Some people who have come to my web site or read my blog are jarred by the juxtaposition of a Chicago mob story, “Boosting the Big Tuna,” with ASSASSINATION THEATER, a theatrical investigation about the JFK assassination. In fact, the two subjects are not as disparate as they may seem. For me, there’s also a direct, personal connection between the projects. “Tuna” is about a gang of burglars who intentionally break into the home of Tony “The Big Tuna” Accardo, the long-time leader of Chicago’s mob, which is known as the Outfit. The article is the basis for Idol’s Eye, a movie to be made by director Olivier Assayas. I believe Accardo to be the most influential (and unheralded) organized crime boss in the 20th century. After the article was published by Playboy in 2007, I was approached by FBI agent Zechariah (Zack) Shelton, who was featured prominently in the story. Zack suggested I next do “the real story about the mob.” When I asked him what that would be, he replied, “How they killed JFK.”
And so began a seven-year odyssey that led to my writing of ASSASSINATION THEATER. While there has been a sizable school of conspiracy theorists who believe that organized crime was behind JFK’s murder (which included Robert F. Kennedy), the Outfit’s indispensable role in the plot has never been fully understood. Zack introduced me to sources and other agents who helped identify the shooters, where they fired from, and the Chicago mob’s links to Jack Ruby. Just like the burglars who broke into Accardo’s home (and some of the men who killed them), many of the key mob participants in the assassination would die under suspicious circumstances—all to keep any incriminating tracks from leading to Accardo.