Sunday, April 30, 2017

One Gangster Banked There and Now Ja'Mal Green, His Majostee, Owns It: Standard Bank a Chicago Story

 Activist Ja'Mal Green speaks to a crowd of activists outside the Taste of Chicago on July 9.

Ja'mal Green - His Majostee!

Image result for standard state bank 7919 S. Ashland  60620
Old Standard Bank
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Spike O'Donnell - king of 79th Street

From the end of World War One until the 1980's the Art Deco building at 7919 S. Ashland Avenue in the Highlands of Gresham - 60620 -was the safest bank in the Midwest.  Standard State Bank was where Edward J. "Spike" O'Donnell kept his loot.  Today, a young anti-police Democratic activist, who  States Attorney Kim Foxx allowed  Ja'Mal Green to plead down nine felony charges to a single misdemeanor charge, is also being gifted with this ediface.Image result for 7919 S. Ashland 60620

Spike O'Donnell was the only racketeer from the Capone Beer Wars to die in his sick bed without handcuffs, or beefy guards doing the death watch.

Unlike too many of his brothers ( Steve, Charlie, Walter were all killed and a younger brother blinded)  who were taken for the long short-ride, or gunned down in the lobbies their apartments, Spike quit the beer rackets, lived life and enjoyed decades of notoriety and 79th Street celebrity operating asphalt, heating oil and paving operations from his suit above the old Highland Theater one block north of Standard Bank.

Highland Theater

He was not too legit to quit. Spike was too smart to become more of a bullet magnet.

Spike O'Donnell owned several large bungalows west of Ashland Avenue in the 1930's.  He lived  at 8145 S Honore. He and his family suffered the gangster life.  In April 1932, Spike's brother Charles was gunned down in the lobby of his apartment near 91st & Ashland and later died of gangrene in Little Company of Mary Hospital.

That same month two men, one Walter Zwolinski who had been kicked out of the O'Donnell mob, for shooting Charlie O'Donnell's pet goat, broke into Spike's home at 8145 S. Honore. " in  hopes of killing Spike, but find only his wife Elizabeth at home. Frustrated in their efforts, they throw her down the basement stairs, but she sustains only minor injuries. Speculation suggests that one of the men was former O'Donnell gang member Walter Zwolinski, who is now a member of the McGeoghegan-Quinlan Gang. Since his expulsion from the South Side O'Donnell Gang for killing Steve O'Donnell's pet goat in a fit of rage, increasingly unstable Zwolinski is suspected in separate attacks on Steve and Spike as well as the fatal wounding of Charles O'Donnell."

In May, Walter Zwolinski was found slumped over the wheel of his car with six bullets in his head.

Spike O'Donnell put the gains of crime into accounts at Standard Bank 7919 S. Ashland.

There is a tale on the south side that might be apocryphal - at the start of the Depression there was a run on the bank and Spike O'Donnell showed up in the lobby with several suitcases stuffed with cash and also tucked under his arm was a violin case, also loaded with the long green difference.

The 6'4" O'Donnell announced to the throng of worried depositors, " I am putting dough in Standard and also the cash from Father Steve McMahon's Little Flower Church, rectory and school. This dough is going no where."

Little Flower, St. Sabina, St. Killians, St. Etheldreda and Leo High School held accounts with Standard Bank. It was the safest bank around.

And the dough remained.  Standard Bank has many branches in southwest city and suburbs.

The branch on Ashland closed in the 1980's.Image result for 7919 S. Ashland 60620

The building is in the possession of young Ja'Mal Green, who has become as prominent as Chance the Rapper, thanks to Democrats like former Governor Pat Quinn, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her creature Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx.

Spike O'Donnell once robbed the  Stockmen's Trust and Savings Bank at 5425 S Halsted and did a stretch in Joliet, until he was pardoned by Governor Len Small.  Spike was never given a bank.

