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The FBI Files: A Peek Into Detroit Mobster Vito Giacalone’s Cat-And-Mouse Game With the Feds

The late Detroit mobster Vito "Billy Jack" Giacalone

 
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Like old Tiger Stadium and the Vernors plant, Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone was a fixture in Detroit, one of the city’s best known mobsters — a Tony Soprano type whose mug occasionally graced the 6 p.m. news.

He was a suspect in the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance. He was known as a street boss who helped run sports betting operations.

And he wasn’t shy about collecting debts.

After he died last year at 88, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, which indicated it had about 20,000 documents on Giacalone.

I became interested in Giacalone when I was a reporter at the Detroit News in the early 1990s. He had just pleaded guilty to some IRS charges and was walking out of a federal courtroom downtown.

“Mr. Giacalone, would you care to comment?” I asked. He ignored me, and with an icy stare, straight ahead, he proceeded to the elevator.

Before he went off to prison, I wrote a rather lengthy profile on him. I called his attorney David DuMouchel to request an interview. Dumouchel called Giacalone, then called me back to say that he not only didn’t want to talk, but: “He’s not happy” that I was doing the story.

While Giacalone was alive, we got very little information on his private goings on, even though there was always a thirst for news about the Mafia. I thought the FBI files could shed some light.

FBI Finally Releases Some Documents

A week ago, I got the first installment from the FBI, a measly 120-plus pages or so, focusing on the mid-1980s. Many were redacted, chock full of whited out spaces to hide names and certain information , and more than 250 were reviewed and withheld. The FBI said it is working on processing the rest of the documents, determining what it can release.

To read full story click here.

 


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