September 10, 2004
BY ROBERT HERGUTH,
CHRIS FUSCO, ART GOLAB
AND STEVE WARMBIR
Hoping to bolster his suburb's casino quest, Rosemont Mayor
Donald E. Stephens on Thursday released findings of an
"independent" investigation that concluded he's never been
"connected to or associated with" the mob.
The Rosemont-bankrolled probe by former FBI agent Peter J. Wacks and
former U.S. attorneys Peter F. Vaira and Dan K. Webb determined Stephens
has cooperated with the FBI since the 1950s to rid his O'Hare-area
community of mob-tied gambling and prostitution rings. At times, the
report portrays Stephens as an informant -- which runs contrary to the
mob-tainted picture Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan painted
earlier this year. Madigan has opposed a casino coming to Rosemont.
The village is turning over a 55-page affidavit from Wacks so it can
be used in an Illinois Gaming Board licensing probe into Isle of Capri
Casinos' plan for a gaming complex along I-294 in the suburb.
Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens was under observation in
the intensive-care unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Thursday night with chest pains.
It was unclear exactly when Stephens, Rosemont's mayor since
1956, would be released, said Robert Stephenson, a lawyer
representing the northwest suburb. He is expected to undergo
Stephens, 77, suffered two heart attacks in 1980, Stephenson
said, and has since been on a steady regimen of diet and
exercise. He went to the hospital after a Thursday morning news
"We got to the point where it was so frustrating to keep reading and
hearing about what bad people we are," Stephens said at a Loop press
conference. "So we hired people who are well-known in the
Despite the affidavit's breadth, the Chicago Sun-Times over several
months has obtained documents and conducted interviews that raise
questions on some of its findings.
For example, Wacks slams Madigan for claiming various members of the
Daddano family, which until 2002 owned a trade-show business with
Stephens, are organized-crime figures. The FBI only considers the late
William "Potatoes" Daddano Sr. a mobster, Wacks wrote, adding the
attorney general "erroneously brands" various relatives "based solely
upon family lineage."
What the affidavit does not mention is the Chicago Crime Commission's
1997 mob organizational chart includes the son of William Daddano Sr.,
William Daddano Jr. What's more, William Daddano III was arrested in
Roselle in 2002 with a man identified by federal authorities as a "made"
member of the mob, Michael Magnifichi, according to law enforcement
Magnifichi -- described in a 1999 FBI document as "obviously a rising
'star'" within the Chicago mob -- and Daddano III were charged with
beating a man outside a restaurant, the documents show. The case
ultimately was dismissed.
Rosemont attorney Robert Stephenson defended the affidavit's take on
"Just because you know somebody doesn't make you associated with
organized crime," he said.
Wacks' affidavit also downplays alleged mob ties of Nick Boscarino,
whose friendship with the mayor publicly ended when Boscarino was first
accused of bilking the suburb in an insurance scam. An FBI report cited
by Wacks relays "Boscarino appears to be, at the very least, a close
friend of a number of Chicago LCN members and associates." But Wacks
emphasizes that information is shaky and, even if true, doesn't mean
Stephens knew about it.
However, Boscarino had a business relationship with at least one
reputed mobster, Nick Calabrese, sources said. Calabrese, who now is
cooperating with the feds in a mob probe, had been on the payroll at
Bomark, a cleaning company once owned by Boscarino and a son of
Stephens, a well-placed source said.
The affidavit acknowledges Stephens met quite a few hoods, including
the late Jackie Cerone. But most of Stephens' contacts, Wacks said, were
through casual conversations in public places and did not qualify as mob
Wacks also wrote that Stephens and a partner bought a motel owned by
Outfit boss Sam Giancana with the goal of ridding the town of organized
crime and prostitution.
"The FBI was fully aware that the mayor and Pat Greco bought
Giancana's motel and approved of the transaction," he stated.
Wacks said that when he joined the FBI's organized crime squad in
1971, older agents filled him in on Rosemont and told him that if any
issues arose there, "I needed only to contact the mayor, who they
assured me would be fully cooperative." Wacks also said that Stephens
personally knew many FBI agents.
Robert Cooley, a former mob lawyer turned federal informant, said in
an interview that he recalled mob-tied politicians saying they met with
Stephens on a number of occasions regarding an unspecified problem in
Rosemont. Cooley said one conversation involved the political boss of
the 1st Ward, Pat Marcy.
Marcy mentioned at a dinner with other mobsters that he and another
1st Ward figure, John D'Arco Sr. had met with Stephens.
"We think Cooley's lying," Stephenson said, adding Stephens denies
meeting Marcy or D'Arco.
leaders team up to push for a downtown casino
BY MARK J. KONKOL Staff Reporter
Union bosses and business leaders -- often at odds over contracts and
work rules -- have formed an unlikely coalition to lobby lawmakers for
the one thing they both want: a downtown Chicago casino.
They'll head to Springfield for the fall veto session armed with a
slick marketing pitch, selling the idea that a publicly owned,
land-based casino would be an economic boon to Chicago's entertainment
district, attract more conventions and tourists and boost revenues along
Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon and Chicagoland
Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Roper will make for a mighty one-two
lobbying punch, with the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau adding
even more influence. Greg Goldner, who ran Mayor Daley's last
re-election campaign, has been retained to coordinate the effort.
"This is not just something that calls for a land-based casino. This
is a long-term economic strategy to bring good-paying jobs and
businesses to Chicago," Gannon said. "It's to make us competitive with
world class cities because, right now, we're not."
They point to Montreal, Monte Carlo and Vienna as examples of cities
that compliment their overall appeal as tourism and entertainment meccas
with a place to play blackjack.
"We want to promote [downtown] as a huge entertainment district we
have in place already, looking at [a casino] as one component of that,"
Downtown entertainment part of
The plan calls for Chicago to collect two-thirds of the gambling
profits, with the balance going to the State of Illinois. A casino
management company would run day-to-day operations. And part of any deal
would require the casino operator to agree to book major entertainment
acts at downtown venues, Roper said.
"One should not poo-poo this because if you compare to what there is
in Canadian and European cities, they successfully integrate [gambling].
Why can't we? We believe we can," he said.
The heart of the proposal is strikingly similar to Daley's latest
pitch for a city-owned casino, which was killed by Gov. Blagojevich a
day after the mayor made it public. Blagojevich recently softened his
objection to bringing gambling to Chicago, suggesting a Southeast Side
site might be a fair compromise.
But Daley has told associates privately that's not an option. If
Chicago gets a casino, it must be downtown near hotels and restaurants,
City Hall sources said.
State Senate President Emil Jones has said he would push for Chicago
casino legislation as part of a gaming expansion package when lawmakers
return to Springfield in November.
Contributing: Fran Spielman