Back on the Streets

cullotta-cover-web.jpgFrank was released from prison on parole in 1974. His intent at the time was to give up crime and lead a straight life. But that was easier said than done.

Excerpted from CULLOTTA – The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness.

Things had changed while Frank was in prison. Mainly, his buddy Tony Spilotro had moved to Las Vegas to keep an eye on the Outfit’s casino interests. When Frank was released on parole, he fully intended to give up his life of crime and become a productive member of society. In spite of his good intentions, however, he soon found out that going straight wasn’t going to be as easy as he had thought.

In order to get parole an inmate had to have a job lined up. Frank’s was working in a dental lab making partial plates. He wasn’t very good at it; he knew it and his boss knew it. It got so bad that Frank didn’t have to come in to work anymore. He picked up his check once a week and kicked some of it back to the lab owner. Other than that his time was his own.

An acquaintance of Frank’s owned some property near Wrigley Field and wanted him to go partners in a restaurant. They built a nice place right across from the ballpark. It was totally legit and Frank worked in the place day and night.  But when the cops found out he was one of the owners they started hanging around the place and harassing him. Almost every night some windows would be broken out. It got to be very depressing for Frank. He had thought his hatred of the system and the desire to be like his father were gone, but they started coming back.

Things got progressively worse at the restaurant, so Frank sold his share. He made enough money to buy a lounge out in Schiller Park and kept one of the former owners on because the guy’s name was on the liquor license. He did some remodeling and changed the name of the place to Spanky’s. Even though he was down on the system, he planned to run the place legit. Then the cops found him again and the harassment resumed. 

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