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
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
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
"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.
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
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
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.