In this article, in addition to Al Capone, we will begin a story about the new mafia - Cosa Nostra, which has settled in the United States of America.
From previous articles, you should remember that the name Cosa Nostra (Our Business) became widely known in the United States after 1929. Many researchers believe that Lucky Luciano invented it (and proposed it at the "mafia conference" in Atlantic City).
Cosa Nostra - "Americanized mafia" (as Lucky Luciano called it). And this "Americanization" was bloody and extremely harsh. How it went will be described in an article about the mafia clans of New York.
Before "Americanization", the mafia clans were ethnic criminal gangs of immigrants from Sicily. With its appearance, they became international.
In total, 35 Cosa Nostra families have formed in the United States. And the "Chicago Syndicate" stood apart.
Al Capone's Gangster War
Al Capone, photo 1926
From the article Mafia in the USA. Black Hand in New Orleans and Chicago you must remember that Al Capone took over as the head of the Black Hand of Chicago on the recommendation of the former boss, John Torrio, who was badly wounded by the Irish.
And Capone immediately began to avenge the benefactor. In addition to the old enemies from the Irish gang of O'Benion-Weiss, the Dougherty and Bill Moran gangs were destroyed.
The most famous of these operations entered the history called
Valentine's Day Massacre.
Capone thugs, dressed in police uniforms, killed seven members of Moran's gang, including the leader, in a garage. Disoriented gangsters, awaiting a search, lined up along the wall and were shot.
John Skalis is one of the participants in this shooting, who later betrayed Al Capone.
A clear hint of this incident can be seen in the movie "There are only girls in jazz."
And this is a shot of the 1967 film "The Valentine's Day Massacre".
All in all, during this "war" from 1924 to 1929. over 500 gangsters have been killed in Chicago.
The use of machine guns (more precisely, Thompson submachine guns) then became a "classic" gangster showdown. But heavy machine guns and grenades were also used. Finally, they figured out the explosive devices that went off after turning on the car's engine.
Capone's worst enemy was the Sicilian Giuseppe Aiello, who in 1929 ranked the "honorable" seventh on the list of the most dangerous criminals in the United States.
And in 1930 the Chicago Tribune named him
"The coolest gangster in Chicago and one of the coolest in America."
Aiello was a member of the clan now known as the Bonanno "family". This clan was founded in Brooklyn (New York). In addition to Chicago, there were offices in Detroit and Buffalo.
Aiello could not come to terms with the fact that the mob in Chicago was run by some Neapolitan.
He started the "war" by ordering the shooting of Capone's "lieutenants" - Pasquale Lolardo (who was also a close friend of the "Scar Man") and Antonio Lombardi.
Then Aiello aimed at Capone himself, but decided not just to kill him, but also to intercept and "squeeze the business." For this purpose, he bribed two reputable Chicago mafiosi - Giovanni Scalice (one of the participants in the "Massacre on Valentine's Day") and Alberto Anselmo, who recommended to their boss Giuseppe Giuntas - "staff killer" ("torpedos") of the Aiello gang.
It was not possible to deceive the Neapolitan. Under the pretext of confirming Juntas as a lieutenant, Capone gathered his men for lunch at one of the expensive restaurants. At his signal, Aiello's people began to be beaten with baseball bats: one of them was beaten to death, the other two were finished off with pistols.
"Based on" this reprisal of Capone over traitors, similar scenes were filmed in some films about the mafia. More often than not, killers emerge from the cake.
On October 23, 1930, "the coolest gangster in Chicago" was shot by Capone's men, who fired 59 bullets at him.
Mafia "conference" in Atlantic City
Al Capone (far left) and heads of some mafia clans in Atlantic City, May 1929
Let's go back a bit - in 1929, when Capone invited all the heads of the US mafia "families" to Atlantic City.
Here he invited them to agree on the division of spheres of influence, cooperation and rejection of intra-clan wars.
It was John Torrio's idea, which he did not have time to implement.
At this peculiar conference, held from May 13 to May 16, 1929, Capone announced that Prohibition was likely to be canceled soon, and suggested new areas of use for criminal "talents." The most promising, from his point of view, were the organization of gambling and bookmaking, the sphere of sexual services, racketeering and drug trafficking.
Al Capone actively supported a young and promising gangster from New York, who stated that
"Sicilian family principles get in the way of business."
