Joey Aiuppa

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Joey Aiuppa
Joseph Aiuppa.jpg
Joey Aiuppa mug shot, c. 1985
Born(1907-12-01)December 1, 1907
DiedFebruary 22, 1997(1997-02-22) (aged 89)
Other names
  • Joey O'Brien or Joey O. (until the 1960s)
  • Joey Doves, Mourning Doves
OccupationCrime boss
Spouse(s)Angeline Zito
  • Simone (Sam) Aiuppa
  • Rosalia (Rose) Marie Greco
AllegianceChicago Outfit
Conviction(s)March 27, 1986
Criminal chargeSkimming Las Vegas casinos
Penalty28 years and 6 months imprisonment, fined $143,000

Joseph John Aiuppa (December 1, 1907 – February 22, 1997), also known as Joey O'Brien and Joey Doves, was a Chicago mobster who became a leader of the Chicago Outfit from 1971 until his Federal conviction in 1986.

Early career[edit]

Joseph Aiuppa was born in Melrose Park, Illinois, the eldest son of Simone (Sam) Aiuppa (1883-1934) and Rosalia (Rose) Marie Greco (1886-1968), Sicilian immigrants from Lascari, Province of Palermo, Sicily.

During the 1920s, former boxer Aiuppa rose through the ranks of the Chicago Outfit, beginning as a driver for higher ranking Outfit leaders such as Tony Accardo.[1]

He graduated to operating several gambling establishments in Cicero, Illinois. These clubs included bookmaking establishments and underground casinos with secret entrances. In the early 1930s, Aiuppa managed Taylor & Company, ostensibly a furniture manufacturer though in actuality a front for the manufacture of illegal slot machines. Aiuppa was a charter member of Local 450 Union for Hotel and Restaurant Employees. A member of the Capone Mob, Aiuppa also had connections to John Dillinger and the Karpis Gangs. In 1935, Chicago crime files indicated Aiuppa as a trigger man and expert bank robber for Claude Maddox.[1]

Beginning in the late 1940s and well into the 1960s, Aiuppa was in charge of the Cicero district of the Outfit. The Cicero district was the highest-earning neighborhood for decades, going back to Al Capone who headquartered out of this area while he was in command. Aiuppa eventually owned and/or operated several establishments in Cicero, collectively called the Strip. This was the original "strip" before the mob-controlled casino strip in Las Vegas. Aiuppa operated handbooks at 4835, 4811, and 4818 Cermak Road in Cicero, IL. The various clubs located on Cicero Avenue were the Frolics, the Towne Hotel, and the 411 Club, along with a few others. Prostitution, slot machines, and various gaming activities took place inside these night clubs.[2]

Aiuppa also owned for many years and then eventually sold the Navajo Hills golf course located outside suburban Chicago. This was one of his many real-estate dealings that he made money on with his personal take and share of running the most powerful and successful Outfit neighborhood for decades. Aiuppa operated his real estate holdings under the name of Rosemar Reality, named after his mother, Rose Marie. From time to time, Aiuppa also put cars or small real estate in her name, as he would almost never keep any assets in his own name except for the home in which he resided, in Oak Brook, Illinois. He also used various other relatives, including brothers and later nephews, in holding title to his many constantly changing real-estate assets in and around the Chicago area.[1]

"Joey O'Brien" and "Joey Doves"[edit]

For almost 40 years, Aiuppa's original nickname was his old boxing name, "Joey O'Brien", often abbreviated in mob circles to just "O'Brien" or "Joey O." In those days, Irish boxers got paid more on the fight card, so Aiuppa chose an Irish name to fight under. This was one of his last known jobs before he started as a driver for the Outfit.[1]

