Exclusive: A look into mobster Frank Calabrese Sr's FBI file - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Exclusive: A look into mobster Frank Calabrese Sr's FBI file

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Frank Calabrese Senior was one of Chicago’s most notorious gangsters -- a stone cold killer who died in federal prison on Christmas Day in 2012.

FOX 32 News obtained a copy of Calabrese's secret FBI file, which gives new insight into his climb to mob power and a mysterious mention of Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa. The FBI released over 500 heavily redacted pages going back to 1978 that reveal what the government knew --and didn't know -- about the feared mob assassin.

"You can see exactly what's going on with Frank Calabrese back in the 1960's and the 1970's and the case we put together on him in the 80's," said former FBI agent Tom Bourgeois, who helped develop the government's landmark "family secrets" case against Calabrese and several other longtime Chicago Outfit leaders in 2007.

Calabrese first crossed the FBI’s radar in the 1960's. A 1968 report noted that "Calabrese has developed a large 'juice' loan operation in the last few years but he has made several enemies in the process."

The FBI also noted his nicknames, ‘Frankie C’ and ‘Breeze’; as well as his supposed jobs and his favorite hangouts, which were mostly bars and restaurants on the North and Northwest sides.

By 1970, agents connected Calabrese to infamous Outfit leader Angelo "The Hook" La Pietra.

"They’re getting source information that identifies him as being engaged with La Cosa Nostra. He's obviously an associate of major players in the La Cosa Nostra in Chicago," added Bourgeois.

The FBI files also revealed that in the 1970's, agents spent a lot of time spying on a brick three flat in Elmwood Park -- which was then the Calabrese home. In fact, they would park their cars to do the surveillance right across the street behind a fast food restaurant.

"They tried to be discreet but we knew they were there, even as young kids in the neighborhood," said Frank Calabrese Jr, Calabrese’s son, who is now living in Phoenix. "One time we go over to the cars, knock on the windows, and they all laid down in the car, pretended like they were sleeping."

Calabrese Jr. said it's clear to him his dad knew he was being watched.

"He always taught us when you're being followed, go anywhere. Do anything you want, but go nowhere near where you don't want to bring the G around," Calabrese Jr. said.

The files also showed that agents kept meticulous records as Calabrese Sr. made his rounds collecting from juice loan customers.

By
the mid-70's, the FBI investigation into Calabrese had expanded to Las Vegas and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The file even includes a land survey of the Calabrese summer home in Williams Bay, where he was observed "wearing a green sweatshirt and bermuda shorts."

But while the FBI knew Calabrese was a "syndicate muscle man and loan shark," the files show they didn't know he was also one of the outfit's most trusted hit men; murdering 13 people between 1970 and 1983.

"We had no idea that he was engaged in these murders," said Bourgeois

So, was Calabrese connected to a famous presumed murder -- the 1975 disappearance of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa?

Hoffa's name appears on a single heavily redacted page in Calabrese's FBI file. Calabrese Jr. said his father frequently traveled to Detroit and knew mob leaders there, but rarely spoke about Hoffa.

"I would remember a few times when we would talk about Jimmy Hoffa that he would say 'Yeah, they ain't never going to find him.' And the way he said it, just like he knew something about that or had some interaction with that,” said Calabrese Jr. "It always made me wonder what did he really know or what involvement did he have? But if he did, he took it to his grave."

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