- Atlantic City Conference
The Atlantic City Conference of 1929 is considered by most crime historians as the earliest organized crime summit held in the United States and held a major impact on the future direction of the underworld, it held more importance and significance than the Havana Conference of 1946 and the Appalachian meeting of 1957, representing the first concrete move toward a "
National Crime Syndicate".Sifakis, p. 21-22] Some historians such as T. J. English believe that it was by no means representative of the ethnic make-up of the country's criminal element, being that the delegations consisted of mostly Italian and Jewish crime leaders, with only 2 Irish criminals in attendance, one being the body guard of Al Caponeand the other a dominant force in bootlegging activities who chose voluntary retirement to Little Rock, Arkansas, at the end of Prohibition. With the lack of a substantial Irish delegation, one might conclude that this could have been the beginning of underworld domination by the Italian and Jewish leaders. The Irish still possessed an influential presence in America's criminal and political worlds and had a number of dominant crime leaders in New York, Boston and Philadelphia that were not invited and eliminated soon afterward, leading some to believe it was decided the Irish were to be left on the fringes of the underworld.English, p. 173] Bootlegging was the most lucrative criminal activity in the North American underworld from the advent of Prohibition in 1920 until its end in 1932. Arnold Rothstein, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, John "The Fox" Torrio, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costelloand Alphonse "Al Scarface" Capone were some of the most prominent mobsters and bootleggers throughout the United States during the Prohibition era. The leaders or "Bosses" at the conference allegedly discussed, among other issues, the violent bootleg wars in New Yorkand Chicago, the systematic elimination of various Irish-American gangsters presently dominating underworld activities and influencing politics in the largest cities across the United States, diversification and investment into legal liquor ventures, the expansion of illegal operations to offset profit loss from the probable repeal of Prohibition, but most importantly the crime leaders came together for the reorganization and consolidation of the underworld into a " National Crime Syndicate".
The Noble Experiment
The United States government had the 18th Amendment to the Constitution ratified on
January 16, 1919and passed the Volstead Acton October 28, 1919thus making America a "Dry Nation". Prohibition or the "Noble Experiment", as it came to be called began on January 16, 1920.
With the advent of the Prohibition in 1920, ethnic gangs, businessmen and every day citizens from the big cities such as New York and Chicago to the small rural communities across the United States became involved in
rumrunningto obtain quick wealth and power. Prohibition was also the beginning of great wealth, power and political influence for the crime groups and made it possible to begin planning an eventual move to organize crime on a national level. United States President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ratifies the 21st Amendment to the Constitution on December 5, 1933, repealing Prohibition. The manufacture, sale and possession of alcoholic beverages is no longer illegal and the underworld continues to reorganize their illegal and legal operations to make up for the loss of profits experienced when Prohibition was repealed. For years prior to the end of Prohibition, some of the most influential crime leaders from across the United States looked to organization among the gangs as the future of crime in America, leading some crime historians believing that organized crime truly began to establish itself at a boardwalk meeting in Atlantic City, 1929.
Crime Begins to Organize
The same large and politically connected gangs in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston, Detroit and Chicago that controlled gambling, prostitution, extortion, thefts and narcotics since the early to mid-1800s, now controlled bootlegging operations across America in the 1920s. These recently organized and powerful criminal organizations began from the ethnic street gangs who committed violent crimes, provided illegal goods and services to the community and acted as enforcers for the political machines of the big cities and towns. The mainly Irish, Jewish, Italian and Polish immigrants that had begun to organize themselves at after World War I, continued their criminal activities with the start of Prohibition and began to meet the great demand for beer and liquor that came from citizens, speakeasies and blind pigs that sprang up across America overnight.
The big city gangs of the United States had always maintained a degree of dominance in the underworld and when Prohibition came along the Irish, Jewish and Italian gangs began to cooperate amongst themselves to a degree and became the most powerful criminal organizations in 1920s America. They dominated the Prohibition era rackets all along the east coast, midwest and southern United States. When Prohibition began, the Irish racketeers in
New York, Massachusettsand Chicagowere still a dominant force in the underworld, especially in New York being that Tammany Halland the city's political wards were controlled by a predominantly Irish group of politicians. The Jewish gangs had always been a powerful force in the nation's underworld and were a very close second to the Irish in power, due to their numbers and business sense. The Italian gangs were starting to assert their authority and influence in the underworld through their strong numbers and willingness to use violence. During Prohibition there were 2 types of bootleggers: beer and alcohol manufacturers who operated breweries and distilleries and the importers who smuggled brand name liquor into the United States from Canada and Europe by boat and plane. At the start of Prohibition there were 2 big Bosses who controlled beer breweries and all brand name liquor imports while the ethnic gangs controlled most of the home alcohol distilleries, some beer brewing and the distribution of most beer and liquor in the cities and towns. Jewish crime Boss Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein, along with Irish Boss William "Big Bill" Dwyer controlled the majority of high quality, brand name liquor smuggled in from Canada and Europe, all along the East coast from the areas of New York and New Jersey. The liquor distribution was handled by their lieutenants and sold to the ethnic gangs that they did business with, who in turn supplied readily available customers such as speakeasiesand blind pigs.
The Brain and the King of Rumrunners
Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein was a Jewish crime leader and professional gambler who came from a well to do family in New York. His father, Abraham "Abe the Just" Rothstein was well known in the Jewish community and successful garment center businessman, who made sure his son Arnold was well educated in school and in the Jewish faith.
Arnold Rothsteinhad very important connections to high level law enforcement officials, judges and politicians in New York City's Tammany Hall. Rothstein was the middleman between the political world of Tammany Hall and the underworld. He corrupted judges and obtained police protection for his various criminal operations including, gambling, bookmaking, loansharking, narcotics and garment center rackets. With the beginning of ProhibitionRothstein seized the opportunity to use his wealth and connections. He financed large scale liquor importation operations from Europe and Canada, making the most of his prominent associations such as the Bronfman family of Canada. He employed and mentored underworld members and future Bosses such as Meyer Lansky, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Frank Costello, Dutch Schultz, Irving "Waxey Gordon" Wexler and Jack "Legs" Diamond, having them oversee all of his rackets and liquor smuggling operations. During Prohibition, Rothstein stayed in the shadows while his lieutenants oversaw distribution of the smuggled liquor to customers, bordellos, speakeasies and blind pigs all across the East Coast. Arnold Rothstein along with his business partner John "The Fox" Torrio was one of the first underworld Bosses to see the potential of organizing crime on a national level and may have been the most important criminal of his era. He was shot on November 4, 1928at the Park Central Hotel and later died. Underworld folklore states that he was shot for welshing on a gambling debt, but most crime historians believe that his garment center rackets, along with his lucrative heroin smuggling operations were desired by the newest underworld powers, Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Louis "Lepke" Buchalter.
