Feds indict Mob hit man from Rockford

Former Rockford and Freeport resident Frank G. ‘Gumba’ Saladino found dead during raid in Kane County

Thirteen others indicted in ‘Operation Family Secret’

Calling the indictment of 14 members and associates of the Chicago Mafia “unprecedented,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald alleged April 25 that mobsters operated a decades-long organized crime operation that included 18 “mob-related” murders and one attempted murder between 1970 and 1986. One of those indicted, former Rockford and Freeport resident Frank G. “Gumba” Saladino, 59, was alleged to have “committed murder and other criminal activities on behalf of the Chicago Outfit.”

However, prosecutors won’t get a chance to try Saladino on the charges. He was found dead at about 6 a.m., April 25 in a hotel room in Hampshire, Ill., located in rural Kane County, according to Randall Samborn, assistant U.S. attorney and public information officer. Samborn told The Rock River Times that Saladino was found dead when authorities went to arrest him at a hotel, which later identified as the Super 8 hotel.

Samborn added that the Kane County Coroner would conduct an autopsy to try to determine the cause of death.

The Chicago Tribune reported April 26, Saladino was found with $25,000 in cash and $70,000 in checks in his room.

Initial reports by authorities suggested Saladino died of natural causes. Saladino complained in a 2000 lawsuit filed in Winnebago County that he suffered from chronic health problems in part due to a 1986 car crash.

Samborn said he couldn’t give details about Saladino’s involvement in the alleged murders, and referred further questions to the 41-page, nine-count indictment. Saladino is identified in the indictment as a “member of the South Side/26th Street crew.” His last known Rockford address in 2004 was 1303 Montague Rd., according to state records.

The FBI-led probe named “Operation Family Secrets,” alleged the Outfit was involved in 18 murders and racketeering conspiracy extending from the mid-1960s to the present. The alleged racketeering involved sports betting, video gambling, loan sharking and collecting “street tax” from participants in illegal activities.

Land dispute

According to 17th Judicial Circuit court documents, Saladino was involved in a bitter business dispute with partners that included Salvatore “Sam” Galluzzo, who, along with Saladino, owned Worldwide General Contracting Inc. On March 4, 1984, the Rockford Register Star identified Galluzzo as a “mob soldier.” Galluzzo is believed to still reside in Rockford on the city’s far east side.

In addition to Galluzzo, Saladino named 13 other defendants in his 2000 lawsuit. Among those named by Saladino in the lawsuit were Rockford attorney Frank P. Vella Jr., Galluzzo’s brother Natale Galluzzo, City of Loves Park and Village of Rockton Attorney Paul S. Nicolosi, and Salvatore Galluzzo’s son, Gerlando “Gino” Galluzzo.

Along with Nicolosi, Gerlando Galluzzo is an attorney at the law firm of Nicolosi and Associates, P.C., which was founded in 1948 by patriarch Philip A. Nicolosi.

According to the Nicolosi law firm’s Web site, in 1992, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development chose the law firm as the exclusive closing agent for Cook County, and the surrounding six counties.

Saladino’s lawsuit involved a dispute dating back to at least July 1991 that concerned construction and “improvement” at the northeast corner of East State Street and Perryville Road. The business partners planned to build a mausoleum on the site, and City of Rockford officials contributed $75,000 to the effort.

Saladino alleged fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud by the defendants concerning the land deal, which is now home to several businesses, including the Nicolosi law firm.

The defendants successfully argued that an April 19, 1999, agreement between Saladino, Nicolosi Trustee Deborah J. Nicolosi and five Galluzzo family members nullified Saladino’s claims in the lawsuit. They argued the 2000 lawsuit breached the 1999 settlement agreement.

However, Saladino implied in the lawsuit that he was coerced into “transactions” at the behest of former Winnebago County Sheriff Donald J. Gasparini. Saladino lost his arguments when Associate Judge J. Edward Prochaska ruled for the defendants.

Circuit Judge Ronald L. Pirrello recused himself from the lawsuit on Aug. 16, 2000.

Paul Nicolosi and Gerlando Galluzzo were unavailable April 25 for comment about this article.

Case dismissed

In 1997, Saladino was indicted for aggravated battery against Loves Park Police Officer Charles Lynde. He was also indicted for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Saladino was arrested at the intersection of Forest Hills Road and Zenith Cutter (Parkway).

The intersection is near where mob-connected Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens’ campaign fund paid for printing services between 2000 and 2003 to companies located at 5251 Zenith Pkwy. (see May 26, 2004, article “Rosemont’s Rockford Connections”). Whether Saladino’s arrest near the intersection is connected to the printing companies could not be determined by time of publication.

