Jailed Suburban Chief Reveals
How He Became a Mobster
IPSN Oct. 20, 1997
Michael Corbitts induction into Chicagos organized crime operations came
As a teenager, Corbitt was hired by Pete and Bill Altiere, who owned A & W Electric in
Summit, Illinois. Publicly, A&W reworked electrical appliances, but Corbitt says that
as an employee, he knew the real business was building and supplying gambling devices and
slot machines to the Chicago Mob, through another associate, Bill White.
Corbitts first job was to serve as the route man, driving with another
man delivering slot machines and picking machines that needed repair.
It didnt take Corbitt long to decide that he wanted to run a business of his own,
and leaning on the new mob friends he made, Corbitt borrowed money from them and opened a
gas station when he was 18 years old at 56th and Harlem Avenue, in Summit. His friends at
A&W would bring items to him for resale or trade.
And, eventually, the same men would come to him and ask him to store large trucks on his
gas stations back lot, which was fenced in. The trucks, as it turns out had been
hijacked, but Corbitt would be paid well by the hijackers.
These trucks turned out to be hijacked material, stolen material, and they would
leave them there, Corbitt testified.
When they would pick them up, they would give me an envelope with some money in it
and thank you very much.
One day, in the mid-60s, one of the men that came to see him was Sam Giancana, who was
accompanied by Dominic Blasi and Marshall and John Caifano and Jackie Cerone. In fact,
Corbitt recalled, Cerone would come by the gas station often with his girlfriends.
Not only would they drop off hi-jacked trucks at the station, they also unloaded stolen
material that was placed in the back of their cars.
They would give me an envelope. Theyd give me a hundred dollar bill.
Theyd give me a fifty dollar bill. They were always good to me, Corbitt
recalls of his youthful induction into the activities of the Chicago Outfit.
Corbitt said he got out of the gas station business and storing hijacked trucks and stolen
merchandise when the Altiere brothers approached him and told him they wanted his property
to use as a parking lot for a supper club they had purchased and located next door called
Several weeks after that occurred, Sam Giancana and Dominic Blasi came in, and they
were aware of what was going on and we had a conversation and Sam Giancana said, what do
you want to do? Corbitt recalls.
I said I want to get a job. I want to make some money. He says, do you want to be a
policeman? I said, no, I dont really want to be a policeman. He said, well, it would
be a good thing for you to, you know, get a job as a policeman and maybe you could help us
out once in awhile.
Corbitt, at that point, had married and had a young son and he needed the job, now that
his gas station enterprises with the Chicago Mob had come to a crashing halt. The station
was closed, the property was transferred to the Forum and Corbitt became a policeman.
Corbitt was told by Giancana to see his friend, Willow Springs Mayor John
I went out and had a meeting with him and was sworn in his tavern that day as a
police officer, that day. I think I was 21 or 22 years old, Corbitt recalls.
Two days later, Corbitt was returning to the Willow Springs Police Station when he saw
Giancana and another mobster sitting in a car idling in the Willow Springs Police Station
I drove up and he got into the car with me and he asked, he said, well, what do you
think? Corbitt recalled. I said I think its kind of boring, but I think
Corbitt said from that moment on he was a protected guy. My Chinaman was
That was a turning point not only for Corbitt but for the Mob and the Southwest Suburbs.
Willow Springs for years has lived under the cloud of being a mob controlled town. People
knew better than to drive through it on Willow Springs Road. You avoided it.
And Corbitt confirms that Willow Springs, much like the Town of Cicero, was completely
under the grip of Organized Crime, from the politics, to the issuance of business licenses
and liquor licenses, fees, fines and penalties, all tied to kickbacks and payments to
members of the mob.
How much money could Corbitt collect. In one passage, he describes how he would bring cash
to Chicago First Wards Pat Marcy at Counselors Row, which used to be located
across from City Hall.
Garbage bags. Hefty, maybe a I would say a 30-gallon garbage bags and I mean
they would be heaped to the top, but thats how they collected money, in garbage
bags. There was hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bags.
The money was taken to a counting area where it was counted, sorted and
separated and marked for who would receive how much.
It wasnt long before Corbitt came under the scrutiny of the FBI, and he noticed
vehicles following him, even as a police chief. He had friends in the Cook County
Sheriffs Department check out license plates for him, that were traced to the FBI.
Eventually, Corbitt said he and other Willow Springs police officers confronted the mayor
and the police chief then, demanding to get their share.
Our mayor and our chief of police at that time had a system which was a trickle-down
system, but didnt trickle down very far. It trickled down to them and then that was
the end of the system, and we were doing the patrolmen and the guys on the street
were doing all the work, Corbitt said of bribes that were paid for protection.