William "Big Bill" Dwyer was an Irish crime Boss, born and raised in New York's Hell's Kitchen, who became a stevedore and union thug on Manhattan's docks. When Prohibition came into effect he was in a position to use his connections to boat captains to import liquor from Europe, while using his dock connections to garages and trucks to store and transport the liquor. By the end of his first year in the bootlegging business he had enough wealth to buy his own boats and political protection.
Bill Dwyer bought protection for his operations from 11th Assembly District leader James "Jimmy" Hines, who became a powerful middleman between
Tammany Halland the underworld, protecting Bill Dwyer's and many other illegal operations in New York. In 1923, William "Big Bill" Dwyer went into partnership with several other Irish Bosses, bootleggers and rumrunners of the Prohibition era, including feared Hell's Kitchen Boss, Owney "The Killer" Madden, Long Island Boss Larry Fayand Providence, Rhode Island, Boss Daniel "Danny" Walsh to form one of the underworld's biggest liquor smuggling and distribution operations, the Combine. In 1924, Bill Dwyer and Owney Madden purchased the Phoenix Cereal Beverage Company to begin brewing beer, while Larry Fay purchased a number of popular nightclubs and speakeasies that would become their primary outlets for the beer they manufactured and the bootlegged rum, scotch, vodka and champagne they smuggled into the country. Partner Danny Walsh controlled the Combine's liquor smuggling and distribution operations along the Rhode Island coast. Soon the Irish-led Combine was running smoothly, money was flowing, allowing Dwyer and Madden to expand and diversify their business contacts to include Jewish gangsters like Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Ben Siegel, Dutch Schultz, Waxey Gordon, along with Italians Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Frank Costello, Joe Adonisand Joseph Bonanno. The old guard or " Mustache Petes" allowed chosen underlings to oversee joint business ventures with other ethnic gangs and groups such as the Combine only when it was too lucrative to pass up. Traditionally the old Italian Bosses had forbidden their groups and their members to do business outside the Italian underworld, but the next generation of gangsters led by Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Joe Adonis and Joe Bonanno were open to the possibilities. The Combine even did business with leading black racketeers and numbers Bosses in Harlem, such as Madame Stephanie "The Queen" St. Clair and her lieutenant Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson.
In 1926, William "Big Bill" Dwyer was convicted of trying to bribe a coast guard official and sentenced to 2 years in prison. Italian Boss and Dwyer ally, Francesco Castiglia, who changed his name to Frank Costello once he became involved with the Irish Combine, stepped up to take control of Bill Dwyer's operations, Costello was helped by Dwyer associate, the Irish Boss of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Charles "Vannie" Higgins, who was said to be second only to Bill Dwyer in the rumrunning business. Vannie Higgins was called "Brooklyn's Last Irish Boss" and controlled the Brooklyn waterfront and its Irish stevedores during Prohibition. He had a small fleet of speedboats and airplanes he used to control the rumrunning and liquor smuggling on the Long Island coast. Bill Dwyer was let out for good behavior in 1927 after serving 13 months and slowly withdrew from the bootlegging business and underworld, seeing the writing on the wall and realizing that the next generation of Italian and Jewish gangsters were starting to assert their authority on the streets through sheer violence. Dwyer knew the Italian and Jewish crime leaders would eventually take control of all underworld rackets and operations. He quietly retired and put his money into legitimate gambling such as casinos and racetracks, by 1930 he was fully retired from underworld activity and lived with his wife and five children in Belle Harbor, Queens, New York. Eventually Dwyer owned professional sports franchises in Hockey and Football.
War or Peace
Since the first gangs were formed in the early 1820s, the Irish have held a level of power and leadership in the underworld over other ethnic gangs by controlling the two most powerful worlds the big cities have to offer, the criminal and political worlds. The multitudes of Irish immigrants that flocked to America were the first to control underworld activities in the big cities across the United States. The most violent and ruthless street gangs have battled and killed each other for years, the most famous of these gangs being those who fought battles to lay claim over a certain area of New York. This area of Manahattan, once comprised of Mulberry, Anthony, Cross, Orange and Little Water Streets, made up the famous "Five Points", between Broadway and the Bowery. Gangs such as the Forty Thieves,
Plug Uglies, Patsy Conroys, Dead Rabbitsand Bowery Boys, fought and killed each other over the criminal spoils and territory of the Five Points. By the 1870s, New York and the Five Points experienced a wave of Italian and Jewish immigrants, whose criminals quickly organized themselves into two of New York's most powerful ethnic gangs, each with a membership topping 1500 soldiers. These two gangs battled each other for underworld dominance, the Jewish Eastman Gangled by Edward "Monk Eastman" Osterman and the Italian Five Points Gangled by Paolo "Paul Kelly" Vaccarelli. These two predominantly Italian and Jewish gangs had some ethnic diversity to them and their leaders and members over the years would wage historic battles until the early 1910s. By then the Irish, Italian and Jewish criminals had organized themselves into some semblance of the Gangs and Families that would come to reign in the underworld for the next 100 years. Italian Gangs or Families such as the Sicilian Morello Family of Manhattan's East Harlem and Little Italy, the Neapolitan Camorra Family of Coney Island, Brooklyn and the Jewish Gangs of the Lower Eastside, Manhattan and Brownsville, Brooklyn, all dominated crime in their areas. Two other well known gangs of this era were the Irish White Hand Gangled by William "Wild Bill" Lovett and Richard "Pegleg" Lonergan, who warred over control of the Red Hook, Brooklyn waterfront with the Italian Black Hand Gangled by John "The Fox" Torrio and his partner Francesco "Frankie Yale" Uale. Lovett was killed on November 1, 1923and his associate Lonergan was killed on December 26, 1925which gave the Italians control of the waterfront. The Italian and Jewish gangs maintained a level of influence and power in the underworld at this time, but the Irish had always maintained their dominance in criminal activities by entering the political world and becoming the dominant leaders in big city politics around the United States from the early 1800s to the 1930s. With the change of America's political and social climate in the late 1920s the politicians and criminals involved in the rackets such as James J. Hines, Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, John Torrio, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Frank Costello could see that the "Noble Experiment" would soon be over and Prohibition would come to an end. The next generation of underworld leaders were contemplating the future of crime and preparing themselves for the change and the Italians planned on being the new and dominate underworld power.
