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A Partnership Made in Hell

A Partnership Made in Hell

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Published by Joe Bruno

In November of 1911, after Inspector Cornelius Hayes led his raid on Rosenthal’s West Forty-Fifth Street gambling house, Rosenthal was basically broke and needed a partner to reopen his gambling house. Since Becker was in the newspapers so often, and was such a big shot when it came to destroying, or allowing gambling houses to prosper, Rosenthal thought Becker would be a perfect mate to partner with.

In November of 1911, after Inspector Cornelius Hayes led his raid on Rosenthal’s West Forty-Fifth Street gambling house, Rosenthal was basically broke and needed a partner to reopen his gambling house. Since Becker was in the newspapers so often, and was such a big shot when it came to destroying, or allowing gambling houses to prosper, Rosenthal thought Becker would be a perfect mate to partner with.

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Published by: Joe Bruno on Sep 03, 2012
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A
PARTNERSHIP MADE IN HELL
In November of 1911
, after Inspector Corneli
us Hayes led his raid on Rosenthal‟s West
Forty-Fifth Street gambling house, Rosenthal was basically broke and needed a partner to reopenhis gambling house. Since Becker was in the newspapers so often, and was such a big shot whenit came to destroying, or allowing gambling houses to prosper, Rosenthal thought Becker wouldbe a perfect mate to partner with.Rosenthal said in the July 14, 1912 edition of the
 New York World 
, “The first time I met
Charles Becker was at a ball given by the Order of the Elks on Forty-Third Street near SixthAvenue, and we had a very good evening, and drank freely, and became very good friends. Our
next meeting was by appointment on New Year‟s Eve, 1912, at the Elks Club.
 
“We drank a lot of champagne that night and later in the morning we were all pretty
under the weather. Becker put his
arms around me and kissed me. He said, „Anything in theworld for you Herman. I‟ll get up at three o‟clock in the morning to do you a favor. You canhave anything I‟ve got.‟”
 
Knowing Becker‟s reputation as a cad, it‟s hard to believe Becker used exactly th
osewords. ButRosenthal was a well-known bull-
thrower, so it‟s safe to presume they probably met for the firsttime at the Elks Club and at their second meeting at the Elks Club‟s New Year‟s Eve celebration,
they most likely came to an agreement as to how much Rosenthal needed to cough up not to havehis joint raided on a regular basis (Rosenthal said he had to give 20 percent of his profits toBecker).Rosenthal later also claimed, as one of the conditions for taking in Becker as a partner,Becker had to loan Rosenthal $1,500 for operating expenses and to spruce up the gambling hall.Rosenthal also said that to receive the $1,500, Rosenthal had to sign legal papers putting up
Rosenthal‟s house furniture, or chattel, as collateral, in case Rosenthal reneg
ed on the loan.However, Becker denied he had any financial arrangement at all with Rosenthal. On July13, 1912, Becker told the
 New York Times
, “I have never been connected with him in any way,
either in business, or friendship. He tried hard to make it seem I was by inviting me to dinner in
 public places, but I always declined.”
 
So it‟s clear, one of them was lying; or they both were lying. The latter seems most
likely.What we do know is this: Becker and Rosenthal came to some sort of agreement thateither Rosenthal would pay Becker a flat sum per week to keep his joint open, or a percentage of the profits (most likely a flat sum, since Becker could not prevent Rosenthal from cooking thebooks). That was all well and good for Becker; he was shaking down so many gamblingestablishments in town, one more trophy in his case could do him no harm.Or could it?The problem was that Police Commissioner Waldo was getting letters complaining about
Rosenthal‟s establishment being allowed to operate. The rumor was
that old archenemy Bridgey
Webber, whose gambling joint was just down the block from Rosenthal‟s, was the author of these letters. As a result, Waldo put the pressure on Becker to raid Rosenthal‟s place, and Becker told his “partner” Rosenthal that he had
 
no choice but to follow the police commissioner‟s
commands.

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