Chicago Daily Herald

Sources Say The Outfit Threatening Judge's Life

Bill Granger

February 03, 1999

There is an Outfit contract out on the life of Judge Daniel Locallo.

He is the criminal court judge who sent Frank Caruso Jr. to prison for eight years for his part in the racial beating of Lenard Clark.

The contract is because of that sentence, according to my sources.

Clark is a black kid who walked into a white neighborhood called Armour Square near Bridgeport and was beaten senseless. He was attacked by three kids who are white. Caruso was identified as one of the three attackers.

The white kids beat up Clark until he was brain damaged because he was black and was not supposed to walk the streets of a white neighborhood.

The FBI received word that a contract was out on Judge Locallo's life nine days ago, according to my source. After making their checks, the G took it seriously enough to notify the judge and ask for protection for him from local cops.

The judge is now escorted to work by Cook County sheriff's police and is being guarded around the clock by Chicago police.

State's Attorney Dick Devine took the contract seriously the moment he was notified by the FBI. Devine said Tuesday that it was "outrageous" for the crime syndicate to even think of hitting a judge. "Hit" is murder in the jargon of the Outfit.

He said it was "sad that a judge doing his duty" was now in danger for his life.

Caruso's father, Frank Sr., has been identified by federal law enforcement sources as a crime syndicate figure. Organized crime is still everywhere in Chicago, in legal and illegal businesses. The contract for murder is part of doing business in the Outfit.

After Judge Locallo handed down the sentence following a jury verdict, there was an organized attempt to have him recalled in the November election on the judicial retention ballot. It was not successful in part because Judge Locallo notified local media about the recall and received maximum publicity. He and his supporters said the recall was intended to punish him for giving young Caruso a heavy sentence.

A source said Devine's prosecutor's office is cooperating at every level with the FBI in identifying threats, source of threats and whether others connected with the case are in danger of being assassinated. The two assistant state's attorney's who prosecuted Caruso are not being threatened, a spokesman for Devine said.

Organized crime is called LCN in FBI files, which identify its roots in the Sicilian organization called La Cosa Nostra, which literally means "Our Thing." In Chicago, since the days of Al Capone in the 1920s, it has been called "The Outfit." The Outfit has figured in corruption of the judiciary, police and government locally for nearly all of this century, most recently exposed in Operation Greylord indictments and trials.

Other organized crime "families" have developed apart from the Outfit but also along racial and ethnic lines, including Hispanic and black gangs, including the Gangster Disciples.

The feds were tipped to the contract on Locallo's life by mob informants, according to my source.

Another source suggested to me that the contract would be considered a bad idea by others in the Outfit. "You don't threaten a judge over something like this that doesn't affect the business," he said.

The power of the Outfit in Chicago at every level has been considerable for three-quarters of a century. Much of the power of the 1st Ward organization of the Democratic Party "Machine" came from the Outfit.

The 1st Ward was centered in the Loop for all of Chicago's history until the last few years. In the 1980s, federal wiretaps in Operation Greylord and Operation Gambat would show that Outfit business was conducted routinely by political leaders from the front table of a restaurant on LaSalle Street across from city hall. In one case, a sitting judge was bribed $10,000 to fix a not guilty verdict for an Outfit hit man and the bribery originated in that Loop restaurant at that table less than 300 paces from the entrance of city hall.

After the last census changed the Chicago election map, the mapmakers in the Daley organization moved the 1st Ward out of the Loop to the near Northwest Side.

The move was symbolic, intended to show that the old 1st Ward power of the Outfit inside the old Machine was wiped out.

"We take this threat to the judge very seriously," a spokesman for the state's attorney said. He added that no members of the prosecutor's staff were currently considered in danger of a mob hit.

But this is still Chicago. The FBI takes this seriously and so does the state's attorney and so do the police and so does city hall.

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

April 21, 2000

One Of Attackers Of Black Teen Transferred To Halfway House


Three years after beating a black teen-ager into a coma, a white Chicago man has been transferred from prison into an Urbana halfway house where there are no fences or armed guards.

Frank Caruso Jr., 21, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for the racially motivated attack of Lenard Clark, was transferred April 5 from the Sheridan Correctional Center in LaSalle County to the Adult Transitional Center.

Caruso, who is eligible for parole in 2002 if he behaves, qualified for the transfer because he has less than two years remaining in his sentence, prison officials said. Also, the crimes for which he was convicted - aggravated battery and a hate crime - do not disqualify him from living in a halfway house, according to prison regulations.

"The bottom line is that we treat this kid just like everybody else," said Nic Howell, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections. Like others at the facility, Caruso can leave for work or school. Howell said Caruso is looking for a job.

Clark was attacked in 1997 by a group of white teen-agers, including Caruso, as Clark rode his bicycle through a predominantly white neighborhood on the city's South Side. The attack focused attention on the city's lingering racial tensions, made national headlines and was condemned by President Clinton in a national radio address.

Caruso was convicted by a jury and sentenced to prison in 1998. Two other white teen-agers pleaded guilty and received probation.

Clark, who was 13 at the time of the attack, regained consciousness. But he continues to suffer brain damage as a result of the beating.

In January, Clark visited Caruso in prison, and even posed for a photograph with him.

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