The Irish gangs had dominated underworld activities in America's big cities of New York, New Jersey, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Boston, Providence, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, but by the mid 1920s the Irish reign was being challenged by powerful Italian and Jewish gangs, especially in Chicago, St. Louis, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, Providence and of course New York. In Chicago the gang war between the Italian,
South Side Gangof Johnny Torrioand Al Caponeand the Irish, North Side Gangof Dean O'Banionand George "Bugs" Moran had become legendary by the mid 1920s. These two powerful gangs fought for control of the criminal rackets and Prohibition era operations in Chicago and its surrounding areas, in what the media called "The Beer Wars". These two dominant gangs influenced other, smaller criminal groups in the Chicago underworld who lined up behind one of the two gangs in the war. The two gangs and their allies had been taking shots at each other since 1920, but the war officially started with the November 10, 1924assassination of Irish, Northside Boss Dean O'Banionin his Northside flower shop. The war brought added law enforcement and media attention, but public outrage came to a head when Italian, Southside Boss Alphonse "Al Scarface" Capone finally wiped out the North Side Gangwith the St. Valentine's Day Massacreon February 14, 1929.
In the St. Louis underworld, the Irish
Egan's Rats Gangbattled over the Prohibition spoils with a number of different gangs. The Italian underworld was run by two Black Hand Gangs, The Green Onesand The Pillow Gang. The Italian gangs also warred amongst each other and after years of bitter rivalry they merged themselves into one powerful gang looking to dominate the underworld. By the late 1920s, the Italian gang made up of Green One's and Pillow Gang members who survived the earlier wars and would go on to dominate the St. Louis underworld for decades under La Cosa Nostra's flag started to move in on the Irish Egan's Rats Gang and by 1932 the Rats were no more.
In Atlantic City, South New Jersey, a young Polish immigrant by the name of Michael Cusick decided to change his name to Mickey Duffy to sound more Irish and in 1922 opened an illegal beer brewery in Camden, New Jersey and was on his way to becoming the beer baron of South New Jersey. The Duffy Gang controlled all beer distribution in South New Jersey and by the mid 1920s was making a move into Philadelphia. The Philadelphia underworld and the battle for its Prohibition-era rackets included several top criminal groups based in "The City of Brotherly Love." The Irish O'Leary Gang was led by Daniel "Danny" O'Leary and his three brothers, the Jewish Hoff Gang was led by well known boxing promoter and crime boss Max "Boo Boo" Hoff, who along with his associates
Charles Schwartzand Samuel Lazardomonated much of the areas bootlegging activities. Two rival Italian gangs, the Sabella or Castellammarese crime family led by Salvatore Sabellaand his lieutenant Joseph Bruno (born LoCascio) were leading the top mafia group which had strong ties to the New York mafia and it's Castellammarese crime family of Brooklyn. Along with the Lanzetti Gang, led by Leo Lanzettiand his 5 brothers, known killers and extortionists the Philadelphia underworld was full of crime groups looking to prosper, but finding themselves battling over the same stakes, the wealth brought by Prohibition. The Prohibition era wars in Philadelphia raged on from 1924–31, many casualties and losses were felt within the various crime groups. Italian crime bosses, rivals Joseph Bruno and Leo Lanzettiwere both killed in 1925 just days apart by teach others respected groups. In 1928 Irish crime boss Danny O'Leary was murdered by rivals, while Jewish crime boss Max Hoff was having legal troubles, allowing Atlantic City and South New Jersey Irish crime boss Mickey Duffy to take over the majority of the Philadelphia area bootlegging and beer distribution operations, making him the dominant crime boss at the time within the South New Jersey and Philadelphia area bootlegging and beer rackets. This caused the Italian crime groups to unite and merge themselves successfully into one gang or crime family and with the assistance of the remaining Jewish crime bosses they challenged Duffy's reign. Irish boss Micky Duffy was killed on August 31, 1931, leaving the Italian and Jewish crime bosses in complete control of the Philadelphia underworld, something that seemed to have been planned.
In the Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island underworlds, the Italians and Irish first fought for control of gambling operations and then continued their battles over the Prohibition era rackets. Boston's, North End Gang was led by Filippo "Phil" Buccola,
Joseph "J.L." Lombardoand Frank "The Cheeseman" Cucchiara, who aligned themselves with the Providence Morelli Gang led by Frank "Bootsy" Morelli and Ray Patriarca. They were at war with Boston's Gustin Gang led by Frank Wallace and his ally, Daniel "Danny" Walsh of Providence. Wallace was a powerful and influential gangster with ties to police and politicians in the Irish wards, allowing him to become Boston's leading bootlegger, supplying speakeasies and blind pigs all across New England. Walsh was a rich and powerful bootlegger in Providence, Rhode Island, who ran a regional offshoot of Bill Dwyerand Owney Madden's Combine in New York. He owned a fleet of rum-running boats, controlled the Rhode Island coast line and was a member of the Prohibition era organization known as the "Big Seven Group".English, p. 128] . The Italians were determined to wipe out the Irish and take complete control of the Boston and Providence underworlds, merging them into the New England underworld. This was accomplished when Frank Wallace was killed on December 22, 1931, attended a meeting in Boston's North End and Danny Walsh disappeared on February 2, 1933in Providence. The Italians of Boston and Providence merged in 1932 to form the New England crime family.
