When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down

When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down

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by Robert Cooley
     
 

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Bob Cooley was the Chicago Mafia’s “Mechanic”—a fixer of court cases. During the 1970s and ’80s, Cooley bribed judges, court clerks, and cops to keep his Mob clients—hit men, bookies, racketeers, and crooked pols—out of jail. Paid handsomely for his services, he lived fast and enjoyed the protection of the men he

Overview

Bob Cooley was the Chicago Mafia’s “Mechanic”—a fixer of court cases. During the 1970s and ’80s, Cooley bribed judges, court clerks, and cops to keep his Mob clients—hit men, bookies, racketeers, and crooked pols—out of jail. Paid handsomely for his services, he lived fast and enjoyed the protection of the men he served. He had enough money to blow on all the vices the Windy City could offer, and enough standing among Mobsters to know he would never be caught. Yet, by the end of the ’90s, without a pending conviction or a hit man on his tail, Cooley became the star witness in nine federal trials that took down the Chicago Outfit, arguably the most powerful Mafia family in the history of organized crime.

This is the story of a Mob lawyer turned mole with a million-dollar contract on his head who has clanged back and forth between sin and sainthood like a church bell clapper—a turbulent youth, a stint on Chicago’s police force, law school, and then the inner sanctum of Chicago’s Mob bosses and political leaders. With wild abandon he chased crooked acquittals for the likes of Pat Marcy, former henchman of Al Capone, who had become the Mob’s key political operative; ruthless Mafia Capo and gambling czar Marco D’Amico; and notorious hit man Harry Aleman. He dined with Mob bosses and shared “last suppers” with friends before their gangland executions.  With Cooley on their side, the Mob controlled the courts, the cops, the politicians, and could fend off the Feds. In a startling act of conscience, Cooley walked into the office of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force and agreed to wear a wire on the same Mafia overlords who had made him a player.

Having sent two dozen mobsters and public officials to prison, the man who bulldozed the Chicago Mob tells a tale of transgression and redemption in a book that reveals the personal story behind the federal government’s most successful Mafia investigation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this true-crime memoir, former Chicago mob attorney Cooley engagingly recounts his role in sparking Operation Gambat, a sweeping federal corruption probe into Chicago's political and judicial arenas. Operation Gambat succeeded in documenting the extensive ties between the mob and local government, thanks largely to Cooley's cooperation and courage. The author doesn't spare himself in recounting his descent into the world of crime, despite his loving family and policeman father; and his transformation from fixer and operator into avenging angel is plausibly rendered. Cooley does a nice job of taking the reader inside an undercover investigation, with its glitches, ego clashes and inevitable setbacks. Although his extensive involvement in graft makes Cooley less than fully sympathetic, his risk-taking to expose the crooked system goes a long way toward redeeming him. While the writing is more workmanlike than memorable, this is a nice counterpart to Gus Russo's The Windy City Outfit: The Role of Chicago's Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America, and Cooley's achievements deserve the wide acclaim this book should garner. Fans of Serpico, Prince of the City and The Informant, as well as those of Scott Turow's fiction, will enjoy this unfamiliar story. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Nov. 2) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786713301
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Pages:
370
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.28(d)

Meet the Author


Robert Cooley receives grudging assistance from the Feds to maintain his new identity. While not in the Witness Protection Program, he remains constantly on the run. He grew up in Chicago and has recently lived in several cities around the country. Hillel Levin has been a contributing writer for The Nation, a staff writer for New York, and editor for Chicago magazine. He is the author of Grand Delusions: The Cosmic Career of John DeLorean. He lives near Chicago, Illinois.

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When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Born and defined in the 1950s era of White greaser gangs, the Gaylords steadily grew in Chicago to become a gang to be reckoned with. By the early 1980s, Spanish immigration threatened not only their reign, but many of their very survival. Michael Scott was a member of the Gaylord¿s through this turbulent time period, and has written a story based on actual advents, to offer all of us a ticket to take a suspenseful-guided tour. The book not only gives the reader a roller coaster ride of traditional gang fights, but it also gives a historical account of what it took to walk the streets of Chicago as a young White Man in the 1970s and 1980s. This same story plays out today over and over again today in California, New Mexico, and Arizona and in any given city in these states. This has been true starting in the 1980¿s to the present. You see out West, like here in Chi town first, young White Men have a choice to assimilate as wannabe¿s in Mexican culture or fight for what little they have left. In California like in Chi town¿s Gay Lord Set¿s first, the young white man finds him self in a new status too, as a minority anywhere in the state here. It is time that this new minorities voice is heard from those that have lived through these not so uncommon experiences, as recorded by ¿Rocker,¿ in his book. The Lords of Lawndale is an excellent read and yeah he kept it real.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very slow Cooley kinda try's to make himself sound like he is someone special but, he really doesn't do anything exciting at all. Also there isn't very much action you keep waiting and waiting for some big to happen but it never does. I mad it about a third of the way through and became totally bored with it.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Robert Cooley didn't drink when he played cards, and he tells you that often in the early going of this tale. The ego has clearly not dwindled as you learn more about him than you want to know. Every court house seems to have its fixers, lawyers who drink and gamble and hang out with unsavory characters. But, by the end of this book, one sees that Cooley did the real thing and you gain some respect for his work to expose the corruption in the courts. The sad part is when you realize that things never really change and that this story is repeated across the country daily.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everyone in America should read this book. This corruption probably happens everywhere. This book is tough to put down and should become a movie. Chapter after chapter you will keep reading to get the entire story of a man who gave up his freedom, gave up his life to let everyone know about the Mob.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down. If Mr. Cooley's stories weren't a matter of record, you'd think it was fiction. Hard to believe this sort of thing goes on right out in the open for years before its finally brought to a halt. Mr. Cooley not only tells his story well, but performed a huge service for the people of the city of Chicago. Its a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being not only a Chicago native, but a relative of one of the 'characters' in Cooley's story, you can bet my level of interest in this project was pretty high. It's one part 'Godfather' (the level of real-life corruption dwarfs what Hollywood could dream up), two parts 'Shield' (the brutal violence of the Outfit is not to be underestimated), and it's defining value: it's all true. A must-read for any Chicagoan or student of criminal justice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Cooley does a great job in telling his story. Funny, witty, and sometimes sarcastic, but a serious undertone best describes this one. Read about how it really was in Chicago from someone that was an important part of it. Hopefully he will consider doing a sequel about his life after Chicago.