Once a renowned hit man for the Chicago Outfit, Frank Cullotta used to be a gangster with crimes such as murder, arson, burglary and extortion on his resume. In 1979, a con man by the name of Sherwin “Jerry” Lisner was killed in Las Vegas. It was Cullotta who had committed that murder on the orders of Tony Spilotro, the Chicago Outfit overload and he even confessed to the crime. This particular murder scene was also shown in the hit film “Casino”; Cullotta worked as a consultant on the movie, as it enabled him to find his way back to the society.
Cullotta cut a deal with the federal government and agreed to disclose information about his former associates and then spent two years in a witness-protection program.
Now Cullotta, who is 76 years old, works as a guide. It is ironic that the way of life that made him go underground now earns him a legal living. As a guide, he leads “Casino” tours of key spots that have been featured on the famous movie. The itinerary also includes a tour of the city’s iconic mob locations on a bus. The tour, which lasts for five hours, costs $180 and also includes pizza and a champagne toast.
In the tour, people visit several locations such as the Casino House where Lisner was murdered by Cullotta; the spot where the Frankie “Blue” death scene was shot in the film, the location where Spilotro and Moe Dalitz used to play card games; and Bertha’s Household Products, the site of the robbery by the Hole in the Wall Gang that resulted in Cullotta’s arrest. The tour also goes to Piero’s Italian Cuisine, which was featured in the film “Casino.” Nicholas Pileggi, the author of the book Casino introduces Cullotta on these tours.
Cullotta, when asked how he feels about all the things he has done, especially the murders, said “If I thought about it 24 hours a day, I’d wind up in my car with a gun in my mouth.” Cullotto further explains that he took it all like a serviceman, simply carrying out orders but now there is a big difference in the man that he was and the man he is today. He was surrounded by money, girls, politicians, glamour, but it all came at the price of his freedom.
Cullotto feels that he has paid his debt to the society and feels no pressure now. Initially, he used to have a lot of headaches due to stress but that is no longer the case, because he is clean and at peace.