Chicago mobster gets free pass for funeral

August 13, 2010 4:45:26 PM PDT
In a cooperative that sounds like it's straight from the Sopranos, Chicago mob boss Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno has promised a federal judge to observe the Outfit's sacred code of silence known as "Omerta."

Or something like that.

Sarno, who has been under house arrest on $1 million bond, will be allowed to leaving electronic monitoring Saturday morning to attend a family funeral.

But under one condition.

"Mr. Sarno agrees to travel directly to and from the funeral and burial and will refrain from speaking with anyone associated with the Chicago Outfit" states the agreement struck with U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier on Wednesday.

Mr. Sarno has been under home confinement while awaiting trial on charges that he supervised the bombing of a Berwyn business that was competing against the mob's wildly popular-and illegal-video poker business.

There doesn't seem to be any precedent for such a general pledge-to extend the mob's sacred code of silence to an accused mob boss who wants to bend his federal bond so that he can attend a funeral. "Omerta" is a key covenant of the blood oath taken by Outfit members. Sarno is considered a "made member" of the mob according to federal law enforcement officials, because he participated in an official "making" ceremony.

Under the terms of his bond according to federal records, Sarno is "restricted to his residence at all times except for medical needs or treatment, religious services and court appearances." He needed special permission to attend the funeral.

But it isn't the first time that Sarno has been allowed to leave the electronic confinement of his suburban Westchester home on family outings. Federal judges okayed his requests to attend a family holiday dinner last December and to attend an Easter gathering at his sister's house last spring if he promised to mingle only with actual blood relatives.

The Christmas festivities were held at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in downtown Chicago on Dec. 24. The Easter dinner was at his sister's home in suburban Broadview.

Saturday's funeral rites are for Sarno's first cousin, Harry Casaiani according to federal court records. Casaiani owned a popular suburban pizzeria. "Mr. Casaiani passed away on August 9, 2010. On August 14, 2010, Mr. Sarno requests the ability to arrive at St. Cletus Parish, 600 W. 55th Street, La Grange, IL for a viewing beginning at 8:00 a.m. and stay through the funeral mass" states Sarno's motion. "Mr. Sarno also requests attendance at the burial which will take place directly after the funeral mass and will be located at Mary Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1400 S. Wolf Road, Hillside, IL 60162. All services are expected to conclude at 3:00 p.m."

Sarno was sentenced in 1995 to 6 1/2 years in prison for his role in a mob gambling rackets case. He was also named by the FBI in 2002 as one of the top five threats to government informant Nick Calabrese. He is an accused racketeer in the current federal bombing case.

Another defendant in the Sarno case also recently obtained court permission to leave house arrest for a family event. Reputed Chicago video poker king Casey Szaflarski will be allowed to attend his daughter's wedding on Aug. 21 at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago.

In the court OK however, Szaflarski was ordered not to speak with one of the wedding guests?his alleged Outfit boss, Frank "Toots" Caruso. Mr. Szaflarski may have to bite his tongue however. Caruso is the father of the groom.

Obituary listing for the cousin whose funeral Sarno will attend:

Harry A. Casciani, 58, of Burr Ridge, beloved Fianc? of Lilian; devoted Father of Gino, Rocco (Nina), and Carmen (Jacquie); loving Grandfather of Luca, Danilo, and Mia; fond Brother of Linda (Stanley), Laura (Jim), and Christine (Steve); son of the late Sergio and the late Jeanette; dear Uncle and friend of many. Harry was the proud owner of, and passionate about, his business Casciani's Pizzeria; and cared for his staff and customers like family. He was a very proud member of the Chicago Bears Family and above all else, loved his family, friends, and food. Visitation Friday 3 to 9p.m., at Hallowell & James Funeral Home, 1025 W.55th St. Countryside. Funeral Prayers Saturday 9:15 a.m., from the funeral home to St. Cletus Church, LaGrange. Mass 10 a.m. Entombment Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Funeral Info 708-352-6500.


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