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Author Topic: PzLdr History Facts  (Read 7405 times)
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PzLdr
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« Reply #120 on: February 03, 2017, 12:34:18 pm »

He was a geeky looking kid from Texas. A number one hit was titled from a line in a John Wayne movie [that also gave its name to Liverpool's second most popular band. And he died on a cold, windy night near Clearview, Iowa in 1959. His name was Buddy holly. And as don McLean sang, it was the day the music died.

Buddy Holly was a nonpareil in early rock. He wrote, sang, played and produced. He helped pioneer strings on rock records. He owned one of the first Fender Telecasters [Dion DiMucci owned another]. He and his group, the Crickets played the Apollo before whites were seen there often. And he was dead before he was 30, not because of any of the usual suspected causes of later rockers, but because of a poorly planned winter bus/concert tour, a cold, and a plane crash.

Holly came out of the Texas fusion of blues, 'bop', and Bob Willis. But Buddy was not going to play Texas swing. He wanted to rock, and he did. but quantifying him was tough. He rocked ['Not Fade Away', Rave On']. He did ballads ['True Loves Ways', 'Raining in My Heart']. He was a truly great guitar player. He arranged his music, and he produced it. And yet, a contract dispute, a wife with a child on the way, and sinking bank accounts forced out on a mid winter tour through middle America in an ill-heated bus.

And at Clearview, Holly had had enough of the bus. He decided to charter a plane to fly him to the next tour stop,. so he could do his laundry, get warm and get some sleep. to defray costs, he offered seats on the plane to others on the tour. Dion of Dion and the Belmonts declined, since the cost of the flight was the equivalent of a month's rent back in the Bronx. so did Holly's bassist, Waylon Jennings. But Richie Valens and J.P Richardson said 'Yes'. and the rest is, sadly, history.

After Holly's death, a local lad, was hired as a fill-in. His name was Bobby Vee. But the music industry lost, IMHO, one of its giants. Had Holly lived, only the Lord knows where his talent would have taken him.

And the song title from the John Wayne movie? "That'll Be The Day'. And the movie title and British Invasion Band name? "The Searchers". [
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You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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« Reply #121 on: February 04, 2017, 08:43:37 am »

It was the meeting that set the history of Europe in stone for half a century. It was the ultimate betrayal of the country for which World War II had started in Europe. It was held, fittingly, in the then soviet union, hosted by a mass murderer on a scale with the soon to be vanquished [and dead] Adolf Hitler, and attended by a soon to be out of office Winston Churchill, and a soon to be dead FDR.

Yalta started with FDR working under two pre-conceptions, first that the British were not to be trusted, and second, that he, FDR, could manage Stalin better than his own State Department, and his ally. One possible contributing factor to the latter belief may have been the assistant to the largely irrelevant Sec/State traveling with Roosevelt. That assistant was one Alger Hiss, Ivy Leaguer, whiz kid of the New Deal, and secret agent of the GRU [Soviet Military Intelligence]. Was Hiss an important agent? The then NKVD tried to poach him from the 'cousins' at least twice. After Yalta, he traveled to Moscow on state Department business, and to receive [in secret] a medal for his service to the U.S.S.R.

The principal purpose of Yalta was to settle the issue of post war Europe. For Stalin, it was fairly easy. Where the Red Army went, there he stayed. For FDR and Churchill, especially the latter, it wasn't quite that easy.

Great Britain had gone to war over the German invasion of Poland. The Poles were unsympathetic to the Soviets [to say the least]. Yet the Red Army was IN Poland, and the British weren't. On top of that, the Brits had sided with the Soviets over who was responsible  for the Katyn Forest massacre of some 4,000 Poles. the Soviets, who had actually committed the murders, blamed the Germans. the Germans blamed the Soviets. It got so bad that the Polish government in exile broke relations with the U.S.S.R., which led to their estrangement from the British government, and a serious loss of input on Polish affairs. Coupled with the ill-advised Warsaw rising fo the Polish Home Army, and the resultant German destruction of both the Home Army and Warsaw, the government -in -exile was left with virtually no cards to play. And since the war was still going, and the British needed the Red Army to stay in it, Churchill sacrificed Poland to Stalin [In fairness there was little he could do. British troops were hundreds of miles from Poland, and the British Army was so low on manpower, it was cannibalizing some units to bring others up to strength].

