Archive for bugsy Siegel

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps” by Joe Bruno made it as a finalist in the eFestival of Words Virtual Book Fair in the category: Best Non-Fiction (General).

Posted in criminals, crooks, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, Italian Americans, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City disasters, New York City fires, New York City murder, organized crime, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

My ebook “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps” ( by Joe Bruno) made it as a finalist in the eFestival of Words Virtual Book Fair in the category: Best Non-Fiction (General).

That means of all the nonfiction ebooks on the Internet (and I’d hate to guess how many that is) that were Independently published, they have ranked mine in the top seven.

The last time I looked, I was in second place in the voting. Just 17 votes behind the leader.

So I would really appreciate any votes I get from my Facebook friends.

If you wish to vote, please click the link below.

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps-Volume 1 – New York City” is now ranked # 2 on in the genre “Organized Crime.”

Posted in Chinese gangs, Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, New York City, New York City disasters, New York City fires, New York City murder, organized crime, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

My ebook “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps-Volume 1 – New York City” is now ranked # 2 on in the genre “Organized Crime.”

It’s never been ranked that high before.

It’s too early for a martini, but I’m thinking about it.

Mob Rats Abe “Kid Twist Reles” Part 6

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooked cops, crooks, Gangs, gangsters, labor unions, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno's Mobsters - Six Volume Set

Joe Bruno's Mobsters – Six Volume Set

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With Murder Inc. depleted of most of its top killers, Louie “Lepke” Buchalter, Louis Capone, and Mendy Weiss went on trial in late 1940 for the 1936 murder of Joe Rosen. At that point in time, Abe Reles was still very much alive and singing. On the stand, Reles testified he knew Lepke had ordered the Rosen hit. This corroborated the testimony of Allie Tannenbaum, who testified he heard Lepke give the order to Max Rubin to have Joe Rosen killed (from a room next to Lepke’s office. Lepke had uncharacteristically left the door open between the two rooms).

At 10:15 pm, Nov. 1941, the jury was sent out to decide the fates of Lepke, Capone, and Weiss.

At 2:30 am, the judge was told the jury was ready with its verdicts. After the jurors were seated and the defendants returned to the courtroom, Charles E. Steven, the foreman of the jury, rose and said, “We find the defendants, and each of them, guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged.”

The penalty, by law, was death.

As he pronounced sentence, Justice Taylor stood at the bench and cast a steely gaze which bore right through Lepke’s eyes.

 Judge Taylor said, “Louis Buchalter, alias Lepke, for the murder of Joseph Rosen, whereof he is convicted, is hereby sentenced to the punishment of death.”

 Judge Taylor also gave the same death sentence to both Louis Capone and Mendy Weiss.

For the next four years, Lepke used every trick in the book to delay his and his two men’s executions. But it was to no avail.

On March 4, 1944, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, as befitting the boss, took the long walk down the last mile first, followed in minutes by Louis Capone and Mendy Weiss. All three were jolted in Sing Sing’s electric chair a few minutes after midnight, effectively ending Murder Incorporated’s reign of terror in the United States of America. Buchalter remains the only mob boss ever executed by the government.

Yet, it had been one of Murder Inc.’s most prolific killers, Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, who had been most responsible for Murder Inc.’s demise. If Reles hadn’t squealed, Happy and the Dasher, as well as Lepke, may have never been convicted, let alone executed.

The government later admitted if Reles hadn’t been tossed out the hotel window in Coney Island, they had enough evidence against Albert Anastasia and mad-dog killer Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel to put them in the electric chair too.

According to New York City District Attorney William O’Dwyer, “When Reles went out the window, our cases against Anastasia and Siegel went out the window too.”


Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set

Posted in Chinese gangs, Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooked cops, crooks, Drug dealers, espionage, FBI, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, Hell's Angels, Ireland, Italian Americans, Italy, labor unions, mafia, Mexico, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City disasters, New York City fires, New York City murder, NY City disasters, organized crime, pirates, reality TV, riots, Sicily, Uncategorized, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno's Mobsters - Eight Volume Set

Joe Bruno's Mobsters – Eight Volume Set

Buy from Amazon

There’s not much you can buy for under four bucks (have you been to a Starbucks lately?) But “Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set” contains eight books, all of which sell individually on for $.99 each, for only $3.99. That rounds out to less than 50 cents per book.

“Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set” is certainly a bargain that’s hard to beat!

“Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set” includes:

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps Volumes 1-4,”

and the newly released,

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps Volumes 5 – Girlfriends and Wives.”

“Murder and Mayhem in the Big Apple – From the Black Hand to Murder Incorporated.”

“The Wrong Man: Who Ordered the Murder of Gambler Herman Rosenthal and Why.”

“Mob Wives – Fuhgeddaboudit!”

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps – Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4″ have all been consistently ranked in the top 100 in genre “Organized Crime,” as has “Murder and Mayhem in the Big Apple.” Volume 1 has reached as high as #5.

According to New York City criminal attorney Mathew J. Mari, “Joe Bruno’s Mobsters are a composite of characters and events that entwine the denizens of the underworld with the rich history of America from the early 1800′s until today.”



A MUST FOR THE TRUE GRUE COLLECTOR!! By RJ Parker – “Best Selling Author/Book Reviewer





Joe Bruno on the Mob – Book Reviews – “Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set”

Posted in Book Reviews, Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooked cops, crooks, disasters, FBI, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, Italian Americans, labor unions, Lawyers, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City disasters, New York City fires, New York City murder, NY City disasters, organized crime, police, riots, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno's Mobsters - Six Volume Set

Joe Bruno's Mobsters – Six Volume Set

Buy from Amazon

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars Five-Star Book and a Bargain to Boot!, September 21, 2012


GinaBeena “Gina” (Sarasota, FL) – See all my reviews

This review is from: Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set (Kindle Edition)

Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set” is a definitive history of American mobsters, dating as far back as the early 1820′s and continuing until the mid-1900′s.

The first three books “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps – Volumes 1, 2 and 3″ contain bios of scores of gangsters, both male and female. These three books also include famous murders (The Murder of Sanford White) and disasters like the General Slocum Paddleboat Fire.

The fourth book – “The Wrong Man: Who Ordered the Murder of Gambler Herman Rosenthal and Why” details a famous murder than took place 100 years ago. Bruno maintains the wrong man, NY City Police Lieut. Charles Becker, was executed, while the real killers testified against Becker and walked away free men.

“Murder and Mayhem in the Big Apple” focuses on the exploits of the murderous Black Hand, The Boys from Brownsville, and Murder incorporated.

And Finally “Mob Wives – Fuhgeddaboudit!” is Bruno’s way of saying that the TV program “Mob Wives” is such an embarrassing abomination, no intelligent person should ever watch the show. And I wholeheartedly agree.

All in all, $2.99 is a cheap price to pay for so much information in one six-volume book.

Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

4.0 out of 5 stars Joe Bruno’s Mobsters-Six Volume Set, February 13, 2013


Joseph S. SalernoSee all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set (Kindle Edition)

Book is very informative about the most famous mobsters and how they rose to power, and how the fell. Also, how people were very poor and what they had to endure to survive.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

4.0 out of 5 stars Bruno’s Mobsters, February 5, 2013


W. S. Nunn (Milleville, NJ USA) – See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set (Kindle Edition)

This a fun entertaining read for anyone interested in organized crime or criminal history. I would not recommend the volumes indidvidually, but I really enjoyed the set. It was repetative at times but even this I did not mind because it helped me to recall the various relationships that existed amongst the players.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars a great value for under 3 bucks…, November 12, 2012


JldBSee all my reviews

This review is from: Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set (Kindle Edition)

When I saw it was only $2.99 for six books in a boxed set on ‘Mobsters’, I was first skeptical that the quality would not be great. But, boy was I wrong! The entire book is well-written and quite informative. Highly recommended!



5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST FOR THE TRUE GRUE COLLECTOR, February 20, 2013


RJ Parker “Bestselling & Award-Winning Author” (Toronto) – See all my reviews

This review is from: Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set (Kindle Edition)

JOE BRUNO’S MOBSTERS – SIX VOLUME SET is a collection of three Mobster’s books and with just under 700 pages, a true history book of murder and mayhem. I love Mr. Bruno’s books. He is the go to guy when you want information on gangs and mobs. A must have for the true crime collector.


Joe Bruno on the Mob — Virginia Hill – Part Five

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, FBI, gangsters, labor unions, mafia, Mexico, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno's Mobsters - Six Volume Set

Joe Bruno's Mobsters – Six Volume Set

Buy from Amazon

After Siegel was whacked, Virginia Hill stood safely in Paris. When contacted by the local authorities about Siegel’s death, Hill, already involved  a torrid affair with wealthy 21-year-old heir Nicholas Fouilette, denied she was Siegel’s mistress.

“If anyone or anything was his mistress, it was that Las Vegas hotel,” Hill told French authorities. “I never knew Ben was involved in all that gang stuff. I can’t imagine who would shoot him, or why.”

Afraid she was targeted for death, Hill attempted suicide four times in the next two months; first in France, then in Monaco, in France again, and finally in Miami, Fl. How serious she was about killing herself is problematic, since she failed four times, and that’s hard to do if you’re serious about entering the afterlife.

After traveling extensively in South America, in the spring of 1948, Hill put down roots in Mexico City where he formed a sexual relationship with the famous Dr. Margaret “Mom” Chung. Chung, the first American born Chinese-American physician, gained notoriety in the 1930’s and 1940 for her patriotic work with the Allied Forces, particularly Americans. Chung adopted literally thousands of American orphans, whom she encouraged to go into the armed forces and fight against the Japanese invasion of China. Besides Hill, Dr. Chung also had affairs with the writer Elsa Gidlow, and American entertainer Sophie Tucker, who was called “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas.”

Hill’s fling with Chung was short-lived and she trekked back to Nevada. There she met ski instructor Hans Hauser, 38, the 1934 World Downhill Racing Champion, who had been previously arrested and jailed in 1942 for being a Nazi spy. Hauser taught skiing to a diverse set of celebrities; including Henry Ford and Ernest Hemmingway. Hill and Hauser were married on March 20, 1950, in Elko, NV and spent their honeymoon in Sun Valley. The United States Department of Immigration and Naturalization Service took immediate notice, since Hauser was not a United States citizen.

In June of 1950, Hill and Hauser moved to Bar Harbor, Maine, where she bore a son to Hauser, named Peter.

By November, the Hausers had enough of the North East and moved into a tony home in Spokane, Washington. That’s when the IRS started getting interested in the Hausers, since neither had the visible monetary means to live such a lavish lifestyle.

On March 16, 1951, Hill was summoned before the Kefauver Committee, which was investigating organized crime. At this time, the FBI, under J. Edgar Hoover, flatly rejected the notion of organized crime and Hoover said that the Mafia in America was a myth.

Before Hill was brought before the committee, the committee had held hearings in 14 states. The long list of people who were interrogated by the committee included Chicago’s Tony “Joe Batters” Accardo and Hill’s old pal Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzic, Frank Costello, Louis “Little New York” Campagna, West Coast mob boss Mickey Cohen, and Siegel’s lifelong pal – Meyer Lansky. The televised hearings made Hill, who was previously known only in mob circles, a nationwide celebrity. She stole the show with her snappy, salty, and sometimes vulgar answers.

Hill was interrogated by committee attorney Rudolph Halley and their back and forth verbal barbs had the people in court, and the millions watching on television, alternately astonished and amused. The interview went as such, with minor points paraphrased or eliminated. Also, Hill’s use of the English language wasn’t quite grammatically correct.


Halley: Do you think you would like to tell the committee the story of your life, so far as it involves contacts you may have had with known gangsters?

Hill: The men whom I was around gave me things, but they were not gangsters, or racketeers or whatever you call these other people. The only time I ever got anything out of them was going out and having fun, and maybe a few presents. For years I have been going down to Mexico. I went with a lot of fellows down there. And like a lot of girls, they gave me things and bought me everything I wanted. And when I was with Ben, he gave me everything.

Halley: By “Ben” you mean Ben Siegel.

Hill: Yes and he gave me some money too, and bought me a house in Florida. And he gave me money to gamble the horses. And when I won, I paid taxes on my winnings. I never owed any businesses, so whatever I have ever had in life, outside betting horses, was given to me.

Halley: Tell the committee, under oath, have these men who gave you money had any acquaintance with gangsters that you ever knew?

Hill: Never.

Halley: Are you positive?

Hill: I am positive. Outside of one man I met in Chicago, who I introduced to some people in Chicago. But none of that’s connected to me.

Halley: How long have you known Joe Fischetti?

Hill: About seven or eight years. (Editor’s note – Hill met Fischetti as far back as 1935)

Halley: And is he a good friend of yours?
Hill: Well, he’s a friend, but I don’t know how good.

Halley: Is he one of the people who has given you money?

Hill: (Defiantly) He has never given me any money!

Halley: When did you last see Joe Fischetti?

Hill: In Chicago before I went to Sun Valley (for her honeymoon).

Halley: At that time Fischetti went to Miami?

Hill: That’s right.

Halley: You called him quite frequently, did you not, while he was in Miami?

Hill: That’s right.

Halley: Did you have business with him?

Hill: I had no business with him. Just called cause I wanted to call.

Halley: We have the phone records that you called him almost every day; is that right?

Hill: If that’s what it says, that’s right.

Halley: While you were in Sun Valley (on your  honeymoon) we discovered you spent over $12,000; is that right?

Hill: Something like that.

Halley: And we discovered that only $1,500 of that money was paid by check. All the rest you paid in cash. In the six weeks you were in Sun Valley, you averaged spending over $2,000 a week. Is this your normal way of living?

Hill: Well, no. It isn’t.

Halley: In the past year you have traveled quite extensively. You’ve been to Maine and New England. You’ve also been to Sun Valley and the State of Washington.

Hill: Yes, that’s right.

Halley: And you’ve been to Reno, Nevada, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago.

Hill: Yes.

Halley: And where did you get the money to finance all this spending?

Hill: It was money I had saved before. I gave it to my accountant and when I needed the money he would send it to me.

Halley: Your accountant is Joe Epstein, isn’t he?

