Flashy '80s drug kingpin is now pushing hot dogs

By chillinwill · Aug 30, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    First there was Felony Franks, the controversial West Side hot dog stand staffed by ex-cons.

    Now notoriously loudmouthed 1980s cocaine kingpin John Cappas has taken the encased-meat-served-by-a-criminal concept one step further.

    Cappas doesn't just work at Johnny's Wee Nee Wagon in south suburban Markham: He owns it.

    "I've got the best weenies in Chicago," said Cappas, who as a teenager controlled the cocaine trade on the Southwest Side, before his arrest and trial became national news.

    The Marist High School graduate was making $25,000 a week selling cocaine before he hit age 20, attracting attention with his flashy cars, fast women and crew of flunkies, who he'd take to nightclubs in stretch-limos, wearing jackets emblazoned with his name.

    When federal warrants were issued for his arrest, he famously flaunted his contempt for the law by partying on a friend's speedboat on Lake Michigan with TV reporter Giselle Fernandez before turning himself in.

    But after two Chicago cops' kids who owed him money killed themselves, Cappas was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison in 1989.

    Now 43, he served 15 years, an experience he said changed him for the better.

    "This is my chance to give back," he said, explaining that he plans to sponsor Little League teams and turn his hot dog stand into a playground for kids, complete with a miniature railway ride and a stagecoach.

    The business, previously called Willie's Wee Nee Stand, has been on the 15900 block of Pulaski Road since 1955, and Cappas said he hopes to re-create with it the western-theme amusement arcades of his Oak Lawn youth.

    Though the scrappy two-lot stand is decidedly smaller than the illegal empire he once controlled, and he expects to make less money than he did selling cars since his release from prison in 2003, Cappas said "feeding families is an honest business that I can take pride in."

    Even so, he's happy to trade on his bad guy reputation.

    At a grand opening party for the business Sunday, he said, will be Julie Craig, his former girlfriend and a one-time Playboy model best-remembered for spending his drug money on a diamond necklace that spelled out the letters "SPOILED BRAT."

    Also at the party, he said, will be Dick and Clement Messino, brothers and former Chicago police officers convicted of selling hundreds of pounds of cocaine. Prosecutors alleged they supplied Cappas, but he refused to testify against them.

    A smaller courtesy will be extended to police visiting Cappas' new business.

    "I've told the local cops they can have all the free soda they want," he said.

    By Kim Janssen
    August 30, 2009
    Chicago Tribune

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  1. dyingtomorrow
    LOL, Markham is the next town over - a 20 second drive from where SWIM's at right now. SWIM will check it out and report back on how good the "Wee Nees" are. :)
  2. ninjaned
    thats awesome, he wanted to change his life and he did. i hope hes a happier person now. i also hope someday i get to try his hot dogs!
  3. MarkyMayhem
    Please do report back on those dogs!
  4. chinpokomaster
    It would be pretty naive if he thought he could get out and pick up where he left off. I suppose he's a true entrepreneur. Willing to take whatever opportunity comes his way with the offer of big bucks.
  5. anonuser30500
    Not too fussy on coke or weeners as it happens.

    Your coke is about as pure as the snow outside an Eskimos toilet and weeners are made up of all the bits of animals that most would throw to the dogs.

    But, nice to see someone getting out of the coke trade alive and in one piece.

    He would have once had an alarm go off when he saw a cop but now he needs cops who will always find time for a weener.

    Funny how our American cousins like eating something that actually looks like a mummified willie.
  6. bobhuit
    good due , next time u`d better take some usefully information .for example:cocaine\ cadeine ,or some medical use drug:trialazom and so on .we need teachknowledge.sure lsd is better.
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