In New York, wars or conflicts had been going on the for control of the rackets between the Irish and other ethnic gangs since the 1880s, but with the advent of Prohibition and the amount of wealth that had been obtained by it, not only wealth, but great power and influence was now at stake with the end of Prohibition near. There were many Prohibition era wars in New York's underworld, the most famous being the "Castellamarese War", but before that came the "Manhattan Beer Wars" between two rival bootlegging organizations that had once been part of the Irish Combine. The most powerful underworld leaders from all the ethnic gangs would either have to war for dominance in the Prohibition era rackets or meet with each other and create a peaceful solution, dividing up territories and rackets among the most powerful and influential underworld leaders. By the late 1920s the Italians and Jewish crime leaders were on their way to total domination of America's underworld and the leaders in the big cities took the first steps in reorganization of the underworld.
The Leaders Begin to Re-Organize
Since the earliest days of gang activity, New York and Chicago have always been the east coast and mid west centers of underworld activity and with the wealth and power obtained from Prohibition the crime Bosses bought political influence and started to gain more power. The New York and Chicago Bosses began establishing their influence over underworld rules and policies across the United States, giving them control over the smaller gangs in other cities and territories, always moving forward towards organization and control on a national level. The idea for a nationally organized crime syndicate was started by Bosses Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein and John "The Fox" Torrio of New York. By the mid 1920s a new generation of underworld leaders had seen the potential of organizing crime on a national level and began to move in that direction. Younger, intelligent and highly motivated gangsters such as Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer "The Brain" Lansky began to exert their power and influence in the underworld and Americanize its traditions and business practices. These new like-minded leaders began to strengthen their underworld ties by aligning themselves in joint business ventures, without including the older and more established leaders. A common ideology of business, crime and politics, usually referred to as the "Big 3", fast became the "Holy Trinity" among these new leaders and while cooperating with each other they used it as one of their basic operating principles.
One of the first steps taken towards reorganization in the underworld and the formation of the
National Crime Syndicatecame with the idea of forming a cooperative group of the biggest bootleggers on the East coast, allowing its members to minimize overhead costs and maximize potential profits during Prohibition. By 1925 Arnold Rothstein, Johnny Torrio, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky had discussed the idea with each other, but did not begin to move towards the groups formation. The younger and more liberal underworld leaders such as Charlie Luciano, Frank Costello, Joe Adonis, Vito Genovese, Joe Bonanno, Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, Benny Siegel, Lepke Buchalter, Abner "Longy" Zwillman, Willie Moretti, Dutch Schultz and Owney Madden were in favor of the re-organization, but knew that the old guard or "Mustache Petes" were against the move. The old Bosses such as Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Salvatore "Little Caeser" Maranzano had long been against cooperation with other ethnic gangs outside the Italian underworld and allowed it only when it was very lucrative and to good to pass up. Finally, the " Big Seven Group" was formed in the spring of 1928 at a meeting held at Boss Abner "Longy" Zwillman's headquarters in New Jersey and Johnny Torrio was made its executive director.
The seven original groups or gangs involved in the "
Big Seven Group" were Johnny Torrio, Charlie Luciano, Joe Adonis and Frank Costello (and his partner Owney Madden) from New York, Meyer Lansky's and Benny "Bugsy" Siegel's Bugs & Meyer Mob from New York and New Jersey, Abner "Longy" Zwillman and Willie Moretti from New Jersey and Long Island, Enoch "Nucky" Johnson of Atlantic City and the South Jersey shore, Waxey Gordon, Harry "Nig Rosen" Stromberg and Irving "Bitzy" Bitz of Philadelphia and Charles "King" Solomon of Boston. The " Big Seven Group's". Once the " Big Seven Group's" charter membership was established, Johnny Torrio and his top aides, Charlie Luciano, Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky maintained a base of operations in Manhattan's Belvedere Hotel.Wolf, p. 87] John Torrio appointed his New York lieutenant Frank Zagarinoas his field representative to deal directly with the group from an office in Newark, New Jersey while Torrio stay in the back ground and dealt with the Canadian and European suppliers. As a cover Torrio obtained a license to operate as a bondsman from the New York State Insurance department and opened a bail bond office near the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building on Centre Street, his licensed was soon revoked due to his criminal record, leaving him to secure another license and engage in the real estate business. The rumrunning cartel employed radios and receivers to monitor Coast Guard messages and keep ship captains informed of movements, while the ships moved their cargo along the Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Virginia. One of the men John Torrioused to direct the fleet of speedboats and yachts used in the group's smuggling operations was an Arnold Rothsteinprotege and narcotics Lt., Jacob "Yasha" Katzenberg who had delivered heroin and morphine from Europe and Asia for Rothstein and Lepke Buchalterand who now used his connections in Customs to assist Torrio and the "Big Seven Group".McPhaul, p. 235-36] Eventually the group came to include 26 groups or gangs, including Dutch Schultz of New York, Al "Scarface" Capone of Chicago, Max "Boo Boo" Hoff, Sam Lazarand Charles Swartzof Philadelphia, Moe Dalitz, Louis Rothkopf, Morris Kleinmanand Sam Tuckerof Cleveland, brothers William Joseph "Bugs Bill" Bernsteinand Abe Bernsteinof Detroit, Daniel "Danny" Walsh of Providence, Rhode Island, Cy Nathansonof New England and many more like Joseph Kennedy of Boston, patriarch of the Kennedy Family and the father of former United States President, John F. Kennedy.
Even before the death of Arnold Rothstein in 1928 and the retirement of Bill Dwyer, the underworld was in the process of a leadership change in most of the major cities in the United States. Arnold Rothstein controlled gambling, bookmaking, loansharking, narcotics and garment center rackets, his death leaving a power vacuum and his large empire now up for grabs in New York. Bill Dwyer's retirement also caused a power vacuum and two underworld groups quickly moved in to take control of his operations in New York. The "Manhattan Beer Wars" occurred in 1928 between the Schultz-Madden-Gordon alliance and the Higgins-Diamond-Coll-Carfano alliance for dominance over Manhattan's beer distribution operations. Bill Dwyer's former lieutenant, the Irish Boss of Brooklyn, Charles "Vannie" Higgins felt that he was entitled to the operations, while Jewish crime Boss, Bronx beer baron and Harlem numbers king, Dutch Schultz wanted them just as bad. Jack "Legs" Diamond and Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll sided with Higgins since there was a history of bad blood between them, Owney "The Killer" Madden and Waxey Gordon, leaving Madden and Gordon to side with Schultz.
