Aug 25, 2010
Milwaukee Mafia Boss- Frank Balistrieri
"He called me a name - to my face - and now they can't find his skin!" -Frank Balistrieri
From 1961 to the time of his death in 1993, Frank Balistrieri ran the Milwaukee Mafia, though as a young man, he started working for the Milwaukee crime family after attending law school for six months. He was the most feared Mafia boss of the Midwest and refereed to himself as “..the most powerful man in Milwaukee.” Within the Mafia family he was known as "Mr. Big", "Frankie Bal", "Mr. Slick", and "Mad Bomber," a nickname given to him because he frequently used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attached to cars as weapons against his enemies. There is reference to him and his trademark technique in the 1995 Martin Scorsese film, Casino. He is referenced again in the 1997 film, Donnie Brasco. After research I have learned that Donnie Brasco, an undercover cop by the name of Joseph D. Pistone, actually did fly to Milwaukee with Benjamin 'Lefty' Ruggiero to meet with Balistrieri at his restaurant, Snug's, and discuss a vending machine operation that was brought to his attention by another undercover cop working with the Milwaukee Mafia, Clark B. Hall.
Balistrieri soon built a reputation for arrogance, cruelty and ruthlessness long before his father-in-law and Milwaukee boss, John Alioto retired in 1961 and passed the duties of being boss onto him. Balistrieri conducted his business at a table at Snug's restaurant in Milwaukee's Shorecrest Hotel which he owned. Now called, Savoy, it maintains it's atmosphere of rich and sophisticated dinning even after renovation in 1999. The original stained glass sign for Snugs that was above the entrance was taken out, but used as the backdrop for the bar. The Shorecrest Hotel now stands as an apartment building and historical landmark. After research, I have come to learn that Frank Balistrieri's 2 sons, Joseph P. "Joey Bal" Balistrieri- who is now underboss to Joseph P. "Joe Camel" Caminiti- and John "Johnny Bal" Balistrieri- who is Acting Consigliere within the Milwaukee Mafia family- both have taken ownership of the restaurant and hotel after the death of there father. They live on the 8th floor of The Shorecrest Hotel.
After many years of being Milwaukee's Mafia boss and running many operations with other Mafia leaders such as Las Vegas's legendary mob boss Allen Glick, in a casino skimming scheme at The Stardust Hotel, his leadership became compromised in December 1985. Balistrieri was sentenced to 13 years in prison after federal authorities had successfully connected mobsters from four different states including him and his 2 sons on the operation. Close to achieving a seat on the ruling Mafia Commission in New York, Balistrieri was thwarted by this prison sentence. According to the Bureau of Prisons, Balistrieri was released from prison in 1991.
Frank Balistrieri died of heart-related natural causes in early 1993.
Here are the photo's I took on the "Mafia Tour" I put together for my fiance and I in anticipation of the release of Mafia 2.
...Yes, I am that BIG of a nerd with an unhealthy obsession with the Mafia.
If I were Italian, I would "take a stab" at becoming part of the family. ;)
Frank Balistrieri's Grave:
Photo's from our dinner at Savoy, formally known as "Snugs" when Balistrieri owned and operated his business there:
Photo's I took inside The Shorecrest Hotel, that Balistrieri owned and lived in. Now it is owned by his 2 sons whom also live on the 8th floor and are apart of the Milwaukee LCN family.
My fiance and I are hoping to move there spring of next year...
*For more information on Frank Balistrieri and the Milwaukee Mafia, please visit the links on the sidebar of this blog under "Local Mobsters & Locations."
~Crystal "The Pistol"