This young "businessman from the mafia" was called Charlie Luciano (not yet Lucky - he will receive the nickname "Lucky" in October of the same year).
Other bosses agreed with Capone and Luciano's suggestions. The collection of all the mafia clans in the United States has since been known as the "Cosa Nostra".
According to the most popular version, it was Luciano who proposed this name (a detailed story about which is ahead). A "Commission" was formed, which included the "dons" of the main clans of New York and the Chicago syndicate.
Each "family" received a territory on which it could freely develop its activities. The law of the Sicilian Omerta was left unchanged.
In addition, it was then that a fundamental decision was made on the possibility of cooperation with people of non-Sicilian and even non-Italian origin.
Until that time, the American mafia was commanded by the Sicilian "Dons" of the "old school", who were called "Mustache" or "Barbel Pits". They tried to create in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and other major US cities
A striking example of such a godfather is Giuseppe Masseria, who was active in New York.
The "small-town" worldview of the "mustachioed" interfered with "business". And Masseria was killed on the orders of his deputy - Lucky Luciano (this will be discussed in one of the following articles).
As a result of this truly fateful decision, such "stars of the first magnitude" as the Jews Meyer Lansky and Benjamin Siegel (Bugsy) appeared in the American Cosa Nostra - both, by the way, are natives of the Russian Empire.
And you shouldn't forget about the Jew Louis Lepke either.
It is Capone who is considered the "inventor" of modern forms of racketeering.
What the bandits were doing before him is closer to the concept of "extortion". The frequency of the levies could not be predicted, the amount of the ransom payments was determined by eye. In general, there were no clearly defined and understandable rules.
At first, the word “racket” was the name of some event (or ball), tickets for which were distributed not entirely voluntarily (just like lottery tickets in the Soviet film “The Diamond Arm”). And Capone began to "sell tickets" for "protection" (from himself, his beloved). His first "clients" were owners of Chicago laundries. Al Capone himself became the owner of some of these establishments: it was then, according to many researchers, that the famous phrase was born
It was impossible to refuse the "imposed service".
Show-windows of establishments of "refuseniks" were constantly smashed by some hooligans. Signboards - they were torn off or obscene inscriptions were written on them. And the clients' linen was constantly damaged.
Then, not only the owners of the laundries, but also other entrepreneurs began to pay for the "protection".
For example, the drivers of the Duffygen Press automobile company, in whose union he introduced his people, became Al Capone's "clients". And also employees of warehouses of printed materials.
Another type of racketeering is the labeling of dairy products with an indication of the "expiration date" on the label.
For thousands of years, people have determined the freshness of foods by their appearance, smell and taste. But Capone managed to push through in Illinois the requirement to indicate the expiration date on milk bottles - under the pretext of caring for the health of state citizens, of course. And the equipment for marking, by "lucky chance", was only at the recently acquired dairy plant.
The profits from this scam were so high that, according to legend, Capone told his "lieutenants":
"We've been doing the wrong things so far!"
Capone's idea (which he did not bother to patent) was extremely popular with the manufacturers of all products. And now people just throw away a huge amount of food in the trash, coming to the stores again and again to buy “fresh food”. Although no one has yet been able to explain what mysterious processes occur in milk or sausage, which, in a couple of minutes (from 23:59 to 00:01) after the "expiration of the juice," turn benign products into stale and even hazardous to health ...
In addition, Capone organized a network of informants in Chicago. Anyone who learned something "interesting" could call the well-known telephone number and
"Give the message to Al Capone."
"Chrysostom" from Chicago
Al Capone liked to say about himself:
“I didn’t kill anyone but criminals, and thus benefited the community.”
Capone is also credited with the phrase
"With a kind word and a pistol you will achieve much more than just a kind word"
"Nothing personal just business".
About the famous "Prohibition" (which prohibited the production and sale of alcohol, but allowed its use), Al Capone said:
“When I sell liquor, they call it bootlegging.
But when my clients serve their sold alcohol on silver trays on Lake Shore Drive, they call it hospitality. "
But when my clients serve their sold alcohol on silver trays on Lake Shore Drive, they call it hospitality. "
The Chicago "zlatoust" also owns such less well-known aphorisms:
"Don't touch the problem until the problem touches you."
"The worst criminals are the big politicians: they have to spend half of their time trying to hide that they are thieves."
