suburban bowling alley that he owned and used as his headquarters.

     Daddano and six members of that crew, robbed a savings and loan in Franklin Park, Illinois, of $43,000 Several days later, thanks to an informant, the men, including Daddano were rounded up by the FBI. Once they were released, Daddano forced everyone on the team to take a lie detector test. One man named Guy Mendola failed. He was shot through the head outside of his home in August of 1964.

     In October of 1964 prosecutors were able to convict Daddano along with Richard Cain and three others, of the robbery. Daddano was sentenced to 15 years in 1968, along with another political insider, Richard Cain. Daddano died in prison of heart failure

     Mayor Stephans has an interesting tie in with Willie Daddano as well as his son.

     In about 1953, three years before Stephans became the towns mayor, Daddano was running prostitutes out of the River Road Motel in Rosemont. In about 1956, Sam Giancana purchased the hotel through the Southmoor Bank for a $100,000 payment.

     Giancana changed the name of the motel to the Thunderbolt, dumped a pile of cash into its renovation, tossed out the hookers and, more or less, turned the place into a legitimate operation and gave standing orders that the place was off limits to anything unlawful.

     In 1957, a banker named Leon Marcus, who handled much of Giancana's near legitimate investments, was indicted for embezzling bank funds. Stupidly, Marcus tried to blackmail Giancana into fixing his trial, if he didn't he would tell the IRS about the $100,000 c ash payment for the Thunderbolt and a series of other investments Giancana had made through him.

     Giancana passed the order down to Willie Daddano who in turn sent an ex-cop named Sal Moretti to murder Marcus and retrieve the $100,000 cash bill of sale from the bankers wallet.

     Moretti invited three of his friends along to sit in hi s car and watch as he executed Marcus, leaving behind the bill of sale for the Thunderbolt.

     On Saint Patricks day, March 17 Willie Potatoes had Moretti taken to Caton Farm Road in southwest Chicago, tortured and shot through the head and then stuffed into a dry cleaning bag and then shoved into the trunk of his own Chevy.

     Moretti's pockets were turned inside out and only a metal pocket comb was left on the body, a warning to others in the outfit that when they were sent out on a job they were to go over every detail with a fine tooth comb. The only reason the cops found it was that the body started to decompose and the smell from the car was overwhelming enough to draw the neighborhoods attention. The cops found the marker on Marcus body and now there was hell to pay. Moretti's death was the 976 mob killing since Johnny Torrio had arrived to the windy city in 1919.

     In October of 1962, Giancana's half brother, who was also the hotels managers, followed his brothers orders and sold the hotel for $500,000. The deal was financed by Sam Giancana and one of the buyers was Mayor Donald Stephans.

     Stephens also acknowledged that he had purchased a motel from Giancana, but, he said, he had only purchased the place to get Giancana out of town�.this was seven years into Stephans 45 year administration.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached by writing to

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