Frank’s First Recruit

cullotta-cover-web.jpgAfter joining Tony Spilotro in Las Vegas, Frank Cullotta began recruiting other criminals for what would later be dubbed the Hole in the Wall Gang.

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

When Frank arrived in Las Vegas in early 1979, one of his first stops was at the Gold Rush, Tony Spilotro’s store and headquarters. After touching base with Tony, Frank rented a condo at a place called the Marie Antoinette, located at 205 East Harmon Avenue.


It was a beautiful place and Frank’s condo was located right by the pool. Everything was furnished except for the television. After getting settled in, Frank met Tony for dinner to discuss what his function was going to be.


“I want you to be my eyes, ears, and muscle,” Tony said.


Frank smiled. “It sounds like I’m going to be pretty busy. Seriously, though, I’ll probably need some help to keep up with things. What do you think?”


“Sure, bring in whoever you want. But they can’t be Outfit guys and I don’t want anybody who’s known to our local cops.”


Frank got to work on lining up his crew. One of the first men to join him was Leo Guardino, a Windy City burglar who was already living in Las Vegas. Guardino was trying to be legit, but was having trouble getting a decent job. When Frank reached out to him he was more than ready to listen to his proposal.


 When they got together Frank made his pitch. “I’m working for Tony Spilotro and I’m putting a crew together. You interested?”


“What’s the setup?”


“We’ll do our own scores and any that Tony tells us about. All we have to do is kick back some of the money from our jobs to Tony and fulfill our other obligations to him.”


“What kind of obligations?”


Frank shrugged. “That depends. He’ll probably want us to muscle people once in a while. Maybe shake down drug dealers and renegade bookies, things like that.”


“I don’t mind a little rough stuff, but I’m not a killer. I don’t want to get into that kind of shit.”


“Don’t worry about it; you won’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. I’ll have some other guys around to handle anything like that,” Frank assured him.


That seemed to satisfy Guardino, but he had another question. “Tony’s an Outfit guy. What about them?”


“Tony will determine how much money has to be sent to Chicago. We’re going to make a lot of money for ourselves, too; you can count on it. On top of that we’ll have carte blanche at some of the casinos. Shows, meals and stuff, will all be comped. We’re going to be able to live the good life.”


Guardino liked the deal and went for it.


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