In a move reminiscent of Al Capone's prosecution for tax evasion, Aiuppa was convicted in 1966 for the unlawful possession and transportation of mourning doves across state lines. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, it is illegal to possess more than 24 doves per person outside of hunting season. In September 1962, as part of Robert Kennedy's crackdown on the Chicago Outfit, FBI agents in Kansas searching Aiuppa's car discovered 563 frozen doves. Following a series of appeals, Aiuppa was eventually sentenced in August 1966, and received a three-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. As a result, Aiuppa gained various nicknames like "Joey Doves", "Joey the Doves", "Doves", and "Mourning Doves".[1]

Giancana murder[edit]

In June 1975, Sam Giancana was murdered as he made a snack in his Oak Park, Illinois home. One murder theory said Aiuppa possibly conspired with Johnny (Johnny Handsome) Roselli to kill Sam Giancana. Jimmy Fratianno said he was told by Roselli a mob associate called "Butch", whom Giancana trusted, had perhaps killed him, as Roselli and Sam were still friends. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) suspected that the Chicago Outfit had killed Giancana because he refused to share his offshore casino gambling profits from Mexico.[citation needed] Another murder theory states that Giancana's murder was connected to the U.S. Senate's investigation into the alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) role with the mob in the conspiracy to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.[3][user-generated source] John Roselli himself was also killed soon after Giancana's death for apparently being too forthcoming in the Church Committee Cuba hearings, which were being held at this time.

Sometime following the murder, Aiuppa bought a house in Palm Springs, California, as had several other Chicago mobsters.[4]

Conviction and retaliation[edit]

In 1986, Aiuppa was convicted of skimming profits from Las Vegas casinos, and received 28 years in prison. In June 1986, Tony "the Ant" Spilotro and his brother Michael were beaten and strangled to death in Bensenville, Illinois, and buried in a cornfield in Enos, Indiana, five miles from Aiuppa property near Morocco, Indiana. It was commonly assumed that the Outfit ordered Tony Spilotro's murder because of his misbehavior in Las Vegas. It was also rumored that Aiuppa ordered the executions because he blamed Spilotro for the skimming conviction. Nicholas Calabrese, a member of the Outfit testified that both Spilotro brothers were killed in a home in Bensenville, IL and then buried in the cornfields in Indiana. Calabrese is known to be the first made man to testify against the Chicago Outfit. His nephew, Frank Calabrese Jr. was also an informant for the FBI. Calabrese Jr. is the son of notorious crime syndicate Frank Calabrese Sr.[5] However, in a 2010 interview with Maxim magazine, while promoting the opening of the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana Hotel, Tony Spilotro's son Vincent claimed that the real target was his uncle Michael, and Tony was killed to prevent any revenge.[6]


Joey Aiuppa gained control of the Chicago Outfit after the death of Sam Giancana, who had strong support from Paul Ricca and Tony Accardo. Aiuppa became the boss in 1971 after Felix Anthony "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio was sent to prison. Under the leadership of Aiuppa, the Chicago Outfit grew stronger ties to its Las Vegas Casinos. In 1986, Jackie Cerone took over control after the semi-retirements of Accardo and Aiuppa as leader of the Chicago Outfit. The convictions of 6 mob ties to the skimming of 2 million dollars from Las Vegas Casinos evolved with Joseph Agosto from Kansas City Crime Family testifying against the bosses. Amongst the few that were impisoned included Aiuppa, Carl DeLuna, Angelo J. LaPietra, and Jackie Cerone. LaPietra was a top enforcer for Aiuppa in the Chicago Outfit and early years in Cicero crime operations. Imprisoned syndicate leader Aiuppa chose John "No Nose" DiFronzo to head criminal operations in Chicago's western suburbs over acting syndicate boss Joseph Ferriola. Eventually, he became one of several de facto leaders running The Outfit in Chicago.[7] Ferriola ran the outfit until his death in 1989. Aiuppa’s chauffeur driver and mentor, Samuel Carlisi, took over leadership operations shortly after.[8]

Release from prison and death[edit]

On January 19, 1996,[9] Aiuppa was released from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Medical Center at Rochester, Minnesota.[10] On February 22, 1997, Aiuppa died at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Aiuppa had controlled several acres of prime real estate around his Oak Brook home; this land was sold after his death, by one of his nephews, and developed into a small neighborhood.

