Last of the mustache petes
January 16, 2006 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Steal little steal big. After nine months on the lam, reputed mob boss Joey "The Clown" Lombardo was captured Friday night in Elmwood Park. He was one of the “guys back home” who took part in skimming $2 million from the Stardust hotel in the movie Casino. He gets the spider hole treatment. (”Moving from place to place is very stressful, as Saddam Hussein will tell you.") While folks who took part in stealing over $42 billion from California alone are photographed in suits and described as “polite.”
posted by Smedleyman (22 comments total)
Not to defend their actions, but I don't recall the Enron executives being charged with any murders, or going on the lam, so perhaps their treatment needn't be as harsh.
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:20 AM on January 16, 2006

Lombardo paid his respects at the funeral of someone in my family, so perhaps I'm a bit biased. But I noticed there wasn't a lot of "perp walk" going on with the Enron case and it strikes me that there seems to be a double standard in blue collar and white collar crime.

Skimming millions in tax money from a casino seems less harmful than bilking millions of people out of their pensions and stealing billions.

Maybe it’s the movies or whatever, but Lombardo seemed like an old man who just wanted to die in peace. Obviously he should have been brought to justice, but this fascination with denegrating him is hard to understand.
And it’s b.s. anyway - he wasn’t staying in “spider holes” unless you consider nice suburban houses “spider holes.”
Everyone knew where he was and really no one said anything. Partly because, y'know, he was the head of the Chicago mob, but mostly because he was out of the picture. He just wanted to die in peace. Not that he deserves that. But how is the capture of a dying old man a big thing compared to men who ripped the country off for billions and make the Chicago outfit look like pikers?

At least people are still trying to make a buck on the coattails of their fame equally. I heard someone was trying to sell the giant Enron “E” on e-bay for some bucks.
Meanwhile someone has Lombardo’s coffee table.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:21 AM on January 16, 2006

Lombardo had been a fugitive since April, when federal prosecutors charged him and more than a dozen other defendants in 18 Outfit-related murders dating to 1970.

Involvement in 18 murders certainly justifies a manhunt.

Interesting post Smedleyman, but what's your point?
posted by three blind mice at 9:21 AM on January 16, 2006

Yeah, I'm a little confused to. I loathe what the guys at Enron did and hope they rot in prison, but that dosen't mean I have any sympathy for this scumbag. He's getting what he deserves.
posted by jonmc at 9:24 AM on January 16, 2006

"being charged with any murders..."
Murder by proxy in both cases. Enron, a bit more apparently.

From the democracynow link ("ripped the country off for billions "):

"Many public officials have described Enron's demise as the product of corporate misbehavior. This perspectiveignores a vital fact: Enron would not have scaled such grand global heights, nor fallen so dramatically, without its close financial relationships with government agencies. Since 1992, at least 21 agencies, representing the U.S.government, multilateral development banks, and other national governments, helped leverage Enron's global reach byapproving $7.219 billion in public financing toward 38 projects in 29 countries. For example:

* In the Dominican Republic, eight people were killed when police were brought in to quell riots after blackoutslasting up to 20 hours followed a power price hike that Enron and other private firms initiated. The local populationwas further enraged by allegations that a local affiliate of Arthur Andersen had undervalued the newly privatizedutility by almost $1 billion, reaping enormous profits for Enron.
* In India, police hired by the power consortium of which Enron was a part beat non-violent protesters whochallenged the $30 billion agreement-the largest deal in Indian history-struck between local politicians and Enron.
* The president of Guatemala tried to dissolve the Congress and declare martial law after rioting ensued, followinga price hike that the government deemed necessary after selling the power sector to Enron.
* In Panama, the man who negotiated the asking price for Enron's stake in power production was the brother-in-lawof the head of the country's state-owned power company. Rioting followed suspicions of corruption and Enron's pricehikes and power outages there, too.
* In Colombia, two politicians resigned amid accusations that one was trying to push a cut-rate deal for Enron onthe state-owned power company."
posted by Smedleyman at 9:25 AM on January 16, 2006

I'm gonna miss seeing Joey 'the Clown"'s name popping up on the news as a possible suspected participant in various Chicagoland crimes. His picture now makes him look more like the unibomber than a notorious crime boss. Wasn't he the mobster that was allegedly photographed riding a bike while on the lam (and the picture made the Chicago Tribune) and the picture turned out to be somebody else?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:26 AM on January 16, 2006

I suppose my point being the fallout from white collar crime can be far more damaging than blue collar crime which is more direct.
For example - a guy robs a bank for $200,000 and shoots someone.
That’s murder, bank robbery, etc. So he gets life in prison.
A guy masterminds a plan to rip billions off of people pays for his killings by proxy and kicks the retirement plans out from under millions of people causing who knows how many suicides.
He gets seven years.

Doesn’t seem proportional to me.
(and again - I recognize Lombardo should be in prison).
posted by Smedleyman at 9:28 AM on January 16, 2006

I agree that the sentences for white collar crimes are a joke, but Outfit guys like Lombardo are not the best counter example, since violence aside, much of what organized crime engages in today (gambling, casino skim, fraud) could be described as white collar crime too.
posted by jonmc at 9:51 AM on January 16, 2006

Let's not forget that Causey -- the Enron exec in the link -- is pleading out and turning State's evidence. Mobsters who do the same also get treated better than their counterparts. The trials of the bigger Enron fish haven't come yet, so while I don't expect justice, I haven't given up hope yet.
posted by tyllwin at 10:07 AM on January 16, 2006

"...white collar crime too"

Point taken.

