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Reputed Mob Boss Caught in the Act

February 20, 2001  Southtown Pioneer Press   Chicago Newspapers

     A hidden FBI camera not only caught reputed West Side mob boss Anthony Centracchio handling wads of alleged bribe money. It also captured the 71-year-old man in another compromising position--having sex with an employee at his abortion clinic office, court documents show.
     "On one occasion, April 2, 1994, the CCTV equipment recorded Centracchio engaging in sexual activity with a woman who was part of the clinic's administrative staff," a defense motion in the case reads.
     The same camera that captured Centracchio in the abortion clinic office also showed him counting "street tax" payments and discussing bribes to public officials. Those details and others have recently come to light in previously unavailable court documents in the federal government's racketeering case against Centracchio and three others, including Stone Park Mayor Robert Natale.
     He stands accused of taking payoffs to protect video gambling in his town. The case represents the government's battle--led by prosecutors Stephen Andersson, Scott Levine and Deborah Steiner--against the mob in the western suburbs and its video gambling operations, a big moneymaker for the Outfit.
     So far, five key figures in the probe have been convicted, receiving prison sentences of up to 16 years.
     Prosecutors also allege in unsealed court documents that Natale had been taking payoffs since the 1970s when he was a Stone Park police officer pulling over drunken drivers or speeders.
     Natale, who prosecutors say helped usher illegal video gambling into his town, allegedly got caught playing a machine when police raided a Stone Park bar in 1994.
     In a secretly recorded conversation on March 16, 1994, Centracchio recounts to a colleague, adult book store owner Joseph Annecca, what happened: "The mayor, he was at a lounge Sunday, right? Well, evidently, the lounge got poker machines in it, and the lounge was under surveillance because the broad made a payoff in there once to an agent, ah copper, and the bartender made a payoff ... "
     "Holy Christ," Annecca interrupts.
     " ... to a copper. So they come in and busted the joint Sunday, and he [Natale] was in it, and you know what I mean, they pinched the joint, and he was playing poker machines, so they come up and grabbed him and he started getting heavy with them,
     “Who the [expletive] are you people?” Centracchio continues: "And they said, `Who are you?' They wanted to see identification and here's the mayor of the town playing poker on the poker machines in there…"
      Natale; Centrachhio; Thomas R. Tucker, a former Stone Park police lieutenant, and Robert S. Urbinati, a former Franklin Park police officer, are awaiting trial on racketeering charges.