Frank Calabrese Jr. torn on mob father`s death - New York News

Frank Calabrese Jr. torn on mob father`s death

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Frank Calabrese, Sr., one of the Chicago Outfit's most notorious hitmen, is dead.

Calabrese, Sr. died Tuesday in at Butner Federal Prison in North Carolina.

"Dad died on Christmas Day, and I believe there's something to that, and it's very comforting for me," said Frank Calabrese, Jr., who received the call about his father's death Wednesday morning. "It's hard to explain, but the emotions are very overwhelming. This is not a normal situation. So, I'm just trying to deal with it, process it. Unfortunately the last time I seen my father alive was in the courtroom testifying against him to put him away forever."

In the early 1970's Calabrese, Sr. was a growing force in the Outfit's 26th Street Chinatown Crew, running juice loans, bookmaking and becoming the go-to guy for outfit-sanctioned hits. It was when the two were spending time in federal prison in Milan, Michigan that Calabrese, Jr. turned on his dad. He went to the prison library and typed out a secret letter to the FBI. That launched the investigation that led to the Operation Family Secrets trial, where Calabrese, Jr. testified against his dad, putting Calabrese, Sr. in prison for life.

"For me, it's mixed emotions. I put him in that cage for the last so many years. And for me, I wasn't putting the good dad away, I was putting the bad dad away," Calabrese, Jr. said.

Family friend Frank Coconate remembers Calabrese as a guy with a magnetic personality.

"The guy was a master manipulator. The guy could swing anybody in his favor. I liked him. I thought he was a great guy. I only saw the anger on a couple of occasions, where I looked the other way, because his good side, his charming side, outweighed his bad side," Coconate said.

Calabrese, Jr. believes his dad's Christmas Day death is a sign that good side won out, and Calabrese, Sr. finally made peace with god.

"I feel now that instead of him taunting me, he's gonna be over my shoulder making sure I don't make any mistakes again that I made before," he said.

Family Secrets prosecutor T. Markus Funk, who now works in private practice, has a different take.

"Frank Calabrese, Sr.'s lonely death stands testament to a life marked by cruelty and disregard towards those around him. He will be missed. But only by a few," Funk said.

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