By the late 1920s, the Chicago underworld had reached a wave of violence that peaked with the
February 14, 1929St. Valentine's Day Massacre of seven Irish gangsters on the North side of Chicago. There seemed to be no end in site for the war since violent shootings and murders over the Prohibition rackets were still occurring on a regular basis, the Chicago gangs involved in their own "Beer Wars". Even though New York's underworld was in the midst of its own "Manhattan Beer War", underworld folklore have a carload of Chicago killers being sent to the east coast to kill powerful Brooklyn Boss and "Unione Siciliane" National President, Francesco "Frankie Yale" Uale on July 1, 1928. By 1928, Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzanowere the most powerful Bosses in New York and competing with each other for total dominance over the New York City rackets. The possibility of war between the Bosses needed to be addressed along with other important business affairs now taking center stage in New York's volcano. By April 1929 a proposed underworld conference of like minded mafiosi and gangsters from across the United States was called for by Johnny Torrio, Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky to discuss the possible repeal of Prohibition, the future of crime in the United States and the present conflicts in New York and Chicago. The response from around the country to the proposal had been favorable, the only remaining question was a date and that was easily resolved.
Jewish crime Boss,
Meyer Lanskywas married in early May 1929 and his closest underworld friends concluded that the resort town of Atlantic City, New Jersey would be an ideal place to have his honeymoon and hold the conference, allowing Lansky to mix pleasure and business, along with the rest of the Bosses. The date and place was set for the weekend of May 13– May 16, making the conference the first known underworld summit of its kind, which could be considered the first concrete move towards establishing the National Crime Syndicate that eventually controlled all major criminal activities across the United States.
The Atlantic City Conference was said to be hosted by John Torrio, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky, depending on who you ask. The old world leaders or "Mustache Petes" from New York, Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, were not invited, as well as future underworld power Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno since he was Maranzano's top lieutenant at the time. The list of crime leaders who were invited to attend the conference read like a who's who of the Prohibition era and the future of organized crime. The host of the conference was powerful, Atlantic City and South Jersey crime Boss, Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, who provided the hotel accommodations, food and entertainment for all, while making a guarantee of no police interference.
Of course the largest delegation in the conference came from the New York/New Jersey area and included Bosses John "The Fox" Torrio, formerly of Chicago, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, Frank Costello, Giuseppe "Joe Adonis" Doto and
Vito Genovese, all top members of Manhattan's powerful Masseria Family, Albert "The Mad Hatter" Anastasia, Frank "Cheech" Scalise and Vincent Mangano, from the D'Aquila/Mineo Family of Manhattan, Gaetano "Tommy Brown" Lucchese, represented the Reina Family out of the Bronx, Quarico "Willie Moore" Moretti, represented the Masseria Family's Newark, New Jersey interests, Meyer "The Brain" Lansky and Benny "Bugsy" Siegel, Bosses of the Bugs and Meyer Mob, who protected liquor shipments in the New York/New Jersey areas, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter and Jacob "Gurrah" Shapiro, considered the underworld's " Rockefellers" and also known as the " Gorilla Boys", Abner "Longy" Zwillman, also representing Newark, New Jersey, Dutch Schultz, Bronx beer baron and Harlem numbers king, Owen "Owney the Killer" Madden, Boss of Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen and the Irish Combine, Frank Erickson, former Rothstein Lt., Costello associate and future bookmaking kingpin.
Chicago was represented by Alphonse "Scarface" Capone, Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, Frank "Frank Cline" Rio, top members of the South Side Capone Gang and representing Mid West interests, Capone body guard and only one of two Irish gangsters present
Frank McErlaneof the South Side Saltis/McErlane Gang. From Philadelphia came the top Jewish Bosses, Irving "Waxey Gordon" Wexler, Harry "Nig Rosen" Stromberg, Max "Boo Boo" Hoff, Irving "Bitzy" Bitz and Charles Schwartz. From Cleveland came the " Little Jewish Navy" of Morris "Moe" Dalitz and Louis "Lou Roddy" Rothkopf, along with adopted Polizzi Family member, Leo "Charles Polizzi" Berkowitz who represented " Little Italy's", " Mayfield Road Mob". The feared Purple Gangof Detroit was represented by brothers Abe and William Joseph "Bugs Bill" Bernstein. Boston's most prominent bootlegger, Charles "King" Solomon was present, while Kansas City's " Balestrere Gang" and the " Pendergast Machine" were represented by Boss John Lazia. Delegations from Florida and Louisiana were also present at the time, which would most likely be, Luciano and Costello allies, Santo Trafficante, Sr.of Tampa and Sylvestro "Silver Dollar Sam" Carolla of New Orleans.
two of the underworld's most powerful leaders, Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and
Salvatore Maranzanoof New York were not invited. The old guard or " Mustache Petes" maintained traditional old world ideals and business practices that restricted them from working with other ethnic gangs outside of the Italian underworld, this was counter to the ideals and principles that the leaders, such as Luciano and Torrio wished to express to the other delegates in Atlantic City. At the time of the conference, future underworld power, Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno was Maranzano's top Lt. and aide and was not invited to Atlantic City, but he would soon become one of the architects of the " National Crime Syndicate" and the La Cosa Nostra Commission.
The conference started off with a bit of an embarrassing incident for some of those invited who tried to check into the first hotel Nucky Johnson had them registered at. Johnson had registered them at the exclusive Atlantic City Break Hotel along the Boardwalk, which was restricted to
white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, and Nucky had used proper Anglo-Saxon aliases for the guests. Once the hotel's management got a look at some of the guests who were trying to check in, well the aliases didn't match the Italian and Jewish faces staring at the management and they delegates were refused admittance in to the hotel, the manager not knowing who he was refusing. By this time Johnson had heard about the problem and rushed over to the hotel to take care of the situation. Al Capone being himself screamed at Nucky Johnson for not making the proper arrangements and a loud argument ensued between the two gangsters while the others watched and hoped they would not come to blows. Suddenly Johnson who was taller and heavier than Capone shoved him into a limousine and ordered every one to follow him. They headed for the Ritz and Ambassador Hotels and when Capone reached the hotel he ripped several framed paintings and photos off the walls of the hotel and started to throw them at Nucky Johnson. The others concentrated on keeping Al Capone calm and quite for the time being.
