CHICAGO, Oct. 9, 2015 – A Chicago city employee has said he was actively involved in his 16-year-old daughter’s life until a notorious former Chicago cop and mob associate fixed his divorce case.
Dominick Tomasello said he and his ex-wife Sheri Lynn Tomasello had an acrimonious divorce but that things appeared to be settling down before Sam “Blackie” Pesoli entered the picture.
Pesoli is a former Chicago police officer identified by the website Street Gangs as an associate of the Chicago Mafia, known by the moniker “the Outfit.”
According to Tomasello, Pesoli approached him in the summer 2014 and offered him $100,000 as long as he cut off all contact with his then 14-year-old daughter until she turned 18.
According to Tomasello, Pesoli told him he was working on behalf of his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, Mike Cielak, a member of the wealthy and powerful Cielak family, which owns steel interests in Chicago.
Cielak didn’t respond to a phone call on his cell phone.
If true, it would not be the first time Pesoli was involved in fixing divorce cases. In 1992, he was convicted of lying to a grand jury about his role in fixing divorce cases; he was called as part of a larger investigation of corruption in Chicago’s divorce courts.
For his part, Pesoli told CDN that it was the other way around and Tomasello has been putting pressure on him to intervene in his divorce and he never offered such a deal.
But several people who spoke with CDN backed up Tomasello’s version.
Frank Coconate, a writer and investigator with contacts in the Outfit, looked into Tomasello’s divorce and told CDN that he interviewed Pesoli, now in his 80s, in his suburban Chicago home.
Coconate said Pesoli made no secret that he offered the deal, and he also told Coconate that because Tomasello didn’t accept it he would destroy him.
Coconate identified Pesoli as part of the notorious 1st Ward Outfit, with roots to the days of Al Capone. The 1st Ward Outfit was once run by Fred Roti, the only man ever identified to serve on the Chicago City Council while being a made member (made members, among other things, must kill someone).
Frank Avala, a Chicago attorney hired by Tomasello, said in his dealings with Pesoli that Pesoli also made no secret of his intentions to either offer Tomasello a deal or destroy his life.
Since Pesoli entered Tomasello’s divorce, that’s exactly what happened. Starting the in the summer 2014, Tomasello said his ex-wife denied him access to their daughter and then in March 2015, he was arrested for what would be numerous counts of threatening his ex-wife.
Tomasello said the last time he saw his daughter was Father’s Day 2014.
The charges stem from text messages Tomasello sent in violation of a restraining order, but Tomasello said he only sent those messages because he was under the impression that the order had been lifted.
That view is backed up by his ex-girlfriend, Julie Ann Voiss, who said she accompanied Tomasello in a meeting with his divorce attorney and a divorce attorney for his ex-wife where a verbal agreement was made.
Tomasello’s divorce attorney, Tom Boundas, told CDN he remembers the meeting.
Anette Furnholz, the divorce attorney for Tomasello’s ex-wife, declined comment.
Avala told CDN that, even if such a meeting took place, it would not absolve Tomasello from criminal responsibility but that in his experience such violations usually lead to a slap on the wrist.
Instead, since March, Tomasello has been on two ankle monitors and is not allowed to leave his home, and the last deal offered by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office was for a three-year jail sentence. Tomasello also said authorities have refused numerous requests of his to visit his doctor, and as a result he’s lost much of the hearing in one of his ears.
Coconate told CDN that he believes the unusually tough stance has to do with the behind-the-scenes involvement of Pesoli. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to reply to an email for comment.
Boundas said that several unusual things have occurred in the divorce, including the judge’s stipulation that Tomasello could have custody time with his daughter only if his criminal court judge signed off on it.
On top of this, Tomasello said he is subject to numerous threatening phone calls and continuous police harassment and that on one occasion drugs were planted in his home.
His criminal attorney, Frank Tedesso, confirmed that, days after one such visit by Chicago police officers, when the two of them searched the premises they found syringes and needles.
Tomasello said he found a bag of cocaine hidden behind a painting in his bedroom. Tomasello told CDN he made a complaint to the Chicago Police Department. The Chicago Police Department directed all inquiries to the Illinois Police Review Authority, which declined comment.
The allegations of threats are backed up by a threat made to this reporter. On Oct. 1, an unidentified male using a restricted number left a voice mail saying, “You keep fucking around with that (Mike) Cielak story; you’re going to find out you’re going to be in trouble.”