Green said he now hopes to focus on the youth center he's trying to establish in Auburn Gresham. Green and his supporters bought a 12,500-square-foot building at 7919 S. Ashland Ave. last week.
Green, who has protested violence and police brutality, has spent months raising money for the Majostee Allstars Youth Center. He hopes the center can become a spot where locals learn about opening businesses, drop their kids off for day care or express themselves at concerts and open mic nights.
The center will also offer mental health services and mentoring opportunities.
"That's what Majostee Allstars is all about, is telling our young people in these communities you may have ... a lack of investment in your community, but no matter where you're from you can still be something and you can still have hope," Green said. 

Ja'Mal Green wants to make this gift an opportunity for more young men like himself.  Donation are funneled through Pastor Pfleger Industries:
How to Help the Youth Center
• Donate on GoFundMe
• Send PayPal donation to
• Mail check to St. Sabina, 1210 W. 78th place. Make it out to "Majostee Allstars."
• Buy a Majostee or Transform the 9 T-shirt online
There hasn't been this much bullshit on Chicago's streets since the Stockyards closed.

Spike O'Donnell had friends in high places and so does Ja'Mal.

Is this a great city, or what?

1 comment:

Mick Kelly said...

I read your re telling of a saga known only to a few denizens or Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus Parish. Please allow me to as a renowned Chicagoan used to say give you "the rest of the story". This was told to me by a classmate of Spike's daughter at LFGS, my sainted Mother.
I have taken poetic license to dress up the tale but, the facts are the all true! (I would never doubt the voracity of my Mother!)

Here goes! One beautiful morning, a fine upstanding pillar of the Little Flower Parish, walked into a now defunct, nameless and unremembered financial institution near 79th & Loomis. Said bank patron identified himself as Edward O'Donnell. He then politely requested to remove a small portion of his hard earned funds to enable him to continue his daily activities. Much to his chagrin, Edward (whom I will now refer to in his nom de plume, Spike) was told that his request would be temporality denied because of some sort of fluidity issue. Spike was quite disappointed. He had been a loyal depositor since he earned his first dollar. He did not care about much but, not being able to readily acquire his hard earned "Moolha" was not palatable! Spike knew in order to rectify this situation he would have to enlist the help of a childhood friend that happened to be staying with him at the time. Spike returned to his modest bungalow at 8145 S Honore to ask for his friend's help. Spike found his friend "Tom E. Gun" sitting in the front parlor. As the two of them were walking out of the bungalow, they encountered the Right Reverend Monsignor Stephen E. McMahon. The good Monsignor was just finishing his daily constitutional, which all LFer's have witnessed at some time in their formative years. Himself would walk the boundaries of the parish(his kingdom) making sure the borders were secure and the Faithful were aware He was the Supreme "GUY"!
Anyway, the good Monsignor exchanged pleasantries with Spike. The fact that Spike was a known figure in the world of unsavory characters made no difference to Stephen E. As long as Spike continued his generosity to the parish, his worldly actions went unnoticed.
Stephen E. being the former lawyer, asked Spike what he and his friend Tom were about. Spike told Stephen E. about the miscreant financial institution and their refusal to part with his hard earned funds! Stephen E. was appalled at their lack of customer service. He shared with Spike that as the Pastor and unchallenged Lord of Little Flower, he to had directed all funds to be held in the same institution.

Stephen E. then told Spike that he would not tolerate any of his parishioners to be mistreated. The Monsignor told Spike that he would stand in solidarity with Spike and remove all of LF's funds also. However, Stephen E. had a pressing engagement at the "Fortress" aka the rectory. He asked Spike, if he and his friend Tom would do him a "solid" and retrieve LF's funds while he was there? Spike agreed to help the Monsignor and the good people of Little Flower.
Spike and Tom walked into the institution, asked for the manager and told them what they had returned for. The manager saw the error of his ways and promptly handed over all the funds from both accounts. Spike went promptly to the new bank on Ashland and open 2 accounts. I would like to think the Manager gave Spike some trinkets like a pot,pan or tea kettle for opening the accounts, as was the custom of the day!
And now you know the rest of the story!