WBEZ | Chicago Outfit http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-outfit Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Journalist writes play outlining Chicago Outfit’s involvement in JFK’s assassination http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-24/journalist-writes-play-outlining-chicago-outfit%E2%80%99s-involvement-jfk <p><p>The Chicago Mob, known as The Outfit, may have been the most powerful crime organization in the history of the U.S. At their peak, they controlled, or made money from, a vast portfolio of businesses or government entities. So between Bobby Kennedy&rsquo;s anti-mob crusades and JFK&rsquo;s failure to oust Castro from Cuba, many have believed for years that enraged mafia dons had the motive and the means to kill the president. Investigative reporter and author Hillel Levin interviewed a number of players directly associated with that fateful day in November, 1963...and he&rsquo;s convinced the Outfit was directly involved. Now, Levin has written a play about the whole process, and joins us to talk about Assassination Theater, now playing at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. (Photo: Assassination Theater)</p></p> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-24/journalist-writes-play-outlining-chicago-outfit%E2%80%99s-involvement-jfk Roller Derby turns 80 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-14/roller-derby-turns-80-112648 <p><p>It&rsquo;s a wonderful piece of Chicago lore: In 1935, a guy name Leo Seltzer is sitting at a table with a bunch of guys at a restaurant name Ricketts at Chicago and Rush. He mentioned an article he read that said over 90 percent of the country has tried rollerskating. One thing leads to another, and he draws up plans for a sport that combines roller skating with then-popular week-long bicycle races. Later that year, he stages his first Transcontinental Roller Derby at the Chicago Coliseum. 25 two-person co-ed teams skate 3,000 miles &mdash; the distance from New York to LA &mdash; on a banked, oval, wooden track. At some point soon after (nobody quite knows exactly when) the great sports and short-story writer Damon Runyon mentioned that when contestants occasionally collided or fell, it could be a thrilling sight, and that Seltzer should turn it into a contact sport. Seltzer wanted to keep things legit, but he tried it out, audiences went nuts, and the rest is history. Today marks the 80th anniversary of that first Roller Derby, so we&rsquo;re joined by Joan McDonald and Laura Hennigan ,two players in Chicago&rsquo;s Roller Derby league, the Chicago Outfit.</p></p> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 10:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-14/roller-derby-turns-80-112648 Morning Shift: 50 years later, a look at JFK's life and death http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-22/morning-shift-50-years-later-look-jfks-life-and-death <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/by U.S. Embassy New Delhi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy&#39;s assassination, Morning Shift is taking a look JFK&#39;s life and death - including a theory that a Chicago mob had a hand in his assassination.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-47/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-47.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-47" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: 50 years later, a look at JFK's life and death" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/16831574&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-22/morning-shift-50-years-later-look-jfks-life-and-death The other Capone http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/other-capone-104264 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F70384125" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In 1930, the Chicago attorney and reformer Frank J. Loesch and his organized crime watchdog group, the Chicago Crime Commission, issued the first-ever list of so-called &ldquo;Public Enemies.&rdquo; &nbsp;Three years later, Loesch said of the list:</p><blockquote><p><em>I had the operating director of the Chicago Crime Commission bring before me a list of the outstanding hoodlums, known murderers&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><em>&nbsp;murderers which you and I know but can&rsquo;t prove&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><em>&nbsp;and there were about 100 of them, and out of this list I selected 28 men. I put Al Capone at the head and his brother next. . . .</em></p></blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ralph%20capone.jpg" style="float: left; height: 401px; width: 300px;" title="Ralph Capone in 1930, the year he was included on the Chicago Crime Commission’s list of Public Enemies. (AP)" />Al Capone, the infamous head of the Chicago Outfit, was Public Enemy #1. His brother, Ralph Capone, was Public Enemy #3.</p><p>This other Capone &mdash; Al&rsquo;s older brother &mdash; earned the nickname &ldquo;Bottles&rdquo; by running soft drink bottling plants for the Outfit during Prohibition. After Al was convicted of tax evasion and sent to prison in 1931, Ralph was accused of, well, trying to get the gang back together. He too was hounded by the federal government on accusations of tax eviction, and he served time for the crime shortly after Al did.