Hill: Yes.

Halley: And you always stay at the best hotels?

Hill: Well, I try.

Halley: How much of your saved money have you spent in the last year?

Hill: Maybe $30,000 to $40,000.

Halley: And this was money Joe Epstein sent you?

Hill: I told you it was my money. He was just holding for me and investing it for me.

Halley: You bought a house too: with cash. How much did you spend for that house?

Hill: I put $16,000 down.

Halley: In the past few years you have been earning some substantial amounts of money, and I note you have been earning them by wagering, is that right?

Hill: That’s right!


For the next several hours Halley badgered Hill about how much she earned from 1947 until 1950. Hill insisted she didn’t know the exact amounts she earning betting the horses. She insisted Joe Epstein took care of all her financials, after she forwarded her horse track winnings to him. Halley noted than in the years 1945 and 1947 she claimed exactly $16,000 as winnings betting on sporting events. Hill said Joe Epstein took care of her accounting and a Mr. Ross did her income tax returns. She said if that’s what they said she made those years, then that’s what she made.

Halley also pulled out of Hill the fact that the IRS has been asking her the same questions, and she told them the same answers. As for the proof of these winning, Hill claimed she never kept any records.

The more Halley questions asked, the bigger the hole Hill dug for herself. She admitted Bugsy Siegel gave her $49,000. However, when Halley asked her if she ever received any money from Joe Adonis, she firmly said no.

Then Halley turned his attention to Hill’s involvement with mobster Frank Costello, who had just testified before the Committee. Hill claimed she knew Costello though Joe Adonis, but she only met him in restaurant when she was with Adonis. And she insisted the only so-called mobster who gave her any money was Siegel.


Halley: Did you ever get any money from Costello?
Hill: No.

Halley: Did you ever get any money from Meyer Lansky?

Hil: No. I never got money from any of those fellows

Halley: No money from Fischetti?

Hill: I’ve only met him a couple of times. I don’t even speak to him, and I don’t like him.

Halley: I have a note from an IRS agent that you were, on occasion, asked to carry cash from Chicago to New York.

Hill: That is not true! And if they told you that, they told a lie. I never carried anything for anybody, and if anyone said that, it’s a big lie.

Halley then asked Hill about the circumstances that led her to fly to France just before Siegel was murdered. Hill said she was planning to go to France long before Siegel was killed. She also said that Siegel had tried to persuade her not to go to France because he knew she had a boyfriend in France.

“We got into a big fight,” Hill told Halley. “I was drinking and I left. And I went to Paris when I got mad.”

Halley asked Hill if she had heard anything rumors before she left for France that Siegel was going to be killed by his gangster friends.

“I never heard of anything of the kind, “Hill said.” All I know was that he was worried about the hotel. I told him I hated the place and why didn’t he leave it because it was making him a nervous wreck.”

Halley turned his attention to Hill’s fascination with Mexico.


Halley: While you were in Sun Valley, you made a number of trips to Mexico. Do you  have any particular business in Mexico?

Hill: Just fellows I know.

Halley: Do you spend a considerable amount of time there?

Hill: I’ve been going there for 12, 13 years – maybe 11. I don’t know.

Halley: You have friends there; is that right?

Hill: I have lots of friends there.

Halley: Have you ever known anybody who was in narcotics trafficking in Mexico?

Hill: Well, since it’s been in the papers, I didn’t know anyone in the narcotics traffic, but since I’ve been going to Mexico a lot of people have approached me and tried to give me those things. One fellow one time said he had lot of H. and C. – which I didn’t know what it was. When I told him I didn’t know what it was, he told me it was heroin and cocaine. I told him to get out of my house. He told me don’t I know people. I said they’d break my neck if I ever mentioned such a thing. I had people who used to come and say, “Don’t you want some?” I had an awful time getting rid of people down there that offered it to me.

Halley: Did someone once try to get you to help and sell it, and you refused.

Hill: Yes

Halley: And who was that?

Hill: It was an ex-brother–in-law of mine. Valadez-Gonzalez. I don’t know his first name.

Halley: But as far as you know, you never had anything to do with this narcotics traffic.

Hill: No. When he asked me I told him, “What gives you the idea I want any of that stuff?”  He said, “The papers.” I said, “Well, You better not read the papers.” I threatened to break their necks, if they ever come around with that stuff and even mention it.

Halley: Do you think you would be in a position to give the Narcotics Bureau any help in catching the people who came to you about selling drugs?

Hill: I don’t know how I could give them any help. All they (the Narcotics Bureau) have to do is go to Mexico. Everyone knows who uses it. It’s no secret down there.


Halley said he had no further questions but Chairman Kefauver certainly did. His voice was decidedly edgy, unlike Mr. Halley’s smooth delivery.


Kefauver: Virginia Hill, you didn’t tell us what kind of betting you did with all this money?

Hill: Horses. I used to get tips.


Kefauver pressed Hill on where she placed these bets and who she placed them with. Hill said sometimes she went to the track and sometimes she placed the bets with various bookies in several cities. Kefauver asked Hill, since gambling with bookies is illegal, how she was able to locate these bookies. Hill said bookies always seemed to be around. Kefauver was able to get Hill to admit that the horses she bet on, and always won with, were fixed races. However, Hill denied she bet on other sports like baseball, football and basketball. And furthermore, she had quit betting completely

When Kefauver asked why, Hill said, “I don’t want to win anymore. Then they will say I made more money than they did.”

Kefauver went back to the time in Las Vegas right after Siegel was murdered and Moe Sedway, amongst other, took over the operation of the Flamingo. Hill denied that she knew Sedway well, even though she had consorted with him in various illegal enterprises since the 1934 World’s Fair. She said that she had “seen Sedway around,” but she had no idea why Sedway took over the Flamingo after Siegel’s death.

For the rest of her time on the stand, various members of the Kefauver committee asked Hill, if she knew several mobsters, including Lucky Luciano. Hill denied knowing Luciano, and if she admitted she knew certain mobsters, she claimed she had met them through Siegel and had only been in their company once or twice.

In a corridor outside the courtroom, Kefauver marveled at the fact Hill was able to extract so much money from so many bigtime mobsters.

Although there is no official record of this conversation, Kefauver allegedly asked Hill, “How did you possibly get all these men to give you so much money for so long a period of time?”

Hill answered, “Because nobody gives better blow jobs than I do; that’s why.”

Joe Bruno on the Mob – Virginia Hill – Part Four

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, Gangs, gangsters, labor unions, mafia, Mexico, mobs, Mobsters, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno's Mobsters - Six Volume Set

Joe Bruno's Mobsters – Six Volume Set

Buy from Amazon

On June 10, 1947, Hill was summoned by the mob to fly to Chicago. They didn’t tell her the reason, but Hill, being a seasoned mob moll, figured it must have something to do with Bugsy Siegel. Once in Chicago, Hill was ordered to fly straight to France. If Siegel asked any questions, she was to tell him she was going to France to buy expensive wine for the Flamingo, which she had done in the past.

