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Rincon-related mobster DiFronzo dies

Investigation led to Silberman money laundering

Mayor Susan Golding and Dick Silberman outside U.S. courthouse, San Diego, 1989.
Mayor Susan Golding and Dick Silberman outside U.S. courthouse, San Diego, 1989.

One-time reputed Chicago mob boss John “No Nose” DiFronzo died at 89 May 28, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Chris Petti. Silberman was picked up by the Feds on a wiretap of San Diego mobster Chris Petti's phone, asking Petti whether he could use someone to launder drug money.

In 1992, a number of mobsters were indicted for conspiring to gain control of the Rincon casino in Valley Center to use it for skimming profits and laundering money. DiFronzo was one who was indicted, along with long-time Chicago/San Diego mobster Chris Petti. Controversial San Diego attorney Nicholas DePento was indicted for allegedly submitting proposals that used front men to conceal the mob’s interest. (DePento’s record with the California Bar shows that he is still active with no prior discipline.)

The mobsters were caught largely through wire taps. Those taps caught former San Diego financier Dick Silberman in a money lauindering deal, and he was also indicted and convicted. He spent time in prison and moved to Northern California.

A Harrah’s casino is now at the location.

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Mayor Susan Golding and Dick Silberman outside U.S. courthouse, San Diego, 1989.
Mayor Susan Golding and Dick Silberman outside U.S. courthouse, San Diego, 1989.

One-time reputed Chicago mob boss John “No Nose” DiFronzo died at 89 May 28, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Chris Petti. Silberman was picked up by the Feds on a wiretap of San Diego mobster Chris Petti's phone, asking Petti whether he could use someone to launder drug money.

In 1992, a number of mobsters were indicted for conspiring to gain control of the Rincon casino in Valley Center to use it for skimming profits and laundering money. DiFronzo was one who was indicted, along with long-time Chicago/San Diego mobster Chris Petti. Controversial San Diego attorney Nicholas DePento was indicted for allegedly submitting proposals that used front men to conceal the mob’s interest. (DePento’s record with the California Bar shows that he is still active with no prior discipline.)

The mobsters were caught largely through wire taps. Those taps caught former San Diego financier Dick Silberman in a money lauindering deal, and he was also indicted and convicted. He spent time in prison and moved to Northern California.

A Harrah’s casino is now at the location.

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Comments
33

Mobsters will all be using encrypted iPhones these days. The Feds will have to hire Israeli hackers to get their evidence.

Before moving into Chicago in 1959, I lived in the NW suburbs. We had mobsters living in comfort in Barrington, Fox Lake, and other respected communities. Big homes with interesting activity- people coming and going in limousines. They didn't mix much with neighbors but never had problems with local law enforcement. Many people knew which homes they were but we could only speculate about what went on inside.

I was surprised to discover similar activity here in peaceful San Diego. And why not? If I was a rich retired murderer, I'd want to live here too!

June 1, 2018

swell: San Diego peaceful? In addition to all the white collar crime stuntmen, San Diego had notorious mobsters. One was Chris Petti, a Chicago gangster who moved to San Diego County to work his territory. He ended up in Chula Vista. Frank (the Bomp) Bompensiero was a notorious San Diego mob hitman. There were more. Best, Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

Alan Glick? He came out of nowhere, was noted for a time, and we haven't heard of him for a very long time.

June 1, 2018

Visduh: The last time I talked with Glick -- 20 or more years ago -- he was in the Philippines setting up casinos. The last I heard (a few months ago) he was back in San Diego. But I don't know that he really was. Best, Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

Someone told me that La Costa was a hotbed of retired Mafia. Any truth?

June 1, 2018

Of course. Built by the mob, and they hung out there.

June 1, 2018

dwbat: See my reply to swell below. Best, Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

Wasn't La Costa built using mob money, or Teamster pension funds, or something like that?

June 1, 2018

Oops. Sorry, dwbat. I was typing as you were posting.

June 1, 2018

aardvark: See my response to swell. Yes, Vegas mobsters developed it using dirty money from the Teamsters Central States pension fund. Much of San Diego, including Penasquitos and parts of Clairemont, were built from the same fount of filthy mob money. Best, Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

swell: La Costa was developed by Vegas mob members such as Moe Dalitz back in the 1960s. The late San Diego banker C .Arnholt Smith, whom the San Diego Union called San Diego's Man of the Century, did the initial financing. Another outfit early in the financing was Switzerland's Cosmos Bank, which was so mobbed up that the U.S. and Swiss government closed it up in the 1970s. Yes, not only was La Costa built by mobsters, gang members hung out there. Best,] Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

Chris Petti lived in the Condo Complex I NOW LIVE IN!!!! ORLEANS EAST!!

June 1, 2018

diagoloue53: Breathe easily. Chris Petti is dead. Best, Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

Louis Proccacino: Chris Petti has passed from this life. Unless some of his offspring live there, you are OK. Best, Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

Louis Proccacino: Boxing matches? Best, Don Bauder

June 1, 2018

Gee gambling and the mob. Who knew? While La Costa was backed by the mob and much of the money was from the Central States Pension Fund (Teamsters) the development was a financial success. The Teamsters fund made money for the plan. The problem, for the Teamsters, was that it is against the law for union pension plans to invest their funds in speculative real estate.

