Monday, June 4, 2012
Mob Wives Chicago: Vincent Rizza, Pia's Dad
Pia’s dad is Vincent Rizza. He was a police officer in Chicago, who turned to a life of crime including drug dealing, bookmaking and perjury before becoming an informant. Pia has been living with the stigma of her father turning "rat" most of her life. There isn’t much on him online except for his connection to a more notorious mobster named Harry Aleman. I did the best I could with the information I found from court documents. Maybe one day I will get the opportunity to speak to Pia and find out more about her father.
Vincent Rizza was a police officer who wound up working for the mob to supplement his salary. Late 1974 or early 1975 Rizza had a bookmaking operation and was told to pay a “street tax” to the local, “Taylor Street” crew. They told him he owed over $40,000 in back taxes. Rizza also agreed to report any other local bookmakers, who were not paying their “taxes,” to the mob. The mobster allegedly collecting these taxes was a man named Harry “The Hook” Aleman, one of the most feared enforcers of “The Outfit” who allegedly committed 13 or more murders. Rizza went to his own mob connection, a man named Angelo LaPietra, and told him about his situation. LaPietra gave him a sack filled with a thousand dollars with the understanding that he would try to strike a deal with the crew. Aleman visited Rizza daily to gather names of other bookmakers not paying their taxes. Rizza called Anthony Reitinger, personally, to tell him Aleman was demanding street tax in exchange for protection of his illegal operations. Reitinger refused, saying he would never pay any taxes to the mob. Rizza reported to Aleman that Anthony Reitinger was not going to pay his tax. Rizza tried to change his mind, but to no avail. Rizza then told Aleman, who subsequently killed Reitinger, near Taylor Street, in Chicago in October, 1975. Aleman supposedly called Rizza to tell him the job had been done and to watch the news.
Of all the murders Aleman allegedly committed, he was only arrested and tried for one, a man named Logan, killed in 1972. Aleman asked for a bench trial in 1977 and told Rizza the trial “was taken care of” and he wasn’t going to jail. It turns out that Judge Wilson was bribed, there was a total of $10,000 involved, to declare an acquittal on the Logan murder charge. However, Aleman was retried for this case and also tried for the Reitinger murder, based on knowledge that Vince Rizza possessed due to his association with Aleman.
In 1982 Rizza was convicted on federal drug charges sentenced to 15 years in prison for dealing drugs, but turned informant and was place in the witness protection program. He was release from the Federal Witness Protection Program to testify against Harry Aleman in 1993 regarding the Reitinger murder.
Picture Credit: Pia Rizza