But it does seem like the mob guys are given a harder ride whereas crooks in Enron - - which is every bit a syndicate - get soft soaped.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:26 AM on January 16, 2006

It's racism. If Lombardo had a nice waspy last name like Rutherford then he would have been given a slap on the wrist, too.
posted by nyxxxx at 10:48 AM on January 16, 2006

I think the penalties for laundering drug money should be equivalent to those incurred by dealing in the first instance. I also think that those in high up corporate positions should take responsibility for the actions of the company. If they are making 20-30 times what the employees make then they should also represent the company when a crime is commited. Also, no more federal country club prisons. If you get to rip off thousands of people for millions (or billions) then you don't get to play golf and you don't get conjugal visits. You go to the same damn prison as anyone else. I am not convinced that murder by proxy in the case of Enron execs is any more or less murder than popping a couple of .22 rounds in some mobsters head.
posted by longbaugh at 10:55 AM on January 16, 2006

Smedleyman, lose the chip on your shoulder. There's inequality in the justice system, but an Outfit extortionist connected to 18 murders is not your poster boy.
posted by dhartung at 11:52 AM on January 16, 2006

Yeah, skimming the two mill is the least of his offenses. I was just reading about the Outfit, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro (who Pesci's character in Casino was based on) and his "Hole in The Wall" gang a few nights ago. Not very nice guys.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:09 PM on January 16, 2006

It's racism. If Lombardo had a nice waspy last name like Rutherford then he would have been given a slap on the wrist, too.

What does FBI stand for? Forever bothering the Italians.

/old joke

Some of my relatives grew up in a mob infested area of Brooklyn, they were especially disgusted with them, since they considered them an affront to both their work ethic and their ethnic heritage.
posted by jonmc at 12:21 PM on January 16, 2006

I find that comment condescending jonmc.

Everyone has good and bad in their ethnic group. But for some reason Italians get this stereotypical mob. I mean there seems to be this whole fixation on the mafia (films, t.v., what have you) in which everyone is Italian - which is by no means true.
So what does disgust me is that there is more of an association of Italians with the mob and organized crime even though there are plenty of Jews, Hispanics, Germans, etc. etc. etc. involved not only in “the mob”, but in gangs and what have you which are every bit the same as organized crime.

But the point is - much larger more dameging to society crime syndicates skate by with less than a blink in the media.

So Joey “The Clown” obsessed over and gets compared to Saddam Hussein, and no one knows - still - who the hell Richard Causey was and he gets photographed in a suit and is clean shaven and “polite” and dignified.
(I grant everyone knows who Ken Lay was - but everyone knows Al Capone too)

Why? Because he is any less of a killer than Lombardo? Because even though it lead to the death and ruin of many many more people, he just shuffled papers?

Ño chip because of the Italian thing. It just seems there is a real difference in the way some criminals are treated publicly.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:58 PM on January 16, 2006

Everyone has good and bad in their ethnic group. But for some reason Italians get this stereotypical mob.

As a first generation Italian-American, i agree with you. There is an unfair stereotype of us as gangsters, especially since just about every other ethnic group has been involved in gangsterism, too. My comment about my relatives was meant to illustrate that most of us are disgusted by gangsterism, that's all. Apologies if I was misunderstood.
posted by jonmc at 1:11 PM on January 16, 2006

I think one has to be very ignorant to believe Italian-American= Mafioso. I know this sounds like the speech before the senate committee in Godfather II, but Italian-Americans have contributed immensely to this country, and if anything, many more of them have been the victims (rather than perpetrators) of organized crime.

There will always be bad seeds and psychopaths in every ethnic group, and unfortunately they get much more press than honest hardworking folks./Captain Obvious.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:26 PM on January 16, 2006

“Apologies if I was misunderstood.”

My apologies for not reading you clearly jonmc. And for not giving you the benefit of the doubt of your usual level headedness.

(Apple for anyone who can say who L. Dennis Kozlowski is without googleing)

I suppose the point is that the Enron execs - didn’t do anything really that Lombardo didn’t do (except perhaps kidnapping - but he was aquitted and he didn’t violate human rights for years) - except on a larger scale or with more insulation.
(Thousands of Enron employees and investors lost their life savings, childrens' college funds, and pensions when Enron collapsed. Lombardo...not so much - $1.4 million from pension funds of the Teamsters Union)

Which is the point of using a “gangster” for contrast.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:42 PM on January 16, 2006

(Apple for anyone who can say who L. Dennis Kozlowski is without googleing)

Ooh, ooh! He was the former Tyco executive who raped the place and ran. I remember the names of traitors and public enemies.

I get an Apple, huh? I'll take a MacBook Pro, please.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:26 PM on January 16, 2006

Err...well...a fruit apple. My budget isn't that thick.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:25 PM on January 16, 2006

Lombardo obviously didn't grease the right GOP palms.
There are gangsters all over the GOP machine right now that operate in the open.
They're occasionally used for the less than savory jobs too such as contract murders (reference the Florida casino boat owner who crossed Abramoff's friend.)
Then there's the NYC greek guy who once paid Delay's lawyer with gold bars and no questions asked.
I'm hoping to hear more about the Washington DC "hospitality house" that some "friends" were running for the GOP and media muckety mucks too. That ought to be juicy if it ever makes the light of day.
Like I said, be Ken Lay and grease Dubya, you're good, else, well, you're Lombardo.
posted by nofundy at 10:55 AM on January 17, 2006

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