In France, Hill phoned Siegel about her “plans.” It’s not clear if Siegel bought her explanation or not, but he pleaded with Hill to come back to California and stay with him at her home in Beverly Hills. Hill refused, knowing if she was right about Siegel’s eminent demise, she might get caught in the crossfire. Hill was too experienced a mob associate to risk her life for a man who maybe she loved and maybe she didn’t love. Besides, with Siegel gone, Hill figured she’d get more opportunities to make money with the mob. What Hill didn’t know was that the mob didn’t trust her either, but that they figured Hill could be useful to them in the future, even if only for bedtime escapades with the top mobsters she had previously sexually serviced.

On the night of June 20, 1947, a sharpshooter named Frank Carranzo held an army carbine and waited patiently outside the back window of 810 N. Linden Drive in Beverly Hills, a house rented by Hill that once belonged to silent movie star Rudolph Valentino. Carranzo had been laying down on his stomach military style for hours waiting for his prey.

In the upstairs bedrooms of the house was Hill’s brother Chick, bedding down Hill’s secretary Jeri Mason. Also upstairs was a West Coast gangster named Allen Smiley.

Around 10:30 pm, Siegel, wearing a brown pinstriped three-piece suit, turned the key in the lock of the front door. He slipped into the house and sauntered into the living room. Siegel switched on the living room lights and slouched comfortably on the couch; his left profile facing the sniper’s window. He picked up a copy of the local newspaper, and before he could turn a single page, Carranzo fired four .30-06 caliber bullets into Siegel’s body. The first bullet hit Siegel in the left side of the face. The second bullet shattered Siegel’s nose, and the other two bullets broke his ribs and tore apart his lungs. The gangster died instantly.

 At exactly 11:00 A.M., Jack Dragna got a call from Carranzo, who said, “The insect was killed.” Without saying another word, Carranzo hung up the phone.

The Los Angeles’ Coroner’s Report (#37448) stated the cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage. His death certificate (Registrar’s #816192) stated the cause of death was “homicide- gunshot wounds to the head.”

Even though Siegel’s death made the front page of all the newspapers, the police hardly cared a famous gangster was hit in their jurisdiction

One hardened flatfoot told the nationwide press, “When you stick your finger into a buzz saw you can hardly tell which tooth of the saw hit it. This rat, Siegel, didn’t have a friend in the world outside of a couple of movie stars. He double crossed everybody in the narcotics rackets, not to mention bookmaking and slot machines.

“Who killed him? Well, you might say he killed himself – by degrees. The process started

in New York when he got to be a big shot in a West Side mob. He had a gang that would

break the arm of a man they had never seen for as little as $10; kill a stranger for $50.

“Siegel was the boss, but he wasn’t content to give orders and collect the fee. He had to see the victim suffer, sometimes die. He liked to do the job himself. That’s how he got the name of ‘Bugsy.’ Other mobsters said he was crazy to take such chances, but Siegel seemed to delight in hurting people—as long as he couldn’t get hurt in the process.

“He had a hand in the vice racket and, as a lad, he stole from blind men’s cups. Any one of a thousand persons had a reason for killing him and would have if they could. But if you really want some information, talk to Virginia Hill.”

Yet, certain people saw a softer and kinder side of the man known as “Bugsy.”

Lou Wiener Jr., Siegel’s Las Vegas attorney, told the press, “When Siegel got killed you wouldn’t believe how many employees of the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund broke down in tears  (Siegel gave liberally to this fund- with stolen money, of course). He was very generous with the help and very well-liked. He was good to people. He was good to me and my wife.”

Siegel was so well-liked, only five blood relatives attended his  funeral. All his mob associates, some of whom had ordered his death, gave Siegel the ultimate insult – they ignored his death.      

Within minutes of Siegel’s demise, the mob took over the Flamingo’s operation. Moe Sedway, Gus Greenbaum, and a  mob associate named Morris Rosen, stormed into the Flamingo and announced to everyone that they were the new bosses. Rosen assembled a group of investors, including Sedway, Greenbaum, and Meyer Lansky, to raise $3.9 million to buy the property from Siegel’s Nevada Projects Corporation.        

The resort was renamed “The Fabulous Flamingo” and the hotel’s gaming license was

issued to Sanford Adler, who served as operator and “front man” for the mobsters/investors until 1948, when Greenbaum took over the show. With Greenbaum in charge and Siegel not there to skim the profits,  and the Fabulous Flamingo showed a profit of $4 million in Greenbaum’s first year as boss.

To add insult to injury, when it was renovated in 1993, the Fabulous Flamingo’s leadership, now the Hilton Corporation, tore down Siegel’s private suite near the pool. In 1997, the Flamingo celebrated its 50th anniversary and not a word was mentioned about Siegel. It was as if Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had never existed.

A spokesman for the hotel explained to the press, “The ‘Bugsy’ image was not something that was particularly endearing to the Flamingo or Hilton. This was not George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. We’re talking about a robber, rapist, and murderer. Those are not endearing qualities.”

Joe Bruno on the Mob – Virginia Hill – Part Three

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, Gangs, gangsters, labor unions, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, organized crime, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno's Mobsters - Six Volume Set

Joe Bruno's Mobsters – Six Volume Set

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The next few years were ostensibly hunky dory for both Siegel and Hill. True to form, both cheated on each other, but Siegel had no idea that Hill, although he may have been sexually attractive to Hill, was mainly married to the mob; in Los Angeles, Chicago and in New York City. Siegel was just her nighttime job.

By mid-1940, Siegel had his hooks into the Hollywood crowd, and he had bigtime stars eating out of his murderous hands. 

After he took care of the his mob crony’s gambling interests, Siegel decided to play a little game based on the union extortion rackets Lepke, along with his partner Jacob “Gurrah Shapiro, had perfected on the East Coast. After figuring out the inner workings of Hollywood, Siegel decided that the movie business could go out of business if he organized an “Extras Union.” Every movie needed extras to fill in the background scenery, and big epic movies, like “Gone With the Wind,” needed hundreds and sometimes thousands of extras in battleground scenes. A movie could have the biggest movie stars, the best scripts, and the finest producers and directors, but without extras, most movies could never get made.

Siegel unionized the Hollywood extras, and he collected tidy sums from each extra for the privilege of appearing, if only for a few seconds in a Hollywood production. Siegel even became a movie extra himself.

If the producers didn’t pay the extras more money, with better working hours and conditions he demanded, Siegel would order the extras to picket the Hollywood sets, and big stars like Clark Gable and Gary Cooper would have nothing better to do but to sit on their hands.

However, that only scratched the surface of what Siegel had in mind for Hollywood and its biggest stars.

            With his good looks and New York City street smarts, Siegel, with the help of George Raft (who was half-a-mobster himself), bulldozed himself into the upper reaches of Hollywood’s elite. The top actors and actresses of that time were Siegel’s best friends (or so they thought), but they learned fast  being pals with a man called Bugsy (no one ever called him “Bugsy” to his face) was an easy way to go broke.

            Using the same technique Lepke had employed with the East Coast labor unions, Siegel approached famous stars of both sexes. First, he employed the velvet glove approach and if that didn’t work he used the iron fist. Siegel made it clear to the thespians that he was a very dangerous man and that he needed “donations”  for his “Extras Union.” Siegel told the stars if they didn’t contribute tidy sums, averaging $10,000 a pop, his extras would picket that particular star’s movie, which would result in production being stopped, or even terminated.