</p><p>Despite having once been described as the Outfit&rsquo;s &ldquo;elder statesman,&rdquo; Ralph Capone was never as deeply enmeshed as his brother. Still, with a reputation like Ralph&rsquo;s, it&rsquo;s not hard to see why Deirdre Marie Capone felt haunted by her family&rsquo;s legacy. Her father, Ralph Jr., was Bottles&rsquo; only son. According to Deirdre&rsquo;s website, her father committed suicide just before her 11<sup>th</sup> birthday, &ldquo;due to the burden of the Capone name.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It destroyed my father,&rdquo; she later said.</p><p>As an adult, Deirdre kept her family history secret from everyone but her husband. Not even her four children knew who their great-granduncle was. &ldquo;I hid for so long who I was. It was very difficult for me to tell anybody,&rdquo; she said, especially growing up on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. &nbsp;</p><p>But Deirdre came out as a Capone last year with the publication of her family memoir, <em><a href="http://www.unclealcapone.com/index.htm">Uncle Al Capone</a>. </em>Now, she&rsquo;s fond of saying that her great-uncle, Al, was a mobster, yes, but not a monster. And she proudly wears her family&rsquo;s name at events like the Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121206/old-town/deirdre-capone-explains-uncle-als-whiskey-drink-at-prohibition-event">celebration of the repeal of Prohibition</a> earlier this week.</p><p>In the audio above, Deirdre recounts her decision to face her family past.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Deirdre Capone spoke at an event presented by the Chicago History Museum earlier this month. Click</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/cocktails-and-capone-104257">here</a></em>&nbsp;<em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 08 Dec 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/other-capone-104264 'Purple' razed? Lincolnwood landmark hotel might kiss the sky--or face foreclosure http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-05-05/purple-razed-lincolnwood-landmark-hotel-might-kiss-sky-or-face-foreclosure-8 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-05/P5013276.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-01/P5013276.jpg" style="width: 499px; height: 375px;" title=""></p><p>The days appear numbered for Lincolnwood's aptly-named Purple Hotel.</p><p>Village attorneys won the right to demolish the shuttered hotel at 4500 W. Touhy if its owner doesn't fix an array of building code violations by August. And now Crain's Chicago Business <a href="http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article/20110504/CRED03/110509950/notorious-purple-hotel-now-faces-foreclosure">this week reports</a> the hotel owner's lender, First Midwest Bank, has filed a $4.2 million foreclosure suit against the building.</p><p>It would be a sad end for a hotel that isn't a bad piece of architecture--if you can get around the color. The Purple Hotel began life in the Swinging Sixties as the Lincolnwood Hyatt. Back then, the hotel attracted top-shelf performers such as Perry Como, Roberta Flack and Barry Manilow as guests.</p><p>But performers of a different sort gave the hotel its real notoriety - like the Chicago Outfit guys who shot to death Teamsters consultant Allen Dorfman in the Purple's parking lot in 1983. Or political donor Stuart P. Levine who testified in 2008 to having drug and sex parties at the hotel. Levine's testimony was part of the corruption trial for now-imprisoned businessman Tony Rezko.</p><p>Chicago architects Hausner &amp; Macsai designed the Purple Hotel. If you look beyond that purple and the decay, it's actually a fine-looking structure on the exterior. So I figured I better grab some photos of the building while I could.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-05/P5013269.jpg" title="" width="640" height="440"></p><p>These girders hold the weight of the building, passing its heft down to the ground on the outside. I'm wagering this means there are fewer structural columns within the building, allowing for a more open floor plan:</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-01/P5013285.jpg" title="" width="480" height="640"></p><p>An entrance on the west side of the building. I like the glass, brick and symmetry:</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-01/P5013290.jpg" style="width: 498px; height: 217px;" title=""></p><p>A tree struggles in what was once nice outdoor space:</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-01/P5013303.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" title=""></p><p>Lincolnwood has created a $35 million tax increment finance district that includes the hotel. The Skokie Patch earlier this year<a href="http://skokie.patch.com/articles/tif-plan-for-purple-hotel-advances-without-a-peep"> reported</a> the hotel's owner, Donald Bae sought $25.8 million of that pot to redevelop the property.</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ****</p><p>Postscript: Flickr user Martin Gonzalez got inside the Purple Hotel in 2009 and took some great photos of the unused structure. Even through the photographs I could feel the mold in the place making me itch. But the <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25165196@N08/sets/72157622041105536/with/3822127034/">images are fun.</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 13:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-05-05/purple-razed-lincolnwood-landmark-hotel-might-kiss-sky-or-face-foreclosure-8