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|Chicago|  Joseph Esposito

Birth: 1872 - Naples, Italy

Death: March 21, 1928












Joseph "Diamond Joe" Esposito was a Chicago politician who, during Prohibition, was involved in bootlegging, extortion, prostitution and labor racketeering with the Genna Brothers and Anthony D'Andrea.

Born Giuseppe Esposito in Naples (although other accounts claim Sicily), he became involved in extortion as a member of the Black Hand gangs terrorizing Chicago's Little Italy during the early 1900s. When the Volstead Act (National Prohibition Act of 1919) was enacted, Esposito's organization, whose members included Sam "Momo" Giancana and Paul "The Waiter" Ricca, quickly entered into bootlegging as an associate of Joseph Kennedy. His early success with the Gennas may have been a factor in the 1920 murder of rival Jim Colosimo, a long time racketeer who had been hesitant to begin his own bootlegging operations.

Newspaper in the early '20s Esposito had become a Republican ward boss of the 19th Ward (one of the earliest Italian-Americans to be elected in favor of the older Irish ward bosses), offering political protection to the bootlegging gangs of Little Italy including Johnny Torrio and the Genna Brothers. He would later be in attendance alongside city officials and organized crime figures alike serving as one of the pallbearers at the funerals of his political partner Anthony D'Andrea, shot to death shortly after leaving his Neapolitan Restaurant on May 11, 1921. Esposito was also present at the funeral of Angelo Genna who had been murdered on May 25, 1925, by members of the North Siders. His cousin, Frank DeLaurentis, was also killed during the bootleg wars when he and John Tuccello were caught by members of the Saltis-McEarlane organization attempting to supply bootleg liquor to a 51st Street saloon on behalf of the Sheldon Gang on April 15, 1926 .

A later political rival of Al Capone, he was eventually set up by Ricca to be murdered when he was shot and killed in front of his wife and daughter during the Republican "Pineapple Primary" on March 21, 1928.


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