Victor P. Spilotro (October 8, 1933 - December 30, 1996) was the older brother of Chicago Outfit mobster Tony Spilotro and Outfit associate brother, Michael. It was not until the 1980s that Victor started to get public attention. He was implicated in the unsolved murder/disappearance of millionaire heiress Helen Brach.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Spilotro was born in West Town, Chicago. He was the first born son of Pasquale Spilotro, Sr. (1899–1954), a restaurant owner, and his wife, Antoinette. His parents, Pasquale Spilotro, Sr. (who emigrated from Triggiano, in the Italian province of Bari, from the southeastern region of Puglia, and arrived at Ellis Island in 1914) and Antoinette Spilotro, ran Patsy's Restaurant. When Pasquale, Sr. arrived in America, however, he had no money, education, or particular skill. Unlike most Italian immigrants who settled around Taylor Street and Halsted Street, a mile from The Loop, the Spilotros lived at 2152 North Melvina Avenue in Belmont Cragin, Chicago. Mobsters such as Salvatore "Sam" Giancana, Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, Gus Alex and Francesco Nitti ("Frank the Enforcer") regularly dined at Patsy's, which was on the west side at Grand Avenue and Ogden Avenue, using its parking lot for mob meetings. In 1954, Patsy, Sr. suffered a fatal aneurysm and died at the age of fifty-five. He was the oldest of five brothers, Vincent, Anthony, Pasquale, Jr., called, "Pat," Michael and John. Throughout his childhood and adolescence Victor slept with his five brothers in one bedroom in three sets of bunk beds. Like all of his brothers, he was short in stature. Through his brother Anthony he became friends with Frank Cullotta and spent as much time at the Cullotta house as his own. He attended Burbank Elementary School in Belmont Cragin, Chicago, and entered Charles P. Steinmetz Academic Centre in 1946, the same school his brothers Michael, Vincent, Anthony and Pasquale would attend but only Pasquale would graduate. He was a thief with his brothers and Frank and they would ride around frequently in stolen cars. At seventeen and eighteen years old in 1951, Victor along with his brothers were making roughly $25,000 a week each. He was a close associates of Jimmy Torello, Charles Nicoletti, Phil Alderisio, Joseph Lombardo and Joseph Aiuppa. He shared dreams with his brothers Anthony and Michael of not only being a thief, but of one day being a racketeer. He remained very much on the sidelines while his three brothers, Anthony, Michael and John relished in the media attention with their criminal activities in Las Vegas. He did not remain close to his younger brothers, Anthony, Michael, John and Vincent who all moved from Oak Park, Illinois in the 1970s to Spring Valley, Nevada. His brother Anthony would later drop out of high school during his sophomore year and transferred to a trade school with Frank Cullotta. It is thought that Victor dropped out of school shortly after his brother Anthony and Michael. Victor's brother, Pasquale, became an oral surgeon and dentist in the Chicago area, and Vincent lived a law-abiding life. Tony, John and Michael became criminals like Victor. Pasquale Sr. owned Patsy's Restaurant located at the corner of Grand Avenue and Ogden Avenue. It was a small place famous for its homemade meatballs that attracted people from all over town including Anthony Accardo, Paul Ricca, Sam Giancana, Gus Alex and Jackie Cerone. As a child he and his brothers grew up in a two-story wooden bungalow just a few blocks from Frank Rosenthal's childhood home. His mother Antoinette was a domineering mother. He did not move to Las Vegas like his brothers and decided to stay in Northbrook, Illinois instead. He married an Irish-American woman, Mary-Ann who bore him two children, a son who he named after himself Victor Michael Spilotro, and a daughter Maria.
Frank Rosenthal said in Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi about Victor's family, "Lots of time, members of his family were turned down for things just because of his (his brother Anthony and Michael's) reputation, and that really frustrated him. One time, his own brother (Pasquale Spilotro, Jr.) went to get a job at a casino (in Las Vegas, Nevada). I've got to say that his brother was more than qualified. Legitimate. But in forty-eight hours the poor guy got fired because of his last name. The casino owner didn't want to put up with the heat he'd get from the (Nevada State Gaming Enforcement Commission Control Board). Tony went nuts. He's ready to go to war with the casino owner."
Victor was a known associate of Richard Bailey, the owner of Bailey Stables and Country Club Stables who crimelibrary.com describes as a "con artist who specialized in fleecing older women out of their savings by investing in horses and associate of the notorious Jayne Gang, a horse theft ring. Bailey was a live-in chauffeur and houseman for Helen Brach of the Brach's candy company. Brach disappeared on February 17, 1977 in Rochester, Minnesota, Olmsted County, Minnesota. Brach's body has never been found. Richard Bailey was later arrested and charged with RICO for his involvement in the murder of Helen. Victor and Curtis Hansen carried out the murder.
In 1980, he was convicted of illegal gambling and tax fraud in connection with a bookmaking operation disguised as a race track messenger service. Spilotro was sentenced to 18 months and was out in 13 months. He would later work with capos such as Albert Tocco and James (The Bomber) Catuara.
In 1986, Tony and Michael, were found buried in an Indiana cornfield. A year later, at the age of 54, considered a very late age to be introduced into the criminal organization was recognized as a "Made" member of the Chicago Outfit. Mob historians and law enforcement officials believe that Victor, who would later work under James Marcello, the very man who ordered the murders of his brothers Anthony and Michael, knew that Marcello had ordered their murders.
In 1987, Victor was tried on fraud and extortion charges, accused of accepting $40,000 in protection money between 1981 and 1984 from the National Credit Card Service, an illegal credit card company that processed payments made to prostitutes. The firm actually was set up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a probe of vice in suburban Chicago. Spilotro, fifty-two, was found guilty, but received a light sentence from a judge who commented, "It is a troublesome case. If your name wasn't Spilotro, you wouldn't be here." On July 17, 1987, Victor was sentenced to six months of work release and five years probation.
Spilotro died on December 30, 1996, in a Wheeling, West Virginia health-care facility.