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.
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.