Result? Eastern Europe was surrendered to the Soviets, with the fig leaf of free elections and multi-party participation after the war. And further discussions were held about forming the United Nations, with much of the grunt work assigned to, you guessed it Alger Hiss.

Yalta stands for an ultimate failure, a triumph of pragmatism over principle. A war started over Poland  in the end betrayed Poland - even as Polish troops fought alongside the western allies in Italy and Northwestern Europe.
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« Reply #122 on: February 05, 2017, 11:43:53 am »

He is one of the legendary names associated with the western frontier. Yet, except for one possible sighting in California, and a possible stagecoach holdup in Texas, Jesse James' criminal career was basically perpetrated east of the Mississippi River, from Missouri, to Muscle shoals, Alabama, from Minnesota to Illinois.

Jesse Woodson James was a Missouri boy, born to a traveling minister named Robert James, and his wife Zerelda. The elder James abandoned the family, and went to the California gold fields, where he died. Mrs. James remarried, to Rueben Samuels, and had a son by him, who joined Jesse, and older brother Frank, in the now Samuels family.

Missouri, during Jesse's childhood was not the best place to live. It led to contentious living conditions between slave holder, and non-slaveholding, neighbors. and Zerelda Samuels was firmly, and loudly, in the slaveholding camp [the family owned at least two slaves]. Even prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, murder, arson, robbery and anarchy reigned on the Kansas-Missouri border, with groups from both sides, raiding, rustling, astealing and killing across the line.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Frank James, along with his cousin Coleman Younger, joined the Confederate militia. When they were defeated, he took the oath of allegiance, then promptly took to the bush, joining the guerilla band  of William Clark Quantrill [again with Younger]. Frank James stayed with Quantrill through the raid/massacre at Lawrence, Kansas. He then joined regular Confederate forces for at least the year 1864, but was with Quantrill when the latter was killed in Kentucky.

Jesse was too young to join up with Frank, but in 1864, he too took to the bush. But he didn't join Quantrill. Jesse James signed on with William, "Bloody Bill" Anderson, a former Quantrill subordinate now in command of his own band. Anderson was a psychopath, savage even by the standards of the Border War. He scalped and mutilated bodies. He gave no quarter. And Jesse James not only admired Anderson [he murdered a bank clerk during a robbery because he thought the man was one of the soldiers who killed Anderson in late 1864], he learned his lessons well.

Jesse James entered the history of crime in September, 1864, at a towen called Centralia, Missouri. Anderson, while raiding the town, a rail depot, stopped an incoming train. Among the passengers were some 25 unarmed Union soldiers going home on leave. Anderson took one, a sergeant as a prisoner for an exchange for one of his men [the man later escaped]. But the other 24 were stripped, and forced to kneel on the railroad tracks, at which point 'Little' Archie Clements and Jesse James shot them in the head. In a battle with a pursuing force of Union militia, Jesse James purportedly killed the unit's commanding officer.

Jesse James survived the war, but almost didn't survive the peace.  On his way in to ostensibly surrender, he and his companions were set upon, and fired on , by a Union cavalry unit. Jesse James took a bullet in the chest he carried to the grave [it was his second war wound. He had also had the fingertip of his left hand trigger finger shot off]. James was taken to safety and nursed to health [possibly in Nebraska] by his cousin and future wife Zerelda Mimms.

Reconstruction found Frank and Jesse back on the family farm, but within a few years, their names were linked with a new phenomenon sweeping the border states, daylight bank robbery. The first occurred at Liberty, Missouri, and the proceeds were exceedingly good. Others followed in quick succession, and with them Jesse's first post war murder [the aforementioned bank clerk]. The James gang or more correctly, the James-Younger gang, was off and running [the gang included the James' cousins, Cole, Bob, and Jim Younger, plus assorted others]. It appears Jesse, though younger than Frank or Cole, was the leader and planner of the gang's raids. They were, literally, America's first successful crime family.

By the early 1870's, the James- Younger gang had expanded their repertoire to both train [in one train robbery, Jesse James stalked a conductor the length of a Pullman car, putting a bullet in him every third step]and stagecoach robberies. And then for reasons known only to himself,James decided to raid a bank in the state of Minnesota. The stage was set for the James-Younger gang's Armageddon.

There are some who theorize that Jesse James rode into Northfield, Minnesota because the bank there was owned by a former Union General and Reconstruction governor named Adelbert Ames. The argument goes that James, an unreconstructed rebel was waging a continuation of the Civil War. But Northfield wasn't the gang's initial target. Mankato was. Andthe gang spent something like a week in Mankato, had 'cased' the bank there, and seemed on the cusp of robbing it when Jesse changed his mind. It was only at that point that they rode into Northfield.

