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Pal of Outfit boss gets 4 years for extortion

It was a scene straight out of a mobster movie.

Michael “Mickey” Davis stepped into the Melrose Park used-car dealer’s office, shut the door and took a seat. He dropped a sheet of gambling debts on R.J. Serpico’s desk and growled, “this wasn’t the f—ing agreement.” Then he leaned back in his chair, and he asked two simple questions: “How are your wife and kids? Do you still live in Park Ridge?”

That moment in January 2013 could have come straight from Hollywood, a federal prosecutor wrote this month. But “when you grow up in Melrose Park, the mob is not fiction or something that you only see in movies,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather McShain said. Six months after that confrontation, she said Davis ordered Serpico’s “f—ing thorough beating.”

But it never happened. The “300-pound muscle guy” hired to break Serpico’s legs turned out to be a government informant. And Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan sentenced Davis to four years in prison for extortion and attempted extortion.

Mob associate Mickey Davis appears to try to hide behind a water bottle as he leaves federal court in Chicago Tuesday. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media

Mob associate Mickey Davis appears to try to hide behind a water bottle as he leaves federal court in Chicago Tuesday. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media

“No one is above the law, and the means used, breaking legs, should only be seen in the movies,” Der-Yeghiayan said.

Davis’ attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, asked the judge for mercy Tuesday. He said Davis has led an impressive life considering his hardscrabble background

He also said Davis has had mini-strokes and is in need of “serious medical treatment.”

Davis declined to speak at length to the judge before his sentencing, saying only, “I think Mr. Durkin said it all.” Outside the courtroom, Davis had no comment either.

Davis, 58, grew up in a “rough and tumble” Logan Square of decades past that “would be more familiar to Studs Lonigan and Studs Terkel, than today’s trendy coffee shops and fine dining restaurants,” his lawyers wrote.

The feds say Davis became “wealthy, successful, and supported by his family and friends.” But he associated with known members of the Chicago Outfit and even vacationed with Pete DiFronzo, a man described in trial testimony as the Outfit’s “street boss.”

Davis loaned $300,000 to R.J. Serpico and his father, Joe, in Spring 2012 to start Ideal Motors, a used-car dealership in Melrose Park. Davis expected his money back within three years, as well as $300 for every car sold. But the dealership was already in financial trouble within a few months, and Joe Serpico “had a serious gambling problem,” prosecutors said.

When the dealership stopped holding up its end of the bargain, Davis confronted R.J. Serpico in his office, throwing around a sheet of Joe Serpico’s gambling debts, as well as veiled threats like, “How old are your kids? Does your wife still have that salon in Schaumburg?”

When Davis was finished, prosecutors said he stood up, leaned over the desk, stared at R.J. Serpico, and left.

Davis later convinced R.J. Serpico to fire his father. Serpico told a jury that he feared Davis. He said he saw Davis driving around with DiFronzo and thought to himself, “what did I get myself into?” He agreed to sign over the title of a Chevrolet Chevelle to Davis, who sold it for $30,000, records show. He also paid Davis an additional $30,900.

But Serpico walked off the lot of Ideal Motors in May 2013, never to return, according to the feds. Davis allegedly arranged for a friend to take over operations and had the vehicles towed to a lot owned by DiFronzo.

In June or early July 2013, the feds say Davis arranged for Serpico’s “break-both-legs beating” by contacting Gigi Rovito, who recruited Paul Carparelli, who reached out to George Brown. Carparelli told Brown the person who ordered the beating was “Mickey” who was “Solly D’s partner” — an apparent reference to Chicago Outfit member Salvatore DeLaurentis.

Brown initially mistook R.J. Serpico for the son of Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico, records show. R.J. Serpico is actually the mayor’s nephew.

The feds say Davis dropped off a $5,000 down payment for the beating at Rovito’s Capri Ristorante on July 11, 2013. But Brown turned out to be a federal informant. Carparelli was arrested July 23, 2013, and now faces sentencing in a separate extortion case Dec. 21. Davis was indicted in March 2014.

Meanwhile, the feds say they used cell phone data to track Davis’ movements the day he dropped off the $5,000.

They said he had come that day from the Itasca Country Club, where he played a round of golf with, “or immediately next to,” DiFronzo.