One spot protected by the police and controlled by the mob was the old American Legion
Center on Archer Road, which was not really an American Legion Post but was in fact a
gambling front where fake walls were removed to reveal slot machines and gambling tables,
Corbitt said in his testimony.
Corbitt said that after they complained, the system of pay-offs changed. Instead of giving
the money directly to Mayor John Doc Rust or to the chief, the money went to
the police officers, who brought it to Mayor Rust or the chief.
Mayor John Doc Rust managed a local bar which also served as the towns
chief House of Prostitution.
When we objected, the envelope started coming to us, and then we would deliver it to
him just so we could be there at the same time the envelope was opened, Corbitt
Corbitts enterprises increased swiftly as he rose in the ranks of the Willow Springs
Police Department. He left Willow Springs to work in the Summit Police Department in 1967,
on Giancanas orders, and then returned to Willow Springs in 1969. In 1973, Corbitt
was named Chief of Police and held the post through 1982, the same year Dianne Masters was
At that time, Corbitt said, federal convictions and investigations had forced the mob to
tightens its belt and be more careful of their dealings. As Willow Springs Police
Chief, Corbitt made himself the local Boss and he personally handled all of
the bribes and kickbacks himself.
You had to be real careful about how you were doing things, Corbitt said.
There would be one person who would meet with these people, and then whatever
splitting up would be done, I would do it. As the boss, then, after 1973, I took care of
During that time, Corbitt solicited bribes from chop shop owners and from members of
organized crime who were managing bookmaking operations in his town. And he fronted for
organized crime interests. He would have DWI cases fixed through his friend, attorney Alan
After leaving the Willow Springs Police Department, Corbitt had meetings in May 1982 with
the brothers of Anthony The Ant Spilotro, Victor and Mike Spilotro, who were
trying to set up an off-track betting parlor in Willow Springs. The Spilotros were the
targets of an undercover FBI Sting headed by undercover agent Larry Damron, alias Larry
Wright. Although Corbitt was a target in that sting, he managed to avoid FBI wiretaps.
The Spilotros told Corbitt about the success they had in running an illegal betting parlor
in Palatine and how they had paid off officials there.
Corbitt said they eventually set up a messenger service that was supposed to take the bets
and place them at the track, but the bets were laid off, and never placed. The
mob kept the money, and paid off the winning bets, at their rate, themselves.
Corbitt said he paid a street tax on his receipts to the mob through Salvatore and Carmen
Corbitt found himself vacationing in Hollywood , Florida at the condominium of Joey
Aiuippa, a place where mobsters Wayne Bock and Ernest Rocco Infelise often held meetings.
His friendship with mobster Joey Testa, a wealthy banker who laundered mob cash, is well
known, and when Testa died, it made headlines when the mobster left Corbitt a financial
gift. The papers reported $100,000. The real amount was $800,000.
Corbitt had a lot of mob friends, but he had one enemy. Joey Lombardo.
He really didnt like me, and that was not a good position to be in, when he
didnt like you. He didnt really like me and he voiced this to other
people, Corbitt testified.
I was a cop. He didnt want no cops around. He didnt want no cops knowing
anybodys business. As a matter of fact, he even attempted to dissuade other people
who were around me later on not to have anything to do with me. It didnt work.
Corbitt said that Lombardo owned a piece of several golf courses where Corbitt would often
run into his son, Joey Lombardo Jr., and his brother, Rocco Lombardo.
Lombardo was an enforcer. In my estimation, I believe that he filled up a cemetery
or two, Corbitt recalled. Although the Chicago Crime Commission this month named
John DiFronzo as the head of the Chicago Outfit, Corbitt said he believes the show is
being run by Lombardo.
After leaving the Willow Springs Police Department following a political upset tied to his
suspected role in the Diane Masters murder investigation, Corbitt went to the Cook
County Sheriffs Department so that he could continue carrying a badge and a gun and
to front for the mob. He was assigned to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, at that time,
Morgan Finley until he was indicted and convicted in 1987.
Corbitt was indicted in 1987, and was convicted in 1988 and was sentenced to 20 years
imprisonment, serving his time at a federal correctional institute in Florida. He faced
three convictions, beginning in 1988, for racketeering, for conspiracy in 1989 and for
obstructing justice in 1991.
After his indictment, the mob ordered Corbitt hit. The hit was rumored to have been
ordered by Lombardo, and the hitman tabbed to carry it out was Gerry Scarpelli. It was one
of the reasons why Corbitt agreed to testify against his former friends.
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