TheNorthfield Raid has been portrayed in history books, novels, and a slew of movies. It started like the usual James-Younger robbery. the gang infiltrated the town, and while several members went into the bank, the rest took station at key points to hold horses, or to, if necessary, control the streets and 'hoorah' the locals.But from the start, problems arose.

The first thing the locals noticed was the quality of the horses the duster cloaked strangers wore. Horses like that were an uncommon occurrence in Northfield. then, in the bank, the clerk claimed there was a timelock on the safe. During the delay, the robbery was spotted by a citizen, who raised an alarm.

Jesse James had assumed the 'squareheads' of Minnesota weren't capable of resistance. He was wrong. Most were Civil War veterans of combat experience way beyond the James' and Younger's. Quickly arming themselves, they began shooting the outlaws in the streets to pieces. In the bank, with less than$30 for their efforts, Frank James shot and killed the clerk [Jesse was never in the bank. He was out in the street]. The robbers not dead in the streets then fled the town.

Unfortunately for them, the only gang member familiar with the area had been killed in the street. They promptly got lost, and traveled in circles for a week, pursued by one of the biggest manhunts in American history. Of those that escaped, Bob Younger and Jim Younger were severely wounded. Cole Younger had been hit by 11 bullets. Frank James had a minor leg wound. Jesse didn't ghave a scratch. Jesse and Frank James abandoned their cousins in Minnesota, rode west to the Dakotas, and then south, eventually returning to Missouri. Cole and his brothers pled guilty to bank robbery, and received klife sentences in Stillwater Prison. Bob duied there. Paroled after 25 years, Jim eventually killed himself. Cole was the onkly Younger to see Missouri again.

Shortly after their return to Missouri,both the James seemed to give up their life of crime. But Jesse couldn't give it up. He put together a new, and decidedly inferior operation. Paranoid, he began murdering his own men. But the times had changed. Missouri wanted investment, and the influx of new business. The reputation the James boys had laid on the state prevented that. So, eventually, an obscenely large reward was posted, with the promise of a pardon, for whoever killed or captured the James brothers.

In April, 1881, Bob and Charlie Ford collected the reward and two pardons after murdering Jesse James in his home in St. Joseph, Missouri. And Jesse James passed from history to myth.

Jesse James is probably one of the five best known Americans in the world. He is lionized as a Robin hood of the old west, and has appeared as a character in scores of novels and movies. And he ran America's first successful crime family for over a decade. But Jesse James was a thief, a psychopath and a cold-blooded killer. He deserves to be remembered that way.
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« Reply #123 on: February 07, 2017, 08:46:19 am »

He was unique in the history of organized crime. A non-immigrant, born in Brooklyn, New York. A non-Sicilian, who never joined the Mafia [his family was Neapolitan]. A gangster with a brother who was a law man. He ruled Chicago when he was 26. He was dead of tertiary syphilis when he was 48. His favored nickname was "Snorky" [which referred to a dandy]. But he comes to us with a more well-known sobriquet, "Scarface", as in Scarface Al Capone.

Al Capone was born , and grew up on Presidents Street in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were hard working, law abiding citizens. One of his brothers became a law man. Two followed him into a life of crime [one was killed]. But Al was the 'star' of the family.

He turned to crime early, and eventually wound up in the Five Points Gang, which was akin to being a Triple A  baseball team for organized crime. In the Five Pointers, he met three men who would figure significantly into his future: Charlie Luciano, Frankie Yale [Uale] and Johnny Torrio. Of the three, Torrio was the most significant. It was Torrio who followed Horace Greeley's advice and went west, albeit only as far as Chicago. His uncle "Big Jim" Colisimo was a major figure in crime on the South side, making his money chiefly from prostitution. Soon after arriving, Torrio sent for Capone.

The two rose quickly in Southside crimedom, and with the advent of Prohibition, they realized that the potential for making a great deal of money was at hand. Unfortunately, Colosimo didn't see it that way. Result? Colosimo was murdered in the atrium of his headquarters, possibly by Capone himself, acting on Torrio's orders.

