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Joe Bruno on the Mob – Meyer Lansky

Joe Bruno on the Mob – Meyer Lansky

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Published by Joe Bruno
Meyer Lansky was considered one of the masterminds of the modern day mob.
Meyer Lansky was considered one of the masterminds of the modern day mob.

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Published by: Joe Bruno on Nov 15, 2010
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Joe Bruno on the Mob – Meyer LanskyBorn Majer Suchowlinki in Grodno, Poland, on July 4
th,
1902, Meyer Lansky was consideredone of the masterminds of the modern day mob. In 1911, his family immigrated to New York City andtook up residence at 6 Columbia Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As a boy, he learned thetrade of tool and die making. He also dabbled as an auto mechanic and for a short time he worked in afactory. Tired of the 9-5 drag, Lansky hooked up with fellow Lower East Sider, Benjamin “Bugsy”Siegel (no one called him Bugsy to his face), and they started an auto theft racket. Siegel would stealthe cars, while Lansky would get them in good working order, then sell them.They soon formed the violent “Bugs and Meyer Mob,” where they delved heavily into theillegal booze business. When they weren't hired as muscle to protect other bootlegger's shipments, theywere hijacking liquor trucks themselves, sometimes even the trucks of the bootleggers they weresupposed to be protecting. The “Bugs and Meyer Mob” was also intimately involved in violent“slammings,” (beating up people for a fee), and a few murders, as long as the price was right, which italways was. The murder business was so lucrative, several of the “Bugs and Meyer Mob” alumni became keys members of “Murder Incorporated,” which terrorized the streets of New York City in the1930's. These killers included Joe “Doc” Stacher, Joe Adonis, Abner “Longie” Zwillmen, and Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer.As a young young man, Lansky became fast friends with Italian mobster Lucky Luciano. They joined forces with men like Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein and began to run crime as a business, withviolence used only as a last resort. Rothstein was shot to death during a card game in 1928, and in1931, after the deaths of Mafia bosses Salvatore Maranzano and Joe “The Boss” Masseria, Lansky andLuciano transformed the mob into one National Crime Syndicate, with men of assorted nationalities ontheir “Board of Directors.” Not only did they engage in illegal activities, such as gambling, hijackings,shakedowns and loansharking, but they controlled the labor unions, which oversaw the shipping andtrucking industries, as well as public works projects. Lansky also partnered with mob boss Frank Costello to corner the slot-machine markets all across the country.Even though most of his associates were in the Italian Mafia, Lansky had as much say as theItalians. In fact, most people considered him “the brains of the operation,” while the Italians mostly provided the muscle. Because he was short in stature, Lansky was dubbed “The Little Man,” but thiswas not a derogatory term. His vote on any crime issue usually took precedence over anyone else'svote.After Luciano went to jail on a trumped-up prostitution charge, Siegel convinced Lansky thatthere was money to be made in the deserts of Las Vegas, Nevada, which was then little more than a“comfort station” for weary travelers. Lansky formed the Nevada Projects Corporation and Las Vegaswas born. Unfortunately, Siegel did not live long enough to reap their Las Vegas profits. He wassuspected of skimming the mob's construction cash, and in 1947, Siegel was shot through the eye, ashe sat in the living room of his girlfriend Virgina Hill's mansion in Beverly Hills. Rumors arose thatLansky voted against killing his long-time pal Siegel, but in fact, Lansky agreed, saying, “I had nochoice.”Lansky invested heavily in the casino gambling operations in Cuba, but then in 1959, he losteverything when Fidel Castro took over the rule of Cuba from Fulgencio Batista in a military coup.With the United States government cracking down on the mob in Las Vegas, Lansky fled to Israel toavoid arrest and tried to claim citizenship under “The Law of Return,” a rule that gave citizenship to

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