||Chicago| Anthony D-Andrea
Birth: 1872 - Palermo, Sicily
Death: May 11, 1921 - Chicago
D'Andrea was born in Palermo, Sicily, where he studied for priesthood. He moved to America somewhere during the 1890's. Ones he arrived in America he started to get involved in counterfeiting and other crime activities. Next to that he created the Italian-American Educational Club, a political organisation. D'Andrea was nothing like another notorious Chicago big shot of that time, Big Jim Colosimo, who was the prostitution king in the Levee area in Chicago. D'Andrea was wild and bloodthirsty and fought the Irish Politicians rather than making friends with them like Colosimo did. In 1902 he was arrested, together with a man named Frank Milano in Cleveland for conterfeiting. (not certain if this event happened with later Cleveland boss Frank Milano, or another man with the same name). After serving 13 months in jail, his prison sentence was suddenly shortened by president Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919) and he was released in 1903. Nicola Gentile, an important Mafia member who worked all over the US, knew D'Andrea personal and said he was feared all over America.
Johnny The Pow
D'Andrea would eventually end up in a gangwar between him and Johnny "The Pow" Powers, an older local Irish mobster who also was the political boss of the 19th ward since 1888. Their dispute began in 1915, when both were backing a different candidate in the running for mayor. Tensions between both groups would grow in the years to come. In February 1916 D'Andrea ran for Democratic Alderman's nomination against James Bowler, a handpicked guy from Johnny Powers. On February 21, Powers & Bowler supporter Frank Lombardi was shot in his saloon. His 18y old daughter told authorities her father was murdered: "because he had dared to head a determined fight against D'Andrea, who had lorded it over a fear stricken ward, too afraid of his power to cross him". D'Andrea however was never convicted for the murder. When D'Andrea became the boss of the Unione Siciliana (A strong organisation throughout America, created in 1895), Powers tried to make peace with him. The peace worked for a small period and Powers turned down the offer of committemanship of the 19th ward in 1920 to support D'Andrea. However, the Supreme Court descided otherwise and Powers retained his position, which would lead to a war between D'Andrea and Powers. On Sept. 28, 1920, a bom exploded near the house of Powers, which destroyed the front of the house, but nobody was hurt. Powers responded with a bombing in a building during a political rally for D'Andrea. 17 people were injured by the blast. Only a week later another bombing followed, this time the target was a political lieutenant of D'Andrea, Joseph Spica. After that another bomb destroyed the political headquarters of D'Andrea.
On election day, on February 22, 1921, more than 400 policemen were stationned in the 19th ward, knowing there would be trouble. And they were right, even before noon about 50 men were allready arrested. Powers eventually won from D'Andrea with a slim margin of 435 votes. D'Andrea was furious and this lead to the slaying of 2 Powers supporters in March. One of those men was Harry Raimondi. 2 men arrived at Raimondi's store and purchased cigarets, not long after they left the store another 2 men entered the store and also asked for cigarets (The 2 men earlier were probably checking the area). When Raimondi was searching for change both men popped out their guns and shot him 3 times. Angelo Genna was one of the suspects in both murders. D'Andrea was suspected of ordering the murders, but when he was confronted by reporters he denied having anything to do with it. D'Andrea was also becomming fearfull for his life and started to carry a gun. He was arrested, but not convicted, for carrying a conceiled weapon on April 12. But D'Andrea was right when he feared for his life. In the early morning hours of May 11, 1921, D'Andrea was having late dinner with 2 friends at the restaurant of Joseph Esposito. Afterwards he was driven home by his driver, Joseph Laspisa. Laspisa said goodnight and left, not much longer D'Andrea was hit 13 times by 2 gunmen while going up the stairs. When he was carried to the hospital in critical condition and questionned by the police, the weakened D'Andrea couldn't identify his attackers (probably respecting Omerta). He died 36 hours after being shot. One of the pallbearers during the funeral was Joseph Esposito.
That same month, on May 26, Micheal Licari, a political lieutenant of D'Andrea, was murdered at Wentworth avenue. A month later, on June 26, D'andrea's bodyguard, Joseph Laspisa was murdered with a shot true the head. Laspisa was also the last man who saw D'Andrea before his murder and it was possible he witnessed the killers and was therefore silenced. On July 7 another D'Andrea loyalist was shot, in front of his 13y old daughter, but survived. And if it was meant to be he was shot again on August 14 in front of his daughter, this time however he was killed. Still the bloodshed wouldn't stop, on July 21, a barber who's loyalty lay with D'Andrea took 11 bullets and died. The 19th Ward would eventually be known as Little Italy during prohibition and it's bootlegging would be dominated by the Genna Brothers. The violence in Chicago had just begun.
(Source: NY times articles May 26 and June 26, 1921. Crimemagazine.com)
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