Chicago was riven with different crime organizations, generally along geographic and ethnic lines. The Italians, including the Mafia, tended to operate on the south side. the Northside mob was generally Irish in blood, and run by Dion "Deanie" O'Bannion, a florist who carried three handguns. It was Torrio's concept that, as Luciano would do a decade later, all the gangs in Chicago would cooperate in sharing the fatted calf. O'Bannion, who purportedly referred to the Southsiders as 'greasy Dagos" [somewhat odd, since one of his lieutenants, and successors, was Vincent 'Schemer' Drucci] would have none of it. So instead, O'Bannion agreed to sell a brewery to Torrio, then tipped off the law. Torrio wound up with a conviction, the loss of the purchase price of the brewery, a minor fine, but the potential for a serious sentence for a second conviction.

And so it seemed to  go, until a third party mobster died of natural causes. By now, such occasions were observed lavishly with dozens of flower cars following the hearse. And O'Bannion's flower shop was the place to buy the arrangements.

So it was of little import to O'Bannion when three strangers walked in to pick up a floral piece for the funeral. O'Bannion even took the proffered hand of the man in the middle. He was Frankie Yale, in from New York to do a favor for his friend, All. And while Frankie firmly held O'Bannion's [gun] hand, his two companions, Maffia hitmen on loan to Capone, John Scalise and Albert Anselmo emptied two handguns into O'Bannion. The Northside mob was in need of a new boss.

The new boss was Polish, and his name was 'Hymie' Weiss. Weiss went immediately on the offensive. Johnny Torrio, who was still trying to make peace, was ambushed in his driveway, in the presence of his wife [a major no no for Italians], and shotgunned by George 'Bugs' Moran, and several other Northsiders. Torrio survived his shooting, but had had enough. He decided to return to New York, and left Capone in charge. Capone was in his early 20s.

And Capone seems to have decided to live by the old Roman adage, "Si vis pacem, para bellum". While he continued to try to work on an accord [he was successful with some of smaller mobs to the west], he went to war with the Northside.

Hymie Weiss was caught in a crossfire on the street in front of a Catholic Church. Shooters included Frank Diamond and the ubiquitous Scalise and Anselmo. Next up, Schemer Drucci.

Drucci sent a convoy of cars, led by George 'Bugs" Moran into south Chicago. They rolled up in front of the restaurant where Capone was having breakfast, disgorged shooters with Tommy guns, and fired up the diner. Capone survived [he also paid for the damages and the medical bills of the injured. Drucci's death followed shortly thereafter.

And so it went. But while all this was going on, Capone was making millions. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a fat oaf. He had a genius for talent spotting, organization, and business [albeit illegal business]. He made money from bootlegging, prostitution, gambling, loansharking, extortion, and a whole galaxy of other criminal enterprises. From his Cicero headquarters, he owned Chicago municipal government. He had connections and alliances with the Purple Gang in Detroit, the Mayfield Road Gang, Egan's Rats, the Chicago Mafia, and Lucky Luciano, the Five Points gang, and other criminal organizations in New York.

Capone also had a family. And from all accounts he was a good husband and a loving father. And when the Depression hit, Capone ran soup kitchens all over Chicago. It seems to have been a genuine impulse.

But Capone had other, less likable impulses, One was his absolute hatred of the Northside mob and their next, and last boss, George 'Bugs" Moran. Moran had shot Torrio. He had been one of those who shot up the restaurant where Capone had been breakfasting. He continued to try to expand his operations into Capone's turf. He continued to kill Capone's followers. Result? On February 14th, 1929, the Northside mob was brought to the brink of extinction in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Moran escaped the ambush. Most of his major followers didn't. By the time the smoke from two Tommy guns and a sawed off shot gun cleared, four gangsters, an employee and a 'groupie' were dead. A fifth gang member, one of the Gusenberg brothers was mortally wounded.

And Capone was facing trouble on two other fronts. His erstwhile friend from Five Points days, Frankie Yale, had designs on Chicago. Capone had him killed. Closer to home, one of his henchmen conspired with Scalise and Anselmo to remove Capone and take over  the  'Outfit'. Capone personally beat them to death with a fungo stick.

But Capone's downfall was caused by his bloodiest success, Valentine's Day. Several well to do Chicagoans appeakled to President Hoover to do something. So the Federal government went into action.

Al Capone was not laid low by Elliot Ness, but the IRS. Convicted of income tax evasion, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He obtained early, medical release when it was determined he was dying of tertiary syphilis. Released into the custody of his wife, Capone lived out his days on his Florida estate [there's a photo of him sitting in a bathrobe fishing in his swimming pool. Al Capone died at the age of 48.

