The Chicago Way – Excerpt

KEN “TOKYO JOE” ETO

February 10, 1983 was Eto’s lucky day, He had been set up by mob bosses Joe Arnold and Joey DiVarco who told him to meet two friends of his, Jasper Campise and John Gattuso at an American Legion hall at Narragansett and Addison Ave. Then they would meet Solano for dinner around Grand and Harlem Ave. Eto told investigators that he smelled a rat but there was nothing he could do about it.

He met the two mob guys in the parking lot and they suggested that they use Eto’s car, Gattuso sat in the back and Campise sat next to Eto in the front. The conversation revolved around a great Italian restaurant they were going to the only problem was there probably wouldn’t be any parking in front because the place is that busy. Gattuso suggested Eto park in the back lot behind the restaurant, which he did. After Eto parked Gattuso shot him three times in the back of his head, Eto stated that. He heard all three shots and pretended to be dead by lying on the seat. After he heard the car doors open and close he waited a few minutes before he got out of the car. Eto realized that he was bleeding profusely and wasn’t sure how bad he had been injured.

He staggered to a drug store and asked the manager to call the police and an ambulance as he had been shot in the head. When the ambulance arrived they looked at Eto and couldn’t believe he was still alive. Investigators believe that the killers had used faulty ammunition or the silencer on there gun was faulty, in any case Eto was very much alive and ready to get even with his assailants and mob bosses.

Eto 63, told investigators how Jasper Campise and John Gattuso tried to kill him under orders from his mob boss Vince Solano. He also gave detailed information how he split gambling proceeds with Solano, Joseph “Joe Nagall” Ferriola ,Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo and others. Eto, his head ringed in bandages applied to three bullet wounds gave the FBI a first hand look at how he ran the Bolita gambling operations for the mob. Two former pals of Eto’s were arrested and charged with attempted murder after Eto identified them as the pair that tried to kill him.

Gattuso was identified as a Cook County deputy sheriff assigned to the civil section as a process server. He and Campise appeared in court where their bail was set at $500,000 each. They both were released later in the day after posting 10% of their bonds in cash. The two men were offered protective custody but they turned it down. They apparently thought that they were in good shape with their mob bosses and they wouldn’t get whacked for their foul up hit. They were wrong, five months later in July 1983 the bodies of Gattuso and Campise were found in the trunk of Campise’s car in a parking lot in Naperville, Il. Both had been stabbed numerous times. I remember locking up Campise in his store at 4820 W. North Ave. where he was running an Off Track Betting Parlor. He was a smart ass then and called us a few nasty names. “Bye Bye Jasper.”

In 1982 gambling boss Ken Eto and his top lieutenant, Ray Tom 45 were served with a Cook County grand jury subpoena concerning a high stakes game called Monte, a game similar to blackjack in which players try to beat the house, in this case Eto and the mob. Sgt. Ray DelPilar and his squad made the raid in a house at 4868 W. Concord Pl. “At the time I lived in a house at 4907 W. Concord Pl. which was across the street about seven houses west of the game. DelPilar said that the game would have netted the mob at least 1 million a year and was organized by Eto.

The raiders had a search warrant signed by the States Attorneys office Richard M. Daley special prosecutions unit. The raiders in a Tactical move, elected not to make arrests and instead served Eto 62 and his top lieutenant Ray Tom 45 with subpoenas directing them to appear before a county grand jury. Police also obtained the names 0f 50 players of which some will also appear before the grand jury as it investigates Eto’s latest gambling operation.

Police said that bets on a single card ranged from$50 to $5,000 during the game. The players ranging from young people with incomes in the $30,000-a year range to those with incomes of more than $125,000 a year. The game which changed locations was so professional it was played with chips that can’t be counterfeited. An undercover detective reported that on one occasion a player hit a hot streak and won more than $30,000. When the player balked at playing further until he could be assured that any further winnings could be covered by the operators, Eto was called. He arrived shortly with a suitcase containing $100,000 in cash to prove to the player that his winnings could be covered. The player resumed playing and ended up losing the $30,000 he won.

Due to the fact that Eto had been recently convicted of operating a lucrative bolita ring the mob may have felt that Eto may have thoughts of informing on other mob members in return for a lighter sentence. On January 18 1983 Eto of 116 Rockhurst, Bolingbrook and another man were found guilty of operating a $70,000 a day bolita ring. Evidence showed that Eto and Walter Micus of Hillside operated the illegal numbers betting ring and collected bet in Illinois and Indiana. The gambling operation employed more than 100 people and grossed $3 million a year. Eto’s sentencing was set for Feb 25, he faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

Eto is the highest ranking Oriental in the Chicago mob. He began his rise in the syndicate during the 40’s as a Rush Street gambling lieutenant for the late North Side gambling boss William Goldstein, better known as “Bill Gold.” Eto’s shooting followed by only three weeks the Jan 20 gangland-style execution of insurance millionaire Allen Dorfman whose insurance companies handled the scandal-tainted Teamster Central States Pension Fund.

