89°F
weather icon Clear

Part Three

Claim to Fame

‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Claim to Fame — Part 3’

Updated June 2, 2020 - 1:35 pm

A string of gunshots rattled the Chicago suburb of Elmwood Park in the early morning hours of April 26, 1962.

Two brothers, Phillip and Ronald Scavo, and a woman, Lydia Abshire, had been ambushed while exiting a bar, chased down by car after attempting to drive away and shot to death.

Elmwood Park was the mob’s home turf, as former mob associate Frank Cullotta recalls, and this apparent gangland execution had not been authorized by the mafia.

Frank Cullotta
Anthony “the Ant” Spilotro

“That’s a no-no,” Cullotta says. “Elmwood Park was controlled by the Chicago Outfit.”

When Cullotta heard about the murders on the radio that morning, he knew immediately who was responsible — he says he had told them where to find his guns the night before.

It has to do with agreeing to an oath to the group, to this secret society, that supersedes any family obligations.

Geoff Schumacher, Mob Museum Vice President of Exhibits and Programs

‘Mobbed Up, Part 3’: ‘Claim to Fame’

The third episode of “Mobbed Up,” available now, details the path taken by reputed Las Vegas mob enforcer Tony Spilotro to become a ‘made’ member of the Chicago Outfit.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what being a ‘made man’ is, and why it’s important,” Mob Museum Vice President of Exhibits and Programs Geoff Schumacher says on the episode. “It has to do with agreeing to an oath to the group, to this secret society, that supersedes any family obligations.”

As Cullotta recalls, the unauthorized 1962 triple murder in Elmwood Park handed Spilotro an opportunity to prove his loyalty to the Chicago Outfit by tracking down the killers.

“That was Tony’s claim to fame,” Cullotta says.

Where and how to listen

“Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas” is available for free on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more.

Search for “Mobbed Up” on your preferred mobile podcasting app and tap “subscribe” or “follow,” or click here to listen to the series on the Review-Journal website.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Related
‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Strawman — Part 8’

Part 8 of ‘Mobbed Up’ tells the story of the start of the FBI’s Strawman investigation, through electronic surveillance audio and interviews with former members of law enforcement in Kansas City.

‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Open City — Part 4’

This installment of “Mobbed Up” delves into the history of organized crime in Las Vegas from the 1930s up to the 1960s and sets the stage for the arrival of Frank Cullotta and Tony Spilotro in the 1970s.

Las Vegas mob enforcer Tony Spilotro’s house sold

A week after it went on the market, murdered mobster Tony “The Ant” Spilotro’s former Las Vegas house found a buyer. As the seller hoped, the notorious former owner proved a unique marketing opportunity.

John Momot’s death prompts memories of 1979 car fire

Las Vegas attorney John Momot Jr. was as fine a man as people said after he died April 12 at age 74. I liked and admired his legal abilities as a criminal defense attorney. But there was a mysterious moment in Momot’s past.

Mob Museum panel reveals new story

The stories about the mob and the media were amusing and riveting at a recent Mob Museum panel, but I’d heard most of them, covered them or lived them. Except for this one.

‘Casino’ unflinching in its view of Las Vegas and its mob past

Most made-in-Vegas movies — from “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960 or 2001, take your pick) to “The Hangover” — are just like tourists. They hit the town, they gaze in wonder at the neon-bedecked excess, they survive assorted hijinks. Then they go home. But a few Vegas movies get us, really get us, right where we live. And no movie fills that bill better than “Casino.”