For the first three days there were a constant round of parties at the hotels with Nucky Johnson supplying plenty of liquor, food and girls for entertainment. For the guests who brought their wives or girlfriends, Johnson provided the women with fur capes as gifts. Meyer Lansky who was the new bride groom and guest of honor received the Presidential suite at the Ritz Hotel, with a constant supply of champagne for him and his wife Anna.
There were several important items to discuss among the Bosses and attendees such as constant competition for imported and bootleg liquor profits among the gangs, what to do about the liquor business if or when Prohibition ends, greater investment in gambling operations and what to do about the Chicago and Irish problems. As would be expected with sharply dressed gangsters from around the United States, the Atlantic City delegates conducted their more serious discussions and business, privately in conference rooms atop the Ritz and Ambassador Hotels, but not all the meetings were held in a room around a long table, some discussions were had out in the open, with the delegates taking their socks off and rolling up, their pants for walks along the beach, on the sand and in the open air. This made the Conference no great secret, with local newspapers carrying photos of Al Capone and some of the other prominent delegates as they cruised down the boardwalk and beaches, dipping their feet into the water.English, p. 172] Important decisions were made to stop competing with each other during the remainder of Prohibition and cooperate in pooling their resources to maximize profits and develop a national monopoly in the illegal liquor business. One of the most important discussions was what to do when Prohibition ends. The Bosses decided to reorganize themselves and their gangs into cooperative organizations, investing in legitimate breweries, distilleries and liquor importation franchises. By making investments in the legitimate liquor business and by owning nightclubs, bars and restaurants to distribute the liquor and maximize profits, this gave the Syndicate some security against the repeal of Prohibition.
The delegates held discussions about taking a larger interest in illegal and cooperative gambling activities such as bookmaking, horse racing and casinos. The New York and Chicago representatives laid out a plan to tie in the national wire service for horse racing bettors with the "Daily Racing Form" and to lay off bets throughout the United States. This idea was introduced to the conference delegates after Al Capone ran into Chicago's
Moses Annenbergwho controlled the mob that enforced distribution of William R. Hearst's newspapers in the Chicago area. The Families in New York and Chicago would oversee and direct operations for this cooperative and very lucrative venture. New York Bosses, Frank Costello and Meyer Lanskywere chosen as directors to coordinate the operations along with Chicago representatives. New York's future layoff king and gambling czar Frank Ericksonwas chosen to oversee the organization of the operation along with Chicago's Moses Annenberg. Chicago businessman and underworld associate Moses Annenbergwas not originally invited to the conference, but after running into Capone, the well known Annenberg was most likely invited to confer with the leaders on business matters concerning the national race wire.
It was agreed by the conference delegates that investments in the legitimate liquor business and gambling was the way to offset the loss of profits from the end of Prohibition and discussions to divide the country into exclusive franchises and territories for the Bosses and their gangs were started at the Atlantic City Conference.
Another important topic was the ongoing violence and bloodletting that was occurring in Chicago. The underworld wars in Chicago and to some extent New York, had brought about a public and media outcry on law enforcement to stop the violence. There had been added media and law enforcement attention and this was placing pressure on underworld rackets and operations around the country. Most of the pressure was mainly due to the recent St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago. With former Al Capone Boss and mentor Johnny Torrio taking the lead and Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and the other delegates backing him up, Capone was chosen as a sacrificial lamb to ease the heat brought on the underworld and its leaders. Al Capone was convinced after much debate and refusal to allow himself to be arrested on a minor charge and sent to prison for a short period of time, deflecting the media and law enforcement pressure for the good of the whole underworld. After the conference was concluded, Chicago underworld Boss Al Capone and his bodyguard Frank Rio went to Philadelphia where two friendly cops arrested and charged them with carrying a gun. Al Capone and Frank Rio were sentenced to a year in prison, but were released and back in Chicago after several months.
The Future of Organized Crime
Before the end of the conference, emphasis was laid on the fact that all of the future plans and operations had to be appropriated and administered peacefully among the country's Bosses and criminal organizations, avoiding the sort of violent conflicts that had plagued the underworld in the past. The highly successful "Big Seven Group" was used as a model of future organization and peace for the new "National Syndicate". New York Bosses, Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, were two old guard mafiosi who held a lot of power and influence nationally and could not be taken lightly. The two major underworld powers were ready to square off in a war, which was seen as running counter to the organizational plans for the future the Atlantic City delegates had agreed upon. The leaders that attended the conference all agreed that to continue with the Syndicate's future plans, the old guard or "Mustache Petes" would have to be eliminated eventually. It was understood that New York's Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky group, along with their alliance of up and coming "Young Turks" would have to deal with the old line Bosses once the time was right. The new national alliance or Syndicate in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia and elsewhere would back up the New York forces through removal of the old guard in their areas if need be. It was clear to the delegates at the Atlantic City Conference that Charlie "Lucky" Luciano was a leader who commanded great respect and would eventually become first among equals in the Syndicate. Underworld leaders such as Charlie Luciano, Johnny Torrio, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky and Arnold Rothstein were men of the same ideology and vision, who saw the future of crime in organization and cooperation. They led America's most powerful criminals with innovation and determination and laid the foundations for the National Syndicate and its long reign over the underworld, which was started with the Atlantic City Conference in 1929.
Atlantic City Delegates
The terms Capo and Consigliere were not used until
Salvatore Maranzanolabeled the Italian underworld "La Cosa Nostra" in 1931, the terms Lt. and Advisor were more common at the time. The position of Consigliere did not exist until Charlie "Lucky" Luciano became the defacto "first amongst equals" in La Cosa Nostra and added the position to the Family hierarchy in 1931, when he formed the "Commission".