Some actor’s complained, but then Siegel would show them his New York City “I’d like to rip out your eyes” glare, and every one of the stars he put the bull on coughed up the cash Siegel had requested. After all, these big stars were flush with dough, and they would hardly notice a few thousand bucks missing from their bank accounts.

However, someone in Hollywood dropped a dime on Siegel (at that time it was probably a nickel), and in 1940 the Feds got a warrant to search Siegel’s thirty-five room Holmby Hill’s mansion. In a safe in an upstairs room, the Feds found a ledger which minutely detailed the shakedown money Siegel had extorted from the top stars in Hollywood.

When the Fed’s fingers stopped on their tabulating machine, they discovered Siegel had, in the previous 12 months alone, extorted over $400,000 from his pals in Hollywood. What amazed the Feds, is that when they approached these stars about the shakedowns, they were so afraid of Siegel, they denied anything untoward had happened. The stars explained their names in Siegel’s ledger by saying they had willingly given Siegel loans. They also said they considered  Siegel a man of his word, and were certain Siegel would pay back their money in a reasonable amount of time.

Siegel walked on the charges, and the same fools who Siegel had scammed continued to remain friends with Siegel.

Go figure.

Soon, Hill returned to Siegel with fresh orders from the mob to keep her eyes on Siegel. It seemed that Siegel has not sent one single dime to either New York or Chicago concerning his Hollywood extortion schemes.

For the next several years Siegel and Hill were constantly in the adoring press’s newspapers, magazines and movie reels. This occurred mostly when they appeared on the sets of the movies of famous movie stars like Raft and Cooper, but also their escapades were noted in several tony nightclubs. Siegel’s face kept popping up as an extra in movies, but Hill was upset when her screen test for Ball of Fire went nowhere.

Still, Hill was rolling in cash, either from the largesse of Siegel, or from the out-of-town mob bosses, who gave her plenty of cash for her drug dealings in Mexico; for  carrying money from one mobster to another, and for occasional excursions on her back for top mob guys like Joe Adonis. The news spread that Hill was so ostentatious about spending money, in order to purchase an $11,000 house for her family, she paid the tab by pulling out a wad of hundred dollar bills from her purse.

In 1944, Siegel and Hill parted ways for a time. Hill went back to New York at the order of Joe Adonis, and Siegel split to Las Vegas to build up the gambling city he had sold to his fellow mobsters as good as gold.

While Siegel was busy in Vegas, Hill trekked back to California. She soon has a torrid love affair with Carl Laemmle Jr., the son of the Universal Studios movie pioneer. Carl Jr. was whacky about Hill, but Hill treated him shabbily and broke off their love connection. Hearing about Hill’s problems with Carl Laemmle Jr., Siegel begged Hill to join him in Vegas. However, Hill, playing coy at the insistence of the mob, turned Siegel down and stood  in Los Angeles.

In 1945, the mob and their money were parted when they agreed to fund Siegel’s Las Vegas hotel/gambling project. The mob sent Hill to Las Vegas to keep an eye on Siegel, and Hill was present when Siegel, and his partner Moe Sedway, together with mob associates and friends, formed the Nevada Projects Corporation to build Ben Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel (so-called after his nickname for Hill). Among Siegel’s partners were old-chum Meyer Lansky and Billy Wilkerson, the owner of The Hollywood Reporter.

To keep records of Siegel’s over-spending, Hill kept proof of the costs of the building operations in her diary.

The first thing Siegel did was to circumvent the postwar shortages of building materials by buying exclusively from the black market. This saved Siegel and his partner tens of thousands of dollars, and since they were larcenists at heart, it allowed them the fabulous sensation of “getting over”; a feeling that is as crucial to members of the mob as the act of stealing itself.

The reason the mob had taken in Billy Wilkerson as a partner was because he was an established businessman, who knew how to get things done without breaking the bank. At first, Siegel welcomed Wilkerson’s tutelage. Siegel cast away his true image of a gangster and he became a willing pupil of Wilkerson and his businesslike ways.

However, as the months passed, Siegel grew resentful of Wilkerson. The reason for Siegel’s about-face was the workers on the project considered Wilkerson Siegel’s boss, and nobody in their right mind bossed Bugsy Siegel around. Siegel’s resentment grew into paranoia and he soon became jealous of Wilkerson’s superior talent for getting the project done. Soon, this paranoia turned into to seething jealousy.

Ignoring his bosses in Chicago and in New York, Siegel began making crucial business decisions previously made by Wilkerson. Siegel informed the crews working on various stages of the project that he was now the big boss; he called the shots and he insisted that Wilkerson’s directions should be ignored. To keep the project moving forward, Wilkerson decided to bite the bullet and he acceded to Siegel’s demands. However, Wilkerson informed his partners up north of the latest developments and the mobsters were not too happy. They had sunk millions into the Las Vegas operation and they didn’t need Siegel inserting his ego ahead of the common good.

His chest puffed from his ousting of Wilkerson, Siegel decided to have the architects draw up a new set of blueprints for the project; blueprints that led to a vast increase in costs. However, Siegel didn’t care; it wasn’t his money he was wasting. Due to Siegel’s insistence that the Flamingo should have the best of everything, the gross building figures rose from two million dollars to over six million. This caused Siegel’s partners up north to become even more pissed than before.

Hill, still feverishly writing Siegel’s misguided actions into her dairy, told her bosses that Siegel was skimming a little off the top of the construction costs; cash that headed straight into Siegel’s pockets. Hill was especially peeved because the money Siegel was pocketing (reportedly over $2 million) was not spent on her, but on Siegel’s other lady-friends, and by this time they had grown exponentially.

There were rumors spread throughout the underworld that Hill was actually in on Siegel’s thievery (some said she was stashing Siegel’s stolen loot in Swiss numbered bank accounts). However, those rumors proved to be unfounded. Hill knew which side her bread was buttered on, and she also knew if Siegel was whacked, she still had her old friends in the mob to fall back on. The truth is – Hill knew these mobsters longer than she knew Siegel and they always, unlike Siegel, treated her right.

In May of 1946, Siegel ego grew more tempestuously than before. Siegel demanded that the agreement between himself, Wilkerson, and his pals up north had to be altered; giving Siegel full control of the project. Siegel told his partners that Siegel’s reputation alone would bring in the high rollers from nearby California. Siegel’s reasoning was that by providing the best food and liquor, and using the best entrainment available, gamblers and vacationers would flock to the Flamingo in droves.

Siegel had his lawyers draw up a brand new contract and he formed the Nevada Project Corporation of California, which listed Siegel as the president and top stockholder. His mob pals up north were listed in the corporation paper as mere shareholders. As for Wilkerson, Siegel offered to buy him out, but then changed his mind and he told Wilkerson that if he didn’t disappear, Siegel would do something to make him disappear. Wilkerson, fearing for his life, escaped to France and was never heard from again in relation to the Flamingo project.

