Despite photo appearances, Outfit history will record that D'Amico was no underworld-dork, and could see quite clearly.
The hoodlum's sharp eyesight was evident during one legendary encounter he had with police in 1983. D'Amico's car had been curbed in northwest suburban Palatine on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to authorities, the drunk D'Amico asked "do you know who I am?" When the officer answered that he didn't know, or care, D'Amico proceeded to bite off one of the patrolman's fingers. Despite the gory outcome of the traffic stop, in typical Outfit fashion, no jail time would be served.
As with many mobsters who claim either Christmas or New Year's Day as their birthdates, D'Amico always said he was born on Jan. 1, 1936, and official paperwork seemed to back that up.
His nickname, "the Mover," was an apparent reference to his well-honed skills at getting things done, whether those "things" involved collecting on juice loans or convincing Outfit-connected business owners that it would be in their best interest to pay the mob's so-called "street tax," a fee for permission to operate.
Despite being an octogenarian, when D'Amico died on Wednesday night, multiple sources have told the ABC 7 I-Team that he was still assigned to one of the highest-ranking posts in the Outfit: consigliere. That title, adviser to the mob, has been held by some of the Chicago Outfit's biggest names over the decades, including Anthony "Joe Batters" Accardo who rose from Al Capone's driver to run the entire shebang.
When D'Amico died, mobologists considered him to be the No. 3-ranking man in an illicit organization that had been decimated by other deaths, prosecutions and lifetime prison sentences. D'Amico's biggest clout, then-reigning boss John "No Nose" DiFronzo, died two years ago. DiFronzo and D'Amico cut their teeth on the same West Side Outfit crew and were considered yin and yang crooks. In one infamous gangland meeting, the I-Team followed D'Amico to "Lunch with No Nose" in a suburban eatery in 2009. The bosses had all gathered that March day to discuss business and pleasures, unaware that they were being surveilled by an ABC7 news crew.
"D'Amico was close to John DiFronzo for quite some time" said long-time Chicago organized crime expert John Binder, a former professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "(D'Amico's) own money was (as an investor) in the large scale marijuana farms the Outfit ran in Inverness and Carol Stream some years ago, alongside that of John DiFronzo and his brother Joe,. He was also part of John DiFronzo's inner circle, meeting with him every day at the old Loon Cafe and after that in another near west suburban location for an extended lunch" said Binder, author of the The Chicago Outfit in 2003.
His criminal career began with far less pomp, more than 60 years ago, in a manner that many mobsters have atop their records -- gambling charges, street fights and drunken encounters with police. Despite having skated through the run-ins, in late 1994 D'Amico faced a more serious legal threat when he was indicted by federal prosecutors in a sweeping racketeering case. Faced with secret recordings, courtesy of corrupt ex-attorney Robert Cooley who was cooperating with the FBI, D'Amico pleaded guilty, admitting his role in the scheme and his position in the Outfit. He was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
"With the death of Marco D'Amico, another of the Outfit's old guard, along with John DiFronzo and Joey Lombardo, has passed away" concludes mobologist John Binder. "But the organization continues to roll on, although it is nothing like what it was at its height in the early 1960s. The Outfit will find someone else to fill his spot at the highest rungs of their organization chart, and they will continue to do what they are doing at the present time. Which is certainly a great deal less than they once did, given how their world has changed over the last several decades because of law enforcement efforts against them and a long list of other factors."