Underworld members, city or delegation they represented and their rank at time of conference:
Enoch "Nucky" Johnson- South Jersey/Atlantic City Boss/Host
New York/New Jersey:
* John "The Fox" Torrio - Former Chicago Torrio/Capone Gang Boss/New York Advisor
* Salvatore "Charlie Lucky" Luciano - Masseria Family Underboss/New York
* Frank "The Prime Minister" Costello - Masseria Family Lt./Capo/New York
* Giuseppe "Joe Adonis" Doto - Masseria Family Lt./Capo/New York
Vito Genovese- Masseria Family Lt./Capo/New York
* Quarico "Willie Moore" Moretti - Masseria family Lt./Capo/New Jersey
Vincent Mangano- D'Aquila/Mineo Family Lt./Capo/New York
Frank Scalise- D'Aquila Mineo Family Lt./CapoNew York
Albert Anastasia- D'Aquila/Mineo Family Lt./Capo/New York
* Gaetano "Tommy Brown" Lucchese - Riena Family Lt./Capo/New York
* Meyer "The Brain" Lansky - Bugs & Meyer Mob Boss/New York
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel- Bugs & Meyer Mob Boss/New York
Louis Buchalter- Buchalter/Shapiro Gang Boss/New York
Jacob Shapiro- Buchalter/Shapiro Gang Boss/New York
Dutch Schultz- Schultz Gang Boss/New York
Abner Zwillman- North Jersey/Zwillman Gang Boss/New Jersey
Owney Madden- Irish Combine Boss/New York
Frank Erickson- former Rothstein Lt./Costello Associate/New York Chicago:
* Alphonse "Scarface" Capone - South Side/Capone Gang Boss/Chicago
* Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti - South Side/Capone Gang Lt./Capo/Chicago
Jake Guzik- South Side/Capone Gang Lt./Capo/Chicago
* Frank "Frank Cline" Rio - South Side/Capone Gang Lt./Capo/Chicago
Frank McErlane- Saltis/McErlane Gang Boss/Capone Bodyguard/Chicago
Irving Wexler- Jewish Mob Boss/Philly
Max Hoff- Jewish Mob Boss/Philly
Harry Stromberg- Jewish Mob Boss/Philly
Irving Bitz- Jewish Mob Boss/Philly
Charles Schwartz- Jewish Mob Boss/Philly
Samuel LazarJewish Mob Boss/Philly
Morris Dalitz- Little Jewish Navy Boss/Cleveland
Louis Rothkopf- Little Jewish Navy Boss/Cleveland
Leo Berkowitz- Little Jewish Navy/Mayfield Road Mob Associate/Cleveland [Leo Berkowitz was of Jewish decent, but he was adopted into a prominent Cleveland underworld family, the Polizzi Family and was taken under the wing of his mentor Al Polizzi. His Jewish decent and Italian associations allowed him to be recognized as an affiliated member of both the Little Jewish Navy and Mayfield Road Mob, which aligned themselves into a larger crime group in the 1930s to form Cleveland's leading criminal organization and recognized crime family.]
William Joseph Bernstein- Purple Gang Boss/Detroit (a.k.a. "Bill Bugs")
Abraham Bernstein- Purple Gang Boss/Detroit
Giovanni Lazia- Pendergast Machine/Balestrere Gang Lt./Capo/Kansas City (a.k.a. Lazio)
Charles Solomon- Jewish Mob Boss/Boston [Allegedly, Solomon did not want to fully co-operate with the Luciano faction or create new alliances with former Italian rivals in his area of Boston, he was eventually eliminated by Luciano allies.]
Santo Trafficante Sr.- Senior Tampa Family Member/Tampa [Trafficante is the most likely delegate. Trafficante held close ties with the New York mafia, but he was aligned with boss Joe Profaci, a close Maranzano ally and the man who allegedly supported Trafficante's leadership in Tampa. Trafficante being present at the meeting may have been seen as a betrayal to his allies in New York, so he was most likely not present.]
Sylvestro Corallo- Matranga/Giacona Family Lt./Capo/New Orleans [Corallo is the most likely delegate. He was a leading group leader within the New Orleans mafia who was considered by many Mob historians to be street boss of the old Matranga faction and possibly acting boss of the New Orleans crime family at this time. The New Orleans crime family was very autonomous throughout it's history and shown much respect by affiliate mafia groups due to it being the oldest mafia family in America. Corallo was the leading bootlegger in his territory or area and had dealings with certain east coast bosses and rumor was he had been approached by Luciano to support his eventual coup against the old guard leaders within the mafia, but there is no solid or concrete proof of any kind that Corallo was present.]
Gaetano Gagliano- Riena Family Underboss/ New York [Gagliano was Tommy Luchese's superior and close associate, and a Charlie Luciano ally. If he was an ally of the Luciano faction he would have been represented by Tommy Luchese, his second in command.]
Carlo Gambino- D'Aquila/Mineo Family Lt./Capo/New York [He was a Frank Scalise associate and business partner, and eventually a strong supporter and future ally of Charlie Luciano.]
* Frank "The Cheeseman" Cucchiara - Boston North End Gang/Buccola Family Lt. [His group was a leading underworld power in Boston, just behind Frank Wallace & Charles Solomon. After the elimination of Wallace and Solomon in Boston, Massachusetts, along with Walsh in Providence, Rhode Island, the Italians reigned supreme in New England's underworld. Cucchiara and Charlie Luciano were born in neighbouring Sicilian villages in 1897 and stayed close friends throughout their lives, Frank Cucchiara worked closely with Charlie Luciano in New York and
Al Caponein Chicago throughout the 1920s and remained a close associate of both men. It is more than likely Cucchiara would have been the Boston representative for the Italians. The future New England Family Consigliere later represented his Family, along with the deported and deposed New York Bosses, Charlie Luciano and Frank Costelloat the 1957 Apalachin Meeting.]
* Frank "Bootsy" Morelli - Providence Morelli Gang Boss. [Frank Morelli led a powerful Prohibition era gang that controlled bootlegging and gambling operations in Providence, Connecticut and Maine and would most likely be the Italian representative for Providence in Atlantic City. His gang merged with the Boston North End Gang/Buccola Family in 1932 to form the New England Family. Morelli the Family's Underboss until his retirement in 1947.]
