Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Family Secrets mob trial with Sun-Times reporter Steve Warmbir

The humiliation of Shorty

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Joseph "Shorty" LaMantia
Frank Calabrese Sr. may have been quoting the Bible in federal prison.

But he still had time to put his fellow mobster in his place.

Joseph "Shorty" LaMantia was in the same federal prison at the same time as Frank Calabrese Sr. and his son, Frank Jr.

Some East Coast mobsters were there too, and LaMantia made the mistake of introducing Frank Sr. to them.

There's a special way one made guy introduces to other made guys to one another.

LaMantia did just that.

The only problem is that LaMantia wasn't made into the Chicago Outfit.

In one of the secretly recorded converations between Calabrese Sr. and Jr., the father relates how he blasted LaMantia.

"I said, what the f--- you introducin' me to that guy like you were made guy for? The man thinks you're made, doesn't he? Shorty, don't you f------ introduce to nobody again. Nobody."

Another time, Frank Calabrese, describes how he and a group of killers were waiting to whack somebody. He says they were "at a party."

And LaMantia drops by with some sandwiches, running into Angelo "The Bull" LaPietra.

"One time he brought sandwiches to us. We were gonna have a party. Okay? And the Bull brought him and brought him in and he's seen and he got f------ scared. He thought the party was for him.

"And uh, the Bull says, put the sandwiches over there and he said, do you see all these guys here? He says, they're all men. You go wait in the car."

"You shoulda seen him," Frank Calabrese Sr. tells his son.

"He didn't even wanna look at us. We were sitting, we were all, we were ready. We were all dressed up, uh, ready to, uh, dance."

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I have been reading a lot about the trial and I hate these dirtbags so much but what about the ones that are doing everything now? This stuff happened so long ago.

WARMBIR RESPONDS: Sure, many of the crimes charged in the case are two decades old - or older.

But we're learning a lot about the current mob.

Don't forget, one of the men on trial was the reputed head of the Chicago mob when he was arrested two years ago, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello.

And one man many point to as the current caretaker leader of the Chicago mob, Al Tornabene, is getting more attention during the few months of this trial than he's gotten during the previous 84 years of his life.

The current mob leadership is in disarray.

But even though the trial centers on the last 40 years of mob history, it's still shedding light on the present.

Do you know the way they introduce the made guys to one another? Is it anything like Johnny Depp explained on "Donnie Brasco" saying something like "a friend or ours" or a "friend of mine" having 2 different meanings? Mobspeak is rather fascinating.

WARMBIR RESPONDS: They didn't go into the Mobspeak introductions at trial, but I believe the way introductions are done in Chicago is similar to the way it's described in "Donnie Brasco."

When Frank C came to shortys house to pass him the message ,you should have seen him, he was shaking like a little girl,I was ther and seen it. and heard the conversation. There was a dinner in chinatown with Frank C and his brother Nick. many of the names mentiopned in this trial were sitting at the table in CHIAMS.At one point Angelo told thye others at the table that he wanted this guy wiyh him and the others could take a lesson from him as he put his arm around Shortys shoulder. Jhonny apes, R.J and may others liked and respected Shorty, EXCEPT for the Two RAts Frank an Nick. Shorty worked closley with Jimmy when Ang was away. he ran all the efforts to get Ang out sooner. He was very relied by both Ang and Jimmy. I guess it must have ate the guts of the RAT BROTHERS.

I know for a fact that it was the RAT frank who was crapping in his pants wenever he and shorty were face to face. I do know that the RAT was pissed because the BOSS loved SHORTY and put the other guys behind him. I also met the guys from the east coast and they tell a different stiry from theRAT!

Having reported Outfit activities in Rockford, I am curious about Frank Saladino's role in the trial. Unfortunately, I have not seen his name in any Chicago Sun-Times news articles.

What has been said about Saladino in the trial that is not in the government documents already available on the Web?

WARMBIR RESPONDS: Frank "Gumba" Saladino was allegedly a very busy Outfit killer.

He's been tied to several murders:

Prosecutors say he was involved in the murders of burglar John Mendell, burglar Vincent Moretti and his business partner Donald Renno, Paul Haggerty and Henry Cosentino.

You're not seeing his name in the Sun-Times simply because of a lack of space.

The amazing thing about the trial is that there's so much new material and information.

The downside is that's only so much space to write about it in the Sun-Times.

Is shorty still around?

WARMBIR RESPONDS: Shorty, alas, is no longer with us.

He died several years ago.

