A minor organized crime figure with arrests for burglary and rape, LaPietra was involved in labor racketeering and other criminal activities in Chicago's South Side. In April 1985, LaPietra was named by Stephen O'Mallory, a staff attorney for the President's Commission on Organized Crime, as a member of the Chicago Outfit. This accusation was based on testimony from labor union official John Serpico during federal hearings on labor racketeering.
James LaPietra was openly gay, and died of Alzheimer's Disease on July 5 1991 at an aged care facility in Gary, IN, leaving behind a modest estate which was the subject of a legal battle with LaPietra's unofficial Rudolf 'The Fist' DiCiciano. The attempt by DiCiciano to be remanded the late PaPietra's property proved unsuccessful, and Diciciano shot himself while speaking to reporters on the courthouse steps. The case provided minor attention for the cause of gay rights in the Midwestern United States.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Organized Crime in Chicago: Hearing Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs. 1983.