Patrick Spilotro, who helped the feds nab Joey Lombardo after his brothers’ murders, dies at 85

Patrick Spilotro told a judge in 2009 that, “the deaths of my brothers, as significant as it was, is not what defines this family. Family is what defines this family. And anyone with a family knows no one is perfect.”

SHARE Patrick Spilotro, who helped the feds nab Joey Lombardo after his brothers’ murders, dies at 85
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Anthony Spilotro, left, and his brother, Michael Spilotro.

Sun-Times file

Decades after his brothers fell victim to an infamous mob hit, a northwest suburban dentist helped the feds track down one of Chicago’s most notorious gangsters.

That dentist, Patrick Spilotro Sr., died late last month, according to his obituary. He was 85. His family could not be reached Wednesday by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The bodies of two of Spilotro’s brothers, Anthony and Michael, were found buried in a shallow grave in an Indiana cornfield after they were beaten to death in 1986. Their murders were featured in the 1995 movie “Casino,” which got some key details of the slayings wrong.

Patrick Spilotro told a judge in 2009 that, “the deaths of my brothers, as significant as it was, is not what defines this family. Family is what defines this family. And anyone with a family knows no one is perfect.”

“Our present family, the Spilotro family, have over 40 college graduates, eight of whom are doctors and other postgraduate professionals,” he said then. “We are very proud of all of them. They are proud of their name.”

Patrick Spilotro’s obituary noted that he was born in Chicago, graduated from Lane Tech High School, “and worked 37 jobs in life.” It said he graduated from Loyola University Dental School in 1962 and earned the rank of captain in the U.S. Air Force.

But he also had to relive his brothers’ disappearance when he testified during the Family Secrets trial in 2007. Patrick Spilotro explained then that he last saw his brothers on June 11 and 12, 1986, and that he was in Wisconsin when he learned of their disappearance on June 14, 1986.

Patrick Spilotro also testified about being a longtime acquaintance of another well-known gangster: Joseph “The Clown” Lombardo. He said he briefly knew Lombardo at age 10, but “probably knew him a little bit better since 1978 to ‘80.”

He said Lombardo wound up becoming a patient of his. He practiced in Park Ridge. And though Lombardo had been locked up at the time of the Spilotro brothers’ murders, Patrick Spilotro said he asked Lombardo “quite a few times” what happened to them.

“I asked him if he knew what happened with my brothers, what went on,” Patrick Spilotro testified. “And he — he responded many times with, if he was there, it would never happen. If he was home, it would never happen.”

Patrick Spilotro acknowledged that he spent decades feeding information to the FBI. Meanwhile, Lombardo became a fugitive after his indictment in the Family Secrets case in 2005. In January 2006, Patrick Spilotro said someone told him, “Joe’s in trouble. He’s got a problem.”

“He had an abscess,” Patrick Spilotro testified.

Patrick Spilotro said he performed an after-hours procedure on Lombardo, sneaking the wanted gangster into his office through an elevator from the basement. He said when he first saw Lombardo then, “he had a heavy beard, you know, heavy growth of hair, he had a Band-Aid over his nose.”

“I didn’t recognize him,” he said.

During that visit, he said he asked again about his brothers.

“I recall his words very vividly,” Patrick Spilotro said. “He says, ‘Doc, you get an order, you follow the order. You don’t follow the order, you go, too.”

Lombardo returned to Patrick Spilotro’s office a few days later for a follow-up procedure. That time, Patrick Spilotro said he gave a heads-up to the FBI, and Lombardo was arrested. Lombardo wound up dying in 2019 at the age of 90 while serving a life sentence.

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