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Jack Dragna Biography: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

Installment 15: Jack Dragna Biography Jack Ignatius Dragna Born: Ignacio Dragna, Corleone, Sicily, April 18, 1891 Died: Hollywood, CA, February 23, 1956 Jack Dragna was an early influential Los Angeles figure who rose to prominence through bootlegging, political, and gambling endeavors. During the early part of prohibition, he helped quell the bloody vendetta between LA’s warring Sicilian clans and solidified this power under one banner. Heading up the “Organization” out West for a quarter century—from…


The “Mercy” Hit on Willie Moretti: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

Installment 11: The “Mercy” Hit on Willie Moretti Author’s Note: I had such a great time at the MobWorld Summit out in Las Vegas. Wonderful to finally meet some of my readers and the fine folks I’ve been working with at the NCS. I have to admit it was pretty fun running around with Meyer Lansky II and socializing with other panelists. Thanks again to Larry Henry for putting it all together, to Geoff Schumacher…


The Senator and the Shield: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

Installment 7: The Senator and the Shield RICO, the infamous Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, is credited as one of the most effective tools in the fight against the national crime syndicate. It’s aim for the prosecution of top mob members over mere soldiers, is no doubt largely responsible for its level of success. Earlier introduced and lesser known, was another controversial legislative weapon; one which arrived on the law books not…


Dial M For Mob: Part 6 – The Legend of Vito Genovese

I’ll give you two words and you tell me what first comes to you mind. Vito Genovese………. Don Vitone is one of those polarizing figures. People either love him or hate him. If you love him, he was a tough street guy who commanded respect and left his family in great shape with guys who would lead long into the future. If you hate him, he’s a treacherous, jealous sociopath. Of course us mob nerds…


Dial M For Mob: Part 5 – The Assassination of Albert “Lord High Executioner” Anastasia

Umberto Anastasio was born September 26, 1902 in Tropea, Italy. He was one of 9 brothers and 3 sisters. In 1919 Umberto and 3 of his brothers working a freighter deserted the ship in New York and soon started working as longshoreman on the Brooklyn docks. On March 17, 1921 Umberto was convicted of murdering fellow longshoreman George Turino and Albert “Lord High Executioner” Anastasia was born. Rising in power quickly on the waterfront Albert…


He Didn’t “Toot” His Own Horn: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

The initial wave of gambling boats that hit the West during the roaring twenties, kicked off in the summer of 1927. Although Tony Cornero—the good looking racketeer with a reputation for being a straight shooter among thieves—is often crowned King of these floating casinos, he was actually nowhere to be found when the trade first got rolling. A short while after his 1926 bootlegging arrest, Cornero managed to escape custody. A wanted man, he fled…


Dial M For Mob Series: Part 3 – Las Vegas

And then there’s Vegas. The mecca of gambling in the United States. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, New York gangster, went out there in 1945 and had the famous/infamous Flamingo Hotel and Casino built. Most know of the financial issues that occurred. The project went way over budget and had a poor opening night. It actually closed right after the grand opening so that the hotel could be finished. Bugsy was killed shortly after its grand re-opening…


An Interview With Mob Historian Scott Deitche

Who does the Las Vegas Mob Museum call when they’re looking for advice? The answer to that question is Mob historian, Scott Deitche. The NCS was lucky enough to sit down with the Mob Museum’s Meyer Lansky, before his March 15th engagement at the museum to discuss his latest offering, Garden State Gangland. Here Scott gives us the lowdown on New Jersey, Tampa, and that legendary Mob playground, Havana.