Problems identifying attendants
Some crime historians, such as T. J. English, believe that the Italian and Jewish crime bosses did not invite the most prominent Irish bootleggers and criminals of the time to the Atlantic City Conference because they intended to wipe them out along with the old guard or "Mustache Petes" that controlled the majority of criminal operations in the big cities. Daniel "Danny" Walsh of Providence, Rhode Island, was one of the leaders that most crime historians are unsure attended the meeting. Walsh was one of the most prominent Irish bootleggers of the Prohibition era, was an associate and partner of New York's Irish Combine leaders (William "Big Bill" Dwyer and Owney Madden), and was an alleged member of the "Big Seven Group". This alone should have guaranteed his invitation, but some crime historians point to the fact that the Irish bosses were about to be eliminated and that only two other Irish bosses were present at the meeting. Walsh's membership in the "Big Seven Group" and the fact that he was not eliminated until 1933, makes for a good argument to include him. But had he been present, he would have been the only Irish boss in attendance.
The most prominent and well known Irish Bosses of the time included Frank Wallace of Boston, Daniel "Danny" Walsh of Providence, George "Bugs" Moran, the South Side O'Donnells (brothers Edward (Spike), Steven, Tommy and Walter), the West Side O'Donnells (Klondike and Myles), William "Big Bill" Dwyer, Charles "Vannie" Higgins, Jack "Legs" Diamond and Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll of New York. None of these men were present, not even Walsh.
Many historians believe English is correct: The Italians and Jews wanted to wipe out the Irish bosses, and so did not invite them. Frank Wallace was killed by hitters in Boston's Italian Mob in 1931, Danny Walsh was dealt with and disappeared in 1933, Bugs Moran would have been the Irish Boss to represent Chicago, but he had just missed being killed in the St. Valentines Day Massacre when his gang was decimated and he faded into obscurity soon after, the South Side and West Side O'Donnells of Chicago weren't as powerful as Moran and would not have been chosen to represent Chicago, they were at war with Capone and his allies. New York's Vannie Higgins, Legs Diamond and Vincent Coll were involved in the "Manhattan Beer Wars" against Jewish Bosses Dutch Schultz, Waxey Gordon and Irish/Welsh Boss, Owney Madden. At the Atlantic City Conference, Schultz was heard saying at the Ambassador Hotel. "This crazy maniac Coll is causing me no end of grief", were Gordon added, "Yeah, and what about this bastard, Legs Diamond? He's hijacking my trucks and raiding our clip joints all over North Jersey".English, p. 174-75] Vannie Higgins was killed on
January 19, 1932in New York, Legs Diamond was shot three times and killed in his Albany, New York hideout on December 18, 1931and Mad Dog Coll was killed inside a New York phone booth by Schultz gunmen, while talking to Owney Madden on February 8, 1932.
In the New England area Prohibition wars, Jewish Mob Boss and Boston's most prominent crime leader and bootlegger, Charles "King" Solomon was killed at his Roxbury, Boston speakeasy, known as the Cotton Club on
January 24, 1933. Law enforcement theorize that either Italian or Irish underworld leaders in the North End Buccola Family of Boston, Massachusetts or the Walsh Mob of Providence, Rhode Island had Solomon assassinated, either way, Solomon became another victim of the mob war for dominance in New England's underworld. As Irish Bosses Wallace and Walsh were killed by Boston's North End Italians, Solomon was most likely killed by them as well, being that Italian dominance was uncontested in the New England underworld there after.Fopiano, p. 11]
Another interesting sidenote was that future US Ambassador to Britain, billionaire and father of president
John F. Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedywas allegedly a leading Prohibition era rum runner and whisky baron in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. Kennedy made his legitimate billions in banking, real estate and the Hollywood movie business, but he was an alleged associate of gangsters Bill Dwyer, Owney Madden, Danny Walsh, Frank Costello, Al Caponeand is also mentioned in Joseph Bonanno's book, "A Man of Honor". In recent years information on Joseph Kennedyhas been leaked to the media and various investigative reporters linking him to these gangsters, exposing his Prohibition operations. It is alleged that he did business with Dywer, Madden and Costello's New York Combine, their regional offshoot in Providence run by Danny Walshand with Al Capone's Chicago organization. Kennedy was not a bootlegger, per se, but an importer and wholesaler, who purchased large quantities of alcohol from England and Canada and facilitated its shipment. after the booze was purchased, it was usually transferred from Nova Scotia to the eastern seaboard, where it was off-loaded under cover of darkness along the Massachusetts or Rhode Island coastline or somewhere in Long Island, New York. The crime syndicates or gangs and their bootleggers would take over from there, making Joseph P. Kennedyand his family very rich. It is alleged that Kennedy kept his associations with the underworld all through his life, becoming the middleman between the underworld and political worlds of Massachusetts and New York, using the underworld's connections to labor unions for business and political purposes. Joseph P. Kennedy's most famous act was getting the Chicago and New York underworlds to assist in the election of his son John F. Kennedyto the Presidency of the United States by having the underworld solicit votes and support from the labor unions, politicians and prominent community members all under the mobs influence.English, p. 259-89]
* McPhaul, Jack. "Johnny Torrio: The First of the Gang Lords". Arlington House, 1970.
* Messick, Hank. "Lansky". Berkley Medallion, 1971.
* Gosch, Martin & Hammer, Richard. "The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano". Dell Publishing Company, 1974.
* Wolf, George. "Frank Costello: The Prime Minister of the Underworld". William Morrow & Company, 1974.
* Charbanneau, Jean Pierre. "The Canadian Connection". Optimum Publishing, 1976.
* Fopiano, Willie & Harney, John. "The Godson: A True Life Account of 20 Years Inside the Mob". St. Martins Press/Thomas Dunne Books, 1993.
* Time Life Books. "True Crime: Mafia". Time Warner, 1993.
* Sifakis, Carl. "The Mafia Encyclopedia: Second Edition". Checkmark Books, 1999.
* Reppetto, Thomas. "The American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power". Henry Holt & Company, 2004.
* English, T. J. "Paddy Wacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster". Regan Books, 2005.
* [http://www.crimemagazine.com/torrio.htm Johnny "The Fox" Torrio: The Father of Modern American Gangsterdom] by Allen May
* [http://www.crimemagazine.com/waxey.htm Waxey Gordon: Half A Century At Crime] by Allen May
* [http://www.crimemagazine.com/larryfay.htm Three Thin Dimes: The Demise of Larry Fay] by Allen May
* [http://www.crimemagazine.com/higgins.htm Vannie Higgins: Brooklyn's Last Irish Boss] by Allen May
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