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

Too close for comfort?

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In a little noticed court filing, federal prosecutors in Chicago are trying to get two defense attorneys tossed off a mob-related pipebombing case because they are allegedly too close to reputed high-ranking Outfit member Michael Sarno.

Federal authorities earlier this year charged Mark Polchan, a reputed ranking member of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club and an Outfit associate, and Samuel Volpendesto, an alleged former manager of a strip club and bordello, with taking part in a Outfit-ordered bombing attack on a Berwyn business that leased vending and video poker machines.

Polchan is represented by Alexander Salerno, Volpendesto by Ed Wanderling. Neither attorney is a stranger to organized crime cases, but both men have interesting ties to this particular case, according to the federal filing.

Both attorneys have represented a confidential witness that federal prosecutors expect they will call at the trial of the two men.

Both attorneys also have had legal relationships with Sarno, who had his home searched as part of the case, and is described in the government filing only as "Outfit Member A."

When Sarno had his suburban home searched on July 30, Salerno arrived shortly after the search began and consulted with Sarno, prosecutors note.

And Wanderling is listed as the registered agent for at least three businesses involving Sarno.

The prosecution's court filings make clear that Sarno is a focus of federal interest, and prosecutors contend Polchan and Volpendesto need different attorneys who can give them neutral advice on whether to cooperate against Sarno.

The judge could make a decision on the prosecution's request later this month.

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13 Comments

da feds at it again

Steve Doesn`t it seem that the Feds are trying their hardest, to Convict Volpendesto, and Polchan for a Stupid Bombing that happened
a long time ago, and no one was hurt. Don`t the Feds have any other info on the Outfit? If this is all they have,then you decide if the
Feds are really doing their jobs.

STEVE WARMBIR RESPONDS: You're right that the the bombing didn't hurt anyone, but that wasn't due to any precautions taken by the bombmakers.

The bomb was set outside the store, not inside, and with a fuse, not by remote control.

So someone easily could have been walking by when the bomb went off and been killed.

Also, like many investigations, this one appears to be possibly be building toward a reputed high-level mobster, Mike Sarno.

Looks like the Feds want to do whatever they can to get Sarno.

At one point on the August 6th bond/detention hearing, one of the prosecutors called Mr. Salerno "Mr. Sarno." He corrected himself but commented on the slip. It makes more sense now.

Not a very good couple of years for the Outfit. It's telling that the same mix of connections (the Mafia and outlaw motorcycle clubs) are as apparent in this case as in the case against Anthony Calabrese. Do I see a pattern developing here? Maybe...

Mark my words...The Feds want Sarno...They will do everything in they're power to get him.
I sure hope Sarno is prepared for this.

MIKE SARNO DID HIS TIME AND PAID HIS DEBT HE HAS BEEN AN UPSTANDING LAW ABBIDING PERSON SINCE.THE NEWS MEDIA AND THE GOVERMENT ACTS LIKE HE HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND HE IS ON TRIAL .THE GOVERMENT NEEDS TO GO AFTER THE REAL TERRORISTS THE THOUSANDS OF GANG BANGERS ROAMING THE STREETS TERRORIZING PEOPLE AND KILLING OUR KIDS THERE THE REAL THREAT TO THE PUBLIC.

Steve, I see the same all-caps type in a few of these blogs. They defend the gangsters for their actions.

I believe it's Rocky Lamantia writing these posts. He's blogged here before...in all-caps, with numerous typos and grammatical errors, and most importantly they are defensive.

Any chance it's him? Also, what's the status of his charges for the alleged robbery?

STEVE WARMBIR: On this blog, people are allowed to post anonymously, so I don't know, typically, who posts what. If people want to identify themselves, fine by me. I'll check on the status of LaMantia's case and if there's any news, I'll post it.


HEY FBI AND PROSECUTORS WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT WATCHING MIKE SARNO EAT WITH HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY OR WATCHING HIS HOUSE WHERE HE SLEEPS,WHY DONT YOU GO FIND OUT ABOUT THE GANGBANGERS THAT WERE SPEEDING ON THE 6700 BLOCK OF DIVERSEY AND SHOOTING AT EACHOTHER.YOU TELL ME WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT, YOU SHIT IN THE PANTS!!
HEY STEVE WARMBIR WHY DONT YOU STICK UP FOR MIKE SARNO FOR ONCE, YOU DONT EVEN KNOW HIM,MAYBE IF YOU DID YOU WOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT OUT LOOK.


STEVE WARMBIR responds: I'm a reporter, not a cheerleader, so I'm not in the business of sticking up for or putting down anyone. My job is to report the facts. I'd be happy to talk to Mr. Sarno any time he wants, but he hasn't been charged with a crime lately.


Brian Roti,
I believe your little head is up your big ass. Oh,and this is not Rocky. I'm sure you will remember me when we are face to face.

Soutside Showdown? LOL!

any decision made on the lawyers situation?
How long does it take for a judge to decided if
he should allow the accused, the right as an American citizens,
to choose their lawyer of choice to be represented? Its been
almost six weeks I believe.

STEVE WARMBIR RESPONDS: There has been no decision released yet on the issue regarding the lawyers.

I haven't posted in a while, but have kept up on reading the blog, some of the regulars are funny...anyway....the outfit has lost power because the big money in gambling has moved to "legit enterprises" like online sites and casino's, the outfit guys left are relying on taverns of places like berwyn, cicero, chicago heights, calumet city, the problem is times have changed and eventually these taverns, bars, and bowling alleys that still allow the machines and pay out will soon be gone. Secondly, the outfit doesn't have the muscle it used to have, street gangs, and motorcycle gangs have more guns on the ground, but "using" them is a costly proposition in terms of exposure to prosecution. what is left of the outfit are turning to other "white coller" rackets, like real estate scams, and bid fixing type stuff, which is why difronzo is called boss, he is established in "legit business" The feds know that sarno knows enough to bolster the case they are building against difronzo and tornebene but unless they can tie him to a death penalty case, they are barking up the wrong tree. I suspect that zizzo could have tied them directly to a murder and that is why he is gone. the outfit is going away, but there is some truth to what the posters supporting the "old way" say, the next generation of gangsters, may be worse than joey "spagetti shirt"

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Warmbir published on September 3, 2008 2:46 PM.

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