Frank Saladino, also known as "Gumba" and "Fat Frank," was born, raised, and resided most of the time in Rockford. He was also considered the main liaison between the Rockford mob and the Outfit. He supposedly collected the cash tributes from the Rockford mob to be delivered to the Outfit bosses. He was considered to have almost dual membership in both organizations--although there isn't much left of the Rockford Family these days. It has been wondered whether the cash and checks found in the motel room where he was found dead of natural causes at the time the indictment dropped was actually part of the Outfit's nut from the Rockford rackets.

I don't know whether or not Shorty was a "made" guy, but he was respected around the neighborhood. No one pushed him around like Calabrese suggested. I've seen stories where Joey Hansen talks about Calabrese crying like a baby as well. These guys are used to puffing out their chests and making stuff up.

WARMBIR RESPONDS: I think it was Frank Cullotta who had the story about Frank Calabrese Sr. crying like a baby.

Also, let me note, there has been quite an outpouring of support for Shorty and his reputation in the neighborhood.

Do you think there's enough room for a book after this trial, considering not every bit of material can go into the newspaper?

Yes, that was Frank Cullotta who claimed that he was in a car with Frank Calabrese Sr. and got mad at him, and was going to beat him up when Frank Sr. jumped out of the car and supposedly begged and cried for Cullotta not to hurt him. Cullotta did that interview a few days after the indictment dropped.

Cullotta is basically a publicity seeker for his upcoming book, however. So I really wouldn't trust what he claims.

By the way, I thought Frank Cullotta was on the witness list and supposed to testify? Any reason why he didn't? Maybe the prosecution thought he was too much of a publicity seeker, too, though.

WARMBIR RESPONDS: The prosecution has another two months to go, so we'll have to see if they call Cullotta.

If they do, the defense will have plenty of ammunition from his book, I suspect.

Suzana they do introduce each other in a similar fashion, a friend of mine or a friend of ours according to a former co-worker of mine.

If you introduce someone to other associates it means your letting them know he is ok and he is your responsibility if somehow something goes wrong.

Most mob guys are low key and will always deny their association with the mob.

Those in the mob usually hang with only trusted close friends they either grew up with or have been introduced by someone they trust. Most will have some sort of buisness to mask their mob connection and to hide their criminal activity.

Cullotta's book is a joke. Its fiction. He's still the same lying sack of you know what -dont let him fool you ..and if your looking for truth dont buy his book. He is so full of himself, i heard he always was a POS...and still cant be trusted.


Where does one hear stories about things like Joey Hansen and Frank "the liar" Cullotta?

suzanne you say shorty worked closely with jimmy while angelo was away and was respected. respected by who?? murderers and extortionist who preyed on their friends and others in the neighborhood (captain D and Vic Cacciatore among many others) who they knew would not go to the feds. its funny how you say he was relied on like he was performing a meaningful job and was and outstanding member of the neihborhood. these guys made peoples lives miserable and surely will not be missed.

I have heard from a reporter in the courtroom that Shorty's son has been working for Frank Calabrese Sr. throughout this trial, taking notes everyday.

Is this true ?

If so it would seem odd how it came out how Frank use to humiliate his father, he must be spinnning in his grave.

STEVE WARMBIR RESPONDS: Rocco LaMantia has been in court, but certainly not every day.

For instance, he's not in court today.

I don't believe he's working for Frank Calabrese Sr.

Any reason LaMantia wasn't retried like Harry Alamen for the murder of his girlfriend? The judge was or is in prison right?

STEVE WARMBIR RESPONDS: In the Aleman case, prosecutors got someone to come forward to talk about paying the bribe - namely the man who did it, attorney Robert Cooley.

In the case of Rocco LaMantia, the allegation is that his father, Shorty LaMantia, paid off the judge to get his son off the charge. But Shorty LaMantia is dead, while the ex-judge is in prison on other matters, and there's no one coming forward to testify.

Shorty was not a made guy. But by no means does that mean that he wasnt feared himself. I know of many scenarios where shorty had to come and make things right. His son Rocco is known as rocky, he was always the black sheep of the family. He has had his own problems for most of the years of his life. Drugs, crimes and inner torment. He lives everyday with what did or didnt happen with his "girlfriend" Martha Dicaro. No body has seen him around for a few months and some say he is in prison. He lost more then 250lbs after gastric bipass surgery. He is now a frail 50 year old man that looks as if he is closer to 65. One thing is for sure, he has a wealth of information all based on inside stories from his father and his fathers friends. I personally know rocky, he has a good heart deep down, i personally think his family life molded him to all his unaccoumplishments.

Rocky has a older brother not in, correct?

STEVE WARMBIR REPLIES: He has an adopted brother. Not sure if he's older or younger.

How can you believe a word cullotta says ,he was a no good rat from the age of 15yrs old and a bum.Big italian never made with a big mouth.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Warmbir published on July 14, 2007 1:46 AM.

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