Friday, August 17, 2007

The Lighter Side of Crime

by Libby Hellmann

They’re the dog days of summer, but don’t let them fool you. Crime stops for nobody and nothing… especially in Chicago. However, in keeping with the season, when all we want is something fresh and cool and light, following are a few noteworthy items.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
Joey (The Clown) Lombardo was cross-examined in the Family Secrets trial this week. Once one of the Outfit’s most notorious members, and possibly its boss, he said he’d never joined the mob. He never killed anyone either, and on the day a murder he allegedly committed took place, he was at the police station, reporting a stolen wallet. About a threatening phone call he once made, he was just trying to act like “Jimmy Cagney and Edward G. Robinson in all those gangster movies.” No wonder they call him the Clown.

Come Up and See Me Sometime
A new book about the Everleigh sisters has just been published, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Sin In The Second City by Karen Abbott chronicles the story of the enterprising sisters, Ava and Minna Everleigh, who built and maintained the most luxurious brothel in Chicago (on South Dearborn) at the turn of the last century. Gourmet meals, themed bedrooms, even solid gold spittoons elevated the brothel into a welcoming place that hosted clients like Theodore Dreiser and Prince Henry of Prussia. The sisters, determined to make theirs the best little whorehouse, apparently researched brothels all over the country to learn the business. Apparently, they learned well – when the sisters retired, they had $1 million in cash, the equivalent of $20 million today.


Those Pesky Self-Help Programs
From the Tribune comes the story of an out-of-control gambler who voluntarily enrolled in an Illinois program that banned him from visiting casinos. A few years later, he decided he was cured and went back to a casino in Elgin. After winning over $20,000, he marched up to the window to cash in, but casino officials, citing his enrollment in the state program, seized his winnings and arrested him for trespassing.



Police State in Skokie
And for the irony of the week….Skokie, a northern suburb of Chicago, perhaps best known for its diverse population, especially Holocaust survivors, just completed its “International Youth Police Academy.” Specifically targeted for teenage immigrants, the week long course taught youngsters all about American law enforcement. The highlight of the program: kids aimed radar guns at speeding motorists.

What about you? Any interesting stories from your neck of the woods ?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

from raxelrod

The Clown came around just in time to help wean me from Tony and the Family leaving town, unless you count the washed-their-mouths-out-with-soap reruns on A&E. As amusing as Joey and his
non-co-conspirators have been, I've got to say that – while I do look forward to following the case fairly regularly – I don't build whole evenings and Italian meals around their stories as I did for our dearly-parted songbirds.

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