Al Capone was one of the most successful gangsters in history. In fact he is the face of American gangsterdom. Brutal, but brilliant, he established mob rule in Chicago that exists to this day. As he said, You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake".
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« Reply #124 on: February 10, 2017, 11:00:14 am »

He was the son of a Rabbi, a small, diminutive child, so his mother called him "Lepkula". His given name was Louis Buchalter, but he has come down to us through the annals of crime as Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter, or simply, 'Lepke'. He was, along with tommy 'three Fingers Brown' Lucchese one of the two greatest labor racketeers in American history. He is also the only major mob figure ever executed by the government for his crimes.

Lepke got his start in the Union wars, working along with the likes of 'Little Augie' Orgen, in the confrontations between Union members and management over strikes and indeed, the recognition of the Unions themselves. And while Orgen restricted his strong arming for the unions only, Lepke and his partner, 'Gurrah [taken from his corruption of the phrase 'Get outta here'] Jake Shapiro, realized there was more money breaking legs for the highest bidder, and began working 'both sides of the street' as it were. And to achieve that end, they murdered Orgen.

Lepke soon caught the attention of Arnold Rothstein, and began working for him, and with him. It was during this apprenticeship that Lepke first came into contact with Charlie Luciano, another Rothstein prot?g?, as well as Meyer Lansky and 'Bugsy' Siegel.

Lepke and Shapiro built a criminal business based on the usuals in the '20s, bootlegging, prostitution, loansharking, and narcotics. But where Lepke split off, and opened virgin territory was labor racketeering.

During his strike breaking days, Lepke realized that controlling specific 'keystone' unions, could allow him to control not only the unions, but whole industries. By taking over the fur cuuters' union, and the rucking unions, Lepke established a stranglehold on vast segments of New York commerce. He was able to extort the businesses involved, as well as skim the union dues. His power was immense. So immense, in fact that Lepke was given a seat on the commission when Lucky Luciano organized it. If Luciano was 'primus inter pares', "Judge Louis" as he was known ran a close second.

And in the hierarchy of the mob, Lepke had a special, and eventually damning job. It was he, who after a commission vote, ordered the hits undertaken by Murder, Inc. through Albert Anastasia, aptly nicknamed "The Lord High Executioner".

For a while things ran swimmingly; so well in fact that Lepke married and adopted the child of his new wife. He was a loving husband and father at the same time he was pulling in millions and ordering the deaths of hundreds. And it was one of those deaths that led to Lepke's downfall.

Joe Rosen owned a candy store. But before that he had been a trucker, forced out of business by Lepke. Lepke had given rosen money for his store, but Rosen was a bitter man. He was also a talkative man. So Rosen had to go. And Lepke's personal button man, "Mendy" Weiss saw him off. All well and good. Not quite. Under then New York law, one couldn't be convicted of a crime unless a non-participant corroborated the evidence. While Weiss certainly didn't talk, Lepke had ordered Rosen's murder in the presence of one Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles, one of the two bosses of Murder, Inc. And Reles rolled.

Lepke went into hiding in Brooklyn, but the heat was on, big time. The mob eventually arranged  for Lepke to surrender, through the  ofices of Walter Winchell to J. Edgar Hoover, personally. Lepke got a stretch in the Federal pen for narcotics [along with Shapiro (on other charges)]. But that wasn't the end of the story, because during his forced hiding, Lepke had ordered dozens of murders on his own account, including Rosen's to immunize and insulate himself from prosecution. And the Brooklyn DA, William O'Dwyer, along with a very capable prosecuting attorney, Burton Turkus, went after both Lepke, and Murder, Inc. And they were largely successful, no more so than when they convicted Lepke of murder.

Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter was electrocuted in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, along with 'Mendy' Weiss, and Louis Capone, an associate [no relation to Al Capone] in 1942. As a result of the murders he ordered, Murder, Inc. was destroyed, with many of its members executed [Martin "Buggsy Goldstein, 'Happy" Maione, Frank 'The Dasher" Abbadando, Harry "Pittsburch Phil" Strauss, Victor "Chickenhead "Gurino and others]. the man who testified them all onto Death Row, Abe Reles either fell, jumped or was pushed out of a 7th story window at the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island, where he was the sole occupant of the 7th floor, and was guarded by New York P.D. As a result of Reles' death, Albert Anastasia walked free. In the words of one mob wag, Reles was a canary that could sing, but couldn't fly.

Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter was a criminal genius, the man who almost alone, invented labor racketeering. Yet even before  his apprehension, most of his rackets had been taken over by the Italian mob, and by the time of his death, they were running New York, and soon, the nation, by themselves. 
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You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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« Reply #125 on: February 14, 2017, 04:50:53 pm »

He started out during Prohibition as "The Beer Baron". He had an unerring ability to find new sources of income. Unlike Al Capone, he beat a tax case. He was part of one of the most notorious gang wars in New York history. And he was killed by his fellow gangsters when he went against the Commission. His name was Arthur Flegenheimer, Jr. But he has come down to us in history as Dutch Schultz.

The Dutchman, as he was known, started out in Prohibition, like many other of his ilk, in bootlegging. But Schultz was known for three things. His operation was run from the Bronx. His specialty was brewing beer. And the Dutchman worked alone. No partners, no alliances. And he was highly successful, in part because he had some truly brilliant underlings. His accountant/ bookkeeper, "Abba Dabba "Bermann  could do complex figures in his head [he was the basis for Damon Runyon's 'Nathan Regret' in "Guys and Dolls"]. His lieutenant and hit mean "Lu Lu" Rosenkrantz could kill with the best of them. And Schultz himself was hot tempered, and a stone cold killer, if need be.

Schultz's operations were recognized and sanctioned by the Commission when it was formed. But by then Schultz had moved into a BIG moneymaker, which was based in Harlem, the numbers racket. Based on the numbers of the first three finishers in a specified horse race, or the winners of three different horse races, people would bet on that number, either 'straight', or 'combination'. The bets could be for nickels and dimes, and the return made betting worthwhile. And while the individual bets were small, the aggregate being betted was worth millions. And Schultz took it over. And to increase profits, Berman figured a way to minimize the winning numbers on any given play. Life was good. and then it wasn't.

First up was the embarrassment of a 'gang war' with a disgruntled former underling, one Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll. Coll was a minor hood, but his nickname said it all. He was the go to guy Salvatore Maranzano contracted to kill Lucky Luciano [Luciano got Maranzano first]. Coll then became a Schultz employee, but somewhere along the way, he developed a grievance that flared into open war, in all senses of the word 'open'. Coll, who never really stood a chance of toppling Schultz, topped a crescendo of violence with a drive-by aimed at a Schutlz associate in a crowded street in Manhattan. One of the results was a dead baby in a carriage, hit by Coll's machinegun fire. The outrage was palpable. The publicity was worse. The Commission stepped in. Coll was caught in a phone booth and machinegunned to death.

But while free of Coll, Schultz wasn't out of the woods. Special prosecutor Thomas Dewey was after him. But in a series of trials [the last two were conducted in upstate New York], Schultz beat the rap. Unfortunately, Dewey refused to let go, and the Dutchman's temper heated up. He went before the commission [he wasn't a member], and requested that a contract be taken out on Dewey. A feasibility study was approved, and the Murder, Inc. boys reported they could do the job in a store Dewey stopped in every morning for a newspaper.

But cooler heads prevailed. Both Luciano and Lepke Buchalter assumed the heat from killing a prosecutor like Dewey would be intense, and bad for business. They told Schultz, "No". Schultz then declaimed he'd do it himself, storming out of the meeting. At that point new business was tabled...

Because of the heat from Dewey and Mayor La Guardia, Schultz had re-located his headquarters to the Palace Chop House, in New Jersey. And it was there one evening, that Mendy Weiss and Charlie 'The Bug' Workman showed up. The first victims were Berman, Rosenkrantz and a third associate in the dining room. Workman, living up to his name, entered the men's room, saw a man, and shot him. Turned out it was Schultz.

Schultz lingered in the hospital, with peritonitis. A stenographer sat in the room, taking down his ravings [A memorable line was : "A boy has never wept, nor dashed a thousand kim"]. But Schultz gave them nothing. Converted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed, Schultz passed soon after.

Luciano and the five families took over the Numbers, adding millions to their own bulging coffers, and expanding the game's market. But Dewey soon sent Luciano upstate for 30 years on a prostitution conviction. And somewhere the Dutchman laughed his ass off.
 
