CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s most famous mob informant is accusing some Illinois politicians of helping the mob thrive in Chicago and get protection from the police.
Frank Calabrese Jr. told CBS 2’s John “Bulldog” Drummond that the mob gets help from some local public officials.
Asked if the Chicago Outfit was getting a pass from some local politicians or protection from police officers, Calabrese said, “Yeah. The outfit couldn’t survive without politicians.”
He admitted that his father, convicted mob hitman Frank Calabrese Sr., used to make payoffs to several politicians.
“There was a lot of politicians. There was a lot of deals done,” Calabrese Jr. said. “One politician that I’ve talked about before was (former state Sen.) Jimmy DeLeo. The reason I talked about him is because I was directly involved with that.”
Calabrese also claimed that former Illinois Department of Transportation worker Ralph Peluso was “our go-to guy with Jimmy DeLeo.”
Calabrese also said he was friends socially with DeLeo and once took a trip to Florida with DeLeo.
“I was down in Florida with him, but we were in a large group. It wasn’t just me and him. And what my father wanted me to do was, you know, get these guys close. You know, find out their weaknesses,” Calabrese said. “Everybody has weaknesses. Whether it’s women, whether it’s drugs, whether it’s gambling; people have weaknesses. Find their weaknesses. It was: they loved to find the bad politicians and find their weaknesses and make them need them.”
Calabrese said he never personally saw DeLeo take part in any illegal activity, but stood by his claim that DeLeo helped out the Outfit.
His allegations are part of his new book, Operation Family Secrets, the story of his decision to cooperate with federal investigators in a prosecution of 18 long-unsolved mob murders that put his father and other mob leaders behind bars for life.
DeLeo stepped down last year as an assistant Democratic floor in the Illinois Senate. Peluso was fired from his state transportation job six months ago.
Peluso got that job after he backed out of testifying at the Family Secrets mob trial, where his name was mentioned many times in testimony.
Neither DeLeo nor Peluso could be reached for comment regarding Calabrese’s statements.