|Founded||Founded in 1958 in or near Ukrainian Village (West Town)|
Formed in the Ukrainian Village section of West Town.
|Color usage||Light blue|
|Primary ethnicities||White (Ukrainian)|
|Symbols||Skunk and Machine Gun|
Skunk with machine gun
In the Ukrainian Village neighborhood a gang called “Chi-West” started in the year 1958. This gang of Ukrainian greasers that were the sons of immigrants named their gang after the intersection that started at which was Chicago Avenue and Western Avenue, a very busy intersection in the neighborhood. Chi – West was formed because this was the time period when Puerto Rican migration first arrived in neighboring Wicker Park and East Village. The entire community of Ukrainian Village did not want Puerto Ricans moving into their neighborhood, but Chi – West was a group that took action in this matter. There were really no Puerto Rican gangs in the whole West Town, Logan Square, Bucktown or Humboldt Park areas in the late 1950s; therefore, when it came to gang conflicts Chi-West fought other white gangs. 1958 was the year that major white greaser gangs were starting in the area like Gaylord, Playboys and C-Notes.
At first Chi-West was just a group of drunken greasers that caused trouble and fought with other greasers but starting in the year 1958 their role on the streets became protection of the neighborhood. .
During the 1960s decade Chi-West built themselves up to be one very tough greaser gang and they spread to just about every street corner in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, even though Chicago and Western was their first hood and one of their biggest hoods they could be found just about everywhere in the neighborhood. The entire neighborhood was also fighting against migration by keeping the neighborhood financially stable and encouraging everyone not to move to free up homes. If there were any open homes Chi-West would make a Puerto Rican family very uncomfortable with living in the neighborhood.
In the year 1962, Puerto Rican gangs began forming in the West Town and Humboldt Park areas and this is when Chi-West became a pivotal and well-known gang to crush early Puerto Rican clubs. In 1964 the Latin Kings formed which became the ultimate nemesis for white gangs but Chi-West kept the Latin Kings completely out of Ukrainian Village, they never claimed a single piece of turf here.
In the year 1965, Chi-West opened a section at Armitage and Cicero in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood by Ronnie “Monster” Ignoffo. This section would last until 1971.
In the year 1966, the Maniac Latin Disciples formed and one of the primary reasons they formed was because of Chi-West. In 1970 the Insane Dragons formed and of course, one of the main reasons they formed was because of Chi-West. Chi-West was brutal toward Puerto Rican gangs and even though they were often outnumbered they fought these group viciously. Entire gangs formed partially or fully because of Chi-West.
In the year 1971 the white greaser gangs of the north side streets got together in response to the growing number of Puerto Rican gangs that they all hated worse than any of their white greaser enemies. The white gangs made an agreement not to war with each other in an agreement called the “WPO” or “White Power Organization.”
In the midst of the WPO agreement an alliance formed among five major white gangs as Chi-West was offered a part of this partnership known as “UFO” or “United Five Organization” in 1973. Chi-West actually hosted the meeting for the creation of the UFO at a building at North Avenue and Damen Avenue which is in Wicker Park, it was said this meeting had Chi-West members outside guarding the meeting with crossbows. Even though legend has it that Chi-West held the meeting Chi – West never officially joined the UFO and opted to stand alone because that’s what Chi-West does, they stand alone and don’t need allies. As the saying of Chi-West goes, “The skunk stands alone.”
In the year 1974, Chi-West opened their first new piece of territory outside Chicago and Western in the Albany Park neighborhood at St. Louis and Leland. This section was started by “Onion.” This community had many Puerto Rican gangs moving in like Latin Kings so there was a demand for white gangs.
By 1975 the Gaylords and Simon City Royals and Insane Popes were at war now; therefore, the UFO gangs needed protection in their expansion while facing all these Latinos and also the giant Royals and Popes gangs. Latinos, Royals and Popes were not in Ukrainian Village because Chi-West would not allow it, but Chi-West did not invade other neighborhoods; therefore, rivals were less inclined to want to take territory in Ukrainian Village for fear of retaliation.
Ever since 1962 Puerto Rican families have always tried to take their children to Frederic Chopin Elementary School at 2450 W Rice St (Campbell and Rice) and at Columbus Elementary School at 1003 N Leavitt St (Augusta and Leavitt) as these families resided in nearby East Humboldt Park but Chi-West hung out in front of these schools all the time and if they saw any kids that were members of Puerto Rican gangs they would smash them. It would get so bad that Chi-West would even have times where they would smash any groups of Puerto Rican kids this prompted many days where the school would be closed.
