Part IV of Chicago's Unione Siciliana: 1920 - A Decade of Slaughter

Oct 14, 2009 - by Allan May - 0 Comments

Joseph Aiello

Joseph Aiello

Joseph Aiello was Al Capone's most bitter rival. Each wanted control of Chicago's Unione Siciliana and the enormous profits its "alky cookers" generated during Prohibition. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, plus the rise and fall of Aiello play out in this final segment of Chicago's decade of slaughter.

by Allan May

While the Aiello-Capone war over control of the local Unione Siciliana was raging in Chicago, the ''Big Fellow'' himself was taking in the sunshine of southern Florida. Capone had taken his wife and son to Miami in early 1928. Once the sensation of his presence in the Sunshine State had passed, Capone set about finding a suitable home for himself and his family. He chose a 14-room, two-story, white-stucco, Spanish-style home that was, ironically, built for beer brewing magnate Clarence M. Busch of St. Louis. The home was located on what was called Palm Island, a part of Miami Beach. Capone spent an additional $100,000 on home improvements, including the construction of a swimming pool that was said to be the largest private pool in the state.

Capone left the warmth and comfort of Florida to return to Chicago to oversee the mayhem that became part of the April 1928 primary election. Dubbed the ''Pineapple Primary,'' due to the number of bombs that exploded during it, one of the more important battles in the election was for a seat on the Board of Review. Said to be a ''tax-setting plum,'' the Capone forces were backing Unione Siciliana figurehead Bernard Barasa. Despite the number of explosions connected with his campaign, Barasa lost to the incumbent by over 100,000 votes.

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