June 2, 2018

AlexClarke: The Vegas mobsters and associates who built La Costa sued Penthouse, which had exposed them. The suit went on forever, with the mobsters claiming they were not mobsters, despite all the evidence in the world. The jury found for Penthouse, but the judge, who as a private lawyer had worked for a mobster, overturned the decision.The suit ended up in a draw, with both sides praising the other, hardly enthusiastically. Recently, one of the four developers, Merv Adelson, admitted that he regretted having spent his life working with the mob. Oh yes. Adelson had been married at one time to TV's Barbara Walters. Best, Don Bauder

June 2, 2018

Adelson co-founded Lorimar Productions with Irwin Molasky, and had huge success with The Waltons, Dallas, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest and other series.

June 2, 2018

dwbat: Molasky went on to construct buildings for the FBI. Yes, the FBI. Matt Potter did a great job following this story. Go to the Reader search engine and read all about it. Best, Don Bauder

June 2, 2018

I already read that fine story. Why would you think I hadn't?

June 2, 2018

dwbat: Actually, it was several stories and all worth reading. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2018

Yes, again I KNOW that. I read Matt's articles all the time. Please don't be the schoolmarm again.

June 3, 2018

dwbat: You mean I can't hit you on the fingers with a ruler? Best, Don Bauder

June 5, 2018

How come Silberman never got a neat nickname like so many of these mobsters? It’s not just an Italian thing either. All the mob people in Hawaii had affectionate nicknames too when I was living there. I was always partial to Joseph “Chocolate” Kang.

June 2, 2018

nativesd: The information on Silberman was picked up in a wiretap aimed at mobsters. I don't think you would call him a mobster, although he often acted like one. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2018

As I look at the photo of "The Susan" and Silberman, I chuckle. I got to know Susan in the late 70's when she was selling advertising in a start-up weekly newspaper in Del Mar which was owned by her then-boyfriend. At that time she was cute, lively, and obviously bright. A decade later when she was holding hands with Dastardly Dick in front of the courthouse, she had gained mucho weight, and the shoulder-padded coat (1980's fashion that has mercifully passed from the scene) and certainly didn't look happy. Rather than hold his hand for a photo, I'd think she would have liked to have her hands around his throat. But the local media and power structure gave her a pass on the matter, without being sure of what she knew and didn't know. Silberman spent a mint getting her elected to the board of supervisors, and many who claimed to know him said that he was trying to recoup his wealth by laundering money. Despite the fallout that would usually result, she managed to win two terms as mayor, and made a mess of many things in the city.

June 3, 2018

Visduh: Yes, the local media gave her a pass on the Silberman money laundering matter. There's more: Navarro probably lost his mayoral run against her when he started talking in ads about her being married to a money launderer. As I recall, he mentioned it in a debate, or some meeting where they were together. She cried (whether faux tears or not.) That may have been the event that turned the election to her. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2018

Navarro might have been far better off to stay above the fray. (And let someone else remind the voters about Silberman.) It was a big scandal, and somehow, not a splash of mud landed on her.

June 3, 2018

Visduh: As I understand it, Navarro's lead was evaporating fast, and somebody in his campaign suggested taking the "married to a money launderer" approach. Clearly, it backfired. I have never found out who suggested it, but Navarro must take the blame because he had to OK it. He was the speaker in the ad referring to it. Best, Don Bauder

June 4, 2018

Am not a fan of Silberman or Golding...Golding appeared to be either in way over her head both on the Board of Supervisors as Mayor of San Diego...OR just doing the bidding of the SD Downtown Republican establishment instead of doing what was right for the voters of SD...........Just what the Downtown business establishment loves in their elected officials in the SD Region. Golding's backroom deal naming rights from Jack Murphy Stadium to Qualcomm was one of the absolute worst stadium naming rights deals in the country...18M fee for 20 years of naming rights?! I think the going rate was 20M per year for an NFL & MLB stadium at the time?!?! Golding ended up with a Cushy VP job at Qualcomm for her efforts after leaving the Mayor's office....No investigation of a possible Quid Pro Quo there?!?! And, wasn't Golding the Mayor who made the notoriously bad Chargers ticket guarantee deal that cost taxpayers 10's of millions of dollars that also allowed the Chargers to opt out of their stadium deal and leave San Diego?!?!

June 16, 2018

concernedcitizen77: Golding was a complete prostitute for the. downtown business establishment wanting corporate welfare. She gave it to them in spades. The deals with the Chargers and Padres were examples of egregious giveaways to team owners who were shaking down San Diego through threats to move. One has already moved -- took its money and ran. Best, Don Bauder

June 17, 2018

Chris Petti story.

I was invited to a San Diego BBQ years ago. A friend of mine had a friend, unbeknownst to me, that was from little Italy who, apparently, had some unsavory contacts and associates. He invited a friend of his and his wife to the BBQ.

I was introduced to them and it turns out the guy was Chris Petti and his wife. At that time, I didn't even know who the h*** Chris Petty was. They were very polite to me and I did not know them or what others knew about them.

The named sounded like I had heard it someplace before ..maybe from the newspaper or something. Turns out, the Chris Petty I was, inadvertently, introduced to was that notorious mobster that Don has written about and mentioned here.

My friends gave me a hard time because they know me as more of a straight arrow and to go to a BBQ and meet a criminal mobster was something they did not let me live down...

June 16, 2018

concernedcitizen77: Chris Petti was a notorious gangster. Unfortunately, mob money was behind the development of much of San Diego County. Best, Don Bauder

June 17, 2018

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