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« Reply #126 on: February 15, 2017, 02:00:52 pm »

When Lucky Luciano set up organized crime in the early '30s, it was not a purely Italian organization. the Purple Gang of Detroit was Jewish. the Mayfield Road Gang and Egan's Rats were ethnically mixed. And aside from Luciano's associates, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, there was a strong component, especially in the New York area of Jewish criminal organizations [Lepke and Shapiro, Dutch Schultz, Longy Zwillman, etc.]

So when the Commission began to put together an enforcement team, they looked to combine both Jewish and Italian gangs in its composition. the result was the Union of two gangs from East New York, Happy Maione's Ocean Hill crew, and the Brownsville gang helmed by Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles, and 'Bugsy Goldstein. The two gangs were combined for the purposes of contract killing, and were put on retainer. They were also allowed to keep their own rackets in East New York, without 'kicking up'. In addition, the individual killers on any contract were paid for the job. Contracts in New York were passed down by the Commission through Albert Anastasia, who supervised the gang, and occasionally went along on a job. Contracts from the rest of the U.S were funneled through the commission to the gang, and then carried out nationally.

Murder, Inc., as it later became known, had a crew of "talent" unrivalled in gangland. There was Charlie "The Bug" Workman, the man who killed Dutch Schultz. There was Harry "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss, who volunteered for contracts and favored ice picks. There was Frank "The Dasher" Abbondando, Vito "Chicken Head" Guarino, as well as Reles , Maione and a raft of others.

In an era before forensics, Murder, Inc. was a fearsome proposition. Out of New York City, they came, killed, and left, often on the same day as the murder. With no connection to the victim, they were virtually untraceable. IN New York City, they dumped bodies down sewers, sunk them in bodies of weater in the Catskills, burned the bodies in vacant lots. By the mid to late 1930s, Murder, Inc. had carried out hundreds, if not a few thousand, contract killings. They had even scouted Thomas E. Dewey for the feasibility of his murder [They decided it was possible, but the contract was never let.]

As the '30s progressed, Murder, Inc. began to evolve into a hit squad primarily for Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. Luciano and the Five families had their own killers [One of the ways you 'made your "button"', and get on the books was to kill someone], although Murder, Inc. was still contracted for Commission hits. But an increasing percentage of their work was silencing people who presented a threat to Lepke, real or imagined.

Lepke was in hiding, from both local and Federal authorities, and he began ordering murders in job lots. Bodies began turning up in greater numbers, and many had connections to Lepke. the authorities began to take notice. And a result was increased heat on the Brownsville boys

And Abe Reles, sitting in jail, and somewhat concerned about when, not if, Lepke got around to him, decided to sing for his supper. And Reles sang an aria. His first transcripted statement took over three days to record. Reles brought three things to the table. First he had been in Murder, Inc. from its founding. Second, he had an almost photographic memory for some 44 murders he had either participated in, witnessed or heard ordered. And third, he could give the DA Lepke on a murder rap, the execution of Joe Rosen. Reles, who had not participated in that homicide had been present when Lepke ordered his own button man, Mendy Weiss, to kill Rosen. But Reles, in return for immunity gave the District Attorney, William O'Dwyer so much more. By the time he finished testifying, Happy Maione, Bugsy Goldstein, Pittsburgh Phil, Frank the Dasher, Vito Guarino, and most of the rest of Murder, Inc. were awaiting an appointment with the electric chair, as was Lepke, Mendy Weiss, and Louis Capone [no relation]. Charlie the Bug was sentenced to 30 years in New Jersey.

And then O'Dwyer prepared his star witness for the "Lord High Executioner of Murder, Inc.", Albert "The Mad Hatter" Anastasia, the man who had ordered most of the contracts Murder, Inc. had carried out. But there was a problem. That problem's name was Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Anastasia was a loyal friend and follower of Luciano. He had been made underboss of a family on Luciano's orders. Hwe had helped kill Joe "The Boss" Masseria for Luciano. And Lucky was not about to let Reles bury his friend.

Abe Reles was in protective custody on the 7th floor of the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island. He was the only occupant on the floor, and possibly that whole wing of the hotel, except for his police guards. Reles either fell, jumped or was pushed out the window [bed sheets which would have gotten him to the 5th floor were tied to the radiator]. Luciano later mentioned that Reles had cost him 50 grand to fix. But with Reles' death, Anastasia was in the clear.

