Peek inside former mobster's new book

March 4, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The case sent his father to prison along with other top mob bosses.

The book isn't due out until next week, but the I-Team received an advance copy.

Calabrese Jr.'s book is part autobiography, part trial recap and part mob family tell-all.

The book, combined with an exclusive interview that Calabrese did with ABC airing later on Nightline, offers a detailed insiders take on life in the trenches of the Chicago Outfit.

"You know, movies-- movies-- portray organized crime as this luxurious, beautiful thing that everybody's taking care of, and there's all these loyalties. And in reality, there's not. They're only good for what they'll use you for. And your life is not worth nothing. // And when you bring it into your family, it's gonna rip your family apart. And my family, and myself is a prime example of that," said Frank Calabrese Jr., ex-Chicago mobster.

From his family came the secrets within the Family Secrets prosecution.

In the book by the same name to be released on Tuesday, Calabrese Jr. recounts time spent with his father Frank "the Breeze" Calabrese in the federal penitentiary at Milan, Mich., where his dad clouted his way into a commissary job so he could cook his favorite Italian meals.

That's also where Junior claims to have been faced with a choice in 1998: Murder his abusive father or to turn on him and abandon the outfit.

"I call myself a lot of things, but I don't call myself a rat. And I'll tell you why. Rats run and hide. I don't run and hide that's why I'm not in the witness protection program," Calabrese Jr. said. "I'm a cooperating witness, I'm a turncoat, I'm a bad son, whatever you want to call me, but I don't feel that I'm a rat."

In the book, Calabrese writes that when he first wore a wire for the FBI, the government's recording equipment failed and his father's first murder confession was lost.

Junior also describes how the mob used codes to keep records of juice loans and confuse the FBI. A "checkmark" meant $50, a "circle" $10, and a "slash" stood for $5.

And when hoodlums thought the FBI was watching their meetings, they would say "scarpe grande" to describe the big shoes favored by FBI agents. In conversation, if you said my "feet are bothering me," that meant you were being followed, and if your feet were "hurting real bad," there were many FBI cars on the scene.

Calabrese Jr. calls his father an Outfit "executioner" and has said he was involved in or directly responsible for 14 gangland murders.

Calabrese Jr. himself says he never committed or even witnessed any actual killings, but says he carried a .22-caliber pistol wherever he went, a gun that has always been like an Outfit pocket protector.

After ABC7 news at 10 p.m. Friday, Nightline will air the complete Calabrese interview story. Correspondent Bill Weir, who knows a little bit about Chicago himself, talked at length with Frank Calabrese Jr. in Arizona, where Calabrese Jr. now lives.

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