Jim Colosimo

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Jim Colosimo

Alias: Big Jim

Born: Saturday February 16th 1878

Died: Tuesday May 11th 1920


Cause of Death: Murder

Crime Family Association:  The Chicago Outfit


About Colosimo

Giacomo Colosimon was one of the very early mobsters who died just months after the Volstead Act was put into place. He was born in Colosimi, Italy, and eventually moved to Chicago in 1895.

As with many mobsters of his time he started off a small time figure working for First Ward aldermen Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna and John Coughlin as a precinct Captain and then their Bag Man. It was these early day connections that would help Big Jim climb the organized crime ladder and later become a boss.

The Colosimo Empire

Big Jim was a well dressed and smart man who sported only the best jewellery to make him look like a don. One of his nicknames was Diamond Jim, which came from his fondness of diamond pins, diamond rings, diamond you name it. He would always wear white suits, and combined with his Italian charm, and cash filled pockets he would have women swoon all over him.

Women were a big part of his life, as well as cash. Put women and cash together and you can see where his enthusiasm for Prostitution businesses came in.

In the early part of the 20th century, 1902 to be exact, Big Jim would marry a Chicago Madame by the name of Victoria Moresco, they would end up opening a brothel together and expanded within a few years.

The expansion ended up netting the pair nearly 200 brothels, so they weren’t short of cash during this period. Jim then decided to make inroads into the gambling and racketeering sectors, but in the closing parts of 1909 he realised that he would need a lot of help.

Torrio and Colosimo Partnership

The Black Hand Gang were threatening Big Jim and it was at this point of his life that he knew he needed to call in help. That help came in the form of a Brooklyn mobster by the name of Johnny “The Fox” Torrio, who he made his right hand man.

 A year after Torrio and Jim started working together Colosimo’s Cafe was opened at 2126 South Wabash, in Chicago.  They also reached out into other business sectors, once again going back to brothels, and it was in 1919 that Torrio and Colosimo opened a brothel called the Four Deuces.

If the Four Deuces sounds familiar, then this is because Torrio brought in his old Brooklyn lieutenant, Al Capone, who worked as bouncer and bartender there.

A Difference in Opinion

A lot of gangsters saw Prohibition as a time of opportunity, a time of potential and a time that shouldn’t be put to one side. In 1920 Torrio wanted to enter the bootlegging business however Colosimo refused to do that, this was to be a fatal move for Big Jim.

The plan for Torrio and Capone was to take out Big Jim, as they thought that under his control they would be losing out on other business sectors.

So while Big Jim was out of Chicago marrying his second wife, after simply leaving his first wife without so much as a goodbye, the plans were put in motion.

The Dreaded Delivery

After Big Jim was back in Chicago, Torrio called him up and told him that a shipment would be arriving at his Cafe. So Jim headed to the Cafe to wait for delivery, the delivery sure enough came but it wasn’t what he had hoped for, instead it was a bullet to the back of the head.

Big Jim was killed on the spot, inside his cafe and as with many gangland murders the police couldn’t pin it on anyone. They did try though, and the initial suspect was his newly wedded wife, Dale Winter.

On the streets word had it that Torrio had ordered Colosimo’s killing so that the gang could enter the lucrative bootlegging business. Both Frankie Yale and Al Capone could have been the deadly assassin.

Torrio reportedly brought in New York colleague, Frankie Yale, to murder Colosimo. Al Capone has also been suspected as Colosimo’s assassin.

The gang that Big Jim headed, eventually became Al Capone’s gang (after Johnny Torrio’s brief spell at the helm), The gang would later be called the famous Chicago Outfit.

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