“As a child, I prayed to God for a bicycle. Then I realized that God works differently, stole a bicycle and began to pray for forgiveness. "
"A bullet changes a lot in the head, even if it hits ... (elsewhere)."
At the end of the 1920s. Capone's influence was already so great that Chicago Criminal Police Chief Frank Lotsch in 1928 personally asked the Mafia boss
during the upcoming presidential elections.
But “nothing human” was alien to this “godfather”. He found time to play the banjo. And even took part in the concerts of The Rock Island ensemble.
And in 1926, Capone ordered the jazz musician Fats Waller to be brought to his birthday celebration, who was put in a limousine at gunpoint. Three days later he was released, having paid a "fee" of several thousand dollars.
And here we see Al Capone on a picnic - a photograph from 1929.
It's hard to believe that a good-natured man in a white shirt and tie is the leader of the Chicago gangsters. He looks much more like a top manager of some large corporation.
The man who defeated Capone
In this 1939 photograph, we see Frank Wilson, an agent for the US Treasury Department's Internal Revenue Service.
Frank j wilson
It was he, and not the "cool" detectives of the criminal police, who sent the all-powerful leader of the Chicago mafia to jail for 11 years, ending his criminal career.
Capone's troubles began immediately after the conclusion of the triumphant "conference" in Atlantic City. On the way home, he was arrested in Philadelphia for illegally wearing weapons.
The most interesting thing is that he had a permit to carry a pistol, issued in Chicago. But really it was only in the state of Illinois. And Philadelphia, as you know, is located in Pennsylvania. For Capone, this arrest was the 13th in a row, and he did not attach much importance to it.
However, this time everything went "wrong." Despite all the efforts of lawyers, the godfather of Chicago received a year in prison, where he was placed in a "dust-free" librarian position.
His brother Ralph succeeded him in Chicago.
During this time, Eliot Ness of the Department of Justice managed to destroy more than thirty illegal whiskey factories, many warehouses and secured the confiscation of more than fifty trucks.
When Capone was released from prison, Ness staged a demonstration.
In front of the windows of the apartment of the crime boss in Chicago, 45 of his former cars, filled with armed policemen, drove by. Al Capone informed Ness that he could receive a weekly "bonus" in the form of an envelope with $ 1000 (about 30 thousand modern dollars). He never received an answer from Ness.
And Frank Wilson at this time quietly and unnoticed studied financial documents.
Based on his investigation, 70 mafiosi (including Capone and his brother) were arrested in June 1931 and brought to trial by jury on income tax evasion charges.
And now, before the Tax Office, the powerful “godfather” turned out to be completely powerless. He immediately confessed to 5000 episodes of violation of the law and paid a debt of $ 5 million (a huge amount at the time, equal to about 150 million modern dollars).
After being released on bail, Capone, hoping to win over public opinion, launched a stormy charitable work. He even set up a free canteen where he sometimes personally distributed food to the unemployed.
In this photo you can see the queue to the dining room of "Kitchens of Big Al for the needy".
Here 3500 people received meat soup, bread and coffee with a donut a day.
Al Capone also achieved the release, kidnapped by Lynch gangsters - the owner of the racehorse stables, but only waited for accusations of organizing this kidnapping (in order to later play the role of a savior).
Capone managed to bribe or intimidate the entire jury. But on the eve of the trial, they were replaced with new ones.
In October 1931, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison, a fine of $ 50 and compensation for legal costs in the amount of 30. Among other property confiscated from Al Capone was an armored limousine (weighing 3,5 tons), which was transferred to the White House garage.
Capone in the back seat of his famous limousine
Since that time, all the mafiosi of America are more than anything in the world afraid of "cheating" with the payment of taxes from their legal enterprises. And the visit of the tax inspector now thrills any "godfather."
One of the four "behests" of the "great Lucky Luciano" reads:
Pay your income tax all the time.
In November 1939, Capone was released early after being diagnosed with an incurable form of neurosyphilis (syphilitic brain damage).
Until 1947, he retired and lived in a villa he owned in Florida.
According to the recollections of relatives, Capone then constantly talked with long-dead people.
On this basis, it can be concluded that the prison doctors were not bribed and the diagnosis was correct.
Al Capone was 48 years old at the time of his death.
In the next article we will continue our story about the American Cosa Nostra. And let's talk about the mafia clans of New York.