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George Peter Metesky became known in the press as the Mad Bomber when he  terrorized New York City for 16 years in the 1940s and 1950s with explosives that he planted in phone booths, storage lockers, and restrooms in public buildings, including Grand Central TerminalPennsylvania StationRadio City Music Hall, the New York Public Library, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the RCA Building, and in the New York City Subway. Metesky also bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside. Watch the below film and learn how law enforcement made use of a psychological profile to catch this disgruntled employee of the Con-Edison electric utility. New York City residents were terrorized for 16 years by 33 bombs planted by the mad bomber.

 

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Dean O’Banion was born on July 8th, 1892 in Maroa Illinois. His father, Charles O’Banion was an Irish Immigrant. Charles was a house painter and took his family to Chicago and lived in a neighborhood known as Kilbubbin. Like Hell’s Kitchen in New York, it was called Little hell because its poverty and crime. Dean attended the Holy Name Parochial School and served as an altar boy at the Catholic Holy Name Cathedral.

Dean O’Banion joined the Little Hell Gang. They sold newspapers and stole from stores and often mugged other residents. It was in this gang he met future fellow Chicago mob associates, Earl ‘Hymie’ Weiss, Vincent ‘the Schemer’ Drucci and George “Bugsy” Moran.

Dean O’Banion was always known as a wild child taking chances like riding on the back bumper of the street cars. One time the street car stopped suddenly and Dean was thrown to the ground and the car ran over his leg. He survived but would walk with a limp because his left leg was an inch shorter than the other leg.

In his first encounter with the criminal justice system, a night watchman caught O’Banion stealing postage stamps from a drug store. The judge sentenced him to a 3-month term in a youth house of correction. A couple of years later when he was 19. O’Banion was arrested for assault with a blackjack. He was sentenced to a short term for assault and possession of deadly weapons. This was the last prison sentence he ever received.

When Prohibition began in 1920, O’Banion got in on the action and started his own bootlegging operation. He smuggled beer, whiskey and gin from Canada for distribution in Chicago. As a cover for bootlegging and other criminal activities, he bought into Schofields Flower Shop at 738 North State Street.  Dean, found he liked flower arranging and actually worked in the shop. He had married a beautiful young girl, Viola Kaniff and brought home many bouquets.

O’Banion acted out his street gang roots when he conducted the first known hijacking of another bootlegger’s shipment of whiskey in 1921. He spotted the truckload of booze and jumped on the running board and took the driver hostage at gun point. He pushed the driver out and drove the truck to Morton’s garage. From there, he called other speakeasies and sold all the whiskey in 20 minutes.  As his reputation as an aggressive and feared gang leader grew, he became known as the leader of the O’Banion mob, also known as the North Side Gang. He attracted more gunmen as they realized he now ruled the North Side and the Gold Coast, the wealthy area of Chicago situated on the northern lake-front. Tough men like Louis ‘Three Gun’ Alterie, Samuel “Nails” Morton, and Dan “Handsome” McCarthy joined the North Side Gang.

He soon came into conflict with the Italian mob and their boss Johnny Torrio. The new Chicago Crime Syndicate wanted to control all other gangs in Chicago. Torrio and his lieutenant Al Capone met with O’Banion and Weiss to discuss recent hijackings of whiskey shipments. Torrio asked O’Banion to join the crime syndicate, which meant that O’Banion and the other syndicate members would have to respect each other’s territories and properties.

The usual method of operation for the Italian Syndicate was for all members to pay Torrio a portion of the profits for political protection and protection from other criminals. Johnny Torrio wanted to keep the Irish gangster inside their group and he even offered to make an exception in the case of the North Side gang and not require any tribute.  O’Banion agreed to join and to consolidate their new partnership, the two sides exchanged shares in each other’s businesses. Torrio got shares in some of O’Banion’s breweries and in return, O’Banion was bought in to some of Torrio’s distilleries and gambling dens.

Meanwhile, the Genna Brothers, who controlled Little Italy west of Chicago’s down town region, began marketing their whiskey in the O’Banion’s territory on the North Side. O’Banion complained about the Gennas to Torrio, but Torrio did nothing. It was not long before Torrio caught O’Banion cheating him out of a large sum of money, as much as ½ million dollars.  O’Banion learned that the police were planning to raid The Sieben Brewery, a place O’Banion and Torrio owned jointly. Before the raid, O’Banion approached Torrio and told him he wanted to sell his share in the brewery. He claimed he wanted to leave the bootlegging racket. Torrio agreed to buy O’Banion’s share and gave him half a million dollars.

