|3600 Fluer Drive, Des Moines, Iowa|
To the kids who lived at 3600 Fluer in Des Moines, Iowa the smiling man was known as Phil, but to the outside world he was known as Milwaukee Phil.
Milwaukee Phil was not a person to take lightly. He had worked for Al Capone, but it would be his cousin Lou Fratto who brought him into the Outfit. Soon he was working with two other old friends of Lou Fratto, Sam "Teets" Battaglia and John Marshal Caifano as an enforcer, mainly in Milwaukee and Chicago. They saw that he was very good at taking care of whatever task he was given. Many jobs required him to take trips to 3600 Fluer in Iowa which was a good meeting place because there was no surveillance there at all, and no heat. This was the home of Lou Fratto, who was his cousin and the boss of the Iowa Mafia.
Phil was much more than an enforcer because he could think on his feet. He soon started working for Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik who ran the "Corruption Squad" for the Outfit. This was probably the most important Crew in the Outfit because they handed out the cash to law enforcement and politicians to keep the wheels greased.
The grease or payoff was what kept the Outfit on top for so many years and this is the real reason they kept away from drugs. It was easy for a Judge to give a guy a slap on the wrist for gambling or Shylocking but selling hard drugs would never work the same. These were important times in Phil’s life because he learned how the administration kept the Outfit on top. When Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik died he was replaced by another fixer, Llewelyn Morris Humphreys or Murray Humphreys aka The Hump. Once again, the Outfit chose a non-Italian to handle their payoffs.
Phil would learn two important things from The Hump. One was Union takeover and the other was the art of staying in the shadows, because the Mafia was intended to be a secret organization. The Hump also had a favorite quote, "The difference between guilt and innocence in any court is who gets to the judge first with the most".
Phil must have taken the Hump’s advice to heart because he was quietly building an empire of vice in Milwaukee where he controlled a large gambling and shylock territory and it has been said that he was in control of a lot of the high end prostitution. He worked with the leaders of the Milwaukee family but he was always an Outfit man.
It was at this time that he started working with Charles "Chuckie" Nicoletti dealing with The Outfits headaches that they could not payoff. In May of 1962 Phil and Chuckie were taken in and questioned by police when they were caught sitting in a car. The car turned out to be a "Hitmobile" The car was designed with hidden gun racks, secret compartments, controls to turn off and on headlights and tail lights basically everything you needed to carry out a hit. They told police that they were waiting for a friend. The terrible twosome must have been good at their job because in nearly two decades of "Work" they were brought in numerous times and questioned about murders but they were never charged. Phil was said to have carried out up to 14 hits for the Outfit.
Phil soon found himself working with another non-Italian, this time a Greek named Gus Alex who was tough and carried out many hits and was very good at corrupting the people he needed. Gus took over being in charge of Chicago’s non-Italian connected guys when The Hump died of a sudden heart attack caused by some overzealous FBI Agents who pushed him too far and his heart could not take the stress.
Gus Alex’s most famous hit was probably when he and Lenny Patrick shotgunned James Ragen, the owner of the racewire in the street which he would not sell to the Outfit.
Milwaukee Phil learned a lot from Alex that would serve him during his rise in the Outfit. In 1967 Lou Fratto was indicted along with the Milwaukee Mafia Boss Frank Balistrieri and Kansas City Boss Nick Civella on ITAR Charges because of a 300lb con man named Allen Rosenberg.
It has been said that Phil helped put an end to the Conman who was found in March of 1967 riddled with bullets and handcuffed to a car. Lou would pass away in November of that same year. Milwaukee Phil had left a trail of murder and mayhem in the 1960's, one of the most famous was the M&M where he and Tony Spilatro used a vice on the head of a Chicago hood to get him to tell them who his partner was in murdering an Outfit guy. The hood gave up his friend and they were both found with their throats cut.
At the end of the decade Phil had moved into the top spot of the Outfit but his reign would be short lived. Despite controlling restaurants, nightclubs and stripjoints, Phil was convicted of extortion and sent to prison. He would die while locked up in 1971.