With Wilkerson gone, Siegel flew completely out of control. He commanded that each bathroom of the 93 room hotel would have its own sewer system. This cost an additional $1,150,000. Additional toilets which were not needed were ordered – costing another fifty grand. And because of the drastic change in the plumbing, the boiler room had to be enlarged; cost- another $113,000. Siegel also wanted a larger kitchen which cost $29,000

Then Siegel started playing the crooked angles he had perfected up north.  Siegel hired crooked contractors who stiffed their subcontractors and threw a nice percentage of the savings right into Siegel’s coffers. Suddenly, the black market building materials started disappearing from the site. After the materials were delivered in the daylight hours, Siegel’s  hired goons stole them at night, then selled them back to Siegel at a reduced price. The losses went on the ledger as the “cost of doing business,” but Siegel still had the materials to continue building.

While Siegel staged his shenanigans, Hill was writing down the facts in her little black book.

By November of 1947, the Chicago and New York mobsters had seen enough. They sent word to Siegel that is he didn’t offer up a balance sheet detailing expenses; they would cut off all future funding. Siegel told them to go spit in their hat, and he decided, through intimidation of the Hollywood elite and by selling nonexistent stocks, he could raise enough money to complete the project himself. With the Flamingo now a reality, Siegel figured the money would be flowing in instead of flowing out, which would shut up his mob pals, at least for a little while.

However, Bugsy Siegel didn’t factor in his biggest problem: Bugsy Siegel.

With money he raised, legally and illegally Siegel went all-in on the construction of the Flamingo. He doubled his work force, figuring that would cut the remaining construction time in half. However, the increased work-force tactic was undermined by Siegel paying double-time overtime to the workers. So, instead of the workers working faster, they slowed down a bit so that they could qualify for the double-time perks. Even Bugsy Siegel couldn’t crack the whip fast enough to make his workers work more quickly. Besides, Siegel was so obsessed with his women and maintaining a high profile, he was hardly ever on site to notice the phenomenon of twice as many workers doing the job essentially as fast as half the workers had done in the past.

To make matters worse, Siegel’s well-earned reputation for violence scared away potential contractors; ones he needed desperately to complete the project at a faster rate.

One day, while inspecting the building’s progress and not too happy about what he had discovered, Siegel raised his voice and bragged about how many men he had personally evaporated. One of the men present was his top contractor – Del Webb. When Siegel noticed that Webb had blanched as his remarks, Siegel forced a smile, threw an arm around Webb’s shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Del. We only kill each other.

Desperate to get the cash flowing in the opposite direction, Siegel decided to open the Flamingo three months earlier than projected, even though the hotel/casino was not entirely ready to run and would not show well to the customers who were expected to spend tons of cash at the Flamingo.

The Flamingo was scheduled to open in March of 1947, but Siegel unilaterally moved the Grand Opening to December 26, 1946, the day after Christmas. By this time, the casino, lounge, theater, and restaurant was finished, but the lobby was decorated with drop cloths and the air was filled with the sound of the jackhammers, which did not please the  few customers who decided to show.

Through his animal magnetism, and by issuing more than a few threats, Siegel was able, despite the frightful weather, to entice a few celebrities to drive over the desert to the Flamingo for opening night. Xavier Cugat, Jimmy Durante and Rose Marie were the star performers. The indispensable lout George Raft showed up, as did actress Vivian Blaine. Also on hand were actors Charles Coburn, George Jessel, Lon McAllister, George Sanders, Sonny Tufts and Brian Donlevy. The local gamblers also put in an appearance, but although the gaming tables were operating just fine, the luxury rooms, which would have served as the enticement for customers to stay for several days and gamble longer, were not even close to being ready. In addition, the air conditioning system went off and on all night, causing more gamblers to flee the premises.

Throughout the night, the pit bosses reported the losses to Siegel and this made Siegel more irate than usual. Things reached a climax when Siegel, for no discernible reason except that he was Siegel, verbally abused a family of paying customers and personally threw them out into the street.

While Siegel was busy throwing fits, Hill was on the phone to Chicago and New York, informing them of the nasty turn of events. After two weeks of disastrous results, the Flamingo was $275,000 in the red, and Siegel, with a little prompting from his partners up north, temporarily closed the Flamingo in late January.

Siegel, now hat in hand, made a trip to New York, begging for additional financing so that when the Flamingo reopened, all the kinks that had shown up in the dreadful few weeks the Flamingo had been open would now be ironed out.

Two weeks after the first opening of the Flamingo, Virginia Hill moved away from Siegel’s lair in Las Vegas and hightailed it back to California, where she moved into a home at 810 North Linden Drive in Beverly Hills with her brother, Chick. At this point, Hill knew Siegel was a loser in Vegas, and she didn’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in case the mob decided to whack Siegel.

Siegel, not as defiant as before, slinked back to New York City to meet with his oldest and dearest friend – Meyer Lansky. Siegel told Lansky their dreams of a money-making operation would be a reality if only he could squeeze some more coins from his mob friends. Lansky told Siegel he’d consult with the other bosses, and soon Siegel was in receipt of what was reportedly one million extra dollars to get the Flamingo up and running, and more importantly – profitable.

Siegel, elated at a second chance, started doing things right. The renovations were completely quickly, and to assure big crowds at the second Grand Opening, Siegel hired publicist Hank Greenspun, which was quite bright of Siegel since Greenspun was also the publisher of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.

The second Grand Opening of the Flamingo occurred on March 1, 1947, and it was a smashing success. Profits were flowing in, and the boys up north figured it was time for Siegel to start paying them back what he owned them. Even though the Flamingo had showed a $300,000 profit by May 1, Siegel stalled; saying he needed the profits for more improvements. However, Siegel promised he would start sending cash up north in a just few short months.

This did not please his mobster partners. As a result, in May of 1947, Jack Dragna, Johnny Roselli, Joe Adonis, and Meyer Lansky met with Siegel at the home of a prominent Beverly Hills attorney. The ostensible reason for the meeting was to talk about the repayment of debt, and also the possible expansion of the Flamingo that Siegel was talking about. But in truth, the other mobsters were weighing whether Siegel would be more valuable to them dead or alive.

Joe Bruno on the Mob – Virginia Hill – Part 2

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, Drug dealers, Drugs, Gangs, gangsters, Italian Americans, labor unions, mafia, Mexico, mobs, Mobsters, murder, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno's Mobsters - Six Volume Set

Joe Bruno's Mobsters – Six Volume Set

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In July 1938, the Chicago Outfit sent Hill, along with her brother Chick, to Mexico to make drug connections for future dealings. No drugs were obtained, but Hill reported to her superiors that her contacts were secure and were waiting for the word, and for the money, to complete the drug transactions that would make her bosses very rich.

While waiting for the word from up top about the Mexican caper, Hill and her brother rented an apartment in the Garden of Allah on Havenhurst Street. Hill passed the time drinking and dancing at the local hotspots, including the Trocadero, the Mocambo, and the Brown Derby. During her regular jaunts, Hill met Hollywood heartthrob Errol Flynn, who was known to hit from both sides of the plate. Flynn liked what he saw in Hill, and soon they were an item – albeit for a very short time (the oft-used phrase “In Like Flynn” – was coined for Flynn’s sexual escapades).

