- Frank Balistrieri
Frank P. Balistrieri aka Mr. Big, Frankie Bal, Mr. Slick, and Mad Bomber (
May 27, 1918- February 7, 1993) was a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mafiaboss who was a central figure in casinoskimming during the 1980s.
Balistrieri was college educated and attended law school for six months. Short in stature, Balistieri took great pride in his appearance. As a young man, he started working for the Milwaukee crime family, which owed allegiance to the powerful
Chicago Outfitcriminal organization in Chicago. Balistieri soon built a reputation for arrogance, cruelty and ruthlessness. Balistieri allegedly received the "Mad Bomber" nickname because he frequently used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attached to cars as weapons against his enemies. His father-in-law and Milwaukee boss, John Alioto, was soon grooming Balistrieri as his successor.
In 1961, Alioto retired and Ballistrieri took control of the Milwaukee family. Balistieri eventually referred to himself as, "“....the most powerful man in Milwaukee,”". After the "hit" on acutance, August "Augie" Palmisano, Balistrieri was quoted as saying, "He called me a name - to my face - and now they can't find his skin!" "Balistieri conducted his business at a table at Snug's restaurant in Milwaukee's Shorecrest Hotel, giving orders over a red telephone.In March 1967, Balistrieri was convicted of income
tax evasionand was sent to prison for two years. In June 1971, he was released.
March 20, 1974, Balistrieri met with Kansas City mobsters Nicholas Civellaand Carl DeLuna, in Las Vegas. During the meeting, the mobsters agreed that Balistrieri would meet with the mafia front man in Las Vegas, Allen Glick, to secure an option to purchase part of his Argent Corporation. Glick would agree to sell half of the corporation's ownership to Balistrieri's sons, John Balistrieriand Joseph P. Balistrieri, for $25,000 which, as the mobster later claimed, "...he had an obligation arising from the assistance to Glick in obtaining a pension fundcommitment in the amount of $62.75 million." [http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/birns_greene/33.html]
Soon Balistieri and Civella were feuding over each other's share from the skimming operations. Finally, they requested
arbitrationfrom The Outfit. The results of the arrangement, as ruled by Outfit leader Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa and underboss John "Jackie The Lackey" Cerone, demanded that The Outfit receive a 25% tax as its cut in skimming operations. The 1982 car bombing of mob associate and the Stardust Casino's Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, in Las Vegas, was attributed to Balistieri.
In September 1983, Balistrieri and his two sons were indicted on charges of skimming over $2 million in unreported income from the
Fremont Hotel and Casinoand the Stardust. This was the first case in which federal authoritieshad successfully connected mobsters from four different states. While awaiting sentencing on extortionand bookmakingcharges, Balistrieri claimed to be innocent. He even told the press, "The first time I heard the word, 'Mafia,' was when I read it in the newspapers." However, on May 30, 1984, Balistrieri was sentenced to 13 years in prisonand fined $30,000. His sons were convicted of extorting a vending machinebusinessman and each received two years in prison.1
In September 1985, Balistrieri was
triedin Kansas City, Missouri with eight other associates for skimming an estimated $2 million of the gross incomeof the Argent Corporation from Syndicatecasino operations. Federal prosecutors further accused Balistrieri of skimming the unreported incomeand distributing it to organized crime figures in Kansas City, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cleveland. In failing health, Balistrieri pled guiltyto two counts of conspiracyin exchange for dropping federal charges, which included attempting to conceal ownership of a casinoto skim profits and interstate travel to aid racketeering. He also attempted to shield his sons from any charges.
In December 1985, Balistrieri was sentenced to 10 years in prison (to run
concurrently with his 13-year sentence from 1984). Close to achieving a seat on the ruling Mafia Commissionin New York, Balistrieri was thwarted by this prison sentence. According to the Bureau of Prisons, Balistrieri was released from prison in 1991.
Frank Balistrieri died of heart-related natural causes in early 1993. Joseph Balistrieri allegedly replaced him as boss of the Milwaukee family.
*Capeci, Jerry. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia". Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 978-0-02-864225-3
*Neff, James. "Mobbed Up: Jackie Presser's High-Wire Life in the Teamsters, the Mafia, and the FBI". New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989.
*Turner, William W. "Hoover's FBI". New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1993.
*United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. "Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi - Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations". 1988. [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC19099088&id=DQeMhDjHx58C&q=Frank+Balistrieri&dq=Frank+Balistrieri&pgis=1]
1. Ambler, Jay C., "Milwaukee, WI," ("Mafia Family Cities"), Pg. 3; americanmafia.com
*Kelly, Robert J. "Encyclopedia of Organized Crime in the United States". Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-313-30653-2
*Sifakis, Carl. "The Mafia Encyclopedia". New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-8160-5694-1
* [http://members.fortunecity.com/sosdie/mob/family/milwaukee/balistrieri.htm Dieland Mob: Frank Balistrieri]
* [http://www.americanmafia.com/Cities/Milwaukee.html AmericanMafia.com - 26 Mafia Cities: Milwaukee, WI] by Jay C. Ambler
* [http://www.thelaborers.net/documents/hall_statement_re_balisteri.htm Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime] , testimony from undercover federal agent Clark B. Hall
* [http://www.thelaborers.net/court_cases/balistieri_searches_497_fsupp_1283.htm United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin: Searches Conducted on March 8, 1980]
* [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_20050619/ai_n14673095 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Tracking city's most dangerous' mobster] by Bill Janz
* [http://www2.jsonline.com/news/metro/nov01/bal12111101a.asp Milwaukee Journal Sentinal: Balistrieri daughter seeks many decades of brothers' records] by Tom Kertscher
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A06E6DD143BF933A25753C1A965948260 New York Times: Milwaukee Crime Figure Guilty in Gambling Case]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A07EFDB1738F932A25757C0A962948260 New York Times: Crime Figure Is Convicted]
* [http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.jsp Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator Website]
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