Shortly after the night of O’Banion’s last shipment, the police raided the brewery. They arrested Torrio who had to bail out himself along with six other associates. They all faced jail time while O’Banion was in the clear. Torrio demanded O’banion return the money and he refused. Torrio eventually realized he had been double-crossed. He had lost the brewery, $500,000 in cash, been indicted, and been humiliated. The Genna;s had wanted to kill O’banion for some time and Torrio had previously refused permission. After the brewery scam, Torrio finally agreed and granted permission to the Gennas’ earlier demand to kill O’Banion.

On November, the 3rd 1924 O’Banion sat in with Al Capone and other bosses like Frank Nitti, Frank Rio and others to tally the week’s profits. Nitti claimed that Angelo Genna had was short and had dropped a large amount of cash, plus a sizeable marker. Capone recommended that they cancel the marker as a professional courtesy. O’Banion refuseed to agree and called Genna demanding that he pay his debt within a week.

The Gennas sent a killer named Frankie Yale, and other gangsters visited Schofield’s, O’Banion’s flower shop, to discuss floral arrangements. However, the real purpose of these visits was to memorize the store layout for the hit on O’Banion. On November 9th of 1924, O’Bannion got a telephone order for a custom wreath to be picked up the following morning.

On the morning of November 10, 1924, O’Banion was arranging chrysanthemums in the back room. His bodyguard, Louis Alterie, had claimed he was sick with a hangover and did not come to the flower shop that morning.  Frankie Yale entered the shop with John Scalise and Albert Anselmi. “Hello, boys” greeted O’Banion, “You from Mike Merlo’s?” and stuck out his hand in greeting. Yale nodded and returned O’Banions handshake in a clasped death grip. At the same time, Scalise and Anselmi fired two bullets into O’Banion’s chest, two in his cheeks, and two in his throat.

 

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Morris A. Shenker was a St. Louis lawyer who represented Midwest mob figures in the 1950s and became a lawyer for Jimmy Hoffa and the $700 million Central States Teamster’s pension fund.

He encouraged the pension fund to invest in Las Vegas casinos.

During the 1970s, Shenker borrowed several million personally and bought the Dunes Hotel and Casino.

He was supposed to give a kickback to the Chicago Outfit through Allan Dorfman, but refused.

The F.B.I. recorded Outfit enforcer Joe Lombardo threatening his life.

Shenker declared bankruptcy in 1985.

Shenker died of natural causes in 1989 and never paid the Outfit their kickback.

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Casey McBride is credited with this piece. He examines the three stories about how the Prime Minister of the Mob, Frank Costello inherited an interest in the Crescent City. Which of them, if any, is true I cannot say, and will leave it for the reader to decide.

Story number one:

As many readers will no doubt already know, Louisiana Senator, Huey Long, was a notorious boozer. This story claims Long was so drunk at a country club one night he got impatient waiting at a urinal, and let loose between the mans legs who was using it. Apparently, he had terrible aim and the man began stomping a hole in Huey. An attendant called for Frank Costello, who was also at the club, and Frank, as always, smoothed things over. Long was grateful, and the two struck up a mutually beneficial friendship.

Story number two:

New Orleans legend, Diamond Jim Moran received a phone call from Frank Costello, warning him of a plot to assassinate Huey Long, at the Roosevelt Hotel. Diamond Jim, passed this information on to his friend Long, who’s bodyguards immediately raided the residence at an address Costello had provided. Though they did not find their suspects, they found evidence that a plan had indeed been put in the works. Long told Moran to pass a message on to Costello, and the message was, “tell him he has a friend.”

Story number three:

In a much less dramatic, though likely more accurate telling, Frank Costello himself insisted he had met Long over dinner at a country club. Both men had a penchant for politicking, gambling and chasing women. The two simply liked each other and struck up a friendship which lasted until Long’s death.

So I suppose the answer to Joe Gallow’s question would be, Huey Long. He would invite Costello to bring his slot machines to Louisiana in 1935, and the pair would prove to be a successful partnership; but that is another story…

By Casey Robert McBride

Curator at Uncle Frank’s Place

https://www.facebook.com/unclefranksplace/

http://www.nationalcrimesyndicate.com/frankcostello

Lead editor at the NCS, Casey was the first blogger to set foot in the Social Club, and is the curator at Uncle Frank’s Place, that little corner of the NCS dedicated to the discussion and preservation of the life and times of racketeer Frank Costello. Casey’s philosophy is to specialize. “There is simply too much information for one person to know it all.” he claims. “That’s the beauty of the NCS. We have folks from all walks of life, all with different interests and expertise, and it’s growing all the time.”

Anthony Casso is a member of the Lucchese crime family. He is currently serving several life sentences. He was at a Supermax prison in Colorado. In 2013, he was transferred to a Residential Reentry Management (RRM) facility in Minneapolis. RRM is a type of halfway house for inmates in Federal custody. However it is doubtful if he will be released.

