Frank Calabrese, Jr., Former Chicago Gangster and Star Witness at Landmark 2007 “Family Secrets” Chicago Mob Trial, to Tell His Story in Forthcoming Book, Making His First Chicago Appearance Since Trial
(January 17, 2011 New York, NY) Frank Calabrese, Jr., formerly of the notorious 26th Street/Chinatown Crew whose testimony during the historic 2007 “Family Secrets” trial helped secure the conviction on murder and racketeering charges of 12 highly placed members of the Chicago Outfit including his father, will finally step forward and tell his story in a book titled Operation Family Secrets, scheduled for release March 8, 2011 with a major motion picture to follow.
He will make his first appearance in Chicago the week of March 14 for a series of press interviews, lectures and book signings. Joining Frank for the book tour and appearances is the fiery ex-prosecutor T. Markus Funk, part of the three-man trial team (and lead prosecutor during the sentencing proceedings), who during closing statements was threatened with death by Frank Calabrese Sr., who received the Department of Justice’s highest trial performance distinction, and who after a distinguished career at the U.S. Attorney’s office recently left for private practice with the prestigious law firm of Perkins Coie.
Published by Broadway Books, an imprint of The Crown Publishing Group at Random House, Inc., and major motion picture producer Paul Pompian of Paul Pompian Productions, Operation Family Secrets was written by Calabrese with Paul Pompian and New York Times bestselling authors Keith and Kent Zimmerman. Calabrese has been working exclusively with Pompian and Keith and Kent Zimmerman on both the book and motion picture for the past two years. The Zimmermans will also be co-producers on the motion picture. CAA and Peter Meyer of Meyer Management represents Pompian and the motion picture rights.
Said Pompian, “Frank Calabrese, Jr., the son of crew boss gangster Frank Calabrese Sr., wore a wire for the FBI and in the process brought down his father, his uncle, and the last great American crime syndicate, the dreaded Chicago Outfit. It is a modern Shakespearean tragedy of epic proportions.”
The book is told from the first person perspective of Calabrese, chronicling his work with FBI Special Agents who co-led the investigation that came to be known as “Operation Family Secrets” and that culminated in the largest murder/racketeering case in the history of the Department of Justice. In the book, Calabrese describes the inner workings of organized crime and the shocking family history that led him to testify against his own father, Outfit loan shark and feared hit man Frank “Frankie C” Calabrese, who terrorized and abused the members of his family, especially his first-born son, Frank Jr.
Mentored by his father, Calabrese, Jr. was brought into organized crime as a teenager and became a key member of Chicago’s ruthless 26th Street/Chinatown Crew, a part of the Chicago Outfit. After being convicted with his father and brother Kurt on racketeering charges in 1995 , Calabrese, Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison, where he turned his life around.
In 1998, Frank Jr. sent a letter to the FBI Organized Crime Squad in Chicago offering to cooperate, presenting an unprecedented opportunity to build a case against his father, Frank Sr. and the Outfit. Determined to put his father behind bars forever, Frank Jr. received nothing in exchange for his cooperation. He subsequently put his life on the line by secretly recording conversations with his father on the prison yard in Milan, Michigan, where both were serving sentences. In those conversations, Calabrese Sr. described key unsolved mob murders as well as his participation in them. In toppling his father, Frank Jr. also had to make the gut-wrenching decision of betraying his favorite uncle, Nick Calabrese, Frank Sr.’s brother.
As a result of Frank Jr.’s cooperation, and after discovering there was a contract on his life, Nick Calabrese became a government witness, turning against the family patriarch, his brother.
On January 28, 2009, in a packed courthouse filled with spectators, victims’ families, and press, Frank Calabrese Sr. was sentenced to life in prison for his role in 13 murders and ordered to pay $7 million in restitution. Mob bosses Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo and James “Little Jimmy” Marcello also received life sentences. In addition, made members, dirty cops, and several associates of The Outfit went down as a result of Operation Family Secrets.
In the history of organized crime dating back to 1919, there were over 3,100 gangland murders in Chicago, and only 13 resulted in convictions. In the “Family Secrets” case alone, the defendants were found responsible for 18 murders, including those of Tony and Michael Spilotro, portrayed in the motion picture “Casino.”
Contact Dyana Messina: 212-782-9001
Causes Kent Zimmerman Supports
STAND UP Program at San Quentin State Prison