Aiuppa’s nephew Sam Aiuppa is a member of the IATSE Projectionists Local 110 union and does not share how he became part of the union. Sam Giancana's nephew, Andrew Giancana was on the board for the IATSE. The IATSE Projectionists Local 110 in Chicago was once widely believed to be one of the most mobbed up locals in America . [11]


The movie Casino directed by Martin Scorsese in 1995 is based on the Chicago Outfit ties to the Las Vegas Casino industry[12]. The events that occur in the movie are based on the relationships between the associates of the Chicago Mob and Las Vegas businessman Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal. Rosenthal is portrayed by Robert De Niro as the main character in the movie Casino. One of the members of the Chicago Outfit, enforcer Anthony Spilotro is portrayed by Joe Pesci in the movie Casino. In the movie, Spilotro and brother Michael are murdered by the Chicago Outfit and buried in a large cornfield. Casino also portrayed the actual car bombing of Rosenthal, in which he survived. [13]


Tribune, Ronald Koziol, Chicago. "AIUPPA MASTERMIND IN SKIM, U.S. SAYS". Retrieved 2019-05-04.[14]

Tribune, Chicago. "JOSEPH AIUPPA, 89, REPUTED MOB KINGPIN". Retrieved 2019-05-04.l[15]

"Webster, Evelyn Ann, (born 12 May 1969), Executive Vice President, Time Inc., 2011–16", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 2009-12-01, retrieved 2019-05-04[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e Federal Bureau of Investigation. Joseph Aiuppa.
  2. ^ Federal Bureau of Investigation. Joseph Aiuppa.
  3. ^ "Infamous Crime Scenes: Murder of Sam Giancana". Waymarking. 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  4. ^ Yates, Ronald; Koziol, Ronald (May 9, 1978). "Elite Palm Springs Becomes a Gangsters' Playground". The Evening Independent. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 30, 2012. [Palm Springs] has become Our Town for such Chicago luminaries as Anthony 'Big Tuna' Accardo, Joey 'The Dove' Aiuppa, James 'The Turk' Torello, and Frank 'The Horse' Buccieri.
  5. ^ "Nicholas Calabrese", Wikipedia, 2019-04-14, retrieved 2019-05-05
  6. ^ Kersten, Jason (November 30, 2010). "Gangsters Paradise". Maxim. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "John DiFronzo", Wikipedia, 2019-04-26, retrieved 2019-05-04
  8. ^ Binder, John J., 1956- (2003). The Chicago outfit. Arcadia. ISBN 0738523267. OCLC 52263324.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Inmate Locator". United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. 2017. "Find By Name" search results. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Koziol, Ronald (December 9, 1987). "Aiuppa Seeking Early Parole: Attorney Says He Is Near Death". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  11. ^ Robb, David; Robb, David (2015-09-01). "Mob Relatives Drawing Pensions From Chicago IATSE Projectionists' "Endangered" Plan". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  12. ^ "Casino (1995 film)", Wikipedia, 2019-04-28, retrieved 2019-05-04
  13. ^ Sheldon, David. "7 Completely True Events The Movie Casino Is Based On".
  14. ^ Tribune, Ronald Koziol, Chicago. "AIUPPA MASTERMIND IN SKIM, U.S. SAYS". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  15. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "JOSEPH AIUPPA, 89, REPUTED MOB KINGPIN". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  16. ^ "Webster, Evelyn Ann, (born 12 May 1969), Executive Vice President, Time Inc., 2011–16", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 2009-12-01, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.249930

External links[edit]

American Mafia
Preceded by
Felix Alderisio
Chicago Outfit Boss
Succeeded by
Joseph Ferriola