By John O`Brien.
October 7, 1988
Michael Glitta, 68, known to law enforcement
officials as local overseer of crime syndicate pornography rackets,
has died in his apartment at 1221 N. Dearborn St., his attorney,
Adam Bourgeois, said Thursday. Glitta, who had a history of heart ailments,
suffered a fatal heart attack Wednesday night, according to Bourgeois.
Glitta, who operated a magazine sales firm
at 1112 N. Milwaukee Ave., had syndicate ties going back nearly
30 years, according to Chicago and federal law enforcement officials.
In 1982, the Chicago Crime Commission said he supervised pornography
operations for the mob in an area that ranged from the Near North
Side to the Wisconsin state line.
Crime Commission records say he got his start
in vice rackets by running B-girl strip joints in Chicago and
later branched out to embrace X-rated films and cassette tapes.
Mob watchers said Glitta reported directly
to Vincent Solano, a labor union leader and reputed rackets boss
for the North Side and the northern suburbs.
Police and federal officials speculated Thursday
that the list of likely successors to Glitta`s porn interests
includes Johnny Matassa, a Solano protege, as well as Orlando
Catanese and Leo Weintraub, two men described as manufacturers and sellers of books, magazines,
films and sexual paraphernalia, and business associates of mob
Matassa, 37, recently has been observed regularly
accompanying Glitta to meetings with Solano, according to federal investigators. Solano oversees Local
1 of the Laborers Union, and Matassa is a $75,000-a-year executive
with Laborers Union Local 2, whose members include sewer and tunnel
Although Glitta was regarded by authorities
as the mob`s top man in the distribution of pornography, there
have been recent indications his power was waning. A recently disclosed FBI investigation, described
in a court affidavit, contended that reputed mob terrorist
Frankie Schweihs had moved in on one North Wells Street pornography
shop and was planning to take over another. Both would normally
have been in Glitta`s territory, police said.
With federal court approval, the FBI secretly
taped conversations between Schweihs and a former porn dealer
from whom he was collecting protection money on behalf of the
mob, the affidavit said. On one tape, the dealer, concerned about
being caught in a mob territorial dispute, asked Schweihs to talk
to Glitta. Schweihs told him that he didn`t talk to Glitta, but
to Glitta`s boss, who was not named in the conversation.
As a result of the tapes, Schweihs was charged
with extortion. At the time of his death, Glitta was awaiting
trial in Chicago on federal charges of illegally possessing two
.38 caliber revolvers.
Glitta`s family said a funeral was planned
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