Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Boss of the Notorious Chicago Outfit is dead at 89

Reputedly a top figure in the Chicago Outfit for decades, John DiFronzo, 89, died on Monday of complications from dementia in his River Grove home, according to his grandson John.
Despite more than two dozen arrests in his life, DiFronzo — known in the media as “No Nose” for having part of his nose shot off by police in 1949 during an attempted robbery — mostly avoided prison and shunned the spotlight, living inconspicuously for decades in the near western suburb.
DiFronzo was born in Italy and moved with his father, Michael, a metal plater, and his mother, Delores, to Chicago in the mid-1930s. He attended Wells High School on the North Side.
In 1946, DiFronzo was arrested for burglary and was placed under court supervision for six months. In 1949, he was living in Stone Park when he was arrested at age 20 with an accomplice and charged with a robbery on the Gold Coast.
More burglaries followed — so many that DiFronzo and his colleagues were referred to as the Three Minute Gang because they could burglarize a store and leave within three minutes, which was the average time it took police to respond to a burglar alarm.
In December 1949, DiFronzo and an accomplice were looting the Fey-Manning dress shop at 304 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago when they were surprised by police. Both DiFronzo and his accomplice were shot and seriously wounded, with police shooting off part of DiFronzo’s nose. He later underwent plastic surgery to repair his nose.
DiFronzo was sentenced to six months in Cook County Jail in April 1950 on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon related to the dress shop burglary.
For the rest of the 1950s, DiFronzo was part of the burglary gang run by the legendary thief Paul “Peanuts” Panczko, which specialized in rapidly stripping stores of entire stocks of merchandise.
By the early 1960s, DiFronzo was identified by Chicago police as an enforcer and collector for a loan shark gang on the West Side. Later, he sold cars and also co-owned a construction company with his brother, Peter.
With the 1989 death of reputed mob boss Joseph Ferriola, DiFronzo was identified by Tribune reporters to have emerged as the operating boss of the Chicago Outfit.
DiFronzo remained a target for prosecutors. When two other leading mob figures, Sam Carlisi and James Marcello, were indicted in December 1992 on racketeering charges, Lenny Patrick, a turncoat mobster who testified in that case against his former colleagues, stated that DiFronzo and Carlisi had muscled Patrick out of “street taxes” he had collected from one gambler for 15 years.
In 1993, a federal jury in San Diego convicted DiFronzo and an associate, Donald Angelini, of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiring to gain control of an Indian reservation’s gambling casino near San Diego. DiFronzo was sentenced to 37 months in prison, but his sentence later was reduced to 16 months, and he was released in 1994.
In 1997, the Chicago Crime Commission identified DiFronzo as being at the top of the Outfit’s organizational chart, working with the help of advisers Joey “the Clown” Lombardo and Angelo LaPietra.
And although DiFronzo remained in federal prosecutors’ crosshairs, he evaded further prosecution, despite extensive investigations into his activities in the 1990s and early 2000s, including relating to efforts by Rosemont officials to land a casino.
DiFronzo was never indicted as part of the Operation Family Secrets investigation, which resulted in a dozen indictments of mobsters on murder and racketeering charges in 2005. Ultimately, the investigation produced life sentences for Marcello, Lombardo and Frank Calabrese Sr.
Calabrese’s brother Nick testified during the Family Secrets trial that DiFronzo had been among the dozen or more men who fatally beat mob chieftain Anthony Spilotro and his brother Michael in 1986. But DiFronzo was never charged.
In addition to his brother and grandson, DiFronzo is survived by his wife, Rosemary; a son, Michael; and another grandchild.
Services are private.



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