Bolita is a gambling game in which a bettor wagers that a number chosen by him will be the winning number. A form of lottery similar to Chicago’s policy racket, bolita was considered at first to be a relatively harmless amateur sport to raise money for clubs and fraternal groups. During the late 1950’s and the early 1960’s however, Eto and others drew bolita under the syndicate’s umbrella of activities and raised the financial stakes.

Ken “Tokyo Joe” Eto who is now a government informer testified for the first time against some of his former crime syndicate pals. Eto was surrounded by U.S. Marshall’s and FBI agents that guarded the courtroom on the 21st floor when he took the stand. Eto’s testimony will draw attention from Justice Department officials and mob defense attorneys who will make their own judgments as to whether Eto is a good courtroom witness whose testimony would be valuable in other cases.

Eto will be the governments star witness at a sentencing hearing for Joseph “Big Joe” Arnold, 72, of 2724 W. Winnemac Ave. and Joseph Grieco, 54, 4600 N. Overhill, Norridge, Il. before U.S. District Court Judge John Nordberg. The two were convicted of buying the silence of a grand jury witness called to testify on the mob’s loan shark racket. Grieco is a reputed mob juice-loan terrorist. Eto, who was in charge of the mob’s bolita racket in Chicago and three states is expected to detail mob activities of Arnold and Grieco as the government presents testimony aimed at winning lengthy sentences for the two mobsters.

Eto who is in the federal witness-protection program, will probably enjoy testifying against Arnold, one of the mob chieftains who allegedly ordered his assassination investigators said. Arnold and Grieco were found guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for manipulating the grand jury witness, Ralph Carazzo, not to testify before the grand jury. Arnold and Grieco face up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. In January, 1980 Carazzo was sentenced to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury, despite a promise of immunity. Carazzo a former Rush Street parking lot attendant who worked for Arnold, was not called as a witness at the trial.

Electronic eavesdropping equipment was placed in Arnold’s store, Odds and Ends, at 913 N. Rush St. to show that Arnold and Grieco conspired with Carazzo to thwart the grand jury. Prosecutors reported that after the two defendants became aware of the grand jury investigation, they won Carazzos cooperation by promising to wipe out a $15,000 loan he owed Grieco.

I testified at the Presidents Commission on Organized Crime in New York, New York, June 24-26 1985 as an expert witness on Chicago’s Outfit. After I testified about the outfit Ken Eto testified, he was dressed in a black hooded cloak as to keep his identity a secret. He explained how he had been the victim of an assassination attempt on his life when he was shot three times in the back of his head by John Gattuso and Jasper Campise. Through a miracle the bullets were faulty or the silencer was faulty and Eto survived. He told the commission that the two assassins were under orders of mob boss Vince Solano.

In February 1986 Eto testified in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Federal Court as a government witness describing four gangland murders he had been associated with. The testimony revealed how the crime syndicate dealt with unwanted gambling competitors in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The four were Eugenio Lopez was strangled under orders of Ross Prio, North Side mob boss. Eto testified that he fingered Lopez aka James Crizell because Lopez was opposing North Side syndicate bolita operations. Eto said that he lured Lopez to a building at 642 N. Clark St. where Anthony DelMonte, a man named Frank Orlando and Vincent “Saint’ Inserro strangled Lopez with a wire. Gonzalez was resisting syndicate efforts to take over bolita in his Puerto Rican community. Eto testified that he and mob associates attempted to drive to Gonzalez’s headquarters but due to street gang members in the area they cancelled the plan. Eto said that he contacted Gonzalez and met him and drove to an alleged meeting at 1813 N. Washburn Ave. an industrial area, where mob hit men, Angelo” The Hook” LaPietra and his brother James knifed him.

Investigators in the case said that the LaPietra’s are suspects in the case, which could be reopened if witnesses could be found.

Eddie Robinson, a black was shot to death Aug 7, 1962 by the syndicate because he was running bolita on the West Side and wouldn’t yield that turf to the mob’s bolita game, Eto said. Robinson was killed right after leaving his car at the Eisenhower Expy and Independence Boulevard. The hit men included Joseph “Joe Shine” Amabile and Vincent Inserro. Robinson’s body was never found but Robinson’s family reported him missing the date of the slaying provided by Eto. The fourth slaying was indirectly related to bolita. The victim “Padone” was forcing romantic attention on the wife of a mobster important in syndicate bolita operations. He was in effect interfering with the mobster’s concentration on his work. The victim, known only as “Padone” was shot to death on North LaSalle Street. Eto stated that he reported to mob boss Ross Prio about Padone causing problems with their bolita operation upsetting bolita operator Cruz Pinzon. Eto said that Prio ordered him to provide Padone’s description, address and phone number. Mob hit men did the rest.

Ken ‘Tokyo Joe” Eto reportedly passed away in Atlanta Georgia in 1984 of natural causes.