Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rouse Mansion: Murder, Corruption and a Casino

The crime families and crews I write about all provide a vice, and the public is often willing to look the other way while it goes on.  The cash that these rackets bring into the families is used to corrupt both law enforcement and politicians.  The politicians are easy because most of them have never held a job or built anything in the public sector.  Most are not in office to help the people, only to line their own pockets. Law enforcement is another story.  Most of them are in it to serve the public, but there are a few bad apples.   One of those apples was named Tom Brown and he was the Sheriff of Lake County, Illinois during the late 1970s to the early 80s.  The town of Libertyville is located in Lake County and it is an upscale sleepy town with little crime.
When I say crime I am talking about street crime like drug deals, muggings, rapes and murder.
The morning of June 6th, 1980 changed all that because a self made millionaire named Bruce Rouse and his wife Darlene were found brutally murdered in their mansion. Their three kids had been home when they were murdered but they said they had not heard a thing, due to a thunderstorm.  

The Rouse Mansion after a long investigation and no real leads was sold to an Outfit front man. The Outfit would spend thousands turning it into a casino.  The crew behind it was run at first by Joe Ferriola aka Joe Nagell.  He had his man Louis Marino oversee and provide security for the casino.  William Johoda was the guy that the public saw.  Johoda had been a bookie who split profits with the Outfit and now he divided up the cash from the casino.

All the Blackjack and other games were rigged at the casino to maximize profits to the Outfit.
The crew used some of this cash to take care of guys who were locked up and kept their mouths shut.  Guys like mob killer Harry Aleman were sent cash every month to make their time easy.  

Although there was not much of your average street crime going on in Lake County and Libertyville, thanks to Sheriff Tom Brown, Sargent Willie Smith and Organized Crime Sargent Robert Schroeder there was a lot of organized crime going on with the help of law enforcement.  They took payoffs from the Rouse Mansion Casino in order to turn a blind eye to gambling and prostitution.  There were joker poker machines at other bars prostituion also at two stripbars and an adult video store.  Sheriff Tom Brown was given $1500 a month from Rocky Infelice to provide advanced warning using on a hotline installed in the Rouse Casino in case of a raid.  

There were more murders besides the Rouse murders that went unsolved because of Law Enforcement.  Robert Plummer was a bookie in Libertyville until he crossed Rocky Infelice and Rocky decided he was to become trunk music.   He had Johoda bring him to the Rouse Casino and walk him up the stairs.  Once Robert Plummer reached the top of the stairs two Outfit killers grabbed him and began to bludgeon him.  Plummer’s last words were “Oh my God!  What was that!” and 3 seconds later he was dead.  They loaded him up in his wife’s Lincoln Continental  drove him to Mundelein where he would be found in the trunk.  

Joe Ferriola would move on to become the boss of the Outfit for a few years until his health problems would force him out.  He would die at 61 in 1989.  Rocky Infelice would go away for extortion and two murders. Nick Ferriola, Joe’s son, would start working with Frank Calabrese Sr. and his crew.  He helped with the gambling and shaking down a Pizza Parlor.  He was also the guy who was the go between to Ronnie Jarrett who was running the crew for Frank Sr. Ronnie Jarret would be murdered and Nick would get some more time thanks to Operation Family Secrets.

The Rouse Murders would be solved many years later when Billy Rouse, their son, would confess to their murder in 1995.

This is just one example of how law enforcement works with organized crime to mutually benefit each other.    

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