Joseph Aiuppa

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Joseph Aiuppa
Joey "Doves" Aiuppa, Most commonly referred to as "O'Brien"until the 1960's
Born (1907-12-01)December 1, 1907
Melrose Park, Illinois
Died February 22, 1997(1997-02-22) (aged 89)
Elmhurst, Illinois
Cause of death Unknown natural causes
Other names O'Brien ,Joey Aiuppa, Joey "Doves", Joey O
Occupation Gangster
Criminal charge Skimming Las Vegas casinos
Criminal penalty 28 years and 6 months imprisonment, fined $143,000
Criminal status Deceased
Spouse(s) Angeline Zito
Parent(s) Sam Aiuppa, Rose Greco
Conviction(s) Mar 27, 1986

Joseph John Aiuppa (pronounced, "I-U-PA") (December 1, 1907 – February 22, 1997), also known as "Doves," "Mourning Doves," "O'Brien," or "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 Aiuppa (1883-1934) and Rosalia (1886-1968), Sicilian immigrants from Lascari, Province of Palermo, Sicily.

During the 1920s, former boxer Aiuppa rose through the ranks of the Outfit, beginning as a driver for higher ranking Outfit leaders such as Tony Accardo before graduating 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. Beginning in the late 40's and well into 50's and 60's 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 called the strip. This is and was the original " strip " before Vegas. The various clubs located on Cicero Avenue were The Frolics, the Towne Hotel, and the 411 Club along with 2-3 others. Prostitution, slot machines, and various gaming activities took place inside these night clubs. Some of these gaming chips from these establishments still survive today. 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 who also from time to time had cars or small real estate in her name as Aiuppa would almost never keep any assets in his own name except for his home that he resided in. He used various relatives such as brothers and later nephews along with his mother in holding title to his many constantly changing real estate assets in and around the Chicago area. He owned several acres of prime real estate around his Oak Brook estate home that was later sold and developed into a small neighborhood after his passing by one of his nephews.

Joey "Doves"[edit]

In a move reminiscent of Al Capone's infamous conviction 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; however, 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 3-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. Prior to this conviction Aiuppa was never referred to as "Doves"; he was known for almost 40 years as "O'Brien" or "Joey O", as this moniker referred to his old boxing name, "Joey O'Brien." 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.

Giancana murder[edit]

In June 1975, Aiuppa allegedly conspired with Johnny 'Johnny Handsome' Roselli to kill Sam Giancana. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) suspected that the Outfit killed Giancana because he refused to share his offshore 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 CIA role in the conspiracy to assassinate Cuba leader Fidel Castro.[1] Roselli himself was also killed soon afterward for apparently being too forthcoming in the Church Committee hearings, which were being held at this time.

Sometime following the murder, Aiuppa bought a house in Palm Springs, California.[2]

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 away 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. 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.[3]

Release from prison and death[edit]

On January 19, 1996, Aiuppa was released from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Medical Facility at Rochester, Minnesota.[4][5] On February 22, 1997, Joseph Aiuppa died of natural causes at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Elmhurst, Illinois. He was buried at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1995 film Casino, actor Pasquale Cajano's character, "Remo Gaggi," is loosely based on Aiuppa. The Spilotro murders were fictionalized in this film, except Joe Pesci played the role of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, and Robert DeNiro played the role of famed Outfit oddsmaker Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Murder_of_Sam_Giancana
  2. ^ 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.  Also, Vincent Dominic Caci bought a home in Palm Springs.
  3. ^ [2] Maxim Gangsters Paradise
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Joseph "Doves" Aiuppa at Find a Grave
Business positions
Preceded by
Felix Alderisio
Chicago Outfit Boss
Succeeded by
Joseph Ferriola