Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family

Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster's Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago's Murderous Crime Family

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by Frank Calabrese, Keith Zimmerman, Kent Zimmerman, Paul Pompian
     
 

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Operation Family Secrets is the chilling true story of how the son of the most violent mobster in Chicago made the unprecedented decision to work with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to incriminate his own father and to help bring down the last great American crime syndicate—the one-hundred-year-old Chicago Outfit.

The CalabreseSee more details below

Overview

Operation Family Secrets is the chilling true story of how the son of the most violent mobster in Chicago made the unprecedented decision to work with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to incriminate his own father and to help bring down the last great American crime syndicate—the one-hundred-year-old Chicago Outfit.

The Calabrese family of Chicago is a close-knit, middle-class, multi-generational Italian-Irish-American clan. They operate family businesses. They work day and night striving for the American Dream. All three sons forge a bond with their controlling father, Frank Sr., and their soft-spoken favorite uncle, Nick. As a boy, the oldest son, Frank Jr., realizes that his father and uncle are also “made” members of another close-knit family: the outfit.
     In Operation Family Secrets Frank Calabrese, Jr., tells the turbulent tale of a family dominated by a violent patriarch who breaks a longstanding unwritten outfit code and “brings the street into his home” by enlisting two of his sons into the outfit’s 26th Street/Chinatown crew. Frank Jr. reveals for the first time the outfit’s “made” ceremony and describes being put to work alongside his father and uncle in loan sharking, gambling, labor racketeering, and extortion, and plotting the slaying of a fellow gangster, while they commit the bombing murder of a trucking executive, the gangland execution of two mobsters whose burial in an Indiana cornfield was reenacted in Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster film Casino, and numerous other hits.
     The Calabrese Crew’s colossal earnings and extreme ruthlessness make them both a dreaded criminal gang and the object of an intense FBi inquiry. Eventually Frank Jr., his father, and Uncle Nick are convicted on racketeering violations, and “Junior” and “Senior” are sent to the same federal penitentiary in Michigan. Upon arrival, Frank Jr. makes a life-changing decision: to go straight rather than agree to his father’s plans to resume crew activities after serving his sentence. But he needs to keep his father behind bars in order to regain control of his life and save his family. Frank Jr. makes a secret deal with prosecutors, and for six months—unmonitored and unprotected—he wears a wire as his father recounts decades of hideous crimes. Frank Jr.’s cooperation with the FBi for virtually no monetary gain or special privileges helps create the government’s “operation Family Secrets” campaign against the Chicago outfit. The case reopens eighteen unsolved murders and also implicates twelve La Cosa Nostra soldiers and two outfit bosses. it becomes one of the largest organized crime cases in U.S. history.
     Operation Family Secrets intimately portrays how organized crime rots a family from the inside out while detailing Frank Jr.’s deadly prison-yard mission, the FBi’s landmark investigation, and the U.S. attorney’s office’s daring prosecution of america’s most dangerous criminal organization.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An undeniably engaging tale, capturing the nitty-gritty of daily life in the 'crews' of the Outfit. A useful and readable addition to Mob Lit." —Kirkus
Kirkus Reviews

The inside story of a notable organized-crime prosecution, in which a son turned on his ferocious father.

For decades, organized crime in Chicago—the so-called "Outfit"—remained a feared and mysterious cabal. In 2007, prosecutors scored a huge coup in the "Family Secrets" trial, sentencing several key mobsters to long sentences for racketeering and numerous old murders. Improbably, the process began when imprisoned Outfit member Frank Calabrese Jr. contacted the FBI, wishing to cooperate in order to prevent his also-jailed father's return to his crooked ways: "I feel I have to help you keep this sick man locked up forever." Both Calabreses had pled guilty to federal racketeering charges in 1997, having run a successful "juice loan" business for years. Amazingly, the younger Calabrese recorded conversations with his father in prison, and the surveillance provided the core of the prosecution's case.The book offers a startling narrative of Outfit mayhem—the Calabrese crew was involved in a long string of killings, some notorious, like that of Tony Spilotro (fictionalized in Martin Scorsese'sCasino). Calabrese Jr. particularly regrets the involvement of his uncle, Nick, a quiet Vietnam veteran who became ensnared in his brother's business, ultimately transforming into a hit man (Nick also turned state's witness and testified). The author still seems bewildered by his father's ability to be simultaneously a loving patriarch, a ruthless Outfit boss and a cold-blooded killer. As with most mob memoirs, Calabrese Jr. performs exculpatory gymnastics in order to blur the extent of the narrator's criminal involvement, and the writing is workmanlike, if wry at times. Still, this is an undeniably engaging tale, capturing the nitty-gritty of daily life in the "crews" of the Outfit.

A useful and readable addition to Mob Lit.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307717740
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
03/08/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
312,224
File size:
4 MB

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From the Publisher
"An undeniably engaging tale, capturing the nitty-gritty of daily life in the 'crews' of the Outfit. A useful and readable addition to Mob Lit." —-Kirkus

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