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

The feds draw a bead on "Pudgy"

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John "Pudgy" Matassa

U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald showed an interest in reputed mob boss John "Pudgy" Matassa when he questioned a deputy marshal accused of leaking secrets to the Outfit.

It's one of several fascinating facts that came up during the hearing for the deputy marshal, John Ambrose.

The hearing centered on Ambrose's effort to get the statements he made to Fitzgerald and FBI Chicago Chief Robert Grant tossed out and not allowed in at trial.

Ambrose contends he gave those statements when he was in custody, without receiving his Miranda rights.

Fitzgerald testified during Ambrose's hearing that he was there to pitch him to cooperate and talk to the case agents. Fitzgerald said he clearly told Ambrose he wasn't under arrest.

The prosecutor did ask Ambrose some questions, after Ambrose persisted during their September 2006 meeting in giving his account of what he had done.

The feds contend Ambrose leaked information about Nicholas Calabrese, a mob killer who would decide to flip for the feds and go into witness protection.

When Calabrese came to Chicago to take FBI agents to murder sites, one of his guards would be Ambrose at times.

The feds discovered that Ambrose was the leak when two mobsters, Outfit boss James Marcello and his half-brother, Michael, were secretly recorded talking about information that Nicholas Calabrese was providing to the feds, well before Calabrese's cooperation became public, according to court records.

The two mobsters never named Ambrose but described him in such specifics that the details pointed straight at him, according to the feds.

In Ambrose's discussion with Fitzgerald, the top prosecutor wanted to know if Ambrose ever met with Matassa at a Chinese restaurant, according to hearing testimony.

Ambrose denied knowing Matassa, much less ever meeting him in a Chinese restaurant, according to hearing testimony.

Matassa has strong ties to the Marcellos. When Outfit chief James Marcello got out of prison, Matassa was Marcello's driver, a trusted, important position, given Marcello's high rank

Matassa has said he grew up with Michael Marcello and would routinely meet him as an adult, according to testimony Matassa gave during a labor union hearing.

Matassa was described in those hearings as a made member of the North Side crew, who oversaw mob interests in pornography businesses and helped run mob gambling operations in Chicago and Rosemont.

As a younger man, Matassa was a driver for the man picture below, Michael Glitta, who oversaw the mob's control of the porn business for the North Side crew.

Mobster Michael Glitta

For those mob ties, Matassa was booted in 1999 from Laborers' Local Union 2 where he was president and business manager.

As for Ambrose's hearing, it will continue in January, when the judge is expected to issue a ruling.

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The reason John "Pudge" Matassa Jr. was so close to Michael "Mike the Fire Plug" Glitta is because Glitta and John Matassa Sr., a bodyguard/driver for Sam Giancana in the old days and Pudgy's father, was a first cousin of Glitta. Just a little extra information on him.

Great blog Mr. Warmbir...I've enjoyed reading it. Please keep updating it as time goes along. There are not many sites out there that update on the current happenings of the Chicago LCN.

Was Deputy Marshall's father the same Chicago cop from the Marquette 10?

STEVE WARMBIR RESPONDS: His father was one of the officers convicted in the Marquette 10 scandal.

Ambrose was also a buddy of Frank Derango who was also part of the Marquette 10,

I worked with Frank for a week but he told me what the feds were offering him, but he would not deal!

He took his 12 years in prison with no parole!

Frank was only doing what everyone else was doing in that district, shaking down drug dealers. It wasn't right and it was a disgrace to the Chicago Police department but did anyone really care. The feds made the bust!

After looking at his photo, I wonder why they call him Pudgy? It behooves me ...


Johnny Matassa and Michael Marcello were very good friends. We've had coffee at my house and spent a bit of time boating with them. I knew Johnny and his family for many years when they would spend their summers near Lake Geneva WI. They were generally nice guys unless you made them mad. I made Mickey mad once. Still laugh it off now saying "I thought he was going to kill me!". I miss them actually.

STEVE WARMBIR RESPONDS: Thanks for the post. The two men grew up together and were friends since childhood, according to testimony in the union case that got Matassa barred.

I'm sorry, I forgot my son's favorite Pudgy quote when giving a compliment. And I quote' "Ya hezza pretty smart kid. Hezza a got one dem der ah electrictronical degrees." Watching a ten year old struggle to hold back a burst of laughter at that, priceless.

But to be more clear, this is how all of Bridgeport talks--have you ever heard Mayor Daley speak?

Nevertheless, there is some educated people there, but when they grow up, most of them move out. It's the nature of the neighborhood.

To Neighbor: I'd like to get in touch with Tommy Matassa, John's cousin, to ask him about some old friends from the old neighborhood. His health care company seems to be closed. If you know how to reach him, let me know.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Warmbir published on December 24, 2007 3:19 PM.

"A legend" retires was the previous entry in this blog.

The feds on "The Hatch's" demise is the next entry in this blog.

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