One night, the odd couple got so soused in the Brown Derby, Hill and Flynn wound up in a drunken brawl with another couple, which Hill allegedly started by socking a young lady who looked at Hill, as far as Hill was concerned, not a in proper way.

In late 1938, after she got the word from her bosses in the Chicago Outfit, Hill traveled back to Mexico to complete her drug transactions. Hill was not only a good-looker out for a good time, but the Outfit discovered she was a good earner to boot. And mob bosses love nothing better than having someone in their employ sending substantial amounts of cash up the ladder and into their deep pockets.

Now flush with dough, Hill decided to do a little man-hunting in Brownsville, TX. In December of 1938, Hill hit a few local dives and soon she was seen by Federal agents in the company of Carlos “Miguelito” Valdez. Hill and Valdez went at it hot and heavy for a while, but when Hill found out Valdez was basically broke and looking for a woman to support him, she dropped him like a bad habit.

Hill exited Texas and made her way to Alabama. There she met (in a bar of course) Osgood Griffin, a 19-year-old football player at the University of Alabama. Griffin’s family was one of the richest in the state of Alabama and Hill saw dollar signs flittering in front of her face.

On the night they met, Hill seduced Griffin in her car. The young man was so enamored with Hill’s sexual capabilities, he proposed to her that very night. They soon married on January 13, 1939; one-way liaison where Hill could get her hands on some cold hard cash without having to do the mob’s dangerous work.

With the wedding ring still on her finger and the marriage license locked in a safe place, Hill left Griffin flat in days and traipsed back to Hollywood. There she hooked up with playboy Pasquale “Pat” Deciccio, whose ex-wife, actress Thelma Todd, had died in 1935 under suspicious circumstances.

Todd was the Depression Era “Queen of Comedy” and was known to her friends as “The Ice Cream Blond,” and “Hot Toddy.” However, Todd was a hopeless junkie and New York gangster, Lucky Luciano, a close associate of Bugsy Siegel’s, kept Todd constantly high on amphetamines in order to keep her under his control; or so he thought. By this time, Todd was divorced from Deciccio, but since Deciccio was pals with Luciano, the divorced couple spent considerable time together, at Luciano’s request, of course

Todd was the owner of “Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café” at 17575 Pacific Coast Highway, in Pacific Palisades, between Santa Monica and Malibu. Luciano’s plan was to convert the top floor of Todd’s joint into an illegal gambling palace. One night at the Brown Derby, with Deciccio present, Luciano laid out his plans to Todd.

The “Blond Bombshell” jumped to her feet and yelled, “Over my dead body!”

Luciano smiled, puffed on a cigarette, and said, “That can be arranged.”

Less than a week later, Todd was found dead in her car in the garage of her café. The official report was that she apparently fell asleep in her car and died from carbon monoxide poisoning which was spewing from the tailpipe of her Lincoln Phaeton convertible; top up, of course. There were unconfirmed rumors that she was last seen drunk in the company of Deciccio.

Deciccio and Hill had their short fling, and Deciccio was nice enough to introduce Hill to star actor George Raf,t who was known for his gangster parts and his gangster friends from his old neighborhood in New York City – Hell’s Kitchen. Through Raft, Hill reunited with Siegel and they stared going at it hot and heavy.

For pocket money, Hill rushed through a divorce from Griffin, and Siegel, a true homicidal manic and movie-star handsome, considered Hill his personal property. He called Hill his “Flamingo” (a slightly better nickname than “Tabby”), and even though they were not living together, Siegel and Hill were the talk of the town.

Unfortunately, neither one had the slightest intention of being faithful to the other.

In the fall of 1939, Hill took a leave of absence from Siegel to do a little drug work in Mexico for the Chicago Outfit. Siegel understood Hill was an important clog in the Outfit’s machinery, and besides, he had a few dolls on the side whom he wasn’t giving the attention they required. The ladies Siegel bedded while Hill was on the move included Wendy Barry, Marie McDonald, and Italian Countess Dorothy diFrasso.  Even though Siegel was busy keeping his broads happy, just to keep himself from getting rusty, he lusted to do a little killing for his pals on the East Coast.

Siegel got his wish, when in late 1939, on orders from New York City Jewish mob boss Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Siegel was ordered to arrange the demise of Harry “Big Greenie” Greenberg, an old crony who was singing like a canary to the Feds. A mob rat told Lepke that Greenberg was hiding near Los Angeles, and since Siegel was in the area, Lepke figured Siegel was the perfect man to arrange the job.

Lepke ordered Siegel to put together a team of experts; two men for the actual shooting; one man to steal a car for the hit, and another to drive the “crash car” after Greenberg was toast (The crash car was always a legitimate registered car, so the driver could claim, after a crash either with a police car in pursuit of the killers, or a civic-minded civilian’s car in on the chase, that he had just lost control of his car).

Siegel summoned Frankie Carbo and Allie “Tick Tock” Tannenbaum from New York City to be the shooters. Whitey Krakow, Siegel’s bother-in-law from New York City, was ordered to steal a car for Carbo and Tannenbaum to drive to and from the scene of the murder. As for the crash car, Siegel decided to use his own Cadillac and do the driving himself. This was against the advice of Lepke, but no one could tell Siegel what to do when he made up his mind.

“We all begged Bugsy to keep out of the shooting,” Lepke’s pal Doc Stracher said years later. “He was too big a man by this time to become personally involved. But Bugsy wouldn’t listen. He said Greenberg was a menace to all of us and if the cops grabbed him he could tell the whole story of our outfit back to the 1920s.”

Surveillance on Greenberg’s residence revealed that Greenberg was little more than a recluse. He never left his residence at 1804 N. Vista De Mar Drive in the outskirts of Bel Air, except for his nightly 15-minute drive, each way, to get a newspaper in town. Greenberg told his wife that his little nightly excursion “kept him from blowing his top.”

On Nov. 22, 1939, Thanksgiving Eve, just after dark, Tannenbaum picked up the car Krakow had stolen from a parking lot near Siegel’s office in downtown Los Angeles. Then Tannenbaum drove Siegel and Carbo to Siegel’s home to pick up Siegel’s Cadillac. The two cars, with Carbo in Siegel’s car, drove to a spot a several houses down from the Greenberg residence They watched, as a few hours later Greenberg emerged from his house, looked carefully both ways (missing the two parked cars down the block), got into his car and sped away. Carbo then emerged from Siegel’s car, slithered down the block, and hid in the bushes near Greenberg’s house.

            Like clockwork, just over 30 minutes later, Greenberg turned the corner of Yucca Street and headed toward 1804 N. Vista De Mar Drive. Greenberg’s car passed the two parked cars, but both Tannenbaum and Siegel had slid down in their seats so they could not be seen. A spit second later, Tannenbaum flashed his headlights, just for an instant, alerting Carbo, who was waiting in the wings ready to exit stage right into a murder scene. While Greenberg tried to get out of his car, Carbo sped from the shadows and pumped five bullets into Greenberg’s head.

