'Mayor of Little Italy' may testify in Chicago mob trial

June 21, 2011 4:31:51 PM PDT
Three weeks from now Chicago's latest Outfit trial is scheduled to start in federal court. A trio of aging Chicago mobsters face racketeering/burglary charges.

In this Intelligence Report: We've learned that the government witnesses may include one of the city's most controversial businessmen, the man known as "the Mayor of Little Italy."

He is Oscar D'Angelo, whose Chicago political influence began in the 1950s with Richard J. Daley, yielded him millions as a well-connected developer and rainmaker, and ended in a feud with Richard M. Daley almost 10 years ago. D'Angelo is the flamboyant, self-styled "mayor of Little Italy."

Now, at age 79, D'Angelo finds himself on the prosecution's list of potential witnesses in the city's next big mob trial.

Next month, in the trial of three Chicago hoodlums, D'Angelo may have to speak publicly from the witness stand in federal court.

Jerry Scalise, Art Rachel and Robert Pullia are charged with plotting to hold-up suburban banks and with scheming a break-in at the home of deceased South Side rackets boss Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra.

Scalise and Rachel are best known for stealing the famous 40-carat Marlborough diamond in 1980, a daring daylight robbery from a popular jewelry store in London, England. The men did long prison stretches in the UK and returned to Chicago, authorities say, to resume their careers as Outfit burglars.

While it is not clear why the government would want D'Angelo to testify against them, it would be an unusual and potentially uncomfortable position for him.

First, D'Angelo is a defrocked attorney himself, in 1989 having been disbarred for giving rental cars as gifts to city officials, judges and other politicians. In 2000 he then scarred his three-decade long relationship with the Daley family by loaning money interest to a top Daley official and working as an unregistered lobbyist.

Federal authorities aren't talking about why D'Angelo is on the witness list, although with a park along the Eisenhower Expressway named after him and with his historical perspective of Taylor Street where the gangland thugs operated, perhaps D'Angelo will merely be a foundation witness for the prosecution.

It is not unusual for the government to put people on the witness list who don't end up being called to testify just to cover their bases. But D'Angelo's name certainly attracts attention.

And, there is another well-known name on the prosecutor's list, former Chicago police chief of detectives William Hanhardt, who is in prison for his own role in an Outfit jewel theft racket.

Attempts by the I-Team to reach D'Angelo were unsuccessful.


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