Family Secrets: How to Talk Like a Mobster and a Giveaway

The Last Supper: The Chicago Outfit's Top Bosses

While Tom and I were putting this story together, we thought it would be very interesting to interview Frank Calabrese, Jr., the son who brought down his father, uncle and the majority of the Chicago Outfit. He has been promoting his new book “Operation Family Secrets,” so Tom was able to find him on Facebook.

Frank was very cooperative about assisting us and I watched a few of his interviews on Fox News to get some ideas for questions. In the last segment, he mentioned that he is not in the witness protection program and wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to kill him.

Sooooooooooo, on that note (and not to worry my mom), we are going with Plan B. We are purchasing his book and giving it away to one lucky reader! All you need to do is leave a comment or question for Tom to answer on this post.

And since I am from Chicago, I am encouraging multiple entries. Share this story on Facebook (let me know on Mom-Mom-Mom’s FB page) and you have another entry. One winner will be randomly selected at noon (CT) on Saturday, May 7. (Sorry, can only ship to U.S. & Canada.)

To catch up on the series, you can visit this page.

Tom’s turn:
One of the hardest parts of being a juror was trying to sort out all of the people who were involved. Everyone had nicknames — Joey the Clown, The German, Goomba, Milwaukee Phil, Twan, The Indian, Big Tuna — it was hard to keep track of who was who.

Following the wired conversations between Frank Sr. and Frank Jr. was like translating adult Pig Latin.  They often used different gender pronouns, referring to a “he” as a “she” or vice versa.

Some of the sorting out that was required:
“Go see that girl about the recipe, she has a great recipe that you need to try.”

Translated: Talking about the street tax that needed to get collected from Connie’s Pizza.

Even “work” cars had names.  It escapes me now, but I think Sally, or something like that was used for performing heists or murders.

It was so difficult to follow this, and it was no wonder why dozens of notebooks were completed during this trial.  I filled three cover to cover, and I was not a stellar student by any stretch.

One of the hardest conversations to follow on the wire taps was about Jimmy DiForti. Frank Sr. was so paranoid about being recorded in jail that he made up nicknames for nicknames. Little did he know that his son was secretly recording his confessions, murder by murder.

Chicago Sun Times reporter Steve Warmbir translates the conversation:

“In one recorded conversation, Frank Calabrese Sr. refers to a fellow mobster he thinks might be a stool pigeon, James DiForti, by his nickname Poker.

DiForti was called Poker because he was always playing poker.

But Calabrese Sr. decides that calling DiForti Poker in conversations with his son isn’t good enough.
Calabrese Sr. is apparently concerned someone could be listening in and apparently know whom he’s referring to.

So the elder Calabrese decides DiForti will be codenamed Tires in the conversation.

But wait, that’s still not good enough.

Calabrese Sr. decides to call DiForti the codename Tires in Italian – Rota.

That is, when Calabrese Sr. remembers to use the code at all. A few times he just calls him Jimmy.

Also, for those who are following along at home, in the secret recordings, a man is sometimes referred to as a woman, and a short guy, reputed mob killer and Calabrese Sr. pal, Ronald Jarrett, is referred to as the Tall Guy.

Except when Calabrese Sr. refers to him as Ronnie.”

Think you have it figured out?  Check out this video of Frank Sr. and Frank Jr. and see if you can translate what they are saying on Steve’s blog post: How’s the Curly Girl Doing?

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Frank’s book by leaving a comment or question here or by sharing this story on Facebook. (Click image for more info or to order through Barnes & Noble.)  Three posts left in the series.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.mom-mom-mom.com/2011/05/06/family-secrets-how-to-talk-like-a-mobster-and-a-giveaway/


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  1. meg

    First to enter! sort out the shipping to these shores!

  2. Ginger

    A question for both: Did the local police have any idea that you were involved in this case, and if so – what did they think? Wouldn’t the FBI have to inform them that there may be a drive-by shooting on your street? Did either of you feel like you were being followed during the case? Were you careful about what time of day and where you went when you left your house? Avoid any weekend leisure trips to chicago? This is a GREAT story!

  3. CeeDooh

    The Chicago mob. That is the real deal. Where you able to sleep at night? Or during the day?

  4. Michelle

    My 94 year old grandma is just starting to share stories about what happened in my great grandpas barber shop with some of the mob connected people that would get their hair cut in his shop. Very interesting stuff.

  5. Cluck

    I’m affraid TomKat has a new circle of friends. Do your buddies kneecaps anymore or does everyone just get offed? Can a mobster get double indemnity insurance these days? Seems to be a no-brainer for the spouse.

  6. Karin

    Hey you two,
    reliving this must be even more surreal now that it is behind you than when you were living in that surreal chapter… I don’t remember, did your kids know Tom was on THIS trial at that time???

    Yikes, three years later. Yikes.

    Miss you!

  7. Anna

    I can’t wait to try out my new “mobster vernacular”!!! So excited!! “Va Fa Napoli”…

  8. Lisa Litviak

    this is the best story ever! I am on the edge of my seat! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  9. Gerri O'Reilly-Hyde

    I’m having a good time reading this, I never knew you two were such good writers.

  10. lwjb

    I want to hear more about Red

  11. Donna

    ok, I know I’m too late for the contest but, I just got to reading emails and FB now. Another great one! Sounds like the moral is; keep enemies close but your son closer?!!! A Happy Mother’s day to Karen!

  12. Goomba

    Hi Ginger,
    Thanks for following. Local police had no idea, and neither did a good portion of our neighbors. I never really thought I was being followed during the trial. It would have been very easy as I walked to the train (as did most of the other jurors every day. We didn’t worry about leaving the house, life was pretty normal in appearance to anyone on the outside. Thanks again for following, remain patient it will be back to the normal stuff soon!!

  13. Goomba


    I love the name!! I could sleep at night, because Lorazapam (sp?) is a hell of a drug. Sleeping during the day I’m a God at, but unfortunately I was in a jury box and couldn’t. One juror got busted for sleeping, however his commute was 2 hours+ to Dirksen.

    Thanks for following….


  14. Goomba

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for the post. I am hearing more and more stories about the Sopranos like meetings held at doctors offices. Barber shop is a great one too!!! I appreciate your following!!


  15. TomKat


    I never had many friends to start off with, and kneecaps are overrated. No sure of the insurance laws out there, but I am a pillar of health so no worries here.

    Keep it real, hopefully we ride in the same cart Milk Day. Thanks for the support.


  16. Kinger

    Hi Karin,

    Thanks for checking in. With Missy I don’t think had any idea as to what was going on, and was more focused on looking good for school. Junior just ate and filled his pants most of the time.

    I don’t think they had a clue, but Karen may know more.

    Thanks much for checking in and supporting the blog….


  17. Goomba

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for the support. I’m not bright enough to know what your are talking about, but appreciate the support nonetheless.


  18. Goomba


    Thanks so much for your support. I really appeciate it!!!


  19. Kinger


    Thanks so much for following. Your sister wanted to make sure that the bad people new who’s house was who’s!!!



  20. TomKat


    Thanks for the support. “Red” has been in touch with me and is following the blog. I am hoping she will leave a guest reply. Carol Marin wants no part of this or me, much to my shagrin…

    Keep it real, top of the foodchain….


  21. Goomba

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for the support. It will take a little twist soon, hang on.

    I hope all is well,


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