SUSPECT NOT FOUND
`Clown' missing from mob
Lombardo vanishes from regular hauntsBy Ray Gibson
Tribune staff reporter
April 26, 2005
For more than 50 years, Joseph Lombardo has called the West Town neighborhood his home--at least, whenever he wasn't in prison.
An early riser, he was often seen since his 1992 release from prison riding his bicycle with a small cigar firmly planted between his lips.
But when federal agents went to the 2200 block of West Ohio Street Monday morning to pick him up, Lombardo was nowhere to be found.
Lombardo was one of just two of the indicted members of the mob not under arrest when the Operation Family Secrets charges were announced Monday afternoon.
Lombardo, 76, has known he has been a target for months. His attorney, Rick Halprin, has said Lombardo was being looked at as a suspect in the 1974 slaying of Daniel Seifert. Seifert was a Bensenville businessman scheduled to testify against Lombardo and others in a Teamster pension fund fraud case.
Halprin has said Lombardo was at a Chicago police station at the time of the slaying.
"We will have to wait and see," Halprin said of whether his client would surrender.
Halprin doubted Lombardo would be wearing the famous newspaper mask he made after a 1981 court appearance. It was that goofiness, and Lombardo's flair for the theatrical, that led police to give him the nickname "The Clown."
The indictment does not spell out what role Lombardo allegedly played in the killings. "It is pitifully sketchy," said Halprin.
Lombardo has done two stretches in federal prison. He was released in 1992 after serving 10 years on two separate federal convictions. He was convicted of conspiring to bribe U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada for help in defeating a trucking deregulation bill and convicted in a mob scheme to skim $2 million from a Las Vegas casino.
Robert Fuesel, who worked organized crime for 28 years for the Internal Revenue Service, said Lombardo was not only the chairman of the board, but also an enforcer.
He said he once surrounded Lombardo's house with 10 agents as he hid inside to avoid being served with a subpoena.
Fuesel told Lombardo's wife that the agents were not going to leave, and Lombardo came out a half hour later and accepted the subpoena.
But Monday morning, Lombardo was nowhere to be found.
Among federal indictments announced Monday were charges related to 18 unsolved murders and one attempted murder between 1970 and 1986.
1 MICHAEL FRANK "HAMBONE" ALBERGO
Date of murder: August 1970
How he was killed: Disappeared
Motive for murder: Albergo was a mob enforcer who vanished after being charged in connection with a loan-shark operation.
In 2003, FBI agents excavated a parking lot near U.S. Cellular Field on a tip that his bones were buried there.
2 DANIEL SEIFERT
Date: Sept. 27, 1974
How killed: Seifert was killed with shotgun blasts outside his Bensenville factory.
Motive: Seifert was scheduled to testify against Outfit leaders accused of defrauding the Teamsters' pension fund.
3 PAUL HAGGERTY
Date: June 24, 1976 (in Chicago)
How killed: Not available
Motive: Not available
4 HENRY COSENTINO
Date: March 15, 1977
How killed: His body was found in the trunk of a car at the Chicago auto pound.
He had been killed by blunt force to the neck.
Motive: Not available
5 JOHN MENDELL
Date: Jan. 16, 1978
How killed: He was found dead in the trunk of his car in Chicago after being tortured and having his throat slit.
Motive: He was wanted by police following the murder of a member of a burglary ring.
6/7 DONALD RENNO / VINCENT MORETTI
Date: Jan. 31, 1978
How killed: Both men were found in the back of Renno's car in Cicero with their throats cut.
Motive: Police suspect Moretti's burglary ring was fencing goods in Las Vegas against the mob's wishes.
8/9 WILLIAM AND CHARLOTTE DAUBER
Date: July 2, 1980
How killed: The Daubers were gunned down as they drove on a rural road in Will County.
Motive: William Dauber, a suspected mob killer, had been arrested on federal drug charges and Outfit leaders were afraid he'd turn informant.
10 WILLIAM "BUTCH" PETROCELLI
Date: Dec. 30, 1980
How killed: He was found in the back seat of his car in Cicero with his throat slashed and his face burned.
Motive: Outfit leaders reportedly suspected Petrocelli of skimming collection money and shaking down robbers without permission.
11 MICHAEL CAGNONI
Date: June 24, 1981
How killed: A radio-controlled bomb beneath his car exploded as he drove on a tollway ramp at Ogden Avenue and I-294 in DuPage County.
Motive: Sources said he supervised the mob's produce hauling operations and was suspected of holding back some of the profits.
12 NICHOLAS D'ANDREA
Date: Sept. 13, 1981
How killed: He was found murdered in the trunk of his car in Chicago Heights.
Motive: Mob associates suspect he was involved in arranging a hit on mob figure Alfred Pilotto.
13/14 RICHARD D. ORTIZ/ ARTHUR MORAWSKI
Date: July 23, 1983
How killed: Both men were shot to death while sitting in a car outside a Cicero bar owned by Ortiz.
Motive: Not available
15 EMIL VACI
Date: June 7, 1986
How killed: He was found shot in the head in a drainage ditch in Phoenix.
Motive: Weeks before his death he appeared before a grand jury investigating the Spilotro brothers in Las Vegas.
16/17 THE SPILOTRO BROS.
Date: June 14, 1986
How killed: The brothers were beaten, and buried in a shallow grave in a northwest Indiana cornfield.
Motive: Mob bosses allegedly were not happy with how Anthony Spilotro, an Outfit enforcer, was running operations in Las Vegas.
18 JOHN FECAROTTA
Date: Sept. 14, 1986
How killed: Fecarotta, a longtime mob muscleman, was gunned down outside a bingo hall on Belmont Avenue.
Motive: An informant later told federal agents Fecarotta was killed for botching the burials of the Spilotros.
Note: Charges also include the attempted murder of an unnamed victim in Lake County on April 24, 1982.
Sources: Tribune archives, U.S. Department of Justice, Chicago Tribune
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