Shooting the Mob: Organized crime in photos. Crime Boss Tony Accardo

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9781468052558: Shooting the Mob: Organized crime in photos. Crime Boss Tony Accardo
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The criminal life of Chicago Mobster Tony Accardo in pictures.

For a summary of Tony Accardo's life and to view photos from the book, please visit the books blog spot at this address:

 shootingthemobaccardo.blogspot.com/

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Contact me
Stuart W. Moulden
mouldenstuart@yahoo.com

stuartmouldenbooks.blogspot.com/

From the Inside Flap:

Antonino Joseph Accardo (born Antonino Leonardo Accardo; April 28, 1906 - May 22, 1992), also known as "Joe Batters" or "Big Tuna", rose from small-time hoodlum to the position of day-to-day boss of the Chicago Outfit in 1947, to ultimately become the final Outfit authority in 1972, until his death. Accardo moved The Outfit into new operations and territories, greatly increasing its power and wealth during his tenure as boss.
 
 Early life
 Born Antonino Leonardo Accardo (also known as Anthony Joseph Accardo) on Chicago's Near West Side, the son of Francesco Accardo, a shoemaker, and Maria Tillota Accardo. One year prior to his birth, the Accardos had emigrated to America from Castelvetrano, Sicily, in the Province of Trapani.

At age 14, Accardo was expelled from school and started loitering around neighborhood pool halls. He soon joined the Circus Cafe Gang, run by Claude Maddox and Tony Capezio, one of many street gangs in the poor eighborhoods of Chicago. These gangs served as talent pools (similar to the concept of farm teams) for the city's adult criminal organizations. In 1926, Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn, one of the toughest hitmen of Outfit boss Alphonse Capone ("Big Al," "Scarface Al"), recruited Accardo into his crew in the Outfit.

 It was during Prohibition that Accardo received the "Joe Batters" nickname from Capone himself due to his skill at hitting a couple of Outfit traitors with a baseball bat at a dinner Capone held just to kill the two men. Capone was quoted as saying, "This kid's a real Joe Batters"' The Chicago newspapers eventually dubbed Accardo, "The Big Tuna," after a fishing expedition where Accardo caught a giant tuna.

In later years, Accardo boasted over federal wiretaps he participated in the infamous 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre in which, allegedly, Capone gunmen murdered seven members of the rival North Side Gang.

Accardo also claimed that he was one of the gunmen who murdered Brooklyn, New York gang boss Frankie Yale, again by Capone's orders to settle a dispute. However, most experts today believe Accardo had only peripheral connections with the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and none whatsoever with the Yale murder. However, on October 11, 1926, Accardo may have participated in the assassination of then Northside Chicago gang leader Hymie Weiss near the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.

 In 1929,  he was named the Outfit's head of enforcement. Accardo soon developed a variety of profitable rackets, including gambling, loansharking, bookmaking, extortion, and the distribution of untaxed alcohol and cigarettes.
 
Under Accardo's leadership in the late 1940s, the Outfit moved into slot machines and vending machines, counterfeiting cigarette and liquor tax stamps and expanded narcotics smuggling. Accardo placed slot machines in gas stations, restaurants and bars throughout the Outfit's territory.

Outside of Chicago, The Outfit expanded rapidly. In Las Vegas, The Outfit took influence over gaming away from the five crime families of New York City. Accardo made sure that all the legal Las Vegas casinos used his slot machines. In Kansas and Oklahoma, Accardo took advantage of the official ban on alcohol sales to introduce bootlegged alcohol.

The Outfit eventually dominated organized crime in most of the Western United States. To reduce the Outfit's exposure to legal prosecution, Accardo phased out some traditional organized crime activities, such as labor racketeering and extortion. He also converted the Outfit's brothel business into call girl services. The result of these changes was a golden era of profitability and influence for the Outfit.

By keeping a low profile and letting flashier figures such as Sam Giancana attract attention, Accardo and Ricca were able to run the Outfit much longer than Capone. Ricca once said, "Accardo had more brains for breakfast than Capone had in a lifetime."

 After 1957, Accardo turned over the official position as boss to long-time, money-making associate Giancana, because of "heat" from the IRS.

Accardo then became the Outfit's consigliere, stepping away from the day-to-day running of the organization, but he still retained considerable power and demanded ultimate respect and won it from his men. Giancana still had to obtain the sanction of Accardo and Ricca on major business, including all assassinations.

In 1978, while Accardo vacationed in California, burglars brazenly entered his River Forest home. Within a month, the three suspected thieves were found strangled and with their throats cut. Prosecutors at the time believed Accardo, furious that his home had been violated, had ordered the killings.

 In 2002, this theory was confirmed on the witness stand by Outfit turncoat Nicholas Calabrese, who had participated in all of the subsequent murders.
In later years, Accardo spent much of his time in Palm Springs, California, flying to Chicago to preside over Outfit "sit-downs" and mediate disputes. By this time, Accardo's personal holdings included legal investments in commercial office buildings, retail centers, lumber farms, paper factories, hotels, car dealerships, trucking companies, newspaper companies, restaurants and travel agencies.

 Accardo spent his last years in Barrington Hills, Illinois living with his daughter and son-in-law. On May 22, 1992, Anthony Accardo died of congestive heart failure at age 86. Despite an arrest record dating back to 1922, Accardo spent only one night in jail.

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