In the year 1975, Chi – West reached their peak as they opened two more sections at Maplewood and Charleston and Cortland and Harding. Maplewood and Charleston was in the Logan Square community and Cortland and Harding was located in Hermosa. Maplewood and Charleston was opened by the leader of the whole organization at the time Tony Rome. At Maplewood and Charleston Chi-West became close allies with a Puerto Rican gang the Latin Lovers. These two groups hung out all the time and had serious wars with Imperial Gangsters and the Paulina Barry Community. Cortland and Harding was started and led by “Butcher” and “Byrski.”
In the year 1976, St. Louis and Leland closed down as this was the first territorial loss for Chi-West.
Cortland and Harding only lasted until 1978 because Chi-West killed the north side leader of the Bishops “Cougar.” After this happened the police were all over Cortland and Harding and made sure this Chi-West section was shut down.
In the year 1980, Maplewood and Charleston closed down leaving just Chicago and Western to stand alone.
Chi-West would continue to rule the Ukrainian Village neighborhood throughout the 1980s but were much more low key and less visible. Some legendary members that were also leaders were Mickey, Tony Rome and Jack Darrell “The Jew” Farmer. Over time Chi-West established ties to the Ukrainian Mafia and especially by the mid-1980s much of the gang had worked their way into the Mafia and once the former Vice President of Chi-West Jack Darrell Farmer also known as “Jack The Jew” became a high up member of the “Little Mafia” Ukrainian mafia as he graduated to become the boss of the mob.
In 1984 Farmer was brought up on federal drug charges and spent less than 1 year of a 5 year sentence in prison. Farmer was then on trial again for charges of murder, racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, burglary, obstruction of justice, robbery and narcotics trafficking totaling 108 counts in 1987. As he was awaiting trail he fled with his wife to a town in Florida called Lantana on Drew Street where he worked in a public storage known as Publix Storage for $500 a week (Sun Sentinel, Rebecca Theim June 3, 1988). Jack moved to Lantana not only to beat the charges but also because the Russian/Ukrainian Mafia has a strong presence in southern Florida. On May 29, 1988 episode 17 of the popular T.V. show America’s Most Wanted aired and one of the men they aired about was Jack Farmer as he was heavily wanted by the F.B.I. After the episode aired one of Farmer’s co-workers saw the episode and called the hotline and on June 1, 1988 Farmer was arrested and brought back to Chicago to face trial. Farmer was convicted in 1989 and only given a sentence of 40 years with possibility of release after 23 years. Farmer was relieved about his sentence and was actually only concerned about getting a pair of shoes for court. In the trial they even said he ordered murders of others and one witness watched him shoot a man in the head at point blank range. In the trial Farmer was said to order murders and also home invasions to finance the cocaine ring he was operating. The prosecutor James Schweitzer was not only disappointed with the sentence he was also afraid for his life because Farmer might kill him (Chicago Tribune Jack Houston March 1, 1989).
After the Jack Farmer situation Chi-West became even less visible by 1989 as many thought the organization had gone extinct but Chi-West was still active and even drew up a reluctant alliance with the Damen and Crystal Latin Kings that brought Chi-West into the People alliance in the early 1990s. Damen and Crystal was just north of Ukrainian Village and these Latin Kings were engaging in wars with Folk gangs from Roberto Clemente High School. In the year 1995 Chi-West officially closed down Chicago and Western leaving the area to eventually be consumed by yuppies.
There is now a revived element of Chi-West currently active that began in 2015.
Please send in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s pics! 1950s and 1960s pics will be especially appreciated!
Who was the founder of Chi-West? What happened to him?
Known sections of Chi-West past and present
Albany Park neighborhood Established 1974-1976
Sections of Albany Park
St. Louis & Leland Established 1974-1976
Belmont-Cragin neighborhood Established 1965-1971
Armitage & Cicero Established 1965-1971
Hermosa neighborhood Established 1975-1978
Sections of Hermosa
Cortland & Harding Established 1975-1978
Logan Square neighborhood Established 1975-1980
Sections of Logan Square
Maplewood & Charleston Established 1975-1980
Ukrainian Village neighborhood Established 1958-1995, re-established 2016-present years
Sections of Ukrainian Village
Chicago Ave & Western Established 1958-1995
Chicago Ave & Hoyne
Chicago Ave and Damen 90s
Augusta & Leavitt 80s
Augusta & Western
Everywhere else in Ukrainian Village 1958-1995