Books by Jr. William F. Roemer

ACCARDO by Jr. William F. Roemer
Released: Oct. 24, 1995

A well-padded but quite readable history of Tony Accardo, the gangster who got his start as Al Capone's bodyguard and rose to rule over the Chicago mob until his death of natural causes in 1992. Roemer (The Enforcer, 1994, etc.), a 30-year FBI man who was senior agent of the Organized Crime Squad, admits to a ``grudging respect'' for Accardo, who ``did his job with some class'' and, in Chicago at least, kept ``the mob away from families and from the drug trade.'' Capone nicknamed his young henchman ``Joe Batters'' after he clubbed two rivals to death with baseball bat. A protÇgÇ of the notorious Machine Gun Jack McGurn, Accardo, according to Roemer, was with McGurn at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1928. He bases that contention and a lot of his information on the FBI wiretaps and ``bugs'' on organized crime figures in the 1950s and 1960s. After Capone went to prison in 1931 and following the 1943 suicide of Frank Nitti and the indictment for extortion of several gangland leaders, Accardo assumed control of the so-called Chicago Outfit. Except for his infamous nontestimony at the 1950 Kefauver hearings, Accardo kept a fairly low profile. He methodically expanded mob operations into the black ghettos of his city and took over rackets and casinos in Florida and Las Vegas. In 1957, having ``become the very best ever'' and achieving ``everything a mob boss could accomplish,'' Accardo handed over the day-to-day supervision of gang activities to flashy Sam Giancana. Roemer believes that Accardo remained the final authority on all major business and personnel decisionsincluding ``contracts''until his dying day. A big, sprawled-out account that serves more as anecdotal history of organized crime than it does as biography. (photos, not seen) Read full book review >
WAR OF THE GODFATHERS by Jr. William F. Roemer
Released: Nov. 24, 1990

Slow-moving but involving story of a mob war. Roemer (Roemer: Man Against the Mob—not reviewed), a retired 30-year FBI agent specializing in Mafia activity in Chicago, has the credentials to tell this story, but he hamstrings himself by stating that he has "introduced some speculation," that "limited portions. . .are fictionalized," and that "events or conversations were dramatized because no official law enforcement version of the real events exists. . ." Since the first two chapters consist mostly of dialogue (written rather woodenly), their authenticity is in doubt. In any case, they detail how, during a 1977 summit meeting of La Cosa Nostra, the Accardo family from Chicago apparently was given control of Las Vegas, while the New York families, including the Bonanno family, got Atlantic City. Since Atlantic City yielded nowhere near the money that Vegas did, Joe Bonanno, godfather of the Brooklyn mob, decided to seize control of the casinos on the Vegas Strip, starting with the Star. Roemer's murder-by-murder account of the Bonanno family's attempts to horn in on the Accardo family's territory is exciting reading, as are his descriptions of how the mob sets up "clean" businessmen to own and operate their casinos, financing them with multimillion-dollar loans from the Teamsters Pension Fund (under mob control), and skimming the profits. Roemer's experience has left him with some fascinating tales and this is one of them, even though the book is skewed toward Chicago mob material (including a 50-page appendix about organized crime in that city). Read full book review >