FBI agent: Rosemont mayor met with mob
BY MAURA KELLY LANNAN
Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens met with five members and two associates of organized crime in May 1999 regarding the mob’s control of construction and operations contracts at a proposed casino in the northwest suburb, an FBI agent testified Monday.
Special agent John Mallul’s testimony came during a hearing in which the state is aiming to revoke the dormant gaming license held by Emerald Casino Inc. The Illinois Gaming Board cited wrongdoing by Emerald, including alleged mob links, in rejecting the company’s Rosemont casino plan in 2001.
Stephens vehemently denied Mallul’s testimony, saying he was at a vacation home in Delavan, Wis., on the day the meeting allegedly occurred. He also said he’s never been to Armand’s, the Elmwood Park restaurant where the gathering was to have happened.
“This is lunacy,” Stephens said, adding he hopes to set the record straight when he testifies, possibly later this month.
‘The Clown’ allegedly sat in
Mallul, an FBI supervisory special agent of an organized crime squad in Chicago, testified that the May 29, 1999, meeting he said Stephens attended included the following people whom Mallul identified as members of organized crime: Peter DiFronzo, John “No Nose” DiFronzo, Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, Rudy Fratto and Joe “The Builder” Andriacchi.
”One topic of discussion concerned a casino in Rosemont, Illinois, and LCN [La Cosa Nostra] control of various contracts regarding its construction and operation,” Mallul said, reading from an FBI memo that the Gaming Board said it requested two or three weeks ago.
Lombardo, long believed to be a leader of organized crime in the Chicago area, is among those charged in an April indictment in connection with at least 18 unsolved murders. He has so far eluded capture.
Mallul said the meeting also included William Messino and Rick Rissoulo, whom Mallul identified as associates of organized crime.
The information about the meeting came from a confidential source who was at the meeting, Mallul said. The source was a person whom the FBI has used for 30 years and who has helped with arrests and indictments, Mallul said.
AP, with staff reporter Chris Fusco contributing
BY CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporter
Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens said Monday he’s willing to pull the plug on his long casino quest — if certain conditions are met.
“If we were made whole it would not bother me if the casino was not in Rosemont,” Stephens told the Chicago Sun-Times.
To be “made whole,” Rosemont would need to be paid about $50 million from a proposed sale of Emerald Casino’s dormant gaming license to cover the cost of a parking garage the village built for Emerald. The rusting steel shell of what was to become Emerald’s gambling barge remains visible outside that garage — a reminder of how mob allegations derailed Emerald’s plans for Rosemont.
Rosemont has since moved forward with a flurry of court cases to steer Emerald’s gaming license to another company that could finish the barge. But those efforts haven’t worked so far, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been among those to question whether Stephens is linked to the mob.
‘I’ve got the armor of God’
Stephens guffawed when told of FBI special agent John Mallul’s testimony Monday that Stephens met with five mobsters — including two linked to a waste-hauling firm that did business at the Emerald site — and two mob associates. Stephens said he was at his vacation home in Delavan, Wis., on May 29, 1999, when the meeting at an Elmwood Park restaurant, Armand’s, allegedly occurred.
“I’ve never been in Armand’s restaurant,” Stephens said. “I’ve never had lunch with any of these people. I’ve never had breakfast with any of these people. . . . I’ve never went to the movies with any of these people. Nothing.
“This was Memorial Day weekend. I was at my home in Delavan.”
Stephens stressed his willingness to walk away from the casino deal would be contingent on the approval of his fellow village trustees and the village’s lawyers. When asked if doing so might appear to be an admission that Rosemont has links to organized crime and taint his nearly 50-year run as the village’s only mayor, he replied, “I know that I haven’t got those associations. . . . I’ve got the armor of God, and I’m not worried.”