CHICAGO (CBS) — Reputed mob boss John “No Nose” DiFronzo, who escaped prosecution in the landmark “Family Secrets” trial of top Chicago Outfit leaders, has died in DuPage County.
DiFronzo’s attorney, Joe “The Shark” Lopez, confirmed he died at home on Monday at age 89. DiFronzo had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Federal investigators considered DiFronzo to be the head of the infamous Chicago Outfit, and he was investigated but never charged in a series of crimes, including the gangland slayings of brothers Tony and Mike Spilotro.
Those murders formed the basis for the 1995 Martin Scorsese film “Casino.”
DiFronzo rose to power amid a vacuum in leadership within the Chicago Outfit, after mob bosses Joe Ferriola and Sam Carlisi had died and Jack Cerone was convicted and sent to prison for skimming $2 million from a Las Vegas casino.
He was nicknamed “No Nose” after a youthful robbery, when he needed reconstructive surgery for a bullet wound to his nose.
Asked what was DiFronzo’s greatest achievement, Lopez said “beating the G.”
Although suspected to have played a role in the Spilotro murders, DiFronzo was not among the five Outfit figures convicted in the 2007 “Operation Family Secrets” trial, which first disclosed how the Spilotros were killed.
Lopez represented mob hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. during the Family Secrets trial, at which the mobster’s own brother and son were star witnesses.
Although Calabrese’s brother, Nick, admitted to killing 14 people and testified DiFronzo was one of several people who helped kill the Spilotros in 1986, DiFronzo was never charged in the case.
Calabrese and fellow Outfit figures James Marcello, Joseph “The Clown” Lombardo, Paul “The Indian” Schiro, and Anthony “Twan” Doyle were the main defendants at the trial, and were convicted on conspiracy and racketeering charges. A jury also found Frank Calabrese Sr., Marcello, and Lombardo responsible for 18 murders in all.
Of nine other defendants in the case, six pleaded guilty – including Calabrese’s brother, Nick, and son, Frank Jr. – and three died before trial.