Carbo raced back to the stolen car and jumped in next to Tannenbaum. Tannenbaum sped away; with Siegel in his “crash” Cadillac following close behind. The two cars rushed to a preordained spot where they met with another co-conspirator waiting in a third car. The third chap turned out to be Champ Segal, a small-time criminal who was always willing to help the big boys with whatever. Segal drove Tannenbaum and Carbo to San Francisco where Tannenbaum hopped on a plane back East.

            While Siegel was busy with the Greenberg caper and his many lady friends, Hill and her brother Chick made frequent trips between Chicago, Los Angeles and Mexico; shuttling drugs and money back and forth between the three cities. While in Mexico, Hill became friendly with Chato Juarez, the son of the Mexican minister of finance, and Major Luis Amezcua, a noteworthy Mexican politician, who help greased the skids for Hill to safely make her drug ventures in and out of Mexico.

During this same period of time, even though she was still ostensibly Siegel’s girl, Hill bedded down John Roselli, whom the Chicago outfit had sent out west to work under West Coast mob boss Jack Dragna. It was through Roselli that Hill was to relay information about Siegel’s activities in California to Chicago, who in turn relayed this information to Siegel’s partners in New York City. The truth was, neither the Chicago mob, nor the New York mob trusted Siegel, and Hill was their conduit to make sure Siegel was not cutting out his partners, in both cities, of what was rightfully theirs.

On Jan. 20, 1940, Hill married Juarez. Love was the not reason, but rather this marriage allowed Juarez to enter the United States  legally, so that Juarez could consolidate his and Hill’s drug alliances.

While still married to Juarez, Hill played heavy beats with drummer Gene Krupa for a short while, and then hooked back up with Roselli. Jack Dragna, through Roselli, ordered Hill to be the Trojan horse in Bugsy Siegel’s camp. Hill whispered the right things into Siegel’s ears, and soon she and her brother Chick moved into a house with Siegel at 250 Delfern Ave.

Joe Bruno on the Mob – Virginia Hill – Part One

Posted in biography, criminals, crooks, FBI, gangsters, Internal Revenue Service, labor unions, mafia, Mexico, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Virginia Hill was a rough and tumble broad, and people said she was devastated when her mobster/boyfriend – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel – was shot to death at Hill’s swank Beverly Hills home. However, that was a fantasy perpetrated by the gullible press. Hill could have cared less about Siegel; she only cared about where her next buck was coming from, and with Siegel dead, it certainly wasn’t coming from him.

Hill, an aspiring actress (but not good enough to earn a living doing so in nearby Hollywood), was not only indifferent to Siegel’s demise, but, in fact, she knew about the hit in advance and thought she was next on the mob’s list of people to die.

After Hill was tipped off by a mob pal that Siegel was being fit for a casket, she hightailed it to France, just days before “Bugsy,” sitting comfortably on Hill’s couch reading the newspaper, was blasted in the face with four .30 caliber bullets, shot from a rifle through an open window. When the police arrived at Hill’s digs, Siegel was quite dead; his right eye lying on the floor 15 feet from his blood-stained body.

Hill, one of ten children, was born on August 26, 1916 in Bessemer, Ala. Her father, Mack Hill, was a horse trader and he told the press that Hill was not given much attention by her siblings, so she made plenty of friends of both sexes; friendships she bought with cold hard cash not honorably earned.

George Hill said, “I remember one year I bought Tabby (we called Virginia ‘Tabby’ after a cat in the comic section) four different sets of books while she stayed in the same grade. It seemed that she would sell the books and spend the money for presents for her little friends. She had a lot of them around her all the time.”

When Hill was already famous for running around with a string of mobsters, George Hill told a newspaper reporter, “One time Tabby charged several alarm clocks to my account and then gave them away to the playmates who looked up to her, just as her frequent guests of

‘The Nightclub World’ were to do later for Tabby’s generosity.”

In the early 1930’s, when Virginia was 14-years-old, Hill’s mother and father separated. Hill moved to Marietta, Ga. with her mother, grandmother – Mrs. J. P. Reid-  and two brothers. By this time, Hill’s body had filed out considerably. She was already 5-feet-two-inches tall, with long legs, dark hair and an olive complexion.

Despite the objections of her mother and grandmother, Hill rode horses bareback and barelegged, and she also swam in the nude in public lakes and streams. This caught the attention of several young men, and soon Hill became sexually active. 21-year-old George Rodgers became enamored with Hill, and in 1933, the two married. The newlyweds left Marietta for the big city of Chicago, where Hill hopped to gain fame and fortune as a dancer.

Unfortunately for Rodgers, he was not included in Hill’s plans.

In Chicago, Hill, after dying her brown hair bright red, dumped Rodgers and got a job as a waitress at the San Carlo Italian Village, a mob-run exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Hill was paid only $20 a week by the mob, so to supplement her income, Hill worked as a prostitute; and she didn’t work cheap. While toiling mostly on her back, Hill became pals with several Chicago mobsters, including Joey Epstein, who was Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik’s chief accountant. Guzik was the money man for the Chicago Outfit, and Epstein helped Guzik launder the Outfit’s illegal cash and he invested it in legal businesses like the San Carlo Italian Village.

By 1934, it was accepted around town that Hill was Joey Epstein’s gal. However, those in the know knew that was a canard, since Epstein was a quiet but confirmed homosexual. Epstein was basically a “beard” for Hill, and he liberally passed Hill around to his mobster pals.

Soon, Hill became so well-known and desired by mobsters; she blatantly performed fellatio on several top Chicago Outfit mobsters at a 1936 Christmas Party thrown by Charlie Fischetti and his wife. Fischetti, Al Capone’s cousin, was an influential Chicago mobster, who was known for fixing elections, in addition to getting friendly judges appointed to the bench.

Fischetti, in fact, owned Hill, and in 1937, he ordered Hill to move to New York City to get her clutches into New York mobster, Joe “Adonis” Doto, whom the Chicago mob thought was keeping substantial amounts of cash that should have been sent to Chicago instead.

While romancing Adonis (Nobody called him by his real name Doto), Hill met degenerate killer Bugsy Siegel in a Brooklyn bar. Siegel had been big in the Big Apple during Prohibition, when he and his long-time partner Meyer Lansky joined up with the Italian mob led by Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello. This alliance made all four men very rich, but Siegel was loose cannon, who enjoyed killing as much as he enjoyed counting money.

On the night they met, Siegel took Hill to a fancy hotel and they spend the night banging the bed sheets.  Hill later says that night was the best sex she ever had.

Soon, Siegel was dispatched to California by his New York partners where he was to supervise and consolidate the gambling, racetrack, and bookmaking rackets in the sunny state. However, mob leaks said Siegel was sent packing because his gratuitous violence was getting in the way of the mob earning money.

Hill’s affair with Adonis lasted two tumultuous years, and in May of 1938, when Hill had garnered all the information on Adonis that Fischetti needed (she could find no evidence Adonis was skimming cash), Hill became a courier for the mob, delivering cash to mobsters all over the country. Hill even traveled as far as Switzerland with bags of cash to deposit in numbered, untraceable mob bank accounts.

Bea Sedway, the wife of mobster Moe Sedway, who was New York mob-mastermind Meyer Lansky’s top lieutenant and a pal of Siegel since they were kids, said of Hill, “She was smart and she knew how to keep her mouth shut.”


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