Felix Alderisio

Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio (1912-September 25, 1971) was a prominent enforcer, hitman and burglar for the Chicago Outfit, serving as an underboss to Salvatore ("Sam," "Momo," "Mooney") Giancana during the 1960s and as acting boss for a short time as the 1970s moved in, before being sent to prison.

Although he would continue as a payoff man throughout his life, Alderisio had become a valuable enforcer with Charles "Chuckie" Nicoletti during the 1950s. Throughout the next two decades, Nicoletti and Alderisio were frequently questioned by police about gangland "hits." In one incident, the two men were questioned as they sat in a car customized into a so-called, "hit mobile." The black car had special switches that independently controlled the headlights and tail lights to avoid police detection. The car had a hidden compartment in the back with clamps for shotguns, rifles, and pistols. Alderisio and Nicoletti claimed they were, "….waiting for a friend," and were released by the police.

Alderisio headed a group of cat burglars that operated in Chicago's upscale Gold Coast district. These thieves specialized in rare gems and jewelry, which they fenced to Outfit-controlled jewelry stores and wholesalers. Ironically, Alderisio himself resided in the Gold Coast; his unsuspecting neighbors were his targets. Alderisio also owned several restaurants, meat packing firms, small hotels, Rush Street nightclubs, bordellos, and striptease joints. He also had some like business holdings to the north, in Milwaukee.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Alderisio's crew was responsible for picking-up payoffs from North Side restaurants and nightclubs. He also served as the principle bagman for North Side bookmaking operations, delivering weekly payments estimated at millions of dollars to The Outfit leadership. Serving directly under Giancana, and later under Gus "Gussie" Alex, Alderisio was identified by federal authorities in the early 1960s as a high ranking member of The Outfit. During the United States Senate McClellan Committee investigations on organized crime, Alderisio would plead the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution against self-incrimination 23 times.

In May 1962, Alderisio participated in an infamous mob torture incident. In the aftermath of a barroom fight, two small-time criminals, Billy McCarthy and Jimmy Miraglia, ambushed and killed Ron Scalvo and Phil Scalvo, both Outfit associates. Alderisio, Nicoletti and Anthony "Tony," "The Ant" Spilotro captured McCarthy and tortured him to give up Miraglia's name. They finally placed McCarthy's head in a vise and tightened it until one of his eyes popped out of its socket. At that point, McCarthy gave in. Later that week, both McCarthy and Miraglia were found with their throats cut.

Often traveling abroad (either on vacation or establishing connections for smuggling heroin into the United States), Alderisio frequently visited Turkey, Italy and Greece. He was passionate about classical ruins, spending hours photographing them. During one meeting with Giancana that was recorded by law enforcement, Alderisio spent about 20 minutes describing ruins he had recently seen in Europe. Finally, Giancana lost his patience and yelled, "Phil, goddammit! Ruins! I got coppers coming out of my eyeballs and you sit there telling me about ruins! Listen to me, Phil, listen real good! Ruins ain't garbage! Forget about them goddamn ruins!".

Over several decades of criminal activity, Alderisio was arrested at least 36 times for assault and battery, bombing, racketeering, loansharking, illegal gambling, hijacking, narcotics, counterfeiting, bootlegging, bribery, extortion, and murder-for-hire. However, Alderisio was rarely prosecuted because of the strong political connections enjoyed by The Outfit. Yet, acting as Antonino ("Tony," "Joe Batters," "Big Tuna") Accardo's Outfit boss in the late '60s, he wasn't very popular with the "rank-and-file" Chicago mobsters. Within a short time, Alderisio was convicted of extortion and sent to prison.

On September 25, 1971, Felix Alderisio died from natural causes at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. His funeral was attended by Accardo and many other Outfit members.

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