Tony Accardo, the most dangerous mobster you NEVER heard of!

Apr 2017
United Kingdom
Strange isn't it? Everybody has heard of "Scarface Al" Capone(not to mention his fictional counterparts such as Vito and Michael Corleone, Tony Soprano), but only a few have heard of Anthony "Joe Batters" Accardo(1906-1992) so nicknamed by Capone himself after he battered two men to death with a baseball bat), despite arguably being far more powerful than Capone ever was or dreamed of being, outlasting "Scarface Al" himself, as well as fellow mafia dons like Carlos Marcello, John Gotti and Angelo Bruno(bosses of New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia respectively).
None of this is a surprise, unlike the aforementioned mobsters, Accardo wisely shunned the media spotlight, wrote no autobiographies(unlike Joe Bonanno, although his longtime nemesis FBI agent William "Zip" Roemer wrote a fine biography, "Accardo:The Genuine Godfather",Ivy Books, 1995) and if he kept a diary( doubtful: professional criminals much like spies do NOT keep diaries), it has never surfaced.
Accardo began a career as a petty crook at first then about 1926 he was recruited into the bootlegging gang ofAl Capone during Prohibition(1920-1933), allegedly taking part in the notorious "St Valentine's Day massacre" of rival bootleggers( although he is not even mentioned in the 1967 film version of this massacre, possibly for legal reasons). After the conviction(and ultimate death behind bars due to complications arising from syphilis) of Capone in 1933 on tax evasion charges and the suicide of Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti in 1943, Accardo began his longtime rule of Chicago's "Outfit"(as the city's crime syndicate is traditionally known in The Windy City), moving not just into labour racketeering(pace the Teamsters) but into "skimming" the proceeds of the take from Las Vegas's casinos and even into the "policy" rackets in Chicago's black ghettoes. As his grateful subordinates put it- "Accardo had more brains at breakfast than Capone had all day!"). Although in 1957 he relinquished his rule as boss to Sam "Mooney/Momo" Giancana(1908-1975), his power remained unchallenged, when FBI agent Roemer was annoying Giancana to the point where the latter was considering putting out a "hit" on him, Accardo summarily overruled him and cancelled the "contract", telling Giancana that the Mob murder of a "Fed" would be insanely counterproductive.
Curiously enough, Accardo was never convicted of a crime(despite going on trial for tax evasion at least once) and/or spent a day in jail until the day he died on May 22, 1992.
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Apr 2014
The Mafia to me is very interesting, and I have read lots of things on the subject. To me, it is an insane life of crime and danger, where in the end, 99 percent of the time the mobster ends up doing life in prison or murdered, sometimes by torture. A few of them did not suffer that fate like Carlo Gambino or Aneillo Delacroce, but they were few and far between. Even "Bosses" get whacked like Paul Costallano, and in the Philly Mob, Frank Bruno who got it with a shotgun and The Chicken Man Testa whose house blew up. Ouch.

I think the Chicago Outfit gets a backseat to the New York Mafia in lore and real life, although to me the Outfit was even more ruthless than New York. Las Vegas itself was mobbed up since Bugsy Seigal went out there to open the first casino, The Tropicana. The Mob ran and owned Vegas, and it was ran quite well. Everyone got too greedy in the end. Finally the corporations took over the gambling business.

The Mafia were just a bunch of sociopaths, psychopaths, killers, thieves and bums.
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Mar 2017
This reminds me of the fact that the oldest mobs in the States that folks never heard of were the 'Irish Mafia'. They predated the Italians by nearly a century and were active in all the major cities the irish settled in when they came here. Wikipedia has a good, well-referenced article on them.
Aug 2013
According to pretty much every source that isn't Bill Roemer or is using Roemer as a source Accardo was only actually the #1 guy in the Outfit for two fairly brief periods. Just about all of the FBI Documents and CI's have Accardo as the #1 guy while Paul Ricca was in prison in the 40's and for the last few years of Paul's life when he was sick before Joey Aiuppa took over. This isn't taking anything away from Accardo as he was always one of the most powerful guys from the 30s until the 80s and the boss of the Outfit traditionally shared power alot more evenly than say NY; operating more like a Chairman. The consensus seems to be that Ricca was the most powerful in Outfit history though and he's even less known than Accardo thanks to Roemer's love letter book to Tony.
Mar 2019
Check out Tony Accardo is Joe Batters, the first serious work on Accardo in over 20 years. I spent over ten years uncovering facts and events that never before had seen the light of day. Included are his summers spent fighting the mighty tuna in Wedgeport, Nova Scotia, and alternative theories of the JFK assignation and Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance. I look forward to reading your reviews!
Neil Gordon


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