Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chicago's Gun Ban As A Racketeering Enterprise

With today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down Washington D.C.'s gun ban,Chicago's very similar ordinance could be next.But,Chicago's ordinance banning guns(since 1982) has a different historical origin.Chicago's ordinance may fail under RICO because of an important person behind it.

Recently,The Justice Department prosecuted The Chicago Mob in a landmark trial.The Chicago Tribune reports:
In one of the biggest strikes in Chicago's history against the mob, federal authorities today began rounding up alleged organized crime figures—including outfit boss Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo—in connection with a string of 18 unsolved murders and one attempted murder dating back to 1970.

In the culmination of what officials dubbed "Operation Family Secrets," a federal racketing indictment unsealed this morning took direct aim at Chicago's three dominant mob chapters: The Grand Avenue crew of Lombardo; the Melrose Park crew of brothers Jimmy and Michael Marcello, and the 26th Street crew of imprisoned mobsters Frank Calabrese Sr. and his brother, Nicholas, who has turned mob informant.

Lombardo, 75, of Chicago, remains at large, authorities said. Lombardo previously was convicted in U.S. District Court in Chicago in another major mob investigation. He was released from prison in 1992.

Another suspect was found dead of apparent natural causes— along with a substantial amount of cash and checks—in a Kane County hotel room, while a third is being sought in Florida.

Everyone else named in the indictment is either under arrest or about to be arrested.

"This unprecedented indictment put a `hit' on the mob," said U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald. "It is remarkable for both the breadth of the murders charged and for naming the entire Chicago Outfit as a criminal enterprise under the anti-racketeering law."

"The outfit maintained hidden interest in businesses, maintained hidden control of labor unions, corrupted law enforcement and acquired explosives," Fitzgerald said.
The Justice Department got convictions,but more importantly on the key racketeering count naming "the entire Chicago Outfit as a criminal enterprise under the anti-racketeering law." Here's the racketeering count:
1. At times material to this indictment there existed a
criminal organization which is referred to hereafter as “the
Chicago Outfit." The Chicago Outfit was known to its members and
associates as "the Outfit" and was also known to the public as
“organized crime,” the “Chicago Syndicate” and the “Chicago Mob.”
The Chicago Outfit was an "enterprise" as that term is used in
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1961(4), that is, it constituted a group of individuals associated in fact, which
enterprise was engaged in and the activities of which affected
interstate commerce.The enterprise constituted an ongoing
organization whose members functioned as a continuing unit for a
common purpose of achieving the objectives of the enterprise.

Just whose name came up at the Family Secrets Trial as an unindicted co-conspirator of the massive racketeering enterprise? Chicago Alderman Fred Roti.Alderman Roti was named by the Justice Department on pages 27 and 47 of this civil racketeering indictment as a "high ranking made member" of The Chicago Mob.Roti was no ordinary member,his job was to hijack Chicago's City Council which he did for 23 years.The Chicago Tribune explained how Alderman Roti ran Chicago's City Council in 1982:
Roti has placed nearly as many city employees on the payroll as the city personnel department,and many of them are his own family members.This is not a new trend under [Mayor] Byrne,however.Under former Mayors Richard Daley and Michael Bilandic,members of the Roti clan have always had spectacular success gaining public employment.Last fall it was disclosed that Roti family payrollers include his daughter,Rosemary,a press aide to Mayor Byrne at $25,992 a year;and Rosemary's husband,Ronald Marasso,who had been promoted from city painter to $34,000 -a -year general manager of maintenance at O'Hare International Airport.Fourteen other Roti clan members were on various other city payrolls.Because of his ward number,Roti's name is always called first during council roll calls,and he revels in that privilege.His initial response gives other administration alderman their cue as to what Roti-and,therefore,the mayor-wants.It's often said that roll calls could stop after Roti votes-the outcome is already known.Roti,an affable fellow, controls the Chicago City Council with an iron fist.
What could be more frightening than a "made member" of the Mob hijacking America's third largest city? Alderman Roti decided he wanted to ban guns in Chicago so honest citizens couldn't fight back against Chicago's Mob.As The Chicago Tribune reported on March 20,1982 in an article titled MAYOR'S FORCES WIN HANDGUN CURB:
As Friday's council session began,[Mayor]Byrne feared the vote was too close to call.There was extensive backroom debate to determine if the matter should be brought up.But,Byrne allies,primarily Alderman Fred Roti(1st),Edward Burke(14th)and Wilson Frost(34th),moved through the council chambers,persuading wavering aldermen to back the mayor's proposals.Still,Some of Byrne's staunchest allies,including Alderman Robert Shaw(9th) and Richard Mell(33rd),deserted ranks and voted against the ordinance.Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Donovan made a last-minute deal with at least three aldermen who threatened to walk out of the meeting to avoid voting for the proposal.Donovan promised to improve city services in their wards.
Alderman Roti got his gun ban because he used Chicago's City Council chambers to help his racketeering enterprise.The Chicago Sun-Times further clarifies the status of Alderman Roti:
The Roti family's union power goes back to two late organized-crime figures, Ald. Fred B. Roti and Chicago Outfit boss Anthony Accardo, according to union investigators.

Bruno and "Toots'' Caruso are nephews of Roti. The three were among 47 men identified by the FBI in 1999 as "made'' members of the mob. "Made'' mobsters, according to the report, pledge loyalty to the Outfit "and would carry this oath of commitment and silence to the grave.''
If you take a oath to a racketeering enterprise you can't be serving the "public interest" of the citizens of Chicago.This means every ordinance that Alderman Roti voted on between 1968 and 1991 has the potential to be part of a racketeering enterprise.Which,of course,includes Chicago's gun ban.