On motions by Winnebago County State’s Attorney Paul Logli’s office, all four counts against Saladino were recommended for dismissal. Circuit Judge K. Craig Peterson accepted the recommendations, according to court documents.


Former Chicago Mob attorney and federal informant Robert Cooley told The Rock River Times last November he was assisting investigators in what turned into the sweeping indictment handed down April 25 that included Saladino. During interviews, Cooley also said Mob capo Marco D’Amico had crews “openly” working in the Rockford area during the 1970s through the 1980s (see Nov. 24, 2004, article “Chicago Mob worked openly here”).

However, D’Amico is reported to be a member of the North Side crew, not the South Side crew, to which Saladino is said to have been affiliated.

In addition to D’Amico, another Chicago mobster from the North Side crew, William Daddano Jr., also had connections to Rockford through the now-defunct Midwest Distributing Co., which was located at 212 N. Madison St.

In addition to Cooley, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in several articles in the past six months that a key informant in solving the murder cases was Nicholas W. Calabrese, 62, of Chicago. He and his brother Frank Calabrese, Sr., 68, of Oak Brook are named as defendants in the indictment.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported April 25 that Nick Calabrese “is believed to have participated in a number of mob hits and has been able to tell investigators details about the involvement of others.”

One of those hits may have involved the infamous June 1986 deaths of Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro and his brother, Michael Spilotro. Their deaths were depicted in the 1995 movie Casino.

Anthony Spilotro was the Outfit’s main enforcer in Las Vegas.

By the early morning hours of April 26, even the British Broadcasting Corporation’s World Service radio was reporting the indictments.

To view the federal prosecutor’s 41-page indictment on the Web, visit: www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln

The indicted

In addition to former Rockford resident Frank G. Saladino, Nick Calabrese of Chicago and Frank Calabrese of Oak Brook, federal prosecutors indicted the following individuals:

James Marcello, 63, Lombard

Joseph Lombardo, 75, Chicago

Michael Marcello, 55, Schaumburg

Nicholas Ferriola, 29, Westchester

Joseph Venezia, 62, Hillside

Thomas Johnson, 49, Willow Springs

Dennis Johnson, 34, Lombard

Michael Ricci, 75, Streamwood

Frank Schweihs, 75, Dania, Fla.

Anthony Doyle, 60, Wickenburg, Ariz.

Paul Schiro, 67, Phoenix, Ariz.

The victims

Murder and attempted murder victims named in the federal indictment include the following:

Michael Albergo, also known as “Hambone,” in or about August 1970, in Chicago

Daniel Seifert, on or about Sept. 27, 1974, in Bensenville

Paul Haggerty, on or about June 24,1976, in Chicago

Henry Cosentino, on or about March 15, 1977

John Mendell, on or about Jan. 16, 1

978, in Chicago

Donald Renno and Vincent Moretti, on or about Jan. 31,1978, in Cicero

William and Charlotte Dauber, on or about July 2, 1980, in Will County

William Petrocelli, on or about Dec. 30, 1980, in Cicero

Michael Cagnoni, on or about June 24, 1981, in DuPage County

Nicholas D’Andrea, on or about Sept. 13, 1981, in Chicago Heights

Attempted murder of Individual A, on or about April 24, 1982, in Lake County

Richard D. Ortiz and Arthur Morawski, on or about July 23,1983, in Cicero

Emil Vaci, on or about June 7, 1986, in Phoenix

Anthony and Michael Spilotro, on or about June 14, 1986, in DuPage County

John Fecarotta, on or about Sept. 14, 1986, in Chicago

Galluzzo history

The 1990s was not the only time the Galluzzo family received money from the City of Rockford.

According to court documents, on Aug. 18, 1982, Natale Galluzzo allegedly set fire to a home at 1028 Ferguson St., on the city’s west side. Prosecutors charged Galluzzo with arson “with the intent to defraud an insurer.”

However, on the recommendation of Winnebago County State’s Attorney Dan Doyle’s office, the charges were dismissed on June 24, 1983.

The City of Rockford bought the Ferguson Street property from Natale Galluzzo and his wife almost one year after the incident on Aug. 10, 1983. Not only did the city pay the Galluzzos $2,437.30 for demolition of the building on the property, the money was exempted from transfer tax, which sources said was unusual.

Doyle is now a temporary judge in the 17th Judicial Circuit. He came out of retirement late last year to hear felony cases to ease jail overcrowding.

From the April 27-May 3, 2005, issue

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