Murder, Inc. died not with a bang, but a thud.
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You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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« Reply #127 on: February 17, 2017, 12:32:30 pm »

The one thing I didn't know about Capone until a few years ago. He didn't die in prison. These stories are a fun read Pzldr!
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« Reply #128 on: February 21, 2017, 05:47:23 pm »

When Lucky Luciano boarded the ship for exile in Italy after WW II, he left the New York mob in the more than capable hands of one of his oldest associates, Frank Costello. Costello was almost the antithesis of the commonly held image of a mobster. He dressed well, associated with mostly non-mobsters of caf? society, was soft spoken, and did not have a reputation for violence although it is likely he was part of assassination team that murdered Joe "The Boss" Masseria at Luciano's order]. What Costello did have was connections. He made the payoffs, got a NYC Mayor [Vincent Imperiale] elected, controlled a good part of the judiciary, and had a good portion of the police department in his pocket. And Costello did this, not only with bribery, political fixing and corruption, but with 'smart' crime. Costello was adamantly opposed to the mob getting involved in narcotics trafficking. As he argued, the general populace would turn a blind eye to, or at least put up with prostitution, gambling, bid rigging, extortion, loan sharking and a host of other mob money makers. But, he said, they would not countenance the mob selling heroin to their children. So he banned it.

Unfortunately, there were three problems with that. Mob "soldiers" were required to 'kick up' hefty portions of all their earnings [except their loansharking monies]. So they were always looking for new opportunities that returned big profits for little investment. Heroin was one such opportunity. Costello might have weathered that, but he was confronted with a mob rival who wanted the mob into heroin sales big time. That rival was Don Vito Genovese, Luciano's underboss. And Luciano, far away in Italy, couldn't shield Costello [interestingly, he was setting up the pipeline to move opium from the middle east to Marseilles, where it woulod be turned into heroin to ship to the States]

Vito Genovese was, even by mob standards a thug to be feared. He had been in exile in Sicily during the war after committing a murder in New York [Genovese had killed the then husband of his wife so he could marry her]. He came back when the chief witness, in protective custody in jail ingested, in the words of the medical examiner, enough poison to kill a horse. And he both challenged Costello, and sought to allay the fears Costello raised by promising to sell narcotics only to blacks. Costello still wouldn't budge. But the ground was being cup out from under him.

First there was an abysmal performance before the Kefauver commission that made him a laughing stock. And then there was the murder of his strongest mob supporter, Albert "The Mad Hatter" Anastasia, the Lord High Executioner of Murder, Inc.

Albert Anastasia may well have been the only Mafioso in New York more terrifying that Genovese. Anastasia had been killing people since the '20s. He, too, was purportedly one of Masseria's assassins. And the sobriquet, "The Mad Hatter" was well deserved. Anastasia had been watching the Ed Sullivan show one Sunday when as was his wont, Ed introduced a member of his audience, one Arnold Schuster. Schuster had two claims to fame. He ran a news stand. And he had 'fingered' Willie Sutton, the bank robber to the FBI. As Sullivan introduced Schuster, Anastasia exploded and ordered Schuster to be killed. The FBI was clueless, for years as to why, and by whom Schuster had been killed [Sutton had no mob connections, and never hurt anyone during his career].

Anastasia was solidly behind Costello in his argument with Genovese. And while sitting in a barber chair in New York City, two masked men came up behind Anastasia and killed him. They were Crazy Joey Gallo and his brother. Costello was now alone.

And one night as he returned to his apartment lobby, he heard his name called. When he turned, he saw Genovese's driver, one Vincent "Vinny the Chin" Gigante with a gun in his hand. Costello was shot in the head; it was a graze, rather than a penetrating shot, but it was enough. Costello decided to, and was allowed to, retire [Luciano's hand?]. He went on to fail to identify Gigante in court, leading to an acquittal, and Gigante's thanks.

So Genovese got control, the mob got into narcotics, and Costello got into retirement. Bu Don Vito's victory was hollow. the mob did not restrict heroin sales to the black community. Society reacted just as Costello said they would, and judges and cops would not play ball with the new criminal enterprise. One result was a Genovese called mob meet that blew up in the mob's collective face. It was set at Appalachia. And when it was blown EVERYBODY knew there was a Mafia. The fig leaf was gone.

Genovese did more to destroy the mob than anybody but John Gotti. He bungled a hit in prison that sent Joe Valachi to the government. The narcotics trade brought heat the mob had never seen, even if the money was good. Genovese died in prison for trafficking. Costello died in bed. there's a lesson there.
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You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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