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U.S. didn't have enough to go after DiFronzo

April 26, 2005

BY ROBERT C. HERGUTH, STEVE WARMBIR AND FRANK MAIN Staff Reporters
 

One of the more intriguing aspects of the massive federal indictment targeting the Chicago mob is who was not hit with charges Monday:

Reputed mob boss John "No Nose" DiFronzo.

Mobster-turned-informant Nick Calabrese supplied information to the feds about the aging reputed gangster, but DiFronzo was able to escape the government's dragnet because prosecutors did not believe they had enough evidence at this time to pursue criminal charges, sources said.

"The U.S. attorney's office wouldn't indict it," said one source.

DiFronzo, 76, remains one of the few alleged Outfit heavy-hitters still standing.

But he's no Teflon Don.

He has more than two dozen arrests and several convictions under his belt. In his most recent trouble with the law, DiFronzo was convicted in 1993 in a scheme to infiltrate an Indian casino.

There are different stories as to how DiFronzo earned his nickname.

One involves being shot in the nose by cops more than 50 years ago in a botched armed robbery attempt.

Another has him slicing off a chunk of his nose while smashing the front window of a store.

He moved up through the ranks of the underworld and now is regarded to be, if not the top mobster in the city, one of the top three.

A neighborly guy

In recent years, he's had diverse business interests.

He has worked at a Northwest Side car dealership, owned property in Elmwood Park housing a gun shop and managed a River Grove apartment building, sources said.

He has a unit in that apartment building, and he or family members have had other residences in McHenry County and southern Wisconsin, sources said.

One brother, Peter, is a reputed mobster whose wife owns a successful construction and waste hauling company, D&P, which is known for its red, white and blue rolloff trash containers. Another brother, Joseph, is in federal prison on a drug conviction.

John DiFronzo has been described as ruthless and cunning, but he's also been described as gentlemanly, even by a former FBI agent who relayed how DiFronzo used to mow the lawn of a friend and never seemed to take law enforcement's pursuit of him too personally.

A River Grove tenant said DiFronzo sometimes clears the sidewalk when it snows and has been known to respond to plumbing emergencies.

DiFronzo did not, however, respond to interview requests.

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