A little history on

Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa

Gotti being Gotti retaliated. A hit team ambushed Casso a few month later and shot him six times. However, Casso survived and went on his own vendetta. He had connections to the “Mafia Cops,” NYC Detectives, Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. They grabbed one of the shooters, James Hydell. Casso tortured him for information before killing him. He learned this name Nicky Guido and these same detectives gave Casso an address for Guido. As a result, an innocent citizen was killed instead of Guido.

Casso was on a murder binge and ordered a crew to kill a mobster named Fat Pete Chiodo In May 1991, a three-man team shot Chido 12 times and left him for dead. Mistake, he survived and started cooperating with the Feds.

In January 1993, the authorities arrested Casso. The arresting officers found $340,000 in cash and a stash of FBI confidential documents at the time of his arrest.
Casso tried several times to escape and even plotted to have the judge on his case murdered. Casso felt that he was not being supported b y his crime family and became an informant. He admitted his involvement in at least 36 murders. In March 1994, Casso pleaded guilty to numerous crimes including 14 counts of murder. He was given a recommendation for leniency in his sentencing.Casso was not a good cooperating witness. He continued to cause problems in prison, got into fights and bribed guards to bring him special food and drinks.In 1997, the authorities kicked him out of the witness protection program and ended their agreement with Casso because he had broken the conditions of the leniency deal. Anthony Casso became the first crime boss to be kicked out of the witness protection program. Casso was sentenced to 13 consecutive life sentences. He made several attempts to appeal this decision, but he had no luck.
Casso tried to redeem himself in 1998 and talked to 60 Minutes his

Mafia Cops

association with the “Mafia Cops,” Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. The U.S. Attorney had enough of Anthony Casso and refused to use him to convict the two corrupt cops. Actually, they would have but they already had a Casso associate named Burt Kaplan to testify about the “Mafia Cops.”

Photo from Life For the Mob

Don’t forget to listen to Aaron on the Big Dumb Fun Show, live on Monday nights.

To go to the store click here

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To subscribe on iTunes click here, give me a review and I will send you a link to see the film for free.

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Aaron and I want to include our fans on the show. Either record and email the audio file or call me at 816-931-3535 and I will record you announcing the show on the phone or via skype for our international friends. Below is the suggested announcement.

Hello, this is (your name) and I welcome you to another thrilling episode of Gangland Wire Crime Stores with Gary and Aaron, so sit back and be entertained. 

Plus the password for the free calendar is stardust.

Gary

 

Angelo Lonardo

Angelo Lonardo

Angelo Lonardo was the highest ranking mob member to ever break the code of Omerta. Lonardo was born in 1911 in Cleveland to Joseph and Concetta Lonardo. His father, Joseph Lonardo was the first mob boss of the Cleveland family. Joseph Lonardo was murdered in 1929. At the time the 18-year-old Angelo Lonardo swore revenge and murdered the suspected killer, Salvatore Todaro . The young Lonardo was tried and sentenced to life in prison. Within a few years, his lawyer was able to get a second trial and he was released. Angelo or “Big Ange” Lonardo worked his way up to underboss in 1976. He was promoted to boss after the 1980s mob war between Danny Greene and the Cleveland La Cosa Nostra family. Shortly after, Lonardo was convicted in a drug conspiracy and he had

Danny Greene

Danny Greene

enough. He became a government informant and testified against his former colleagues and several mob figures throughout the US. He eventually went into the federal witness protection program, but left it to return to Cleveland. Lonardo died in his sleep on April 1, 2006, aged 95. He was buried in Calvary cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

Below I have copied his depiction of the scene he remembered when he was inducted into the Cleveland family.

“I was invited into a room at the Statler Hotel in Cleveland and asked if I knew what I was doing there. You naturally say, “No.” Present were John Scalish, the acting boss; Tony Milano, the underboss; John Demarco, a capo; and Frank Brancato. They explained to me that I had been proposed to be made a member of La Cosa Nostra and defined the rules and regulations of the organization. They told me that you cannot fool around with narcotics; you cannot own a house of prostitution or have prostitutes working for you; you cannot fool around with a woman that’s married to a member of La Cosa Nostra; and that whatever illegal activity you engage in, you have to report to the boss and receive permission to engage in that activity: After I was told the rules, I was asked if I still wanted to join the organization.

One can still leave at that time, but the person usually accepts. In my case, I joined and became a member of La Cosa Nostra.

Once you accept the rules of membership, they lift a cloth off a table; underneath is a gun and a dagger. You are told that you now live and die with the dagger and the gun. You die that way, and you live that way. You are then given a card with a picture of a saint on it. This card is placed in the palms of your hands and lit. You shake the burning card back and forth until it is burned down to ashes. They then pinch your finger to draw blood, and then everyone gives you a kiss on the cheek and says, “You are now a member.” I later learned that to be invited to be a member you must have killed somebody and stood up to police pressure.”
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